24 November, 2013

Edward II's Nieces and Nephews

Edouard I, count of Bar (1294/95-1336)

Edouard, named presumably after his grandfather Edward I, was the only son of Edward II's eldest sister Eleanor, and succeeded his father Henri III as count of Bar - on the eastern side of France - when Henri died in 1302 (or rather, a few years later when Edouard came of age).  He married Marie of Burgundy, two of whose sisters were queen consorts of France: the disgraced Marguerite, wife of Louis X, and Joan 'the Lame, wife of Philip VI.  In May 1321, Edouard's uncle Edward II gave ten pounds to the messenger who brought him news of the birth of Edouard and Marie's only son, the future Count Henri IV of Bar.  Edouard died off the coast of Cyprus in 1336, when his ship sank.

Joan of Bar, countess of Surrey and Sussex (1295/96-1361)

The other child of Edward's eldest sister Eleanor, who died in 1298 when her children were still very young.  On 25 May 1306 in the presence of her grandfather Edward I, when she was only ten or eleven, Joan married the almost twenty-year-old John de Warenne, earl of Surrey and Sussex.  As I've written before, this marriage proved to be spectacularly disastrous, unfortunately for both of them.  Although John de Warenne (who died in 1347) fathered at least nine children with other women, he had none with Joan.  Joan's first cousin Elizabeth de Clare, below, left her "an image of St John the Baptist" in her will of 1355.  She lived until her mid-sixties, and I hope she found some measure of happiness despite the failure of her forty-year marriage.

Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford (May 1291 - June 1314)

Edward I and Eleanor of Castile's eldest grandchild, the first child of Joan of Acre and Gilbert 'the Red' de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford, born a year after their wedding.  Gilbert married the earl of Ulster's daughter Maud de Burgh in Essex in September 1308, with Edward II present, in a double wedding with his sister Elizabeth and Maud's brother John, heir of their father Richard, earl of Ulster.  Maud's many sisters included the queen of Scotland (Robert Bruce's wife Elizabeth de Burgh), the countesses of Kildare, Desmond and Louth, and Eleanor, a companion of Edward of Caernarfon's youth, whose son John Multon was betrothed to Piers Gaveston's daughter Joan in 1317.  Gilbert and Maud are believed to have had a son in 1312 who died soon after birth, and when he was killed at the battle of Bannockburn he left no children.  Maud, however, famously claimed to be pregnant until at least 1316.

Eleanor de Clare, Lady Despenser (Oct/Nov 1292 - June 1337)

Second child and eldest daughter of Joan of Acre and Gilbert 'the Red'.  Eleanor married Hugh Despenser the Younger on 26 May 1306 when she was thirteen and a half, and their first child, Edward I's eldest great-grandchild Hugh the Even Younger, was born in 1308 or 1309.  (Edward I, not, not, NOT Edward II as so many people continue to state, arranged Eleanor and Hugh's marriage.)  Eleanor was extremely close to her uncle Edward II, who was only eight and a half years her senior.  She and her two younger sisters were heirs to their brother's earldom of Gloucester.

Margaret de Clare, countess of Cornwall and Gloucester (1294 - April 1342)

Second daughter of Joan of Acre and Gilbert 'the Red'. Margaret married two of her uncle Edward II's 'favourites': Piers Gaveston, earl of Cornwall, in 1307 when she was about thirteen and a half, and Hugh Audley, later earl of Gloucester, in 1317.  She is often assumed in modern times to have been 'tragic' and 'complaisant', presumably on the grounds that she made no recorded objections to her two marriages, but I don't know about that.  Personally I can't imagine that any child of Joan of Acre and Gilbert 'the Red', of all people, was a shrinking violet.  Margaret was a countess twice over, and until her husband Hugh Audley rebelled against the king in 1321/22, appears to have been on good terms with her uncle Edward II.

