22 February, 2007

Short, random post

I'm going to be mostly offline for the next few days, so in the meantime, here are two quizzes to test your knowledge of Edward II and his reign. I got all the answers correct (I'd have been deeply ashamed if I hadn't! ;) By the way, one of the questions is wrong - it doesn't give the correct alternative for the number of Edward and Isabella's children. Hint: go one higher.

For those of you who like quizzes, here's a link to loads more, on medieval history in general. I particularly like the 'Henry Who?' one (and got them all correct, she boasted).

The Rules for Historical Fiction some of us did last year have surfaced again, on Erastes' journal (and several others). Erastes has done a few Rules of his own, on Regency fiction - hilarious and well worth a read!

I've added a new poll to the sidebar on the left, 'who's your least favourite medieval king of England?' To the two people who've voted for Edward II - I'm assuming that you misread the poll and thought you were voting for your favourite king. Otherwise, shame on you! :) However, my lovely Edward is currently in second place in the 'favourite king' poll with 14% of the vote, behind Richard III with 17%. Henry II is making a late challenge, though, with 13%. Henry III is the only king without a single vote, the poor man. To be honest, I'm amazed that nineteen people besides me have voted for Edward II as their favourite medieval king. I was sure Susan Higginbotham and I would be the only ones.

It's also great that 20% of people who've voted in the 'fate of Edward II in 1327' poll believe in something other than Edward being murdered in his cell at Berkeley. 62% believe in the 'red-hot poker' death - not as high as I might have thought, given that it's usually presented as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I'm planning a series of posts on the events of 1327 to 1330, and some of the oddities and implausibilities in the traditional narrative...watch this space!

17 February, 2007

Eleanor and Margaret de Bohun

Continuing my 'case-studies' of fourteenth-century noblewomen, here's the lowdown on two of Edward II's nieces and their families.

Eleanor de Bohun, the second but oldest surviving child of Edward II's sister Elizabeth and Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, was born at Knaresborough Castle on 17 October 1304, two years after her parents' marriage at Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth, the widow of Jan, Count of Holland, was twenty-two at the time of Eleanor's birth, Humphrey twenty-eight. Eleanor was presumably named after her grandmother, Eleanor of Castile. It's likely that her birth caused her father some disappointment, as she was his second child and second daughter, and he returned to London shortly after the birth. Both King Edward I and the twenty-year-old Lord Edward gave Elizabeth's valet forty marks for bringing them news of Eleanor's birth.

Elizabeth and Humphrey's eldest child, Margaret, had been born in late September 1303 but died young, probably in 1305. This child was perhaps named after Elizabeth's stepmother, Queen Marguerite, to whom she was close. Countess Elizabeth gave birth extremely regularly: her third child Humphrey was born in October 1305 (he also died young), and her fourth child John was born on 23 November 1306. He would succeed his father as Earl of Hereford in 1326 (a few years after Humphrey's death in battle).

Between 1306 and 1309, Elizabeth had a well-deserved break from childbearing. But she had plenty more children to come: another Humphrey, born on 6 December 1309, who succeeded his brother John as Earl of Hereford; another Margaret (see below), born on 3 April 1311, twins Edward and William, born in 1312 or 1313, the oddly-named Eneas, born in 1314 or 1315, who was still alive at the time of Hereford's death in 1322 but died unmarried before 1343, and Isabel, born 5 May 1316.

This was the day that Countess Elizabeth died, aged thirty-three, in childbirth. Little Isabel died soon afterwards. Given Elizabeth's frequent childbearing, her death in childbirth is hardly surprising. Eleanor de Bohun was eleven when she lost her mother. On 16 March 1322, when Eleanor was seventeen, her father was horribly killed at the Battle of Boroughbridge when an iron pike pushed up between planks of the bridge where he was fighting skewered him through the anus.

