Margaret WOTTON

(M. Dorset)

Born: 1487

Died: 1541

Father: Robert WOTTON of Boughton Malherbe (Sir)

Mother: Anne BELKNAP

Married 1: William MEDLEY (b. 1481 - d. Feb 1509)


1. George MEDLEY of Tilty (d. 1562) (m. Mary Dannet)

Married 2: Thomas GREY (2° M. Dorset) 1509


2. Henry GREY (1° D. Suffolk)

3. John GREY of Pirgo

4. Anne GREY

5. Thomas GREY

6. Elizabeth GREY (B. Audley of Walden)

7. Catherine GREY (C. Arundel)

8. Leonard GREY (b. 1520 - d. 1521)

9. Mary GREY

Margaret Wotton

M. Dorset

Margaret Wotton was born in 1487, the daughter of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe (b. 1465 - d. 1524), Kent, and Anne Belknap. Two of her brothers held important positions in the government. Sir Edward Wotton (b. 1489 - d. 1551) was treasurer of Calais, and Nicholas Wotton was a diplomat. Her sister, Mary, married two times, first to Sir Henry Guildford, and later to Sir Gawen Carew.

She married first, in 1505, William Medley, by whom she had a son, George of Tilty, Essex. Sooon after Medley death, in Feb 1509, she married as his second wife Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquis of Dorset (b. 22 Jun 1477 - d. 10 Oct 1530), the eldest son of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquis of Dorset, and Cecily Bonville, Baroness Harington and Bonville. She was styled as Marchioness of Dorset upon her marriage.

Margaret and her husband were part of the group who accompanied Princess Mary Tudor to France in the autumn of 1514, for the latter's wedding to King Louis XII of France.

Together, Thomas and Margaret had eight children: Elizabeth Grey, married firstly Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden and secondly George Norton; Catherine Grey, married Henry Fitzalan, 18th Earl of Arundel; Anne Grey, married Sir Henry Willoughby; Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, married Frances Brandon, by whom he had three daughters, Jane, Catherine and Mary; John Grey of Pirgo; Thomas Grey; Leonard Grey and Mary Grey.

In Oct 1530, her husband died and she was given custody of all his property during their eldest son, Henry's minority.

On 1 Jun 1533, Margaret rode in Anne Boleyn's coronation procession from the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey. On 10 Sep 1533, she stood as one of the godmothersat the christening of Princess Elizabeth.

When Prince Edward was born, Margaret, the Dowager Marchioness of Dorset, who was virtually quarantined in Croydon, Surrey, 11 miles (18.3 km) south of London, because of an outbreak of the plague there, hastened to send her congratulations to Henry VIII, having heard 'the most joyful news and glad tidings that came to England this many years'. For this, she added piously 'We, all your grace's poor subjects, are most bound to give thanks to almighty God that it has pleased Him, of His great mercy, so as to remember your grace with a prince'. She had been appointed to carry the Prince in his christening, but had been obliged to send her excuses because of sickness in the nieghbourhood of at Croydon and was replaced by Gertrude Blount, Marchioness of Exeter.

Margaret first began a long series of quarrels with her son, when he was forced to pay a fine of £4000 for breach of contract after he had renounced his bethrothal to Catherine Fitzalan, daughter of William Fitzalan, the 17th Earl of Arundel. For this refusal he was fined  £4000 for breach of contract.

Because of this enormous, unexpected financial burden, Lady Margaret, who had custody of all her husband’s property during Henry’s minority, feared she would “not be able to set forth my daughters in marriage, neither continue in the keeping of my poor house”. Insisting that her husband’s estate was “right small” in comparison to his debts and the cost of supporting herself and their children. As a result, she tried to restrict Henry's allowance throughout his minority which caused much consternation from her peers, who labelled her actions "unmotherly", and inappropriate behaviour towards a nobleman closely related to the King. Margaret only agreed to Henry's marriage with Lady Frances Brandon, niece of the King, on the condition that her father, Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk would support the couple until her son reached his majority.

In 1534, she felt compelled to answer charges that she was "an unnatural mother". As a result, she offered to contribute to her son's advancement "as my small power is and shall be".

Sketch of Margaret Wotton

by Hans Holbein the Younger, c.1532–1535

Several years later when he came of age, Henry brought his quarrel with his mother before the Kings' Council, where she belatedly admitted that her son's allowance was not "meet or sufficient to maintain his estate", and she offered to increase it. Henry was not appeased, therefore she moved out of the Grey family seat at Bradgate House; however, Henry would not let her remove her personal property, so she wrote a letter to Thomas Cromwell, pleading with him to order her son to release her goods.

About her elder son, George Medley, he married Mary Dannet, daughter of Gerard Mannet and Mary Belknap. She may have been the Mary Dannet who attended the court of Princess Mary and was paid wages of £10 a year in 1526. Mary bore at least four children, two boys and two girls.

Margaret died in 1541 at the age of 54.

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