Elizabeth de Clare, Lady Burgh (September 1295 - November 1360)

Fourth and youngest child of Joan of Acre and Gilbert 'the Red', and only a few weeks old when her father died.  Elizabeth was married three times and lived almost forty years as a widow, and was a remarkable woman who founded Clare College at Cambridge in 1338.  Many of her household accounts are extant and demonstrate her kindness to her Despenser and Audley nieces and nephews, although events of the 1320s evidently fractured the relationship of the three de Clare sisters.

Mary de Monthermer, countess of Fife (October 1297 - after 1371)

Eldest child of Joan of Acre and her second husband Ralph de Monthermer, and half-sister of the four de Clare siblings.  Mary married Duncan MacDuff, earl of Fife, some time after 4 November 1307 when the pope granted a dispensation for them to marry.  Duncan returned to his native Scotland in November 1314 after the battle of Bannockburn, and thereafter remained loyal to Robert Bruce, despite being Edward II's nephew-in-law.  Countess Mary lived until well into her seventies.  Her and Duncan's only child Isabella MacDuff was countess of Fife in her own right and married four times.

Joan de Monthermer, a nun (1299 - ?)

Joan was the second child of Joan of Acre and Ralph, and followed in the footsteps of her aunt Mary, Edward II's sister, by becoming a nun at Amesbury Priory.  Unfortunately I know nothing about her at all, not even her approximate date of birth.

Thomas de Monthermer (October 1301 - June 1340)

Third child of Joan and Ralph.  Despite being Edward II's nephew, he played little role in the king's reign, and seemingly first became embroiled in politics when he joined the unsuccessful rebellion of his kinsman Henry, earl of Lancaster against Roger Mortimer and Isabella of France in late 1328.  Thomas married a widow named Margaret Tyes; their only child Margaret was born in October 1329, and her son John Montacute became earl of Salisbury in 1397.  Thomas de Monthermer was killed at the naval battle of Sluys in 1340.

Edward de Monthermer (April 1304 - late 1339/early 1340)

Fourth child of Joan and Ralph, and the youngest of Joan of Acre's eight children.  Given that he was a grandson and nephew of kings, Edward is oddly obscure.  One of the few things I know about him is that in 1330 he joined the conspiracy of his uncle Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent (Edward I's youngest son) to restore Edward of Caernarfon to the throne.  He appears to have been close to his half-sister Elizabeth de Clare, who arranged and paid for his funeral, and evidently he was living in her household when he died.  Edward never married.

John III, duke of Brabant (1300-1355)

Only child of Edward II's third sister Margaret, born sometime in 1300 and succeeded his father John II as duke of Brabant in 1312.  John married Marie d'Evreux, daughter of Philip IV of France's half-brother Louis, count of Evreux, whose younger sister Jeanne married their first cousin Charles IV of France as his third wife in 1324.  Duke John had six legitimate children with Marie, and at least twenty illegitimate ones.

John de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Essex (November 1306 - January 1336)

Oldest surviving son of Edward II's fifth sister Elizabeth and her second husband Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Essex (she had no children with her first husband Count John I of Holland, who died at fifteen).  John married the earl of Arundel's daughter Alice in 1325, but had no children, and died at the age of twenty-nine, to be succeeded by his brother Humphrey.

Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Essex (December 1309 - October 1361)

Second surviving son of Elizabeth and Humphrey, and succeeded his brother John as earl.  Humphrey never married, and thus on his death his heir was his nephew, another Humphrey, son of Humphrey's younger brother William, below.  It may be that both John and Humphrey de Bohun suffered from some kind of illness or disability.

William de Bohun, earl of Northampton (1312/13 - September 1360)

Third surviving son of Elizabeth and Humphrey; he had a twin named Edward, who drowned in Scotland in 1334.  William married Elizabeth Badlesmere, whose father Bartholomew was executed in 1322 by Edward II and who was the widow of Roger Mortimer's son and heir Edmund Mortimer.  Edward III created his cousin earl of Northhampton in 1337.  William and Elizabeth's son Humphrey (1341-1373) succeeded his father as earl of Northampton, and his uncle Humphrey as earl of Hereford and Essex.  The younger Humphrey was also, via his mother, a half-brother of Roger Mortimer, second earl of March (1328-1360).

