29 April, 2007

Queen Isabella's Pregnancies and Children

Edward II and Queen Isabella married in January 1308, and conceived their first child a little over four years later. The long delay was because of Isabella's youth - she was only twelve years old at the time of her wedding. Exactly when the royal couple first consummated their marriage cannot of course be known, but may not have taken place before Isabella was fourteen. Early marriage, and a gap of several years between marriage and first conception, was normal in the royal family at this time. Edward II's de Clare nieces all married at thirteen, and didn't conceive for several years: Eleanor was fifteen or sixteen, Elizabeth sixteen, and Margaret seventeen or close to it. Edward's grandmother Eleanor of Provence married Henry III when she was twelve or thirteen, and didn't give birth to her first child for three and a half years.

It's very likely that Edward delayed consummating his marriage until Isabella was old enough to carry and give birth to a child without danger to her developing body. John Carmi Parsons, biographer of Eleanor of Castile, believes that Eleanor gave birth to a stillborn daughter in 1255, seven months after her marriage, when she was only thirteen years old. If Edward had heard that story - of a sister twenty-nine years his senior - it may have encouraged him to delay consummation. Rather than condemn him for 'ignoring' and 'neglecting' his young wife in favour of Piers Gaveston, as many novelists and historians do, perhaps we should be applauding him for taking his wife's youth and physical immaturity into consideration, although, like all kings, he desperately needed a son and heir.

The future Edward III was born on 13 November 1312. A full-term pregnancy is thirty-eight weeks from the date of conception, which takes us back to Monday 21 February 1312. On that day, Edward II was in York with Piers Gaveston and Margaret de Clare, celebrating the birth of Piers' and Margaret's daughter Joan. Isabella's Household Book shows that on the 21st, she was at Copmanthorpe or Bishopthorpe, three or four miles outside York, where her belongings were put on a barge to be taken along the river Ouse into the town. She had been travelling the approximately 210 miles from Windsor since early February, to join her husband; on 17 February, she sent him a basket of lampreys from Doncaster, and the two kept in close contact via messengers. [Four days to travel the forty miles from Doncaster to just south of York: an interesting illustration of the slowness of medieval travel.]

Edward III was probably conceived within a week or so of Isabella's arrival in York on the 21st or 22nd. I'm pointing all this out in detail to make it perfectly clear that Edward and Isabella WERE together at the right time to conceive Edward III - although many people still try to argue that their marriage can't have been consummated, as this silly thread from the 2003 archives of the Richard III Society Yahoo group shows. Even if Edward III was premature, Edward and Isabella were together in York until the beginning of April 1312. Easter Sunday fell on 26 March that year, so they evidently conceived their son during Lent, when intercourse was forbidden. Tsk.

I'll also point out that there isn't even the most oblique hint in any contemporary or later source that Edward II might not have fathered Edward III; as far as I can tell, it was the late twentieth century before that occurred to anyone. Whatever Edward II's contemporaries thought of his sexuality, nobody ever doubted that Edward III and his siblings were Edward's children. And to put paid to the theory that Roger Mortimer was Edward III's real father (also put forward in Paul Doherty's Death of a King), Roger was in Ireland in 1312, a country Isabella never visited. Neither was she in Scotland in 1312, abandoned by Edward, as in Edith Felber's 2006 novel Queen of Shadows - which constantly drops coy hints that some mysterious Scotsman fathered Edward III without ever revealing who it was, a plot device I find pointless and irritating. [Robert the Bruce? The ghost of William Wallace? Who knows?]

Isabella was four months pregnant when Piers Gaveston was killed in June 1312 - proof, if nothing else, that whatever the nature of Edward's close relationship with Piers, it wasn't an impediment to his marital relations with Isabella (or to Piers' with Margaret, for that matter - or to both men's relations with other women, as they both fathered illegitimate children).

Edward III was born on Monday 13 November 1312, at Windsor Castle. Edward spent a few weeks at Windsor with Isabella late in her pregnancy, from mid-September to 25 October. He left, then returned on 30 October, and left again on 9 November for Sheen, another royal palace, about twenty miles away. He hurried back on 12 November, probably because he'd received a message that Isabella had gone into labour. The ecstatic Edward rewarded John and Joan Launge, who brought him the message, with £20 and the vast sum of £80 a year for life, which gave them a higher income than some knights.

Isabella sent a letter to the Mayor and aldermen of London proclaiming the birth (it's quoted in the sidebar on the left) and the Londoners went mad with joy. The Mayor himself led the dancing in the streets and ordered tuns of free wine to be provided for the citizenry. The festivities continued for a full week.

Isabella was probably just seventeen, or close to it, and Edward II was twenty-eight. The birth of his son helped to assuage his terrible grief for Piers, while for Isabella, becoming the mother of the heir to England dramatically enhanced her status. The young Edward, created Earl of Chester when he was eight days old, had six godfathers, including Isabella's uncle the Count of Evreux and Hugh Despenser the Elder. A little less than fourteen years later, young Edward would watch his godfather executed at Bristol.

The fortunate survival of an apothecary's account of November 1313, which mentions two purchases of pennyroyal for Isabella, tells us that the Queen had probably suffered a miscarriage. The traditional medicinal use of pennyroyal is to stimulate uterine activity; it increases uterine contractions and menstrual flow, and can be used to induce abortion. [In modern times, pennyroyal is considered too dangerous to be used in this way, because of the adverse side effects.]

Alison Weir says that Isabella suffered no known miscarriages or stillbirths, but she doesn't mention the pennyroyal purchases, and besides, it suits her purposes to say that Edward rarely visited Isabella's bed, to portray the Queen as a long-suffering and neglected wife. But certainly the long gap between Isabella's and Edward's first and second children - November 1312 to August 1316 - suggests that a miscarriage or stillbirth, or even more than one, is possible. Poor Isabella was in a bad way in 1313: when she and Edward were visiting France in June that year, the silken pavilion where they were sleeping caught fire one night, and Edward had to scoop up Isabella and rush outside with her to safety. She suffered burns to her arm, bad enough that they were still being treated two years later. All their possessions were destroyed.

On Friday 15 August 1316, Edward and Isabella's second son John - the 'spare' part of 'the heir and the spare' - was born at Eltham Palace south-east of London, which Edward had given to Isabella. Again, approximately thirty-eight weeks prior to the birth, in November 1315, Edward and Isabella were together, at the royal hunting lodge of Clipstone in Sherwood Forest. [Roger Mortimer was in Ireland.]

Edward was in York when his son was born, and rewarded Isabella's steward Ebulo de Montibus with the huge sum of £100 for bringing him the news. He paid £40 for the boy's baptism, which took place on 20 August, and gave Isabella gifts of jewellery and land. She and the little Lord John joined Edward in York in late September.

On Sunday 18 June 1318, Edward and Isabella's elder daughter Eleanor was born at Woodstock Palace near Oxford. Edward arrived at Woodstock on the day of Eleanor's birth, and spent ten days there. The likely conception date of mid to late September 1317 puts Edward and Isabella together at Lincoln, Tickhill Castle and York; in fact, they spent most of 1317 together, and Roger Mortimer was in Ireland for the entire year. Edward paid £333 for a feast to celebrate the birth, his first daughter after three sons (including his illegitimate son Adam).

Isabella and Edward spent most of the year 1319 in York. The chronicler Robert of Reading claims that Isabella gave birth to a daughter, Joan, sometime this year. No other source mentions this birth, and it's likely that the chronicler made a mistake and placed the birth of their later daughter Joan during this year. Although it's possible that he was correct, and a daughter was born who presumably died shortly after birth, given the absence of any commemoration for a dead child, it's more likely that Robert made a mistake.

Isabella gave birth to their second (third?) daughter Joan on Sunday 5 July 1321, at the Tower of London, in the middle of the Despenser crisis. Edward was thirty-seven at the time of his youngest child's birth, Isabella probably twenty-five. The Tower was rather run-down and dilapidated, and rain came in on Isabella's bed while she was in labour - a furious Edward later dismissed the Constable of the Tower from his post.

Edward's son Adam is presumed to have died in 1322, as he never appears in any records after this year. That Edward and Isabella had no more children after 1321 is probably indicative of the breakdown of their relationship after the younger Despenser's return from exile and piracy, but it's also possible that Isabella miscarried, or suffered stillbirths. Despenser himself certainly fathered several children after 1321: Eleanor de Clare is known to have given birth in 1323 and late 1325, and may also have borne Hugh's posthumous child after November 1326. [At least four or five of Despenser's ten children by Eleanor were born after he became Edward's favourite. Nicholas de Litlyngton, Abbot of Westminster 1362-1386, may have been his illegitimate son.]

Isabella's affair with Roger Mortimer began in Paris in late 1325. The chronicler Jean Froissart reports that, not too long before their downfall in October 1330, "it was reported that she was with child by Mortimer". Froissart wasn't even born in 1330, and his chronicle is often unreliable and heavily based on hearsay, but he knew Edward III and Queen Philippa very well, so it seems unlikely that he would have written down scurrilous unsubstantiated gossip about Edward's mother if he wasn't sure it was true.

Froissart's allegation is given substance by Isabella's making a kind of will that settled some of her properties on Roger in September 1329, and again in July 1330 - something she had previously done only once before, when pregnant in 1312. Ian Mortimer postulates that Isabella gave birth in December 1329, when she and Roger spent many weeks at Kenilworth; Alison Weir's theory is that she was pregnant at the time of Roger Mortimer's arrest in October 1330, and either miscarried, suffered a stillbirth, or the child died shortly after birth. It's unclear, but certainly there was no living child of Isabella and Roger, which was probably a source of great relief to Edward III; any son would be his half-brother, and Roger Mortimer would be linked to the King by blood. Given Isabella and Roger's five-year relationship, perhaps the only surprising aspect is that she hadn't conceived earlier (again, it's possible that she did, but no records survive.)

In conclusion, there's no reason at all to doubt that Isabella's children were Edward II's. Although she had a relationship with Mortimer, this happened in France when she was beyond Edward's reach, and after she had already borne Edward's children. Anyone who believes that Isabella took a previous lover must explain how the Queen of England, with a household of 180 people and surrounded by servants and courtiers every minute of her life, with a lack of privacy modern Western people can scarcely comprehend, could have conducted an affair without anyone noticing. Amusingly, in Queen of Shadows, Isabella 'escapes' from court and manages to have sex with Mortimer, her husband's enemy imprisoned in the Tower, by the simple expedient of wearing a hood - apparently a magical hood that renders her invisible. Two of Isabella's sisters-in-law in Paris did commit adultery, but inevitably they were found out - they were imprisoned for life, and their lovers grotesquely executed. If Isabella had taken a previous lover, we would know all about it, because it would be one of the great scandals of the Middle Ages.

