29 April, 2016

Maud of Lancaster, Countess of Ulster

I've written briefly before about Maud of Lancaster, countess of Ulster, and see also here: she was one of the six daughters of Henry, earl of Lancaster, Leicester and Derby (c. 1281-1345), grandson of Henry III, first cousin of Edward II and uncle of Edward's queen Isabella, and Maud Chaworth (1282-1321), older half-sister of Hugh Despenser the Younger. Maud of Lancaster's sisters were Blanche, Lady Wake; Isabella, prioress of Amesbury; Joan, Lady Mowbray; Eleanor, Lady Beaumont and countess of Arundel; and Mary, Lady Percy, mother of the first earl of Northumberland and the earl of Worcester. The only Lancaster brother was the magnificent Henry of Grosmont, first duke of Lancaster, grandfather of Henry IV, king of England and Philippa of Lancaster, queen of Portugal. None of the dates of birth of the seven Lancaster siblings are recorded, but Blanche (born c. 1302/05) was certainly the eldest and Eleanor and Mary the second youngest and youngest respectively. In my opinion, Isabella the prioress of Amesbury was the second eldest, born c. 1305/07 or thereabouts and named after her maternal grandmother Isabella Beauchamp, mother of Maud Chaworth and Hugh Despenser the Younger; she was old enough to go on a pilgrimage to Canterbury with Edward II's sister the nun Mary and niece Elizabeth de Clare in the spring of 1317. This leaves Maud, Joan and Henry, the middle three children, who might have been born any time between about 1308 and 1316 (I estimate Eleanor's birth as about 1318 and Mary's as about 1320), and their order of birth is also unclear. Maud's first husband was born in September 1312, and Joan's husband in November 1310, so possibly Joan was older than Maud, but it's impossible to know for sure. Both Maud and Joan married in 1327. Maybe there was even a set of twins among the seven siblings; I just don't know. Interestingly enough, Blanche, the eldest sibling, was the last to die: she lived until July 1380, when she must have been at least in her mid-seventies. She had married Thomas, Lord Wake, all the way back in 1316, though the couple had no children. Thomas was a first cousin of Roger Mortimer, first earl of March, the brother of Margaret Wake, countess of Kent, and the great-uncle of Richard II.

Maud of Lancaster, the third or fourth daughter of Henry of Lancaster and Maud Chaworth (who died in 1321 when some of her children were still very young) married William Donn de Burgh, only son of Edward II's niece Elizabeth de Clare and her first husband John de Burgh, sometime in 1327. William was fourteen or fifteen at the time, born on 17 September 1312, and Maud probably about the same age. Their only child Elizabeth de Burgh was born on 6 July 1332 and named after her paternal grandmother, and less than a year later William was dead, murdered near Carrickfergus in Ireland. Maud and her baby daughter fled back to England. Elizabeth de Burgh was a great heiress: she inherited the earldom of Ulster from her father and great-grandfather Richard de Burgh, and was also the heiress of her grandmother Elizabeth de Clare and her third of the vast de Clare inheritance. Edward III snapped her up for his second son Lionel of Antwerp, who was born in November 1338 and was six and a half years Elizabeth's junior. Lionel and Elizabeth's only child, Maud of Lancaster's granddaughter, was Philippa of Clarence, born in 1355 and Edward III's eldest grandchild (or legitimate grandchild, anyway; Edward of Woodstock had probably produced one or two of the illegitimate variety by then).

Meanwhile, Maud of Lancaster had married her second husband Ralph Ufford, justiciar of Ireland and brother of Robert Ufford, earl of Suffolk, a close friend and ally of Edward III. Their only child Maud Ufford was born in 1345 or 1346, so was about a dozen years younger than her half-sister Elizabeth de Burgh. Ralph Ufford died on 9 April 1346, leaving his widow Maud of Lancaster either pregnant or with a newborn baby. Once again, she went back to England. and never married again. In 1364, she took the veil as a Minoress or Poor Clare. Her younger daughter Maud Ufford married Thomas de Vere, earl of Oxford, and was the mother of Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford (1362-1392), Richard II's notorious favourite. Maud de Vere née Ufford outlived her son by more than twenty years, and died in 1413; her maternal grandparents Henry of Lancaster and Maud Chaworth had been born all the way back in the early 1280s.

Maud of Lancaster died on 5 May 1377, in her mid-sixties or thereabouts, just two months before her second cousin Edward III. She was already a great-grandmother at the time of her death: Elizabeth, Roger and Philippa Mortimer, children of Maud's granddaughter Philippa of Clarence and her husband Edmund Motimer, earl of March, were born in the early to mid-1370s. Maud had outlived her elder daughter Elizabeth de Burgh and her son-in-law Lionel of Antwerp, who died in 1363 and 1368 respectively, and also outlived all her six siblings with the exception of her eldest sister Blanche, Lady Wake, who lived three years into the reign of her husband's great-nephew Richard II. Maud of Lancaster, countess of Ulster, was buried at Campsey Priory in Suffolk, where she had taken the veil and where her second husband Ralph Ufford was also buried.

1 comment:

Anerje said...

As usual, your research is fantastic! Really enjoyed it - thanks.