25 August, 2019

Photos!

Photos of various places in Lincolnshire and Rutland: Oakham Castle, Essendine, Kettlethorpe, Stow Minster, Temple Bruer, Somerton Castle.

Below is the great hall of Oakham Castle, Rutland, taken by my dad a couple of days ago. The castle was originally built in the late twelfth century. From 1300 to 1312, the castle and barony of Oakham were held as part of her dower lands by Margaret, countess of Cornwall, sister of Gilbert 'the Red' de Clare, earl of Gloucester (1243-95), and widow of Edward I's first cousin Edmund, earl of Cornwall (1249-1300). After Margaret died in September 1312, Edward II granted Oakham to his niece, who was also Margaret's niece and was her namesake, the younger Margaret de Clare, countess of Cornwall, Piers Gaveston's widow. (Most confusingly, between 1307 and 1312 there were two Margaret de Clares, countesses of Cornwall, in England.) After Margaret's second husband Hugh Audley joined the Contrariant rebellion of 1321/22 and they were both imprisoned (Margaret at Sempringham Priory), Edward II gave Oakham to his half-brother Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent. The Audleys retrieved it after the king's downfall in 1326/27.

Great hall of Oakham Castle.

The manor of Essendine in Rutland passed to Hugh Despenser the Younger's second son Edward Despenser (born c. 1310, killed fighting in Brittany in 1342) in 1334 after the deaths of Hugh's mother Isabella Beauchamp's first cousin Idonea Leyburne and her second husband John Cromwell. Edward's eldest son, the future lord of Glamorgan and his uncle Huchon's heir, Edward Despenser the Younger, was born in Essendine in March 1336. A small castle was here in the fourteenth century, though none of it still exists except earthworks and the chapel where Edward Despenser was baptised, which now, rather fascinatingly, is the village church. Here are some photos I took in early July; for more info on the church, see here on British History Online.

The church in Essendine.

Earthworks behind the church.
Another view of the church.

The small village of Kettlethorpe a few miles from Lincoln is famous for being the home of Katherine Swynford (d. 1403), long-term mistress and third wife of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and the great-grandmother of Edward IV and Richard III. Below, the church of St Peter and St Paul in Kettlethorpe, where at least some of John and Katherine's four Beaufort children (John, Henry, Thomas and Joan) may have been baptised in the 1370s. I took the pics on a warm humid overcast morning this July.



Next to the church, where the Swynfords' manor-house would have stood.



Stow Minster is an ancient church full of rich and glorious delights, which include Anglo-Saxon doorways, a carving on a pillar of a Viking ship assumed to be c. tenth-century, part of a wall painting of Thomas Becket made within thirty or so years of his death, and an inscription on a tomb dated to c. 1300, in Middle English, which states "All men that be in life, pray for Emma [who] was Fulk's wife".



Carving of a Viking ship on a pillar inside Stow Minster.

Anglo-Saxon doorway inside the Minster.

King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V destroyed the military monastic order of the Knights Templar in and after 1307. This is an extant tower of one of the many buildings the wealthy Templars owned in England, called Temple Bruer (see here for more info).



And finally, Somerton Castle, built by Anthony Bek, bishop of Durham and patriarch of Jerusalem, in the 1280s. Bek gave it to Edward II in 1309, and after Edward's deposition it passed to his son and heir Edward III. Edward III kept the king of France captured at the battle of Poitiers, John II, captive at Somerton for a while, and also imprisoned his cousin Margaret, countess of Norfolk, there after she married her second husband Sir Walter Manny without his permission. In c. late 1335, Sir Hugh Frene captured Alice de Lacy, countess of Lincoln, at her own castle of Bolingbroke a few miles away, forcibly married her, and took her to Somerton Castle.

I am extremely grateful to the owners of Somerton, Mr and Mrs Porter, for their kind hospitality and generosity in inviting me to Somerton and letting me have a good look around.




18 August, 2019

Joan Martin, Countess of Lincoln (d. 1322) and Nicholas Audley (d. 1316)

Joan Martin was one of the three children of William, Lord Martin, a landowner in the West Country and South Wales who was born c. 1257 and died not long before 8 October 1324. Joan's brother, also called William, was their father's heir, and their sister Eleanor Martin married firstly William Hastings (1282-1311), who was heir to his father John, Lord Hastings (1262-1313) but died before him, and secondly Philip Columbiers. William Martin the younger must have been born c. 1294, as he was said to be thirty years old at their father's inquisition post mortem on 23 October 1324, and died childless on 4 April 1326. In his own IPM of May 1326, William's sister Eleanor Columbiers was said to be either thirty years old and more or forty years old and more, hence was born sometime between the mid-1280s and mid-1290s. [1] Their other sister Joan, countess of Lincoln, was already dead by then, and it is impossible to estimate a date of birth for Joan that's anything but very approximate, or to know where she came in the birth order of the three Martin children. She might have been born as late as c. 1295/96, or perhaps a few years before that.

Joan married the widowed Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, sometime before 16 June 1310, when Edward II gave permission for Joan's father William Martin to give three manors to 'Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, and Joan his wife'. [2] Henry, whose mother was Italian, was a good forty or so years Joan's senior, born around 1250/51. He was widowed from his first wife Margaret Longespee, countess of Salisbury in her own right, at an uncertain date; Margaret is last mentioned on record on 8 October 1306, which mentions 'the ancestors of Margaret his [Henry's] wife, daughter and heir of William Lungespee'. [3] As it doesn't say 'Margaret late his wife' or similar, this can probably be taken as evidence that she was still alive then. Her inquisition post mortem doesn't survive, however, if one was ever taken, nor even a writ to take her lands into the king's hands on her death. Given that Margaret Longespee was a countess in her own right, I find the fact that even the year of her death is not known to be a little sad.

Joan's stepdaughter Alice de Lacy was born at Christmas 1281 and was a few years her senior. Joan's marriage to Henry, earl of Lincoln was a short one: he died on 5 February 1311, aged about sixty. Joan was no older than her early twenties, and may only have been fifteen or sixteen. She and Henry had no children, and Alice, married to Edward II's first cousin Thomas, earl of Lancaster, was her father Henry and mother Margaret's heir. The dowager countess Joan did homage to Edward II for her dower lands from her marriage to Henry on 22 April 1311, and received them on 22 May 1311. [4] Edward II granted the rights to Joan's re-marriage to his brother-in-law Ralph Monthermer, Joan of Acre's widower, on 17 March 1311 a few weeks after the earl of Lincoln's death. [5] 

Joan Martin married her second husband Nicholas Audley without Edward II's (or Ralph Monthermer's) permission sometime before 3 May 1313, when the king ordered their lands to be seized into his own hands for this trespass. The royal order was carried out on 6 June, though Joan and Nicholas received the lands back fairly promptly, on 26 July 1313. On that day, Nicholas Audley was one of four men who acknowledged a debt of 900 marks to Ralph Monthermer. [6] Nicholas was the second son of Nicholas Audley (d. August 1299), was the younger brother and heir of the late Thomas Audley, and was a first cousin of Edward II's great 'favourite' and nephew-in-law, Hugh Audley, later earl of Gloucester. Nicholas Audley the elder's wife Katherine Giffard, mother of Nicholas who married Joan Martin, was, according to the Complete Peerage, born in 1272. She was alive on 16 February 1322 as a 'recluse' of Ledbury in Herefordshire. [7] Oh, and for the record, the name 'Audley' is spelt in approximately 396 different ways in medieval documents, including Daudeleye, Aldithele and Aldethelegh.

