- Born: Abt 1374, Conisborough Castle, Yorkshire, England
- Married (1): After 16 Apr 1378, Bristol, Gloucester, England
- Died: 28 Nov 1416, Reading, Berkshire, England 1
- Buried: Readiing Abbey, Reading, Berkshire, England 1
Constance was generally known as "Constance of York."
Named as a beneficiary in her mother's Will (proved 1392), then married to Thomas Le Despenser.
The Chronica de Fundatoribus et Fundatione of Tewkesbury Abbey records that “Thomam le Despencer et comitem Gloucestriæ”, last child of “Edwardus…secundus, filius…Edwardi” and his wife, married “dominam Constantiam filiam domini Edmundi de Langley, filii regis Edwardi tertii et ducis Eboracensis”, adding in a later passage that Constance married secondly “domino Thomæ comiti de Arundell” by whom she was mother of “filiam…Elianoram” who married “Hugoni domino de Audley” and had “filium…Jacobum”. This last passage is inconsistent with other sources regarding the paternity of Constance´s daughter Eleanor and the identity of Eleanor´s husband. It is not known whether it constituted a conscious effort to cover the tracks regarding her true parentage. The Chronica de Fundatoribus et Fundatione of Tewkesbury Abbey records the death in 1417 of “domina Constancia, mater…dominæ Isabellæ” and her burial “apud monasterium de Reding 1420”. 1
Constance of York. Baroness le Despencer and Countess of Gloucester. She is notable for her failed plot to depose King Henry IV. King Richard II made her a Dame of the Order of the Garter in 1386. She became the mistress of the 4th Earl of Kent, having a daughter by him, and frequently petitioned and sued the crown over her holdings. Contemporary documents state she was disloyal to the king "many times". In 1405 she involved herself in the rebellion of Welsh prince Owain Glyndwyr, who had occupied Caerphilly Castle, which Constance owned. It was in both their interests to replace Henry with Richard's presumptive heir, the imprisoned Edmund de Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, so she arranged for his escape from Windsor Castle with the intention of delivering him to Caerphilly. From there Henry's enemies were to form an army to march on England, with the young earl as figurehead. But Constance's brother, the Duke of York, betrayed the plot and Mortimer was captured before reaching Wales. Summoned to the Privy Council, Constance freely admitted her scheme but apparently no charges were brought against her. 2
Constance married Thomas LE DESPENSER, Earl of Gloucester, son of Edward LE DESPENSER 4th Baron DESPENSER and Elizabeth DE BURGHERSH, after 16 Apr 1378 in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England. (Thomas LE DESPENSER was born on 22 Sep 1373 in Essendine, Rutlandshire, England and died on 13 Jan 1399/1400 in Bristol, Gloucester, England.)