Saturday, 25 August 2018

Book announcement

Hello everyone!

I am sorry for the long delay since the last post, but I do have some good news. Amberley Publishing have agreed to publish my book about Francis!

Its name will be "Lovell our Dogge: The Life of Viscount Lovell, Closest Friend of Richard III and Failed Regicide", it will have 120,000 words and most likely be published in about a year.

The book will be about Francis`s whole life and illuminate the less well-known and famous parts of his life as well as the more famous ones. There will also be some focus on his family, his wife, his sisters, their husbands, and his in-laws.

I hope to spread some knowledge about Francis with this book, correct some misconceptions, and especially to arouse interest in him as his own person, not just "Richard`s friend". It will at least attempt to answer the question what sort of person he was, with the help of many primary sources.

As soon as more details are known, such as likely publishing date, I`ll of course immediately report them. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Frideswide Lovell Norris

As I have mentioned before, Francis had two sisters. One of them, Joan, was probably his twin sister. Very little is known about her, except the most basic facts of her life, such her approximate birth and death year, the year she married, whom she married, and when she had her children

A little bit more is known about her and Francis`s younger sister, Frideswide. Apparently significantly younger than her siblings, she was not born before 1463, and most likely in 1464. Therefore, she was still only a baby when her father died on 9th January 1465, and a toddler when her mother died a bit over a year later, on 5th August 1466. She appears to have spent her childhood and adolescence in the household of her brother`s parents-in-law. In 1470, when she was around 6 years old, the first contemporary mention of her is found in the pardon Edward IV`s government issued for Henry FitzHugh and all those in his household after Henry`s rebellion. Though only a child, Frideswide was mentioned as she was, together with her sister, her brother Francis`s co-heir. If Francis himself was even involved in the rebellion is doubtful, as he was just shy of his 14th birthday, but the pardon cleared him of any legal difficulties that could have arisen later from being in Henry`s household at the time he rebelled.

What Frideswide`s education looked like, we naturally do not know. Nor do we know where she stayed until she married in around 1480, whether she lived with Francis`s guardians until then, lived with her brother Francis and his wife Anne after they had started living together as man and wife in around 1476, or lived with her sister Joan after she married in around 1473. Perhaps she stayed with all of them at different times, but it is sheerest speculation.

When Frideswide was around 16, she married the 15-year-old Edward Norris, the oldest son of William Norris of Yattendon and his first wife Joan/Jane de Vere. Edward was the nephew of the Lancastrian Earl of Oxford, who was a close friend of the Lancastrian Viscount Beaumont, Frideswide`s uncle. This, however, was most likely not the cause of the connection, as neither Edward nor Frideswide can ever have seen much of their respective uncles before 1485. Why the marriage was arranged, and if it was done by Francis, by William Norris, by the king or even by one of Francis`s FitzHugh relations, we no longer know.

How the two felt about being married, we also don`t know, but they did their duty and in 1481, the teenage couple became parents for the first time, when Frideswide gave birth to a son they called John. If they named their son after Frideswide`s father, whom she cannot have remembered and perhaps therefore did not think of with as much repulsion as the rest of her family did, or after Edward`s grandfather or paternal uncle, who were both named John as well, or after John of Suffolk, or even an unknown godfather is sheerest guesswork.

Only a year after the birth of their first son, Frideswide gave birth again, to a second son. He was named Henry, most likely after Henry FitzHugh, as there were no other men named Henry in either her nor her husband`s close family. This could suggest that though she was only around eight years old when Henry FitzHugh died, Frideswide remembered him fondly. Henry Norris grew up to become (in)famous for being one of Anne Boleyn`s supposed lovers and was one of the five men executed for this.

