25 September, 2012

The Siege Of Caerphilly Castle, 1326/27

Shortly before Edward II and Hugh Despenser the Younger were captured in South Wales on 16 November 1326 following Roger Mortimer and Isabella's invasion, they had spent time at Hugh's great stronghold of Caerphilly, which he and his wife Eleanor had inherited from her father Gilbert 'the Red' de Clare, earl of Gloucester (died 1295).  Why Edward and Hugh decided to leave a castle where they could have held out practically forever, I can't imagine, but they left it in the hands of an experienced knight named Sir John Felton and Hugh the Younger's eldest son, yet another Hugh - Edward II's chamber journals call the lad 'Huchon' and the Anonimalle chronicle names him as 'Hughelyn' - who was then seventeen or eighteen.  According to an entry on the Fine Roll of 30 December 1326, when Edward II was still king but in captivity at Kenilworth Castle, he had ordered John Felton on pain of forfeiture and on an oath sworn on the Gospels not to surrender Caerphilly "to the king's wife or Edward [of Windsor] his son..." while he was at the castle in early November.  Evidently the loyal Felton, who was named in Edward's chamber journal in August 1326 as one of Hugh Despenser the Younger's knights and was ordered with Donald of Mar on 14 October 1326 to hold the Marches of Wales against the rebels, took his oath seriously.  [1]

Edward and Hugh had left the massive sum of £14,000 and a great deal of their treasure inside Caerphilly; see my post for some of it, and a full inventory in William Rees' book Caerphilly Castle and its place in the Annals of Glamorgan.  The siege of the castle probably began very soon after Edward II's capture in mid-November, or perhaps even before.  On 1 December 1326, a week after the execution of Hugh Despenser the Younger, Roger Mortimer and Isabella appointed Sir Roger Chandos as sheriff of Glamorgan and declared that "it is the king's will that the same Roger cause the siege of the castle of Kerfily, which still holds out against him, to be diligently kept up."  [2]  This entry on the Patent Roll was issued in the name of "the queen and the king's firstborn son," and needless to say represents Isabella's wishes, not those of her husband, who was now being held captive at Kenilworth Castle.  The garrison of Caerphilly Castle under John Felton, however, refused to surrender and give up the teenaged Huchon Despenser to be executed like his father and grandfather, even when they were all promised free pardons for holding the castle against the queen.  And execute the teenaged Huchon Despenser was exactly what Mortimer and Isabella wanted to do, as is made clear by several entries in the chancery rolls which offer a pardon "of the forfeiture of his life and limbs" to all members of the garrison except Huchon - presumably for no other reason than he was the son of the hated Despenser the Younger.

On 15 February 1327, Roger Mortimer and Isabella, evidently frustrated at the failure of Sir Roger Chandos to capture the castle and at the garrison's refusal to give up Huchon Despenser to his death - not to mention at the thought of all that lovely treasure and money inside that they couldn't access - appointed Sir William la Zouche, lord of Ashby in Leicestershire, to lead the siege in Chandos's place.  On the same day was issued a "[p]ardon to all who were [sic] in Kaerfilly Castle when it was [sic] held against queen Isabella, except Hugh son of Hugh le Despenser the younger."   [3]  William la Zouche was a distant cousin of Roger Mortimer (his father was named Robert Mortimer, and he took his mother Joyce la Zouche's name), and the stepfather of Juliana Leyburne and of Thomas Beauchamp (born 1314), future earl of Warwick, by marriage to Alice de Toeni, who had died in 1324.  In early 1329 la Zouche married Edward II's niece and Huchon Despenser's mother Eleanor (de Clare) Despenser and the next year joined the earl of Kent's plot to free the former Edward II from Corfe Castle, but in 1326/27 was firmly on Isabella and Mortimer's side.  Roger Northburgh, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, was appointed as joint leader of the siege, rather oddly.  With them were twenty bannerets, five knights, twenty-one squires, 400 footmen, men-at-arms and others.  [4]

By 20 February 1327, la Zouche or Northburgh had evidently learned the identity of some of the men holding out inside Caerphilly, and just under forty were named in yet another pardon on that date which excluded Huchon Despenser.  [5]  A siege of the castle might end up lasting a very long time: Gilbert 'the Red' had designed Caerphilly to be basically impregnable, and the only real option was to starve the garrison out.  And therefore on 20 March 1327, the siege was abandoned and all the men inside pardoned, including Huchon Despenser, who was spared execution: "Pardon to Hugh son of Hugh le Despenser the younger of the forfeiture of his life, without restitution of his lands."  [6]  With Huchon's life now safe, the garrison - around 150 of them - left the castle.  Huchon Despenser was imprisoned in Roger Mortimer's custody until December 1328, then transferred to Bristol Castle in the custody of Sir Thomas Gurney, named as one of Edward II's murderers in November 1330.  [7]  The chronicle of the royal clerk Adam Murimuth says that he, like his stepfather William la Zouche and uncle Edward de Monthermer, was involved in the 1330 plot of the earl of Kent (who like Edward II himself was Huchon's great-uncle, though there was only about seven years' age difference between the two men), though as he was in prison presumably his role could only be one of passive support.  Huchon was released by Edward III after the downfall of Roger Mortimer and Isabella, and later made an excellent marriage to the earl of Salisbury's daughter Elizabeth Montacute; their tombs and effigies still exist in Tewkesbury Abbey.  Huchon inherited his mother Eleanor's vast lands on her death in 1337, and died childless in February 1349, perhaps of the plague.