Nicholas's elder brother Thomas Audley was named as their father Nicholas's heir in September 1299, but died underage and childless sometime before 21 November 1307. [8] According to Nicholas the elder's IPM of September 1299, Thomas was 'aged 10 at the quinzaine of Easter last'. [9] Easter Sunday fell on 19 April in 1299, and the 'quinzaine of Easter' means two weeks after the feast, hence Thomas was supposedly born c. early May 1289. Thomas's own IPM of early 1308 says that his brother and heir Nicholas was 'aged 18 at the feast of St Martin last', which gives a date of birth of c. 11 November 1289. Clearly the two brothers can't have been born little more than six months apart. Edward II ordered an official to give Nicholas his lands on 27 March 1314 as he had proved his age (twenty-one) and done homage to the king; this seems very late for a man supposedly born in November 1289, as Nicholas would have been twenty-four by then. At any rate, whether he was truly born in 1289 or later, Nicholas was heir to his family's manors in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Wales. After Thomas Audley died in 1307, Edward II gave custody of the Audley lands during Nicholas's minority to - who else? - Piers Gaveston, who passed them on to his cousin Bertrand Caillau of Gascony. [11]

Joan Martin and Nicholas Audley's son James Audley was born at Kneesall ('Knesale') in Nottinghamshire either on c. 2 January 1313 or on roughly the same date in 1314; his proof of age is a little confusing. It was taken on '3 March, 9 Edward III', which is 1335, and says he was '21 years of age on Monday next after the Circumcision last'. The feast of the Circumcision is 1 January and the Monday after it fell on 2 January in 1335, so this seems to give James's date of birth as 2 January 1314, but in the proof of age, one of the jurors stated that 'on the day of the Purification, 6 Edward II, after the said James was born, he [the juror] had a son named Adam born at Knesale'. The feast of the Purification in Edward II's sixth regnal year was 2 February 1313, and apparently James Audley had already been born by then. Nine other jurors also stated that James was born in the sixth year of Edward II's reign, which ran from 8 July 1312 to 7 July 1313. James's father Nicholas and uncle William Martin's IPMs give his date of birth as either 2 January 1312, or 1 or 6 January 1314. [12] January 1312 seems much too early for Joan Martin to have borne a child to her second husband given that her first husband only died in February 1311. Even January 1313 seems a little early for the birth given that Edward II only found out about Nicholas and Joan's unlicensed marriage in May that year. If James Audley was born in January 1313, he must have been conceived in April 1312 and therefore it would seem that Joan Martin and Nicholas Audley had been married for a good long while before the king found out about it, though of course it's not necessarily the case that they were already married when they conceived James.

The marriage of Joan Martin, dowager countess of Lincoln, and Nicholas Audley proved tragically short; Nicholas died at the age of twenty-seven (or perhaps even younger) sometime not long before 6 December 1316, leaving his and Joan's son James as his heir. [13] Joan acknowledged an enormous debt of £10,000 to her father William Martin on 29 May 1318, and William stated that the 'recognisance shall be annulled in case Joan marries with his assent and counsel or in case she remain single during his life.' [14] Joan never did marry again, and died before 27 October 1322, only in her late twenties or early thirties. [15] Her father William outlived her, and her nine-year-old son James Audley was named as her heir in her inquisition post mortem and as co-heir, with his aunt Eleanor Columbiers, to his maternal uncle William Martin the younger in 1326. In December 1322 a few weeks after Joan's death, her father William Martin the elder was granted custody of the Audley lands which his grandson James Audley would inherit when he came of age. [16]

Edward II had given James Audley's marriage to Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, later first earl of March, on 9 December 1316 shortly after the death of James's father Nicholas. James was probably only three at the time. [17] He duly married Roger's daughter Joan Mortimer, and they had children Nicholas, Margaret and Joan Audley, born c. the late 1320s and early to mid-1330s. After Joan Mortimer's death, James Audley married a woman called Isabel, and, confusingly, had another daughter called Margaret with her. Nicholas Audley, his father's heir and named after his paternal grandfather (d. 1316), married Henry, Lord Beaumont's daughter Elizabeth but they had no children; Joan married John Tuchet or Touchet (b. 1327); Margaret the elder married Roger Hillary; and Margaret the younger married Fulk Fitzwarin. James Audley lived until 1386 when he was probably seventy-three, and his son Nicholas died in his early sixties in 1391. As Nicholas had no children, his heirs to his sizeable inheritance were his full sister Joan's twenty-year-old grandson John Tuchet, who became Lord Audley, his full sister Margaret Hillary, and his half-sister Margaret's two-year-old grandson Fulk Fitzwarin. [18]

Sources

1) CIPM 1272-91, no. 440; CIPM 1317-27, nos. 563, 710.
2) CPR 1307-13, p. 230.
3) CPR 1301-7, p. 463.
4) CCR 1307-13, pp. 314-15, 346, 348-9.
5) CPR 1307-13, p. 334; CFR 1307-19p. 170.
6) CFR 1307-19, p. 170, 172; CCR 1307-13, p. 535; CCR 1313-18, pp. 4, 67.
7) Complete Peerage, vol. 1, pp. 338-9; CFR 1319-27, p. 99.
8) CPR 1307-13, p. 17.
9) CIPM 1291-1300, no. 536.
10) CCR 1313-18, p. 44.
11) CPR 1307-13, p. 17; CIPM 1307-17, no. 62.
12) CIPM 1317-27, nos. 56, 710; CIPM 1327-36, no. 699.
13) CIPM 1317-27, no. 56.
14) CCR 1313-18, pp. 614, 617.
15) CIPM 1317-27, no. 371.
16) CFR 1319-27, pp. 190-91.
17) CPR 1313-17, p. 574.
18) CIPM 1384-92, nos. 1062-76.

10 August, 2019

Isabella, Gaveston and Those Wretched Jewels

Sad, though not entirely surprising, to see Wikipedia repeat this annoying myth. See here and here.


The source for this statement, note number 22, is a book about England's queens-consort published in 2008. Here's the relevant passage:


Notice that the author doesn't cite a source for this allegation. (Incidentally, the 'magnificent 18,000-pound dowry' is wrong; although Philip IV did originally discuss giving his daughter a dowry of 18,000 livres tournois or 'pounds of Tours', the equivalent of 4,500 pounds sterling, he ultimately decided that her 'dowry' would be the duchy of Aquitaine, over which he and Edward I had battled for many years.) Agnes Strickland in her Lives of the Queens of England, volume 2, p. 131, published in the middle of the nineteenth century, first invented the notion that Edward II gave jewels to Piers Gaveston which Isabella considered rightfully hers. The passage is below. Notice that Strickland doesn't claim that Gaveston actually wore Isabella's jewels in front of her or went 'peacocking about' in them; that appears to be a fictional invention that appears in some twentieth-century novels about Edward II and Isabella of France which has found its way into non-fiction.


Yet even here, Strickland doesn't claim that the gifts were Isabella's, only that she 'resented' her husband giving his own gifts to Gaveston and was displeased about items she considered her own 'heirlooms' being given to someone else. Later writers picked up her claims about Isabella's resentment and displeasure - for which she didn't cite any source - and ran with them, until eventually we reach the whole nonsense about Gaveston prancing around in jewels which Edward has bestowed on him and which actually belonged to Isabella. The source for this entire story is the Annales Paulini, which states: "The king of France gave to his son-in-law the king of England a ring of his kingdom, the most beautiful bed ever seen, select war-horses, and many other extravagant gifts. All of which the king of England straight away sent to Piers [Gaveston]." As I've pointed out before, this in no way states that Philip gave these gifts to Isabella, or even to Isabella and Edward jointly. They were Edward's own wedding gifts from his new father-in-law, and why would Philip IV give his daughter war-horses anyway? Philip 'gave' the items to Edward, and Edward 'sent' them to Gaveston, his regent of England while he was in France to marry Isabella. There's no real indication that Gaveston was meant to keep the items permanently, and Isabella is not even mentioned. Why would she consider these items her own 'heirlooms'? The gifts were given to Edward II. By the norms of the fourteenth century, anything given to Edward legally belonged to Edward. Anything given to Isabella legally belonged, also, to Edward. When Isabella wanted to make her will when heavily pregnant in October 1312, as a married woman she required her husband's permission to dispose of her goods, as legally everything she owned was his. In a fourteenth-century context, to suggest that Isabella would have considered items given to her husband to be her own, to be 'part of her dower', makes no sense. And only one of the gifts given to Edward by Philip was jewellery anyway, the ring, unless perhaps the other 'extravagant gifts' included other pieces of jewellery. So where on earth has this nonsense about Gaveston 'peacocking about in Isabella's jewellery' even come from, and why are books of allegedly serious non-fiction repeating it as fact?

