Cecily of York 1468 - 1507


Stained glass depiction of Cecily of York, probably 1482–83, formerly Canterbury Cathedral, now Burrell Collection

 

Cecily of York, Viscountess Welles was the 3rd surviving daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. Like so many of her time, Cecily is a little-known woman and only some key events in her life are known. In 1474 a marriage alliance was agreed upon between Edward IV and James III of Scotland, Cecily was betrothed to the future King James IV. But by 1479 the alliance collapsed and the marriage plans were off. On 15 January 1478 Cecily was present at the wedding of her 4-year-old brother Richard to the 5-year-old Anne de Mowbray, Countess of Norfolk at St. Stephen’s Chapel in Westminster. In 1480 Cecily, along with her sister Mary, was named Lady of the Garter, the oldest and highest British order of chivalry. Cecily would marry three times, first to Ralph Scrope (the marriage was annulled on the accession of Henry VII, her future brother-in-law) secondly she was married to John Welles, 1st Viscount Welles, uncle of the half-blood to Henry VII (John was a son to Lionel Welles and Margaret de Beauchamp. Making Cecily sister-in-law to Margaret Beaufort) and thirdly to Thomas Kyme, an obscure squire, who it is said she married for love and without the King’s permission. For this Cecily was banished from court but after the intervention of Margaret Beaufort some of her lands were restored to her, but only for a lifetime and not for her to pass on to her husband or children. She died on 24 August in 1507, at Sandown or Hatfield, at the age of 38. It is not clear where Cecily was buried, according to Hall's Chronicle Cecily died and was buried in Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight and according to others, she was buried in Hatfield or Kings Langley.

Cecily of York's signature

 

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