I've already written a post about Juliana de Leyburne (or Leyburn/Leybourne/Layborne etc) and her mother Alice de Toeni, but I've been reading up on Juliana and found more interesting information, and this time, I'd like to write about her grandmother Juliane de Sandwich and other members of the family, too.
The three women, Juliana de Leyburne, her mother Alice de Toeni, and her paternal grandmother Juliane de Sandwich, are mostly ignored by historians. I find this really odd, given their pre-eminence. Juliane de Sandwich was the heiress of her father, uncle and grandfather, and probably lived to be more than eighty; Alice de Toeni was the heiress of her father, was married three times, and was Countess of Warwick; and Juliana de Leyburne was the heiress of her father and grandparents, married three times, was Countess of Huntingdon, and lived to her mid-sixties. Why are they not better known? There are no references to any of the women in Jennifer Ward's English Noblewomen in the Later Middle Ages, Linda E. Mitchell's Portraits of Medieval Women 1225-1350, ffiona Swabey's Medieval Gentlewoman, Peter Coss' The Lady in Medieval England...
Juliana de Leyburne, born in 1303 or 1304 - she was three years old when her father died shortly before 30 May 1307 - was Countess of Huntingdon, mother of the Earl of Pembroke and half-sister of the Earl of Warwick, and is sometimes known as the 'Infanta of Kent' because of her vast landholdings in that county: at least forty manors, plus more in Sussex. Her own vast inheritance, coupled with her dower lands from her three husbands - medieval widows were granted a third of their husbands' lands for the rest of their lives - enabled her to live in luxury, as an inventory taken of her possessions after her death in late 1367 shows. Just at one manor, her favourite residence of Preston, near Wingham in Kent, she held:
- £1241, six shillings and eight pence in cash
- £442 worth of jewels and vessels in gold and silver
- four cloths of gold, a cloth of silver and five cloths of silk
- wall hangings [dorsers] for her hall, with the arms of the Leyburne family, and a hanging of Bevis of Hampton and side hangings or curtains [costers] worth more than sixteen pounds
- 'divers beds' with their furniture, worth nearly fifty pounds
- thirty carcases of oxen, 200 hogs, two boars, 280 muttons and other sheep, sixteen salted fat bucks, thirty-two pounds worth of fish...
...and numerous other items, to a total value of over £2000. Her other manors held yet more cash and possessions, to the value of just under £850. Juliana lived mostly at Preston during her widowhood; it had come to her from her grandmother Juliane, and was also the favourite residence of her grandparents.
For the history of Juliana's wealth in Kent, we have to go back a century, to the marriage of her grandparents, William, later first Lord Leyburne, and Juliane de Sandwich. William, born in about 1242, was the elder son of a Kentish noble called Roger de Leyburne (c. 1215-1271), who acted as Steward of the future Edward I's household in the 1250s, and whose important career in the Barons' Wars of the 1260s is well documented, especially his rescue of King Henry III from the battlefield of Evesham in August 1265. The identity of Roger's first wife, William's mother, is unknown, but his second wife was Eleanor de Ferrers, the widowed Countess of Winchester and daughter of the Earl of Derby. Roger de Leyburne founded the Gascon town of Libourne, which is named after him. The Leyburne family came originally from Leybourne, near Maidstone.
Leybourne lies about forty-five miles from Sandwich, the ancestral home of Juliane de Sandwich. She was born in about 1245 - she and her husband were a little younger than Edward I, who was born in 1239 - and married William de Leyburne sometime before 10 October 1265. This marriage of rich and powerful near-neighbours in Kent was designed to consolidate the Leyburnes' influence in the area.
Juliane was the only child of Sir Henry de Sandwich, who was probably born around 1216/20, was Lord of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle, and died before 20 June 1255. He was the elder son of Sir Simon de Sandwich and the brother of Sir Ralph de Sandwich, who is far better known than his elder brother. Henry is pretty obscure, but Ralph was very active politically; he was captured at the Battle of Evesham in August 1265, fighting on Simon de Montfort's side - on the opposite side to the Leyburnes - but was pardoned on 28 November 1266. Evidently Edward I forgave him completely, as he was later Steward of Edward's household, and also Keeper of the city of London [i.e., Mayor] from 1289 to 1292.
Sir Ralph de Sandwich was still alive on 25 February 1308, when he attended the coronation of Edward II and Queen Isabella at Westminster Abbey; he must have positively ancient, as his father was born in about 1190 and his brother around 1216/20 (though he may have been a much younger half-brother). His niece Juliane de Sandwich and her husband William de Leyburne also attended Edward and Isabella's coronation (in the interests of historical accuracy, I should point out that they were summoned to attend, on 8 February, and I presume they actually did.) Sir Ralph died childless, and Juliane was his heir.
