Anne Stafford, Duchess of Buckingham
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Anne Stafford, Duchess of Buckingham

Anne Neville (d.1480) was a daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, and his second wife Lady Joan Beaufort. Her first husband was Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, and she was an important English noblewoman, landholder and book owner during the fifteenth century.

Family

Anne was born in 1414, a daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmoreland, and his second wife Lady Joan Beaufort, the legitimised daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster.

Sometime before October 1424 she married Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, heir of Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford, and one of the wealthiest men in England. Anne and Humphrey were the parents of Humphrey Stafford (d. 22 May 1458), known as the Earl of Stafford, and the grandparents of Henry Stafford, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham. Henry Stafford was the leader of "Buckingham's Rebellion" in 1483 against King Richard III after Richard III usurped the throne from his nephew King Edward V. Henry Stafford was executed on 2 November 1483, after the rebellion failed.

She was widowed in 1460 when Humphrey was killed at the Battle of Northampton and remained unmarried until 1467. In that year she took as her second husband Walter Blount, 1st Baron Mountjoy (d. 1474). His will suggests that a prenuptial agreement was put in place at that time for he left Anne 'all such goods as were her proper goods the day afore our marriage or that she hath brought since or to her given by any person' [1]

Through her first marriage Anne became a significant landholder. She managed the estates and financial matters with some success: the revenue of her dower lands increased notably under her direction. Drawing an annual income of £884 in 1460, the year she became a widow, the revenue increased by 40% to £1245 by 1473, when her grandson came of age [2]

Book ownership

Like many noblewomen of her age, Anne was highly educated and she has become associated with book collecting. She owned the Wingfield Hours, a psalter that includes a prayer identifying Anne as the owner.[3] Her will contains a number of books in both English and French. These were passed on to her daughter-in-law Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Stafford, and daughter of Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset. The two women had exchanged books during the 1460s when Margaret and her Stafford husband moved close to Anne in Surrey.[4]

References

  1. ^ [Barbara J. Harris, English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550 (Oxford, 2002), p. 163]
  2. ^ [Harris, English Aristocratic Women, p. 150]
  3. ^ [Rebecca Krug, Reading Families. Women's literate practice in late medieval England (New York 2002), p.75]
  4. ^ [Krug, Reading Families, p.77]

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