25 April, 2007

Birthday Wishes, Mortimer Ancestry, and Joan de Geneville

Yes, it's the 25th of April again, which means it's a heartfelt 'Happy Birthday, Sire!' to King Edward II, born in Caernarfon Castle on this day in 1284, a mere 723 years ago.
Also, a Happy Birthday (somewhat less heartfelt, admittedly) to Roger Mortimer, born 720 years ago today, probably in Wigmore Castle. This post is about Roger's family, and his wife Joan de Geneville.

Roger's father Sir Edmund Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore, was born in about 1251, and was originally intended to become a clerk; he studied theology at Oxford. However, the death of his elder brother Ralph in 1276 made him heir to his father, and he had to give up his studies and return to the Welsh Marches, where he and his younger brothers played a big role in the capture and death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, in 1282. Edmund married Margaret de Fiennes in September 1285.

Edmund Mortimer's mother Maud de Braose is one of those brilliant medieval women someone really should write a novel about. She was born, probably in the late 1220s, as one of the four daughters of William de Braose, who was hanged by Llywelyn the Great in 1230 for his adulterous affair with Llywelyn's wife Joanna, illegitimate daughter of King John (fans of Sharon Penman will be familiar with the story, recounted in Here Be Dragons). Maud's mother Eva was one of the daughters of the great William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and Regent of England (died 1219). Maud de Braose, Lady Mortimer, died in 1301, in her seventies.

Edmund's father Roger Mortimer Senior, born in about 1230 or 1232, was himself the grandson of Llywelyn the Great: Roger's mother was Gwladys Ddu ('the Dark-Eyed') one of Llywelyn's daughters - either by Joanna or, more likely, by Llywelyn's mistress Tangwystl. Roger the grandfather was an intensely loyal supporter of Henry III and the Lord Edward (later Edward I) in the Barons' Wars of the 1260s. After the Battle of Evesham in 1265, Roger sent Simon de Montfort's severed head to his wife Maud. I can't help wondering what the heck she did with it ("We've enlarged the windows to make the place a bit brighter, over there on the wall you'll see some lovely Castilian tapestries sent to us by the Lady Eleanor, and on the table, there's the rotting skull of the Earl of Leicester. It adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the solar, don't you think?")
During the battle of Evesham, Roger killed Hugh Despenser, one of de Montfort's greatest supporters and father and grandfather of the notorious Hugh Despensers of Edward II's reign. Decades later, Despenser the grandson swore revenge on Roger Mortimer the grandson for this act. Roger Mortimer the grandfather, who crops up fairly often as a character in Sharon Penman's The Reckoning, died in 1282.

The younger Roger Mortimer's mother was Margaret de Fiennes, probably born sometime in the 1260s. Her father was William de Fiennes, who was killed at the Battle of the Golden Spurs (Battle of Courtrai/Kortrijk) on 11 July 1302. Margaret's brother John married Isabelle, who was, you guessed it, yet another child of Guy de Dampierre, the many-daughtered Count of Flanders of my previous post. Margaret's sister Joan married Baron Wake of Liddell and was the grandmother of Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, and her aunt Maud de Fiennes was the mother of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, Edward II's brother-in-law.

Margaret de Fiennes' mother Blanche de Brienne (c. 1245-1302), Roger Mortimer's grandmother, was the excellently-named "Dame de Louplande". Blanche's father Jean de Brienne (c. 1221-1296) was the half-brother of Yolande, Queen of Jerusalem, who was the second wife of Emperor Friedrich II. Jean's mother Berenguela was the daughter of King Alfonso IX of Leon and Queen Berenguela of Castile, which makes Jean the nephew of Fernando III of Castile, Edward II's grandfather. In 1256/57, Jean married his second wife Marie de Coucy, widow of Alexander II of Scotland - so Roger Mortimer's great-grandfather was the stepfather of King Alexander III.

Both of Roger's grandmothers, who died in 1301 and 1302, his grandfather William de Fiennes, who died in 1302, and his great-grandfather Jean de Brienne, who died in 1296, lived well into Roger's lifetime. I can imagine that he must have heard some wonderful stories from them.

Roger Mortimer's siblings were: John, king's yeoman, who died in 1318; Maud, who married Theobald de Verdon; and Joan and Elizabeth, who became nuns. Hugh Audley, who married Piers Gaveston's widow Margaret de Clare, was the son of Isolde Mortimer, who's often said to have been Edmund's daughter. However, Audley was born around 1290, so obviously can't have been the grandson of Edmund Mortimer and Margaret de Fiennes, who married in 1285. Isolde may have been a daughter of Edmund by an unknown first wife, but as he was a clerk, it's more likely that she was his sister, making Hugh Audley Roger's cousin, not his nephew.

Edmund Mortimer died in July 1304, of wounds sustained at the battle of Builth, when Roger was seventeen. At the request of the Lord Edward, Prince of Wales, King Edward I granted Roger's wardship to Piers Gaveston, who wasn't too much older (in his early twenties).
Margaret de Fiennes lived long enough to see her son become the lover of a queen, overthrow a king, and suffer death by hanging. She died in 1334, probably in her seventies.

In September 1301, fourteen-year-old Roger Mortimer married Joan de Geneville, aged fifteen, maybe sixteen - she was born on 2 February 1286, or possibly 1285. Joan was the eldest of three daughters. Her father Piers died in 1292, and her grandfather Geoffrey de Geneville, anxious to avoid the break-up of his estates, placed her sisters Beatrice and Maud at Aconbury Priory. [The law of primogeniture, 'the eldest son inherits', did not apply to women, so in the absence of a male heir, sisters inherited equal portions of land. Placing women in convents was the only way they could be disinherited at this time.] The Geneville inheritance comprised vast estates in England, Wales and Ireland.

Joan also inherited lands in France from her mother Jeanne de Lusignan, or Jeanne de la Marche (died 1323), who was the daughter of Hugh XII de Lusignan, Count of La Marche and grandson of Isabelle d'Angoulême, widow of King John and Edward II's great-grandmother.

Geoffrey de Geneville, Joan's grandfather, was a French baron of Champagne who inherited estates in England, Wales and Ireland around 1250. Geoffrey was another loyal supporter of the Lord Edward in the Barons' Wars, and acted as Justiciar of Ireland and as a mediator between Edward I and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. He died in 1314, in his eighties. Joan de Geneville's paternal grandmother was Maud de Lacy (died 1304), granddaughter of the earl of Norfolk and also granddaughter and co-heiress of Walter de Lacy.

For twenty years, Roger and Joan enjoyed a close and successful relationship. Twelve children survived into adulthood, four sons and eight daughters, and Joan accompanied Roger to Ireland during his successful career there as King's Lieutenant and Justiciar. All that changed in early 1322, when Roger submitted to Edward II during the king's successful campaign against the Marchers, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Joan herself was imprisoned in Hampshire; three of her elder daughters and three of her sons were also imprisoned, in convents (the girls) and castles (the boys).

In February 1323, Queen Isabella and Eleanor de Clare both petitioned Edward II in an apparently unsuccessful attempt to improve Joan's living conditions. Isabella referred to Joan as 'our dear and well-beloved cousin'. One the men-at-arms acompanying Joan during her imprisonment was William Ockley, later one of Edward II's jailers at Berkeley Castle - proof that what goes around comes around, I suppose.