Agnes Strickland's books, and her prejudices, have proved extraordinarily influential and enduring. She often cites the St Albans chronicler Thomas Walsingham as a source for Edward II and Isabella, as though a man who was born c. the 1340s and died in c. 1422, the year Edward and Isabella's great-great-great-grandson Henry VI succeeded to the throne, is in any way a reliable source for things that happened in 1308. The letter Isabella supposedly sent to her father complaining that she was 'wretched' comes straight from Walsingham. Strickland, however, living and writing in the Victorian era - she was born in the late eighteenth century - can be forgiven for her prejudices and for her misreading or misunderstanding of fourteenth-century sources in Latin. For her time, she did incredible research and her contribution to medieval scholarship was immense, and we should acknowledge her as a pioneering female historian. Modern writers who copy her prejudices and her misconceptions, however, and who don't check the primary sources for themselves, and repeat stories told in novels as though they're fact, cannot be so easily forgiven.

Also, Edward did not 'refuse' to grant Isabella her own lands: he gave her his county of Ponthieu on 14 May 1308, three months and seven days after her arrival in England. This is another modern myth, created - like numerous other modern myths - by a writer determined to find examples of Isabella's alleged suffering and victimisation at the hands of her husband everywhere. The usual dower lands given to the queen of England were still held by Edward's stepmother Queen Marguerite, and alternative arrangements had to be made. The widow of Edward's nephew the earl of Gloucester, killed at Bannockburn on 24 June 1314, did not receive her dower lands until mid-December 1314 nearly six months later, and in 1317 it took almost another six months to partition Gloucester's lands for his three sisters. Philippa of Hainault married Edward III in January 1328, and received no lands for more than two years, until February 1330. And Edward II gave Isabella a household of almost 200 people, far larger than that of any previous queen of England, so I haven't the faintest idea where this 'refused to give her a household' comes from. But who cares about silly things like facts and about being fair when you can further the Victim!Isabella agenda?

04 August, 2019

The Long Life of Margaret Hydon (c. 1278-1357)

A post about a woman whose existence I've only very recently discovered and who fascinates me! She lived so long that when she died, her heirs were her grandson who was almost forty years old, and her three great-granddaughters.

Margaret Hydon of Devon was born sometime before 23 April 1278 as the daughter and heir of Sir Richard Hydon, whose inquisition post mortem was held during Edward I's thirteenth regnal year from 20 November 1284 to 19 November 1285, and Isabella Fishacre. Margaret inherited lands, gardens and rents in various villages in Devon from her parents, and married Sir Josce or Joice or Joyce Dinham (or Dynham*) before 23 April 1292, when the couple are said to have held the Devon manors of 'Hydon and Clyst' from the recently-deceased Sir Hugh de Courtenay in Courtenay's IPM. Courtenay had sold Margaret Hydon's marriage rights to Josce's father Sir Oliver Dinham (c. 1234-99) on Monday, 12 April 1288 for £100. [1] As she and Josce were in possession of the late Richard Hydon's manors on 23 April 1292, Margaret must then have been of age, i.e. fourteen for a married woman, and therefore was born before 23 April 1278. Josce was the son and heir of Oliver Dinham, and was aged '24 and more' or '26 and more' at his father's IPM in March 1299, placing his date of birth around 1273/75. He inherited lands in Devon, Somerset and Cornwall from his father. [2]

* The name also sometimes appears as Dinan, Dinant or Dynaunt.

Margaret Hydon and Josce Dinham's first son John Dinham was born in Nutwell, Devon on 14 September 1295 when Josce was about twenty or twenty-two. [3] As Margaret must have been born in April 1278 at the latest, she was at least seventeen when she gave birth and was perhaps older. Her mother Isabella Fishacre was present at Nutwell when John was born, and a knight called John Vautort later recalled how, on the second day after John Dinham's birth, he saw the infant lying in his grandmother's lap. John Dinham was baptised by the chaplain of his paternal grandfather Oliver Dinham, who was then also still alive, and one of his godfathers was called Henry Daumfroun. He received a gold ring as a baptism gift from Sir Reginald Clifford. Margaret held a feast to celebrate her son's birth, and Sir Nicholas Kyrkham was one of those who received an invitation to attend, ten days after John was born. John Dinham's proof of age taken on 21 September 1316 also reveals that Margaret Hydon had a sister, name not provided, who married someone called Roger Novaunt; the sister and Roger sent a servant to Margaret with a present (also not specified) after John's birth. As the unnamed sister was not a co-heir to their parents' lands, and as she married a man of considerably lower rank than Margaret did, she was almost certainly an illegitimate daughter of Margaret's father.

Margaret gave birth to her second son Oliver Dinham perhaps in 1297/98, and both her sons had descendants; the Dinhams held Nutwell Court in Devon for centuries. She was widowed on 30 March 1301 when Sir Josce Dinham died in his twenties, having outlived his father Oliver by only two years. Josce died abroad; Edward I gave him, 'gone beyond seas', permission to appoint Margaret Hydon's maternal uncle Peter Fishacre as his attorney on 25 March 1301 just five days before Josce died, and on 26 December 1300 Josce had received letters of protection for 'going beyond seas'. The writ for his inquisition post mortem was not issued until 24 May 1301, implying that news of his death took a few weeks to reach England. [4] Josce's father Oliver, 'on account of his debility and his good service to Henry III and the present king [Edward I]', also appointed Peter Fishacre as his attorney on 5 April 1297, for life. Margaret 'late the wife of Joceus de Dynham' received her dower later in 1301. [5] She was to remain a widow for a good few years, though Edward I gave (or sold) the rights to her re-marriage to Robert Beauchamp on 20 July 1302 and then again to Warin Martyn on 28 July 1304. [6] On 2 August 1301, the king ordered Margaret to 'deliver the body of the heir of the said Joyce', i.e. her son John Dinham, to the executors of Edward's late cousin Edmund, earl of Cornwall (1249-1300), 'to be married'. Edmund's executors were also granted custody of two-thirds of Josce's lands; Margaret held the remaining third as dower. [7] John Dinham was not yet six years old.

