Honor Grenville was the wife of Henry VIII’s uncle, Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, the illegitimate son of Edward IV.
Honor’s life is almost a microcosm of an elite Tudor life – twice married, with numerous children and step-children, she managed great estates, corresponded with courtiers, promoted her daughters to the Queen’s household and saw her life crash around her ears at the whim of the King.
Honor’s journey took her from the far west of Cornwall to Calais, where her husband was Lord Deputy for seven years, and back again. She lived in country manors, royal castles, and garrison towns.
Like most gentry and noble families, Honor had a variety of homes that she was responsible for and between which she travelled regularly. Once in Calais, she had to manage her estates from afar, but it is clear she had a minute knowledge of the properties themselves and the legal and administrative matters that surrounded them.
The Lisle Letters provide us with a fascinating insight into the life of Honor and her family. The letters touch on every aspect of life, but particularly the endless legal complications attendant on ownership of vast estates, and also the importance of having friends in high places.
Listen to our editor, Melita Thomas, discussing Honor Grenville with Heather Teysko of the Renaissance English History Podcast