As for the garrison who refused to surrender him, most of them are very obscure and I doubt I could find out much about them, though there are a few I'd like to look at here:

Giles of Spain
I once wrote part of a blog post about the Castilian-born Giles, who is especially interesting: a long-term member of Edward II's household, he was another adherent of the earl of Kent in 1330, and was later sent by Edward III to pursue Thomas Gurney in Spain.

'Gills. Beaucair'
Almost certainly this means William Beaukaire, a royal sergeant-at-arms who guarded Edward of Caernarfon's body alone from 21 September to 20 October 1327.  Presumably 'Gills' was a nickname for Guillaume, and presumably also William was French, as Beaucaire is a town in the south of France, near Avignon (not in the English-ruled part of the country).  Most, most interesting and peculiar to see that a man who held out against Mortimer and Isabella for months with Despenser adherents was the sole guardian of Edward II's body a few months later, for an entire month.

Roger atte Watre
One of Edward II's sergeants-at-arms from at least 1311 onwards, Roger joined the Dunheved brothers in the summer of 1327 in temporarily freeing Edward of Caernarfon from Berkeley Castle.

Stephen Dun
I wonder if this means Stephen Dunheved?

Benedict (or Benet) Braham
Apparently from Suffolk, Benet was one of the men named on 31 March 1330 as aiding the earl of Kent in his plot to free Edward of Caernarfon, and ordered to be arrested.

Rodrigo (or Roderico) de Medyne
A sergeant-at-arms of Edward II who later served Edward III for many years as well.  He was still alive in November 1348.

Simon Symeon
Simon later joined the household of Edward II's cousin Henry, earl of Lancaster.  Known as 'Simkyn', he served the Lancasters faithfully for many years.

William Hurley 
I've saved the best till last.  :)  William's name appears in the pardon as 'William de Hurle, carpenter', which is something of an understatement: he was Edward II and Edward III's master carpenter from the late 1310s/early 1320s to c. 1354, and worked on many projects including the palace of Westminster, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle.  He is most famous for his work on the fabulous timber lantern of the octagonal crossing tower at Ely Cathedral (the original tower collapsed in 1322).  More info about William here.


1) Calendar of Fine Rolls 1319-1327, p. 430; Calendar of Patent Rolls 1324-1327, p. 332.
2) Patent Rolls 1324-1327, p. 341.
3) Patent Rolls 1327-1330, pp. 12, 18; Fine Rolls 1327-1337, pp. 12-13.
4) William Rees, Caerphilly Castle and its place in the Annals of Glamorgan, p. 83.
5) Patent Rolls 1327-1330, p. 14.
6) Patent Rolls 1327-1330, pp. 37-39.
7) Calendar of Close Rolls 1327-1330, p. 352.

21 September, 2012

21 September 1327

Today is the anniversary of Edward II's supposed murder at Berkeley Castle.  Edward's biographer Seymour Phillips, and indeed most other historians of the fourteenth century, still believe that Edward did indeed die at Berkeley in September 1327, though you'd have to go a long way nowadays to find a specialist on the era who accepts the red-hot poker story. Historians who specialise in other eras but choose to write or talk on television about the fourteenth century occasionally still repeat this silly story as though it's factual, because they don't know any better and they haven't kept up with modern scholarship on the issue. Wish they wouldn't, because they give the notion a spurious plausibility. You don't see me pontificating at length on the French Revolution or the Wars of the Roses or the Tudors and repeating discredited myths about them as fact, do you?

Anyway, here are some links for further reading on the controversial issue of Edward II's death and his possible survival past 1327.  Properly-researched and sourced further reading, of course - unfortunately there's a heck of a lot of rubbish about Edward out there, both online, in published books and on television, and most especially on the subject of his presumed murder.  Also a lot of deeply unpleasant and childish sniggering about the red-hot poker, as though such vile excruciating torture supposedly inflicted on a human being is actually funny - "They put a poker up his bottom!  And he screamed really loudly!  Hur hur hur hur!".  Someone (who evidently doesn't realise that his computer has a shift key) left this barely literate comment yesterday on my Edward II Facebook page: "red hot poker lol hahaha roger u legend x".  I deleted it.  The same person also left this equally classy comment on my friend Sarah's Facebook post about Hugh Despenser the Younger's execution: "lol go on roger x", and also spammed her blog with countless stupid comments.  Sod off, nasty sadistic little boy.  (Incidentally, Sarah has written some great posts about Edward II lately: his sons John of Eltham and Adam; his daughter Joan of the Tower, queen of Scotland; his queen, Isabella; and also posts about his father Edward I and grandmother Eleanor of Provence.)

- Ian Mortimer's great article about Edward's survival past 1327.  There's lots more information in his books The Greatest Traitor, The Perfect King and Medieval Intrigue.

- My post about the often-repeated story that Edward of Caernarfon was tormented and abused while in captivity at Berkeley Castle, an invention of the later chronicler Geoffrey le Baker and disproved by the Berkeley accounts of 1327, which show that he had servants and good food.

