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The Mowbray Family

1066 to 1481  

(Subject of the 2004 book The Mowbray Legacy by Marilyn Roberts)


GEOFFREY DE MONTBRAI, bishop of Coutances. A warrior priest who was present at the Battle of Hastings, Geoffrey was a great friend of William the Conqueror and officiated at his coronation in Westminster Abbey; he became one of the ten richest men in England.

Geoffrey was the Brother of      


ROGER DE MONTBRAI, who fought at Hastings.

Roger was the Father of  


ROBERT DE MOWBRAY, Earl of Northumberland. Robert, a fearsome and lawless character, was a nephew of Bishop Geoffrey and spent thirty years in prison at Windsor after rebelling against William II. He died c 1129.

Robert was the cousin? of Nigel d’Aubigny, who was the father of  


ROGER DE MOWBRAY, who changed his name from d’Aubigny when he came into the possession of the Honour of Mowbray (Montbrai) a huge collection of manors in both Normandy and England that had been bestowed on his father by Henry I for services rendered. Roger had a long and exciting life, became a famous crusader and died in 1188.

(Marilyn Roberts is currently attempting to gather information on Sir Roger de Mowbray’s experiences in the Holy Land, see SYRIA and Lebanon, below)

Roger was the Father of  


NIGEL DE MOWBRAY, one of whose sons, Phillip, was the founder of the Scottish Mowbrays. Nigel died in Acre in 1191

Nigel was the Father of  


WILLIAM DE MOWBRAY, who was no admirer of King John and was one of the 25 barons associated with Magna Carta in 1215. He supported Louis of France against John’s successor and was captured at the Battle of Lincoln. He was ransomed and died in Epworth in 1224.

William was the Father of  


NIGEL DE MOWBRAY who died without issue in 1230.

Nigel was the Brother of  


ROGER DE MOWBRAY, who served in the Scottish and Welsh campaigns and died in 1266.

Roger was the Father of  


ROGER DE MOWBRAY, who was called to the Model Parliament of Edward I in 1295 and thus became the first Lord Mowbray. He died in 1297.

Roger was the Father of  


JOHN DE MOWBRAY, second Lord Mowbray, who gave good service to the Crown but then rebelled against Edward II and was hanged at York in 1322.

John was the Father of  


JOHN DE MOWBRAY, third Lord Mowbray, who as a child was imprisoned in the Tower with his mother, but survived and married Joan Plantagenet, a great-granddaughter of Henry III. He served against the Scots and died of the plague in 1361.

John was the Father of  


JOHN DE MOWBRAY, fourth Lord Mowbray, who died aged only 28, in 1368, as did his wife, Elizabeth Segrave, who was a great-granddaughter of Edward I.

John was the Father of  


JOHN DE MOWBRAY, fifth Lord Mowbray, later Earl of Nottingham, who died aged no more than 22 in 1383.

John was the Brother of  


THOMAS MOWBRAY, first Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Nottingham, Earl Marshal. A close relative of Richard II, Thomas fell foul of the king and was banished for life in 1398, dying in Venice in 1399, aged 33. He had married Elizabeth Fitzalan, daughter of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel.  Thomas appears in Shakespeare’s King Richard II.

Thomas was the Father of  


THOMAS MOWBRAY, Earl of Nottingham, Earl Marshal, who rebelled against Henry IV and was beheaded in York at the age of only 19 in 1405. He appears in the second part of Shakespeare’s King Henry IV.

Thomas was the Brother of  


JOHN MOWBRAY, second Duke of Norfolk, etc. to whom the dukedom was restored in 1425. He married Katherine Neville, whose sister Cicely married the Duke of York; thus John became the uncle, through marriage, of Cicely’s sons, the kings Edward IV and Richard III. He died in 1432 at Epworth and was buried nearby in the Carthusian monastery founded by his father.

John was the Father of  


JOHN MOWBRAY, third Duke of Norfolk, etc, who was known to change his allegiance on a number of occasions during the Wars of the Roses. By this time the Mowbrays were trying to concentrate their affairs in Norfolk and Suffolk and had prolonged struggles over land and property with the up-and-coming Paston family, amongst others. In 1461 he and his contingent arrived late, during a snowstorm, for the bloody battle at Towton in Yorkshire and helped turn the tide in favour of the Yorkists; he died a few months later.

John was the Father of  


JOHN MOWBRAY, the fourth and final Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, who was treated like a prince in his own territory and took every advantage of the upheaval of the Wars of the Roses to help himself to other people’s lands and/or property. In letters he complained of ill health while still a young man and died in his early thirties, leaving only one small daughter. Upon his death in 1476 the Mowbray dukedom of Norfolk became extinct.

John was the Father of  


LADY ANNE MOWBRAY, Countess of Norfolk, who, upon her marriage to her close kinsman Prince Richard of York, became daughter-in-law of King Edward IV and was styled Duchess of York and Norfolk, the Norfolk dukedom having been conferred upon her fiancé in a new creation. At the time of her marriage she was five years old and her husband was four. She became the greatest lady in the land after her mother-in-law the queen, but died before she was nine and had the distinction of being  the only member of the Mowbray family to be buried in Westminster Abbey. Her husband is believed to have perished in the Tower when he was ten years of age, with his brother, twelve-year-old King Edward V, in the reign of their uncle, Richard III; these young boys were the ill-fated Princes in the Tower.


King Richard III divided the Mowbray inheritance between JOHN HOWARD, who became first Duke of Norfolk in a new creation, and WILLIAM BERKELEY, made Earl of Nottingham, sons  of the original Duke of Norfolk’s daughters Margaret and Isabel Mowbray. The Howards (now Fitzalan-Howard) still hold the dukedom of Norfolk.

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