04 November, 2008

From Favourite To Rebel: The Career of Hugh Audley

A post on Edward II's great favourite and later enemy, Hugh Audley.

Hugh was born around 1291 as the second son of Hugh Audley and Isolde (or Iseult) Mortimer, widow of Walter Balun. Hugh Audley Senior was born around 1267, the fifth but second surviving son of James Audley, justiciar of Ireland, who died after breaking his neck in 1272. Isolde's parentage is uncertain, but she might have been the older half-sister of Roger Mortimer, daughter of Edmund Mortimer by an unknown first wife, which would make Hugh Audley Roger's nephew - though he was only about four years Roger's junior. Alternatively, Isolde might have been Roger's cousin, the daughter of Hugh Mortimer and Agatha de Ferrers. Through his father, Hugh was descended from King Henry II, via Henry's illegitimate son William Longespee, earl of Salisbury, and was Edward II's third cousin once removed - a relationship Edward acknowledged by occasionally referring to Hugh as "the king's kinsman."

Hugh's elder brother James fathered an illegitimate son, also James, in about 1316, by his mistress Eve Clavering; James the younger became a famous soldier during the Hundred Years War. Hugh had a younger sister, Alice (c. 1300/1304-1373), who married Ralph Neville of Raby and was the mother of about a dozen children, including Alexander Neville, archbishop of York. Alice was also the grandmother of Henry 'Hotspur' Percy and the great-grandmother of Cecily Neville, duchess of York, mother of Edward IV and Richard III.

Hugh first appears in November 1311 when he joined Edward II's household as a newly created knight, around the time that Piers Gaveston was sent into his third exile. In 1315, he grew close to Edward, and was one of the three men, the other two being Roger Damory and William Montacute, who came to dominate the king's court, though the precise nature of his relationship with Edward II is a matter for speculation. Hugh was arguably the least prominent of the three courtiers, but still wielded enough influence over the king to be included in the Flores Historiarum's statement that they were "worse than Piers." [1] In June 1315, Edward II, evidently missing his friend, ordered the chancellor to complete some of Hugh’s business as soon as possible, so that he "can return to us as quickly as we have instructed him to do." [2]

Sometime in 1317, Hugh contracted to serve Edward, and "bound himself to the king by deed, confirmed by his corporal oath, to aid him in all things throughout his whole life, and in no wise to depart from him come what might, on pain of forfeiture of all his possessions." [3] Edward rewarded Hugh's friendship with one of the two greatest prizes at his disposal: marriage to his niece Margaret de Clare, dowager countess of Cornwall, widow of Piers Gaveston and joint heiress of her late brother the earl of Gloucester. Hugh and Margaret married in Edward's presence at Windsor Castle on 28 April 1317. Margaret was probably twenty-three, Hugh probably in his mid-twenties. The wedding was a lavish affair, and Edward gave three pounds in coins to be thrown over the heads of the bride and groom – generous though this was, it was less than half the amount he had provided for the same purpose at Margaret’s wedding to Piers Gaveston. He also gave thirteen shillings and four pence in oblations, distributed in his presence in the chapel in Windsor park. [4] Roger Damory married Margaret's sister Elizabeth around the same time, and in May, Hugh and Damory, and Hugh Despenser, already married to the eldest sister, did homage to Edward for the lands they held in right of their wives. The lands were finally partitioned in November. [5]

Hugh Audley now owned lands in England, Wales and Ireland worth £1292 per annum, and when the earl of Gloucester's widow Maud died in 1320 and her dower lands were shared out among the heirs, received another £900 per year. However, he had to deal with Hugh Despenser, his ruthless and greedy brother-in-law, who was determined to gain control of more of South Wales. As early as November 1317, shortly after the partition of the lands, Despenser took the homage and fealty of Hugh's tenants in Gwynllwg (see Lady D's post for more info). In March 1318, Edward II, not yet as enamoured of Despenser as he would become a few months later, refused to accept Despenser’s actions, took Gwynllwg into his own hands, and ordered the inhabitants to pay homage to Hugh instead. [6]

Hugh Despenser also attempted to take over some of Roger Damory's lands in South Wales, but Damory successfully resisted him. [7] Despenser "withdrew wholly from such occupation" of Hugh's Welsh lands, but had not given up; in May 1320, by now high in the king’s favour, he forced Hugh and his wife Margaret to exchange Gwynllwg for some of Despenser’s English manors of lesser value. [8] The Lanercost chronicle says that "being a most avaricious man, he [Despenser] had contrived by different means and tricks that he alone should possess the lands and revenues, and for that reason had devised grave charges against those who had married the other two sisters." [9]

Edward II's powerful cousin and enemy the earl of Lancaster detested Hugh Audley, Roger Damory and William Montacute, and feared their influence over the king; in 1318, he accused Damory and Montacute - not Hugh, however - of trying to kill him. [10] In February 1317, the three men had publicly accused Lancaster of treason at a council meeting at Clarendon, and Lancaster suspected them of arranging the abduction of his wife Alice that spring (whether this suspicion was correct is uncertain). Lancaster, claiming that "he fears the deadly stratagems of certain persons who thrive under the protection of the royal court," demanded that the three men be removed from Edward's household, to which Edward responded "I will avenge the despite done to the earl when I can; I refuse to expel my household; for the abduction of his wife let him seek a remedy in law only." [11] Hugh, Damory and Montacute also had reason to detest and fear Lancaster, who constantly demanded their removal from court, and did their level best to prevent Edward and Lancaster's reconciliation - which contributed in no small part to the political instability of the years 1315 to 1318.