- My post about the writer John Trevisa's account of the red-hot poker story, which is often cited as definitive proof that the story is true on the grounds that Trevisa had inside knowledge, which he emphatically didn't; he only arrived at Berkeley Castle sixty-one years later in 1388 and, contrary to popular belief, never met Edward's custodian Thomas Berkeley, who died in 1361.  Amazing, the number of commentators who can't distinguish between a grandfather and grandson and can't be bothered to check incredibly basic facts such as Trevisa's approximate date and place of birth (1342, Cornwall), and parrot the line that he was a child in Berkeley in 1327.

- An account of some of the oddities and peculiarities in the traditional narrative of Edward's death and its aftermath.  If Edward really was dead in September 1327 and buried in Gloucester that December, why did so many influential people believe he was still alive years later?  Why did the archbishop of York send a letter to the mayor of London in January 1330 asking him to purchase numerous provisions for the former king and declaring that "Edward of Caernarfon is alive and in good health of body"?  See also here for more about the archbishop's letter, which is cited in full (in English translation) in Ian Mortimer's Medieval Intrigue.

- Further to the above, a detailed account of the plot of Edward II's half-brother the earl of Kent to free Edward from Corfe Castle in 1330, and his execution for treason.  (Parts two, three, four, which look at some of his many supporters.)  Also, if you can access it, my article about the plot published in the English Historical Review in 2011.

- An account of the events of September to December 1327.

- A post I wrote exactly six years ago about Edward's presumed death.

 - The third part of a post, which links to the first two parts, about the men involved in the events surrounding Edward's death, or survival.

Happy reading!  ;-)

14 September, 2012

The Murder Of Sir Roger Belers

On 19 January 1326 a man was stabbed to death at Rearsby in Leicestershire, and a very important man he was too: Sir Roger Belers, chief baron of the Exchequer, formerly an adherent of Thomas, earl of Lancaster who had (like many other men) switched his allegiance to Edward II and the Despensers in 1321.  Actually, seemingly a bit earlier than that; Belers was, with many dozens of others, pardoned for adherence to Thomas in November 1318 after the king and his turbulent cousin had finally made peace, and began to act for Edward, as justice, in December of that year.  Evidently he remained on good terms with the earl of Lancaster, however, as the latter granted him "the bailiwick and stewardship" (la baillie et la seneschaucie) of the Leicestershire town of Stapleford in May 1319.  [1]  Hugh Despenser the Younger appointed Roger Belers as his attorney in July 1322, the day after he had been appointed a baron of the exchequer and four months after Lancaster's execution.  From 1322 until his murder, Belers was a prominent figure in Edward II's regime, and was particularly influential in Leicestershire.  [2]

Given Belers' political adherence of the 1320s, it has often been assumed that his murder was intended as an indirect attack on the powerful and wildly unpopular Despensers.  Although this is certainly not impossible, the Sempringham annalist and the rather later Lancastrian chronicler Henry Knighton both say that Belers was on his way to dine with Thomas of Lancaster's brother Henry, earl of Leicester at the time of his death.  Henry of Lancaster was certainly no friend of the Despensers, to put it mildly, even though his late wife Maud Chaworth, who died in about 1321, was the younger Despenser's older half-sister.  Henry's appointment as one of the men ordered to bring the perpetrators to justice (see below) would tend to confirm that the chroniclers are correct, and that he had remained on good terms with Belers, despite the latter's change of allegiance.

Edward II, 120 miles away in Norwich at the time, heard the news of Roger Belers' murder five days later on 24 January, and appointed three men, his household steward Thomas le Blount, Henry Ferrers and John Hamelyn, "to make inquisition in the county of Leicester touching all persons concerned in the killing of Roger Beler, when he was going from Kirkeby to Leicester, and to arrest all those found guilty herein."  [3]  These three men were former (and future) Lancastrian adherents.  The next record I can find is on 19 February, when Richard Perers, sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire, was ordered to arrest "William son of Thomas la Zouche, knight, the brothers Folevylle and others guilty of the death of Richard Beleer."  [4]  On 28 February, Henry of Lancaster, earl of Leicester, Thomas le Blount (Edward II's formerly Lancastrian household steward), John Stonore and John Denum were given a commission of oyer et terminer ('to hear and determine') "touching the persons indicted of the death of Roger Beler, killed in going from Kirkeby to Leycestre, by an inquisition lately made by John Hamelyn and Henry de Ferers...".  [5]

The next day, 1 March, Edward II's good friend and supporter Donald of Mar and another ten men including Edward's former household steward Richard Damory (elder brother of his late favourite Roger Damory) were appointed to "follow and arrest" the killers and bring them before Henry of Lancaster and his associates.  [6]  The men were now more fully named as: Ralph son of Roger la Zouche of Lubbesthorpe, Leicestershire; Roger la Zouche, son of Roger la Zouche, lord of Lubbesthorpe, knight; the brothers Eustace, Robert, Walter and Richard Folville, the latter parson of the church of Teigh in Leicestershire; Robert de Helewell, knight; Ivo son of William la Zouche of Haringworth, knight; Adam de Barley; William de Barkeston of Bitham; Robert son of Simon Hauberk of Scalford.  On 14 March the justices of Wales and Ireland, the earl of Arundel and John Darcy, were appointed to pursue and arrest the men, some of whom were believed to have fled into Wales, and the sheriff of Leicestershire Edmund Ashby was ordered to arrest Thomas Folville, another brother, charged with aiding his brother Eustace, Ralph la Zouche and unnamed others of their gang to flee abroad and thus escape justice.  [7]  Finally, on 18 March John Denum and two other men were appointed to arrest the eleven men already named, and two others were added: John and William Stafford.  [8]

