Constance of York

Constance of York

Death 29 Nov 1416 (aged 41–42)
Berkshire, England
Burial Reading, Reading Borough, Berkshire, England
Plot In front of the high altar; tomb no longer exists
Memorial ID 37897949 · View Source
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English Nobility. Baroness le Despencer and Countess of Gloucester. She is notable for her failed plot to depose King Henry IV. Constance was born in Conisburgh Castle, Yorkshire, the daughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York. In 1379 she was married to Thomas le Despenser, later the 1st Earl of Gloucester; both were around five years old at the time. They eventually had three children. King Richard II made her a Dame of the Order of the Garter in 1386. When Richard was deposed in 1399 Despenser initially supported the usurper Henry IV, but the following year he took part in the short-lived Epiphany Rising and was killed by a mob in Bristol. Constance turned out to be a feisty widow. She became the mistress of the 4th Earl of Kent, having a daughter by him, and frequently petitioned and sued the crown over her holdings. Contemporary documents state she was disloyal to the king "many times". In 1405 she involved herself in the rebellion of Welsh prince Owain Glyndwyr, who had occupied Caerphilly Castle, which Constance owned. It was in both their interests to replace Henry with Richard's presumptive heir, the imprisoned Edmund de Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, so she arranged for his escape from Windsor Castle with the intention of delivering him to Caerphilly. From there Henry's enemies were to form an army to march on England, with the young earl as figurehead. But Constance's brother, the Duke of York, betrayed the plot and Mortimer was captured before reaching Wales. Summoned to the Privy Council, Constance freely admitted her scheme but apparently no charges were brought against her. The Duke of York was confined for several months and then pardoned. Constance's last years were lived in quiet, possibly under banishment at Reading Abbey in Berkshire, where she died. Her tomb was near that of King Henry I.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 4 Jun 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 37897949
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Constance of York (c.1374–29 Nov 1416), Find a Grave Memorial no. 37897949, citing Reading Abbey Ruins, Reading, Reading Borough, Berkshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .