13. 1400s King Henry VII’s great-aunt, Lady Margaret Beaufort, sister of the Duke of Somerset and spouse of Thomas Courtenay, 5th Earl of Devon, lived at Tiverton and Bickleigh Castle.
14. 1400s Bickleigh Castle was rebuilt as a comfortable and substantial fortified Manor House by Lord Thomas and Lady Margaret. This included installation of larger windows and fireplaces, a substantial Manor House built on the site of the current tennis court and attached to the inner Keep of the original castle, a large stable block with facilities where the current walled garden is, and a Magistrates’ Court, which still stands, known now as ‘Old Court’ and probably other auxiliary buildings.
15. 1400s all three sons of Lord Thomas and Lady Margaret were killed in The Wars of the Roses, one executed for treason, one as a prisoner of war, and one killed in the Battle of Tewkesbury 1471.
16. 1495 Sir William Carew Bt, became tenant of Bickleigh (by then owned by his cousin Sir Philip Courtenay). In 1505 was born George Carew, who became Admiral Sir George Carew, famous for drowning in the capsizing and sinking of ‘The Mary Rose’ at The Spithead in 1545.
17. 1512 Sir William’s ward, Elizabeth Courtenay eloped with Sir William’s younger brother Thomas; Thomas, at the Battle of Flodden Field, 1513, saved the life of the commander, the Lord Admiral Lord Howard, by exchanging armour with him and being taken prisoner. Eventually released, Thomas was created an honorary Vice-Admiral. After this, Elizabeth’s aged grandfather Sir Philip Courtenay bequeathed the whole Bickleigh estate to the Carews, who then owned it until 1927.
18. Henry VIII’s favourite aunt, Princess Katherine Plantagenet (daughter of King Edward IV) at the same time lived at Tiverton Castle; when her husband William Courtenay, Earl of Devon, died in 1511 she spent much time at Bickleigh Castle as the guest of her relation-by-marriage, Elizabeth as mentioned above. Princess Katherine was apparently fond of children, and entertained those of courtiers and royalty, including, according to one source, Ann Boleyn. Princess Katherine died in 1527 and after a semi-state funeral in St Peter’s Church, Tiverton, was buried there, where her tomb can be seen to this day.
19. Princess Katherine’s son Henry, Marquess of Exeter, was implicated in the Exeter Rebellion (against the Reformation) of 1538 and executed at the Tower; Tiverton was forfeit to the Crown and was never a Courtenay property again.