[Edward II's harsh and unnecessarily vindictive treatment of the wives and children of his enemies is, for me, by far the most unpleasant aspect of his reign, and impossible to justify. As Edward had never before shown cruelty to women, you could argue that the women's treatment was an initiative of the Despensers, but Edward certainly condoned it, and as the king, has to be held responsible. The fact that some of the women he allowed to be so badly mistreated were close members of his family - e.g., his nieces Margaret and Elizabeth de Clare - makes his behaviour even more reprehensible.]

Roger Mortimer and Joan de Geneville didn't see each other again for nearly five years. When exactly they did see each other again is unclear, but may have been in November 1326, when Roger visited his manor of Pembridge, where he and Joan had married twenty-five years earlier. By this time, Roger had been the lover of Queen Isabella for a year or so. What they had to say to each other can of course never be known. How Joan, now forty years old, felt about having to watch her husband conduct an affair with the Queen of England is equally unknowable.

Poor Joan's existence is often ignored by historians and novelists, who focus more or less exclusively on Edward II and Isabella's dysfunctional relationship and ignore the woman who bore Roger Mortimer twelve children, and who was, from the limited evidence available, his supportive and loyal partner for many years. The modern trend of lauding Isabella's 'courage' and 'empowerment' in 'getting out of a bad marriage' doesn't sound quite so impressive when you remember that she deprived Joan of her husband. Somehow, though, Joan de Geneville has always struck me as a dignified woman who would have made the best of the difficult situation.

Whether Joan ever visited Edward III's court, where her husband held power, is unknown. Roger occasionally travelled to the Marches unaccompanied by Isabella or the court, which may have been visits to Joan. In early June 1328, after the wedding of two of their daughters, Roger and Isabella stayed with Joan at Ludlow Castle, which was part of Joan's inheritance from her grandfather. As Isabella was the (dowager) Queen, Joan would have been forced to give precedence to her husband's mistress in her own castle. I'd love to write a fictional scene about that - and I'd give a great deal to know where Roger slept that night!

1328 was an eventful year for the Mortimers - two daughters married, two sons died (John and Roger), and they became grandparents, when Elizabeth Badlesmere, wife of their eldest son Edmund, gave birth to yet another Roger (1328-1360). Edmund had been born in 1302 or 1303, when Roger was only fifteen or sixteen.
It's also possible that their eldest daughter Margaret made them grandparents in the late 1320s - her eldest surviving son Maurice Berkeley was probably born in 1330, but she also had a daughter Joan, who may have been older.

In December 1328, Roger paid for nine chaplains to sing daily masses for the souls of Roger himself, Edward III, Queens Isabella and Philippa, Joan, and their children. In August 1329, two more of Roger and Joan's daughters were married at Wigmore, where Roger held a great Round Table tournament. Presumably Joan was present, with Isabella and Edward III. It's just possible that Queen Isabella was pregnant by Roger at this time, which is pretty intriguing.

After Roger's execution in 1330, Joan's lands were taken into royal hands, and some were not restored until 1336, when she was finally granted a full pardon. This seems to suggest that Edward III was not entirely convinced of her innocence, which he surely would have been if she'd had no contact with Roger during the 'Isabella Years'. It also suggests that Roger and Joan had maintained some kind of relationship - which is, to me, far more interesting than the usual portrayal of Joan as colourless, sexless, unnecessary, abandoned in favour of a younger and far more beautiful woman.

In 1332, Joan petitioned Edward III to have Roger's body removed from the Greyfriars church at Coventry, presumably to be re-buried at Wigmore. This also suggests that she still retained much affection for her husband. She never re-married, or entered a convent.

Joan de Geneville survived Roger by more than a quarter of a century and died at the age of seventy or seventy-one, on 19 October 1356. Her husband's mistress Queen Isabella outlived her by a mere twenty-two months. In 1354, Edward III had reversed all the charges against Roger, so Joan died as the Dowager Countess of March, with her twenty-eight-year-old grandson Roger Mortimer high in the King's favour, and the second Earl of March.

Shortly before she died, Joan may have heard the news that another of her grandsons, twenty-six-year-old Maurice Berkeley - son of Lord Berkeley and Joan's eldest daughter Margaret Mortimer - had distinguished himself at the Battle of Poitiers on 19 September, but had been badly wounded and taken prisoner.

At the time of her death, Joan was the grandmother of the Earls of Pembroke and March, and the mother-in-law of the Earl of Warwick and Lords Berkeley, Charlton and Braose. She had lived long enough to be a great-grandmother several times over:
- Her eldest great-grandchild, Sir John Tuchet, may have been born as early as 1347, but certainly by 1350 - he was the grandson of Joan's daughter Joan and her husband James Audley.
- Edmund Mortimer, later the third Earl of March, son of Roger Mortimer and Philippa Montacute, was born in 1352. Edmund was to marry Edward II's great-granddaughter, Philippa of Clarence.
- Thomas Berkeley, son of Maurice Berkeley and his wife Elizabeth Despenser - daughter of Hugh the Younger - was born in 1353. One or more of Maurice and Elizabeth's three daughters Katherine, Agnes and Elizabeth may have been older than their brother Thomas, but their dates of birth are not recorded. Near the end of the fourteenth century, Thomas Berkeley's daughter Elizabeth, great-great-granddaughter of Roger Mortimer and Joan de Geneville and great-granddaughter of Hugh Despenser the Younger, married the Earl of Warwick, another great-grandson of Roger and Joan.

Only four of Joan's twelve children outlived her: Beatrice Lady Braose, Agnes Countess of Pembroke, Katherine Countess of Warwick, and Geoffrey, who inherited Joan's French lands. (The date of death of Joan's daughter Maud, Lady Charlton, is not known, but she was still alive in 1345.)

Joan de Geneville, Lady Mortimer and Countess of March, great heiress, 1286-1356: a woman with a fascinating life and a fascinating family, who deserves to be remembered as far more than a colourless, abandoned nonentity.

90 comments:

Carla said...

Fascinating post! I like the sound of Joan de Geneville.

Edward I was also notoriously vindictive to the wives and children of his enemies - Robert Bruce's sisters and daughter and Isobel MacDuff held in cages (cages? Was the man a lunatic?), and the little son of Davydd ap Gruffydd held prisoner for a lifetime. Like father, like son, in this case, maybe? As far as I know it wasn't routine practice at the time.

I wonder if Roger Mortimer took it as an insult when he was made a ward of Piers Gaveston? Roger at 17 may well have thought he didn't need to be anybody's ward, let alone someone who was only a few years older than himself. That strikes me as the sort of thing that might rankle and reappear as a grudge against Edward II later. Is anything known of Roger's reaction?

What's the evidence that Isabella was pregnant by Roger Mortimer in 1329? I hadn't heard that.

"I'd give a great deal to know where Roger slept that night!" On the sofa, if he had any sense? Or drunk the night away with his guards :-)

I confess to being intrigued by Roger Mortimer Senior, his wife and Simon de Montfort's head. What on earth was going on there?

Alianore said...

Thank you, Carla. I have a soft spot for Joan, myself - I find it a little irritating to see her so consistently ignored by historians and novelists. If I ever wrote a novel about Roger, I'd portray him as torn between the two women - far more interesting than having him abandon Joan without a second thought, IMO! :)

Unfortunately, Ed II inherited his father's vindictiveness, and both men's treatment of women and children reflects very badly on them, I think. I'll be writing a post on Isobel MacDuff at some point, so I'll look at her incarceration in a cage in more detail then. Ed I even ordered Robert Bruce's daughter Marjorie to be imprisoned in a cage at the Tower of London, although she was only ten or twelve! Fortunately, he relented soon afterwards - that was evidently too mad, even for him.