As part of the negotiations between Edward II and the earl of Lancaster in 1318, which led to the Treaty of Leake, Edward finally agreed to send Hugh Audley, Roger Damory and William Montacute away from court. Montacute was appointed steward of Gascony in November 1318 - he had previously been steward of Edward's household - and died a year later. Roger Damory, although no longer allowed near Edward, still retained the king's affection. Hugh Audley, however, left court, and this marks the end of his influence over and friendship with the king.

At the 1319 parliament, Hugh and Margaret audaciously claimed the earldom of Cornwall, as Margaret's inheritance from Piers Gaveston. Parliament turned them down, on the grounds that all grants from Edward II to Piers had been revoked. [12] Hugh fought at the siege of Berwick-on-Tweed in September 1319, with 74 men, but evidently was no longer high in Edward's favour: the king promised to make Hugh Despenser constable of the castle and Roger Damory keeper of the town once he had retaken the port (predictably, he didn't), but Hugh is not mentioned. In June 1320, Edward had to travel to France to pay homage to his brother-in-law Philip V for Gascony and Ponthieu. Roger Damory and Hugh Despenser accompanied the king; Hugh Audley stayed in England.

Hugh's household accounts fortuitously survive for 183 days of 1320, and show that apart from brief trips away, he spent most of the period at Tonbridge in Kent with Margaret and their household, which consisted of just under 100 people. He bought 150 bowls for Easter, visited the archbishop of Canterbury at Sturry on 10 June, spent fifteen pence on half a fresh pig, and owned two destriers (war-horses) called Grisel le Kyng and Ferant de Roma. [13] Grisel’s oddly part-French, part-English name implies that the horse had been a gift to Hugh from Edward. Hugh's marriage to Margaret produced only one child, a daughter named, inevitably, Margaret, who was born sometime between early 1318 and late 1322. On the death of Margaret Audley's half-sister Joan Gaveston in January 1325, the little girl became sole heir to her mother's vast fortune - making her a very attractive and tempting proposition on the marriage market.

In 1321, the king's favourite became the king's enemy. Hugh joined the Marcher lords furious at Edward II's behaviour in taking the Gower peninsula into his own hands, prior to granting it to Hugh Despenser, and that he was allowing yet another favourite to dominate his favour. Hugh took part in the attack on the Despensers' lands in Wales and England in May 1321, and in August that year was one of the men who forced Edward to agree to the Despensers' exile. Hugh Despenser, suffering from one of his usual bouts of over-confidence, wrote to the sheriff of Glamorgan on 21 March 1321, with reference to Hugh (whose name his scribe wrote as Ser Hughe d'Audele): "Do not doubt that neither he nor any of his allies have the power to hurt any of us." [14] As he surveyed the ruins of his castles and manors, he can hardly have failed to notice that he had been utterly wrong.

On 30 March 1321, Edward II ordered Hugh to come to him at Gloucester on 6 April: "the king has frequently ordered the said Hugh to come to him at certain dates and places to obey the king's orders and pleasure, and Hugh has refused to obey such orders." [15] Edward commissioned his half-brother Thomas, earl of Norfolk, and the royal justice Henry Spigurnel, to "act as the king himself might do, if present, when Hugh Daudele, the younger, shall appear at Gloucester to show cause why his lands should not be seized into the king's hands for non-attendance on the king; the commission contains a recital of the said Hugh's bond and oath to attend the king; and of the mandate to the sheriff of Gloucester to warn him to be at Gloucester on Friday before the feast of St Ambrose next [6 April]." [16] Once again, Hugh failed to meet Edward, and Norfolk and Spigurnel pronounced his lands, manors, castles and tenements to be forfeit to the king. [17] One of the entries in the Patent Rolls says that Hugh kept his wardrobe at 'Ismanghere Lane' (i.e., Ironmonger Lane, near Cheapside) in London, where Piers Gaveston had formerly kept his.

After the Despensers were exiled from England, Hugh was given custody of Gwynllwg, formerly his wife's inheritance, which he had been forced to grant to Despenser in 1320. He refused to hand it over to Edward, as parliament had agreed he should do, obviously still fuming over its loss: "the said Sir Hugh Daudele having written...that he has no lands of Hugh le Despenser, the younger, in his custody, but that he holds the castle and lands above as the inheritance and purparty of Margaret his wife, which fell to her in Wales of the lands of Gilbert de Clare, late earl of Gloucester, her brother, for which reason nothing was delivered to Adam [de Brom, clerk]: which answer the king reputes as naught." [18]

In December 1321, Edward II began his campaign against the Marchers, and early the following year, recalled the Despensers. On 22 January 1322, Hugh's kinsmen Roger Mortimer and his uncle Roger Mortimer of Chirk surrendered to Edward at Shrewsbury, and on 6 February, Lord Berkeley and Hugh's father Hugh Audley Sr followed suit. The remaining Marchers, including Hugh and Roger Damory, fled towards Yorkshire to join the earl of Lancaster, their only remaining hope against a resurgent, temporarily energetic Edward II. Damory, the former great favourite of the king, died at Tutbury on 12 March 1322, from wounds sustained in fighting against the royal army. On 16 March, Hugh fought at the battle of Boroughbridge, where Edward II's brother-in-law the earl of Hereford was killed and his cousin Lancaster captured, and executed at Pontefract six days later.