Perhaps because they already had two sons and considered their duty done, perhaps for other reasons, the couple did not have another child for several years. In 1483, Frideswide received a "reward" of 50 marks from Richard III after he was crowned king. Perhaps it was this, her support and closeness to her brother`s close friend, that caused a rift between her and her husband, and the couple was divided over political opinions which they needed some time to overcome. Edward`s father William, who had originally supported the Lancastrian cause, had accepted Edward IV as king, but rebelled against Richard in autumn 1483. Edward Norris may have supported this, though he never acted against Richard, while Frideswide seemed to support Richard.

However, there is evidence from 1484 which throws a rather different light on Frideswide`s marriage and her relationship to Richard. While her "reward" from 1483 could well have been simply a gesture of friendship by the new king towards his closest friend`s sister, their interactions clearly did not stop there. In August 1484, Richard granted her an annuity of 100 marks, a rather large sum. While this has traditionally been assumed to have been because of her father-in-law`s rebellion, leaving her husband disinherited, this does not seem to have been the cause. None of William`s other children, nor his wife, was granted anything by Richard.

Naturally, it could be that Richard chose to favour Francis`s sister over the rest of her marital family, but this is contradicted by two facts: one, that the grant was for unspecified "services" to the king, not, as that to other traitor`s relatives, as a compensation, a generous gift by the king. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is that a second grant of an annuity of 100 marks was made from the same venue, dating from 10th January 1485. This grant was not a confirmation of the first, but was added to it, meaning that Frideswide received 200 marks yearly from Richard, a sizable sum, more than the Countess of Oxford, or even his own mother-in-law, received.

The key to this may lie in the fact that the second grant was dated back nine months, and appears to have been made just after Frideswide gave birth to her third child, a daughter called Anne. Very notably, the grants to her, for unspecified services to the king, have the same wording as one to Katherine Haute, a woman often assumed to have been the mother of Richard`s illegitimate daughter Katherine, Richard made years earlier.

Equally notable is that Richard made grants to Francis on the same days as he made those to Frideswide, as a compensation for equally unspecified services, and that Frideswide appeared to have lived with her brother while pregnant.

That Henry Norris, in later years, appeared to not treat Anne as his sister, and that William Norris, Edward`s father, later favoured Frideswide`s sons, even apparently helping them become established at court, but not Anne, might also point towards the idea that there was at least a question mark over Anne`s paternity, and that she may have been Richard`s.

If so, Frideswide was in a bad position after Richard`s defeat and death at Bosworth only eight and a half months after her daughter`s birth. It seems, though, that she and her husband Edward made the best of it, and even reconcilliated. In around 1486, Frideswide gave birth to her last child, a girl called Margaret, presumably after Edward`s sister. From surviving documents, Margaret seemed much closer to her brother Henry and her grandfather William, again showing up a difference to Anne.

In 1487, Frideswide`s husband, as well as her father-in-law, joined Henry VII`s forces against her brother Francis and the Yorkist rebels, and defeated them at the Battle of Stoke. Edward was knighted for his services. It can only be speculated about what Frideswide thought about this, and what her feelings were about her husband fighting against her brother.

Edward, sadly, did not get to enjoy his knighthood for long, dying later in 1487, of causes unknown. He was only 22 years old, and left Frideswide a 23-year-old widow.

Very little is known about the rest of her life. She appeared to have helped taking care of her sister Joan`s children, and her younger son George eventually even named a child after her. Frideswide did not remarry, and died before 1507, when she is said to be deceased in her uncle William Beaumont`s IPM. When exactly she died, and what of, is sadly unknown.

Of her children, only Henry and Anne had issue, but through them, she has descendants alive even today.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

The birthdate of Joan Beaumont

In or around 1428, Francis`s maternal grandparents John Beaumont and Elizabeth Phelip married. He was 19 years old, she was approximately the same age. We do not know of their living arrangements, or how they felt about the match, but it was five years until they had their first child, a son called Henry after John`s father. This was traditional in the Beaumont family, and the lords Beaumont had been alternatively called John and Henry for over a century.