Roger Belers' murderers were mostly or all local, from Leicestershire, the county where he was murdered and also where he held the majority of his lands.  The seat of the Folvilles, Ashby Folville, is only five miles from Belers' (see below).  Given this, and given the way Belers was still close enough to Henry of Lancaster to be invited to dine with him at Leicester and that many of the men charged with finding his killers were Lancastrians, I find some kind of local feud or disagreement between Belers and the thirteen men named as his killers a more convincing explanation for his death than vague notions that the murder was in some way intended as an attack on the two Hugh Despensers.  Belers' seat was at Kirby Bellars near Melton Mowbray, where he founded an Augustinian priory in 1316; Rearsby, where he was murdered, lies five miles along the road from Kirby to Leicester, so there seems to be no reason to doubt that he was indeed riding there to meet Henry of Lancaster, earl of Leicester when he met his killers, as stated in several entries in the chancery rolls and in two chronicles.  Belers left a widow named Alice and sons named Roger and Thomas (the latter perhaps named after the late earl of Lancaster, though of course I'm only speculating there); his elder son was still under age, i.e. under twenty-one, in June 1327.  [9]

The area of Leicestershire in question, from Google Maps. Leicester is to the south-west.
Edward II's biographer Seymour Phillips calls Belers "one of the most hated supporters of the Despensers," [10] which he probably was, though evidently not by Henry of Lancaster and some former Lancastrian adherents willing to pursue the men who killed him.  I'm not really convinced that Belers' murder came about as a result of his alliance with the Despensers.  With someone like Sir Robert Holland, Thomas of Lancaster's close ally who also abandoned him in 1321/22 and was murdered by some of Thomas's former adherents in 1328, you can see that Henry must still have been angry with Holland for his betrayal, as he took his killers under his protection.  He certainly didn't do that with Belers' killers.  I don't know what kind of feud or disagreement might have been arisen between Belers and the men who killed him, though I wonder if I researched the men and their backgrounds long enough, something might turn up.

Edward II and plenty of other men made strenuous efforts to capture those responsible for Roger Belers' murder, though to no avail: they all, as far as I can tell, fled either to Wales or to Roger Mortimer in France, where they returned with his invasion force in the autumn of 1326.  It seems that Edward knew that some of them had joined Mortimer, as several days after the invasion, on 28 September 1326, Belers' killers were specifically excluded from a proclamation pardoning felons who would join the king against Mortimer.  [11]  Mortimer repaid some of them with pardons for the murder as soon as he was in a position to do so: on 11 February 1327, the Folville brothers Robert, Eustace, Richard and Walter, Adam de Barley and William de Barkeston were pardoned for the murder, along with three men whose names I haven't otherwise seen connected with the death, John Lovet, Thomas Alberd and William de Larketon.  Maybe Mortimer had information that Edward II and his commissioners hadn't found.  Sir Roger la Zouche of Lubbesthorpe was pardoned on 20 February 1327 for Belers' death and also for "breaking prison at Leicester," which implies that he had been temporarily captured after the murder and perhaps that one or several of his associates, maybe Thomas Folville who was accused of aiding some of the gang to flee abroad, had been instrumental in this.  At around the same time Mortimer appointed three men, including John Denum, "to hear and determine the inquisition and indictments, returned by Thomas le Blount, John Hamelyn and Henry de Ferers, touching the death of Roger Beler while going from Kirkeby to Leicester."   [12]  What he was hoping to find or to achieve, having pardoned most of the men guilty of the murder, I don't know.  The three men named in 1327 increases the number of those involved in Belers' death to sixteen; although he apparently had a retinue of fifty men with him, they were unable to save him.  The chronicler Henry Knighton lays most of the blame for Belers' stabbing on Eustace Folville, the second-eldest of the seven Folville brothers (the eldest, John, did not participate, and neither did Laurence, as far as I can tell).

A monument known as the Folville Cross is said to mark the spot of Roger Belers' murder.  For the Folville brothers, it was their first major crime, but certainly not their last: until the early 1340s they terrorised the English Midlands as one of the most notorious criminal gangs of the era.


1) Calendar of Patent Rolls 1317-1321, pp. 228, 335; the entry on Belers by Jens Röhrkasten in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
2) Patent Rolls 1321-1324, p. 189; Röhrkasten, ODNB.
3) Patent Rolls 1324-1327, p. 238.
4) Calendar of Chancery Warrants 1244-1326, p. 575.
5) Patent Rolls 1324-1327, pp. 283-284.
6) Patent Rolls 1324-1327, p. 284.
7) Calendar of Close Rolls 1323-1327, pp. 550-551; Patent Rolls 1324-1327, p. 250.
8) Patent Rolls 1324-1327, p. 286.
9) Calendar of Fine Rolls 1319-1327, pp. 375, 379, 386; Close Rolls 1323-1327, pp. 452-453; ibid. 1327-1330, p. 132, etc.
10) Seymour Phillips, Edward II (2010), p. 492.
11) Patent Rolls 1324-1327, p. 328.
12) Patent Rolls 1327-1330, pp. 10, 20, 70, 73.