25 April, 2007

Birthday Wishes, Mortimer Ancestry, and Joan de Geneville

Yes, it's the 25th of April again, which means it's a heartfelt 'Happy Birthday, Sire!' to King Edward II, born in Caernarfon Castle on this day in 1284, a mere 723 years ago.
Also, a Happy Birthday (somewhat less heartfelt, admittedly) to Roger Mortimer, born 720 years ago today, probably in Wigmore Castle. This post is about Roger's family, and his wife Joan de Geneville.

Roger's father Sir Edmund Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore, was born in about 1251, and was originally intended to become a clerk; he studied theology at Oxford. However, the death of his elder brother Ralph in 1276 made him heir to his father, and he had to give up his studies and return to the Welsh Marches, where he and his younger brothers played a big role in the capture and death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, in 1282. Edmund married Margaret de Fiennes in September 1285.

Edmund Mortimer's mother Maud de Braose is one of those brilliant medieval women someone really should write a novel about. She was born, probably in the late 1220s, as one of the four daughters of William de Braose, who was hanged by Llywelyn the Great in 1230 for his adulterous affair with Llywelyn's wife Joanna, illegitimate daughter of King John (fans of Sharon Penman will be familiar with the story, recounted in Here Be Dragons). Maud's mother Eva was one of the daughters of the great William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and Regent of England (died 1219). Maud de Braose, Lady Mortimer, died in 1301, in her seventies.

Edmund's father Roger Mortimer Senior, born in about 1230 or 1232, was himself the grandson of Llywelyn the Great: Roger's mother was Gwladys Ddu ('the Dark-Eyed') one of Llywelyn's daughters - either by Joanna or, more likely, by Llywelyn's mistress Tangwystl. Roger the grandfather was an intensely loyal supporter of Henry III and the Lord Edward (later Edward I) in the Barons' Wars of the 1260s. After the Battle of Evesham in 1265, Roger sent Simon de Montfort's severed head to his wife Maud. I can't help wondering what the heck she did with it ("We've enlarged the windows to make the place a bit brighter, over there on the wall you'll see some lovely Castilian tapestries sent to us by the Lady Eleanor, and on the table, there's the rotting skull of the Earl of Leicester. It adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the solar, don't you think?")
During the battle of Evesham, Roger killed Hugh Despenser, one of de Montfort's greatest supporters and father and grandfather of the notorious Hugh Despensers of Edward II's reign. Decades later, Despenser the grandson swore revenge on Roger Mortimer the grandson for this act. Roger Mortimer the grandfather, who crops up fairly often as a character in Sharon Penman's The Reckoning, died in 1282.

The younger Roger Mortimer's mother was Margaret de Fiennes, probably born sometime in the 1260s. Her father was William de Fiennes, who was killed at the Battle of the Golden Spurs (Battle of Courtrai/Kortrijk) on 11 July 1302. Margaret's brother John married Isabelle, who was, you guessed it, yet another child of Guy de Dampierre, the many-daughtered Count of Flanders of my previous post. Margaret's sister Joan married Baron Wake of Liddell and was the grandmother of Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, and her aunt Maud de Fiennes was the mother of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, Edward II's brother-in-law.

Margaret de Fiennes' mother Blanche de Brienne (c. 1245-1302), Roger Mortimer's grandmother, was the excellently-named "Dame de Louplande". Blanche's father Jean de Brienne (c. 1221-1296) was the half-brother of Yolande, Queen of Jerusalem, who was the second wife of Emperor Friedrich II. Jean's mother Berenguela was the daughter of King Alfonso IX of Leon and Queen Berenguela of Castile, which makes Jean the nephew of Fernando III of Castile, Edward II's grandfather. In 1256/57, Jean married his second wife Marie de Coucy, widow of Alexander II of Scotland - so Roger Mortimer's great-grandfather was the stepfather of King Alexander III.

Both of Roger's grandmothers, who died in 1301 and 1302, his grandfather William de Fiennes, who died in 1302, and his great-grandfather Jean de Brienne, who died in 1296, lived well into Roger's lifetime. I can imagine that he must have heard some wonderful stories from them.

Roger Mortimer's siblings were: John, king's yeoman, who died in 1318; Maud, who married Theobald de Verdon; and Joan and Elizabeth, who became nuns. Hugh Audley, who married Piers Gaveston's widow Margaret de Clare, was the son of Isolde Mortimer, who's often said to have been Edmund's daughter. However, Audley was born around 1290, so obviously can't have been the grandson of Edmund Mortimer and Margaret de Fiennes, who married in 1285. Isolde may have been a daughter of Edmund by an unknown first wife, but as he was a clerk, it's more likely that she was his sister, making Hugh Audley Roger's cousin, not his nephew.

Edmund Mortimer died in July 1304, of wounds sustained at the battle of Builth, when Roger was seventeen. At the request of the Lord Edward, Prince of Wales, King Edward I granted Roger's wardship to Piers Gaveston, who wasn't too much older (in his early twenties).
Margaret de Fiennes lived long enough to see her son become the lover of a queen, overthrow a king, and suffer death by hanging. She died in 1334, probably in her seventies.

In September 1301, fourteen-year-old Roger Mortimer married Joan de Geneville, aged fifteen, maybe sixteen - she was born on 2 February 1286, or possibly 1285. Joan was the eldest of three daughters. Her father Piers died in 1292, and her grandfather Geoffrey de Geneville, anxious to avoid the break-up of his estates, placed her sisters Beatrice and Maud at Aconbury Priory. [The law of primogeniture, 'the eldest son inherits', did not apply to women, so in the absence of a male heir, sisters inherited equal portions of land. Placing women in convents was the only way they could be disinherited at this time.] The Geneville inheritance comprised vast estates in England, Wales and Ireland.

Joan also inherited lands in France from her mother Jeanne de Lusignan, or Jeanne de la Marche (died 1323), who was the daughter of Hugh XII de Lusignan, Count of La Marche and grandson of Isabelle d'Angoulême, widow of King John and Edward II's great-grandmother.

Geoffrey de Geneville, Joan's grandfather, was a French baron of Champagne who inherited estates in England, Wales and Ireland around 1250. Geoffrey was another loyal supporter of the Lord Edward in the Barons' Wars, and acted as Justiciar of Ireland and as a mediator between Edward I and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. He died in 1314, in his eighties. Joan de Geneville's paternal grandmother was Maud de Lacy (died 1304), granddaughter of the earl of Norfolk and also granddaughter and co-heiress of Walter de Lacy.

For twenty years, Roger and Joan enjoyed a close and successful relationship. Twelve children survived into adulthood, four sons and eight daughters, and Joan accompanied Roger to Ireland during his successful career there as King's Lieutenant and Justiciar. All that changed in early 1322, when Roger submitted to Edward II during the king's successful campaign against the Marchers, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Joan herself was imprisoned in Hampshire; three of her elder daughters and three of her sons were also imprisoned, in convents (the girls) and castles (the boys).

In February 1323, Queen Isabella and Eleanor de Clare both petitioned Edward II in an apparently unsuccessful attempt to improve Joan's living conditions. Isabella referred to Joan as 'our dear and well-beloved cousin'. One the men-at-arms acompanying Joan during her imprisonment was William Ockley, later one of Edward II's jailers at Berkeley Castle - proof that what goes around comes around, I suppose.

[Edward II's harsh and unnecessarily vindictive treatment of the wives and children of his enemies is, for me, by far the most unpleasant aspect of his reign, and impossible to justify. As Edward had never before shown cruelty to women, you could argue that the women's treatment was an initiative of the Despensers, but Edward certainly condoned it, and as the king, has to be held responsible. The fact that some of the women he allowed to be so badly mistreated were close members of his family - e.g., his nieces Margaret and Elizabeth de Clare - makes his behaviour even more reprehensible.]

Roger Mortimer and Joan de Geneville didn't see each other again for nearly five years. When exactly they did see each other again is unclear, but may have been in November 1326, when Roger visited his manor of Pembridge, where he and Joan had married twenty-five years earlier. By this time, Roger had been the lover of Queen Isabella for a year or so. What they had to say to each other can of course never be known. How Joan, now forty years old, felt about having to watch her husband conduct an affair with the Queen of England is equally unknowable.

Poor Joan's existence is often ignored by historians and novelists, who focus more or less exclusively on Edward II and Isabella's dysfunctional relationship and ignore the woman who bore Roger Mortimer twelve children, and who was, from the limited evidence available, his supportive and loyal partner for many years. The modern trend of lauding Isabella's 'courage' and 'empowerment' in 'getting out of a bad marriage' doesn't sound quite so impressive when you remember that she deprived Joan of her husband. Somehow, though, Joan de Geneville has always struck me as a dignified woman who would have made the best of the difficult situation.

Whether Joan ever visited Edward III's court, where her husband held power, is unknown. Roger occasionally travelled to the Marches unaccompanied by Isabella or the court, which may have been visits to Joan. In early June 1328, after the wedding of two of their daughters, Roger and Isabella stayed with Joan at Ludlow Castle, which was part of Joan's inheritance from her grandfather. As Isabella was the (dowager) Queen, Joan would have been forced to give precedence to her husband's mistress in her own castle. I'd love to write a fictional scene about that - and I'd give a great deal to know where Roger slept that night!

1328 was an eventful year for the Mortimers - two daughters married, two sons died (John and Roger), and they became grandparents, when Elizabeth Badlesmere, wife of their eldest son Edmund, gave birth to yet another Roger (1328-1360). Edmund had been born in 1302 or 1303, when Roger was only fifteen or sixteen.
It's also possible that their eldest daughter Margaret made them grandparents in the late 1320s - her eldest surviving son Maurice Berkeley was probably born in 1330, but she also had a daughter Joan, who may have been older.

In December 1328, Roger paid for nine chaplains to sing daily masses for the souls of Roger himself, Edward III, Queens Isabella and Philippa, Joan, and their children. In August 1329, two more of Roger and Joan's daughters were married at Wigmore, where Roger held a great Round Table tournament. Presumably Joan was present, with Isabella and Edward III. It's just possible that Queen Isabella was pregnant by Roger at this time, which is pretty intriguing.