Whether or not Elizabeth fell pregnant and perhaps had miscarriages in the years following this, we do not know. Since John spent a lot of time at court and from all we know, Elizabeth did not often accompany him, it is perhaps not too likely. We do know, however, that soon after John returned from France, where he had been on a campaign with the royal court, in July 1437, Elizabeth became pregnant again. On 23rd April 1438, she gave birth to her second son, a boy they named William after her father William Phelip. John was present at the time and saw to it his son`s birth was properly celebrated.

In the following year, John again spent a lot of time at court, while Elizabeth seems to have stayed away, running his estates. While it is naturally possible that she visited him during that time and became pregnant,  there are no indications this was so. At no point did he ever leave court to be present at another birth, or to see a new baby, and no comment was made anywhere about another child being born to him. This might, of course, be because this third baby was a daughter and therefore of less interest than her brothers, but circumstantial evidence speaks against it, most notably that in February 1440, when he was made a viscount, John was not noted to be the father to a daughter, only to two sons.

In 1440, after being made England`s first viscount, John appears to have spent less time at court than in the years before. Why this was so, we do not know, but it is most likely that at the end of this year, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant again. By this time, they had been married for twelve years, and she had only given birth two times, not a lot for the time. Why this was so, we have of course no way of saying. Perhaps they had tried whenever they were together but had had difficulties conceiving, or she had had miscarriages. Perhaps they also did not try so often and were happy having two sons, but his new title had made them decide to try for more children.

Whyever it was then, and not earlier, Elizabeth appears to have become pregnant again in late 1440. She must have been around eight or so months along when her father William died on 6th June 1441. In his will, he left her "a bed of silk and one pair of sheets", but nothing to his grandchildren. He mentioned his daughters children, however, as his "heirs male" for the barony he held in the name of his wife, suggesting that at this time, she only had her two sons.

Between her father`s death, and 10th August 1441, Elizabeth died, perhaps from complications while giving birth to her third child, a girl who was named Joan after Elizabeth`s mother Joan. This may have been in the beginning or middle of July, for in a grant made to John Beaumont on 10th August 1441, he is said to have just been bereaved. Said grant gave him the rights to his late father-in-law`s lands and possessions during his children`s minority. It is the first time Joan Beaumont is mentioned. In both this grant, and in her grandfather`s Inquisition Post Mortem made in October 1441, she is said to be his heir, after her brothers, making it clear that no male entail had been created for his lands. This also suggests that when William Phelip spoke of his daughter`s children as his "heirs male" in his will, he wasn`t deliberately excluding Joan because she was a girl, but she simply had not been born yet.

She was therefore seven years younger than her oldest brother, three years younger than William. She was married at the age of 5, and first gave birth, to Francis and his sister Joan, when she had just turned fifteen.

Most likely, like her mother, she died in childbirth in 1466, just after her 25th birthday. 




Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Francis`s safe-conducts to Scotland

In the space of less than twenty years, Francis was granted two safe-conducts to Scotland, both curiously issued on 19th June, the first one in 1471, the second one in 1488.

The first one was organised by his father-in-law, Henry FitzHugh, during the Lancastrian re-adaption, for his family and wards, if strangely not for himself. Since Henry supported the Lancastrian side, it seems likely he hoped to allow his family to escape to Scotland should the then-exiled Yorkist king Edward IV return and be victorious against the Lancastrian Henry VI. Perhaps he feared that, having already been in rebellion against Edward in autumn 1470 and been forgiven, this would not happen a second time and both he and his family would be punished. Perhaps he definitely intended them to go to Scotland if it was possible in case Edward IV regained his throne, or he just wished that they would have the option to flee when it became clear that he might be punished. There is no certainty about it, as it never came to it.

