Dumb-Cluck Woodville Statement O’ the Day

In a discussion group, I was alerted to the current Wikipedia entry on Jacquetta Woodville (“Wydeville” for you purists here). Among other misinformation, it contains this particular gem:

“She arranged for her 20-year-old son, John Woodville, to marry the widowed and very rich dowager Duchess of Norfolk, Catherine Neville. The bride was at least forty years older than the groom at the time of the wedding. The marriage caused a furore and earned the Woodvilles considerable unpopularity. Catherine Neville’s son, John de Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, especially, turned against the Queen and her family and vowed vengeance against them and the Yorkists for the stain on his family honour.”

Our Wikipedia writer is correct about the age gap, though whether Jacquetta herself arranged the marriage is open to debate. But John de Mowbray, third Duke of Norfolk, vowing vengeance? Minor hitch: The wedding between John and his elderly bride took place in 1465, and the third duke died in 1461.

We also are informed that Richard III ordered Parliament in 1483 to attaint Elizabeth Woodville for witchcraft, though Richard III didn’t hold a Parliament in 1483 and Elizabeth was never attainted, for witchcraft or for anything else. Jacquetta also gains two nonexistent children courtesy of Wikipedia: Agnes and Thomas. Since “Thomas Woodville” is referred to as marrying Anne Holland, I presume that he is being confused with Thomas Grey, Jacquetta’s grandson, but where on earth Agnes came from I don’t know, though she seems to pop up on other genealogical sites from time to time.

6 thoughts on “Dumb-Cluck Woodville Statement O’ the Day”

  1. Nan Hawthorne, Shield-wall Books

    I ran across another May December wedding in a bit of erotic fluff I read today. It involves a gay man in his twenties forced to marry a woman "four score and five". That's 85… He manages to get a Saxon guy who looks kinda like him to do his marital duties for him. And at 57 I am relieved to read that the young man brought this old crone to climax. Phew. Not a very good story, but another one in the same Novle Romance antholigy about a Templar was actually beautifully written. i will probably review that story on That's All She Read.

    nan hawthorne

  2. The Woodvilles do seem to come in for far more than their fair share of misinformation, don't they? I really sporfled at the bit about the four years dead Norfolk vowing revenge on them. Where on earth do people get this stuff?

  3. More complete rubbish toted as 'fact' – it's depressing sometimes, the amount of unresearched, unchecked BS out there.

  4. I checked Arlene Okerlund’s genealogical tables in respect of the Wydeville family – no mention of either Agnes or Thomas . I did , however, pick up on Agnes (1458-1506) and Thomas on a website Geni (www.geni.com) in which people talk about their ancestors and some fascinating information about the Wydevilles from their descendants – yes Geni uses the posh name too!

    I’m also annoyed at the mention of Philippa Gregory’s White Queen – talk about free advertising. There is no evidence that Jacquette ever practised witchcraft and given it was Warwick who was the accuser it was probably just another case of more political skulduggery.

    On the other hand you can be thankful to Wikipedia for one thing – it was from that entry that I picked up on the fact that the Wydevilles were of the English Blood Royal after all and related to some of the most powerful families in Europe such as the Orsini of Rome quite a few who became Cardinals and one even became Pope and through whom the Wydeilles are linked to a very famous saint and the Borgias.

    Even AO didn’t pick up on all that or how Jacquette saved the Yorkist dynasty from going under at a critical time but you won’t find that on Wikipedia or in history books either – another case of the Silver Blaze Syndrome. It really is beginning to bug me how many historians have failed to pick up on important facts such as Anthony Wydeville’s missing patent – both AO and Annette Carson mention it – or realise the significance or making connections between events happening at the same time or what I call linkage. Or getting curious about them or asking why the dog didn’t bark in the night I’ve even been able to link Sir Francis Bacon with his contemporary Sir George Buck – apparently the first person to do so. How did I do it – Wikipedia!!!

    One UK Government minister has even suggested we use Wikipedia to study history. Well one could do worse as a starting point certainly in the matter of basic research given the references, quotes and often links to other entries/websites. So far Wiki has come up with some information on all the historical personages I’ve been researching.

    Happy Thanksgiving for this coming Thursday. Remember you stuff the turkey first and then yourself.

  5. I would recommend going in and changing the entry on Wikipedia. Anyone is free to do it, though I did change an entry one time and it was reverted back in a matter of days, so I'm not sure who all is policing the Wikipedia pages.

  6. Susan Higginbotham

    Thanks, folks! Steven, I probably will follow your Wikipedia suggestion, though sometimes it feels like trying to push back the tide! I have fiddled with the Elizabeth Woodville entry in the past, and my changes are still there.

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