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Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester

The grave of Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, in the chapel of St Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey, was originally covered by a brass depicting images of himself, his wife, his father, mother and brothers and sisters with all their coats of arms. This disappeared centuries ago but had been engraved in a book published in 1677.

Thomas was born on 7th January 1355 at Woodstock in Oxfordshire, the seventh son of King Edward III and his queen Philippa of Hainault. He married Eleanor, daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hertford. Their children were Humphrey, 2nd Duke of Gloucester (1382-1399), Anne (who married firstly Thomas, 3rd Earl of Stafford, secondly Edmund Stafford (her late husband's brother), and lastly Sir William Bourchier), Joan, Isabel (who became a nun) and Philippa (who died young). In 1377 he was created Earl of Buckingham. King Richard II called him his 'dearest uncle' and created him Duke of Gloucester in 1385. But Thomas presumed too much on his position and 'checked him too sharply'. Richard had him arrested at his castle at Pleshy and conveyed to Calais. There he was smothered to death under a feather bed. He was first buried in St Edmund's chapel, where Eleanor's fine brass still remains, but Henry IV moved his body to the Confessor's chapel to be near Edward III and Philippa. (The white tomb slab next to Eleanor which has his name on it is to Mary Countess of Stafford, a relation, and not to Thomas himself.)

In the chapel of St Edmund is a small tomb with miniature effigies to his brother William of Windsor and sister Blanche of the Tower.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Born

7th January 1355

Location

St Edward’s Chapel

Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester
Thomas of Woodstock engraving of lost brass

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

The work can be tough, but even the cold and rain don’t bother me as I enjoy it so much. I love every day that I spend at the Abbey – just being here makes me smile.

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Tim - Gardener

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