We do not know when Henry applied for the safe conducts, but by the time they came, it may have already been too late for him to realise any of his plans, for by June 1471, Edward had already regained his throne and Henry VI was dead, probably killed on Edward`s orders. It is sometimes assumed that Henry FitzHugh did flee to Scotland alone, with a safe-conduct about which records have got lost, and died there in 1472, but there is no certainty about it. While his death in 1472 is a fact, where he was at the time of death can`t be said. If he did leave for Scotland, however, he took neither Francis nor any of the others he had applied for safe conducts for so they could join him, which also included his wife Alice, his oldest son Richard and their ward Richard, Lord Latimer, who was only three years old in 1471. Francis`s sisters, who at that time still lived in the FitzHugh household, are not mentioned, nor are any of the younger FitzHugh children, but this is most likely not because they were not meant to go along, but because they were not of enough importance to be mentioned, as they neither held any titles in their own name, nor were heirs/heiresses expected to hold titles in the future. 

Naturally, we have no idea what Francis thought of going to Scotland, but by the time he could have, he was most likely no longer in the FitzHugh household. Though his wardship was only granted to Edward IV`s sister Elizabeth and her husband John, Duke of Suffolk, a month later, he was presumably already living with them at this time, and would do so for around a year, by which time Henry FitzHugh was dead and any and all plans to go to Scotland appear to have been unnecessary and forgot.

Francis`s second safe conduct to Scotland was presumably organised by Margaret of York, after the Battle of Stoke was won by Henry VII`s forces and Francis was once more a fugitive. It was, however, only granted almost exactly a year after the battle, and Francis may well have been dead by then.

His fellow rebel, Thomas Broughton, appears to have taken his own safe conduct, granted at the same time as Francis`s, and stayed in Scotland until 1492. There is, however, no solid evidence Francis accompanied him, only one instance of hearsay by a "poor and simple man of York", which was recanted later. While there is some evidence of Broughton`s life in Scotland, there is none for Francis.

While it seems likely that in this instance, Francis supported the idea of a safe conduct, it doesn`t seem as if he ever arrived there. He may have been dead by the time it arrived, or been too ill to travel. Whether he had wanted to go there or seen it as a necessary evil, we don`t know, but it never came to fruition. It seems that despite having had two safe- conducts in his name, Francis never went to Scotland.


Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Battle of Stoke

On 16th June 1487, the last battle of the series of conflicts now known as the Wars of the Roses was fought at East Stoke between the forces of the then-sitting king, Henry VII, and rebel Yorkist forces, led by John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln and Francis.

Little is known about the actual battle itself, not even who was present. Strangely, though information about their motivations and especially the identity of the boy they fought for is scarce and has been lost and/or deliberately destroyed, more is known about who fought for the Yorkist rebels than who fought for Henry VII.

Apart from Francis and John, the Yorkists were supported by the Irish Earl of Kildare`s brother, Thomas FitzGerald, and a number of his men, as well as a German mercenary called Martin Schwartz and a company of his men. They were also joined by some English rebels eager to support their cause, most notably Francis`s associate Thomas Broughton. Henry VII`s forces appear to have been led by the Earl of Oxford. It is usually assumed that Henry`s uncle Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford, also took a leading part, but he is not mentioned in any contemporary source, though his absence would be hard to explain. It is equally unknown if William Beaumont, Viscount Beaumont, also an experienced fighter, was present, though in his case, an absence could easily be explained by the fact that at this point, his mental health was already failing.

If he was present, it would have meant he fought against his nephew Francis. Although it is hard to imagine either of them was much upset about this, as they can hardly have known each other, it is possible that William, already being somewhat unstable, was kept away from the battle so this situation would not worsen his state, and he would not be tempted to do something irrational.  This is sheerest speculation, though.

What is known is that the battle between those forces which were there took longer than the Battle of Bosworth some two years previously had done. It has been estimated that it lasted around three hours, and hung in the balance for a while. Eventually, however, the Yorkists were defeated and Henry VII`s forces won the day.

