EWELME - A ROMANTIC VILLAGE ITS PAST AND PRESENT. ITS PEOPLE AND ITS HISTORY.
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 3
THE STRANGE HISTORY OF JANE DE LA POLE, (GRANDDAUGHTER OF MICHAEL, 2nd EARL OF SUFFOLK).
The story of Jane de la Pole is a romance of the first order: it runs as follows:
* “To all Christian people be it known that Sir Michael a Pool (sic) the second Earl of Suffolk of that name, had issue of his Lady, lawfully begotten sons and daughters, that is to say, Mighell the first son and heir and William the second son, and ten children more which dyed all without issue, except the same Mighell and William.
This Sir Mighell, son and heir of the said Earl, married the daughter of the right noble Knight Thomas that time Duke of Norfolk, whose name was Elizabeth. This Sir Mighell and Elizabeth had together two lawfully begotten daughters, that is to say, Jane his first child and Katherine the younger daughter. This Jane, when she was but of tender age, was hurt by accident of fire, through negligence of her nurse, by the which she was greatly blemished and disfigured strangely. Wherefore she was in a manner lothed of her parents and kept forth secretly from the common knowledge of the people, and after put aside into a house of close Nuns for to be made a woman of religion, to the which she was not disposed, when she came to the age of discretion. And therefore, before her profession came out of the said nunnery into the country. Of the which Dame Katherine a Poole, grandmother to the said wench Jane, having knowledge, took her home with her, greatly rebuking the said Jane, seeing that she was too lothly for any gentlemen that was hable to her birth. And because the said Jane would not be turned, the said Dame Katherine greatly charged and commanded the said Jane, putting her in fear and dread, that she should never show to no man whose daughter she was. And so the said Dame Katherine her grandmother, said to the people that she was a poor gentlewoman's child and her god-daughter; and afterwards married her to an honest rich yeoman's son of Suffolk, whose name was William.
This William and Jane together had issue: that is to say Thomas the first son, William the second son, and John and a daughter. This Thomas died and all his issue. This William, the second son, married an honest man's daughter, whose name was Alice Gryse. This William and Alice together had issue, that is to say, John, Margaret, and Agnes, which was living in the years of our Lord 1490 and had lawful issue.
This Sir Mighell, father to the said Jane, was slayne at the Battle of Agincourt, on whose soule God have mercy. And alter his decease, Dame Elizabeth his wife, by counsel of Dame Katherine a Poole, her mother-in-law tooke Katherine, the youngest daughter, and went into the Abbey of Bresewoode, and were there professed and ended their lives in prayer and chastity, that the Earldome should remain to the second brother, Sir William a'Poole, because of the name.
And the said Jane with a blemish, after the decease of her husband, kept her a widow, and at a general pardon from Rome, she was confessed of a doctor to whom she showed her mind of what progeny she came of, and how she was put aside; and the same doctor charged her upon pain of deadly sin, that she should publish it and make it known to her children and her issues of what progeny they came and also to all other men as far forth as she might in sauf-garde of herself into witnessing that the knowledge thereof should not dye, for he said “that the great power of Almighty God was unknown to all the world .”
(From “Napier's History of EWELME and SWYNCOMBE”).