Juliane de Sandwich's mother was Joan d'Auberville (c. 1226/30 to 6 November 1280). In common with all the women of the post, Joan was the only child and heiress of her father, Sir William d'Auberville, who died in 1273; the d'Auberville family came from Eynsford, Stockbury and Westenhanger, all also in Kent. On 20 June 1255, Joan d'Auberville de Sandwich married her second husband Nicholas Kiriel (which is also written as Kyriel or Crioll or Criol or a myriad of other ways) and bore a son to him, also Nicholas. This Nicholas, the younger half-brother of Juliane de Sandwich, inherited the d'Auberville lands of their mother, but Juliane was the sole heiress of her father, uncle and grandfather, Henry, Ralph and Simon de Sandwich.
She had this in common with her granddaughter, Juliana de Leyburne - Juliana's mother Alice de Toeni was the sole heiress of her father Ralph de Toeni, but the lands passed to Juliana's younger half-brother Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. However, Juliana was the sole heiress of her father, grandfather, and grandmother.
Juliane de Sandwich's half-brother Nicholas, who died on 19 September 1303, had a son, born probably in 1283, who was also called Nicholas Kiriel, inevitably. This Nicholas was knighted on 22 May 1306, along with the future Edward II, Roger Mortimer, Hugh Despenser and all the rest, and remained loyal to Edward II until almost the end of his reign. On 24 March 1322, just after the execution of the Earl of Lancaster, Nicholas was commissioned to render judgment on a rebel named 'Thomas Colpeper' (ancestor of Katherine Howard's lover?). He was later appointed Admiral of the Fleet and given responsibility for repulsing the invasion of Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer, which challenge he met with a conspicuous lack of success - though, given Edward II's huge unpopularity by 1326, this was hardly his fault.
Returning to William, Lord Leyburne: he was a household knight of Edward I and remained loyal to Edward I and Edward II all his life. His father Roger had been granted Leeds Castle in Kent, which William gave to Queen Eleanor (of Castile) in 1278, in exchange for her taking over his debts to Jewish moneylenders. William accompanied Edward II's sister Eleanor abroad in 1294, after her marriage to the Count of Bar, and as late as 8 January 1308, when he was well into his sixties, he was sent overseas 'on the king's business'. In October 1304, William had been granted protection for going abroad on 'the king's affairs' with twenty-year-old Edward of Caernarfon, 'Prince of Wales, earl of Chester, the king's son', accompanied by his son-in-law Geoffrey de Say and three others, 'by testimony of the said prince'. William was described in the Caerlaverock Roll of 1300 as 'a valiant man, without ifs or buts' [Gullemes de Leybourne aussi/Vaillans homs sanz més et saus si].
William lost his elder son and heir, Thomas, in May 1307. He was granted the marriage of his grandaughter Juliana on 9 May 1308; as the only child of his deceased elder son, Juliana was now the heir to his Leyburne lands and his wife's Sandwich lands, and couldn't be displaced.
William himself died not long afterwards; he was dead by 18 March 1310, when his castle of Montgomery was granted to Hugh Audley senior, father of Edward II's future favourite of the same name. William was probably in his late sixties when he died, his widow Juliane de Sandwich in her mid sixties. They had been married for at least forty-five years. That their marriage was a successful one is perhaps shown by William's settling lands on himself and Juliane together, rather than on himself alone, but as practically always with medieval marriages, there's little real evidence of the success or otherwise of personal relationships, and it all dissolves into interpretation. Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, became Juliana de Leyburne's legal guardian.
William, Lord Leyburne, and Juliane de Sandwich had five children. I don't know their dates of birth or what order they were born in, except that Thomas was older than Henry:
- Thomas, died before 30 May 1307, married Alice de Toeni circa 1300 and fathered Juliana. As with most heirs who died during their fathers' lifetimes, he's totally obscure.
- Desiderata (or Desiderée), certainly the oldest daughter, and probably older than her brother Thomas. She married Geoffrey de Lucy, who was born on 1 August 1267, and it's likely that Desiderata was about the same age (her parents married in or before 1265). Geoffrey's marriage was granted to William de Leyburne in December 1284. Desiderata's son, also Geoffrey de Lucy, was born on 21 January 1287 - the eldest grandchild of William and Juliane by a considerable distance, born when they were in their early to mid forties. Desiderata died sometime after 1329.
- Katherine, who's very obscure, and I don't know if she ever married. She appears in the Patent Rolls of 27 August 1311 as the daughter of William de Leyburne: "Inspeximus and confirmation of a grant in fee, dated at London Wednesday on the morrow of St. Bartholomew 1311, by Katherine daughter of William de Leyburne, deceased..."