Wardship is kind of odd to me - at 17, Roger had been married for 3 years and was already a father, but according to the law, a man couldn't inherit his lands until he was 21. Roger bought Piers out of the wardship, for 2500 marks (1666 pounds), which is pretty unusual, I think.

In fact, Roger was a close friend and supporter of Piers and Ed II - he and Piers were together in Ireland when Piers was King's Lieutenant there, he didn't set his seal to the Boulogne Agreement, and in 1308 he was one of the few barons who stayed at court with Ed and Piers and was prepared to defend them, even in battle, if necessary. It was the actions of the younger Despenser, much later, that pushed Roger into rebellion - he and his family had always been incredibly loyal to the Crown. Very foolish behaviour on Ed II's part - to allow his favourite to lose him Roger's support.

The chronicler Jean Froissart says that Isabella was pregnant by Roger - although Froissart wasn't even alive at the time, later on he knew Ed III very well, so it seems an odd thing to have made up completely about Ed's mother. There's other, more circumstantial evidence as well (which I can add in another comment if you're interested! ;). Ian Mortimer postulates that Isa gave birth in Dec 1329; Alison Weir suggests she was pregnant at the time of Roger's downfall, and miscarried. It's far from certain, but as she was still fairly young (in her mid 30s in Nov 1330) it's possible.

The whole Simon de Montfort severed head situation is fascinating...there's another novel waiting to be written, right there. ;) According to the London annalist, Simon's genitals were shoved into his mouth before the head was sent to Maud...

Carla said...

2500 marks sounds like a fortune - is it? From the sound of it, maybe both Piers and Roger did all right out of the deal, assuming Roger (a) had the money and (b) paid it over - Piers got the money and Roger got his independence. I had no idea that the ward could buy himself out - I wonder why more boys didn't do it? Maybe it wasn't strictly allowed and this was a one-off that the authorities turned a blind eye to.

Very foolish indeed. Edward II reminds me in some ways of Mary Queen of Scots - I can see how they may have been attractive characters, but sometimes they seem badly in need of having some sense shaken into them :-)

Torn between two women sounds like a classic plot, doesn't it? Beauty, glamour and lust on one side, affection/love and loyalty on the other. Power versus happiness, glamour versus reality. I wonder why it's not used?

Maybe you can make Isabella's pregnancy into another post? It runs the risk of getting lost in the comments.

Yes, the Simon de Montfort thing is a plot waiting to be developed, isn't it? Either Roger Mortimer Snr was a nutcase with a bizarre taste in interior decor, or he and/or his wife had some pretty powerful personal grudge against Simon.

Susan Higginbotham said...

I don't have it to check, but if I recall correctly, Linda Mitchell in her Portraits of Medieval Women discusses Maud Mortimer and posits that the head was a trophy for some unknown service she performed for the royalists.

Speaking of the unfortunate Simon, D. C. Cox in The Battle of Evesham details the fate of his hands and feet: a hand to the wife of a Marcher in Cheshire (these guys really knew how to please the ladies); one hand was venerated at Evesham Abbey; one foot was sent to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, an ally of Simon's; and the other foot ended up in the hands of John de Vescy, a Montfortian who gave it to the abbey of Alnwick, where a shoe-shaped reliquary was made for it.

Gabriele C. said...

Well, that makes Arminius who sent Varus' head to Maroboduus of the Marcomanni look quite normal.

... and I'd give a great deal to know where Roger slept that night!

In Isabella's bed. She doesn't strike me like a woman willing to share. Anything. :)

But my head spins with all those relations. I can barely sort out my own. No dear, Heide is the oldest daugher of your great aunt Marianne and she's married to that mad priest. The one whose daughter married the Argentinian street musician is Hiltrud, and she's Marianne's youngest daughter.

Alianore said...

Gabriele: I know, the relationships are mad, aren't they? And everyone having only a few given names just makes it worse!

Susan: yes, you're right - Mitchell talks of "heroic levels of activity that the sources simply fail to identify", as the 'gift' of Simon's head is unlikely to have been given to Maud merely because of her husband's actions. Henry III also gave her lands and money - to Maud herself, not to Maud and Roger. Mitchell postulates that she acted as a spy, go-between and messenger - though I assume she must have been pretty spectacular at spying, if that's true!

Carla: thanks for the inspiration for a future post on 'Isabella's pregnancies and children'! :)

2500 marks was an absolute fortune at the time - the equivalent of a few dozen years' salary for a poor knight. Roger buying Piers out is the only time I've heard of that happening (though I'm not an expert on wardship).

Yes, if anyone ever invents time travel, I'll be back there trying to shake some sense into Edward. ;) Hugh Despenser too - the man who had the ability to salvage Ed's reign, and ruined it instead - and Roger Mortimer ("You're an intelligent man! Why are you making exactly the same mistakes as your predecessors??!")

The Roger-Joan-Isabella triangle sounds like a novel crying out to be written...there's also the themes of revenge, the corruption of power, the Wheel of Fortune spinning...

Carla said...

"Henry III also gave her lands and money - to Maud herself, not to Maud and Roger. Mitchell postulates that she acted as a spy, go-between and messenger - though I assume she must have been pretty spectacular at spying, if that's true!"

This is why historical spy thrillers are uniquely well placed to invent a behind-the-scenes plot! Lands and money I can understand as a reward for spying. I still think the head implies something more, some sort of personal enmity, like Mark Antony's wife Fulvia wanting Cicero's head because he had insulted her/her husband.

Gabriele C. said...

Or maybe she's a Salome. :)

Liam said...

Good post, it's odd she's been so ignored by historians - apparent from anything else, her long life and large amount of surviving children (for the time) distinguishes her from her fellow women of the time!

Alianore said...

"Bring me the head of Simon de Montfort!" :-)

I do wonder what the heck was going on between the Mortimers and de Montfort...

Alianore said...

Thanks, Liam! I suppose Isabella is much more 'glamorous', not to mention royal, powerful and very beautiful (allegedly) - which is probably seen as potentially much more interesting in fiction than affection, loyalty and reality, as Carla put it. But the choice between the two is also fascinating. ;)

elflady said...

Hi, guys, new here.
Does anyone now anything about what Roger's family coat of arms was, or his personal crest, or maybe signet ring? Or what his colours were? As far as I remember, Maurice Druon says somewhere in his novel that his colours were blue and red. Is that correct? Oh, and any idea on how the man looked like (are there any images, effigies, or maybe statues depicting him)?

Alianore said...

Hi Elflady - welcome, and glad you found the blog!

In her bio of Isabella, Alison Weir describes Roger as "tall, swarthy of complexion and strongly built". However, I don't know where she got that info, or if she just thinks that's what he should have looked like. ;) There's no effigy of him (his tomb no longer exists, and it's not even clear where he was buried) and there are no reliable contemporary portraits of him.

This page shows the Mortimer arms - apparently blue and yellow, not blue and red. Afraid I don't know about any other crests, etc he might have used.

Ian Mortimer's The Greatest Traitor is well worth a read if you're interested in Roger!

elflady said...

Thx, Alienore! Glad to have found your site!
Yes, I am indeed quite interested in Roger. Alison Weir's book sort of left me with a bitter taste, since she blames it all on him. I've recently read Ian Mortimer's The Greatest Traitor, and lo and behold, somebody's finally doing the man some justice!