Sometime before 24 January 1309 when she was in her early thirties or a little more, Margaret Hydon married her second husband Sir Gilbert Knovill(e) without the licence from the king - Edward II, by this time - that was necessary for tenants in chief and their widows. On that date, Edward ordered an official to seize Margaret's lands as she had married Gilbert without either his permission or the permission of Warin Martyn, who owned the rights to her marriage. [8] Gilbert Knovill was associated on a commission of oyer et terminer with Margaret's father-in-law Oliver Dinham in Devon on 8 May 1290, so she had probably known him for a long time, and he was active in the county where Margaret lived and where she held her own lands and much of her dower. He owned one manor in Devon, one in Somerset and one in Herefordshire. [9] Gilbert was much Margaret's senior; his son John Knovill from his first marriage was about forty years old in 1314 so was born around 1274 or so, and Gilbert was one of the men ordered on 14 July 1273 to travel overseas to meet Edward I, so was clearly an adult then. Gilbert's son was most probably older than Margaret or at least about the same age, so Gilbert himself must have been considerably older than she. Gilbert Knovill was very active on commissions of oyer et terminer and on military campaigns for decades, from the 1270s until June 1310 or a little later. His first wife Hawise was still alive on 22 November 1301. [10]

Gilbert Knovill died sometime before 7 May 1313, when a grant of land by Henry de Whyteleye to Margaret Hydon calls her 'Margaret who was wife of Gilbert de Knouill, knight'. On 27 July 1313, Edward II ordered three men to investigate a theft in a Devon park belonging to 'Margaret late the wife of Gilbert de Knoville'. [11] For some reason, however, Edward did not order Gilbert's lands to be taken into his own hands, as always happened when a tenant in chief died, until 1 February 1314. Gilbert's son John Knovill, aged about forty, received permission to enter his late father's lands on 8 May 1314. [12] The Complete Peerage suggests that the date of 27 July 1313 when Margaret was called 'late the wife' of Gilbert was an error for 27 July 1314, but the author failed to spot the grant of land to her on 7 May 1313 which makes it clear that she was already a widow then. Edward II had pardoned her stepson John Knovill for marrying 'Alice late the wife of William Basset' without his permission on 17 January 1309; marrying without asking the king first obviously ran in the family. Like Margaret's first husband Josce Dinham, her stepson did not survive his father for very long: John Knovill was dead by 23 January 1317, leaving his three daughters Cecily (then aged eight; she later married Peter Achard), Eleanor (five; later married John Duyn) and Amy (two; later married Thomas Ercedekne) as his heirs. [13]

Margaret Hydon was given permission by Edward II to go on pilgrimage to the shrine of St Edmund in Pontigny, France, on 18 July 1322. She married her third and last husband, Sir Peter Ovedale or Uvedale, sometime before 24 September 1324 when Edward II pardoned her - again! - for marrying without his licence, and restored her and Peter's lands. [14] In stark contrast to Margaret's second husband Gilbert, who was much her senior, Peter was much her junior. He was the first son of Sir John Ovedale and Mary de Campania, and was born in Saxilby, Lincolnshire on 9 August 1290. With his aunt Isabel Briddeshale, his mother's younger sister, he was named as one of the two co-heirs of his maternal grandfather Peter de Campania ('of Champagne'), a landowner in Lincolnshire, in early 1296. Peter Ovedale, named after his maternal grandfather, who was also his godfather, was the heir of his father, Sir John Ovedale, and inherited four manors in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Surrey when John died in March 1322. [15]

John Ovedale's IPM of April 1322 states that Peter was then 'aged 26 and more', which would seem to place his date of birth in c. 1295/96, but actually he was thirty-one going on thirty-two at the time; his proof of age confirms his date of birth as 9 August 1290, 'the eve of St Laurence, 18 Edward I'. At any rate, Peter Ovedale was at least a dozen years younger than his new wife Margaret Hydon, and was only five years older than his stepson John Dinham. As Margaret came from and held lands in Devon, as had her two previous husbands, it's rather interesting to contemplate how she came to know Peter, whose lands lay in distant Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. She must have been past her mid-forties at the time of their wedding, so it seems highly unlikely that Peter Ovedale expected to have any children from his marriage; he had a younger brother, John Ovedale, so perhaps was happy enough for their family's manors to pass to him. Peter had huge problems with his stepmother Isabel, his father John Ovedale the elder's third wife: he petitioned Edward II in or soon after 1322, stating that when he went to Surrey after his father's death but before the inquisition post mortem was held, "Isabel came into the church of St Margaret in Southwark with 23 armed men and assaulted him there and wounded his men." [16]

Peter had joined the retinue of Hugh Despenser the Younger on 30 August 1316, and there was talk that he might marry Hugh's widowed sister Isabella, Lady Hastings, for which he would pay Hugh 400 marks. His name was spelt 'Pieres de Ouedale' in the indenture. [17] For whatever reason, this planned marriage never took place, and Peter waited a few years before marrying (unless he married another woman who died, sometime between 1316 and 1324, but there's no record of this that I know of). Peter went to Gascony on Edward II's service during the war of St-Sardos sometime between 3 August and 24 September 1324, so was overseas when the king pardoned him for marrying Margaret without royal permission. [18] Sir Peter Ovedale died sometime before 2 May 1336 in his mid-forties. [19] Unfortunately no inquisition post mortem exists for him, though presumably his heir was his younger brother John Ovedale. Even though Margaret was at least a dozen years older than Peter and probably more, she outlived him by more than two decades.

Margaret's first son Sir John Dinham also married a woman called Margaret, whose identity is, as far as I'm aware, not entirely certain. Edward I gave John Dinham's marriage to Sir William Grandisson 'for the use of his eldest daughter' on 23 August 1301, though there's also a suggestion, from a doctoral thesis of 1998, that she came from the Botreaux or Boterels family. John Dinham, born in September 1295, was a very young father: his wife Margaret was purified on 7 July 1311 after giving birth to their eldest daughter Joan, meaning that Joan Dinham was born forty days (most probably, or possibly only thirty days) before that. [20] John Dinham therefore was a father at only fifteen years old, and Margaret Hydon became a grandmother in her early or mid-thirties. By the time she married Peter Ovedale in 1324, her eldest grandchild Joan Dinham was thirteen or almost. Margaret's son John and his wife later had sons John and Oliver as well before John died in 1332. In 1346, the younger Margaret, widow of John Dinham (1295-1332), sent a petition to the pope which talked of 'her legitimate sons, John de Dynham, knight, and Oliver de Dynham'. This would seem to imply that she had an illegitimate child or children as well, most unusually for a fourteenth-century noblewoman. [21] Margaret Hydon's grandson Sir John Dinham the younger, elder of John and the younger Margaret's two sons, born on 3 May 1319, was murdered by robbers on 7 January 1383.

As well as outliving three husbands, Margaret Hydon outlived both her sons John Dinham (1295-1332) and Oliver Dinham (c. 1297-1342), and died on 15 May 1357, aged at least seventy-nine and probably more. Her inquisition post mortem, calling her both 'Margaret Dynham' and 'Margaret Douvedale' (i.e. 'de Ovedale'), was held in Exeter on 8 June 1357, and her grandson John Dinham was said in it to be 'aged 30 years and more', though he was actually much closer to forty. He was heir to some of her lands; her great-granddaughters, Margaret aged nine, Ellen aged seven and Isabel aged six, children of her younger son Oliver's son Oliver (1325-51), were the others. [23] According to this site, Margaret was buried next to Peter Ovedale in St Mary's Church, Hemyock, Devon, in a chantry chapel they themselves had founded.