After Roger's execution in 1330, Joan's lands were taken into royal hands, and some were not restored until 1336, when she was finally granted a full pardon. This seems to suggest that Edward III was not entirely convinced of her innocence, which he surely would have been if she'd had no contact with Roger during the 'Isabella Years'. It also suggests that Roger and Joan had maintained some kind of relationship - which is, to me, far more interesting than the usual portrayal of Joan as colourless, sexless, unnecessary, abandoned in favour of a younger and far more beautiful woman.

In 1332, Joan petitioned Edward III to have Roger's body removed from the Greyfriars church at Coventry, presumably to be re-buried at Wigmore. This also suggests that she still retained much affection for her husband. She never re-married, or entered a convent.

Joan de Geneville survived Roger by more than a quarter of a century and died at the age of seventy or seventy-one, on 19 October 1356. Her husband's mistress Queen Isabella outlived her by a mere twenty-two months. In 1354, Edward III had reversed all the charges against Roger, so Joan died as the Dowager Countess of March, with her twenty-eight-year-old grandson Roger Mortimer high in the King's favour, and the second Earl of March.

Shortly before she died, Joan may have heard the news that another of her grandsons, twenty-six-year-old Maurice Berkeley - son of Lord Berkeley and Joan's eldest daughter Margaret Mortimer - had distinguished himself at the Battle of Poitiers on 19 September, but had been badly wounded and taken prisoner.

At the time of her death, Joan was the grandmother of the Earls of Pembroke and March, and the mother-in-law of the Earl of Warwick and Lords Berkeley, Charlton and Braose. She had lived long enough to be a great-grandmother several times over:
- Her eldest great-grandchild, Sir John Tuchet, may have been born as early as 1347, but certainly by 1350 - he was the grandson of Joan's daughter Joan and her husband James Audley.
- Edmund Mortimer, later the third Earl of March, son of Roger Mortimer and Philippa Montacute, was born in 1352. Edmund was to marry Edward II's great-granddaughter, Philippa of Clarence.
- Thomas Berkeley, son of Maurice Berkeley and his wife Elizabeth Despenser - daughter of Hugh the Younger - was born in 1353. One or more of Maurice and Elizabeth's three daughters Katherine, Agnes and Elizabeth may have been older than their brother Thomas, but their dates of birth are not recorded. Near the end of the fourteenth century, Thomas Berkeley's daughter Elizabeth, great-great-granddaughter of Roger Mortimer and Joan de Geneville and great-granddaughter of Hugh Despenser the Younger, married the Earl of Warwick, another great-grandson of Roger and Joan.

Only four of Joan's twelve children outlived her: Beatrice Lady Braose, Agnes Countess of Pembroke, Katherine Countess of Warwick, and Geoffrey, who inherited Joan's French lands. (The date of death of Joan's daughter Maud, Lady Charlton, is not known, but she was still alive in 1345.)

Joan de Geneville, Lady Mortimer and Countess of March, great heiress, 1286-1356: a woman with a fascinating life and a fascinating family, who deserves to be remembered as far more than a colourless, abandoned nonentity.

21 April, 2007

Royal and Noble Men of the Non-English Variety, part two

In the second and final part of my posts on Edward II's male relatives, here are some biographies and facts about the men from Northern Europe. The first post is directly below this one, or you can find it here.

Duke Jan II 'the Peaceful' of Brabant, Lotharingia and Limburg: Edward II's brother-in-law.

Jan was born on 27 September 1275, the eldest surviving son of Duke Jan I and Margaretha of Flanders. His father was known as 'the Victorious', a soldier who won the Battle of Worringen in 1288, one of the biggest battles of the Middle Ages. Jan I is still well-known as the epitome of a perfect knight, chivalrous and brave. Margareta was one of the many daughters of Guy de Dampierre, Count of Flanders [see below].

Jan II had an elder brother, Godefroi, who died in 1283. His father Jan I had previously been married to Louis IX's daughter Marguerite, who died in childbirth in 1271, along with her child. His aunt Marie was the second wife of Philip III of France and the mother of Edward II's stepmother Queen Marguerite; his younger sister, also Margaretha, married the count of Luxemburg, who became Heinrich VII, King of the Romans, in 1309 and Holy Roman Emperor in 1312. Another sister, Marie, married Count Amadeo V of Savoy, who was going to marry Joan of Acre (in my previous post).
Jan II also had many half-siblings, his father's illegitimate childen.

Duke Jan I was a long-time ally of Edward I, and the younger Jan's marriage to Edward's third daughter Margaret was planned in the late 1270s, when both children were toddlers. Margaret was born on 15 March 1275, so was a few months older than her husband.

Jan was sent to live in England in 1284, when he was eight or nine. He married Margaret on 8 July 1290 at Westminster Abbey, in a magnificent ceremony that would be worth a blog post by itself! Jan was still fourteen (fifteen in late September), Margaret fifteen and a few months. Jan's retinue consisted of eighty knights and sixty ladies, wearing costumes of Brabant. Margaret's six-year-old brother Lord Edward was followed by a retinue of eighty knights, the Earl of Gloucester's retinue was 103 knights and sixty ladies, and the other earls also brought huge retinues of their own. 700 knights and 1000 citizens of London took part in the procession, and the guests were entertained by 400 minstrels and musicians. The royal family changed clothes three times during the course of the day, and the highlight was a banquet held in Westminster Hall, where Lord Edward's personal cook presented an edible replica of a castle.

In records after 1290, Jan is referred to as 'the king's son' in documents: for example, "Pardon, at the instance of John, Duke of Brabant, the king's son, to Yerevorth Voyl, a Welshman..." appears on 12 April 1296 (I've chosen that particular example because of the brilliant name. :)

In 1292/93, Jan was living in the same household as Edward I's nephews Thomas and Henry of Lancaster, and their household records are extent for this year. The young men spent a pleasant life travelling round England visiting tournaments, and the records are full of references to their horses, hawks, minstrels and games. In 1293, they stayed at Kingston with Jan's young brother-in-law, the nine-year-old Lord Edward, on their way to a joust at Fulham. Jan had thirty horses and twenty-one grooms, the Lancaster brothers thirty horses and twenty-four grooms. Edward's clerk gloomily recorded the huge expenses of their short stay.

Jan's father Duke Jan I was killed on 3 May 1294 at a tournament at Bar-le-Duc, arranged by Count Henri III of Bar [see below] to celebrate his marriage to Margaret's sister Eleanor. Jan II, aged eighteen, was taken home by merchants of Brabant, and sailed from Harwich in late June 1294. Margaret, for some reason, stayed in England, where she had her own household. She joined him in Brussels in 1297.

Jan and Margaret had only one child, a son Jan, born sometime in 1300. In addition, Jan had four illegitimate sons - who were all called Jan. (Must have been fun in the nursery.) Jan had a mistress named Elisabeth Cortygin, who was the mother of at least one of the Jans - Jan van Glymes, who was legitimised in 1344 - but I don't know who was the mother of the others.

On 25 January 1308, Jan and Margaret attended the wedding of Edward II and Isabella in Boulogne, and a month later, their coronation at Westminster. Jan had brought with him the holy oil of St Thomas of Canterbury, which had come into his possession, but for some reason it wasn't used. Edward II would later claim that the disasters of his reign were a direct consequence of his failure to be anointed by this holy oil.

Jan remained on very good terms with his brother-in-law Edward after Edward's accession, and in fact Edward's relations with Brabant were probably the friendliest he had with any country. In 1311, Edward chose Brabant as a possible haven for the exiled Piers Gaveston, and trade connections between the two countries were excellent.

On 27 September 1312, Jan signed the famous Charter of Kortenberg, described as "one of the first democratic decisions in feudal Europe." He died at Tervuren exactly a month later, on 27 October 1312, apparently of kidney stones, aged only thirty-seven.

Duchess Margaret survived her husband by many years. Unfortunately, the date of her death is not known, but she was still alive in 1333 when she sent a letter to her nephew Edward III, although many historians continue to give the date of her death as 1318. Surviving until 1333 or later makes her the longest lived of all Eleanor of Castile's children, unless Edward II wasn't murdered in 1327....;)

Duke Jan III 'the Triumphant' of Brabant, Lotharingia and Limburg: Edward II's nephew.

Duke Jan was born sometime in 1300 - around 20 October, according to his Dutch Wikipedia page - as the only child of Jan II and Margaret. He succeeded his father at the age of twelve.

In 1311, he married Marie d'Évreux, who was born in 1303. Marie was the eldest daughter of Louis, Count d'Évreux, who was the half-brother of Philip IV and the son of Marie of Brabant, sister of Duke Jan I - which makes Jan III and Marie second cousins. Louis, who died in 1319, was on good terms with Edward II, at least before Edward became king - it was to Louis that Edward addressed his funny letter in 1305 about a 'big trotting palfrey' and 'lazy dogs'.

Marie d'Évreux's mother was Marguerite d'Artois, daughter of Count Philip of Artois; Marguerite's mother Blanche was the daughter of Duke Jean II of Brittany and the granddaughter of Henry III of England. Marie was thus the first cousin of Queen Isabella and her three brothers (all kings of France), of Edward II's half-brothers Kent and Norfolk, and of the first Valois king of France, Philip VI. Her great-uncle John was Earl of Richmond, and she was also closely connected to the English royal house and many French noble houses.

In 1325, Marie's youngest sister Jeanne d'Évreux, then aged fifteen, became Queen of France by marrying Queen Isabella's youngest brother Charles IV, although they were first cousins. Charles was desperate for a son; he didn't get one, and when he died in 1328 the throne passed to their cousin Philip de Valois. In May 1326, Queen Isabella, the future Edward III and Roger Mortimer attended Jeanne's coronation, Roger carrying Edward's robes, to the great annoyance of Edward II.

Jan III continued his father's policy of friendship with England, and in 1319, was happy to accede to his uncle Edward II's request to limit Scottish trade in Brabant. However, on one occasion Edward did write him a very sharp letter, in response to Jan's request for justice for a man of Brabant who had been arrested in England: "It is not consonant with reason that what has been terminated by reasonable and due process and executed should be cancelled and revoked to the injury of another."

After the accession of Jan's cousin Edward III, Jan at first supported England during the early years of the Hundred Years War, but later switched allegiance to France. The growing power of Brabant in this period meant that Jan had made many enemies in the Low Countries.

