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Henry Courtenay

(c. 1498—1539) nobleman and courtier


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(c.1498–1539). Courtenay succeeded his father as earl of Devon in 1511. He was a grandson of Edward IV through his mother and a cousin of Henry VIII. For a time he prospered greatly. Henry gave him the Garter in 1521 and four years later created him marquis of Exeter. He gained from the dissolution of the monasteries and built up a powerful position in the west country. In 1536 he took part in suppressing the Pilgrimage of Grace. But his second wife was a catholic and on close terms with Princess Mary and Courtenay himself was at odds with Thomas Cromwell. His closeness to the throne roused Henry's suspicions and in 1538 he was accused of treason. A flimsy case was constructed against him on the basis of a few loose remarks and he was executed on Tower Hill in January 1539. The Russells succeeded to his position as the leading Devon family.

From The Oxford Companion to British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.


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