Eleanor grew up at Amesbury Priory, in the care of her aunt Mary, Edward II's sister. The king gave the priory a very generous allowance of 100 marks annually for the upkeep of Eleanor and her younger cousin, Joan Gaveston. Some of Eleanor's other cousins were there, such as Isabel of Lancaster and Joan de Monthermer - they were later professed as nuns.

The 1320s were a difficult time for the de Bohun siblings; although they were nieces and nephews of the king, their father had died in rebellion against him. If Elizabeth, arguably Edward II's favourite sister, had still been alive, their situation would surely have been a lot easier, but as it was, the de Bohun boys - at least, the older ones, John and Humphrey - were imprisoned at Windsor Castle. In late 1326, Eleanor's brother Edward was with their uncle Edward II during his flight to South Wales - Edward sent his nephew, aged about fourteen, to negotiate with Queen Isabella. The young Edward was one of the men who took part in Edward III's coup against Isabella and Roger Mortimer in 1330.

Rather oddly, Eleanor didn't marry until some time in 1327, when she was in her early twenties - a pretty advanced age for a noblewoman at this time. However, given her family's status in the 1320s and Edward II and Hugh Despenser's tyranny, disruptions in familial affairs were quite normal. There seems to have been quite a rush on noble weddings in 1327! Eleanor's brother John had married in 1325, but his bride was Alice, daughter of the Earl of Arundel, who was loyal to Edward II and whose son was married to the Younger Despenser's daughter, so this was a 'safe' marriage. Likewise, Eleanor's sister Margaret also married in 1325, to Hugh de Courtenay - whose paternal grandmother was the Elder Despenser's sister.

I'm not quite sure why the much younger Margaret de Bohun was chosen for Courtenay, who was born in 1303 and was therefore much closer in age to Eleanor. Several websites claim that Eleanor was married to Roger, Lord Clifford (born 1300), who was badly wounded at Boroughbridge in March 1322 and finally died of his wounds in 1327. It's possible that they were married, or at least betrothed, but I'm not totally sure. It would be one explanation for her late marriage.

At any rate, Eleanor was married in 1327 to James Butler, who was created first Earl of Ormond in 1328. James was born in about 1305, so was probably a little younger than his wife. He and Eleanor had several children:

- John, born 6 November 1330, died young
- James, born 4 October 1331. He succeeded his father as second Earl of Ormond, married Elizabeth Darey in 1346, and died in 1382.
- Petronilla, or Pernel, date of birth unknown, married before 8 September 1352 to Gilbert, Lord Talbot. She married several years later than her brother, so was presumably younger.

James Butler died on 6 January 1337, and Eleanor was a widow at the age of thirty-two. Around 1340 - or 1343, according to some authorities - she was remarried to Thomas Dagworth. Thomas was one of the lieutenants of Eleanor's brother William, who was created Earl of Northampton in 1337. William was one of the great commanders of the Hundred Years War, and Thomas Dagworth was his deputy in Brittany, where he won a famous victory at La Roche-Derrien in 1347. Although she was in her mid to late thirties at the time of her marriage, Eleanor bore Thomas two children:

- Thomasine, died 20 July 1409, who married William, Lord Furnival (born 1326) - son of Joan de Verdon from my previous post!
- Nicholas, died January 1401. He owned and rebuilt Blickling Hall in Norfolk, which later belonged to the Boleyns. A full-length brass of him can still be seen in the church of St Andrew, Blickling.

Thomas Dagworth was killed in an ambush in Brittany, in 1352. Eleanor de Bohun outlived him by eleven years, dying on 7 October 1363 - ten days before her fifty-ninth birthday. She outlived all but one of her siblings. Eleanor's descendants include: dukes of Beaufort, Newcastle, Norfolk, earls of Ormond, Desmond, Shrewsbury, Dorset, Rochester, Sandwich, Arundel, Stafford, etc etc...:)


Margaret de Bohun, the sixth child and second surviving daughter of Humphrey and Elizabeth, was born on 3 April 1311. She was five when her mother died, and almost eleven when her father was killed. On 11 August 1325, at the age of fourteen, she was married to Hugh de Courtenay; he was twenty-two, born on 12 July 1303. Part of her dowry was the manor of Powderham, near Exeter, which she left to her son Philip. Hugh's father, also Hugh, became Earl of Devon in 1335, when he was past sixty; he died on 23 December 1340, so Margaret was twenty-nine when she became Countess of Devon.