There has been much speculation why this was so. Polydore Vergil, writing years later for Henry VII and his son, claimed that one factor was that Kildare`s Irish forces had only old-fashioned weapons, which meant they were quite easily defeated by the more modern weapons of the royal forces and that without their support, the rest of the rebel forces were outnumbered and eventually defeated. It has also been claimed that in fact the opposite was the case, that the German mercenaries` modern firearms backfired a lot and many were killed by their own weapons, fatally weakening the Yorkist army.

Whether or not either of those theories is the truth, most of the rebel leaders were killed during the battle. Vergil claimed that they died bravely standing their ground in the face of defeat, but once more, the truth of who died when cannot be ascertained. It is a fact though that Martin Schwartz, Thomas FitzGerald, and John de la Pole died during or just after the battle. There is a legend that John de la Pole was found fatally wounded but still breathing under an oak tree after the battle, was killed with a stake through the heart by the enemy fighter who found him, and later buried on the spot that he had died. There is, however, no evidence to support this story, and it is perhaps a touch too dramatic to be truthful.

It has also been claimed that Henry VII was angry that John de la Pole had not survived and been brought to him so he could question him about his knowledge and reasons for rebellion, but again, there is no supporting evidence for this.

Of the Yorkist leaders, only Francis survived the battle, though his fate afterwards is unknown. The York Civic Records state that he was "discomfited and fled", but there is no further information as to what happened to him afterwards. According to legend he was last seen swimming with his horse over the river Trent, but as with so many stories about the battle, it cannot be ascertained in any way.

Shortly after the Battle of Stoke, it became known that the pretender the Yorkist forces fought for had been caught by Henry VII`s forces, but since he was only a boy of ten years old, pardoned. However, the identity of the boy has been doubted, and there are many theories that the boy who subsequently worked in Henry VII`s household was not in fact identical with the boy the Yorkists fought for. It has been postulated that this boy was in fact Edward of Warwick, as Henry VII`s government gave out he claimed to be, or even Edward V, son of Edward IV, who died in the battle.

Though there have been claims that the very fact Francis fled from the battle field after the battle was lost shows he regarded the boy as insignificant, this argument can easily be debunked. Since, if all happened as is claimed in the traditional narrative, the boy was already captured in the last moments of the battle, there would have been nothing Francis could have done for him, and any attempt to do anything would have only led to his own capture and execution without helping the young pretender any. If, however, the boy was in fact Edward of Warwick or Edward V, who had died in battle, there would have been no reason for him to remain and no one to even attempt to help. The argument, therefore, does not hold water and unfairly makes Francis look like a coward, when there is absolutely no evidence to support such an interpretation of him.

There are some indications that Francis was injured during the battle, and it is even possible he did not leave the battle field on his own but was carried away as he was unable to leave himself. Once more, it is speculation. However, there are some indications he may have died fairly soon afterwards, perhaps of complications of his wounds.

Since he had already been attainted in November 1485, he was not among the number of rebels for whom an attainder was passed in Parliament in 1487. However, for some reason, when Parliament sat in 1495, it was decided to rectify this, and despite the fact the 1485 attainder had never been lifted, a second attainder was passed for him.

However, by this time, Francis was almost certainly dead already, and it had been eight years since his last confirmed sighting.

Friday, 1 June 2018

13th June 1473: Francis and Anne join the Corpus Christi Guild in York

On the feast day of Corpus Christi of the year 1473, which fell onto the 13th June, Francis, his wife Anne, her mother Alice and most of her siblings joined the Corpus Christi Guild in York. They were among several others of high standing who joined this guild, which had been founded in 1408. Other members included the king`s mother Cecily Neville, Lord Clifford (who has gained historical notority as the killer of Edmund of Rutland), Lord Scrope, as well as a number of bishops and archbishops during its not quite 150 years of existence. Richard III and his wife Anne equally became famous members, though they only joined it four years after Francis.