Alianore said...

Hi elflady. I agree about the Weir bio - it irritates me immensely, how she blames anything bad on Roger (I've written this in quite a few posts - it's rather a sore point with me ;). It was great to read such a balanced and well-written bio of Roger, keeping him at the forefront of events.

elflady said...

Gee, take a look at this: http://www.lothene.demon.co.uk/others/women14.html
Queen Isabella fighting in Scotland????? Being sent to a monastery?????

Alianore said...

Elflady: I know, it's brilliantly bad, isn't it??! I ran across it while I was researching a post on Isabel MacDuff, and was going to post it here. In fact, it's so brilliantly inaccurate I really have to post it on the blog sometime...;)

elflady said...

It's more than just bad, it's even worse than "Braveheart", because that was just a tale, but this page pretends to be *serious*! Arrrgh, all this ravings and slanders give me such a rage!

Alianore said...

Hey Elflady! I've just written a new post and added this link - acknowledging you. I don't mean to be awful, but I think it's great that you get in a rage over things like that...me too!! :)

elflady said...

Thank you, I am honoured. I only wish I'd found some other, really interesting page, not that one!

elflady said...

Today it's the 1st of August, so happy anniversary for Roger's escape from the Tower, the place that deserves Dante's words "Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here", one of the most daring feats ever!

Alianore said...

Happy Anniversary to Roger! Hmmm, I would have written a post on it if I'd remembered...oh well, next year! :)

Anonymous said...

Watch out for a book being published for summer 2010 entitles 'In The Shadow of a Tainted Crown' by Fran Norton which deals with the Mortimer family during the end of 1200 to Roger's execution.Joan de Geneville, is featured as a loving partner.

Kathryn said...

Thanks for the tip! I'll certainly look out for that one - I'd love to see Joan de Geneville, whom I like a lot, as an important fictional character rather than being ignored all the time in favour of The Wonderful Beautiful Isabella. It's so tedious and predictable.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone subscribe to the idea that Isabella secured Edward 11 release from Pontefract? A monastery in Ireland, some years ago, is supposed to have found a journal which related to a tall stranger being secreted to the Continent at the time of Edward's imprisonment.
Also, that Edward 111, sent messengers throughout Europe for a number of years on a 'secret mission'. However, when one of his messengers returned after meeting a hermit in Italy whose description was tall, fair haired and blue eyed and was not of that country. No further messengers were ever sent on this 'secret mission'. Could it be that Edward 11 did NOT die at Pontefract?

Anonymous said...

Whoops!!! I meant Berkeley Castle!

Kathryn said...

I think it's not only possible, but highly likely, that Ed II survived Berkeley. There's a letter of the archbishop of York in January 1330 saying Ed was alive; a letter of an Italian bishop c. 1337 saying Ed survived Berkeley; the earl of Kent's and his adherents' certainty in 1330 that Ed was alive; Ed III spending a lot of time in Germany in 1338 with a man who claimed to be his father, etc etc. I've written a lot about all this - see the posts linked under 'Ed II's Reign, Aftermath' in the sidebar.

Anonymous said...

Regarding John Mortimer who died 1318 - does anyone know how or where he died? I found a John Mortimer being slain in a tournament at Worcester I have always thought this was Roger Mortimer's [First Earl of March] brother. Also, found a Walter who became Rector of Kingsland. I did a lot of research in the Leominster archives. Can anyone else either support or refute these facts?

Kathryn said...

The death of John Mortimer is found on the Fine Roll in early 1319, when he was said to be the king's yeoman. No cause of death is given, so that's very interesting about the tournament!

Anonymous said...

What of Walter?

Anonymous said...

Have found the information link confirming Roger Mortimer's[FEOM]
brothers. See web page England, Earls created 1207-1466. It also confirms he had brothers Hugh [Rector of Radnor] Walter [Rector of Kingston] and Edmund [Rector of Hodnet].
An interesting document I think you will agree!It also confirms John was killed at a tournament by John de Leyburn.

Kathryn said...

Good find! That's really interesting; I didn't know Roger had so many brothers.

Anonymous said...

Kathryn - do you have any details of the birth of Roger Mortimer, one of Roger Mortimer [8th Baron of Wigmore] and Joan de Geneville sons?
The only piece of informations I can find is a marriage licence taken out for 1321 to a Joan le Botiler, daughter of Edmund le Botiler,Lord of [Trim] in Ireland. That was an unconfirmed. There appears to be no record of his death either!

Kathryn said...

Looking at Ian Mortimer's biog of Roger, p. 320: Ian gives the younger Roger's date of birth as 1305/06, and says he was the second son, after Edmund. Apparently Roger did marry Joan le Botiler or Butler in 1321, and Roger the elder and Joan de Geneville settled their Irish lands on him that year, intending for him to found a Mortimer line there. His wife Joan must have died young and childless, as he was granted permission in Sept 1327 (Patent Rolls 1327-30, p. 166) to marry the dowager countess of Pembroke, Marie de St Pol. She was probably a bit older than him, born 1303/04. His Irish lands were settled on his brother John on 27 Aug 1328, so he must have died before then. (I don't know the source for that.)

Hope that helps! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kathryn - those facts do fit in with the Mortimer family tree I am at present compiling. Had thought Roger [the son] must have been born either between1305/6 or much later between 1314 to 1317 which seemed a bit unlikely given the details of his licence to marry in 1321.
Agnes, his sister married Laurence de Hastings who was later to become Earl of Pembroke. How does that fact fit into the picture? Was he de St Pol's heir?

Kathryn said...

Laurence Hastings (1320-1348) was the only son of the great Kentish heiress Juliana de Leyburne (1303/04-1367; I have two blog posts about her) and John Hastings (1286-1325). John Hastings' mother Isabel de Valence was the sister of the earl of Pembroke, Aymer de Valence, who died in 1324, so that's the connection. (The count of St Pol was Aymer's father-in-law, but Aymer was childless.)

Laurence was betrothed to Hugh Despenser the younger's daughter Eleanor, but Queen Isabella vindictively veiled her and 2 of her sisters as nuns 5 weeks after Despenser's execution, and Laurence married Mortimer's daughter Agnes instead.

Anonymous said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROGER AND JOAN, YOU HAVE KEPT THE WORLD GUESSING FOR OVER 700 YEARS HOPE YOU KEEP THEM GUESSING FOR ANOTHER 700!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathryn, did you know there is a Mortimer Society based in Ludlow? There is a meeting day on the 8th May in Ludlow - would you be interested?

Kathryn said...

Hi! I think I've vaguely heard of the Mortimer Society. I'd really love to attend the meeting in Ludlow - would really, really love to - but unfortunately as I live in Germany and am teaching a seminar that Friday and Saturday, it just won't be possible. :( Please do let me know how it goes, though!

Anonymous said...

Will certainly do that! There is more info on their web page under Mortimer Society.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathryn, Have been trying to find out more about Peter Grandison, husband to Roger Mortimer's youngest daughter, Blanche.
Was he from Herefordshire?
I know Blanche is buried at Much Marcle in Herefordshire and wondered why he does not appear to be buried there!

Kathryn said...

Hi! I have to admit, to my shame, that I know precisely nothing about Peter Grandison. (OH, the humiliation!! ;) I wonder if he was related to Katherine Grandison, who married William Montacute, earl of Salisbury (the one who died in 1344?) When I get time, maybe at the weekend, I'll try to do a bit of digging into Peter...I wonder why he's not buried with his wife...hmm...