09 September, 2012

September Anniversaries

1 September 1317: Attack by Sir Gilbert Middleton on two cardinals visiting England, Gaucelin D'Eauze and Luca Fieschi, the latter a kinsman of Edward II, while they were on their way to the inauguration of the new bishop of Durham, Louis Beaumont (also a kinsman of Edward II).  Middleton was hanged, drawn and quartered a few months later.

2 September 1325: Edward II made his twelve-year-old son Edward of Windsor count of Ponthieu, which county the king had inherited from his mother Eleanor of Castile on her death in 1290, prior to sending the boy to France to pay homage to Isabella's brother Charles IV for Edward's French possessions.

5 September 1316: Inauguration of the Gascon-born Jacques Duèse, cardinal-bishop of Porto, as Pope John XXII in Avignon. Edward II sent gifts worth a staggering £1604 to "the Lord John, by the grace of God, pope," including a cope "embroidered and studded with large white pearls," several golden ewers, thirteen golden salt-cellars, numerous golden dishes and bowls, a golden basin and a golden chalice. He also paid £300 for an incense boat, a ewer and a "gold buckle set with diverse pearls and other precious stones" to be sent in Queen Isabella's name, and 100 marks for another cope embroidered by Roesia, wife of London merchant John de Bureford, also sent in the queen's name.

7 September 1314: With parliament due to start in York on the 9th, the first one since his humiliating defeat at Bannockburn the previous June, Edward II suddenly left the city and took himself off to the village of Oulston seventeen miles away, empowering the earl of Pembroke, Henry Beaumont and the bishop of Exeter to open parliament in his absence.  He claimed that he was "unable to be present on account of some important and special business" concerning himself, though what required his urgent attention in a small Yorkshire village, I can't imagine.  He returned to York on 10 September.

7 September 1319: Edward finally arrived in Berwick-upon-Tweed to begin besieging it in order to recapture it from Robert Bruce.  The campaign should have started on 10 June.  Edward kept himself amused during the siege, and paid his minstrel Rob Withstaff and two musicians sent to him by his brother-in-law Philip V of France for playing before him, ordered hunting dogs sent from Wales, and had two of his falcons brought from London. The siege, needless to say, failed, and Berwick remained in Scottish hands. At some point during it, Edward is meant to have said "I have not forgotten the wrong that was done to my brother Piers," ominous words aimed at his cousin the earl of Lancaster, who had left Berwick in a temper at the failure of the siege.

7 September 1362: Death of Edward II's youngest child Joan of the Tower, queen of Scotland, at the age of forty-one.  She was buried near her mother Isabella at the Greyfriars Church in London.  See Sarah's great post about Joan from a couple of days ago.

9 September 1312: Queen Isabella, seven months pregnant with the future Edward III, was reunited with Edward II at Windsor Castle, the first time they had seen each other since late June.  Edward had kept her safely out of the way in York as the kingdom teetered on the brink of civil war in the aftermath of Piers Gaveston's death.

10 September 1325: Edward's son Edward of Windsor became duke of Aquitaine on this day, before sailing to France two days later to pay homage to his uncle Charles IV.  This appointment changed Edward II's royal style, as he always called himself 'king of England, lord of Ireland and duke of Aquitaine'.

12 September 1319: Battle of Myton following the siege of Berwick.

18 September 1324: Edward took all of Isabella's lands into his own hands and granted her a smaller income in their place, treating his own wife as an enemy alien during his war with her brother Charles IV.

20 September 1312: Edward increased the annual grants of his 1308 foundation of Langley Priory to 500 marks a year.

22 September 1324: Edward's half-brother the earl of Kent signed a six-month truce with his (Kent's) uncle Charles, count of Valois, in Gascony during the war of Saint-Sardos.

24 September 1326: Arrival of Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer's invasion force in Norfolk.

25 September 1317: Inauguration of Edward's friend William Melton as archbishop of York.  Melton, who held the position until his death in 1340, protested against Edward's abdication in January 1327, and joined the plot of the earl of Kent to free him in 1330 (he wrote the famous Melton Letter which states that 'Edward of Caernarfon is alive', more than two years after the former king's supposed death.

27 September 1316: Edward gave a pound to Isabella's messenger William Galayn, who brought him news of her imminent arrival in York.  Isabella had given birth to their second son John of Eltham only twelve days previously in Kent, but Edward, worried about his cousin the earl of Lancaster's hostility, summoned the queen to him with as speed as possible. 

27 September 1316: Edward gave five pounds to the messenger of Cardinal Arnaud de Pellegrue - nephew of Pope Clement V, who died in 1314 - who brought him news of John XXII's inauguration.

27 September 1326: Date on which Edward II, staying at the Tower of London, heard news of the arrival of the invasion force.

