15 February, 2017

Juliana Leyburne and the Endless Hastings Confusion

Juliana Leyburne (1303/4 - c. 1 November 1367), an heiress in Kent, was countess of Huntingdon by her third marriage to William Clinton, a friend of Edward III and one of the men who arrested Roger Mortimer with the king at Nottingham Castle on 19 October 1330. She was the older half-sister of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick (b. 1314) and the stepdaughter of Piers Gaveston's nemesis Guy Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, and was also the stepdaughter of William la Zouche, lord of Ashby (who married Edward II's niece and Hugh Despenser the Younger's widow Eleanor de Clare in 1329). Juliana Leyburne was the mother of Laurence Hastings, earl of Pembroke (b. 1320) by her first marriage to John, Lord Hastings (1286-1325). Both Juliana and her mother Alice Toeni (or Tony or Tosni, etc), countess of Warwick, married three times, and they both inherited lands: Alice was the heir of her brother Robert Toeni who died in 1309, though in line with contemporary inheritance laws these lands did not pass to Alice's eldest child Juliana Leyburne on her death in 1324 but to her eldest son Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. Juliana had about seven or eight younger half-siblings from her mother's two subsequent marriages to Guy Beauchamp and William la Zouche, but was her father's only child, and Laurence Hastings was her only child from three marriages. She was the heir of her paternal grandparents William, Lord Leyburne and Juliane née de Sandwich, herself the heir of her father and uncle.

Thomas Leyburne was the elder son of William, Lord Leyburne and Juliane de Sandwich, and probably around 1300 or 1302 married Alice Toeni; she was born sometime between 1282 and 1285, according to the evidence of her brother Robert's Inq. Post Mortem in December 1309. [Cal. Inq. Post Mortem 1307-17, pp. 101-2] I don't know Thomas's date of birth, but he was probably a few years older than his wife, as his parents married in the mid-1260s.Thomas died shortly before 30 May 1307, in the lifetime of his father William, who outlived him by almost three years. His and Alice's only child Juliana Leyburne was said to be three years old or 'three years old and more' in Thomas's Inq. Post Mortem taken on 8 July and 17 September 1307, and 'aged six and more' in her grandfather William Leyburne's IPM in March/April 1310. She was also said to be '24 years and more' at the IPM of her grandmother Juliane taken in Kent on 30 January 1328. [CIPM 1300-7, pp. 274-5; CIPM 1307-17, pp. 121-3; CIPM 1327-36, 50-51] This would place her date of birth in the last few months of 1303 or the first quarter of 1304.

I haven't been able to find the date of Juliana Leyburne's wedding to John Hastings. He was the son and heir of John, Lord Hastings (1262-1313) and his first wife Isabella de Valence, half-niece of Henry III, and was the nephew and one of the three co-heirs of his maternal uncle Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke. (Aymer's other two heirs were his nieces the Comyn sisters, Joan and Elizabeth. See CIPM 1317-27, pp. 314-40. Amusingly, some of the jurors of Aymer's IPM in 1324 didn't know the women's names and just called them 'the two daughters of Sir John Comyn of Badenoch' or 'daughters of le Redecomyn', i.e. the Red Comyn.) Juliana Leyburne's husband John Hastings was also the stepson of Hugh Despenser the Younger's sister Isabella, who, born in c. 1290, was some years younger than he. This has caused, and continues to cause, considerable confusion among writers and researchers, who assume that Isabella Despenser married the younger John Hastings and was the mother of Laurence Hastings. She in fact married his widowed father John the elder, who was only a year younger than her own father Hugh Despenser the Elder (b. 1261), and her son Hugh Hastings was born in c. 1310 and was the decades-younger half-brother of John Hastings the younger. (If I felt like it, I could add to this endless confusion by pointing out that Isabella Despenser was firstly, albeit briefly and childlessly, married to Gilbert de Clare, lord of Thomond, a man often mixed up with his first cousin Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester. But of course I wouldn't do that, hehehe.) According to his father's IPM in March 1313, the younger John Hastings was 'aged 26 on the day of St Michael last', i.e. he was born on or a bit before 29 September 1286. [CIPM 1307-17, pp. 230-6] He was thus a good seventeen years older than his wife Juliana Leyburne, and much closer in age to his stepmother Isabella Despenser.