Hugh was also captured at Boroughbridge, but was spared execution thanks to the pleas of his wife Margaret, who apparently still retained a modicum of influence over her uncle the king. However, she was taken to Sempringham Priory in Lincolnshire on 16 May 1322: "the wife of Sir Hugh Audley, the king's niece, was ordered to remain under guard at Sempringham among the nuns, in which place she arrived on 16 May, and remained there." [19] Presumably, her little daughter Margaret Audley was there with her, while her other daughter Joan Gaveston remained at Amesbury Priory in Wiltshire, and died in January 1325. Hugh Audley was imprisoned at Berkhamsted Castle. On 28 October 1325, Edward II ordered him to be moved from there to Nottingham Castle (Edward occasionally ordered the so-called Contrariants to be moved from castle to castle). [20] His father Hugh Audley Sr died during his imprisonment, between November 1325 and March 1326, in his late fifties.

Hugh escaped from Nottingham Castle, sometime between late 1325 and the autumn of 1326; on 2 March 1327, he was pardoned (by Edward III, or rather, Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer) for "breaking prison at Nottingham Castle," and on 20 April, Richard Grey of Codnor was pardoned "for the escape of Hugh de Audele the younger, imprisoned by the late king in Nottingham Castle, in his custody." [21] In October 1331, a Patent Roll entry says that he "came to the aid of the king [Edward III] and his mother [Isabella] to pursue the Despensers." [22] It's easy to imagine that Hugh was burning with the need to avenge himself on Hugh Despenser, who had taken over his lands and imprisoned him.

Be that as it may, Hugh joined the rebellion of Henry, earl of Lancaster, against his (Lancaster's) niece Isabella and Roger Mortimer only two years later - despite having been imprisoned by Edward II for four and a half years, and despite being Mortimer's nephew or first cousin. Hugh was fined £10,000 "by reason of the riding with horses and arms at Bedford," which he never paid, and his lands were once more taken into the king's hands - as were those of 34 other men, including Thomas Wake, Mortimer's first cousin, and Thomas Roscelyn and William Trussell, who had shared Mortimer's exile abroad, "on account of the trespasses and excesses committed by the said [names]...and their disobediences." [23] Trussell was the man who had pronounced the death sentence on both Hugh Despensers. Isabella and Mortimer, being utterly useless at pretty much everything in government except enriching themselves, proved even worse than Edward II at retaining the loyalty of their close relatives and allies. After Edward III overthrew them in October 1330, he pardoned the debts of Hugh and the others, "because they were lately at Bedford with horses and arms with the intention of doing certain things against the estate of us and our realm, as was surmised by Roger de Mortimer, our late enemy: we therefore order the chancellor to cause them to have letters of pardon and release of their ransom." [24]

The parliament of early 1327, after Edward II's deposition, had restored Hugh to the lands he had forfeited in 1321 for breaking his oath to remain with Edward: "...in the present Parliament, the aforesaid Hugh has procured the annulling of the process awarded against him on account of divers errors contained therein." [25] Presumably, he and Margaret resumed their married life after their release. Although Margaret was still only in her early thirties, the couple had no more children. After 1330, Hugh served Edward III loyally, fighting in person in Scotland and France and distinguishing himself at Sluys in 1340.

In early 1336, Hugh's daughter and heir Margaret Audley was abducted from his home at Thaxted in Essex by Ralph Stafford, a widower about twenty years her senior (born 24 September 1301). On 28 February 1336, Edward III commissioned two men "to find by inquisition in the county of Essex what persons broke the close of Hugh de Audele at Thaxstede, carried away his goods and abducted Margaret his daughter; and to certify the king fully of the whole matter." [26] This suggests that at this point, neither Hugh nor Edward III knew what had actually happened, but by 6 July, it had become clear: Hugh complained that Ralph Stafford, with eighteen named men and unnamed others, "broke his close at Thaxtede, carried away his goods, abducted Margaret his daughter and heir, then in his custody, and married her against his will." [27]

However, Edward III supported Stafford, and Hugh had perforce to accept the marriage. Of course, he might have been somewhat consoled by the fact that Edward made him earl of Gloucester in March 1337, and in October that year pardoned him for "all homicides, robberies, larcenies and trespasses against the peace of Edward II or of the present king, and any consequent outlawries." [28] His son-in-law Stafford, like Hugh's nephew James Audley a founder member of the Knights of the Garter, was created first earl of Stafford in 1350.

