Anne Woodville, Viscountess Bourchier

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About Anne Woodville, Viscountess Bourchier

Anne Woodville, Viscountess Bourchier

  • Born: c.1438 Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire, England
  • Died: 30 July 1489 (aged 50–51)
  • Buried: Warden Abbey, Bedfordshire, England  
  • Father: Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers
  • Mother: Jacquetta of Luxembourg
  • Spouse(s): 1) William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier; 2) George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent
  • Occupation: Lady-in-waiting

Anne was the grandmother of the disinherited adulteress Anne Bourchier, 7th Baroness Bourchier, and an ancestress of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.

Brief Biography

In 1466, two years after her elder sister Elizabeth's secret marriage to King Edward, and one year after her coronation, Anne became one of Queen Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting, receiving forty pounds a year for her services.[2] Sometime before 15 August 1467, Anne married William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier, the son and heir of Henry Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex, and Isabel of York.

Anne's was just one of the many advantageous marriages Queen Elizabeth shrewdly arranged for her numerous siblings with eligible scions of the most aristocratic families in the realm; a scheme which was done with the purpose of augmenting her family's power, prestige, and wealth. This blatantly ambitious, self-seeking policy of the Queen consort deeply antagonised the old nobility and House of Commons against the entire Woodville family.[3]

William and Anne received lands worth one hundred pounds a year.[4] Anne was briefly the owner of the manors of Nether Hall and Over Hall in the county of Suffolk. These had previously belonged to James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormond, a staunch supporter and favourite of Queen Margaret of Anjou.

Anne Woodville, Viscountess Bourchier, died on 30 July 1489, at the age of about fifty-one years. Her death occurred almost four years after the Battle of Bosworth when King Richard was slain by Henry Tudor who married Anne's niece Elizabeth of York. Anne was buried in Warden, Bedfordshire.[5]

A year after Anne's death, her husband George married secondly Catherine Herbert, daughter of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Anne Devereux, by whom he had four more children.


Anne had three children by her first husband William:

  1. Henry Bourchier, 2nd Earl of Essex, 6th Baron Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier, 2nd Count of Eu (died 13 March 1540), married Mary Say, by whom he had one daughter, Anne Bourchier, suo jure 7th Baroness Bourchier who was the sole heiress to his titles and estates. She was the first wife of William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton whom she deserted to elope with her lover, thus creating a scandal which resulted in the forfeiture of her estates and most of her titles.
  2. Cecily Bourchier (died 1493), married John Devereux, 8th Baron Ferrers of Chartley, by whom she had a son, Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford, and a daughter, Anne Devereux. Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1565–1601) was a notable descendant of Walter who in his turn had married Mary Grey, the daughter of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset and Cecily Bonville.
  3. Isabel Bourchier (1477- after 1500), died unmarried.

William died on 26 June 1480. Shortly afterwards, Anne married George Grey, son and heir of Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent. As George did not succeed to the title of Earl of Kent until 1490, Anne was never styled Countess of Kent, due to her death in 1489.

The marriage produced one son:

  1. Richard Grey, 3rd Earl of Kent (1481- 3 May 1524), he died heavily in debt, and without legitimate issue.


From Three Crises in Early English History: Personalities and Politics During the Norman Conquest, the Reign of King John, and the Wars of the Roses (Google eBook) Michael Van Cleave Alexander University Press of America, Jan 1, 1998 - History - 272 pages Page 191.

" ... Edward continued to arrange fashionable marriages for his wife's younger sisters. In 1466 Anne Woodville became the wife of William Viscount Bouchier, heir-apparent to the earldom of Kent; while Eleanor Woodville was betrothed to Anthony Grey, son and heir to a wealthy Kentish landowner. More significant than either of those unions was the marriage of Catherine Woodville to the young Duke of Buckingham, a teenager with a princely income of £5000 a year. Because of his great wealth and direct descent from Edward lll, Buckingham was an extremely pompous young man who felt demeaned by his marriage to one of the lowly Woodville's ..."


  2. Paul Murray Kendall, Richard the Third, pp.54-55
  3. The Woodville Sisters, by Susan Higginbotham, 10 August 2008,, retrieved 28 April 2009
  4. Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, England, Earls, creations 1207-1466, Earls Rivers (1466)
  5. The Woodville Sisters, by Susan Higginbotham, 10 August 2008,, retrieved 28 April 2009
  6. Richard the Third, Paul Murray Kendall, 1955, published by George Allen and Unwin Ltd., London, ISBN 0-04-942048-8


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Anne Woodville, Viscountess Bourchier's Timeline

Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire, , England
Tickhill, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Tickhill, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
Tickhill, Yorkshire, England
of Ruthyn, Denbigh, Wales
July 30, 1489
Age 51
London, Middlesex, England (United Kingdom)
Age 51
Warden Abbey, Bedfordshire, England, UK