John and Juliana's only son Laurence Hastings, later earl of Pembroke, was born either on 20, 21 or 25 March 1320 (either on the feast of St Cuthbert, the feast of St Benedict, or the feast of the Annunciation), and was five going on six years old at John Hastings' death on 6 January 1325. [CIPM 1317-27, pp. 385-93] Juliana Leyburne, born probably in the last months of 1303 or the early months of 1304, was sixteen when she gave birth to her son in March 1320. Official custody of the young Laurence Hastings and his lands was, probably inevitably, given to Edward II's powerful favourite and chamberlain Hugh Despenser the Younger, whose sister Isabella was Laurence's step-grandmother and the mother of Laurence's half-uncle Hugh Hastings, on 12 February 1325. [CPR 1324-7, p. 95] Hugh Despenser arranged a future marriage between Laurence and his third daughter Eleanor Despenser, though this never took place owing to his downfall in the autumn of 1326, and in 1329 when he was still only a child, Laurence Hastings married instead Roger Mortimer's daughter Agnes. [CPR 1324-7, p. 153] I have no idea where John and Juliana got the name Laurence from, but it's a refreshing change from all the Johns, Williams, Thomases, etc of the era.

Juliana Leyburne had married her second husband Sir Thomas Blount, steward of Edward II's household, by 23 September 1325, nine months after John Hastings' death. Edward II had given her permission to do so on 13 July, and made it clear that it was her own choice and she did not have to. [CIPM 1317-27, p. 393; CPR 1324-7, p. 153] Hugh Despenser the Younger may have had a hand in arranging or promoting this marriage, given that he was the royal chamberlain and Thomas the royal steward, and given that he was the official guardian of Juliana's son. Thomas Blount died shortly before 23 August 1328 when the escheator was ordered to take the lands of 'Thomas le Blount, deceased, tenant in chief' into the king's hand. (I've seen 17 August given as the date of his death but don't know what the source is.) A mere two months later, on 17 October 1328, Juliana was already married to her third husband Sir William Clinton when they were mentioned on the Patent Roll and William was called her 'present husband'. [CFR 1327-37, p. 102; CPR 1327-30, p. 325] The very short time between the death of Thomas Blount and Juliana's remarriage to William Clinton - it would have been conventional to wait a year, or at the very least six months - suggests that her second marriage had not been a happy one. As William was a younger son and not an heir, and in 1328 was merely a knight marrying the earl of Warwick's half-sister and the future earl of Pembroke's mother, Juliana's third union may have been a love-match. William's loyalty to Edward III and his participation in the arrest of Roger Mortimer in October 1330, however, led to him being granted the earldom of Huntingdon in 1337.

Meanwhile Juliana's paternal grandmother Juliane Leyburne née de Sandwich, widow of William who died in 1310, died shortly before 16 January 1328, when her lands were taken into the king's hand and a writ sent out for her IPM. Juliana the younger's then husband Thomas Blount did homage for his wife's new lands before 13 February 1328. [CIPM 1327-36, pp. 50-51; Cal Fine Rolls 1327-37, 75, 81] The next year, Juliana presumably attended the wedding of her nine-year-old son Laurence to Agnes, one of the eight daughters of Roger Mortimer and Joan Geneville, by then earl and countess of March. Her third husband was one of the men who arrested Roger in 1330. Laurence Hastings and Agnes Mortimer had only one child, Juliana's only grandchild: John Hastings, earl of Pembroke, born either on 24 June, 3 September or 8 September 1347 eighteen years after Agnes and John's wedding, though Laurence was only a child when they wed and so presumably was Agnes. [CIPM 1347-52, pp. 113-29] This John Hastings was the grandson of the John Hastings who died in 1325, and great-grandson of the John Hastings who died in 1313.

Laurence Hastings, earl of Pembroke, died at Abergavenny in Wales on 30 August 1348 at the age of only twenty-eight, and his mother Juliana outlived him by almost twenty years. [CIPM 1347-52, pp. 113-29] His one-year-old son John was his heir, though in fact John never came into his full inheritance as Marie de St Pol, dowager countess of Pembroke and the widow of Aymer de Valence (d. 1324), outlived him (she didn't die until May 1377) and held one-third of the Pembroke lands as her dower. Incidentally, the 'countess of Pembroke' named several times in the last household accounts of Edward II's widow Isabella of France in 1357/58 means Marie de St Pol, not Agnes Hastings née Mortimer, for all the tedious romanticising of one modern writer that Isabella and her dead lover's daughter became great friends. Likewise, the comes de la March named in Isabella's last accounts - he dined with her three times in 1357/58 - does not mean the English earl of March, Roger Mortimer (1328-60), grandson and heir of Isabella's supposed lover Roger Mortimer (executed 1330), but the French count of La Marche. He was Jacques de Bourbon and he was Isabella's second cousin, and he was one of the retinue of the captured King John II in England. There is no evidence that Isabella was in contact with any of Roger Mortimer's family in the last years of her life, despite the nonsense spouted by one modern writer that Isabella especially favoured her dead lover's grandson and was inseparable from one of his daughters.