Membership cost 2 shillings a year, as Alexandra Johnson points out in her essay on the guild, and was open to anyone who could afford this. The ordinances of the guild stated that "all candidates for admission to the guild [are] to be received by the six masters or keepers. No oath [is] to be required by them, but they shall charge their conscience to contribute, according to their means, to the support of the guild."

One can imagine that this meant nobles were popular members, as they would have been able to give a lot if they so wished. Sadly, we do not know any longer how much Francis contributed, but since he was a pious man, it may have been a lot.

The guild was "dedicated to the praise and honour of the most sacred body of our Lord Jesus Christ" and aimed to see to the proper observation of the holiday of Corpus Christi. At least two of its six "keepers", clergymen in charge of the guild, would be leading the parade on the day after Corpus Christi every day. While on the actual day of Corpus Christi, the York Mystery Plays took place, the day afterwards there was a parade, still in the essentials the same as Corpus Christi parades today, to the honour of the body of Christ. Guild members joined it, together with officials of the city of York, followed the clergymen who led the parade.

Together with Francis, over 100 other people, men and women, joined the guild, among them his wife and most of her family. The register of the guild states that Francis "and his wife Anne" joined with  "Lady Alice FitzHugh" and "Richard, Roger, Edward, Thomas and Elizabeth, children of the said Alice FitzHugh".

Curiously, this is the only reference to a FitzHugh child called Roger, and it`s likely that it was a scribe`s mistake, aciddentally writing Roger instead of George FitzHugh. George, then around eleven years old, was at that time still his brother`s heir, and would have most likely been mentioned between him and his younger brother Edward.

Notably missing is the FitzHugh`s oldest child Alice, who was by then married with children herself and lived in her own household, and their youngest child, a boy named John. Francis`s sisters, who had been brought up in the FitzHugh household after their mother`s death, were equally not present. In Joan`s case, this was probably because, like Alice, she was already married, if recently, and no longer lived in the FitzHugh household. It is less certain why Frideswide did not join the guild with the family, but given that she was only around eight to nine years of age, she may have been considered too young. The fact that John FitzHugh would have been around her age corroborates this theory.

Francis himself was still several months shy of his seventeenth birthday when he joined the guild, while his wife Anne was around thirteen. For both, it must have been an exciting event, but as is so often the case, about their feelings and attitude towards the Corpus Christi Guild, we have little indication and can only speculate.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Francis`s character

Not many of Francis`s own words still survive. We only have two letters written by him, plus one indenture which reflects his wishes but most likely was not written in his own words, but those of a lawyer. Still, little though it is, these documents give a rare insight into Francis`s state of mind, and as such are invaluable.

Both of Francis`s surviving letters were addressed to William Stonor, his Oxfordshire neighbour. The first one dates from 1482, the second one from 1483. By this time, the two men had known each other for at least six years, possibly a bit more. A letter from Elizabeth Stonor from 1477 references Francis and his wife and suggests the two couples were establishing a friendly relationship.

However, it appears that over the years, Francis and William remained a bit distant, if friendly. Their relationship seems to have been functional, but not much more than that. Both Francis`s letters are very polite, but do not give away much about him. In the first letter, in June 1482, Francis reports that he couldn`t go back south as he had intended to, and states that he will have to stay in the north of England to join a potential outbreak of war against the Scots, though he intends to come back south as soon as possible. He then asks Stonor to look after his game, a personal but still very innocuous request. The impression of him created by this letter is of a polite and dutiful but somewhat reserved and stiff man, not someone given to unnecessary flourishes. Nor does the letter suggest that he was given to sharing too much of his life, thoughts or motivations, as he does not tell Stonor why he could not come south before as planned, nor why he wishes to go there as soon as possible.