Margaret (de Clare Gaveston) Audley, countess of Cornwall and Gloucester, died on 13 April 1342, in her late forties, fifteen days short of twenty-five years after her wedding to Hugh. Hugh Audley, earl of Gloucester, outlived her by five and a half years, and died on 10 November 1347, probably in his mid fifties. He was buried next to Margaret at Tonbridge Priory (which sadly has more or less completely vanished). Their daughter Margaret Audley Stafford died on 7 September 1349, probably not yet thirty, and her husband Ralph Stafford died shortly before his seventy-first birthday on 31 August 1372. Both of them were also buried at Tonbridge.

For a man who only fathered one child, Hugh Audley has a remarkably large number of impressive descendants. His grandson Hugh Stafford, second earl of Stafford (c. 1342-1386), married Philippa Beauchamp, daughter of the earl of Warwick and granddaughter of Roger Mortimer, and had eight children. Hugh's four Stafford granddaughters, Joan, Beatrice, Elizabeth and Katherine, all made good marriages, and all had children. Hugh's great-grandson Ralph Stafford was murdered in 1385 by Richard II's violent half-brother John Holland, earl of Huntingdon, while another great-grandson, Edmund, was killed at the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, fighting for Henry IV.

Hugh's Stafford descendants became dukes of Buckingham in the fifteenth century; the Henry Stafford, duke of Buckingham executed by Richard III in 1483 was his great-great-great-great-grandson. Queen Elizabeth II is Hugh's nineteen greats granddaughter, and he is also the ancestor of dukes of Norfolk, Suffolk, Exeter, Northumberland, Montagu, earls of Kent, Salisbury, Devonshire, Sunderland, Cumberland, and countless others. And for Tudor fans: he was the seven greats grandfather of Edward VI (via Jane Seymour), the eight greats grandfather of Jane Grey, queen of England in 1553, the seven greats grandfather of her husband Guildford Dudley, and the seven greats grandfather of Elizabeth I's favourite Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester. Hugh also had many aristocratic descendants in other countries, including all the kings of France from Louis XIII onwards, kings of Spain and Poland, archdukes of Austria, Anna Jagiellonka, queen of Hungary, and Marie Antoinette.

And just think: these people would never have existed if Edward II hadn't become infatuated with one of his household knights and arranged a fabulous marriage for him, or if a man in his thirties hadn't abducted a teenage girl!

Hugh Audley was the only favourite of Edward II to survive the reign - being Edward's favourite was a dangerous occupation - and also enjoyed the trust of Edward III, who raised him to comital rank. J. R. Maddicott points out, in his ODNB entry on Hugh, that "he had followed a course unusual enough to suggest both his high abilities and his political dexterity." [29]

1: Flores Historiarum, volume iii, ed. H. R. Luard (1890). p. 178.
2: Cited in James Conway Davies, The Baronial Opposition to Edward II: Its Character and Policy (1918), p. 433 (my translation).
3: Calendar of Patent Rolls 1327-1330, p. 30; Calendar of Close Rolls 1327-1330, p. 27.
4: Thomas Stapleton, ‘A Brief Summary of the Wardrobe Accounts of the tenth, eleventh, and fourteenth years of King Edward the Second’, Archaeologia, 26 (1836), pp. 337-338.
5: Calendar of Fine Rolls 1319-1327, p. 350.
6: CPR 1317-1321, p. 60; CCR 1313-1318, pp. 531-532.
7: Flores, p. 342.
8: CPR 1317-1321, p. 456.
9: The Chronicle of Lanercost 1272-1346, ed. Herbert Maxwell (facsimile edition, 2001), p. 230.
10: J. R. S. Phillips, Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke 1307-1324: Baronial Politics in the Reign of Edward II (1972), p. 131.
11: Vita Edwardi Secundi, ed. N. Denholm-Young (1957), p. 80.
12: CCR 1318-1323, p. 143.
13: C. M. Woolgar, The Great Household in Late Medieval England (1999), pp. 12, 21, 140, 151, 190.
14: W. H. Stevenson, ‘A Letter of the Younger Despenser on the Eve of the Barons’ Rebellion, 21 March 1321’, English Historical Review, 12 (1897), p. 761 (my translation).
15: CCR 1318-1323, p. 365.
16: CPR 1317-1321, pp. 572-573.
17: CPR 1317-1321, pp. 578, 583, 587.
18: CCR 1318-1323, p. 408.
19: Le livere de reis de Brittanie e Le livere de reis de Engletere, ed. John Glover (1865), p. 344.
20: CCR 1323-1327, pp. 418, 423.
21: The National Archives, SC 8/165/8222; CPR 1327-1330, pp. 31, 69.
22: CPR 1330-1334, p. 172.
23: CFR 1327-1337, pp. 116-117; CCR 1327-1330, pp. 528-531.
24: CPR 1327-1330, p. 484 for the fine; CPR 1330-1334, pp. 35, 410, and CCR 1327-1330, pp. 530-531, for the pardon (CCR p. 531 for the quote).
25: CCR 1327-1330, p. 27; CPR 1327-1330, p. 30.
26: CPR 1334-1338, p. 283.
27: CPR 1334-1338, p. 298.
28: CPR 1334-1338, p. 528.
29: http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/37134?docPos=1


Jules Frusher said...