Marie d'Evreux died on 31 October 1335, and was buried in Brussels. Jan didn't marry again, but as Marie had borne him three sons and three daughters, he probably felt that he didn't need to. He apparently had a whopping twenty illegitimate children, which probably means that plenty of people in Belgium and the Netherlands are descended from Edward I. ;)

However, when Jan died on 5 December 1355, at Brussels, his three legitimate sons had all pre-deceased him. He was succeeded by his eldest daughter Johanna, who was born in 1322 and lived until 1406. Her first marriage to Willem II, Count of Hainault - brother of Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III - was childless; after his death in 1345 she married Wenzel (Wenceslas) Count of Luxemburg. His grandfather was Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich VII [above], his father the King of Bohemia was killed at the Battle of Crecy in 1346, and his niece Anne of Bohemia married Richard II in 1382. Jan III's second daughter Margaretha (1323-1368) married Count Louis II of Flanders, the great-great-grandson of Guy de Dampierre, and his youngest daughter Marie (1325-1399) married Duke Reinald III of Geldern, son of Eleanor of Woodstock and grandson of Edward II. Funnily enough, both Margaretha and Marie's husbands were much younger than they were - Louis was almost eight years younger than Margaretha, and Reinald was about eight years younger than Marie. Count Louis of Flanders tried to wrest control of Brabant from his wife's sister Johanna, but was unsuccessful.

Count Henri III of Bar: Edward's brother-in-law.

Henri was born sometime between about 1259 and 1269, as far as I can tell. He was the eldest son of Count Thibaut II, who died in 1291, aged about seventy, and Jeanne de Montmorency, also known as Jeanne de Toucy. He had almost a dozen brothers and sisters, including a sister who was Abbess of Saint-Mauré, and two brothers who were Bishops of Liège and Metz.

On 20 September 1293, he married Edward I's eldest daughter Eleanor, who had long been betrothed to Alfonso III of Aragón, as in my previous post. The wedding took place in Bristol and was attended by her little brother the Lord Edward. After the wedding, Eleanor and Henri stayed with little Edward at Mortlake for a month, 14 October to 11 November, and left England on 14 April 1294. King Edward I saw them off at Dover. Shortly after their return to Bar, Henri held a tournament to celebrate his nuptials - Duke Jan I of Brabant was killed, on 3 May. However, an entry of 12 November 1294, granting protection to "Peter de Virduno, parson of the church of Hembury by Wycheum, going beyond seas with H. count of Bar" suggests that they'd returned to England fairly soon after leaving.

Henri and Eleanor had two children, born between 1294 and 1296: Edouard [below], and Jeanne, Countess of Surrey. Eleanor died on 29 August 1298 - there's some dispute about the date, but this is the date that appears in her sister Elizabeth's psalter, which makes it almost certainly the correct one - supposedly in Ghent. She was twenty-nine. The cause of death is unknown, but may have been related to pregnancy or childbirth.

On 18 March 1299, a reference to Henri in the Patent Rolls still calls him 'the king's son': "...and to deliver this [1915 pounds] to John de Asshy, clerk, and Richerus, yeoman of Henry, count of Bar, the king's son, in satisfaction of a debt by the king to the count to that amount."

Apparently Henri had difficult and tense relations with Philip IV of France, which was presumably why he allied himself with the King of England. A certain PhD thesis I've written about before claims that Henri invaded the lands of Jeanne, Queen of Navarre (Queen Isabella's mother), but no date or further information is given, and I can't find anything about it elsewhere. According to the thesis, Jeanne herself raised an army and led her troops against Henri, defeating him and holding him prisoner "under her own terms" (whatever that means). It seems unlikely that a woman would lead troops into battle, but who knows...

Henri's French Wikipedia page says that he was forced to render homage to Philip IV in 1301 and to give up some castles to him. He died in Naples in 1302, en route to a crusade.

Count Edouard I of Bar: Edward's nephew. Born probably in 1294 or 1295, he succeeded his father in 1302. However, a French genealogical site claims he was born in April 1296 - this is interesting, as I'd always assumed he was older than his sister, but if he was born in 1296, then Jeanne was almost certainly older. On 11 February 1310, at the Castle of Montbard, Edouard married Marie of Burgundy (Marie de Bourgogne), the granddaughter of Louis IX of France and fourth daughter of Duke Robert II of Burgundy. I've mentioned her elder sisters before - Blanche married Count Eduard of Savoy (in my previous post) and Marguerite and Jeanne la Boiteuse (the Lame) were Queens of France, married to Louis X and Philip VI respectively. Marie was born in 1298.
Edouard was declared to be of age at the time of his marriage, though he was only fourteen or fifteen.

Edward II's Wardrobe Accounts record the birth of Edouard and Marie's only son, Henri - the birth was announced to Edward on 21 May 1321: "To John de Bria, squire of the Countess of Bar, coming with letters of his said lady, with the news of the delivery of the said Countess of Henry, her first born son, of the King's gift, 6 pounds 13s 4d."

Edouard and Marie also had two daughters: Beatrice, who married Guido, Captain-General of Mantua, and had a son; and Eleonore, who died young on 15 September 1333, having married in 1329 Raoul, Duke of Lorraine, who was killed at Crecy in 1346, on the French side. Eleonore and Raoul had no children.

Edouard had briefly been taken prisoner by the Duke of Lorraine in 1313, so presumably the marriage of their children was intended to make peace between Bar and Lorraine. Edouard was appointed Regent of Lorraine on 26 October 1331 for his eleven-year-old son-in-law Raoul. (In 1337, Edouard's son Henri refused to pay homage to Raoul for some lands he held of him, and relations between Bar and Lorraine once more broke out into open conflict.)

Edouard's relations with his uncle Edward II were friendly, though they may have cooled over Edward's support of the Earl of Surrey, who was trying to divorce Edouard's sister Jeanne. In 1317, Edouard may have been complicit in the imprisonment of the Earl of Pembroke, in retaliation for Pembroke's support of Surrey. Edward II's letters to Bar on behalf of Pembroke show that he had a good knowledge of the politics and influential people of his nephew's county (or at least, that his advisors did).

Count Edouard I of Bar drowned off the coast of Famagusta in Cyprus on 11 November 1336, in his early forties. Like his father, he died on the way to crusade. His wife Marie of Burgundy, sister-in-law of King Philip VI of France, was already dead, at some unknown date.
Their son succeeded as Count Henri IV, but he died at the age of twenty-three in 1344; Henri's two sons succeeded him in turn, Edouard II (died 1352) and Robert I, who lived until 1411.

Count Jan I of Holland and Zeeland, Lord of Friesland: Edward II's brother-in-law.

Count Jan was born sometime in 1284, the son of Count Floris V of Holland and Beatrijs (died 1291), one of the many daughters of Guy de Dampierre, Count of Flanders. Jan was thus a first cousin of Duke Jan II of Brabant. He was betrothed to Edward I's daughter Elizabeth shortly after his birth. At the same time, his sister Margaretha was betrothed to Edward I's son Alfonso, who died shortly afterwards (August 1284).

His father Count Floris - known as der Keerlen God, God of the Peasants - was born on 24 June 1254 in Leiden. In the early 1290s, he put himself forward as a claimant to the Scottish throne, as a descendant of King David I. He and Beatrijs had nine or possibly eleven children, of whom only Jan (who died at fifteen) and Margaretha survived childhood - and even Margaretha seems to disappear from history after the death of Alfonso. Floris' children didn't live long, and he had no legitimate grandchildren. Floris did, however, also father seven or so illegitimate children, of whom Witte van Haamstede is the best-known. Witte's half-brother Count Jan granted him the lordship of Haamstede.

In 1296, Floris, a long-time ally of Edward I, switched sides and became an ally of Philip IV of France. Edward and Guy de Dampierre - Floris' father-in-law - conspired to have him kidnapped and taken to England (or France - reports vary), and his son installed in his place. But the kidnappers panicked and murdered him, near Muiderslot Castle, on 27 June 1296.

Jan may have grown up in England, at least partly, and if so, would have been a companion to the future Edward II, who was the same age. A Dutch site, assuming I've read it correctly, says he was sent in 1291. He was certainly in England at the time of his father's murder, when he was eleven or twelve. He returned to his home country.

In January 1297, Jan sailed to Ipswich, and married Elizabeth in the priory church on 18 January. Elizabeth was born in August 1282, so was a little older than Jan, almost fourteen and a half to his twelve. Elizabeth's twelve-year-old brother Lord Edward attended the wedding, as did most of the English and Dutch nobility; Edward gave his new brother-in-law a gold cup as a wedding present. Jan returned to Holland ten days after the wedding, attended by his many Dutch nobles, but Elizabeth - like her sister Margaret in 1294 - decided to stay in England. Possibly in irritation at her refusal to leave, Edward I ripped the coronet off his daughter's head and threw it in the fire - he later paid to have the precious stones replaced. Margaret finally left England to rejoin her husband Duke Jan II in Brussels, sailing with Count Jan.

Elizabeth, in the meantime, stayed at Windsor with her brother Edward for some time, and was at Langley when she received a message from Jan that he had reached Holland safely. On 23 August 1297, Elizabeth, with a magnificent trousseau, departed England with her father, who had with him a fleet of 500 vessels in readiness for his Flemish expedition. Apparently in no great rush to join her husband, Elizabeth stayed with her father until after Christmas 1297. She was now fifteen, Jan still only thirteen.

During Jan's minority, Holland was ruled by a regent, Wolfert van Borselen. He was murdered in August 1299, perhaps on the orders of Jan's kinsman, guardian and heir, Jan d'Avesnes, Count of Hainault, who took over control of the government.

Count Jan I, never very healthy, died in Haarlem on 10 November 1299, still only fifteen years old. Given his youth and ill health, it seems quite likely that his marriage to Elizabeth was never consummated. She returned to England and, three years later, married Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford. As late as 1316, the year of Elizabeth's death, Edward II was still chasing up his sister's dower in Holland.

Jan was succeeded as Count of Holland by his father's cousin Jan d'Avesnes, Count of Hainault, who was born in about 1247; he was the grandfather of Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III. There were rumours that Jan I was poisoned on his cousin's orders, but of course this is unprovable. With Jan II's accession, the counties of Hainault and Holland were united.

Reinald II 'de Swarte' ('the Black'), Duke of Gelderland and Count of Zutphen: Edward II's son-in-law.

