On November 10, 1480, Elizabeth Woodville bore her last child–Bridget, named after St. Bridget of Sweden. Bridget may have been intended for the Church; in any case, she eventually became a nun at Dartford Priory.
The day after her birth, Bridget was christened at the chapel of Eltham. Her godmothers at the baptismal font, as the following account indicates, were her paternal grandmother, Cecily, Duchess of York, and her oldest sister, Elizabeth. Margaret, Lady Maltravers, a younger sister of Elizabeth Woodville, served as godmother at the confirmation. William Waynefleet, Bishop of Winchester, was the baby’s godfather. Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, had the honor of bearing the infant. (The next royal christening would be that of Margaret’s own grandson, Arthur Tudor.)
A detailed description of Bridget’s christening has survived and was reprinted by an “F.M.” in the 1831 Gentleman’s Magazine. I have modernized the spelling when possible.
. . . the twentieth year of the reign of King Edward IV on St. Martin’s Eve was born the Lady Bridget, and christened on the morning of St. Martin’s Day in the Chapel of Eltham, by the Bishop of Chichester in order as ensueth:
First a hundred torches borne by knights, esquires, and other honest persons.
The Lord Maltravers, bearing the basin, having a towel about his neck.
The Earl of Northumberland bearing a taper not lit.
The Earl of Lincoln the salt.
The canopy borne by three knights and a baron.
My lady Maltravers did bear a rich crysom pinned over her left breast.
The Countess of Richmond did bear the princess.
My lord Marquess Dorset assisted her.
My lady the king’s mother, and my lady Elizabeth, were godmothers at the font.
The Bishop of Winchester godfather.
And in the time of the christening, the officers of arms cast on their coats.
And then were lit all the foresaid torches.
Present, these noble men ensuing:
The Duke of York.
The Lord Hastings, the king’s chamberlain.
The Lord Stanley, Stewards of the King’s house.
The Lord Dacre, the queen’s chamberlain, and many other estates.
And when the said princess was christened, a squire held the basins to the gossips [the godmothers], and even by the font my Lady Maltravers was godmother to the confirmation.
And from thence she was borne before the high altar. and that solemnity done she was borne eftsoons into her parclosse, accompanied with the estates aforesaid.
And the lord of Saint Joans [probably John St. John, according to Pauline Routh] brought thither a spice plate.
And at the said parclose the godfather and the godmother gave great gifts to the said princess.
Which gifts were borne by knights and esquires before the said princess turning to the queen’s chamber again, well accompanied as appertaineth, and after the custom of this realm.
I can’t leave this post without mentioning that recently, I have seen several people claim that Bridget was the mother of an out-of-wedlock child, Agnes of Eltham. The Wikipedia article about Agnes which makes this claim cites two sources–one a scholarly article about John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, the other Jeffrey Hamilton’s book on the Plantagenets. In fact, neither source even mentions Bridget or Agnes, much less claims that they were mother and daughter. I have no idea if this tale has any basis in fact, but given the Wikipedia author’s cavalier use of sources, I’m skeptical, to put it politely.
“F.M.,” “Christening of the Princess Bridget, 1480.” Gentleman’s Magazine, January 1831.
Pauline E. Routh, “Princess Bridget.” The Ricardian, June 1975.
Anne F. Sutton and Livia Visser-Fuchs with R.A. Griffiths, The Royal Funerals of the House of York at Windsor. Richard III Society, 2005.