Brilliant post! A huge amount of research and information in this one and about time too - as Hugh Audley never gets more than a brief mention here or there.

I always think of him as being the more 'staid' (for want of a better word) of Edward's favourites. Quite sensible but with a strong sense of right and wrong, especially in terms of lineage and property. I reckon that, for the time, he could be described as 'a fairly decent chap'. Twenty-five years of marriage was quite a while then - I hope he and Margaret were happy together!

By the way - so many Hughs! What do you think we should call such a gathering... a clutch of Hughs perhaps?

Susan Higginbotham said...

Fascinating! I hadn't realized, among other things, that Trussell eventually rebelled against Isabella and Mortimer. And thanks for working how how many "greats" led to Harry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham!

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks! I've been ignoring Hugh for years, so thought a detailed post was long overdue!

I wonder how Margaret felt about marrying Hugh, and how successful their marriage was. There are hints that it was pretty successful: they spent most of the 183 days in 1320 recorded in their accounts together, Margaret pleaded for his life, she accompanied him to France after 1330...In the absence of any specific evidence, impossible to say for sure, though.

Hmm, how about 'a malevolence of Hughs'?? :-)

Susan, I use this website: http://geneweb.inria.fr/roglo?lang=en

You have to be careful, as it's not always totally accurate, but it's incredibly helpful.

Susan Higginbotham said...

A hugeness of Hughs?

Jules Frusher said...

A highness of Hughs?

Gabriele Campbell said...

A murder of Hughs, all sitting around poor Wales trying to get a scrap.

Life at the time of Edward II surely was not boring - if you managed to keep it in the first place. :)

Christy K Robinson said...

THANK YOU for this wonderful biography of Hugh d'Audley. He's my great-great, too. (How many, I don't remember, as my research is at home and I'm at work.)

Interesting that Ed III reconciled with Hugh based on the axiom "the enemy of my enemy [Mortimer or previous administration] is my friend."

I visted the village of Stratton Audley, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, in 2007. I had dinner in the ancient thatched pub "The Red Lion" by the manor house; and visited the parish church, which would have been contemporary with the Audleys' lordship there. The manor house looked to be 1500s-1600s, but was probably built on or over the site of the original.

The name d'Audley was a contraction of de Aldithley, and they lived in Staffordshire. So there's a (microscopic) bit of poetry in Margaret d'Audley being kidnapped by the Earl of Stafford.

When I think of the bloodlusts and treachery to family members in those days, I suppose it could be compared to modern business tactics and relationships. It's fascinating to study their struggles to survive the strife of politics, sex and religion.

Hannah Kilpatrick said...

Thank you! (I was beginning to think no one was posting about anything but the American elections this morning...)

Yes, Hugh Audley tends to be rather passed over in most histories of the time, doesn't he? What bits I'd put together about him mostly added up to "he was one of that gang of favourites and got miffed over the de Clare land saga and wasn't pleased with Despenser". I hadn't even realised he survived Edward III's accession.

It is fascinating trying to piece together bits of people and personalities from the scraps in chronicles and letters, isn't it?

Kevin said...

More ancestors!

My line of descent from Hugh de Audley continues down to four of his Stafford grandchildren: Katherine, Beatrice, Hugh and Joan.

You are correct regarding the confusion amongst some secondary sources concerning the parentage of Iseult (Isolde) de Mortimer; she was actually the daughter of Roger de Mortimer (d. 1282), lord of Wigmore by Maud de Braose. Iseult was an aunt of the paramour of Queen Isabella, yet another infamous ancestor of mine, Roger de Mortimer.

Edward II was Hugh de Audley’s half third cousin, via Hugh’s descent from Henry II and his mistress, the Countess Ida. Edward, as we all know, was descended from Henry II and his headstrong queen, Alianore of Aquitaine. These two contemporaries were in the same generation of descent from Henry II, both being the king’s great-great-grandsons.

Alice de Audley (d. 1373) married first to Ralph, lord Greystoke, who was poisoned at breakfast, 14 July 1323, aged 24, at Gateshead in Durham. Ralph’s death was a vengeance killing, said crime having been orchestrated by Gilbert de Middleton (who had been besieged by Greystoke for traitorous actions). Alice is, not coincidentally, my 20th great-grandmother, via both of her husbands…

Some of the highlights of Hugh de Audley’s later career are his participation at the battle of Sluys, 24 June 1340, and the siege of Dunbar that same year. On 29 July 1342 he was about to set out for Brittany with his banneret, 20 knights, 78 esquires and 100 archers on horse. So equipped, he had license, 12 September of that year, to ship 136 ½ sacks of wool from Kent to London as provision [Complete Peerage 5:729].

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathryn Warner said...

Gabriele: LOL, no, life certainly wasn't boring around Ed II. ;)

Thanks, Christy! Glad to hear you visited Stratton Audley - I've never been there, unfortunately. And you're right, these people's lives are fascinating.