28 September 1324: Edward ordered the arrest of any French people living in England during the war of Saint-Sardos.

29/30 September 1308: Edward attended a double wedding at Waltham Abbey in Essex: his seventeen-year-old nephew Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, married Maud, daughter of Richard de Burgh, earl of Ulster, and at the same time, Gilbert's sister Elizabeth, just two weeks past her thirteenth birthday, married Ulster's eldest son and heir, John.  The latter was destined to die in 1313 before his father, leaving Elizabeth with a baby son, William, future earl of Ulster.  Maud, countess of Gloucester, is most famous for pretending to be pregnant by her husband years after Gloucester's death at Bannockburn.

30 September 1321: Attack on Southampton by men of Winchelsea. A petition by the people of Southampton claims that Robert Batail, baron of the Cinque Ports, and his men burnt and stole their ships, chattels, merchandise and goods to a loss of £8000 "in conspiracy with Hugh le Despenser the son," who had recently been sent into exile by his Contrariant enemies and who accused the townspeople of supporting the earl of Lancaster against the king. The petition also claims that Edward "sent the community of Southampton to Portchester Castle, and imprisoned them there, and made them swear not to bring any suit against the people of the Cinque Ports, promising to make good their losses; which he did not do." Given that Edward placed Despenser under the care of the men of the Cinque Ports, and that he arrived at Portchester four days after the attack on Southampton, the two men's involvement in this latest piece of lawlessness seems quite possible.

30 September 1322: Burial of Edward II's illegitimate son Adam, then probably in his mid-teens or thereabouts, at Tynemouth Priory. 

01 September, 2012

Roger Mortimer's Grandchildren

I did a genealogical post recently about Henry of Lancaster's grandchildren which seemed to go down rather well, and here's one about some of the grandchildren of Roger Mortimer, lord of Wigmore and first earl of March (25 April 1287 - 29 November 1330) and Joan Geneville (2 February 1286 - 19 October 1356).  The couple married in 1301 and had four sons and eight daughters (see Ian Mortimer's The Greatest Traitor for more info): Edmund (the eldest son and Roger's heir), Roger, Geoffrey, John, Margaret (the eldest daughter), Isabella, Joan, Maud, Agnes, Katherine, Beatrice and Blanche.  Talking of the latter, here and here are pics of Blanche's stunning effigy in Much Marcle, Herefordshire.  Please take a moment to have a look.  Isn't she beautiful?  Look at the way her gown is made to spill over the edge of the tomb, her hands clutching a rosary, her tight-fitting gown and head-dress in the style of the mid-fourteenth century.  Stunning.  And here is the effigy of Blanche's sister Katherine and her husband the earl of Warwick, in Warwick.

EDIT: Thank you to Ian Mortimer for sending me a photo of the effigy of Roger and Joan's eldest daughter Margaret, Lady Berkeley, in Bristol Cathedral!
Eight of Roger and Joan's twelve children had children of their own, though Geoffrey married and had a family in France and I haven't included any of his children here. The other seven were Edmund, Margaret, Maud, Katherine, Joan, Agnes and Beatrice.  As far as I can work out, Roger Mortimer and Joan Geneville had close to forty grandchildren.  In no particular order, here are some of them:

- Roger Mortimer, second earl of March (11 November 1328 - 26 February 1360)

Son and heir of Roger and Joan's eldest son Edmund, who didn't outlive his father long, dying only a year or so after Roger's execution in November 1330.  Roger the younger's mother was Elizabeth, one of the four daughters and co-heirs, following the death of their brother Giles, of Bartholomew, Lord Badlesmere and his wife Margaret de Clare, sister of Maud, Lady Clifford.  Elizabeth Mortimer née Badlesmere married as her second husband Edward II's nephew William de Bohun, earl of Northampton, which means that Roger Mortimer, second earl of March and Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, Essex and Northampton, 1342-1372, were half-brothers. Roger married Philippa Montacute, one of the daughters of Edward III's close friend William, earl of Salisbury (d. 1344), himself the son of Edward II's close friend William Montacute (d. 1319). Philippa's brother, yet another William (1328-1297), was the man whose marriage to Joan 'the Fair Maid' of Kent was famously annulled as she had previously and secretly married his steward Thomas Holland; her sisters included Elizabeth, who married firstly Giles Badlesmere above and secondly Hugh Despenser the Younger's son and heir Hugh (d. 1349; their effigies still exist in Tewkesbury Abbey), and Sybil, who married Sir Edmund Arundel, grandson of Hugh Despenser the Younger and of the earl of Arundel executed in 1326. Edward III restored Roger to his grandfather's controversial earldom of March and arranged the marriage of Roger's heir Edmund to his (Edward III's) granddaughter Philippa, heir of Lionel, duke of Clarence, in the 1350s.

