28. Jun, 2017

Richard and Anne's marriage

In case anyone reading this is a member of the Richard III Society, you may have been as interested as I was to read an article in the March 2017 edition of the Bulletin where a contributor, Isabella Nanni, seemed to have discovered a new source for Richard and Anne’s marriage. In her words, they were ‘described as man and wife by autumn 1472’.

I had myself done a lot of work on estimating their marriage date, which was published in a 6,000-word article in the issue of December 2016, and I was under the impression that I had weighed up all known sources. They included (1) the Crowland Chronicle, which recorded the well-known dispute between Gloucester and Clarence during the Michaelmas term of Parliament (October-November 1472), after which Clarence hid Anne away and Richard found her in the guise of a cook-maid and placed her in sanctuary. And (2) the earliest known reference to them as ‘the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester’ which is reported in the Rolls of Parliament covering the sessions that ran between 6 October 1472 and 8 April 1473, although unfortunately the actual petition containing these words isn’t individually dated (PROME, ‘Edward IV: October 1472’, Roll 1, Item 24).

Consequently the most likely date indicated for their marriage seemed to be some time between Anne’s withdrawal into sanctuary (post-October 1472) and the subsequent reference in the Parliament Rolls to their married state. Other considerations narrowed the date down, but these were the outside parameters. In the expectation that an exciting new source had been found describing them as ‘man and wife by autumn 1472’, I contacted Isabella Nanni, only to be disappointed. There is no new source.

In fact I understand from her that she is actually referring to the same Rolls of Parliament as mentioned above (although I’m afraid they cannot be claimed to have been written by the autumn of 1472, when Parliament had not yet sat). And her reason for dismissal of the account in the Crowland Chronicle is that she does not accept the chronicle’s contents. I think these factors are relevant when considering her alternative view of Richard and Anne’s date of marriage.