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathryn, Re: The Mortimer Soc. meeting on Sat 8th May at Ludlow. It was an excellent day which started with a talk by Dr David Stephenson from Bangor University, on the Marches during the period of Llywelyn ap Gruffud [RM the grandfather's period]. How the Marcher lords governed by sword, marriage and diplomacy.This was followed by the battle at Pilleth where Edmund Mortimer was captured [22/6/1402]which changed the fortunes of Owain Glendower.After lunch John Grove gave a talk on the battle of Usk Castle in 1405 between the Welsh and Mortimer forces. Finally, excerpts from Henry 1V, depicting Mortimer, Hotspur and their wives. It was a lively and diverse meeting which I know you would have enjoyed. As the Society is putting on many more events in the future maybe you will find time to visit or even become a member?
Also, met Ian Mortimer, and purchased his 'Greatest Traitor'which he duly signed.

Anonymous said...

Kathryn, I am trying to verify who in fact owned the Herefordshire village/church in Much Marcle at the time of RM death in 1330.
Ian Mortimer's book states that it belonged to Margaret Fiennes however, in my research I found it belonged to Joan de Geneville. I realise Ian Mortimer is a great authority and has access to much more info that I have but as my research was done at Leominster library archives, just wondered whether maybe Margaret Fiennes may have made it over to Joan at some point!

Kathryn said...

Many thanks for the info! I really, really wish I could have gone. :( Great about meeting Ian Mortimer (who I'm in touch with) and I would have really enjoyed the talks on the Marcher lords especially. Would love to visit in the future, but as I live in Germany and my family live in the Lake District, I'm not sure how it would work. But anyway, I'll check out their website and see about membership...

Anonymous said...

I think many members would be very interested in your website as it is such a wonderful source of information and debate!

Kathryn said...

Thank you! I hope so!

Anonymous said...

Kathryn, Need a little help - please!
Ian Mortimer states in his book 'The Greatest Traitor', that Blanche, RM youngest daughter was buried at Much Marcle, given to her by Margaret Fiennes. However, on my research trail I found reference to Much Marcle being owned by Joan de Geneville. Its possible I suppose that Margaret gave it to Joan in the first place. However, there was a statement [which unfortunately I can't verify],that Joan not only left instructions for her own burial to take place there but that she had her 'erring' husband's remains removed to Much Marcle 'for fear of vandalism' at Wigmore.
I know John Challis 'Time Team' programme found Joan's licence to claim her husband's body was found recently and Wigmore Chronicles states both RM and JdG were buried at Wigmore but Joan was a resourceful woman and if she believed that her husband's grave was in danger of vandalism feel sure she would have put in place the necessary arrangements to protect RM. I believe that Roger and Joan still loved each other until the end. Maybe not the heated passionate love of youth but nevertheless a deep and abiding love. But, again only conjecture!

Kathryn said...

Ohhhh, interesting! Will get back to you on this one asap (today's a bit tricky...but soon! ;)

Anonymous said...

Update on Blanche Mortimer - in the latest Mortimer History Soc. Newsletter an article on Blanche Mortimer, states that the manor of Much Marcle WAS given to Blanche by her mother Joan de Geneville!

Kathryn said...

Thanks for that! It does make more sense to me that Joan de Geneville would have owned the manor - as Margaret Fiennes had a brother, who had a son, it seemed a tad unlikely to me that she would have inherited Much Marcle. Margaret's father did own lands in England, but not in the Marches, apparently.

It's my belief that Roger did continue to love Joan and that his relationship with Isabella was a pragmatic one based on what the queen could do for him rather than a passionate love affair (which has always seemed excessively convenient to me given how much Roger got out of being the queen's favourite). But I can't prove it, of course. ;-)

Anonymous said...

There are different types of love ie.physical, romantic,also an abiding love which may lose the excitementafter many years of child bearing. Then there was infatuation.
A knight's vows were to aid 'damsels in distress' and Isabella gave a wonderful performance
at the French court not merely a damsel but a Queen! What right minded knight would not feel it his duty to ride to such a lady's aid?
Roger, had by then been parted from Joan for a very long time and must have been feeling a great sense of loss. He was a man that needed a woman not just as a lover but a companion. This is all possible but as you so rightly say it happened a long time ago and no-one really knows for sure! Great to explore the various possibilities though!

Kathryn said...

Centuries later, it's not possible to say what kind of relationship Mortimer had with the queen, and the endless romanticising about them I see online and in books - usually by the same people who condemn Edward II for his own presumed adultery and drone on about Poor Little Isabella The Tragic Neglected Victim while conveniently ignoring the existence of Joan de Geneville - really gets on my nerves. There are many possible scenarios, and the one I favour is that Mortimer cold-bloodedly set out to seduce the queen in order to get control over her son, so that he could invade England and avenge himself on Edward. Oh, and become the latest, and worst, royal favourite with all that that entailed.

If Mortimer was sorry about being parted from his wife for so long, he shouldn't have committed so many crimes in 1321/22! If you can't do the time, don't do the crime...He and his uncle were extremely lucky to avoid execution.

Anonymous said...

The crimes of the Mortimers were no greater than those of both Edward and the Despencers.
Despencer the younger in particular stopped at nothing to gain wealth and power and manipulated a pliable monarch with devastating effect.
Isabella had stood years of abuse and I often wonder what a modern day woman would have done in her place! No! There were sins on all sides and it was a period when festering resentment finally overtook the characters involved. I do not believe Roger was so cold and calculating - why? Well! For the adherents that stayed loyal to him when they could have quite easily changed sides and deserted him! I do not dispute the fact that absolute power corrupts absolutely and the last few months of his life he acted too arrogantly for the young Edward to countenance.
Also, women know when a man is truly in love with them - maybe not immediately but over a period of time there would have been tell tale signs and Isabella would have known and re-acted differently. Her words when he was captured emphasise how she felt about Mortimer.
Sorry! I believe their love was a passionate one but also think Roger never stopped loving Joan.

Kathryn said...

The crimes of the Mortimers were no greater than those of both Edward and the Despencers.

I never said they were. Both Edward II and the Despensers suffered horribly for their sins and crimes. I mean, does anyone really deserve to have their body fed to dogs? Nowadays, commentators talk so much about how horrible the Despensers were while ignoring the nasty way the Mortimers behaved - extortion, theft and so on.

Isabella had stood years of abuse I completely disagree. Like what? The only thing I can think of that was unpleasant was Edward confiscating her lands in Sept 1324 and granting her an income instead, 2613 pounds a year - so she was hardly impoverished. There's a common myth that Edward 'removed' her children from her, which is utter nonsense, as is the myth that he abandoned her when she was pregnant in 1312, and other than that I honestly can't think of any ways in which she suffered any 'abuse'. She certainly more than made up for her few months on a reduced income by granting herself in 1327 the largest income that anyone in the Middle Ages, kings excepted, received, and leaving her son the king humiliatingly short of money.

For the adherents that stayed loyal to him when they could have quite easily changed sides and deserted him! Lots of Mortimer's men did desert him in 1322, though of course not of all them did, and by 1330 his behaviour ensured that he had hardly any allies left; even his cousin and staunch adherent Thomas Wake fled from England and joined Henry Beaumont in plotting an invasion.

I believe their love was a passionate one Fair enough! I don't and never will. I don't believe that Hugh Despenser was passionately in love with Edward II either, though Edward certainly loved him.

Kathryn said...

