William COURTENAY

(10th E. Devon)

Born: 1475

Died: 9 Jun 1511

Father: Edward COURTENAY (9 E. Devon)

Mother: Elizabeth COURTENAY

Married: Catherine PLANTAGENET (C. Devon) BEF Oct 1495

Children:

1. Edward COURTENAY

2. Henry COURTENAY (1 M. Exeter)

3. Margaret COURTENAY


Immediately after the Battle of Bosworth, Henry VII restored the estates to Edward, grandson of Sir Hugh Courtenay of Haccombe and Boconnoc, brother of the blind Earl, and who was therefore heir-at-law. He was created Earl of Devon by patent, "to him and the heirs male of his body", on the twenty-sixth of Oct, 1485.

This Earl married his cousin, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Phillip Courtenay of Molland, and was the father of Sir William Courtenay, created a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Henry VII.

This Sir William Courtenay took to wife Catherine Plantagenet, daughter of King Edward IV, and youngest sister of Elizabeth, King Henry's Queen. It was a most unfortunate marriage; Henry VII soon became jealous of his brother-in-law, and shut him up in the Tower, "to keep him out of harm's way", and in the Tower he, and his son and grandson, practically resided, as prisoners.

For although the Princess Catherine was the youngest sister, yet, as the intermediate sisters had no children, the Courtenays came very near to the succession to the Crown. So in the Tower Sir William remained, through the reign of the first Tudor monarch. Henry VIII released his uncle from captivity, and intended to restore him to the earldom, which he had forfeited by his attainder. The letters patent were made out for this purpose on the tenth of May, 1511, but he was never "invested", and he died at Greenwich, of pleurisy, within a month of that date. By the express commands of the King, he was buried with the honours of an Earl, to which dignity his son Henry, the King's first cousin, succeeded, and the latter was further elevated to the Marquessate of Exeter, on the eighteenth of Jun 1525. Fourteen years afterwards he was attainted, imprisoned in the Tower, and beheaded on the ninth of Jun I539.

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