Margaret de Bohun and Hugh de Courtenay had - lots of children. Ascertaining exactly how many is difficult! Leo van de Pas' Genealogics, a site I trust, gives them eight sons and nine daughters, a whopping seventeen children altogether. Their eldest son, named Hugh, inevitably, was born on 22 March 1327 - so Margaret became a mother shortly before her sixteenth birthday. (Hugh is sometimes said to have been born on 22 March 1326, but as that is only about thirty-two weeks after his parents' wedding, it seems highly unlikely.) Young Hugh died in September 1349, perhaps of the plague.

Other children of Margaret and Hugh included:
- William, Archbishop of Canterbury 1381-96. His predecessor Simon Sudbury was beheaded in the Tower of London, during the Peasants' Revolt. He married Richard II and Anne of Bohemia in 1382, and crowned Anne as Queen of England. William was an avowed enemy of John Wycliffe and the Lollards.
- Philip, died 1406, said to be the the sixth son of Hugh and Margaret, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. His son Richard was Bishop of Norwich.
- Elizabeth, died 1395, Lady of the Garter in 1386.

Hugh de Courtenay, Earl of Devon, died on 2 May 1377, a few weeks before the death of his wife's cousin, Edward III. He was almost seventy-four; he and Margaret had been married an incredible fifty-two years, which must make them strong contenders for the longest marriage of the Middle Ages. Their eldest son Hugh was long dead, and his son, (yet another) Hugh, had died several years previously, so Hugh was succeeded as Earl of Devon by his twenty-year-old grandson Edward, son of his second son Edward. Earl Edward lived until 1419 and was known as the 'Blind Earl'.

Margaret de Bohun de Courtenay, sixty-six when she was widowed, died on 16 December 1391, at the age of eighty. She had outlived all her siblings by decades, and also outlived all but one of her cousins, Edward I's grandchildren (Margaret Marshal, daughter of Edward II's half-brother Thomas of Brotherton, lived until 1399). She was buried in Exeter Cathedral.

10 February, 2007

A Notorious Royal Favourite: Piers Gaveston

"I do not remember to have heard that one man so loved another. Jonathan cherished David, Achilles loved Patroclus. But we do not read that they were immoderate. Our King, however, was incapable of moderate favour, and on account of Piers was said to forget himself, and so Piers was accounted a sorcerer." (Vita Edwardi Secundi)

I suppose most people have heard of Piers Gaveston, whose life and career have often been used as a warning against royal favourites. Originally I'd intended to write a post on his political life, his three exiles from England, execution, and so on, but then I thought that this is easily available to read elsewhere - for example, his Wikipedia page, Everything, and this article. There are also a couple of biographies of him, by J. S. Hamilton and Pierre Chaplais. So I decided I'd rather concentrate on more personal issues, which are not so well-known.

Piers is often described as French, but that's not strictly true; he came from Gascony, ruled back then by the English crown, and more specifically, from the area of Bearn. His family came from the tiny village of Gabaston (also called Gavaston). In English documents of the early fourteenth century, Piers was called 'Pieres de Gavaston'.

Piers' date of birth is unknown. However, Edward I granted him the wardship of Roger Mortimer in July 1304, after Roger's father Edmund died; Piers must have been at least twenty-one, so he was born in the summer of 1283 at the latest. As he was described as Edward II's contemporary, and Edward was born in April 1284, Piers was probably not born before 1281. His paternal grandfather was named Garsie; his father was Arnaud de Gabaston, first mentioned in 1269 and one of the leading barons of Béarn. Arnaud married, sometime before 30 June 1272, Claramonde (or Claramunde) de Marsan, whose father Arnaud Guillaume de Marsan and brother Fortaner de Lescun were major landholders in Gascony. Claramonde's sister Miramonde married Pierre Caillau de la Rue Neuve, of Bordeaux; it's possible that Piers Gaveston was named after this uncle, as the name 'Piers' doesn't appear to be a Gabaston/Gavaston family name.

