26 May, 2017

Happy Wedding Anniversary to Hugh and Eleanor Despenser

711 years ago today on 26 May 1306, Edward I's eldest granddaughter Eleanor de Clare married Hugh Despenser the Younger in the royal chapel at Westminster Palace, in the presence of her grandfather the king, who had arranged the match and paid Hugh Despenser the Elder £2000 for the marriage of his son and heir. Eleanor was thirteen and a half, Hugh probably about seventeen or eighteen, and their first child Hugh or Huchon was born around 1309. They were to have at least ten children together that I know of, perhaps more, of whom nine survived childhood: Huchon, Edward, Gilbert, John, Isabella, Joan, Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth Despenser. By the time of Hugh's execution on 24 November 1326, the couple had been married just over twenty years, and as far as I can make out their marriage was a solid and happy one.

I'm currently writing a biography of Hugh Despenser the Younger, to be published next year. He was a bad. bad boy, but also a highly intelligent one, and he's massively fun to write about!


sami parkkonen said...

Bad boys are often more interesting that nice guys. I have no idea why.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the fascination for 'bad boys' is that they are usually fascinating; have a 'don't-give-a-damn' attitude; and reckless and exciting. On the negative side, can be very exhausting to keep amused, can be totally selfish to attain their goals and due to their unfaithfulness one may have to take a lot of antibiotics! Just a generalisation. I prefer the steady, caring type. Amanda

sami parkkonen said...

I think you are into something there, Amanda. After all, if we think another medieval bad boy who was really really bad but still holds peoples imagination even today, Vlad Tepes, we can see that he is certainly more interesting character than many others who lived around the same time in those parts of the world.

And yet, Vlad was a ruler of a tiny border domain in remote corner of Europe and had very few if any redeeming qualities, except perhaps as a war leader, a captain, but became immortal as the ultimate bad boy of his day. So much so, that Bram Stoker used him as The Baddest Bad Boy in fiction writing using his nickname Dracula.