Christopher Willoughby, 10th Baron Willoughby de Eresby

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Christopher Willoughby, 10th Baron Willoughby de Eresby
Spouse(s) Margaret Jenney
William Willoughby, 11th Baron Willoughby de Eresby
Sir Christopher Willoughby
Robert Willoughby
George Willoughby
Richard Willoughby
Edmund Willoughby
Hugh Willoughby
Sir John Willoughby
Sir Thomas Willoughby
Katherine Willoughby
Margaret Willoughby
Elizabeth Willoughby
Father Sir Robert Willoughby
Mother Cecily Welles
Born 1453
Died 1 November 1498 – 13 July 1499

Sir Christopher Willoughby, de jure 10th Baron Willoughby de Eresby (1453 – between 1 November 1498 and 13 July 1499), was heir to his second cousin, Joan Welles, 9th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, in her own right Lady Willoughby, as well as great-grandson and heir male to William Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby de Eresby. Christopher Willoughby was also heir to his elder brother, Robert Willoughby, who died unmarried and underage on 24 March 1467.[1] He was unable to enjoy his inherited title as a result of the attainders of his cousin Joan Welles' father, Richard Welles, 7th Baron Welles, and brother, Robert Welles, 8th Baron Willoughby de Eresby.[2]


Christopher Willoughby, born in 1453,[3] was the second son of Sir Robert Willoughby (d. 30 May 1465) of Parham, Suffolk, and Cecily Welles, the daughter of Lionel de Welles, 6th Baron Welles (d. 29 March 1461), and his first wife, Joan Waterton, the daughter of Robert Waterton (d.1425), esquire, of Methley, Yorkshire, by his second wife, Cecily Fleming, daughter of Sir Robert Fleming.[4] He was the grandson of Sir Thomas Willoughby and Joan Arundel (born c.1407), daughter and co-heiress of Sir Richard Arundel and his wife Alice, and the great-grandson of William Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby de Eresby (d. 4 December 1409), and Lucy Le Strange.[5][6]

After the death of Joan Waterton, Lionel Welles married Margaret Beauchamp (c.1410 – c. 3 June 1482), widow successively of Sir Oliver St John (c.1398 – 1437) and John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset (d. 27 May 1444), and daughter of Sir John Beauchamp of Bletsoe, Bedfordshire, by his second wife, Edith Stourton, daughter of Sir John Stourton (died c.1414) of Stourton, Wiltshire.[7][8]

By her second marriage to John Beaufort, Margaret Beauchamp was the mother of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. Christopher Willoughby's mother, Cecily Welles, was thus a half sister of Margaret Beaufort.[9]


Christopher Willoughby had livery of his lands on 15 July 1474. His second cousin, Joan Welles, 9th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, died about that time. The exact date of her death is not known; however she likely died shortly before her father, Richard Welles, 7th Baron Welles, and brother, Robert Welles, 8th Baron Willoughby de Eresby, were attainted, five years after their executions, by the Parliament of January–March 1475. As a result of the attainders, all their honours were forfeited, including the baronies of Welles and Willoughby, which should have been inherited, respectively, after Joan Welles' death, by her uncle of the half blood, John Welles, 1st Viscount Welles, and her second cousin, Christopher Willoughby.[2][10][11] According to some historians, the attainders were passed by Parliament in order to enable Edward IV to grant Joan Welles' lands after her death to her husband, 'the trusted Yorkist Sir Richard Hastings',[12] and accordingly, on 23 January 1475, the King granted Hastings a life interest in the greater part of the Welles and Willoughby estates. Moreover Hastings was summoned to Parliament from 14 November 1482 to 9 December 1483 by writs directed Ricardo Hastyng de Wellys, whereby he is held to have become either Lord Hastings of Welles, or Lord Welles.[13][14][2][10][11]

Willoughby was made a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Richard III on 7 July 1483, and served frequently on commissions in Suffolk from 1483 to 1497.

Under Henry VII, the attainders of Joan Welles' father and brother, as well as the attainder of her uncle, John Welles, were all reversed by the Parliament of 1485/6. John Welles was still living, and with the reversal of his attainder became Lord Welles. Joan Welles' former husband, Sir Richard Hastings, was thus no longer recognized as Lord Welles. In compensation, however, it was enacted in the same year that Hastings should be entitled, for life, to all the lands which had belonged to Joan Welles' father. Having received this grant, until his death Hastings continued to be styled, and styled himself, Lord Willoughby, to the exclusion of Christopher Willoughby, who should have inherited the title.[15] [16][17][18]

On 25 November 1487 Willoughby was in attendance at the coronation of Elizabeth of York. In 1499 he was co-heir to his uncle, John Welles, 1st Viscount Welles.[19][2]

He left a will dated 1 November 1498, which was proved 13 July 1499. He was buried at Campsey Nunnery, Suffolk, beside his father.[20]

Marriage and issue

Willoughby married, before 28 March 1482, Margaret Jenney (d.1515/16), the daughter of Sir William Jenney of Knodishall, Suffolk, by his first wife, Elizabeth Cawse, daughter of Thomas Cawse, by whom he had nine sons and three daughters:[21]

  • Robert Willoughby, a cleric.[2][24]
  • Richard Willoughby.[2]
  • Edmund Willoughby.[2]
  • Hugh Willoughby.[2]
  • Sir John Willoughby, who married Cecily Wentworth), the widow of Robert Southwell, esquire.[2][24]
  • Katherine Willoughby, who married Sir John Heydon (d. 16 August 1550), eldest son and heir of Sir Henry Heydon.[2]


  1. Cokayne 1959, pp. 668-9, 672.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Richardson IV 2011, p. 339.
  3. Cokayne 1959, p. 669.
  4. Richardson IV 2011, pp. 305, 339.
  5. Richardson IV 2011, pp. 334-7.
  6. Cokayne 1959, pp. 668-70.
  7. Richardson III 2011, pp. 473-5.
  8. Richardson IV 2011, p. 305.
  9. Richardson IV 2011, pp. 221-3.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Cokayne 1959, p. 668.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Burke 1831, p. 562.
  12. Jones & Underwood 1992, p. 126.
  13. Hicks 2004.
  14. Cokayne 1959, p. 447.
  15. Richardson I 2011, pp. 398-9.
  16. Richardson II 2011, pp. 369-71.
  17. Richardson IV 2011, p. 306.
  18. Cokayne 1926, p. 386.
  19. Cokayne 1959, pp. 668-9.
  20. Cokayne 1959, p. 670.
  21. Richardson IV 2011, pp. 339-40.
  22. Cokayne 1959, pp. 670-2.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Cokayne 1959, p. 672.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 Goff 1930, p. 11.
  25. Bore Place, Chiddingstone, Kent Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  26. Richardson III 2011, pp. 183-5.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Richardson IV 2011, p. 340.
  28. Richardson II 2011, p. 128.


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Peerage of England
Preceded by
Joan Welles
Baron Willoughby de Eresby
Succeeded by
William Willoughby