Reinald was the son of Reinald I (who was captured at the Battle of Worringen in 1288) and, by a truly astonishing coincidence, yet another daughter of our old friend Guy de Dampierre, making him another first cousin of Jan II of Brabant and Jan I of Holland. To make it super confusing, Guy de Dampierre was married twice, and used the same names for the children of both marriages, so Reinald's mother was named Margaretha, like her older half-sister who was the mother of Jan II of Brabant.

The younger Margaretha was first married on 14 November 1282 to the Lord Alexander, heir to the throne of Scotland and nephew of Edward I, but he died in January 1284, and on 3 July 1286 she married Reinald I. Their son Reinald II was born between about 1287 and 1290.

On 11 January 1311, Reinald was married to Sophie/a de Berthout at Roermond; she was the heiress of Malines and niece of the Bishop of Utrecht, and bore him four daughters. Two of them, Matilda and Marie, succeeded as Duchess of Gelderland in their own right, and Elisabeth was Abbess of Gravendaal/Graefenthal. Sophie de Berthout died in 1329.

Reinald II officially succeeded his father on 9 October 1326. However, he had declared his father unfit to rule in 1316, and imprisoned him in 1318. In May 1332, now in his forties, he married Edward II's elder daughter Eleanor of Woodstock at Nijmegen. Eleanor was not yet fourteen (born June 1318). She had previously been considered as a bride for King Alfonso XI of Castile and the future King Jean II of France, so marriage to Reinald wasn't a brilliant match, especially considering her younger sister Joan was Queen of Scotland.

Professor Roy Martin Haines, in his King Edward II, recounts the legend that a non-murdered Edward II was a furtive guest at his daughter's wedding, which I'd love to believe is true. ;)

There was much rejoicing almost exactly a year later when Eleanor, not yet fifteen, gave birth to a son, also Reinald (born 13 May 1333). He was followed on 12 March 1336 by a second son, named Eduard after his grandfather. (The brothers quarrelled, civil war broke out, Eduard imprisoned his elder brother, who was known as 'Reinald the Fat'...family loyalty was definitely lacking in the Dukes of Gelderland.)

In 1339, the county of Gelderland was 'upgraded' to a duchy, in honour of Reinald's importance in European politics and the Hundred Years War. He died in Arnhem on 12 October 1243 and was succeeded by his elder son Reinald III. Eleanor of Woodstock died on 22 April 1355, not yet thirty-seven, and was buried in Deventer Abbey, which she'd founded. As her two sons died childless, both in 1371, two of her stepdaughters succeeded as Duchess of Gelderland.

King Eirik II 'the Priest-Hater' of Norway: Edward's potential father-in-law.

Eirik was born in 1268 as the elder son of King Magnus 'the Lawmender' and Queen Ingeborg, who was the daughter of King Erik IV 'Plovpenning' of Denmark. His mother's sister Sofia married King Valdemar I of Sweden; Valdemar had an affair with another of their sisters, Jutta, and had to travel to Rome to beg the Pope's forgiveness. Eirik's paternal grandfather Håkon Håkonsson (died 1263) fought with Alexander III of Scotland over possession of the Hebrides.

To promote peace between the countries, Eirik was married to Alexander's daughter Margaret in August 1281. She was Alexander's eldest child, born in February 1261 at Windsor, where her mother Queen Margaret was visiting her parents Henry III and Eleanor of Provence. Margaret was much older than Eirik, at least seven years. At the time of the wedding, which took place at the Mariakerke in Bergen, Margaret was twenty and Eirik thirteen, maybe still even twelve.

Despite the age gap, the marriage was consummated before too long. Queen Margaret died, either during or shortly after childbirth, on or a little before 9 April 1283. The child was a daughter, the 'Maid of Norway'. She was betrothed to Edward of Caernarfon, but died in the Orkneys in 1290 at the age of seven, thus ending Edward I's dream of a united England and Scotland.

Eirik married again in 1293, to Isabel Bruce, sister of Robert, the future King. Eirik claimed the throne of Scotland in the early 1290s as the father of the Maid, and although his claim was hopeless, Robert Bruce (or his father) probably decided that an alliance with Eirik was in order. Isabel bore Eirik a daughter, Ingeborg, who married Valdemar, Duke of Finland, brother of King Birger of Sweden.

Eirik's brilliant nickname makes him seem more interesting than he probably really was. He died in 1299, at the age of thirty or thirty-one, and was succeeded by his brother Haakon V. Haakon also had no son, and when he died in 1319, his heir was his daughter's son Magnus VII. Haakon's daughter was also called Ingeborg, and like her cousin and namesake was married to a brother of King Birger of Sweden; her son Magnus VII was King of Sweden as well as Norway. Interestingly, any son of Edward II and the Maid of Norway would have had a strong claim to the Norwegian throne in 1319.

Guy de Dampierre (or Gwijde van Dampierre), Count of Flanders: Edward's potential father-in-law.

Guy was born in about 1226, son of Guillaume de Dampierre, a nobleman of Champagne, and Margaret of Constantinople. Margaret's father Baldwin was Count of Flanders and Hainault, and the first Latin Emperor of Constantinople in 1204; her maternal grandmother Marie was the elder daughter of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Guy was a younger half-brother of Jan d'Avesnes, the father of Jan d'Avesnes who succeeded as Count Jan II of Holland, above. Their mother Margaret of Constantinople was determined that her counties of Flanders and Hainault would pass to her Dampierre sons rather than her Avesnes son, which led to years of conflict.

To cut a very long story short, Guy ceded his claims to Hainault, but became Count of Flanders in 1252, jointly with his mother Margaret, who lived until 1278. Tensions between Guy and Philip IV of France in the late 1280s led Guy to become an ally of Edward I, and after the death of the little Maid of Norway, Guy betrothed his daughter Philippa to Edward of Caernarfon. However, Philip imprisoned Guy, two of his sons, and Philippa in Paris, and the planned marriage never took place.

Guy's allies, including several of his sons and grandsons, defeated the French at the Battle of the Golden Spurs (also known as the Battle of Courtrai or Kortrijk). Guy was still in prison at Compiègne, where he died on 7 March 1304, in his late seventies. He was succeededby his eldest son Robert III, who was already in his mid fifties.

Guy first married Matilda of Bethune in 1246, and she bore him eight children, including: his successor Robert III, Jan II of Brabant's mother Margaretha, Jan I of Holland's mother Beatrijs, and Jan, Bishop of Metz and Liège. Secondly, in March 1265, he married Isabel of Luxemburg, by whom he had eight more children, including: Philippa, betrothed to Edward of Caernarfon; Margaretha, mother of Reinald II of Gelderland, and Beatrijs, who married the Count of St Pol.

14 April, 2007

Royal and Noble Men, of the Non-English Variety (part one)

First of all, I'd like to thank Eric Avebury for his very kind comments about my blog. His post was picked up by the Liberal Democrat writer Jonathan Calder, who was also very nice about the blog.
*Is delighted*

Anyway, this post and the next one are about men who were relatives of Edward II, by blood or marriage, who were not English, with some short biographies and interesting facts about them.

I'm excluding Edward's uncle Alfonso X of Castile, his father-in-law Philip IV, his brothers-in-law Louis X, Philip V and Charles IV of France, and his son-in-law David II of Scotland, as these men are very well-known and it's easy to find information on them. I'm focusing on the less famous ones.

I've also included some men who *might* have been related to Edward, because they were betrothed to one of his sisters, etc, but the betrothals were broken or ended for some reason, or the marriages never took place. You might also be interested in two of my older posts, on Edward's Castilian family and his ancestry.

To break down the information somewhat, I've divided the men into two posts: Southern and Northern Europe. In the first post, I'll talk about the relatives from Southern Europe:

- The sons of Fernando III of Castile (Edward II's uncles)
- King Sancho IV of Castile and his brother Fernando de la Cerda (Edward's first cousins)
- King Alfonso III of Aragón (almost Edward's brother-in-law)
- Count Amadeo (Amadeus) V of Savoy (another almost-brother-in-law)

And in the second post, the Northern Europeans:
- Dukes Jan II and Jan III of Brabant (brother-in-law and nephew)
- Counts Henri III and Edouard I of Bar (brother-in-law and nephew)
- Count Jan I of Holland (brother-in-law)
- Duke Reinald II of Gelderland (son-in-law)
- Guy de Dampierre, Count of Flanders (potential father-in-law)
- King Eirik II of Norway (another potential father-in-law)

Edward II's grandfather Fernando III, King of Castile and León (canonised in 1671 and known as El Santo, the Saint) was born in 1201 and married Elisabeth von Hohenstaufen on 30 November 1219. Elisabeth, born in 1205, was known as Beatriz de Suavia (Swabia) in her adopted country. Astonishingly, both her grandfathers were emperors: Friedrich Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor (died 1190) and Isaac II Angelus, Byzantine Emperor (died 1204).

Elisabeth's father Philipp of Swabia, King of the Romans, was the youngest of Barbarossa's six sons, the brother of Heinrich VI, and the uncle of Friedrich II, both Holy Roman Emperors in their turn. Philipp was also Bishop of Würzburg from 1190 to 1193; he was born in August 1179, so was presumably only eleven (!?) when elected, decided to give up his ecclestiastical state, and was crowned King of the Romans (i.e., King of Germany) on 8 September 1198.
He married, on 25 May 1197, Irene Angelina, daughter of Isaac Angelus - she had been captured after Philipp's brother Emperor Heinrich VI invaded Sicily on 29 December 1194. Philipp was murdered in Bamberg on 21 June 1208 by Otto von Wittelsbach; Irene Angelina died in childbirth, along with her infant, two months later. Elisabeth von Hohenstaufen was the youngest of their four (surviving) daughters.

Fernando III and Queen Elisabeth/Beatriz had three daughters and seven sons, the half-aunts and half-uncles of Edward II. Their eldest son was Alfonso X, born 23 November 1221, known as El Sabio, the Wise or the Learned, who died in Seville on 4 April 1284 - exactly three weeks before his nephew Edward was born in Caernarfon Castle.

The others:

infante don Enrique de Castilla y León, the fourth son, was born in 1230. He was lord of Écija, Medellín, Dueñas, Atienza, Berlanga, Calataãzor, San Esteban de Gormaz, Morón, Cote, Silibar, Arcos and Lebrija. King Fernando died in 1252, and by 1255, Enrique and some of his brothers were already becoming dissatisfied with Alfonso X's rule. Enrique began a rebellion, but was defeated by his brother's troops and forced to flee the country.