Oops, deleted your comment by accident, but still had it in my inbox, so have copied and pasted it:

Anonymous said...

Right! How would you have felt if after just marrying a handsome king and returning to you new country you saw your dowry jewels, jewels that were given by your father, being worn by a 'man'? It was not only an insult to you but to your father and country.
You continually lived in the shadow of this man who was feted and favoured by your husband flaunting his affection for all the world to see. Even after his death there were a string of others Damory, Audley but then you had to sit passively by and watch Despencer [Y] bring your husband's reputation and crown into disrepute. My goodness! It would have stuck in many women's craw never mind a high born French Princess.
Abuse wears many hats and suits none! By evidence written, Isabella did try and bring Edward into a loving marriage but when both Edward and Despenser are reputed to have threatened her life what was she supposed to do - meekly bow her head for the axe?
There is nothing so dangerous as a woman scorned - very true!
Mortimer, admittedly lost it in the last months which seems quite odd given that he had served the crown most loyally for much of his life.He had known Edward I and must have seen that the young prince had more of his grandsire's traits than those of his father's.
Pride can account for many shortcomings in men high or low born and when Edward II brushed aside Mortimer's years of effort in Ireland that must have wrankled more than somewhat!
So there must have been a lot of 'festering' going on resulting in a serious outbreak of revenge.

Kathryn said...

when both Edward and Despenser are reputed to have threatened her life what was she supposed to do - meekly bow her head for the axe?

It’s funny that all the supposed ‘evidence’ that Edward wanted to kill his wife comes after the invasion of 1326, when Isabella needed a cast-iron excuse for the pope and the English bishops as to why she was breaking her marital vows and not returning to her husband, isn’t it? The Brut also says that Edward was accused of wanting to strangle his wife AND his son. Of course he would never have done something so monstrous. As for Despenser wanting to kill Isabella, hmmm. Maybe, but really, would he have dared to kill the king of France’s sister? It’s interesting to see a 1326 letter of Pope John XXII regarding Isabella’s statement that her life was in danger from Despenser; he didn’t seem to believe it. Neither did the prior of Canterbury, Henry Eastry, who knew both Isabella and Despenser well.

Kathryn said...

You think Edward gave Isabella's jewels to Gaveston? He almost certainly didn't: after marrying Isabella in Boulogne, Edward sent their wedding gifts back to Gaveston in England to store safely for him in the Tower, Gaveston being regent of England in the king's absence. There’s nothing to suggest that Gaveston was meant to keep them. Of course, the notion that the nasty horrid male favourite flaunted himself in front of the queen wearing her own jewels does make a nicely sensationalist story that’s appeared in so many novels and online articles that some people seem to think it’s a ‘fact’. (Kind of like the way lots of people still think Edward I threw Gaveston out of a window and that Edward III was William Wallace’s son because it’s in Braveheart.) If Edward did give the French royal jewels away, which would of course have been an gross insult to Philip IV as you say, how come Philip never complained about it? How come Isabella never did?

By evidence written, Isabella did try and bring Edward into a loving marriage

You do know that there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Edward and Isabella’s marriage was pretty successful for many years and that there was genuine affection on both sides, right? Their surviving letters to each other don’t even begin to hint at this supposed ‘neglect’ Edward is so often accused of. When Edward and Isabella were visiting France in the summer of 1313, they overslept one morning (making Edward late for a meeting with Philip IV, to his embarrassment), and one French chronicler slyly gives their night-time 'dalliance' as the reason; this hardly suggests that Isabella was widely seen as some tragic victim of marital neglect or cruelty. Later in the trip, Edward saved Isabella’s life when a fire broke out in their lodgings and he carried her outside, both of them naked, demonstrating that they were sleeping together. Given that Edward II so obviously preferred his own sex, I think he’s to be applauded for actually making a damn good attempt to build a successful sexual and loving relationship with a woman. As a straight woman, I know perfectly well I couldn’t do that. But then, lucky me, I live in a world where I’m not forced to marry someone I could never possibly be attracted to or fall in love with, and no-one condemns or judges me for not loving women.

Kathryn said...

You continually lived in the shadow of this man who was feted and favoured by your husband flaunting his affection for all the world to see.

And this is different how, precisely, to the fate of countless other royal and noble women forced to tolerate their husbands' mistresses? Joan de Geneville, for example, who 'had to sit passively by and watch', as you put it, her husband flaunting his affair with the dowager queen. Catherine of Aragon, proud daughter of two Spanish sovereigns, shunted aside and imprisoned, not allowed to see her daughter even when she was dying, because her husband wanted to marry his mistress. Blanche of Bourbon, who married King Pedro the Cruel of Castile at age 14 in 1353 and was imprisoned days after the wedding while Pedro went off with his mistress, kept in solitary confinement for eight years then murdered. Blanche was a proud French ‘princess’ too; no doubt being imprisoned and murdered ‘stuck in her craw’. Anne Boleyn, beheaded for not bearing a son and falsely accused of utterly vile crimes. Catherine de Medici, whose husband Henri II of France behaved as though his mistress Diane de Poitiers was his real queen and humiliated Catherine beyond endurance. Catherine of Braganza and Edith of Scotland, whose husbands Charles II and Henry I fathered numerous illegitimate children and ‘flaunted their affection’ for their mistresses (Charles forced his queen to accept his mistress Barbara Villiers as lady of her bedchamber). Edward II and Isabella's daughter Joan, who left her husband David II of Scotland because of his endless blatant adultery and returned to England; David’s nobles murdered one of his mistresses in disgust at her excessive political influence. (Kind of like the way Piers Gaveston was murdered, really.) Edward and Isabella’s other daughter Eleanor, whose husband the duke of Gelderland grew tired of her and pretended she had leprosy to rid himself of her. Edward II’s niece Alice of Norfolk, beaten to death by her husband. Was Isabella's 'abuse' really so much worse than all of theirs, because Edward II loved men, not women? Then surely Anne of Denmark, married to James VI/I with his endless parade of male favourites or lovers, suffered the worst ‘abuse’ of all?

Personally, I feel far more sorry for Edward II than for his wife: deeply in love with someone he couldn’t live with because of society’s condemnation and prejudices, forced for political reasons to marry a pre-pubescent he’d never met before, then 700 years later is still being sneered at for not falling madly in love with her and for having the audacity to love men (one book published in 2005 says that his fathering children proves he was ‘capable of normal sexual relations’ – NORMAL??? I cannot believe such attitudes still exist in the 21st century!) Meanwhile, other men’s adultery (Mortimer’s, Edward’s grandson John of Gaunt with Katherine Swynford and so on and so on) is excused and seen as romantic and sweet, their wives ignored and never pitied for ‘continually living in the shadow’ of their husbands’ mistresses, while the men themselves are never condemned for ‘flaunting their affection’ for their extra-marital partners. Who were women, of course...

Kathryn said...

Oh, I've just noticed that you called Piers Gaveston a 'man' in inverted commas. I hope that was intended for emphasis (jewels worn by a man, not a woman) because I'm pretty sure that Gaveston really was a man!

Anonymous said...