- Maurice, Lord Berkeley (c. late 1330 - 8 June 1368)

Eldest son of Roger and Joan's eldest daughter Margaret (c. 1307/08 - 5 May 1337) and her husband Thomas, Lord Berkeley (1293/97 - 27 October 1361), Edward of Caernarfon's custodian in 1327.  According to John Smyth, early seventeenth-century historian of the Berkeley family, Maurice was born sometime late in Edward III's fourth regnal year, which would place his birth around the end of 1330, or about the time that his Mortimer grandfather was executed.  When he was still a child in August 1338, Maurice married Hugh Despenser the Younger's youngest child Elizabeth, who was some years his senior, born perhaps in December 1325 when her mother Eleanor de Clare is known to have given birth, or who may have been Hugh's posthumous child and born in late 1326 or 1327.  Maurice and Elizabeth had three daughters and four sons; their eldest son and Maurice's heir was Thomas, Lord Berkeley (5 January 1353 - 13 July 1417), father-in-law of Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick (see below).  Maurice was badly wounded at the battle of Poitiers in September 1356, captured, and held hostage in France until 1360 when his ransom was paid off.  He succeeded his father as Lord Berkeley the following year and died on 8 June 1368 supposedly of his old wounds from Poitiers, and had evidently been infirm for some time before that, as he was unable to attend his son Thomas's wedding to Margaret Lisle in November 1367.  For more info about Maurice and his wife Elizabeth, see my post.

- John Hastings, earl of Pembroke (29 August 1347 - 16 April 1375)

Only child of Roger and Joan's daughter Agnes and her husband Laurence Hastings, earl of Pembroke (1320-1348, only child of Juliana Leyburne, one of my favourite people of the era, and John, Lord Hastings, nephew and co-heir of Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke).   John's father Laurence died when John was one year and one day old, on 30 August 1348 at the age of twenty-eight; his mother Agnes Mortimer married again, to a knight named John Hakelut, and died in July 1368.  John married firstly, in Reading in May 1359 when he was eleven, Edward III and Philippa of Hainault's daughter Margaret - her brother John of Gaunt married Blanche of Lancaster the next day, also at Reading and in the king's presence - who was a year his senior and died suddenly in October 1361, leaving John a fourteen-year-old widower.  He married secondly Edward III's cousin Anne Manny, granddaughter and co-heir with her elder half-sister Elizabeth Segrave of Edward II's half-brother Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk.  John died in France in 1375, not yet twenty-eight.  By Anne Manny he left a son John, born October/November 1372, who married firstly John of Gaunt's daughter Elizabeth of Lancaster, who was a few years his senior, and secondly Philippa Mortimer, granddaughter of Roger Mortimer, second earl of March and great-granddaughter of Edward III.  The younger John was killed jousting at the age of seventeen at Christmas 1389 before the couple had children, and so, sadly, the line of my beloved Juliana Leyburne ended.

- Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick (before 16 March 1339 - 8 April 1401)

Second son of Roger and Joan's daughter Katherine and her husband Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick (born in 1314, son of Guy, who abducted Piers Gaveston in 1312), Thomas succeeded his father as earl in 1369 as his elder brother Guy had died in 1360, leaving only daughters.  With his allies Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, and Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, Thomas was one of the Lords Appellant of Richard II's reign, and was imprisoned by Richard in the Tower of London in 1397, in the tower which still bears his name.  Unlike the murdered Gloucester and executed Aundel, however, Thomas Beauchamp did survive Richard's reign.  He married Margaret Ferrers, granddaughter of Elizabeth de Clare's daughter Isabella Verdon, and his son and heir Richard was born in January 1381 when Thomas was over fifty; Earl Richard married Elizabeth Berkeley, granddaughter of Maurice Berkeley and Elizabeth Despenser, and secondly Isabel Despenser, great-great-granddaughter and heir of Hugh Despenser the Younger.  Thomas Beauchamp was the great-grandfather of Richard III's queen Anne Nevill.

- Reinbrun Beauchamp 

One of the many children of Roger and Joan's daughter Katherine and her husband the earl of Warwick, and brother of Earl Thomas, above.  I have to admit I know nothing at all about Reinbrun, not even the approximate date of his death, but a name like that deserves to be remembered.  :-)

- Philippa Stafford, née Beauchamp, countess of Stafford (early/mid-1340s - before 6 April 1386)

Another of the many, fifteen or so, children of Katherine Mortimer and Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick.  Philippa married Hugh Stafford, second earl of Stafford, born in the early 1340s as the second son of Ralph Stafford and his abducted wife Margaret Audley, only child and heir of Hugh Audley, earl of Gloucester and Margaret de Clare, countess of Cornwall and Gloucester.  Hugh Stafford had an elder brother Ralph, who was betrothed to Henry of Grosmont's daughter Maud but died as a child in 1347, so Hugh became heir to his father and to his grandmother Margaret de Clare's third of the vast inheritance of her late brother.  Hugh Stafford and Philippa Beauchamp had eight or nine children, including three earls of Stafford, Edmund, Thomas and William.  Their eldest son Ralph, who should have succeeded as earl of Stafford, was murdered in 1385 by Richard II's half-brother John Holland, earl of Huntingdon and later duke of Exeter, and their daughter Margaret married Ralph Nevill, first earl of Westmorland, and was the mother of his first nine children (Henry IV's half-sister Joan Beaufort was the mother of his next fourteen, including Katherine, duchess of Norfolk and Cecily, duchess of York).  Philippa and Hugh's daughter Katherine (died 1419) married Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk; Katherine's granddaughter Margaret Kerdeston married Jean de Foix, count of Benauges, and it is via this line that Philippa Beauchamp and Hugh Stafford have some remarkably illustrious descendants: Anna Jagiellonka, princess of Hungary and Holy Roman Empress, was their great-great-great-great-granddaughter, and other descendants included all the kings of France from Louis XIII onwards, kings of Spain, kings and queens of Poland, and Holy Roman Emperors.