He found refuge in Ponthieu with his stepmother Jeanne de Dammartin, the Dowager Queen of Castile and Countess of Ponthieu (Edward II's grandmother); Enrique was in fact said to be her lover, though I don't know how plausible this story is. Jeanne had been involved in his rebellion, as she was unhappy with her stepson Alfonso who apparently did not allow her full control of her dower lands, and was forced to leave Castile in 1254.

On Jeanne's advice, don Enrique travelled to England in August 1256, where his young half-sister Eleanor (Leonor de Castilla) was already married to the heir to the throne. For three or four years, he cheerfully abused the hospitality of King Henry III, not paying for anything, until even Henry had had enough. Also, English relations with Castile were deteriorating, and Henry might have been attempting to mollify Alfonso X by refusing to continue harbouring his rebel brother.

Don Enrique ended up in North Africa, where he became a mercenary, and was joined by his elder brother don Fadrique, who had been exiled from Castile by their brother the King. In 1266, Enrique helped Charles of Anjou (brother of Louis IX of France) in his campaign to become King of Sicily, and Charles rewarded him with the position of Senator of Rome in July 1267, a post he held for just over a year. For this reason, don Enrique is often known as El Senador, the Senator.

However, Charles of Anjou did not reward Enrique as much as he thought he deserved, so he switched sides and fought against Charles on behalf of his cousin Conradin of Swabia (grandson of Emperor Friedrich II; Charles of Anjou had him beheaded at the age of sixteen). Unfortunately Enrique was captured, and on 28 August 1268, was taken to Naples, where he remained in prison for a staggering thirty years. His half-sister Eleanor and her husband Edward I did their best to get him released, but without success. However, Eleanor kept in touch with Enrique until her death in late 1290.

Don Enrique returned to Castile in 1298, and until his death on 8 August 1304, well into his seventies, served as Regent of Castile for his young great-nephew, Fernando IV.

infante don Felipe de Castilla y León, the fifth son, born in 1231. A pluralist of the highest order, he became Abbot of Castrojeriz in 1243, Bishop of Osma in 1245, Abbot of Covarrubias in 1248, and Abbot of Valladolid in 1249. The same year, still only eighteen, he was elected Archbishop of Seville. His first church appointment came when he was twelve, a little older than his grandfather Philipp of Swabia had been when elected Bishop. :)

Felipe took a leaf out of his grandfather's book in other ways: he gave up his ecclestiastical career to marry, in March 1258. His bride was Kristina, daughter of Haakon IV of Norway - she was apparently betrothed to one of his brothers, though I'm not sure which one. Kristina died childless in 1262, and don Felipe married two more times, fathering a son by his third marriage to Leonor Rodríguez de Castro. He also had three known illegitimate children. In 1255, he joined his brother Enrique's rebellion against King Alfonso, but the King forgave him, presumably (perhaps because Felipe was still a cleric then, so Alfonso had litle choice).
Don Felipe died on 28 November 1274.

infante don Sancho (...etc) was the sixth son, born in 1233. He was brought up by don Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, who served as Archbishop of Toledo from 1209 to 1247. Sancho supposedly studied in Paris - though I'm not sure when, as he himself was elected Archbishop of Toledo on 11 March 1251, the second of Edward II's Castilian uncles to become an Archbishop at the grand old age of eighteen. (You couldn't make this up.) Archbishop don Sancho died on 26 October 1261, still in his twenties.

infante don Fadrique, the second son, was born in 1223 and grew up at the court of his cousin Emperor Friedrich II. He was lord of Sanlúcar de Albaída, Gelves, Gizirat, Abualhinar, Alpechin, Cambullón, Brenes, Riazuela and La Algeba. He was exiled from Castile in 1260 by his brother Alfonso X, presumably because he'd joined his brothers' rebellion, but was reconciled to him in 1272. (Alfonso X evidently had a lot of trouble with fraternal loyalty, or lack of it.) However, Fadrique became involved in the struggle over the Castilian succession [see below], and Alfonso had him secretly executed in 1277. Like most of his brothers, he fathered several illegitimate children.

infante don Fernando, the third son, born in 1225, died during the siege of Seville in 1248. He was made Governor of Murcia and Molina Seca in 1243.

infante don Juan Manuel, the seventh and youngest son, 1234-83. Lord of Elche y Villena, Escalona, Santa Olalla, Peñafiel, Agreda and Roa y Cuéllar. He married firstly Constanza, daughter of King Jaime I of Aragón, and secondly Beatrice, daughter of Count Amadeus IV of Savoy.

Edward II also had four Castilian uncles of the full blood, the sons of Fernando III and his second wife Jeanne de Dammartin (Queen Elisabeth died in 1235):

infante don Ximen and infante don Juan, who died in infancy in the 1240s.

infante don Fernando, the eldest child of King Fernando and Queen Jeanne, born in the winter of 1238/39. He succeeded his maternal grandfather Simon de Dammartin as Count of Aumale, married Laure de Montfort-l'Amaury (the niece of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester), and died around 1265. His son Jean had a long-running legal battle with his aunt Eleanor of Castile and Edward I over Ponthieu and Aumale, which he resurrected after Queen Eleanor's death.

infante don Luis, born in 1243. Very obscure, it's difficult to say much about him except that he definitely pre-deceased his mother Jeanne (Eleanor of Castile was the only one of Fernando and Jeanne's five children to outlive her), and married Juana de Manzaneda Giron. He had a son, also Luis, also obscure.

King Sancho IV 'el Bravo' of Castile and Fernando de la Cerda, first cousins of Edward II.
Fernando de la Cerda was the third child and eldest son of King Alfonso X and his wife Violante (or Yolande) of Aragón, born in Valladolid on 23 October 1255. His nickname means 'of the bristle', supposedly a reference to the fact that he was born with hair sprouting on his chest.

On 30 November 1268, he married Blanche, daughter of Louis IX of France and Marguerite of Provence (which makes her a niece of Charles of Anjou, mentioned above, and the first cousin of Edward I of England, whose mother Eleanor was Marguerite of Provence's sister). Fernando and Blanche had two sons, Alfonso and Fernando: Alfonso was born sometime in 1270 when Fernando de la Cerda was only fourteen or fifteen, and Fernando was born posthumously in 1275. Fernando de la Cerda died of a fever at Cuidad Real on 25 July of that year, not yet twenty.

Sancho IV of Castile was the second son of Alfonso X and Queen Violante, born in Valladolid on 12 May 1258. In 1282, he married his cousin Maria de Molina, the granddaughter of King Alfonso IX of León and Queen Berenguela of Castile (parents of Fernando III, and thus Sancho IV's great-grandparents).

After the death of Fernando de la Cerda, their father wished his throne to pass to his grandson, young Alfonso, but Sancho had other ideas. He persuaded a coalition of Castilian nobles to support his claim to the throne, and on the death of his father in 1284, seized control of the kingdom. He imprisoned and executed thousands of the supporters of his young de la Cerda nephews. Until his death on 25 April 1295, he was opposed by many in Castile who felt that Fernando de la Cerda's sons were the rightful inheritors of the country.

King Pedro III of Aragon, their uncle, gave refuge to the disinherited boys, but later held them as hostages. Philip III of France, another uncle, promised his sister Blanche that he would help them, and raised an army, only to ignominously withdraw. Alfonso and Fernando lived in the fortress of Játiva, though they were later released by King Alfonso III of Aragón. Alfonso lived to 1324, and Fernando to 1322; they both married and had children, and Alfonso settled in France.

King Sancho IV ruled Castile until his early death on 25 April 1295 - which was, incidentally, the eleventh birthday of his cousin, the future Edward II - and was succeeded by his son Fernando IV, who was born on 6 December 1285.

Alfonso III, 'el Liberal', King of Aragón and Count of Barcelona, who should have been Edward II's brother-in-law.

Alfonso was born in Valencia on 4 November 1265, the eldest son of King Pedro III, el Grande, the Great, King of Aragón 1276 to 1285, who was himself the son of King Jaime I, el Conquistador, the Conqueror. Alfonso's paternal grandmother Violante was the daughter of King András II of Hungary.

One aunt, Violante or Yolande, married Alfonso X of Castile, and another, Isabella, married Philip III of France. Alfonso was thus the first cousin of Fernando de la Cerda and Sancho IV, and of Philip IV. His uncle Sancho was elected Archbishop of Toledo in 1266, second successor of Sancho of Castile, above, and his aunt Constanza married don Juan Manuel of Castile, as above.

Alfonso's mother Constanza of Sicily (1249-1302) was the daughter of Manfredo, King of Sicily, who was the son of the Emperor Friedrich II by his mistress Bianca Lancia. Manfredo was born about 1232 - three years before his father Friedrich married his third wife Isabella, sister of Henry III of England and great-aunt of Edward II. Manfredo was probably only seventeen when his daughter Constanza was born, and thirty-three when his grandson Alfonso was born. He was the uncle of Conradin, mentioned above, who was beheaded by Charles of Anjou at the age of sixteen.

Several months after Alfonso's birth, on 26 February 1266, his grandfather King Manfredo was defeated and killed at the Battle of Benevento by none other than Charles of Anjou. Manfredo's three sons by his second wife Helena Dukaina Angelina, Enrico, Federico, and Enzio - Alfonso's half-uncles - were blinded and imprisoned in chains, despite being young children.

Edward I and Pedro III made arrangements for a marriage alliance between Alfonso and Edward's eldest daughter Eleanor (born 1269) as early as 1273. In June 1282, Edward made preparations to send Eleanor to Aragón for her marriage, but her mother Eleanor of Castile and grandmother Eleanor of Provence persuaded him that she was too young - she turned thirteen that month. Of course the women meant well, but in the end, the decision not to send Eleanor meant that the marriage never took place.

Alfonso succeeded his father as King of Aragón on 3 November 1285, the day before his twentieth birthday. A month earlier, his seventeen-year-old cousin had succeeded as Philip IV of France. Soon after, he declared war on his own uncle King Jaime II of Mallorca, and conquered Mallorca in 1285, Ibiza in 1286, and Minorca from the Caliphate of Córdoba on 17 January 1287 - 17 January is still the national holiday of Minorca.