Sources

1) CIPM 1272-91, no. 590; CIPM 1291-1300, no. 31, p. 28; Cornwall Record Office, AR/37/5.
2) CIPM 1291-1300, no. 532.
3) CIPM 1317-27, no. 62.
4) CIPM 1300-07, no. 44; CFR 1272-1307, p. 441; Complete Peerage, vol. 4, p. 371; CPR 1292-1301, pp. 559, 581.
5) CPR 1292-1301, p. 246; CCR 1296-1302, pp. 457, 467, 502-3.
6) CPR 1301-7, pp. 46, 244; CPR 1307-13, p. 211.
7) CPR 1292-1301, p. 603.
8) CFR 1307-19, p. 36.
9) CPR 1281-92, p. 399; CIPM 1307-17, no. 434.
10) CPR 1272-81, p. 11; CPR 1292-1301, p. 582; CPR 1301-7, p. 3.
11) Cornwall Record Office, AR/1/874 and 875; CPR 1313-17, p. 56.
12) CFR 1307-19, pp. 188, 197; CIPM 1307-17, no. 434.
13) CPR 1307-13, p. 150; CIPM 1317-27, no. 16; CIPM 1327-36, no. 260; CIPM 1352-60, no. 384.
14) CPR 1321-4, p. 181; CCR 1323-7, p. 223.
15) CIPM 1291-1300, no. 360; CIPM 1307-17, no. 421; CIPM 1317-27, no. 310.
16) The National Archives SC 8/331/15652.
17) Catalogue of Ancient Deeds, A.8019.
18) CCR 1323-7, pp. 223, 315; CPR 1324-7, pp. 17, 24.
19) Complete Peerage, vol 4, p. 372; vol. 12B, p. 199.
20) Calendar of Chancery Warrants 1244-1326, p. 132 (grant of John's marriage to Grandisson); CIPM 1327-36, no. 540: the proof of age of Andrew Braunche's proof of age mentions Joan Dinham's birth.
21) Petitions to the Pope 1342-1419, p. 114.
22) Cornwall Record Office, AR/37/11: a grant from Margaret the daughter-in-law to her son John Dinham, dated 'Wednesday Invention of the Cross, 14 Edward III', i.e. 3 May 1340, and stating that John is 'today of full age'.
23) CIPM 1352-60, no. 384.

28 July, 2019

Clothes and Hairstyles of Edward II's Era

Men of Edward II's era wore their hair long, at least to chin level and often to the shoulders, parted in the middle and falling either side of the face. A lot of men seem to have been clean-shaven or to have worn a moustache without a beard, though depictions of Edward II himself as an adult always show him with a full bushy beard, and a carved stone face in the great hall of Caerphilly Castle which may represent Hugh Despenser the Younger seems to show him with a goatee-style beard (though it's become very worn over the centuries, so I might not be totally correct on that point). It certainly shows Hugh, assuming it really is he, with long flowing hair. The effigy in Tewkesbury Abbey of Hugh's eldest son and Edward II's eldest great-nephew Hugh or 'Huchon', who died in 1349, shows him clean-shaven, though other effigies of the fourteenth century, such as Hugh Despenser the Younger's nephew Hugh Hastings (d. 1347), depict men with moustaches. The effigy of Edward II's grandson Edward of Woodstock, prince of Wales (1330-76) shows him with the typical drooping moustache of the period. Edward III's effigy shows him with a long beard, and his queen Philippa of Hainault (c. 1314-69) on her own effigy wears an elaborate reticulated head-dress (where the hair was encased on either side of the head in bags made of gold or silver thread), a tight-fitting cote hardie (see below) laced up the front, and a narrow, very long hip belt.

Women, or at least noblewomen, wore their hair very long and pinned in bunches over their ears, kind of like Princess Leia. Both men and women covered their heads, men with a coif, hat or hood, and women with a coif, hood, veil or more elaborate head-dress. You can see illustrations here and here from the Luttrell Psalter, which dates to late in Edward II's reign or in the first few years of his son's, showing how women of the era dressed and how they covered their hair. The seal of Edward II's niece Eleanor (de Clare) Despenser, however, seems to show her with long flowing hair, partially hidden under a veil, though it's hard to tell.

Below are the effigies in Tewkesbury Abbey of Eleanor de Clare and Hugh Despenser the Younger's son and heir Huchon and his wife Elizabeth Montacute (d. 1359), sister of the earl of Salisbury and the countess of March. Huchon, in common with most or all contemporary effigies of noblemen, is wearing a helmet, chainmail and a jupon, I presume it is (I know almost nothing about armour so there's not a great deal else I can say), while Elizabeth is shown with a square head-dress that was surely the height of fashion in the middle of the fourteenth century.




Here are the effigies of Thomas, Lord Berkeley (d. 1361), Edward II's custodian in 1327, and his second wife Katherine Clivedon (d. 1385), which show Thomas with a moustache and Katherine with a square head-dress very similar to the one worn by Elizabeth Montacute some decades earlier.

Below are two photos of the gorgeous and amazing effigy, in Much Marcle, Herefordshire, of Blanche, Lady Grandisson (d. 1347), Thomas Berkeley's sister-in-law, one of the eight daughters of Roger Mortimer (d. 1330), first earl of March, and Joan Geneville (d. 1356). You can see that Blanche's hair is gathered at the sides of her head, covered with a veil and then with another head-dress or coif that comes to a peak at the front, and that her neck, chin and forehead are covered with a wimple. Blanche's sister Katherine, countess of Warwick (d. 1369) wears a rounded head-dress on her effigy; you can see the folds of her gown and the stitching on the bodice and the tight sleeves. Trying to visualise what Blanche must have looked like, only the part of her face between her eyes and mouth would have been visible; the rest was covered with cloth.





Here is a gorgeous illustration from the Luttrell Psalter of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell (d. 1345) on his horse, which is draped in material bearing his coat of arms, with his wife Agnes Sutton and their daughter-in-law Beatrice Scrope. It gloriously illustrates women's fashions of the era: a sideless gown worn over an undergown of a contrasting colour, sleeves and gown trimmed with fur, the sleeves of the overgown shorter than those of the undergown. Notice how the ladies both wear a transparent veil which falls right down their backs.

Edward II bought eighteen ells of 'bright blue English cloth', at twenty pence an ell (an ell: forty-five inches), to make cotes hardies od les chapons, 'cotes hardies with the hoods', for the wives of five of his chamber servants in early 1326. A cote hardie was a close-fitting garment with long sleeves worn by both men and women and buttoned or laced up the front. Legs were covered with hose, a kind of leggings, and in June 1326 during a hot summer, Edward purchased linen to make hose for his archers. He also often purchased black, grey or white russet cloth to make tunics (cotes is the Anglo-Norman word used) for his low-ranking household staff. Russet was a cheap, coarse cloth, and cost between twelve and fourteen pence per ell. By way of contrast, when the king bought rick silk fabrics such as camoca for his great-nephew Hugh 'Huchon' Despenser, who, being the eldest great-grandchild of Edward I and the grandson of two earls, was of high noble birth, the fabrics cost between forty-eight pence and 120 pence per ell. In 1324, Edward bought six pieces of otter-skin, at four pence per piece, to make a jerkin for one of his squires.

A tunic which Edward bought for one of his chamber pages in 1326 was said to be 'in the style of Gascony', but what this meant, and how the style differed from English fashions, was not explained. Likewise, when Edward as prince of Wales bought silk and other fabrics to make tunics for people acting in the plays he was putting on in May 1306, the tunics were said to be 'in the Gascon fashion'. In late 1325, the king bought exceedingly expensive black and vermilion medley cloth - black and vermilion were both very costly dyes, and medley was a kind of dyed in the wool cloth - to make elbow-length cloaks for nine of his carpenters. This was a colour combination Edward II obviously liked, as in 1322 he bought courtepies (short jackets or doublets) for his chamber squires in the same colours. Mi-parti, i.e. cloth divided vertically in two colours, was popular in Edward's reign, and striped cloth was also popular. The servants who worked in the royal household or in noble households received their clothes twice a year, at Christmas and Pentecost, and were colour co-ordinated; in 1314, for example, Thomas, earl of Lancaster gave his knights yellow cloth, his clerks red medley, and his squires striped cloth. In late 1325, Edward had aketons (padded jerkins often worn under armour) and coat-armour made for his great-nephew Huchon Despenser, then probably seventeen, which were in the Despenser colours, red, yellow and black. Edward also paid to have matching caparisons made for Huchon's horses.

