Margaret Countess of Salisbury 1 2
- Born: 1473
- Marriage: Sir Richard POLE about 1491
- Died: 27 May 1541, , , ENG at age 68
"FIVE LADIES AND THE TOWER OF LONDON
Margaret, Countess of Salisbury c 1473 - 1541
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury holds a special place in English history as being the last Plantagenet princess. The Plantagenets were the ruling dynasty in England from 1154 - 1485. Margaret was extraordinary, reaching the age of 69 or 70 in an era where the average life expectancy for a woman was 45 years. She was also famous for staying true to the old Catholic ways, while remaining faithful to King and successfully treading her way through the War of the Roses and four of the King's marriages. She was considered and revered as the first lady in the land after the queen and princesses.
The Countess's father was the Duke of Clarence, who in turn was the brother of King Edward IV and Richard III. She was also first cousin to Edward V and Richard, Duke of York; the two princes who disappeared in the confines of the Tower of London.
Margaret had five children, two of whom became well known. Her son Henry, (LORD MONTAGUE) was executed by the King in 1538 and her other son Reginald fled religious reform and was made a Cardinal by the Pope.
The reason why Margaret, Countess of Salisbury was executed is simple. Her family were not only too close to the body of the throne to make their own claims to crown and country, but also her son was dedicated to the old Catholic faith. Her execution was timed for Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine Howard to show that the old era had passed. Margaret was executed at the scaffold site on 27 May 1541 and legend has it that the execution did not run smoothly and several chops were needed to finish off the job."
An old balad about her at the time went like this.
"For traitors on the block should die,
I am no traitor, no, not I!
My faithfulness stands fast and so,
Towards the block I shall not go!
Nor make on step, as you shall see,
Christ in Thy Mercy, save Thou me! " 3
Margaret married Sir Richard POLE, son of Sir Geoffrey POLE and Edith ST. JOHN, about 1491. (Sir Richard POLE died in 1504 2.)