Arnaud and Claramonde had several children. The eldest son was Arnaud-Guillaume, who used his mother's surname of de Marsan and fathered four sons. Piers was the second son, and there were apparently two others, Gerard and Raimond-Arnaud, about whom nothing is known. There were at least two sisters, who married in 1286 and 1291, so were evidently older than Piers. According to the Vita Edwardi Secundi, Piers' sister Amie accompanied him when he was besieged at Scarborough Castle in 1312, and his illegitimate daughter was presumably named after this sister (see my post about Amie). Arnaud de Gabaston also had an illegitimate son named Guillaume-Arnaud de Gabaston (all these Arnauds get confusing, don't they?)

Piers' mother Claramonde died in 1287, when he was no more than six - this gave him something in common with Edward II, who was also six when his mother died. There were rumours that Claramonde was burned as a witch; she wasn't, but it seems that many of Piers' contemporaries believed it, and it may be the origin of the Vita's comment that he was 'a sorcerer'.

Arnaud de Gabaston, heavily involved in Gascon politics and several times a hostage to Philip IV of France, fled to England in 1297. His son Piers first appears in English records this year, accompanying Edward I's army to Flanders. He was probably somewhere between fourteen and sixteen, and received a wage of twelve pence a day, a standard sum for a man-at-arms. He fought in Scotland in the late 1290s, when he was a member of the king's retinue. By late 1300, he had made the fateful move that has made his name famous (or infamous) even seven centuries later: he transferred into the young Lord Edward's household.

Piers was one of the ten pueri in custodia, royal wards, who were Edward's companions; he was the only one not accompanied by a magister, which probably means that he was the eldest. As his biographer points out, it's somewhat ironic that he was apparently intended as a role model for the Lord Edward (who became Prince of Wales in early 1301) - he was a little older and also militarily experienced. In August 1303, Piers is described in Edward's household records as the Prince's socius (companion), not his scutifer (squire) - apparently, he had already found favour with the young prince.

The first real sign that their relationship was a very close one comes in the summer of 1305. Prince Edward had a falling-out with his elderly and hot-tempered father, which lasted several months. King Edward I ordered a reduction in the size of his son's household, and also ordered some of his companions away from him. One was Piers, another was Gilbert de Clare (not Edward's nephew, the future earl of Gloucester, but Gloucester's cousin, the Lord of Thomond). On 4 August 1305, the twenty-one-year-old Prince Edward wrote a letter to his sister Elizabeth, asking her to persuade their stepmother Queen Marguerite to intercede with the king (he also wrote to Marguerite directly).

Edward self-pityingly described his 'suffering' over being deprived of his friends: "If we had those two [Piers and Gilbert], along with the others whom we have, we would be greatly relieved of the anguish which we have endured and from which we continue to suffer from one day to the next." ["si nous eussoms ceux deux, ove les autres que nous avoms, nous serrioms molt alleggez del anguisse que nous avoms endure, e suffroms uncor de iour en autre".]

Incidentally, William Wallace of Braveheart fame was captured on 5 August, the day after Edward wrote this letter, and was executed on 22 August. Edward was not reconciled to Edward I till they jointly held a banquet on 13 October, and thus had nothing to do with Wallace's death.