- Sir John Braose or Brewose (c. 1339 - 1366/67)

John was the elder of the two sons of Roger Mortimer and Joan Geneville's daughter Beatrice, who may have been their youngest child (the birth order of the Mortimer children is pretty well impossible to work out), as she was the last to die, in 1383.  Beatrice was first married in 1329 when her father was at the height of his power to Edward, son and heir of Edward II's half-brother Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk, when they were both still children; Edward died in the early 1330s.  Beatrice married secondly in about 1334 Sir Thomas Braose or Brewose, a man of considerably lower rank than her first husband (but then, the Mortimers had been punching above their weight with a marriage to a king's son and brother).  John Braose was married fairly briefly to Elizabeth Montacute, one of the four daughters of the earl of Salisbury's (d. 1344) brother Edward and Thomas of Brotherton's younger daughter Alice - who was tragically beaten up by her husband so badly in the early 1350s she died of her injuries - so there was still clearly a connection between the families.  Elizabeth died as a teenager in 1361, and as far as I know John did not remarry and died childless.  I don't know how, if at all, this Braose/Brewose family is related to the more famous one of the same name, including the William de Braose hanged by Llywelyn in 1230.

- Maud, Lady Clifford, née Beauchamp (1330s/40s - 1402/03)

Maud was yet another of the children of Katherine Mortimer and Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick.  She married Roger, Lord Clifford, who was born on 10 July 1333 as the son of Isabel Berkeley (d. 1362), sister of Thomas, Lord Berkeley, and of Robert, Lord Clifford (1305-1344), whose brother Roger, Lord Clifford was executed by Edward II in 1322.  Roger, the one Maud Beauchamp married, was the grandson of Robert, Lord Clifford killed at Bannockburn.  Roger and Maud's eldest son, who died in August 1391, was called Thomas - another name finally, hallelujah - their grandson John was killed at the siege of Meaux in 1422, and their great-great-grandson John Clifford is infamous for killing Edmund, earl of Rutland, brother of the future Edward IV, after the battle of Wakefield in December 1460.

- John, Lord Charlton or Cherleton (c. 1334 - 13 July 1374)

John was the son of John, Lord Charlton (d. 1360) and Maud Mortimer.  His paternal grandfather, also John Charlton, was Edward II's chamberlain before Hugh Despenser the Younger; his paternal grandmother Hawise Gadarn was heir to the lordship of Powys.  John married Joan Stafford, one of the daughters of Ralph Stafford, earl of Stafford and Margaret Audley, and they had two sons: the elder, John, was born on 25 April 1362 and married Alice, daughter of Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, but died childless in October 1401; the second, Edward, was born in about 1371 and married Eleanor Holland, daughter of Richard II's half-brother Thomas Holland and another Alice Fitzalan, the aunt of the one who married Edward's elder brother.  Eleanor Holland was the widow of Roger Mortimer, fourth earl of March, died 1398, namesake grandson of the second earl of March.

- Joan, Lady Cobham, née Berkeley (late 1320s/mid-1330s - 2 October 1369)

Joan was the only daughter of Margaret Mortimer and Thomas, Lord Berkeley, and the sister of Maurice, Lord Berkeley above.  Before 26 July 1337, when they were both children, she married Thomas, son of the well-known Despenser adherent Sir John Haudlo and his second wife Maud Burnell; her brother Maurice married Elizabeth Despenser the following year, their father Thomas evidently keen to heal the divisions of Edward II's reign.  Sadly Thomas was dead within two years of the wedding, leaving Joan a widow when she can't have been more than about ten and maybe have been considerably less.  In 1343 when she was at most fourteen, she married Sir Reginald Cobham, who was born in 1295 and was thus the same age as her father.  Joan and Reginald had a son and a daughter, their son, inevitably named Reginald, marrying Eleanor Maltravers, granddaughter and heir of John Maltravers and the widow of Sir John Arundel, marshal of England.  Reginald and Eleanor had a son Reginald, the father of Eleanor Cobham, who married Henry V's brother Humphrey, duke of Gloucester.

- Joan, Lady Tuchet, née Audley (c. 1332 - 1392/93)

Joan's mother was Roger Mortimer and Joan Geneville's daughter Joan, and her father was James, Lord Audley, who was born on 8 January 1313 as the son of Nicholas Audley and Joan Martin, dowager countess of Lincoln (the stepmother, though she was probably a decade or so Alice's junior, of Alice de Lacy).  Joan married John Tuchet of Markeaton in Derbyshire, who was born on 25 July 1327 as the son of Thomas and Joan Tuchet, of whom I know nothing.  John Tuchet and Joan Audley's son John Tuchet, born in about 1347 or 1350, may have been the eldest great-grandchild of Roger Mortimer and Joan Geneville (the only others I can think of who may have been older were the daughters of Maurice Berkeley and Elizabeth Despenser), and was killed in a naval battle off La Rochelle in 1372.