Sumptuary laws, the regulations that dictated what different strata of society were allowed to wear, were not yet officially in force in Edward II's reign, but unofficially they were, and it would have been immediately obvious what rank a person held from the material, style and decoration of their clothes. Edward II forced his cousin Thomas, earl of Lancaster to wear the striped cloth which the squires of Thomas's household wore before having Thomas executed in March 1322, which was intended as a deliberate humiliation of a man of royal birth. At Edward III's coronation in early 1327, commentators pointed out that Roger Mortimer, later the first earl of March, dressed his sons so that they looked like earls. This was also not explained, but evidently there was a certain way in which earls dressed, and various extant wills from later in the century make it apparent that those of comital rank wore coronets. The will of Edward II's grandson Lionel of Antwerp, duke of Clarence, in 1368 talks of the gold circlet that was placed on his head during the ceremony in 1361 when he was made a duke.

There aren't a huge number of references to the clothes worn by Edward II himself, though in 1315/16 he spent £627 on cloth for himself and his household, and in April 1316 bought two tunics for himself which were made of scarlet (expensive woollen cloth, not the colour) and bought sixteen ells of green medley for two further tunics and two tabards. Both the king and other royals wore miniver, fur of the Baltic squirrel, in winter, which was massively expensive. From Edward II's accounts, it's apparent that he often wore hats and caps, though again, rather frustratingly, the shape and style of the hats is not clear. In 1326, for example, the king wore one hat made of black velvet, lined with miniver fur and 'powdered with diverse animals', several of vermilion velvet, one decorated with bells, another of white velvet lined with miniver fur, and a second of white velvet lined with green velvet and decorated with gold trefoils. The king also sometimes wore crowns: he bought two of gold studded with rubies, pearls and emeralds in 1326 and another of silver, and also bought a gold chaplet. Finally, there is a reference to a retiring-robe Edward owned, which was red with saffron stripes and embroidered with bears. Cuuuuuuute.

Further Reading

Ian Mortimer's Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England contains a chapter on clothing of the fourteenth century, and there are books about medieval clothes on Amazon.

19 July, 2019

Following in the Footsteps of Edward II

My latest book, Following in the Footsteps of Edward II, is out now in the UK. It's a guide to Edward II and his reign via the places that were important in his life: his birthplace of Caernarfon, the battlefield of Bannockburn and Stirling Castle, Kenilworth Castle, where he was forced to abdicate his throne to his son, Berkeley Castle, where he supposedly met his death in 1327, and many others. It's shorter than my other books and is meant as a primer for people who'd like to learn more about Edward and his reign but perhaps aren't interested in reading a full biography, and is also intended for readers who'd like a tour guide to places in Britain associated with Edward II. So if you're planning a trip around Britain and are looking for historical sites to visit and places that Edward would have known, this one's for you. It's available on: Amazon; Book Depository (which has free worldwide delivery); the publisher, Pen&Sword; and other online retailers.

There are other titles published by Pen&Sword in the Following in the Footsteps series: the Princes in the Tower, Henry Tudor (i.e. Henry VII), and Oliver Cromwell.

11 July, 2019

Sempringham Priory, Lincolnshire

Sempringham Priory in Lincolnshire was established in the twelfth century by local monk St Gilbert of Sempringham, founder of the Gilbertine order in 1131. All that remains of it now is the church of St Andrew, standing in a lonely churchyard far from the road.



Sempringham is closely associated with some of the women of Edward II's era. Edward's second cousin Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, only child of the last native Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, was sent there as an infant by Edward I after the death of her father in December 1282 when she was just six months old. The Lincolnshire countryside was as far from Wales as you could get, and Edward I had no intention of allowing the children of the Welsh princes to marry and have children; Gwenllian's cousins Llywelyn and Owain ap Dafydd were imprisoned at Bristol Castle, and their sister Gwladys ferch Dafydd was sent to the Gilbertine priory of Sixhills, also in Lincolnshire. Gwenllian lived at Sempringham Priory for her entire life, and died there in June 1337, the month of her fifty-fifth birthday. She is still remembered there: here is the memorial to her, in English and Welsh.





Edward II gave Gwenllian an income of twenty pounds a year, and her name usually appears on record in England as 'Wenthliane' or 'Wenthlian daughter of Thwellin [Llywelyn], late prince of Wales'.

Edward was close to his niece Margaret de Clare for many years, but when her second husband Sir Hugh Audley (later earl of Gloucester) joined the Contrariant rebellion of 1321/22, the king lashed out at her. Audley himself was imprisoned in Nottingham Castle, and in March 1322 Edward ordered Margaret to be incarcerated at Sempringham Priry with a few attendants. She arrived there in early May 1322, perhaps with her infant daughter Margaret Audley in tow (her elder daughter Joan Gaveston seems to have remained at Amesbury Priory in Wiltshire). Edward paid generous expenses of five shillings a day for Margaret for the entire period she lived at Sempringham, but even so, it must have been a highly unpleasant experience. Margaret was finally released on 11 December 1326, after the downfall of her uncle the king and the execution of her powerful brother-in-law Hugh Despenser the Younger. While at Sempringham, Margaret presumably came to know Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn well, and they were second cousins once removed; Gwenllian was, via her mother Eleanor de Montfort, a great-granddaughter of King John, Margaret's great-great-grandfather. Another girl or young woman sent to live at Sempringham in early 1324 was Joan Mortimer, one of the eight daughters of Joan Geneville and Roger Mortimer, lord of Wigmore and later first earl of March, as part of Edward II's revenge for Roger's escape from the Tower of London a few months previously. Joan Mortimer was released on 2 November 1326 after her father's invasion of England, and later married James Audley and had children. She was not forced to become a nun.

On 1 January 1327 a few weeks after Hugh Despenser the Younger's execution, Isabella of France forced two or perhaps three of his daughters to take lifelong vows as nuns. His fourth daughter Margaret Despenser, just three years old (she was born c. 2 August 1323), was sent to Watton Priory in Yorkshire, and Eleanor the third Despenser daughter, somewhere between about five and eight years old, was sent to Sempringham. Possibly the priory was deliberately chosen because Eleanor's aunt Margaret de Clare Audley had until recently been incarcerated there. Eleanor spent many years at Sempringham, and may have died there in early 1351, though this is not certain. She must also have come to know her relative Gwenllian, and Edward III, another relative, granted her and her older sister Joan, nun of Shaftesbury in Dorset, twenty pounds a year.

Sempringham Priory is associated with the Lincolnshire landowner Sir Geoffrey Luttrell (d. 1345), who commissioned the gorgeous Luttrell Psalter, now in the British Library. In 1312, Luttrell attacked Sempringham in the company of Sir Roger Birthorpe and Sir Edmund Coleville (b. 1288): the men broke into the priory, assaulted some of its inhabitants, and stole their goods. On 27 July 1312, Edward II ordered a commission of oyer et terminer 'on complaint by the prior of Semplyngham' that the aforesaid men and their retainers broke the prior's doors and walls, stole his goods and assaulted two canons named Thomas Hougate and John Irnham. A rather later petition relating to this raid talks of the support of 'Sir Hugh Despenser and his sisters, ladies in the said priory', Monseigneur Hughe le Despenser et ses soers dames en la dite priorie, so apparently Hugh Despenser the Elder had at least two sisters who became nuns there, or at least retreated to the priory for a while. [The National Archives SC 8/34/1671; CPR 1307-13, pp. 530, 598] It was this Hugh's young granddaughter Eleanor who was forced to become a nun at Sempringham a few years later.



Sempringham Priory was shut down in 1538 during the Dissolution; for more information about it and about St Gilbert and his order, see the British History online page here.

26 June, 2019

The Palmer Brothers, Shipwrights of London (d. 1335 and 1344)

Edward II knew two brothers, Alan and Martin Palmer, pretty well: both men worked as shipwrights next to the Tower of London, and often appear in Edward's accounts. Here's a post about them.

