The Mowbray Legacy

The Mowbray Legacy, initially intended for local interest only, has attracted attention from many parts of the world.

This book, fully revised and reprinted, begins with the Norman Conquest and ends with the death in 1481 of Lady Anne Mowbray, the last of her line and child-bride of one of the Princes in the Tower.

It offers an overview of the entire Mowbray dynasty, the original Dukes of Norfolk, who figured prominently in English history in the middle ages and were the ancestors of the Howard family, the current Dukes of Norfolk.


I am thrilled that someone has taken the initiative to do some research and put the story together.

Andrew Mowbray, Australia


The Tables of the famous descendants are fantastic! A lot of hard work has gone into these.

Julie Smart, London


… it is an important reference that I am proud to have in my library and will heartily recommend.

Paula Simmons, USA


279 pages

5 maps

14 charts

21 genealogical tables, including royalty, US Presidents and Hollywood stars

45 black and white photographs

Directory of places to visit

Extensive bibliography


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The lady on the left of The Mowbray Legacy cover is Elizabeth Talbot, widow of the last Mowbray Duke of Norfolk and mother of the last of the ducal family line, Lady Anne Mowbray, who died as a child in 1481.

Duchess Elizabeth seems to have been an attractive woman both in appearance and personality, but nevertheless it has been claimed that this stained glass in Long Melford Church, Suffolk, was the inspiration for John Tenniel’s Ugly Duchess drawings in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, although Grotesque Old Woman by Quentin Massys (Matsys) in the National Gallery in London would seem to be a more likely candidate. Elizabeth Talbot appears in The Mowbray Legacy and in some detail in Lady Anne Mowbray: The High and Excellent Princess.

Tenniel’s Duchess has been said to be based on Elizabeth Talbot, the last Mowbray Duchess of Norfolk, but it is more likely he was inspired by the painting by Quentin Massys. (Please note that pictures of the Tenniel and Massys do not appear in The Mowbray Legacy.)

The lady on the right hand side of the Mowbray cover is Elizabeth Tilney, Countess of Surrey. Her father-in-law John Howard, whose mother was of the Mowbray family, was created first Howard Duke of Norfolk in a new creation when the Mowbray line became extinct, but was killed fighting for Richard III at Bosworth in 1485. The dukedom was forfeit and not restored to his son Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, until 1514 so Elizabeth, who died in 1497, never became Duchess of Norfolk. Elizabeth Tilney was the grandmother of both Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, Henry VIII’s second and fifth wives, both executed by him.

Elizabeth Tilney Countess of Surrey and grandmother of both Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. © Marilyn Roberts

Within a few months of Elizabeth Tilney’s death, her widower, by then in his fifties, married her young first-cousin Agnes Tilney, who was only 20 years old. In her old age Agnes, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk was imprisoned in the Tower for her involvement in the misdemeanours of her step-granddaughter, Queen Katherine Howard.

Many years of research into the story of Katherine Howard and Duchess Agnes are almost complete. Please watch ‘News’ and the Blog for updates.