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Devon's Countryside, Wildlife, History and Events

the Courtenay family

the Courtenay family Devon Champions for over 800 years The Powderham Courtenay family approached centre stage at the start of the 15th century, through Sir Philip Courtenay's eldest son Richard, close friend and confidant of the young king Henry V. The youngest ever Chancellor of Oxford University, Richard became Bishop of Norwich, and Keeper of the king's purse, in which role he was responsible for financing the Agincourt campaign, and negotiating for peace with France. Indeed, it was Richard Courtenay that famously returned from France carrying the gift of tennis balls, a diplomatic sleight later made famous in Shakespeare's play. 15th Century Ambassadors and Enemies: Most notable was one of England’s final private battles, which took place in 1452 at Clyst Heath, just east of Exeter (where Exeter Chiefs now play). This match was principally between the Courtenays of Tiverton (the main family) and their cadet cousins, the Courtenays of Powderham, who sided with a rival magnate from East Devon – the Bonville family. The Tiverton team won, and the Powderham team (direct predecessors of the current Earl) withdrew to the Castle where they successfully sued for peace after a long siege. The Battle of Bosworth An engraving from a painting by Philip James de Loutherbourg Richard travelled on the Agincourt campaign with Henry V, but died of dysentery at the preceding siege of Harfleur – in the king’s presence. Henry V washed his dead friend’s feet and sent his body home to be buried in Westminster Abbey, next to Henry's own tomb within the shrine of England’s saint-king, Edward the Confessor. During the decades that followed, as England descended into civil war, the family faced turbulent fortunes. Members of the family fell in battles on both sides of the Wars of the Roses. Courtenay at Agincourt The family later lost members on both sides at the Battle of Tewkesbury and Courtenays represented both sides at the Battle of Bosworth, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses. Despite losing many Earls and other family members during these troubled decades (the title was lost and re-granted multiple times), by hedging loyalties, reading the wind, and most importantly maintaining good relations locally in Devon, the Courtenay family survived the Plantagenet/Tudor transition better than many and survived to suffer the even greater turbulence of the Tudor Reformation. 16th Century Royal Cousins and Exiles: Henry Courtenay, later created 1st Marquess of Exeter, was born in 1498, son of William, Earl of Devon, and his wife, princess Catherine of York - the sixth daughter of Edward IV and the sister of Henry VII’s wife. By this marriage, the Courtenay family took Plantagenet blood, and tied closely to the Tudor monarchy, as Henry Courtenay was first cousin and a close childhood friend of Henry VIII. As Henry VIII’s (in)famous reign unfolded, so the Courtenay family fortunes fluctuated again. Henry Courtenay was at one point privy councillor and accompanied his king to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1525, where he tilted with distinction against the French Dauphin. Henry Courtenay’s wife Gertrude was close to Catherine of Aragon and godmother to Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth I. But by 1538, once Henry VIII had divorced Catherine of Aragon, married Anne Boleyn and appointed Thomas Cromwell to effect his political machinations, the Marquess of Exeter was disgraced by alleged treason, attained and beheaded. Ancient families with royal pretensions did not fare well during Henry VIII’s latter years. Henry Courtenay’s son, Edward, aged only 12, was imprisoned and spent his adolescence in the Tower of London befriending Henry VIII’s two disfavoured daughters – Princesses Mary and Elizabeth. When Mary I later took the throne, timeline > the courtenay family > timeline Athon, Knight resident at Chateau Renard in Courtenay, France, adopts the town's name. Athon's great grandson, Reginald, banished from his lands, moves to England with Eleanor of Acquitaine, King Henry II's new queen. Also appointed Baron of Okehampton defending the Plantagenet monarchy's interests in the west. Hugh, is the first Courtenay to be made Earl of Devon in 1335 by Kind Edward III. Topsham granted a royal charter by Edward I in 1300. Hugh's son (another Hugh), one of the founding knights of the Order of the Garter Richard Courtenay made Chancellor of Oxford University - close friend and confidant to king Henry V. Athon flourished under the Capetian monarch and distinguished in battle. King John married a Courtenay lady when he signed Magna Carta in 1215. Joined the battles of Edward I in Wales and Scotland, in attempt to forge a United Kingdom. The Earl's 1st son fought at battle of Crecy and Poitiers, also marrying the granddaugher of Edward I, Margaret de Bohun, whose dowry included the Manor of Powderham. William Courtenay made Archbishop of Canterbury War of the Roses - battle at Clyst Heath, principally between Courtenays of Tiverton (main family) and cadet cousins at Powderham, who sided with the Bonville family. 24 1,000 AD 1,100 AD 1,200 AD 1,300 AD 1,400 AD 1,500AD Countryside, History, Walks, the Arts, Events & all things Devon at: DEVONSHIRE

