Nostalgia: Chichester deed reveals gift of the White Queen’s gold

The Chichester deed bearing the royal seal
The Chichester deed bearing the royal seal

FANS of a BBC Sunday night historical drama may be interested to know the county’s record office holds a piece of history from the era.

The much-publicised production The White Queen is currently part of the way through a ten-episode run.

Based on the popular historical novel series The Cousins’ War, the series tells the tale of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, known as the White Queen.

There are only two deeds of her time still existing in the country — one of which is held at the West Sussex Record Office.

Born around 1437, 
the White Queen was 
Queen consort of England 
as the spouse of King 
Edward IV from 1464 until 
his death in 1483.

Edward IV married her in 1464, a marriage that caused some scandal as her family were not well-known and it was very rare for the monarch to marry one of his own subjects, instead of making an alliance with a foreign country.

The wedding took place secretly.

Elizabeth’s children included the Princes in 
the Tower and Elizabeth of York. The latter married Henry VII, after he defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Consequently she was the grandmother of Henry VIII, and great-grandmother of Edward VI, Queen Mary 
and Elizabeth I. She died on June 8, 1492.

The deed held by the record office shows Elizabeth letting the treasurer and vicars of Chichester Cathedral keep the £3 commonly called the Queen’s Gold owed to her on certain lands given to them by John Arundell, late Bishop of Chichester.

The seal on the deed shows a heraldic shield in the centre. On the left-hand side are the arms of England (three leopards/lions) and France (three fleurs de lis).

On the right-hand side the heraldry is divided into six parts, indicating that it belonged to Elizabeth Woodville.

The deed is on show in the searchroom of the West Sussex Record Office during opening hours.

The record office is open from 9.15am until 4.45pm Monday to Friday and from 9.15am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm on Saturdays.

For further information contact Dr Caroline Adams on 01243 753625, or email caroline.adams@westsussex.gov.uk)