Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Hardships of our Fathers #ancestors #virginiapioneersnet

The Hardships of our Fathers

15th century. Cold Harbour (mansion on right). The house was located in Upper Thames Street, a narrow riverside lane, along with other noblemen’s mansions. Owners: King Edward III; Henry Holland, et al

While researching my ancestors sometimes I am amazed at the hardships they bore or what happened to their good lives. Presently, there is a series of historical accounts of the monarchs of England on the television. It begins with Alfred the Great and goes through the current monarchy. Although it said nothing of my Holland ancestors, while watching, I realized that had John Holland, the Duke of Exeter, next-in-line for the throne after Richard I was defeated, then the Tudors would not have taken power and Henry VIII would not have ascended the throne and rid the country of the immensely political Catholic Church. The duke was the grandson of Joan Plantagenet who first married Sir Thomas de Holland, and later, the Black Prince. The Black Prince died early in life, and it was his son, Richard, who came to the throne. His two step-brothers, Thomas and John, were in the political arena. It was John Holland who supported the duke of Lancaster in his wars against the duke of York. He amassed great estates, Dartlington Manor in Essex, and was ultimately the Earl of Huntingdon and possessed the great Admiral Seal of England. When Richard met Edward IV on the battle field, John and Thomas Holland conspired to secure Richard’s position. When Richard I was captured, however, John Holland was seized and beheaded. But Edward IV had one more heir to the throne to rid himself of. And that was Henry, son of John Holland, who inherited the Essex estate as the second and third duke of Exeter. Henry had married the ten-year old Ann Plantagenet at the behest of the Duke of York whose plan it was to make Ann the queen when Henry Holland ascended to the throne. But Henry disappointed the duke of York when he joined the duke of Lancaster. The couple had one child, a daughter. Ann hated Henry and sought to divorce Henry in 1462 and acquire possession of their grand mansion “Cold Harbour” in London. The divorce stripped Henry of his wealth and he spent the next ten or fifteen years fighting with Lancaster. Henry’s dangerous esapades caused him to take refuge in the Tower of London. The tower was the castle owned by John Holland (now Henry). About the time that Edward IV seized the throne and declared himself king, Henry was found lying on a battle field in France. However, recognized as being alive by his servant, was saved. Edward, having heard, captured Henry and imprisoned him in the Tower of London. It was at this point that that castle went into the hands of Bolingbroke, and passed through the royal lineage. Meanwhile, Ann, had remarried, this time to a person later known as a scoundrel, St. Thomas de Leger. A scheme was concocted by de Leger to persuade Henry to join the Yorkists in battle. Upon returning from the adventure, they crossed the Thames river by boat and Henry Holland was drowned. The history books state that Henry was the only person who drowned, and that Thomas St. de Leger threw him overboard. With the beheading of John Holland and the drowning of Henry, Richard I was murdered, and the way was clear for Edward to be King of England. Thus, the descendants of Edward IV were Henry Tudor, including Henry VIII!
From dukes and earls, riches and fame to beheadings and murder. We read about the misery of others down through history. The result of the terrible end to the lives of some of my ancestors was the ascension of Henry VIII to the throne of England, the works of Martin Luther, the Puritans, Separatists and others bore fruit and the American colonies became a haven for religious freedom and ultimately a Constitution guaranteeing inalienable rights. We do not always have the answers, yet, if we knew more details of the past, might we better understand the role that our families played in bringing about a better future?

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