Alan, the elder brother, and Martin were the sons of one William Palmer; I have no idea when they were born, but would guess 1280s or early 1290s, and I also haven't been able to discover who their mother was or when their father died. As the elder son, Alan Palmer inherited their father's wharf at Petty Wales next to the Tower of London, and Martin also owned a wharf at Petty Wales. They appear in Edward II's accounts either as shypwryghtes, written in English in the middle of the Anglo-Norman of the accounts, or as fesours des niefs, 'makers of ships'. Martin Palmer also appears in the extant Coroners' Rolls of London in July and November 1324, when he was questioned as a possible witness to two murders which took place within the Tower of London.

Alan Palmer was married to a woman named Cecile, who was seriously ill in October 1324. Edward II, who was staying at the Tower at the time, sent her a gift of ten shillings probably to help with the cost of medicines. Cecile died shortly before 27 November 1324, when Edward spent two shillings and six pence on 'offerings for her soul'. He also gave Alan twenty shillings to pay for her funeral and interment. Alan and Cecile had a son named Philip Palmer, who at an unrecorded date before 1326 worked as a valet of the king's chamber. Later, Philip followed in his father's and his uncle's footsteps by becoming a shipwright.

In July 1325, Edward gave Alan and Martin a gift of five shillings each, and bought a ship called the Jonete of Westminster from Martin in or before September 1325. Edward invited both brothers and the six men they had working for them - four journeymen and two apprentices - to Kenilworth Castle in March and April 1326, during his long sojourn there. The eight built a small barge, a flat-bottomed boat and two fishing-boats for the king to use on the artificial lakes surrounding the castle. The king paid the two Palmers six pence a day each, their journeymen five pence each, and their apprentices four pence each. When they returned to London, Edward gave Alan Palmer five shillings to give to his son Philip, former royal valet, to buy himself linen cloth.

Alan Palmer made his will on 22 February 1335, leaving his son Philip his wharf and tenements at Petty Wales. Sometime after losing his first wife Cecile in November 1324, he married his second wife, Emma, who also appears in his will. Alan and Cecile's son Philip the shipwright wrote his will on Sunday, 11 July 1339. His wife was called Agnes, and their children - unnamed - are also mentioned in Philip's will. Martin Palmer, younger brother of Alan and uncle of Philip, outlived his nephew and made his will on 29 September 1344. He mentions his youngest son, John, so apparently had at least three sons though the others are not named, and had two daughters, Cecile - presumably named after his sister-in-law - and Joan. He left an unfinished boat each to his daughters, and his tenements to his son John. Leaving unfinished boats to his daughters implies that the women worked as shipwrights as well, which is rather fascinating. Martin's son John Palmer and his wife Amy both made their wills in 1348, and they had a son named Alan after John's uncle. All the Palmers were buried in the churchyard of All Hallows by the Tower. I lose sight of the family after 1348, unfortunately; it's possible that all of them perished in the terrible epidemic of the Black Death in 1348/49.

17 June, 2019

Edward II's Concern for People's Health

Edward II, while being a disastrous ruler and even more disastrous war leader par extraordinaire, did have some much more appealing character traits. One of them was a concern for and deep interest in the people around him. I've written here before about how the king spent part of the summer of 1326 chatting to his subjects along the River Thames, asking the retired parker of Cold Kennington, for example, about his ongoing repairs to his house and giving him a gift of three shillings to help out. On the same day, Edward talked to Robyn atte Hethe of Walton-on-Thames, and Robyn told him that he was 'suffering from a great illness'. Edward gave him some money to buy medicines.

Edward was staying at the Tower of London in October 1324 when he heard that Cecile Palmer, wife of the shipwright Alan Palmer - who worked near the Tower and whom Edward knew well - was very ill. The king sent Cecile ten shillings for medicines and other expenses. Sadly, she died a few weeks later, and Edward paid twenty shillings for her funeral and spent two shillings and six pence on 'offerings for her soul'. In April 1325, the king was staying in Winchester, and was in his private garden playing a game called palet (not dissimilar to boules) with men named Gaillard and Ernaudyn. His chamber valet Simon 'Syme' Lawe came into the garden and informed the king that his father, Roger Lawe of Byfleet in Surrey, was ill. Edward sent Syme to Roger with a gift of ten shillings.

It seems that some kind of stomach ailment was going around in June 1326, as four of Hugh Despenser the Younger's household staff fell ill that month, and Edward bought them a pomegranate each. Pomegranates have long been considered an aid against digestive and stomach complaints. Edward's chamber valet and fisherman Edmund 'Monde' Fisher also fell seriously ill in June 1326 perhaps with the same ailment, and had to be left behind at the archbishop of Canterbury's manor of Sturry in Kent when the king departed on 12 June. Edward told Monde's son Litel Wille Fisher to stay and look after his father and gave Monde twenty shillings and Wille two shillings for the wages he would miss while away from court. Monde died two days later, and the king gave Litel Wille's messenger who brought him the news a shilling. Litel Wille Fisher had himself been left behind at Kenilworth Castle a few weeks before as he was ill, and received five shillings from Edward. At some point later, he rejoined the court.

John Dene from a village near Canterbury (somewhere between Chartham and Bishopsbourne) was one of Queen Isabella's household servants who came back to England in late 1325 and early 1326, and was re-assigned to work as an usher of Edward II's chamber. In March 1326, John was sent home as he was 'very ill in one side'. Ten weeks later he still hadn't recovered, and when Edward was in the area, he visited John at home and gave him a generous gift of a hundred shillings. Sir Robert Wateville, a retainer of Hugh Despenser the Younger who became Hugh's nephew-in-law on 19 May 1326, also fell ill in July 1326, while the royal court was at Henley-on-Thames, and Edward sent him to London to 'take cures there' with a gift of forty marks. On 21 July, Wateville was still ill, and the king visited him in person at his home on or near Aldgate to check on his condition. Wateville received another gift of forty marks on this occasion. The king's personal physician Pancio da Controne, who later worked for Edward's son Edward III as well, was another man who was ill in 1326 and who received money from the king.

Edward II himself seems to have been remarkably healthy. In August 1325, he claimed to be ill, but almost certainly this was a diplomatic ailment to avoid having to travel to France to pay homage to his brother-in-law Charles IV for the lands he owned in that kingdom, or at least to postpone the decision of whether he should travel or not. I've never found anything in Edward's accounts that would confirm that he was genuinely ill at the time, though, as noted here, there are plenty of references to other people's illnesses and to Edward's willingness to pay the costs of his servants who were unable to work. You wouldn't necessarily expect to encounter sick pay in the fourteenth century, but as well as the payments I've noted in this post, there are a good few references to Edward's paying his servants' full wages while they were ill and to the way he accommodated them at one of his royal manors while they recuperated.

09 June, 2019

My Talk on Hugh Despenser the Younger, and Other Talks

Three weeks ago on Saturday 18 May 2019, I gave a talk about Hugh Despenser the Younger at the annual Mortimer History Society conference in Leominster Priory, Herefordshire. The video is now on Youtube, and you can see it here. It's forty minutes long and covers Hugh's family background, his marriage to Eleanor de Clare, his complete obscurity for the first half of Edward II's reign, his career as powerful royal favourite between 1318 and 1326 including his penchant for extortion, false imprisonment and threats, and his downfall and execution.

Other videos from the conference are also available now on Youtube, though sadly the video of Andrew Spencer's excellent and highly informative talk about Roger Mortimer of Wigmore (d. 1282) and his sons Edmund (d. 1304, father of the Roger Mortimer of Wigmore who became first earl of March in 1328) and Roger Mortimer of Chirk (who died in the Tower of London in 1326) was corrupted, and cannot be viewed.

Ian Mortimer's talk about the genealogy of the early Mortimer family is here.

Here's Paul Dryburgh talking about Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, later the first earl of March (d. 1330), and his role in the first few years of Edward II's reign.