Of course, as this is a singular instance, it doesn`t have to be particularly telling, but the second letter  supports this impression of Francis. It is a very different missive from the first one, more official as Francis asks Stonor (unsuccessfully, as would turn out) to come to the aid of the king during the Buckingham rebellion. However, the tone of it is slightly awkward, as if Francis wasn`t used to being either a supplicant or a commander, and it equally misses the flourishes other such letters had, the effusive declarations of gratitude in advance and affection. Again, it suggests Francis was a reserved man, who did not say more than was strictly necessary. 

This would, naturally, square with what we know about him. His actions definitely also show a man who wasn`t hankering for the spotlight, who was reserved, calm and didn`t get involved in arguments a lot. While he did, as is to be expected for a man of his standing at the time, show some greediness for lands, even those arguments were usually solved in an unusually non-martial way. His letters, giving a rare glimpse at his own thoughts, thus confirm what his actions also indicate, that he was polite, reserved, calm, unwilling to draw a lot of attention to himself.

Despite this last trait, however, Francis also showed a tendency to be unconventional. Naturally, his decision not to accept Henry VII as king after Richard III`s friend, effectively giving up everything for his love and loyalty to his fallen friend showed this in a rather spectacular way, but for most of his life, it appears Francis was more quietly unconventional. One good example for this is found in the above-mentioned indenture, in which he made arrangements for his wife Anne for the event of his own death. Sealed on 10th June 1485, it was probably made with the upcoming battle in mind, but clearly intended not just for the eventuality of him dying in this conflict, but generally for the possibility of Anne surviving him.

Notably, his arrangement left Anne very wealthy, as they would have made her liege lady of three rich manors and outright owner of two others, a move which would have severely disadvantaged his cousin Henry Lovell, Lord Morley. While the usual arrangement for widows, especially childless widows not holding any possessions during their children`s minority, was to give them lifetime rights to some manors, Francis clearly went above and beyond that for Anne. This indicates some affection for her, as well as a rather unusual way of settling his affairs.

Even more notable is that the indenture obviously shows that Francis was not expecting to have any children, and in fact seemed quite certain of this, as his arrangement could have equally disadvantaged them. Even more strange is that, given that he gave Anne ownership of two manors and thus the possibility to pass them on to her own descendants, he seemed to think their childlessness was his fault and it was possible that after his death, she might remarry and have children.

While it is of course possible Francis plainly knew that it was his fault due to something obvious as him not being able to have sex due to an illness, this is sheerest speculation, and it was more than uncommon for a childless couple of which both partners had never been married before, to blame the man for the infertility, rather than the woman. In fact, given that neither Francis nor Anne were even 30 years of age, it was even quite uncommon for him to have already given up on children rather than having hoped that a miracle could happen.

Perhaps this resignation, and even his thinking their childlessness was his fault, is explained by another trait shown by this indenture, namely what appears to have been a low self-esteem. Rather than, as was completely normal, simply charging his wife with finding priests to read prayers for him after his death - as his grandfather William Lovell charged his heirs in his will - he instead asked her to do it in exchange for the generous arrangements he had made for her. As it was not only standard to request prayers, no matter what the relationship of a couple was, but Anne and Francis seemed to care for each other, it is rather strange Francis believed she would need such an incentive to make sure she fulfilled his wish for prayers. It most definitely suggests he was not certain of her feelings, or potentially of deserving it unless he gave her something in return. Again, this would - sadly, in this case - square well with his actions, and may explain why he prefered to stay out of the spotlight.

Finally, the indenture and his generous provisions for Anne also indicate that Francis was a man of high emotions. He showed his affection for his wife in an unusual and very generous way. Equally, he showed his love for Richard in the most spectacular way possible. On the other hand, he equally showed his hatred for his father in very obvious, unconventional ways.

All in all, what can be gleaned from the few of his own words which still survive, and which is supported by his actions, is that Francis was a polite, reserved and calm man, who didn`t like the spotlight, suffered from a low self-esteem at least in his private life, but at the same time was given to strong emotions and quietly unconventional behaviour to show them.