The witnesses included Geoffrey de Say, her brother-in-law [below], Nicholas de Kiriel, her cousin, and Thomas de Sandwyco [Sandwich], who must have been a relative of her mother's.
- Idonea (or Idoine), who was probably named after her aunt by marriage, Idonea de Vipont, the wife of William de Leyburne's younger brother. On 28 December 1295, William was granted "the marriage of the son and heir of William de Say, tenant in chief, to marry him to his daughter Idonia and to no one else." This son was Geoffrey de Say (or de Saye), first Lord Say, who proved his age around 15 February 1302, which means he was born around February 1281. Geoffrey was yet another of the young men knighted with Edward et al on 22 May 1306, and died on 3 March 1322. [This was in the middle of Edward II's Marcher campaign, but I can't find out if Geoffrey died during the campaign, or of natural causes.] Idonea and Geoffrey had three sons, Geoffrey, Roger and Ralph, and a daughter Katherine. Idonea was assigned dower on 15 April 1322, and was still alive on 14 November 1337.
- Henry, who led a fascinating career - I'd love to research him in more detail. He was closely associated with Edward II and Piers Gaveston, before Edward became king and afterwards. He was one of Piers' armed retainers after Piers was created Earl of Cornwall in 1307, and the previous year had been one of the twenty-two young knights whose lands were temporarily confiscated when they deserted from Scotland. Piers was another, and so were Roger Mortimer and Robert de Toeni, whose sister Alice was married to Thomas de Leyburne. (The men deserted to go jousting abroad.) Henry married Elizabeth Sharstede in 1297, without a licence, but doesn't seem to have had children.
I don't know what happened to Henry de Leyburne after Piers' murder in 1312, but on 7 May 1317, he was pardoned for outlawry, after he had been "impleaded by Roger de Mortuo Mari of Wygemor [Roger Mortimer of Wigmore] to answer for breaking his park at Stretfeld Mortymer and carrying away deer".
Henry later switched sides away from Edward II and fought for the Earl of Lancaster at Boroughbridge in March 1322. He was captured and imprisoned at Scarborough, and was later sent to Devizes Castle, where he evidently escaped - he was pardoned for this in March 1327. I don't know when that happened, but he joined Roger Mortimer and Queen Isabella, either in France or after they landed in England. [Presumably, Roger had forgiven him for the deer incident.] In November 1326, Henry was one of two men - Robert Stangrave was the other - charged with bringing Hugh Despenser the younger from South Wales to Hereford, where he was to be executed. Henry and Stangrave made sure Despenser was treated as humuliatingly as possible, dressed in a tabard with his coat of arms reversed, a crown of nettles on his head, and pelted with filth.
From serving in the retinue of Edward II's first great favourite to leading the last great favourite to his hideous execution: now there's a fascinating career trajectory, improved still further by Henry's continued outlawry, well into the 1330s. In 1335, he failed to stand trial "on an indictment before William la Zousche and his fellows..." William la Zouche was the stepfather of Henry's niece Juliana.
And returning to Juliana de Leyburne: she was very closely associated with men at the centre of power and influence in the reigns of Edward II and Edward III. Her son Pembroke married one of Roger Mortimer's daughters, as did her half-brother Warwick; her third husband, the future Earl of Huntingdon, was one of the men who arrested Mortimer. Her stepfather the Earl of Warwick abducted Piers Gaveston from the custody of her guardian, the Earl of Pembroke; her uncle Henry had been one of Piers' armed retainers. Her second stepfather William la Zouche, a cousin of Roger Mortimer, was one of the men who arrested the younger Despenser in South Wales in 1326, and later abducted and married Despenser's widow. Despenser was the guardian of Juliana's son after the death of her first husband in early 1325, and was also the nephew of her stepfather Warwick. Juliana's second husband Thomas le Blount was the Steward of Edward II's household, who ceremonially broke his staff to mark the end of Edward's reign in January 1327. And Juliana herself was in high favour with Edward II, as we'll see.
In the third week of June 1320, Edward II sailed from Dover to France, where he had to pay homage to his brother-in-law Philip V for Gascony, of which Philip was feudal overlord. Most of the English nobility went with him, including Queen Isabella, her first trip to her homeland for six years. Also accompanying them was sixteen-year-old Juliana de Leyburne, who had given birth to her son not long before, on 20 March, and her husband John Lord Hastings, in the Queen's retinue. On 18 June at Dover, Edward sent a letter to the Earl of Pembroke, in London - Pembroke had been appointed Keeper of the Realm in the King's absence. Edward enclosed two letters for Pembroke, from Juliana, the Earl's ward and niece by marriage. This is a nice indication that Edward liked Juliana and was willing to indulge her by enclosing her personal letters inside his state correspondence.