Paul gave another talk, after mine, about Roger Mortimer's later career after 1321, his role in Edward II's downfall, and his and Queen Isabella's regency from 1327 to 1330.

And this is the Mortimer History Society channel on Youtube, where you can see videos of other talks as well.

Many thanks to Jason, Philip, Hugh, Fran and other members of the MHS for inviting me to take part in their excellent conference and for making me feel so welcome! It was a brilliant weekend and a brilliant experience. Hope you enjoy watching the Hugh Despenser talk as much as I enjoyed giving it, and here is the Mortimer History Society website if you'd like to learn more about the organisation and to join and support them. Their next conference, held jointly with the Richard III Society, is taking place in Ludlow on 29 June; more info here. If you're interested in learning more about Hugh Despenser the Younger, I wrote an article about him in the second volume of the Mortimer History Society Journal (see here) and I've published a biography of him, here or here.

31 May, 2019

Book Giveaway: Hugh Despenser the Younger

My biography of Edward II's chamberlain and 'favourite' Hugh Despenser the Younger - pirate, extortionist and Not A Very Nice Person - is now out in paperback. I have two free signed copies to give away! To win a copy, either: leave a comment here with your email address; email me at edwardofcaernarfon(at)yahoo.com; or, if you're on Facebook, you can either send me a PM on my Edward II page, or if we're connected there, a PM via my personal page, also with your email address so I can contact the winners (if we're not connected, it's better to contact me via the Edward page, as otherwise your message might go to my 'other' folder and I might not see it). It doesn't matter where you are in the world, and the competition is open to everyone. So do give it a go and learn more about the baddest of all fourteenth-century bad boys, the man once named as the greatest villain of the fourteenth century by BBC History Magazine! Good luck! The deadline is midnight, British Summer Time, on Friday 14 June.

22 May, 2019

Some of the New Knights of 22 May 1306 (3)

713 years ago, on Sunday, 22 May 1306, Edward of Caernarfon, prince of Wales (Dominus Edwardus Princeps Walliae), was knighted at Westminster, and so were 265 other men, including the young earls of Arundel and Surrey, Piers Gaveston (Petrus de Gavaston), Roger Mortimer of Wigmore (Rogerus de Mortuomari), and Hugh Despenser the Younger (Hugo filius domini Hugonis le Despenser). See also here, here and here. Some of the other new knights of 22 May 1306 were:

Ralph Camoys, a landowner in Sussex and Norfolk, who was allowed to enter into a manor in November 1294 and therefore must have been born in November 1273 at the latest. Ralph was married firstly to Margaret Brewes, and secondly to Hugh Despenser the Elder's youngest child Elizabeth. (I haven't been able to find even approximate dates of death for either woman.) Ralph died in September 1335, leaving his eldest son Thomas from his first marriage as his heir; Thomas died childless in 1372, and Ralph and his second wife Elizabeth Despenser's grandson Thomas the younger inherited the Camoys lands. Thomas Camoys the younger, born c. 1350/51, lived long enough to fight at the battle of Agincourt in October 1415, and was the grandfather, via his daughter Alice, of Edward IV's great friend William, Lord Hastings, born c. 1430.

Both Gilbert de Clare (Gilbertus de Clare), just fifteen in May 1306 and heir to his late father's earldom of Gloucester, and Edward I's eldest grandchild; and his namesake first cousin Gilbert de Clare, lord of Thomond (Gilbertus de Clare filius domini Thomae de Clare), born in Limerick on 3 February 1281. Gilbert of Thomond, a close friend of Edward of Caernarfon, had less than eighteen months left to live.

Thomas Bardolf, who was a landowner in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Middlesex, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and especially in Norfolk, was born in Watton Stone, Hertfordshire on 4 October 1282 and died in late 1329. His wife Agnes was "by birth of the parts of Almain", i.e. Germany or somewhere close to it, and their son and heir John was probably born on 13 January 1312. John Bardolf married Edward II's great-niece Elizabeth Damory, youngest child of Elizabeth de Clare and heir of her father Sir Roger Damory, and their grandson William Bardolf (b. 1369) was killed at the battle of Bramham Moor in 1408.

Warin Bassingbourn, either the man of this name who owned lands in Cambridgeshire and was born c. 1267 and died in 1323, or his son Warin the younger, who was born in or before 1293 (he was 'aged 30 and more' when his father died in 1323) and died in 1348. Warin the son's son, inevitably also called Warin, was born on 11 November 1326, and his mother Avice died soon after his birth.

Alan Plucknett (Alanus Plockenet) was born c. 1276 and died childless shortly before 6 September 1325, leaving his sister Joan de Bohun as his heir to his lands in Somerset, Herefordshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Supposedly, Alan flew into such a fury about a message he was sent by Edward II a few years after the mass knighting of 1306 that he made the unfortunate messenger eat the letter and the wax with which it was sealed. His sister Joan's second husband Henry de Bohun, cousin of the earl of Hereford, was the man famously killed by Robert Bruce in person with his axe on the first day of the battle of Bannockburn, 23 June 1314. Joan also died without children and so the Plucknett lands passed to their cousin's son Richard Bere on her death in 1327.

Richard Foliot was born around Christmas 1283 and was the son and heir of Jordan Foliot, who died at the age of about fifty in 1299 barely five weeks after his father Richard died. The younger Richard's (b. 1283) wife Joan de Braose, daughter and co-heir of William de Braose (d. 1326), lord of Gower, was married firstly to James de Bohun, who died shortly before the mass knighting of 22 May 1306, and had a son with him in November 1301 called John de Bohun of Midhurst. Richard Foliot and Joan de Braose had a son also called Richard Foliot, and daughters Margery (b. c. 1312/13) and Margaret (b. c. 1314). Richard the father died in 1317, and his son Richard on 29 May 1325, still underage. This left Margery and Margaret as the Foliot heirs. Margery married Hugh Hastings (b. 1310), a grandson of Hugh Despenser the Elder, and Margaret married Hugh Hastings' first cousin John Camoys, also a grandson of Hugh Despenser the Elder. Margaret and John Camoys had no children and so the Foliot lands passed into this cadet branch of the Hastings family.

William Huntingfield was born around 1280 - he was twenty-two when his father Roger died in late 1302 - and married Joan 'Jonete' Hastings (d. 1307), elder daughter of John, Lord Hastings (1262-1313) and Isabella de Valence (d. 1305). William and Jonete had sons Roger, born around 1 August 1306 and heir to his father's lands in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, and John, born in 1307. William died shortly before 24 September 1313, and his son and heir Roger died on 29 December 1328, leaving his posthumous son William as the Huntingfield heir.

John Mowbray was born around 15 August or 31 August sometime between 1284 and 1286; he was either "aged eleven at the feast of the Decollation of St John the Baptist, 25 Edward I", "twelve and more at the feast of the Assumption, 25 Edward I" or "thirteen at the feast of the Decollation of St John the Baptist, 25 Edward I". The Lincolnshire jurors thought he was "eleven at the feast of St Cuthbert last" on 21 December 1297, which probably means 31 August. John inherited lands in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, and was the son of Rohese de Clare, sister of Gilbert 'the Red', earl of Gloucester and of Thomas de Clare, making John Mowbray a first cousin of both Gilbert de Clares knighted with him in May 1306. His father Roger Mowbray died in 1297. John married Aline de Braose, the other daughter and co-heir of William, lord of Gower (above), and their son and heir John was born in Hovingham, Yorkshire on 29 November 1310 when John was twenty-four. He took part in the Contrariant rebellion against Edward II and Hugh Despenser the Younger and was hanged in York on 23 March 1322. His Mowbray descendants became dukes of Norfolk at the end of the fourteenth century.