Ceirseach: yes, Hugh does tend to get passed over rather a lot, poor man! I love discovering new letters, etc, which shine a bit more light on people's lives - I was well chuffed to read the names of Hugh's horses. Little details like this really bring the people to life.

Kathryn Warner said...

Hi Kevin! That's great that you're descended from Hugh via all his granddaughters.

I also thought for ages that Isolde was the daughter of Roger Mortimer Sr and Maude de Braose, but Douglas Richardson seems sure she was the daughter of Hugh Mortimer (Roger Sr's brother).

Hugh was the gr-gr-gr-grandson of Henry II: Henry II (and Ida de Toeni) - William Longespee d. 1226 - William Longespee d. 1250 - Ela Longespee d. c. 1299 - Hugh Audley d. 1325/26 - Hugh Audley d. 1347. So he was Ed II's (half-) 3rd cousin once removed.

I didn't know Alice's first husband was poisoned! She married Neville shortly after 14 Jan 1327, after Hugh requested a licence for them to marry - Calendar of Patent Rolls 1324-27, p. 345.

Kevin said...

Hi Alianore,

Richardson, in his Magna Charta Ancestry, indicates Iseult (Isolde) as the daughter of Roger de Mortimer, not Hugh, in his Magna Charta Ancestry (Gen. Pub. Co., 2004).

The Countess Ida, frequently misquoted as "de Toni" in some secondary sources, has no proven parentage.

See both The Complete Peerage and the newsgroup, Soc.Gen.Medieval, for further details.

Jules Frusher said...

That Gilbert de Middleton is very good at cropping up whenever some nedfarious deed has been done! In fact I'm surprised Hugh D. never took him on the payroll!

He was involved in the kidnap of some papal envoys too wasn't he? And some other murder I can't remember off the top of my head.

Kevin said...


Regarding the descent of Hugh de Audley from Henry II, what follows is the exact lineage you mentioned in your blog entry.

In addition to third cousin, once removed, Hugh de Audley is also the second cousin, twice removed, of Edward II.

In my first calculation, I put the incorrect Hugh (his father) into my database relationship calculator. After doing the correct Hugh, the calculator STILL insisted on another relationship so I was forced to take another look.

Here is the Audley connection via Longespee:

I. Henry II +
"Countess" Ida
II. William Longespee, E. of Salisbury +
Ela Fitz Patrick
III. William Longespee, Knt. +
Idoine (Idonea) de Camville
IV. Ela Longespee +
James de Audley
V. Hugh de Audley, Knt. +
Isolde (Iseult) de Mortimer
VI. Hugh, Earl of Gloucester

I. Henry II
II. John
III. Henry III
IV. Edward I
V. Edward II

Hugh's relationship as 2nd cousin, twice removed, is via his descent from Roger Mortimer to King John's bastard daughter, Princess Joan.

Kathryn Warner said...

Kevin: Douglas seems to have changed his mind about Isolde's parentage several times: he also stated in 2002 that she was Edmund Mortimer's daughter by an unknown first wife: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GEN-MEDIEVAL/2002-01/1010917362

Then changed his mind to make her Hugh Mortimer's daughter: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GEN-MEDIEVAL/2002-01/1011951167

I always thought Roger Mortimer Sr's mother was Gwladys, daughter of Llwelyn the Great by his mistress Tangwystl, not King John's daughter Joan. Has some new research indicated that she was in fact Joan's daughter?

Lady D: yes, in May 1317, Gilbert kidnapped the new bishop of Durham, Louis Beaumont, his brother Henry (they were the brothers of Isabella, Lady Vescy), and two cardinals in England at the time, Gaucelin D'Eauze and Luca Fieschi - who was another distant cousin of Ed II. Gilbert and his brother John were excommuincated, then hanged, drawn and quartered in Jan 1318. If he'd still been alive after Hugh's rise to power, I can well believe Hugh would have found a place for him in his household. :-)

Carla said...

What an amazing amount of detail! I hadn't realised Hugh Audley was the only favourite to survive Edward's reign. That suggests he was more savvy the most - or just luckier?

Kevin said...

Alianore wrote,

"I always thought Roger Mortimer Sr's mother was Gwladys, daughter of Llwelyn the Great by his mistress Tangwystl, not King John's daughter Joan. Has some new research indicated that she was in fact Joan's daughter?"

Yes. Richardson, in his Plantagenet Ancestry (p. 520), has found proof which indicates that Gwladys Ddu ("Dark-Eyed") was one of the Princess Joan's daughters. The relationship is indicated by the transfer of Knighton and Norton Castles in Shropshire, from Llewelyn to Gwaldys' 2nd husband, Ralph de Mortimer. These properties earlier formed the maritagium of the Princess Joan. As further proof of Gwladys' personal involvement in the properties, she is named with her husband in a 1237 lawsuit regarding them. He cites CCR 1234-1237 (1908) 539-40 for the lawsuit, and J.G. Edwards Cal. of Ancient Corr. Concerning Wales (1935):23 for Gwladys' maritagium.

So, without belaboring the subject too much futher (as I think this may be straying a bit from your central focus on Edward II), but Hugh de Audley's "king's kinsman" status probably would have been a reference to this particular branch of Ed 2's family tree, as it provides an Audley descent from King John and would, ostensibly, be a quicker frame of reference for the royal family to recall.