Thanks to endless struggles between Aragón, Sicily, Anjou and the Papacy, too complex to go into here, a succession of Popes refused to recognise Alfonso as King of Aragón, and also to grant a dispensation for him to marry Eleanor. Alfonso's reign was also marred by internal struggles between the King and his nobles, which culminated in Alfonso granting numerous concessions in a document known as the 'Magna Carta of Aragón'.

Finally, King Alfonso was able to turn his attention to his marriage, but before it could take place, he died, in Barcelona on 18 June 1291, only in his mid twenties. He was succeeded by his brother Jaime II, born 1267, who married four times, his first wife being Isabella, daughter of Sancho IV of Castile and Maria de Molina. They married on 1 December 1291, when Jaime was twenty-three and Isabella eight. The marriage was dissolved, and Isabella later married Jean III, Duke of Brittany, great-grandson of Henry III of England. Jaime's second wife Blanche was the granddaughter of Charles of Anjou, and the mother of King Alfonso IV of Aragón. Jaime II died on 2 November 1327, a few weeks after Edward II's (alleged!) death.

A little over two years after Alfonso III's death, Eleanor of England, to whom he had been betrothed for eighteen years, married the Count of Bar, at the advanced age of twenty-four.

Amadeo [Amadeus] V, Count of Savoy, who should have been Edward II's brother-in-law.

Amadeo was born between 1249 and 1253, the son of Tommaso, Count of Savoy. His mother Beatrice di Fieschi was the niece of Pope Innocent IV.

Amadeo was Count of Savoy from 1285 to 1323, and is called 'the Great' because of his enormous success as a ruler. His first wife was Sibylle of Bauge, by whom he had eight children, including his successor Count Edoardo; Edoardo was born in 1284, the same year as Edward II, and married Blanche, one of the many daughters of Duke Robert II of Burgundy (two of her sisters were Queens of France and another married Edward II's nephew Count Edouard of Bar). It's probable that Edoardo was named after Edward I, who was an ally of Amadeo; Amadeo, however, also managed to stay on excellent terms with the Kings of France.

Edward I's second daughter Joan of Acre was widowed in December 1295, when Gilbert 'the Red' de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, died. Joan was still only twenty-three, and on 16 March 1297, her father wrote to Count Amadeo offering him Joan's hand in marriage. Shortly afterwards, however, Joan of Acre informed her father that she had secretly married Ralph de Monthermer, a squire in her late husband's service. Edward, furious, imprisoned Ralph and confiscated Joan's lands, but in the end he had little choice but to accept the marriage.

Amadeo V, instead, married Marie of Brabant, who, like Joan of Acre, was decades younger than he was. She was the daughter of Duke Jan I, niece of Marie of Brabant who was the second wife of Philip III of France, and sister of Duke Jan II, one of the subjects of my next post...

....coming very soon!

09 April, 2007

Maud de Chaworth and her daughters

Maud (or Matilda) de Chaworth was born on 2 February 1282, the only child of Patrick de Chaworth and Isabel Beauchamp. Isabel, who died in 1306, was the daughter of William, earl of Warwick, and sister of Guy, earl of Warwick, who kidnapped Piers Gaveston in 1312.

Patrick de Chaworth was Lord of Kidwelly, in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, and died on 7 July 1283, probably aged about thirty. As his only child, Maud inherited his lands - and she was also the heiress of her childless uncle, Pain (or Payn) de Chaworth, who had died in 1279.

Maud was a rich heiress, with lands in Carmarthenshire, Glamorgan, Hampshire and Wiltshire. On her father Patrick's death, she became a ward of Eleanor of Castile; after Queen Eleanor's death, King Edward I granted Maud's marriage to his brother Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, on 30 December 1292: "Grant to Edmund the king's brother of the marriage of Matilda daughter and heir of Patrick de Cadurcis [Chaworth], tenant in chief, to the use of Henry his son..."

Probably in 1286, when Maud was four, her mother Isabel Beauchamp married Hugh Despenser the Elder, and had two sons and four daughters by him. Maud was thus the elder half-sister of the notorious Hugh Despenser the Younger. She married Edmund of Lancaster's second son Henry by 2 March 1297, when an entry in the Patent Rolls records a "grant to Henry de Lancastre and Matilda his wife..."

Henry of Lancaster was not only the nephew of the King of England, he was also closely connected to the French royal family. His mother was Blanche of Artois, niece of Louis IX, and Queen of Navarre by her first marriage. Henry's half-sister Jeanne (or Juana) was Queen of Navarre in her own right, and married Philip IV of France. Henry was thus the uncle of Edward II's Queen Isabella and of three Kings of France, the younger brother of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and first cousin of Edward II. He was probably a little older than Maud - his date of birth is assumed to be 1280 or 1281. They were about fourteen and fifteen when they married.

Maud bore Henry of Lancaster seven children, one son and six daughters. Their dates of birth are not known, and it's also fairly difficult to work out their birth order [but I've had a stab at it - see below]. Maud's only son Henry (usually called 'of Grosmont' to distinguish him from his father) was one of the great men of the fourteenth century: soldier, diplomat, and a great friend of his cousin Edward III, who made him the first Duke of Lancaster in 1351. Duke Henry wrote a devotional tract, Le Livre de Seyntz Medicines (the Book of Holy Medicines) completed in 1354. It's also full of lovely little snippets of information about Henry himself, such as his habit of stretching out his legs in his stirrups at jousting tournaments so that women would admire his calves, and how, although highborn women smelled nicer, he preferred kissing the lowborn, as they were more responsive (ie, they didn't slap him when he kissed them!)

I don't have the space to write much about Henry here - it would take an entire blog post to cover just some of his life - but I definitely recommend that anyone reading this finds out more about this fascinating man. :) Fans of Anya Seton's Katherine, especially - Henry was, by his wife Isabella Beaumont, the father of Blanche of Lancaster, who married Edward III's son John of Gaunt in 1359. Henry was probably born about 1310 or 1312.

Kidwelly Castle and Ogmore Castle were part of Maud's inheritance, and she and Henry may have spent much time here, and carried out some re-building at Kidwelly (there's an interesting article about the castle here). Henry had also inherited the Three Castles in Monmouthshire, White Castle, Grosmont and Skenfrith, from his father Edmund. Their son Henry was presumably born at Grosmont, hence his name.

As usual with married women in the fourteenth century, Maud de Chaworth mostly disappears from the records. Her brother-in-law Thomas of Lancaster was the great enemy of Edward II, and Maud lived long enough to see the rise to power of her half-brother, the younger Despenser. How she felt about all this is unknown. What kind of relationship she had with Despenser, or with her husband, is unknown. Even the date of her death is unknown. She was still alive on 4 August 1320, when the Chancery Rolls records a letter "to the sheriff of Southampton. Order to prohibit the bailiffs of Henry de Lancastria and of Maud, his wife..." According to the Close Rolls, she was dead by 3 December 1322, and was buried at Mottisfont Priory in Hampshire - she and Henry were patrons of the priory. She was forty, or just under, at the time of her death.

Maud is often described as 'Countess of Leicester' or 'Countess of Lancaster' but she wasn't; Henry was only created Earl of Leicester in 1324 and Earl of Lancaster in 1327, after her death. He played no role in the rebellion of 1321/22 that destroyed his brother, but was a significant figure in the deposition of Edward II and the events of 1326-1330. Henry never re-married, and died on 22 September 1345, in his mid sixties. He was buried at the College of the Annunciation of St Mary in the Newarke at Leicester, which he had founded in 1331; his funeral was attended by Edward III, Queen Philippa, and Queen Isabella. All but one of his seven children outlived him.

Daughters of Maud de Chaworth and Henry of Lancaster

Blanche of Lancaster, probably born about 1302 or a little later, the eldest daughter, and named after her father's mother Blanche of Artois. Before 9 October 1316, she married Thomas Wake, second Baron Wake of Liddell. He was born in 1297 or 1298, of a Lincolnshire family who also held extensive lands in the north of England, and was the first cousin of Roger Mortimer - their mothers were sisters. Edward II had intended Thomas to marry Piers Gaveston's daughter Joan, but evidently he wasn't keen to marry a girl so much younger (Joan was born in 1312) and who was the daughter of the King's dead favourite to boot, and married Blanche without royal permission. Edward II was furious, and fined Thomas 1000 marks, a huge sum. However, he came round and allowed Thomas to take possession of his lands before he was twenty-one, probably as a favour to Thomas's father-in-law Henry.

Thomas followed his father-in-law and supported his cousin Roger Mortimer and Isabella in 1326/27. However, he later turned against them, was forced to flee from England in 1330, and his lands were confiscated. Edward III later restored him to favour. He died on 31 May 1349, perhaps of plague.

Blanche and Thomas's marriage was childless, so Thomas's heir was his sister Margaret's daughter, Joan, the 'Fair Maid of Kent'. Blanche, about forty-five or forty-seven when Thomas died, lived as a widow for more than thirty years. She was one of the executors of her brother Henry's will (he died in 1361).

Blanche is most famous for her long-running, acrimonious, and occasionally violent feud with Thomas de Lisle, the Bishop of Ely, over a land dispute between their servants. Edward III took her side and confiscated the Bishop's estates, after de Lisle was accused of inciting the murder of one of Blanche's retainers and attempting to escape justice by fleeing abroad. (There's an article about de Lisle here, and Susanna Gregory's novel A Summer of Discontent covers some of the case).

The eldest child of Maud de Chaworth, Blanche outlived all her siblings and just about everyone else of her generation. She died shortly before 12 July 1380, in her mid to late seventies; born in the reign of Edward I, she survived into the reign of his great-great-grandson Richard II.

Isabel of Lancaster, Prioress of Amesbury, the Priory made popular by Edward II's grandmother Queen Eleanor of Provence and still hopelessly fashionable in the fourteenth century. Isabel is usually said to have been born in 1317 as one of the younger daughters of Maud and Henry; her Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry says she was the fourth daughter, but I'm not really convinced.

I'm tentatively placing her second in the list, born around 1305 or 1307, partly because the fact that she was named after her maternal grandmother suggests that she was the second daughter, and besides, she certainly can't have been born in 1317. In the spring of this year, she accompanied Edward II's sister Mary and niece Elizabeth de Clare on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, and it's doubtful that she was a baby or a toddler - it's far more likely that she was at least ten or twelve. Mary was a nun of Amesbury, and it's likely that Isabel was already living there by 1317.

