Hornby Castle
Much is made in fiction, and sometimes non-fiction, about the love between King Richard III and his wife, Anne Neville. But Anne Neville was not the only woman in Richard’s life. He had at least one mistress and two illegitimate children – John and Katherine.
Historian Rosemary Horrox has suggested that Katherine Haute may have been Richard’s mistress.  She received an annuity from Richard of 100 shillings per year for life. The reason for the grant is not recorded, but as Richard’s daughter was given the same name, Katherine, it led Horrox to suggest that Haute may have been the child’s mother.

Another name that I’ve seen suggested is Alice Burgh.In March 1474 at Pontefract, she received £20 per annum (four times the grant to Katherine Haute) from Richardfor ‘certain special causes and considerations’.As Richard’s son, John of Gloucester was also known as John of Pontefract (probably because it was where he was born),there could be a connection, but it seems more likely that she was a nurse as she later received another allowance for being a nurse to Edward of Warwick, the son of the Duke of Clarence. 
Facial reconstruction of Richard III
In my novel By Loyalty Bound I suggest a new name for Richard’smistress: Anne Harrington.  Although this is also based on speculationthere is some circumstantial evidence. 
Firstly, she was in the right place at the right time.  Anne’s grandfather and father, Thomas and John Harrington, were killed at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, fighting alongside Richard’s father, the Duke of York, who also lost his life.  Because Thomas died first and his sonsecond, the Harrington lands, which included Hornby Castle in Lancashire, passed through John to his two young daughters, Anne and Elizabeth.  If John had died first, the lands would have passed from Thomas to his next son, James Harrington.
The wardships of John’s daughters, Anne and Elizabeth Harrington, were given by the king, Edward IV, to Lord Thomas Stanley who then had the right to marry them to husbands of his choosing – men who would become owners of the Harrington lands.  Considering this to be unfair, James Harrington took possession of his nieces and fortified Hornby Castle against the Stanleys who tried to take it by force by bringing a cannon named the Mile End from Bristol to blast the fortifications. But it seems that the Harringtons had the support of the king’s youngest brother.  A warrant issued by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, on the 26th March 1470 was signed ‘at Hornby’.  This evidence places seventeen year old Richard and fifteen year old Anne together in the castle. Is it possible that these two young people were attracted to one another?

Aneurin Barnard as Richard III - The White Queen BBC1
Secondly, Richard’s illegitimate son was named John – which was the name of Anne’s father.  His daughter was named Katherine.  This name does occur in the Harrington family. It is also worth noting that in the church of St Wilfrid at Melling near Hornby, there was a chapel that was originally dedicated to St Katherine.  But perhaps more telling, there was a chantry chapel in the medieval church of St George at Doncaster founded by John Harrington (Anne’s great uncle) and his wife Isabel where they were buried. It was dedicated to St Katherine and there were stained glass windows depicting members of the Harrington family and asking for prayers for their souls.  Is it possible that Anne named her daughter after a favourite family saint?

Thirdly, John of Gloucester was probably born at Pontefract Castle, which is very close to the Yorkshire lands of the Harrington family at Brierley and Badsworth.
James and Robert Harrington, who had been retainers of the Earl of Warwick until his rebellion, were both taken into the service of Richard when he was Duke of Gloucester. They both fought by his side at Bosworth.  If Richard had been successful he was planning to re-open the debate about Hornby with a view to returning it to the Harringtons. Given the close connections between Richard and the Harrington family, is it possible that Anne may also have had a close relationship with him?

There is no evidence that Anne Harrington was Richard’s mistress, but neither is there evidence for the other names suggested. If it were true it would add an extra dimension to the enmity between Richard and Lord Thomas Stanley who was instrumental in his defeat and death at Bosworth – and it may also account for why the name of Richard’s mistress has vanished from history.  
Elizabeth Ashworth
The Book - By Loyalty Bound 

When 17 year old Richard, Duke of Gloucester, defies his elder brother, Edward IV, and rides to Hornby Castle in the north of Lancashire to help James and Robert Harrington defend their birthright against Sir Thomas Stanley, he engenders a chain of events that will have repercussions for years to come. His fight for justice for the Harringtons and his relationship with Anne Harrington, whose wardship has been given to Thomas Stanley, cause a rift between the two men that will never be healed, and which will lead to Richard being betrayed when he most needs Stanley’s support.