In May 1306, Prince Edward, Piers Gaveston and 265 others were knighted at Westminster. Some months later, on 26 February 1307, Edward I banished Piers from England. The odd thing is that it doesn't seem to have been intended punitively; the king decreed that the exile wouldn't begin until 30 April, awarded Piers an annual salary of a hundred marks (sixty-six pounds), and mentioned that Piers should 'await his recall'. Perhaps Edward I was concerned about the closeness of his son's relationship with the handsome Gascon. Prince Edward accompanied Piers to Dover, and showered him with money and gifts: the vast sum of £260, five horses, no fewer than sixteen tapestries in diverse colours [what was he supposed to do with them in exile?!], and two quilted tunics. A little later, Edward sent on two jousting outfits, one of green velvet decorated with pearls and gold, and silver piping, and the other of green sindon. His dearest friend would not be embarrassed on the jousting field by a lack of luxurious clothes.

Edward I died at about 3pm on 7 July 1307, near Carlisle. The new king, who was in or close to London, heard the news on the 11th - thanks to the royal express messengers, who travelled approximately 315 miles in four days. Recalling Piers Gaveston from exile was almost certainly the first act that Edward II made as king. Piers was back in England within about ten days. That year, Edward made him earl of Cornwall, married him to his (Edward's!) niece Margaret de Clare, and awarded him one of the highest incomes in England - around £4000 a year. Edward, now twenty-three, and Piers spent the first Christmas of his reign together in Wye, Kent, a manor of the Abbey of Battle. In early 1308, Piers acted as Regent of England for two weeks, while Edward went to France to marry Isabella. Perhaps surprisingly, he did nothing at all controversial during his tenure (apart from making the earls who remained in England kneel to him), and his biographer Hamilton postulates that, without Edward, he was uncomfortable and out of his depth.

Piers played a huge role at the coronation of Edward and Isabella at Westminster Abbey on 25 February 1308. All the other English earls wore cloth-of-gold, as they had the right to do in the king's presence, but Piers dressed in regal purple trimmed with pearls. To the great annoyance of just about everyone present - including Queen Isabella, I imagine - Piers took last and most important place in the procession into the Abbey, just in front of Edward and Isabella themselves. He carried the crown of St Edward and fastened on one of Edward's spurs - both highly symbolic and significant acts. At the banquet afterwards, Edward II offended everyone by ignoring his young wife and her family and focusing all his attention on Piers. The royal favourite was responsible for the organisation of the banquet, and it went badly wrong - the food wasn't served until after dark, was badly cooked, and the service was also poor. Strangely, Edward had ordered tapestries for the occasion, at a cost of five pounds, bearing his own arms and Piers' - not Isabella's. If Edward was intending to insult his wife specifically, and the French in general, he certainly succeeded in a very public fashion.

A further exile followed in the summer of 1308, thanks to Edward and Piers' alienation of most of the barons. Edward hit on the brilliant idea of making Piers his Lieutenant of Ireland, to the annoyance of Piers' enemies, who'd hoped to see him leave England in disgrace. Piers, perhaps surprisingly, performed his duties as military adminstrator extremely satisfactorily. While there, it's almost certain that he went on campaign with Roger Mortimer. Readers familiar with later events may be surprised to learn that Roger was a close friend and companion of Edward II and Piers Gaveston in the early 1300s.

Edward II exerted all his abilities - of which he had plenty, when he chose to exercise them - and got Piers' exile overturned in the summer of 1309. Unfortunately, Piers had learnt neither tact nor the importance of not alienating the powerful English barons. It was in the period 1309-1311 that he gave them insulting nicknames: the earl of Warwick was 'the mad dog of Arden', the earl of Pembroke was 'Joseph the Jew', the earl of Lancaster 'the churl', the earl of Lincoln 'Mister Burst-Belly' or Monsieur Boele-Crevée, and Piers' brother-in-law the earl of Gloucester 'cuckoo's bird' or, cruelly, 'whoreson' (filz a puteyne). I wonder if Edward II was offended by this unkind reference to his favourite sister Joan of Acre. At least the nicknames give us an indication of what Lincoln and Pembroke, at least, must have looked like.