John Hastings born in 1347 married for the first time when he was only twelve: his bride was Edward III and Philippa of Hainault's daughter Margaret, who was born in July 1346 and was a year his senior. John and Margaret married at Reading on 19 May 1359, the day before her brother John of Gaunt married Blanche of Lancaster. Sadly Margaret died young, sometime after 1 October 1361, and John was left a widower when he was barely into his teens. He married secondly Anne Manny (b. 1355), younger daughter and co-heir of Margaret of Norfolk, herself the heir of her father Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk, son of Edward I and half-brother of Edward II. Their only son John Hastings was born in October 1372 and was killed jousting aged seventeen in December 1389. The younger John married twice: firstly in the summer of 1380 to John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster's second daughter Elizabeth, who was almost a decade his senior - this marriage was annulled in 1386 - and secondly to Philippa Mortimer, born in 1375, sister of Roger Mortimer, earl of March (1374-98) and second daughter of Edmund Mortimer, earl of March (1352-81). John Hastings the elder had died in 1375 when his son was a toddler; he had been imprisoned in harsh conditions in Castile, which killed him. None of the Hastings men after 1313 lived to see their sons grow up, and the childless death of the teenaged John Hastings in 1389 meant the end of the Hastings/Leyburne line.

William Clinton, earl of Huntingdon, stepfather of Laurence Hastings, earl of Pembroke and brother-in-law of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, died on 25 August 1354, according to his IPM, and the writ ordering his lands to be taken into the king's hand was issued on 28 August. He left no legitimate children, and his heir was his older brother John's son John. [CIPM 1352-60, pp. 171-6; CFR 1347-56, 412] At the age of fifty, Juliana Leyburne was widowed for the third time. She died on 31 October or 1 November 1367, at the age of about sixty-three or sixty-four. [CIPM 1365-9, pp. 119-24] Her heir was her grandson John Hastings, earl of Pembroke.

07 February, 2017

7 February

On 7 February 1301, Edward of Caernarfon was made prince of Wales and earl of Chester by his father Edward I. He was sixteen years old, going on seventeen (born on 25 April 1284), and was the first heir to the English throne to be given the title of prince of Wales. There is no truth whatsoever to the often-repeated story that Edward I tricked the Welsh by promising them a prince who spoke no English, then presenting them with his newborn son; this story was invented in 1584, 300 years later. It makes no sense at all, given that a) Edward I's son Alfonso of Bayonne was still alive when Edward of Caernarfon was born and the king would hardly have given the principality to his baby son rather than his ten-year-old, and b) English was not the language of the English court anyway.

On 7 February 1308, Isabella of France arrived in England for the first time, having married Edward II at Boulogne thirteen days earlier. Isabella never met Edward I, who had died on 7 July 1307, was never princess of Wales, and certainly never met William Wallace, who had been executed two and a half years previously on 23 August 1305. She was just twelve years old, and would live in England for the remaining half a century of her life.

02 February, 2017

Exciting News: A Biography of Hugh Despenser the Younger

Today is the 735th anniversary of the birth of Maud Chaworth, who married Edward I's nephew Henry of Lancaster in or a little before 1297. Maud, born on 2 February 1282, was the mother of Duke Henry of Lancaster, grandmother of Blanche of Lancaster, great-grandmother of King Henry IV, and the grandmother/great-grandmother of half of the English nobility (or thereabouts) in the second half of the fourteenth century and into the fifteenth.

Maud was also the elder half-sister of Edward II's great favourite Hugh Despenser the Younger, lord of Glamorgan, and very excitingly I've been commissioned by Pen and Sword Books to write a biography of him. I've been obsessed with Hugh for a dozen years, so this is a really amazing opportunity for me. It's provisionally titled Valour and Vainglory: The Life of Hugh Despenser the Younger, tagline Loved by the King. Hated by the Queen, and will be out in September 2018. So yay!

I'm still unable to write a proper blog post owing to bereavement; hope to be back properly soon.