WOW!
Many you have quoted lived long after Isabella and Edward II so maybe they kept those events to the forefront of their minds and did not wish to repeat their mistakes.
I never doubted Gaveston was a man but a man like no other Isabella would have encountered surely!
I appreciate your passionate stance on Edward but is there no room to allow other opinions?
The bible in medieval times was adhered to far more than we can ever imagine. The teachings of the church were rigid and uncompromising especially with regard to homosexuality. It is only in the past 20/30 years opinions have slowly changed. Given these facts Edward II behaviour was flying in the face of all religious teachings of the age. Isabella must have been shocked at her husband's behaviour was she not a devout Catholic?
Yes! Yes! I know she finally succumbed to human failings but initially she and Mortimer did not parade their relationship for all and sundry to see only in the final months did this happen according to records. It is this fact and how Mortimer changed so dramatically that really intrigues me!

Kathryn said...

Many you have quoted lived long after Isabella and Edward II so maybe they kept those events to the forefront of their minds and did not wish to repeat their mistakes. Huh??? Sorry but that makes no sense to me. I can quote plenty of women who suffered marital neglect and cruelty before Edward II and Isabella, if you like: Henry II imprisoning Eleanor of Aquitaine for 16 years. Richard I completely ignoring Berengaria of Navarre for almost all their married life and having sex with prostitutes on his death-bed, supposedly. Maybe with men, too. There are many more,

I never doubted Gaveston was a man but a man like no other Isabella would have encountered surely! What, a man who loved men? There have been plenty of them throughout history. Or did you mean a champion jouster and an excellent soldier, unlike her father and brothers? A man who was brilliantly witty? Again, not sure what you mean, sorry.

That's a fair point that Isabella as a devout Catholic was probably deeply shocked by her husband's love of men, and I don't condemn HER for that, not for a second; I do condemn people who live 700 years later but talk about homo/bisexuality as though they live in the Dark Ages.

Kathryn said...

And I do welcome other opinions; I just don't welcome myths and stereotypes (like that whole jewels nonsense) with no basis in fact being presented as though they are!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you misunderstood my meaning on Gaveston 'being like no other man'! I merely wished to point out that his outlandish mode of dress and behaviour would be a shock to a young girl - would it not?
Kathryn, you must realise that you are in a privileged position of accessing so much documented information of that period. Many of us did not have such benefits and therefore had to glean information where we could. The Internet has opened up much of historical data over the past few years but do not lay scorn merely because we have been misinformed by chroniclers and previous authors.

Kathryn said...

I don't mean to scorn, and my apologies if it came across like that. A lot of the sources for Ed's reign are available online now, some for free - the Patent and Fine Rolls and some of the Close, quite a few of the chronicles, etc, which is brilliant. I'm not an academic and I'm no longer at university, and all the primary sources I have access to I've found myself, either online, at my local univ library (which I have to pay to use) or buying them - so I don't actually think I'm privileged. The material is there for anyone who wants to see it.

I so often see the same old myths about Ed and Isa repeated over and over and over and over and over and over and over as 'fact' and it just starts to exasperate me beyond measure.

Maybe Gaveston's mode of dress WAS shocking to Isabella! The way some chroniclers comment on it does sound as though he was unusually flamboyant.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate your comments and bow to you vast knowledge of the period, events and characters and find your blog fascinating and informative. Sincerely believe lively debate provokes alternative views where much is gained by all!
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathryn,
Am trying to find out about one of Mortimer's daughter's husband, James de Audley. Is this the knight that saved the Black Prince at Crecy?
If so, there is reputedly a monument to his four squires on the Bridgemere Estate in Staffordshire, which commemorates their bravery in standing over and defending him when he had been wounded in battle.
Love the sizzling exchanges!

Kathryn said...

Me too! :-) And you're welcome any time, re the previous comment! (Assuming it's the same person). Always glad to help - as you said, I'm passionate about this era, scarily so sometimes. ;)

I must admit to getting a tad confused with the Audleys, and I'm not entirely sure if the James who married RM's daughter Joan in the late 1320s and was born in Jan 1313 was the one who fought with the BP at Crecy. I think (this is from memory so should probably be confirmed! ;) that this James was the son of Nicholas Audley (d 1316) and Joan Martin (d 1322), who had formerly been married to Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln. Nicholas Audley was the first cousin of Hugh Audley, later earl of Gloucester (d 1347) and one of Ed II's favourites. There was another James Audley of the era, confusingly, who married or had a relationship with Eve Clavering, and I don't know how or if he's related to the other Audleys. Maybe he was the Crecy soldier?? Hmmm..

Anonymous said...

Could I ask if your were given the task of casting director for a film on Ed/Isa, RM and JdG etc. Who would you cast in the main parts?
Just to get an idea of the picture you have in your mind's eye!
Know this is frivolous and uncertain whether you do frivolous but think you do!

Kathryn said...

Oh, I definitely do frivolous! :-)

I loved Steven Waddington as Ed in Derek Jarman's 1991 film, and Sophie Marceau as Isa in Braveheart - they look just how I picture the king and queen. Hugh Despenser the Y looks like Richard Armitage, of Robin Hood/Spooks fame. Piers Gaveston is Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian, but more rugged: http://www.warrenandderrick.com/images/2008/05/04/ben_barnes.jpg

And Roger Mortimer, in later life, is the Swiss actor Bruno Todeschini: http://www.cinemovies.fr/images/data/photos/18533/1-journee-2009-18533-1536925359.jpg

We had great fun several years ago in a comment thread here imagining who would play who in a film about Ed's escape from Berkeley in 1327. I seem to remember that Viggo Mortensen, Hugh Dancy and Ioan Gruffudd were mentioned as cast members!

Anonymous said...

Think Steven Waddington should have played Henry VIII in the Tudor series.
Piers Gaveston I would cast David Tennant. Agree with you on Isabella's
role. RM [when young] would cast -think his name is Aiden Williams he is in the Vampire TV series.John de Warenne [a young Oliver Reed] and JdG the heroine in 'The Prince of Persia'.
Wouldn't it be a terrific production? We will have to get Andrew Davies to write the script [with your direction on actual accounts].

Kathryn said...

Damn shame Waddington didn't play Henry VIII instead of JRM, isn't it (the small role of Buckingham is hardly a consolation). I'll have to look up Aiden and the others. Oh, I'd also like Keeley Hawes as Eleanor (de Clare) Despenser. Sounds like a terrific production! ;)

Anonymous said...

Looked up the Swiss actor Bruno T and would have cast him as Mortimer of Chirk and Rufus Sewell as the mature RM.

Anonymous said...

Kathryn,
Is there any way the official court documents could have been 'doctored' i.e. orginals replaced.
Edward III was a clever man and I did have a wicked thought that just maybe he had some of the court documents altered to hide the more controversial aspects of his father's reign.

Kathryn said...

Hmmm, somehow I can't see quite Rufus Sewell as the younger RM, as he's too tall - I always see RM as quite short and stocky. No idea why!

I wouldn't put it past Ed III to do something like that, or at least want to, but there are so many court records it would probably have taken years to falsify them, or even some of them - then there are the chronicles that he had no control over (though he did have Ranulph Higden of the Polychronicon brought to court once and Higden never wrote another word after that). I think Ed III's preferred method was propaganda, to blame Roger Mortimer and Hugh Despenser, evil counsellors who had destroyed his parents' functional marriage and given them very bad advice, and could be blamed for his father's many shortcomings and awful reign and his mother's awful regency.

Anonymous said...

Thought the Mortimers were noted for being tall and Roger being described as being 'tall and well set up'!
Anyway, just can't imagine Isa falling for a gnome somehow!
In was the fact that she took a mere baron as a lover which initially prompted my curiosity on this relationship in the first place.

Kathryn said...