Piers Gaveston was exiled for the third and last time in November 1311. The difference this time was that his wife Margaret was about six months pregnant, and it's not even clear that he ever left England; the barons sent men to look for him in Cornwall. When exactly he returned to court is not clear, as the chronicles are very confused, but he was with Edward II and Margaret in York in early 1312. It may be that he returned, despite the personal danger to him, for the birth of his child.
Margaret gave birth to his daughter Joan in January, and after her churching in February Edward II threw a very expensive party to celebrate the birth. He paid his minstrel 'King' Robert forty marks for entertaining them. Queen Isabella joined them, and she and Edward II conceived Edward III at this time. [I know I've written this a few times, but as a lot of people still parrot the stupid notion that Edward II wasn't Edward III's father, including a novel published last year, I think it bears repeating.]

Piers was executed, or murdered, on Blacklow Hill, Warwickshire, on 19 June 1312. He was run through with a sword and beheaded, then left lying in the road by the earls of Lancaster, Hereford and Arundel (the earl of Warwick, who'd abducted him, didn't even have the nerve to attend the execution, or rather murder). They at least gave him the honour of beheading, the nobleman's death, because he was the brother-in-law of the earl of Gloucester. His body was taken to the Dominicans at Oxford, who sewed his head back on and embalmed him. Edward II's reaction to news of his beloved's death can only be imagined. Although many people had hated Piers, the sympathies of most of the country swung violently towards the king, and civil war seemed likely.

Piers and Edward II had been forced to leave Piers' possessions behind at Newcastle, when the earl of Lancaster almost captured the two. These possessions were later catalogued and - reluctantly - returned to Edward. It's fascinating to see the kind of things Piers owned: pages and pages of jewels, buckles, clasps, more than sixty horses, pots, tapestries, cloaks, curtains, chasubles, cups, basins, carts....
Just a handful (out of a few hundred) examples:
"a buckle of gold with two emeralds, two rubies, two sapphires, and eleven pearls";
"a golden piece of jewellery with nine emeralds and nine garnets"
"another belt of lion skin, decorated in gold with a cameo, worth £166"
"one hundred silver shields, marked with an eagle"
" a fur-backed altar frontal of green cloth, decorated with gold birds and fishes"

A ruby worth the staggering sum of £1000 - perhaps a million or two in modern money - was found on Piers' body after his death. He was also famous for owning silver forks, for eating pears. Let it never be said that the man was lacking in style.

Piers Gaveston - only about thirty at the time of his death - was by no means a vicious or cruel man. He was handsome, athletic, bright, flamboyant, arrogant, and supremely confident (over-confident). He gave Edward the confidence that the young king lacked. In later centuries, Piers was often used as a salutary warning against kings' favourites, which has tended to obscure his own personality. He was about as far from the stereotypical image of him as an effeminate, perfumed court fop as it's possible to be: he was a very successful military leader in Ireland, King of the Joust, who could knock any man off his horse almost at will, a soldier as early as 1297 when he might only have been fourteen, or probably sixteen at the most.

It's difficult to see what he did to merit the death penalty, and I find it easy to imagine that the men who killed him were horrified by later events, when Piers was replaced in Edward's affections by men who were far worse.

Edward II, to his great credit, never forgot Piers Gaveston. He had his friend buried at Langley Priory, which Edward himself had founded in 1308, in early January 1315 (Piers was excommunicated at the time of his death and thus couldn't be buried in consecrated ground. Even after Edward managed to get this lifted, he was evidently hugely reluctant to bury his friend.) The funeral was vastly expensive and obviously a very emotional occasion for Edward. He paid £300 for three cloths of gold to dress Piers' embalmed body for burial and ordered 23 tuns of wine (something like 22,000 litres, or 5800 gallons). Edward later endowed Langley with 500 marks per year. He was deeply concerned with the well-being of Piers' soul and bodily remains: between October 1315 and October 1316 he ordered every Augustinian house in England and Ireland to celebrate a daily mass for Piers' soul; in 1319 he paid for a Turkish cloth to be placed over the tomb, which was replaced later by gold cloth; in 1324 he sent his confessor to Langley to mark the anniversary of Piers' death, and in 1325 he sent a man there with 100 shillings to give to each friar, so they would remember Piers. In 1326, the last year of his reign, he made provision for numerous clerks at numerous houses to pray for the soul of his lost love.