Powderham Castle, home to the current Earl and Countess of Devon Edward was released from prison and, in a brief blaze of glory, he was recreated Earl of Devon, carried Mary’s sword of state at her coronation, and was touted as her English consort. No sooner had Mary’s interests, and affections, turned to Catholic king Phillip II of Spain then Edward was disgraced and exiled. He died soon after, unmarried and childless in Italy, and so the Tiverton Courtenay family expired in ignominy and with it the Courtenay family ceased to call themselves the Earls of Devon. The cadet cousins at Powderham, however, kept themselves apart from the traumas of Tudor court, living a gentler life beside the Exe. During the reign of Elizabeth I, they provided service by the provision of ships to fight the Armada. The family was active in local politics and Sir William of Powderham married the widow of Devon's seafaring hero, Sir Francis Drake, who lived her last days at the Castle. 17th Century Civil Warriors and Glorious Revolutionaries: The Powderham Courtenays took on Forde House - Newton Abbot the family’s uncanny knack of placing themselves at the centre of local and national politics during the next century. A Courtenay descendent sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, and thus the family was present at the beginnings of the New World. Powderham was a royalist stronghold during the English Civil War, and was besieged over Christmas 1645 by overwhelming Parliamentary forces. For a second time, the family survived by suing for peace on beneficial terms, and even had the forethought to marry into the family of Parliamentary William of Orange Chair General, Sir William Waller. Therefore, when Oliver Cromwell was victorious, the family survived to play a role following his Protectorate government. The Courtenays remained a leading Devon family during the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy such that, when William of Orange landed in Brixham in 1688, it was to Sir William Courtenay’s home at Forde House, Newton Abbot, that he journeyed to stay the night and hold his first Court on English soil. The chair on which he sat remains in the family collection at Powderham Castle. timeline > the courtenay family > timeline Henry Courtenay made 1st Marquess of Exeter and Earl of Devon by Henry VIII in 1525. Henry Courtenay beheaded for alleged treason in 1539, son Edward incarcerated. Edward Courtenay released from Tower of London 15 years later in 1553. Sir William of Powderham marries Elizabeth Sydenham, widow of Sir Francis Drake. William of Orange lands at Brixham in 1688, staying and holding court at Sir William Courtenay's home, Forde House, Newton Abbot. Sir William Courtenay enobled as Viscount Courtenay in 1762. Earldom of Devon restored to the family in 1832. World War II - Christopher Courtenay at Dunkirk and Hugh born during the Blitz of Exeter (1942). Powderham hosts BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend! in 2016 William Courtenay released from Tower of London by Henry VIII in 1509. William Courtenay incarcerated in the Tower of London in 1504. Edward Courtenay incarcerated again in Tower of London alongside Princess Elizabeth. Powderham beseiged during English Civil War - 1645. James Wyatt's Music Room for 3rd Viscount Courtenay (1794-96). Brunel's Atmospheric Railway (1844). Hugh Courtenay becomes last hereditary peer to make a maiden speech in House of Lords by right (1999). 1,500AD 1,600AD 1,700AD 1,800AD 1,900AD 2,000 AD hubcast hubcast .co.u k 25

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