Doña Sancha de Ayala

In the year 1371 Doña Constanza, daughter of the deceased (and dethroned) King of Castile, Don Pedro I (The Cruel) went to England to become the bride of King Edward III's son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Among the young Castilian ladies of aristocratic birth who accompanied her was Doña Sancha de Ayala, daughter of Don Diego (or Día-) Gómez de Guzmán (or de Toledo) and his wife, Doña Inés de Ayala.

About 1373 Doña Sancha married an English knight, Sir Walter Blount, of the Blounts of Sodington, county Worcester. On 26 February in the first year of King Richard II's reign (1378), the Duke of Lancaster, who claimed the thrones of Castile and Leon in right of his wife, granted to Sir Walter and Sancha (for their good service to him) an annuity of 100 marks a year; this grant was confirmed "for their lives in survivorship" by King Richard, April 26, 1399. Records reveal payments to Sancha at various times; once (2 January 1380) her name was associated with that of "Phelippe Chaucy", i.e., Philippa Chaucer, wife of the author of the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer. On this occasion she was described by the Duke of Lancaster as "our very dear attendant" (nostre treschere compaigne) "dame Senche Blount".

Sir Walter figured prominently in the affairs of England during the times of Edward III and Henry IV. He was a close associate of John of Gaunt, and the latter made him an executor of his will and left him a small legacy. In 1367, Sir Walter accompanied the Black Prince and the Duke of Lancaster (John of Gaunt) upon the expedition into Spain to aid Peter the Cruel, King of Castile, and was at the battle of Marjara on April 3, 1367 which restored Peter to his throne. Sir Walter fell at the battle of Shrewsbury, July 21, 1403, wherein, being standard bearer, he was arrayed in the same style of armour as his royal master and was slain in single combat by Earl Douglas who believed he was in combat with the king himself. Sir Walter was slain in the course of the battle of Shrewsbury, July 21, 1403, and Shakespeare, who drew his facts mainly from Holinshed's "Chronicles" immortalized him in his Henry IV though he called him Sir Walter Blunt.

Three years after her husband's death, Dame Sancha founded a chantry in the Hospital of St. Leonard, Alkmonton, county Derbyshire. Her son-in-law, John Sutton, (husband of Constance Bount) died on August 29, 1406. On November 23 following, Dame Sancha was granted commission of the keeping of all the lands late of John Sutton, tenant in chief, during the minority of his six-year-old son and heir, John Sutton; her duties included "finding a competent maintenace for the heir, maintaining the houses and buildings and supporting the charges." In the same month the escheator in Worcestershire was ordered "to take of Constance who was the wife of John Sutton an oath etc. and in the presence of Sancha who was the wife of Walter Blount knight, to whom the king has committed the ward thereof, or of her attorneys, to assign the said Constance dower of the said John's lands."

Dame Sancha Blount made her will (still in existence) in 1415, and died in 1418. She was buried beside her husband in the Collegiate Church of St. Mary, The Neward, Leicester. Sancha de Ayala, Lady Bount, the ancestress of several English settlers in America, was descended from some of the most illustrious Castilian families. Through her father she belonged to the House of Guzmán (also called Toledo) which produced many noble families in Spain and a series of wives and mistresses for Spanish and Portuguese kings. Her mother, Inés de Ayala (by whose surname Sancha was known), was sprung from the great House of Ayala of Toledo, which traced its pedigree in the male line to the House of Haro, Lords of Biscay. The proof of Sancha's parentage is contained in a family genealogy begun about 1385 by her materal uncle, Pedro López de Ayala, Grand Chancellor of Castile. He stated that Doña Sancha "married a Knight of England, who was called Sir Walter Blount."

Sancha and Sir Walter had two children, Sir Thomas Blount and Constance. Sir Thomas was the father of two sons:

(1) Sir Walter Blount, 1st Lord Mountjoy, whose descendants include Roger Ludlow, first Deputy-Governor of the Colony of CT and two U.S. Presidents, Benjamin Harrison and William Henry Harrison and:

(2) Sir Thomas Blount, the ancestor of Anne Marbury Hutchinson and Katherine Marbury Scott.

Sancha's older brother, Don Pedro Suåarez was the progenitor of much of Europe's nobility. He married Doña Juana de Orozco, Lady of Pinto and had Inés de Guzmán or de Toledo. By her second husband, Don Diego Fernández de Córdoba, Marshal of Castile, she had a daughter, Doña María Fernández. Maria, 4th Lady of Casarrubios del Monte; m. Don Fadrique Enriquez and had Doña Juana Enríquez. Juana, married (1447) as his second wife, John II, King of Aragon and had Ferdinand II of Aragon, better known as Ferdinand V, The Catholic, King of Castile, who married the celebrated Queen Isabella of Castile and had several children including:

Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain), ancestor of the Habsburg and Bourbon Kings of Spain;

Juana "La Loca" ("the crazy"), Queen of Castile, who married Philip the Handsome, Archduke of Austria;

Ferdinand I, who was progenitor of the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperors and Emperors of Austria, all of the present European sovereigns (including Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain), most of the dethroned dynasties of Europe, the Calvert family of Maryland, a branch of the Morris family of Philadelphia, and the Custis-Lee family of the Arlington Estate in Virginia; and

Catherine of Aragon who married first the Tudor Prince, Arthur and second, his brother, King Henry VIII of England.

Royal Crest

References

  • NGSQ - National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 51, The Spanish Ancestry of American Colonists, Milton Rubincam, Washington, D.C., Dec 1963, pp. 235 - 236.

  • The English Ancestry of Anne Marbury Hutchinson and Katherine Marbury Scott, Meredith B. Colket, Jr., The Mager Press, Philadelphia, PA, 1936, p. 46.

  • Oratio Dyer Clark and of his wife Laura Ann King, Together with the ancestry of Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson, Ancestress of Oratio Dyer Clark, John Edwin Salisbury, Verified and Enlarged by Martin & Allabdyob, Asbury Park, NJ, 1917, pp. 79 - 86.

  • TAG - The American Genealogist, Vol. 25, No. 3, The Royal Ancestry of the Ludlows, Meredith B. Colket, Jr., Demorest, GA, Jan 1939, p. 138.

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