Eleanor de Bohun, countess of Ormond (1304-1363)

Oldest surviving child of Elizabeth and Humphrey, and married James le Botiler or Butler, earl of Ormond, and secondly Thomas Dagworth.  Eleanor had five children with her two husbands.

Margaret de Bohun, countess of Devon (April 1311 - December 1391)

Second surviving daughter of Elizabeth and Humphrey, and married Hugh Courtenay, future earl of Devon in 1325.  They had numerous children, and both lived to a ripe old age: Margaret died at eighty, Hugh at almost seventy-four.  There is a persistent story online that Margaret was married firstly to a distant cousin from Scotland called 'Sir Richard le Bon de Bohun' (?!) and had a son with him called John, but her family had the marriage annulled.  This is pure fiction, an invention of centuries later without a shred of contemporary evidence to back any of it up.

Margaret of Norfolk, duchess of Norfolk (c. 1322-1399)

Eldest child of Edward II's half-brother Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk, and his heir.  The last survivor of all Edward I's grandchildren, and the first Englishwoman to be made a duchess in her own right.  Her brother Edward died as a child, and her sister Alice was beaten to death by her husband in the early 1350s.

Joan of Kent, princess of Wales and countess of Kent (1328-1385)

Joan was the third of the four children of Edward II's half-brother Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent, and Margaret Wake.  Famous for being married to two men at the same time in the 1340s, William Montacute, earl of Salisbury and Thomas Holland, in 1360 she married her first cousin once removed, Edward III's eldest son Edward of Woodstock, prince of Wales.  Joan gave birth to the future King Richard II in early 1367, in her late thirties.  Of her siblings, her elder brother Edmund died as a child; her younger brother John died childless at the age of twenty-two; her elder sister Margaret died childless sometimes before 1352.  Joan was thus the heir of her father, and of her maternal uncle Thomas, Lord Wake (died 1349).  A fourteenth-century chronicler sarcastically called her 'the virgin of Kent', which makes me cackle with laughter. :-)


Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

Kathryn, I will always admire the scale of your research. And the form of your article is very reader-friendly. God, to sort it all out :-)

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks so much, Kasia! I love writing posts about people, and sorting out their family relationships in my head :-)

Anerje said...

Love the comments about Margaret de Clare - I can't imagine her as a 'shrinking violet' either! Didn't realise it was Edward's niece who was THE Joan of Kent. Always learning things here!

Anonymous said...

Is there a word missing in the last sentence? "A fourteenth century sarcastically..." etc--a fourteenth century *what*?

Kathryn Warner said...

*chronicler* Cheers :)

Thanks, Anerje!

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

Kathryn, I've noticed it only after second reading. I find it really shocking that Margaret of Norfolk's sister was beaten todeath by her husband. Such high nobility.. How do we know about that? Usually the chroniclers paid more attention to the world of men... Are there any other examples of such a cruel treatemnt dating back to thisperiod in hosory?

Kathryn Warner said...

Kasia, a few books on the fourteenth century mention it, though I'm not sure without checking what the primary sources are. Grotesque. :-(

alice said...

Dear Mister Chapple,

Our Cultural Association has just published a new novel about King Edward II of England after going through a really hard work on an archival research project aimed at discovering the truth about how he really died.

We would really appreciate if you could share the booktrailer's link:


You can find all the information about our project and work on our website: theauramalaproject.wordpress.com. The novel comes highly recommended by Kathryn Warner.

Sami Parkkonen said...

Simply amazing!

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Sami!

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

I've just watched the trailer. Kathryn! This is exciting!!!

MRats said...

I agree with Kasia! As I've said before it astounds me how you find so many genealogical records and present them in a way that's understandable. And such obscure facts! I didn't know that Gilbert and Maud had a son who died in 1312. I thought her only pregnancy was the one that lasted twenty months!

Splendid research, Kathryn!