Kathryn Warner said...

I'm not entirely convinced by Douglas's argument, given that Gwladys married her first husband Reginald de Braose in 1215, and Joan didn't marry Llywelyn till 1205 or 1206. But anyway, we'll never know for sure, and the important thing is that Hugh Audley was definitely descended from Henry II, certainly via the Longespees and perhaps via King John, Joan and Gwladys, and was Ed II's distant cousin.

Carla: he did have an element of luck, in that his wife, unlike the wives of other Contrariants (Ed II's baronial enemies in 1321/22) had enough influence with Ed to plead successfully for his life.

And I've noticed an error in a previous comment: Gilbert Middleton's attack on the cardinals took place on 1 Sept 1317, not May.

Kevin said...


Actually, Joan and Llewyelyn were married sometime *before* 23 Mar. 1204/05 and Gwaldys was wed to Ralph de Mortimer by 26 Oct. 1230, so objections to the link must be argued by something other than the chronology.

By dint of a convincing argument, it's doubtful in the extreme that Princess Joan's maritagium would be passed to the daughter of her husband's concubine, and that this same child would later sue for it.

Kathryn Warner said...

The Annals of Wigmore say that Llywelyn and Joan married at Ascensiontide 1206.

Gwladys married her first husband Reginald de Braose in 1215. The marriage was childless. He was in his 40s then, and, as far as I remember, the father (by his first wife, of course) of William de Braose who was hanged for his affair with Joan in 1230. Which makes things a tad, umm, weird!

Gwladys was Welsh, not English, and under Welsh law a man's illegitimate children were as much his heirs as his legitimate ones, so in Welsh eyes she was a lot more than 'daughter of a concubine'. Early Welsh genealogies said Gwladys was Tangwystl's daughter.

But as I said, all I care about is that Hugh Audley was certainly descended from Henry II. It doesn't bother me one way or the other whose daughter Gwladys was, Joan's or Tangwystl's, and we could debate it forever and not know for certain.

Kevin said...


Mr. Richardson, while personally unpopular to many genealogists and historians (he can indeed rub the wrong way, I've had many differences with him myself), has produced, as a whole, some rather creditable findings.

The Wigmore Chronicles that you argue in this case were composed in the mid-14th century, over a century and a half after the death of the persons in question in this thread. Some writers (no, not Richardson!) state that the document was drawn up in 1385. The work is not comparable with other ancient copies of the genealogy of the Mortimers and was drafted for the purpose of proving the right of the earls of March to the throne of England. Political propaganda.

The bedchamber incident between William de Braose, son of Reginald, and the Princes Joan, was certainly eye-popping but not in any sense "weird" or out of character. I can't see a relevance here to the question of Hugh de Audley's descent from King John. The Princess Joan wasn't a near blood relative of William de Braose. The facts are that William was someone who went out of his way to commit cruel and despicable deeds. He didn't earn his moniker, "Black William," by accident.

As a genealogist, and a descendant of these folks, it matters to me how they were related to one another and thus I apologize for exasperating you with mentioning these documents. I had rather thought, due to your admirable devotion to citing particular facts and your attention to detail, that this information might be of interest. I'm not at all interested in modifying your opinion.

Kathryn Warner said...

Well, OK, maybe 'weird' was the wrong word. I meant amusing, notable, and yes, eye-popping. I do think it's 'weird' that a man had an affair with his stepmother's mother/stepmother, like I think it's weird that later in the 13th century, the earl of Derby's daughter Eleanor married the father of her father's second wife, and thus became the stepmother of her own stepmother. None of this has anything to do with Hugh Audley, and wasn't intended to have. I certainly wasn't suggesting that William de Braose was related to Joan, or was the father of her children. But since we stopped discussing Hugh about 14 comments ago, it hardly matters!

I'm not exasperated, but my interest in all this is mostly limited to how it relates to Ed II and those close to him. I'm really interested too in how these people were related, and I have a lot of respect for Douglas - who was kind enough to share some of his research with me lately, without being asked - but I remain unconvinced that the questions of Gwladys's mother and Isolde Mortimer's parents have been definitively answered.

Kevin said...

Well, as far as I can see, I was actually keeping things on target with a continuation of your discussion of the "king's kinsman" relationship between Hugh de Audley and Edward II, by bringing up salient family tie evidences that didn't seem off-topic to me (excepting the sudden appearance of Braose in the conversation) which suggest strong affinity between Hugh and Edward II.

Anyway, we will have to cordially shake hands and agree to disagree on the John Lackland/Audley kinship to Edward II.

Writers of historical fiction have an escape clause on the facts, but we historians and genealogists often bump up against evidences that challenge earlier assumptions.

Meanwhile, I look forward to your next posts. Your ability to weave facts into a narrative is what makes your blog so interesting to read. Thank you for continuing to cite your sources.

Kathryn Warner said...