Isabel became Prioress in 1343. Like Edward II's sister Mary, she seems to have had little vocation - she owned four hunting dogs, for example, gave and received expensive gifts, and had personal servants. And like Edward II's cousin Eleanor of Brittany, Abbess of Fontevrault (Eleanor was the daughter of Edward I's sister, Beatrice) she spent a great deal of time outside the cloister, on decidedly non-spiritual matters. Her father Henry had settled some property on her, which she administered herself. She used her family connections to secure privileges and concessions for the priory, and enjoyed a regular wine allowance from Edward III.

Prioress Isabel died sometime shortly before 3 February 1349, according to the Close Rolls. There's some more information on Amesbury Priory, and Isabel, here.

Joan of Lancaster, possibly the third daughter. She married, between 28 February and 4 June 1327, John, Lord Mowbray, who was born on 29 November 1310; Joan was probably about the same age. John's father, John, was horribly executed in York on 23 March 1322, and young John was imprisoned in the Tower of London with his mother, Alice de Braose, until late 1326 (Edward II showing a stunning lack of compassion towards a child, there.) A large part of his inheritance was granted to the younger Despenser - who was his future wife's uncle - but he was restored in 1327.

Joan and John Mowbray had two daughters, Blanche and Eleanor, and one son - called John, inevitably - who was born on 25 June 1340. John the son married Elizabeth Segrave, daughter and heir of Edward II's niece Margaret (daughter of his half-brother Thomas of Brotherton), who was born on 25 October 1338; their son Thomas, born 1366, became the first Duke of Norfolk in 1399.

Joan of Lancaster died, probably only in her early thirties, sometime before August 1344, the date when John Mowbray married his second wife Elizabeth de Vere, sister of the Earl of Oxford. John Mowbray died on 4 October 1361, a few months after his brother-in-law Henry of Grosmont. Joan was the only one of Henry of Lancaster's children who pre-deceased him.

Maud/Matilda of Lancaster, possibly the fourth daughter. Between 1 May and 16 November 1327, she married William Donn de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, who was born on 17 September 1312. William was the son of Edward II's niece, Elizabeth de Clare (born the day after her seventeenth birthday), succeeded his grandfather Richard as Earl in 1326, and was by far the greatest landowner in Ireland. Their only child, Elizabeth de Burgh, was born on 6 July 1332.

Exactly eleven months later, Earl William was murdered at 'Le Ford' (Belfast) near Carrickfergus, apparently by some of his own men. He was only twenty years and nine months old. Countess Maud fled to England with her baby daughter, who on 9 September 1342 was married to Edward III's second son, Lionel. Lionel was more than six years Elizabeth's junior, born November 1338, but through her came into a vast inheritance of not only the lands of the earldom of Ulster, but a third of the de Clare inheritance of Elizabeth's paternal grandmother, Elizabeth de Clare.

In 1337, Maud of Lancaster managed to ensure that the Justiciar of Ireland was forbidden to pardon her husband's killers. She fought for her dower rights in Ireland and exerted some influence there. In 1344 she returned to Ireland with her second husband Ralph Ufford, brother of Robert, Earl of Suffolk; they had married sometime before the summer of 1343, and Ralph was now Justiciar of Ireland.

Unfortunately, Ralph fell ill and died on 9 April 1346. Maud fled to England again, with her little daughter Maud, born sometime after November 1345. She may well be the only woman in history to flee Ireland not once but twice, with a baby daughter in tow each time. Evidently, she wasn't too popular in Ireland, and the Dublin annalist gleefully describes her departure as 'slipping away furtively', leaving behind many debts, 'after only a brief spell of playing the queen in the island of Ireland'.

Ralph Ufford was buried in the Augustinian monastery of Campsey Ash in Suffolk (the sarcastic Dublin annalist describes his body as ‘this treasure, scarcely to be reckoned among saintly relics’) and shortly afterwards Maud decided to take the veil there. Ironically, it seems that her vocation for the holy life was stronger than that of her sister, Isabel the prioress. In 1364, she became a Minoress or Poor Clare, claiming that this had been her wish since childhood.

Her elder daughter Elizabeth de Burgh, Duchess of Clarence and Countess of Ulster, died on 10 December 1363. Her younger daughter Maud Ufford married Thomas de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who died in 1371 (the brother of Elizabeth de Vere who married John Mowbray, above). Maud was the mother of Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford (1361-1392), Richard II's favourite, and lived until 25 January 1413.

Maud of Lancaster died on 5 May 1377, a few weeks before her cousin Edward III, the second longest surviving of Maud de Chaworth's children. She was in her early or mid sixties.

Eleanor of Lancaster, probably the fifth daughter. I'm on safer ground here, given the date of Eleanor's wedding - she married John Beaumont between 1 September and 6 November 1330. He was born in 1317 or 1318, and I'd place Eleanor's birth at about the same time. John's father was Henry, Lord Beaumont, a kinsman of both Edward II and Queen Isabella, who adroitly changed sides several times between 1326 and 1330 and ended up on the winning side every time. John's mother was Alice Comyn, niece and heiress of the Earl of Buchan, and his sister Isabella married Eleanor's brother Henry of Grosmont (Lancaster), also in 1330.

Eleanor bore John (who succeeded his father as Lord Beaumont in 1340) a son, Henry, who married Margaret de Vere, yet another sister of Elizabeth and Thomas de Vere, Earl of Oxford mentioned above, and a daughter Joan, who I can't find much information about. John, Lord Beaumont was killed in a jousting tournament in Northampton on 14 April 1342.

Sometime later, Eleanor of Lancaster became the mistress of the Earl of Arundel, Richard 'Copped Hat' Fitzalan, who was married to her first cousin Isabel, daughter of Hugh Despenser the younger. Richard obtained a divorce from the obliging Pope, and married Eleanor on 5 February 1345, at Ditton church in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, in the presence of Edward III.

Eleanor and Richard had five children together, three sons and two daughters. Their eldest son Richard, Earl of Arundel was beheaded by Richard II on 21 September 1397, their second son John was Marshal of England, and their youngest son Thomas became Archbishop of York in 1388 and Archbishop of Canterbury in 1397. Their daughters Joan and Alice married the Earl of Hereford and the Earl of Kent respectively.

Eleanor of Lancaster died on 11 January 1372. Her son Henry Beaumont had already died, on 25 July 1369, and her son John drowned in 1379, but her other children, apart from the executed Richard, lived into the 1400s.

Richard died on 24 January 1376, and asked to be buried "near to the tomb of Eleanor de Lancaster, my wife; and I desire that my tomb be no higher than hers, that no men at arms, horses, hearse, or other pomp, be used at my funeral, but only five torches...as was about the corpse of my wife, be allowed."

The tomb of Eleanor and Richard still exists and can be seen at Chichester Cathedral. It inspired Philip Larkin's famous poem "An Arundel Tomb".

Mary of Lancaster, definitely the youngest daughter, born in the late 1310s or 1320. She married, on or shortly before 4 September 1334, Henry, Lord Percy, who was born in 1320 or 1321. Henry fought at the battle of Crecy in 1346, and served in Gascony between 1347 and 1349 under the command of his brother-in-law, Henry of Grosmont.

Henry Percy's mother was Idonea Clifford, whose brother Roger, Lord Clifford was executed in York on 23 March 1322, along with John, Lord Mowbray, above. (Clifford's Tower in York is named after him.) Henry's grandfather Robert, Lord Clifford was killed at Bannockburn in 1314. Henry's father was also named Henry, Lord Percy (1301-1352) and so was his grandfather (1273-1314).

So when Mary and Henry's elder son was born on 10 November 1341, there was really no choice about the name. However, this Henry Percy would be one of the most famous of all, becoming first Earl of Northumberland in 1377, dying in rebellion against Henry IV when he was well over sixty, and fathering Harry Hotspur.

There was a younger son of Mary and Henry: Thomas, first Earl of Worcester, born about 1343, who, like his father, served as a soldier in Gascony. He never married, oddly enough, though he lived to 1403, when he was beheaded after the battle of Shrewsbury. His nephew Harry Hotspur was killed during the battle.

Mary of Lancaster died on 1 September 1362, the year after her brother Henry, probably in her early forties. Her husband Henry Percy married again to Joan Orreby, had a daughter apparently named Mary after his first wife, and died on 18 May 1368.

Through their five children who had children, Maud de Chaworth and Henry of Lancaster are the ancestors of - well, just about everyone. Most British and European nobility and royalty, certainly. And countless millions of people alive today.

08 April, 2007

Thinking Blogger

I was pleased and flattered to see that Daphne, of the excellent Tanzanite's Shelf and Stuff, has nominated me for a 'Thinking Blogger Award', which I'm proudly displaying above. Here are the rules:
1. If you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to that post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display your "Thinking Blogger Award" with a link to the post that you wrote.
It's really difficult to choose only five, but these are my choices, in no particular order:
1) Susan Higginbotham's Reading, Raving and Ranting. Although I'm copying Daphne, I have to include Susan, as she's written a novel (The Traitor's Wife) which is really sympathetic to my beloved Edward II. Also, she writes some brilliant posts on fourteenth-century history, she's really funny, and she's probably the only other person on the planet who's as interested in all things Edward II as I am.
2) My second choice is another of Daphne's, too: Carla Nayland Historical Fiction. Carla's main focus is a few centuries earlier than my era, and it's fascinating to learn about such a different period. Also, she writes excellent book reviews, and yummy recipes that send me straight to the kitchen. :)
3) Gabriele Campbell's The Lost Fort. Lots on German and Roman history (Gabriele is German), great photos, historical fiction....a great and entertaining way to learn a lot. Gabriele also runs Lost Chronicles, a blog with a more academic flavour, and Lost Scrolls, her snippet blog to showcase her excellent fiction. (Hey, they only count as one choice...right?)
4) Just....Ilya...Ilya's musings on life, the universe and everything (and look at her photo blog, too). Ilya's a Romanian with a deep knowledge of, and interest in, history. Multilingual, she's always an inspiration.
5) Last but by no means least, the great fourteenth century poet Geoffrey Chaucer himself. Screamingly funny - some of his posts literally make me cry with laughter - always clever, written in Middle English, and with T-shirts available! What more could a person ask for?
There are plenty of other blogs I often read and enjoy - most notably Sarah's Reading The Past, which is brilliant for anyone interested in historical fiction, Frank's eclectic and informative Bourgeois Nerd, and the always hilarious Useless Advice From Useless Men.
EDIT: Blogger seems to be having one of its frequent snits - the formatting's really weird on this post! :(