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Power Poyntz, Iron Acton and Margaret Woodville

It’s amazing what comes of giving author talks. In April after giving a PowerPoint presentation on researching Mistress to the Crown, one of the audience came up and introduce herself. She was the descendant of Margaret Woodville, the niece of Queen Elizabeth Woodville, King Edward IV’s queen. One of her other ancestors was Sir David Matthew of Glamorgan, who saved Edward’s life at the Battle of Towton. Definitely a man who changed the course of English history!

Margaret Woodville was the illegitimate daughter of the queen’s brother, Anthony Woodville and Gwentlian Stradling. When and where Anthony and Gwentlian had their affair, no one knows. Some historians reckon it was in the 1440s which would have been when they were both teenagers. The mid 1450s has also been suggested. Margaret married Robert Poyntz of iron Acton, who became a supporter of Henry Tudor. Their descendant, Nicholas Poyntz, was on very good terms king Henry VIII.

In The Devil in Ermine, I had a very feisty Margaret Woodville having an affair with my main character, Harry, Duke of Buckingham.

Coincidentally, back in the days when I was a university student, my father and I met Robert Poyntz’s descendant, Colonel Poyntz and his wife. Dad, who loved history, also took me to visit Iron Acton Hall, which is where the Poyntz family are reputed to have entertained King Henry VIII.

Our visit  was long before the property was restored. Back then it was a rundown building being used as  farm, and the floor of the great hall was a huge pile of stones and rubble. It would have taken a lot of effort and expense to repair it but it’s nice to know that has happened successfully.

Anyway, it’s lovely to be in email contact now with Margaret’s great-great-plus granddaughter and talk fifteenth century history, trying to fill in some of the knowledge gaps. I may not get wealthy writing historicals but these sort of spin-offs are a great delight.

It’s a small world!