Piers Gaveston, earl of Cornwall, royal favourite par extraordinaire, born Béarn 1281/83, died Warwickshire 19 June 1312.

03 February, 2007

Ancestry of Edward II

As is widely known, Edward II's parents were Edward I, born 1239, King of England 1272 to 1307, and Eleanor, the Infanta Leonor de Castilla, probably born in 1241, died 1290. Eleanor was the twelfth of her father's fifteen children, and succeeded her mother as Countess of Ponthieu and Montreuil, though she never used the title in England.

Edward's grandparents were:

Henry III, King of England, born 1207, reigned 1216 to 1272. Crowned at the age of nine, Henry reigned for fifty-six years, one of the longest reigns in British history. In many ways, his reign foreshadows that of Edward II; Henry advanced his 'favourites' (actually his half-siblings and his wife's relatives) and was involved in long-running conflicts with his barons, led by his brother-in-law Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester. Henry was even imprisoned for a time, though he never suffered his grandson's fate of deposition. On the plus side, Henry is remembered for his ambitious re-building programme at Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, etc, and was a devoted husband and father.

Eleanor (or Eleonore or Alianore, etc) of Provence, Queen of England, c. 1223 to 1291. Married to Henry III in January 1236, when he was twenty-eight and she was probably twelve or thirteen. Eleanor was the second of four sisters, who all became queens. They were: Marguerite, who married Louis IX of France; Sancha, married to Henry III's brother Richard of Cornwall, who became King of the Romans in 1257; and Beatrice, the wife of Louis IX's brother Charles of Anjou, King of Sicily. She and Henry had two sons and three daughters; Eleanor outlived all three daughters. She retired to Amesbury Priory in 1285.

Fernando III, King of Castile and Leon, 'the Saint', 1199/1201 to 1252. He fought against the Moors as part of the Spanish Reconquista, capturing Cordoba, Jaen and Seville. He was first married to Elisabeth of Swabia, who was known as Beatriz in Spain; she bore him ten children, including his heir Alfonso X, 'the Wise'.

Jeanne de Dammartin, Queen of Castile and Countess of Ponthieu in her own right, 1216/20 to 1279. She was betrothed to Henry III of England, but Blanche of Castile, mother of Louis IX and Regent of France, opposed the match, and it never took place. Instead, Blanche proposed a match with her widowed nephew Fernando III for the heiress, and they married in 1237. Jeanne returned to Ponthieu after she was widowed in 1252, and lived till 1279.

Edward II's great-grandparents were:

John, King of England, born 1166
Isabelle, Queen of England and Countess of Angoulême in her own right, born c. 1187/88
Ramon-Berenger IV, Count of Provence, born c. 1195/98
Beatrice, Countess of Provence, daughter of Count Thomas I of Savoy, born c. 1198/1205
Simon de Dammartin, Count of Aumale, born c. 1180
Marie, Countess of Ponthieu in her own right, born 1199
Berenguela the Great, Queen of Castile in her own right, born 1180
Alfonso IX, King of Leon, born 1171

Only one of the eight (King John) was born in England; of his sixteen great-great-grandparents, not a single one was born in England. They included: King Henry II of England (who was born in Le Mans); Eleanor, duchess of Aquitaine, queen of France then queen of England; Alix (or Alais or Alys or Adele, etc), daughter of Louis VII, who was betrothed to Richard I of England and repudiated by him as she was allegedly his father Henry II's mistress; King Fernando II of Leon; King Alfonso VIII of Castile; and Eleanor, queen of Castile, daughter of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine (she was born in Normandy, not England).

Edward II himself was born in Caernarfon, Wales, though he lived practically his whole life in England. However, his ancestry was only minimally English!