Juliana was widowed from John Hastings in early 1325, and further evidence of Edward II's high regard for her comes on 13 July of that year: Licence, out of affection towards Thomas le Blont, steward of the household, for Juliana late the wife of John de Hastinges, tenant in chief, to marry the said Thomas if she will, but if she will not then that which pertains to the king of her marriage shall be reserved to the king.
It wasn't often that women were allowed to choose whether they married or not! Juliana did marry le Blount, but the marriage was perhaps not very successful; he died on 17 August 1328, and by 17 October 1328, she had already married her third husband - William Clinton is described as "her present husband" on that date.
Juliana claimed on 4 March 1327 that a part of her dower from her marriage to John Hastings had been withheld. However, the beginning of Edward III's reign saw a flood of petitions to correct the wrongdoings of Edward II and Hugh Despenser, and while most of them were genuine, it's likely that some were not [the words 'bandwagon' and 'jumping' come to my mind.]
It's notable that Juliana was not one of the wealthy widows persecuted by the younger Despenser, although she was an easy target. Despenser didn't hesitate to take lands from his own sister-in-law Elizabeth de Clare, or Alice de Lacy, the widow of Earl Thomas of Lancaster, or Marie de St Pol, dowager Countess of Pembroke (Juliana's aunt by marriage, though the two women were the same age). For whatever reason, Despenser left Juliana alone, and it's not likely that it was their family ties that stopped him, given his treatment of his own sister-in-law.
Juliana's husband John Hastings had originally opposed Edward II and Hugh Despenser in the Despenser War, but submitted to Edward at Cirencester at Christmas 1321, and was trusted enough to be given temporary custody of Despenser's lands in Glamorgan. His father John Hastings senior had been one of the few men who remained loyal to Edward II and Piers Gaveston in 1308.
Juliana's second husband Thomas le Blount abandoned Edward II in November 1326, as did most of his household, and her third husband William Clinton also stood high in favour with Queen Isabella in 1326/27. On 4 September 1327, Clinton was rewarded for "service to Queen Isabella" with a grant of "the sums payable by Martha, late the wife of Henry Dyne...as the value of the possessions of her husband...". He was rewarded again on 18 September, "for service to Queen Isabella abroad, of the castle, manor and hundred of Halton."
However, a few months earlier on 25 April 1327, there's this intriguing entry: "Pardon, at the request of William de Clynton, to William Aylmer, clerk, for adhering to Hugh Despenser the younger, and other enemies of the king."
That's very interesting, especially the timing of the pardon. There were two men called William Aylmer, parsons of Doddington and Breadwell; both men were closely associated with the Dunheved brothers and their efforts to free the former Edward II, one attempt at Kenilworth in March 1327, the second, successful, one from Berkeley in July 1327. [See my posts here and here for more information.]
I wonder why a man so high in Queen Isabella's favour arranged a pardon for one of the conspirators in the plots to free Edward II?
Anyway, at this time, Juliane de Sandwich, Lady Leyburne, was, incredibly, still alive. She was involved in a lawsuit, dated 26 October 1327, involving a transfer of lands to her eldest daughter Desiderata de Lucy. The writ for her Inquisition Post Mortem was issued on 16 January 1328, meaning that she'd died shortly before. She was in her late seventies at the very least, and was probably over eighty.
She was born roughly halfway through the fifty-six-year reign of Henry III, lived right through his son Edward I's thirty-five-year reign, his grandson Edward II's reign of nearly twenty years, and into his great-grandson Edward III's reign. Or to put it another way, a person alive in Edward III's reign had been an adult at the time of the Barons' Wars of the 1260s. Her death must have felt like the end of an era.
Her lifetime, and her granddaughter Juliana de Leyburne's lifetime, span the years 1245 to 1367. They were both great heiresses, as was Juliana's mother Alice de Toeni and Juliane de Sandwich's mother Joan d'Auberville. Their lives provide examples of how the civil wars that raged in England in the reigns of Henry III and his grandson Edward II could cut through families. Juliane's uncle Ralph de Sandwich was captured by the royalists at the Battle of Evesham, while her father-in-law Roger de Leyburne fought on the royal side; her son Henry de Leyburne fought against Edward II at the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322, her nephew Nicholas Kiriel stayed loyal to Edward II until 1326, and her granddaughter Juliana de Leyburne also remained high in royal favour, both of Edward II and Edward III.
Why are these women not much better-known?