Nursery Rhymes

Jane Shore

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Short Biography profile and facts about the life of Jane Shore
The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the life and history of Jane Shore, the beautiful mistress of King Edward IV of England.

  • Nationality: English
  • Also Known as: Elizabeth Shore

  • Lifespan: 1445 - 1527
  • Date of Birth: She was born in London in 1445
  • Family connections : She was the the daughter of a prosperous merchant named John Lambert and his wife Amy
  • Married: Jane Lambert married a goldsmith called Lambert Shore. The marriage was annulled due to his impotence.
  • Early Life and Education: Jane Shore was literate and therefore received a good education
  • Character of Jane Shore: Jane was described by her lover, King Edward IV as " Merry in company, ready and quick of answer.". She was witty, literate, cheerful, intelligent and warmhearted.
  • Date of Death: Jane Shore died in 1527 and was buried in Hinxworth Church, Hertfordshire
  • Why Jane Shore was famous: Jane Shore became the mistress of King Edward IV during the period in England referred to as the Wars of the Roses. After the king's death she became the mistress of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset and then Lord Hastings. When King Richard III came to the throne Jane Shore was accused of Sorcery and Witchcraft and forced to make a humiliating and public penance as a harlot. 

Jane Shore Biography
The story and biography of Jane Shore which contains interesting information, facts & the history about the life of this Medieval woman of historical importance. Jane Shore was born as Elizabeth Shore. She was born in London and was the daughter of a wealthy merchant called John Lambert. Jane was a lovely child who grew into a beautiful woman. When she was still young her father arranged a marriage for Jane to a goldsmith named William Shore. It is believed that William Shore was impotent and the marriage was eventually annulled on these grounds in 1476. According to Sir Thomas More, in his History of Richard III, she was married "ere she were well ripe" to a merchant "an honest citizen, young and godly and of good substance", named William Shore, but "she not very fervently loved" her husband who was "frigid and impotent". The marriage was over, long before 1476.

Jane Shore becomes the Mistress of King Edward IV
Her beauty brought much attention in London and the notorious womaniser King Edward IV arranged to meet Jane Shore. Her marriage was over and Jane fell in love with the handsome King and became his mistress. Jane Shore was the mistress of the king by 1476. An entry on the Patent Rolls for December 4, 1476 bestowed the King's protection upon "William Shore, citizen of London, and his servants, with all his lands, goods and possessions in England and elsewhere". The marriage annulment followed shortly after this date. Despite his womanising King Edward maintained his relationship with Jane Shore until his death in 1483.

Jane was described by her lover, King Edward IV as " Merry in company, ready and quick of answer". Jane and King Edward were lovers during the period in English history called the Wars of the Roses. The wife of King Edward, Elizabeth Woodville, accepted Jane Shore as her husband's mistress. It is possible that the change of name from Elizabeth to Jane was made in deference to the Queen. Jane Shore was a highly visible member of the court of King Edward. She would have mixed with all the important people of the era and friends of the King.

Jane Shore sent to the Tower accused of Sorcery and Witchcraft
Following the death of King Edward she briefly became the mistress of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset ( who was the son of Elizabeth Woodville by a previous marriage). Jane Shore then came under the protection of Lord Hastings and became his mistress. King Edward had left two small sons, Edward and Richard. The young Edward was the heir to the throne of England - Edward V. The brother of the dead King was Richard adopted the title of Lord Protector. The young princes were however in the care of Lord Hastings. Without warning the two princes were declared illegitimate and Richard was proclaimed King Richard III.

The political fallout led to the arrest of the supporters of the dead King Edward and his children. Jane Shore and Lord Hastings were arrested and sent to the Tower. Lord Hastings was executed on the charge of treason on 18 June 1483. Jane Shore was accused of having entered into a conspiracy the Queen and Lord Hastings against Richard. Richard accused the Queen and Jane Shore of Sorcery and Witchcraft. It was declared that “Edward's wife, that monstrous witch, has plotted with Jane Shore to waste and wither his body.”

The Penance of Jane Shore
The accusations against Jane Shore were reduced to being a harlot - they could not prove the charge of sorcery and witchcraft. The Bishop of London sentenced her to the traditional public penance for harlotry at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Jane, dressed in only her kirtle (petticoat) and in an unkempt state had to walk barefoot along the sharp flint stones of London. She carried a taper and walked in front of the cross and a choir singing psalms. Jane Shore was watched and surrounded by great ogling crowds. She bore this punishment with great dignity.

The Imprisonment of Jane Shore
Following her public penance Jane Shore was incarcerated at Ludgate prison for her crime. Her great beauty attracted the king's solicitor, Thomas Lynom. Thomas Lynom entered into a contract of marriage with Jane Shore whilst she was still a prisoner in Ludgate. King Richard III pardoned Jane Shore, apparently at the request of William Lynom.

The Death of Jane Shore
Some say that Jane Shore died in poverty however, this is highly improbable. She was married to a wealthy man. And Sir Thomas More, who knew Jane Shore at the end of her long life, described her as ‘a soft, tender heart’. ‘Yet,' he continued, 'me delighted not so much in her beauty as in her pleasant behaviour’. Jane Shore died in 1527 at the age of eighty two. What a life Jane Shore had led. Jane Shore was buried in Hinxworth Church, Hertfordshire, England.

Middle Ages Women
Middle Ages Index

Privacy Statement

Cookie Policy

© 2017 Siteseen Ltd