By Loyalty Bound tells the story of defiant Anne Harrington, the woman who would later become mistress to the enigmatic Richard as a consequence of his involvement in the trials of her family. With her father and grandfather killed fighting for the Yorkists at Wakefield in 1460, Hornby Castle falls to her as an inheritance at the tender age of five years old. When her ward-ship is handed over to Thomas Stanley by the king himself, Anne’s uncles and the influence they might otherwise have wielded are virtually cut off. The story traces the Harringtons fight to keep possession of their ancestral home, the support given to them by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Richard’s tumultuous and beguiling relationship with Anne as she is forced into a marriage arranged for her by her guardian, a man who has objectives beyond the determination to secure her future happiness. 

The Author - Elizabeth Ashworth

Elizabeth Ashworth has been a published author from an early age with an article in Diana magazine at the age of eleven years old, for which she was paid a pound. Since then has had many articles and short stories published in magazines including Lancashire Magazine, The Lady, People’s Friend, My Weekly, Fiction Feast and many others.
In 2006 her first local interest book, Champion Lancastrians, was published by Sigma Press. This was followed by Tales of Old Lancashire, from Countryside Books in 2007. A fascination with one of the old stories she discovered whilst researching for this book inspired her to write her first historical novel, The de Lacy Inheritance, which was published in 2010 by Myrmidon Books.


JaneGS said...

Sounds like an interesting theory, and one that promises an interesting novel. This seems to be my year of RIII, having read Sunne in Splendour, currently reading The White Queen and The Plantagenets, and looking forward to seeing The White Queen next month.

I shall look for this novel as well. Though I am a fan of the Richard/Anne Neville love story, he did have illegitimate children who had mothers, with stories of their own.

Maria Grazia said...

Welcome to the Ricardian world, Jane! Everything started with "The Sunne in Splendour" for me and the greatest emotion I've experienced so far was watching the documentary on the discovery of Richard's body in Leicester. I was in tears just like Philippa Langley when she could see his facial reconstruction. Don't keep your hope too high for The White Queen series. I'll wait for your comments while watching it ...
I also want to read Elizabeth's By Loyalty Bound, of course. I'm so curious about Richard and his life before his marriage with Anne Neville.
Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

Unknown said...

Ever since I watched the documentary concerning the discovery of Richard III's remains and the reaction of Phillipa Langley (the president of the UK's Richard III Society) to the news that it was not only Richard, but that the 500 year long rumor that he was a "hunchback", I've been wondering about something. Has anyone else noticed the unusual connection of Ms. Langley's name to Richard's ancestors?

Richard's great, great grandmother (or three greats, depending on the line of descent) was Phillipa of Hainault, Edward III's queen. The name became very popular; several of her grandchildren were named Phillipa in her honor. I can well imagine it becoming a beloved family name due to its connection to a queen.

King Edward III and Queen Philippa's fifth son was named Edmund, and like his older brother John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (whose son deposed Richard II, his first cousin, to become Henry IV and start the Wars of the Roses) was known by the place where he'd been born, Langley. He also owned the title "Duke of York". Can anyone see where I'm going with this?

It's obvious, especially after tracking down the Canadian-born descendent of Richard III's sister, that before the internet existed most people didn't know their ancestries, beyond a few family stories. There were companies who claimed to research lineage, and even find family crests, but I've never trusted them. And especially in the US, where officials at Ellis Island often misspelled or changed family names at random; or other former penal colonies of Britian, people most often didn't know their far distant ancestors.

Of course, Phillipa Langley is British, and by virtue of her position with the Richard III Society had more access to information about her family's lineage. I had never seen or heard of her before watching the documentary, so this entire post may be in vain. Perhaps she knows she's descended from Edmund of Langley (whether legitimately or not) and released the information years ago. But either way, I don't know, and I'd really like to. Somehow it makes her dedication to the Richard III Society more poignant and romantic - a descendent from the same family dedicated to clear his name,

So if anyone knows whether or not this is true, please post the answer. And if not, but you may have a way to contact her and suggest the connection (I don't believe in coincidence), or have a way but don't wish to do so yourself, I'd gladly do it if you passed her contact info on. Thanks so much.