Well, whether Hugh's nearest relationship to Ed was second cousin twice removed or third cousin once removed is something I'll gladly leave to the genealogists! That's not my area of expertise, and ultimately it matters far less to me than Hugh's relationship with and influence over Ed and the political consequences. And you're absolutely right about non-fiction versus histfict. I'd love to write more about Ed and Hugh, but there's no way of knowing what kind of relationship they had, so not much point speculating about it here. If I was writing a novel, though...;)

Thanks a lot for the compliments! The next post will probably be on Ed's daughters.

Kevin said...

I will be most interested to learn more about Joan of the Tower.

I wonder: does anyone suppose that there is any shred of a possibility that the government of the United Kingdom would find some salient reason to exhume Ed's remains? One reason I can think of: prove that it's really him in that lead coffin. Of course, DNA needs comparison samples and the only living people I can think of who might qualify are the Somersets.

My own blog hasn't seen much attention. Would that I could be more prolific. But I spend too much time with a magnifying glass translating bastard secretary hand from A2A and Documents Online LOL.

Anerje said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this post! Lots of intersting thngs I never knew about Hugh. Am amazed by all his descendants. I wonder how Margaret felt about being married to 2 of Edward's favs? Quite an achievement for Audley to have survived through such turbulent times, considering he was a favourite of Ed's.

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Anerje! I hoped you'd enjoy the bit about Piers' wardrobe being kept at Ironmonger Lane - I thought that was a lovely snippet of info.

Kevin: I really wish someone would test Ed's remains. I've no idea who would have to grant permission for that to happen, though, and I don't think it's very likely. :(

I know nothing at all about DNA testing, I'm afraid - would it be possible to compare samples with Ed I or Ed III? I preume you mention the Somersets because they're the only descendants of Ed II/Ed III in the male line?

I sympathise re the bastard secretary. ;)

Carla said...

DNA testing - the key question is whether it's possible to get enough of a sample from an exhumed medieval body, and to be sure that it's not contaminated by modern/later DNA. Modern techniques like PCR are very very sensitive, but there are limits. I suspect that there wouldn't be that much DNA left in a usable state in a 700-year-old skeleton, but I'm not an expert.

If you want to test Y-chromosome DNA you need a male-line descendant for comparison. Y chromosomes go from father to son. Mitochondrial DNA requires female-line descendants from Edward II's mother. All children, boys and girls, get their mitochondrial DNA unchanged from their mother. If you're looking at DNA from the rest of the 23 chromosomes, this forms by far the largest proportion of DNA (i.e. your sample from the body is liable to be mostly this type), but the genes get rearranged every time they pass from parent to child, and you need complicated statistics to estimate the chance of two samples (the body and a mdern-day descendant of Edward II) being from unrelated individuals.

I suppose that if, by some miracle, one could extract Y-chromosome DNA from Edward II's body and Edward III's body and compare them, at least that would definitively despatch the Braveheart canard :-)

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks for all the info, Carla! Fascinating.

Anonymous said...

This is fascinating. I've been interested in the Audleys for a while, I knew lots of Audleys as a child in Ireland and always liked the name, sparking my interests in the medieval Audleys.
I'm sure this is out of date by now, but as far as opening Edward II's tomb goes, as far as I know the decision would be taken by the Bishop of Gloucester and Dean of Gloucester Cathedral. However, they would need the permission of the Queen to do so and I am almost 100% certain that she would refuse any such request. If the body in the tomb turned out not to be related to the present day royals it would open a potentially too big can of worms...

DaveL said...

Kathryn, an excellent piece of work and many thanks for posting.

I am currently researching Master Ralph de Gaddesby (aka Gadesby, Gatesbury) who in 1344 along with John de Gynewell (then canon of Salisbury, but later Bishop of Lincoln 1347-1362) appear to be keepers of Hugh d'Audley's lands in Northamptonshire. [Pat. Roll. vol.6 1343-1345, p.366 also TNA DL27/147] Both are mentioned in the ipm of Hugh D'Audely (taken at Kettering, Northants), 21 Edw III. [Cal. ipm, vol.9, p54]

In the course of your research, did you find anything to explain the relationship, e.g. feofees or otherwise, between Gaddesby and Gynewell with the Audley estates? I am keen to establish why Ralph was styled 'Master'.

Kathryn Warner said...

Hi Dave, thanks! I wrote a bit more about Hugh and the Audley family in my book about the Clare sisters, though of course they weren't the main focus. I vaguely recall the name Gaddesby, but afraid I can't think of anything I might know about him. Sorry! :/ There's so little extant evidence for anything relating to Hugh and Margaret's long marriage, the admin of their estates, etc. It's so frustrating.

DaveL said...

Kathryn, many thanks and I share your frustration! I am currently in the process of researching and writing the history of Gaddesby and its communities, it being the small village in Leicestershire where I grew up and home to five generations of my ancestors, hence my interest in Ralph de Gaddesby. Ralph obviously had a legal background as he later provided advocate services to the mayor of Leicester amongst other things. His son, Robert, followed him into civic duties, being successively Leicester receiver, keeper of the king's lands in Leicestershire following the Despenser War, steward of Leicester and finally its mayor. The search goes on!

Kathryn Warner said...

Best of luck with the research, Dave! I'm a huge fan of local history and your project sounds fab.