Thomas Courtenay, 5th Earl of Devon
b.abt 1414 Devon, England
d.bef 21 Feb 1457/8
Facts and Events
Thomas Courtenay, 5th Earl of Devon (1414–1458) was an English nobleman who was involved in the Wars of the Roses. His seat was Colcombe Castle, near Colyton, Devon, and later the principal historic family seat of Tiverton Castle after his mother's death. Much of his life was spent in armed territorial struggle against his near-neighbour in Devon Sir William Bonville of Shute, Devon, at a time when central control over the provinces was weak. He had been married off as an infant to Margaret Beaufort, granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and started his career an adherent to the Lancastrian Beaufort party. On the demise of the Beaufort party he abandoned it in favour of the Duke of York. When York sought the support of Courtenay's arch-enemy Bonville, Courtenay fell out of favour with York. The Wars of the Roses led to the deaths and executions of all three of his sons, successively 6th, 7th, and 8th Earls of Devon, and the eventual attainder of his titles and forfeiture of his lands. The Earldom was however revived in 1485 for his distant cousin Sir Edward Courtenay, KG, (died 1509), third in descent from his great-uncle.