Alianore Holland, Countess of March

Alianore Holland, Countess of March (also spelt Eleanor; 13 October 1370 – October 1405) was the eldest daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, and the wife of Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March, heir presumptive to her uncle, King Richard II. Through her daughter, Anne Mortimer, she was the great-grandmother of the Yorkist kings Edward IV and Richard III. She was governess to Richard II's wife, Isabella of Valois.

Alianore Holland
Countess of March
Baroness Cherleton
Born13 October 1370
Upholland, Lancashire, England
DiedOctober 1405
Noble familyHolland
Spouse(s)Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March
Edward Charleton, 5th Baron Cherleton
Anne Mortimer
Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March
Roger Mortimer
Eleanor Mortimer
Joan de Cherleton
Joyce de Cherleton
FatherThomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent
MotherAlice FitzAlan


Alianore Holland was born 13 October 1370[1] in Upholland, Lancashire, the eldest child of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, and Lady Alice FitzAlan, the daughter of Richard de Arundel, 10th Earl of Arundel, and his second wife, Eleanor of Lancaster, daughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster, grandson of King Henry III.[2]

Her paternal grandparents were Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent, and Joan of Kent, mother of King Richard II by her third marriage to Edward, the Black Prince. As such, Alianore's father was a maternal half-brother to King Richard II.

Alianore had four brothers and six sisters:[3]

Marriages and issue

Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March, had died in 1381, leaving a 6-year-old son, Roger Mortimer, as heir to the vast Mortimer estates. According to Davies, the wardship of such an important heir was an 'issue of political moment in the years 1382–4', and eventually Mortimer's lands were granted to a consortium for £4000 per annum, and the guardianship of his person was initially granted to Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel. However at the behest of King Richard's mother, Joan of Kent, in August 1384 Mortimer's wardship and marriage were granted, for 6000 marks,[4] to Joan's son, Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, and on or about 7 October 1388[1] Kent married Mortimer to his daughter, Alianore.[5]

Roger Mortimer had a claim to the crown through his mother, Philippa Plantagenet, daughter of Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, and granddaughter of King Edward III. Since Richard II had no issue, Roger Mortimer, as his nephew and a lineal descendant of Edward III, was next in line to the throne. Cokayne states that in October 1385 Mortimer was proclaimed by the King as heir presumptive.[6] This was disputed by Davies who declared that the story that Richard publicly proclaimed Mortimer as heir presumptive in Parliament in October 1385 is baseless, although even Davies admitted the claim was openly discussed at the time.[5] The matter was cleared up in 2006 when it was observed that the declaration took place in the parliament of 1386, not that of 1385, and had been dislodged by an interpolation in the Eulogium chronicle, and is supported by a reference in the Westminster Chronicle (see Ian Mortimer, 'Richard II and the Succession to the Crown', History, vol. 91 (2006), pp. 320–36).

Alianore and Roger Mortimer had two sons and two daughters:[7]

On 20 July 1398, at the age of 24, Roger Mortimer was slain in a skirmish with 'O'Brien's men' at Kells.[9] The Wigmore chronicler says that he was riding in front of his army, unattended and wearing Irish garb, and that those who slew him did not know who he was. He was interred at Wigmore Abbey.[10] The King went to Ireland in the following year to avenge Mortimer's death.[11]

The Wigmore chronicler, while criticising Mortimer for lust and remissness in his duty to God, extols him as 'of approved honesty, active in knightly exercises, glorious in pleasantry, affable and merry in conversation, excelling his contemporaries in beauty of appearance, sumptuous in his feasting, and liberal in his gifts'.[12]

Alianore and Roger Mortimer's young son, Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, succeeded his father in the title and claim to the throne, and he and his brother, Roger, were kept in custody by King Henry IV until the end of his reign. However Alianore and Roger Mortimer's two daughters, Anne and Eleanor, were in their mother's care until her death in 1405.[13] According to Griffiths, they were not well treated by the King, and were described as 'destitute' after her death in 1405.[14]

Before 19 June 1399 Alianore married, as her second husband, the 'Welsh marcher lord', Edward Charleton, 5th Baron Cherleton (1371–1421), by whom she had two daughters:[15]


Eleanor died in childbirth in October 1405.[16] She was buried in Bisham Priory, Bisham.

Her descendants through her daughter, Anne, include the Yorkist Kings Edward IV and Richard III.



  1. Richardson III 2011, p. 195.
  2. Richardson III 2011, p. 195; Richardson II 2011, pp. 496–8.
  3. Richardson II 2011, pp. 497–500.
  4. Pugh 1988, p. 171.
  5. Davies 2004.
  6. Cokayne 1932, p. 448
  7. Cokayne 1932, p. 450; Richardson III 2011, p. 195
  8. Pugh 1988, p. 61; Although some sources state that Roger died c.1409, Pugh states that he was made a Knight of the Bath by Henry V on the eve of his coronation on 9 April 1413.
  9. Davies gives the place name as Kellinstown.
  10. Cokayne 1932, p. 449; Richardson III 2011, p. 195
  11. Cokayne 1932, p. 449.
  12. Cokayne 1932, pp. 449–50.
  13. Pugh 1988, pp. 77–8.
  14. Griffiths 2004.
  15. Pugh 1988, pp. 77–8; Richardson I 2011, pp. 427–8.
  16. Cokayne 1932, p. 449; Pugh 1988, p. 79; Richardson I 2011, p. 427; Richardson III 2011, p. 195; Richardson gives two conflicting dates; on p. 427 he states that Alianore died on 23 October 1405, while on p. 195 he states that she died on 6 or 18 October.


  • Cokayne, George Edward (1932). The Complete Peerage, edited by H.A. Doubleday. VIII. London: St. Catherine Press. pp. 445–53.
  • Davies, R.R. (2004). Mortimer, Roger (VII), fourth earl of March and sixth earl of Ulster (1374–1398). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  • Griffiths, R. A. (2004). "Mortimer, Edmund (V), fifth earl of March and seventh earl of Ulster (1301–1425)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  • Pugh, T.B. (1988). Henry V and the Southampton Plot of 1415. Alan Sutton. ISBN 0-86299-541-8
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. I (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1-4499-6637-3
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. II (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1-4499-6638-1
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. III (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1-4499-6639-X
  • Works related to Roger de Mortimer at Wikisource: Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900, Volume 39

Further reading

  • Thomas B. Costain,The Last Plantagenets, published by Popular Library, New York, 1962, originally published by Doubleday and Co., Inc.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.