But how do we know for sure that they were lovers?? :) There's really very little evidence of a sexual relationship.

Which source says the Mortimers were tall? I dare say most of the nobility were by the standards of the time, given that they had a much better and more varied diet than most people. I didn't say RM was a gnome, but I sincerely doubt he was anything like Ed II's height, over 6 feet.

Anonymous said...

Re: RM, I was merely being facetious on 'the gnome bit'.
Well why did Isa's brother request they leave the French court? Thought that was due to their unseemly liason - or is that also now conjecure?
This may be the area [private correspondence, journals and diaries which may have been kept by Isa and RM which Ed III had destroyed to save his parents reputation!

Kathryn said...

Yeah, Edward III probably destroyed all the 'Roger loves Isabella 4ever' notes. For a relationship most modern commentators say was 'certainly' sexual or 'notorious' there's precious little evidence that it actually was. Pretty odd that she never got pregnant that anyone knows of. (Froissart, writing many decades later, hardly counts.) There's a debate about whether Charles IV asked his sister to leave his court or not - it's far from certain - and even if did, it's mere conjecture that her supposed affair with Mortimer was the reason.

PENNY said...

Extremely interesting reading. Have spent the last hour devouring every piece of information. A member of the Mortimer Historical Soc. maiden name Mortimer.

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks so much, Penny! Really glad you enjoyed the post. I've just put up a new one about some of the grandchildren of Roger and Joan Mortimer, that you might also like.

Anonymous said...

A little late to the fair here, but I guess that is the wonder of the Internet!

Thank you for the wonderful information about Joan de Geneville! Poor overlooked lady; I really do wonder what she felt and thought about it all. And as a widow myself, I feel for her long, lonely life after Roger was gone. Whatever his relationship was with Isabella, and whatever Joan & Roger's relationship was in their later years, clearly their marriage was successful to a degree in their earlier years together--twelve children is more than just tolerating each other for the sake of an heir!

But what I really wanted to mention was, in regard to Blanche Mortimer who married Peter Grandison, I found a couple of pictures of her (very fancy) tomb. She was laid to rest in St. Bartholomew's church in Much Marcle. This one shows the whole tomb:

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1366287

and this one shows a close-up of the face of the effigy:

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1366297

The tomb is a work of art; somebody loved her dearly. Presumably her husband, although she died fairly young and pre-deceased her mother by some years, so it could have been funded by her mother (or both of them, for that matter).

Anyway, thought the pictures might be of interest to somebody.

--CeeJay Britain

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks so much for the gorgeous pics, CeeJay! I LOVE Blanche's effigy. It's stunningly beautiful and amazing. Could just look at it for hours.

I would so love to see a novel from Joan's perspective, a novel that explores the interesting inter-play of the relationship between Roger, Joan and Isabella in a complex and realistic manner than than just dismisses Joan as some boring nonentity whom Roger despises and doesn't think about after he meets the fabulous and perfect Isabella. After all, Roger and Joan had a dozen children, were married when they were 14 and 15 respectively, and seem to have had a close partnership for many years. It makes me quite cross actually that Joan is so ignored. :-(

Kathryn Warner said...

Oops, that should be *rather than, not 'than than'. :) :)

MRats said...

As the character Neo says in "The Matrix", "Whoa!"

(Were you expecting a quote long and profound?)

84 comments! And over a span of five years!

But I'm surprised. I thought you said that you never tried to imagine the way any of them looked. I adore Stephen Waddington, especially as Duncan in "Last of the Mohicans", and he's terrifically handsome in "Sleepy Hollow", too. But I could never picture him as Edward, even though he's played the role, because--to my eyes at least--he so closely resembles the effigy of Philip IV at St. Denis. Consequently, to me he provides a face for Isabella's father. (When you find the time, please take a look at a photo of Philip's tomb and see if you agree.)

"Short and stocky"?! Mel Gibson, my RM, may be many things, and I've called him all of them since the release of "Braveheart", but short and stocky? Never. :-D

You blasted a lot of myths in this section and held your ground when challenged. "Anonymous" accused you of being unfair, but I believe he/she gave as good as he/she got. If you had wanted to, you could have said something about another remark as well:

"Given these facts Edward II behavior was flying in the face of all religious teachings of the age. Isabella must have been shocked at her husband's behavior was she not a devout Catholic?"

In the New Testament, Jesus never mentions homosexuality at all. However, He often speaks out against adultery and uses the word "adulterous" to describe many other acts of unfaithfulness. He also warns against hypocrisy. Anonymous believes Isabella and Mortimer were lovers. Isn't it incongruous to accept their affair and not Edward's--that is, with Piers, of course ;-).

I'm not implying that I understand the Mind of God, or whether or not feelings for one's own sex are a result of environment or, as some suggest, hard-wired at birth. I have no idea. But I do know Jesus said, "Judge not that ye be not judged."--Matthew 7:1

Passions seem to stir at the mention of Roger Mortimer! Though I loved your informative post, by about the fortieth comment, I, on the other hand, was thinking, "Try to imagine how little I care . . . "

Cheers, Kathryn, for defending Edward!

Kathryn Warner said...

Hi Mrats! Will take a look at the tomb for sure. I've just been re-reading the long conversation here with 'Anonymouse', which I'd forgotten about. Frustrating to see someone mindlessly repeating all these myths about Edward and Isabella they're read such as the wedding gifts one, and so full of double standards (Mortimer and Isabella's relationship is romantic and wonderful! Edward and Piers' is 'abuse' of Isabella!). And I've just noticed that s/he referred to Piers as a 'man' in inverted commas. Ouch. Nasty.

Kathryn Warner said...

And this nonsense s/he wrote "but is there no room to allow other opinions?" The usual moan of people who don't like having their opinions disagreed with. If there was 'no room for other opinions' here, I wouldn't have approved his/her comments in the first place.

MRats said...

"Anonymouse"?! :-D How did I, MRats, miss THAT?

And yes, it occurred to me at once that you approved the comments. I know that you accept the beliefs of others. Who, except perhaps Sami, would know better than I? And I admire you for it.

I do try to keep an open mind, even though I'm the "outlander". Your posts have corrected many misconceptions that I picked up over the years from poor sources. Though I may joke or tease you and my fellow followers of your blog, I'm always willing to learn, and I never expect others to agree with me. In fact, I'm shocked if they do!

I'm reminded of that society that meets to decide what Jesus actually said. So much is eliminated in the process that the words "a", "and", "I", "the" are practically all that remain!

As for "short and stocky", I watched "Braveheart" with story notes last night. I wanted to see if any of the inaccuracies got pointed out, and a few of them did! There were also remarks about historical fact that I want to ask about, but they belong with other posts, so you're spared my questions for the moment! :-) According to the notes, Gibson is 5'9"--approximately the same height as the one I visualize as Piers--both of them tall enough but shorter than Edward.

Thank you for teaching us the facts, Kathryn! As Gibson had Edward say to the servant holding the mirror :-( ,"Carry on!"

Kathryn Warner said...

Ah, I knew Braveheart must have been on TV again somewhere last night, as my blog searches were full of 'Isabella and Wallace' type things :P

MRats said...

And how!!! I just counted nine (9) Live Traffic Feed visitors from all over the United States reading posts about Isabella and her children, especially the one listing her pregnancies. (It's an odd coincidence that I would reach that one today in my sequential journey through the blog!) I had no idea that so many viewers watched the American Movie Channel!

Now, thanks to you, they shall learn the truth! Cheers!