27 November, 2015

27 November 1358: Funeral of Isabella of France

Today is the 657th anniversary of the funeral of Edward II's widow Isabella of France, queen of England, on 27 November 1358.  Isabella died at Hertford Castle on 22 August 1358, probably aged sixty-two, having been ill for some months.  As was almost always the case when a king or queen died, there was a long delay between death and funeral, and three months was entirely usual.

Isabella was buried at the Greyfriars church in London.  Her aunt Marguerite of France, second queen of Edward I and stepmother of Isabella's husband Edward II, was buried there in 1318, and the heart of Edward I's mother Eleanor of Provence, queen of England (died 1291), rested there too.  Isabella's youngest child Joan of the Tower, queen of Scotland, would also be buried there four years later.  Isabella wasn't buried next to her husband Edward II in Gloucester, but then, she wasn't buried at Westminster Abbey either, where her husband's parents and grandfather Henry III, and later her son Edward III and daughter-in-law Philippa of Hainault, were laid to rest.  Everyone nowadays always seems to assume that burial at the Greyfriars was Isabella's decision before her death, but in fact it's not clear whether the site was in fact her own choice or her son Edward III's.  I suspect it's generally assumed to have been her own choice because of another assumption: that Isabella's 'favourite' Roger Mortimer, earl of March, was buried there after his execution on 29 November 1330.  He wasn't; he was buried a hundred or so miles away at the Greyfriars church in Coventry, and his remains may have been moved to his family's seat at Wigmore in Herefordshire following two petitions to Edward III by his widow Joan Geneville in 1331 and 1332.  It's extremely doubtful that Edward III would have allowed his royal mother to lie for eternity next to a man he'd had executed for treason, even if Isabella had asked or wished to be (and there's no evidence that she did).

Isabella did ask to be buried with the clothes she'd worn at her wedding to Edward II a little over fifty years previously on 25 January 1308.  I assume they were placed in the coffin with her, rather than her body being dressed in them (it would rather amazing if in her early sixties she could still fit into clothes she'd worn when she was twelve).  There's also a story that Edward II's heart was placed in a casket on her chest, though this is a later tradition and not contemporary, so we can't know for sure if it's true.  Some people online, determined to get the details wrong, have assumed that Isabella was buried with Roger Mortimer's heart.  Nope!  She wasn't buried next to him or with his heart, sadly for all the romanticisers.  One book of 2003 seems to think it's significant that Isabella was buried on 27 November, two days before the anniversary of Roger Mortimer's execution on 29 November 1330.  I have no idea why Isabella would ask her son 'Bury me almost but not quite on Roger's anniversary'.  Doesn't seem terribly likely, does it?  I have no idea why anyone would think she'd be able to choose the day of her own funeral anyway.

Isabella's body lay in the chapel at Hertford Castle until 23 November 1358, for three months and one day after her death, watched over day and night by fourteen 'poor people' who each received two pence a day plus food for this service.  Her funeral cortege arrived in London on 24 or 25 November and was met by her son the king; Edward III and his household stayed at a house in Mile End which belonged to a John Galeys (I don't know who he was) with her body for a little while.  On arrival at the Greyfriars church, the late queen's body was covered with two cloths of fine white silk.  Edward III visited his mother's funeral, the convention that kings did not attend funerals belonging to later centuries, not the fourteenth.

The sepulchral monuments of the Greyfriars church were sold off during the Reformation in the sixteenth century, and the church itself was destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666.  It was rebuilt and then destroyed again by bombs during the Second World War.  Isabella's resting-place and tomb, sadly, were lost, though perhaps she still lies somewhere beneath a busy London street.

18 November, 2015

Medieval Murder Mysteries: Edward II

Part two of this series on the Yesterday channel in the UK was King Edward II: A Mysterious Death, shown on Tuesday 17 November at 9pm.  Anerje gives her thoughts on it here.

So I knew it was going to be bad when the historian they got to argue for Edward's possible survival was not Ian Mortimer (or even me, for that matter), but Paul Doherty.  The man who wrote his doctoral thesis on Isabella of France but doesn't even know which of her brothers was king of France in 1320 or which year her mother died, and who appears to think he has some kind of telepathic connection with Isabella by making dogmatic statements such as '"Isabella had murder in her heart" towards her husband Edward in 1326/27.  There were no historians to argue the other side, i.e. that Edward II did indeed die at Berkeley in 1327, such as Seymour Phillips, Michael Prestwich or Jeff Hamilton.  Instead we got this baffling line-up: Richard Felix, who's a paranormal investigator (let me repeat that: he's not a fourteenth-century historian, he's a paranormal investigator) who's always dragged out for TV programmes about torture; Ciaran O'Keeffe, billed on the programme as a criminal psychologist, otherwise known as a parapsychologist and also a paranormal investigator who used to appear on a TV programme called Most Haunted with Richard Felix; Andrew Rose, a 'barrister and historian'; Professor Mike Green, a forensic pathologist (OK, hearing about the plausibility or not of murder by red-hot poker was pretty interesting); and the current owner of Berkeley Castle, Charles Berkeley, and a castle guide, Linda McLaren, who argued that at the castle, they believe that Edward II was suffocated on his bed there. Not an unreasonable statement, though perhaps not exactly an unbiased one either, given that the presumed murder of a king at Berkeley must bring a lot of visitors to the castle.  "The king was well-treated here and probably died many years later in Italy" doesn't make nearly such an appealing story to get the paying punters in, kind of like the way Castle Rising in Norfolk makes a big deal about Isabella being imprisoned there after 1330 and going mad, and doesn't admit that "Isabella lived a purely conventional life as a dowager queen and just happened to spend quite a lot of time here because she liked it."  Next week on Medieval Murder Mysteries, for the episode about the death in 1203 of Arthur, duke of Brittany, they've got Derek Acorah.  Derek freaking Acorah.  For those of you who are lucky enough not to know who Acorah is, he's a 'spirit medium', also a member of the Most Haunted team - you might be spotting a certain pattern emerging here - and someone who claims to be psychic and in touch with the dead.  God help us.

Richard Felix stated that the story of the red-hot poker is too ridiculous to have been invented, so therefore must be true.  Huh.  Now there's a strong argument.  I once read this story about a boy who thinks he's normal but then finds out he's a wizard, and he plays a game called Quidditch on a broomstick and has an enemy called Voldemort and goes to a school where he learns to do all kinds of magic things.  Clearly that's too crazy to be made up, and therefore it must be true.  A voiceover assured us that "Richard Felix has researched the red-hot poker story and believes it to be true."  Oh well then, if a paranormal investigator and torture expert thinks that a torture story is true, it must indeed be true.  We mere fourteenth-century experts who delve into the contemporary documents, weigh up the facts and try to come to a measured conclusion might as well just give up and go home.  Felix also repeats the story that Edward's jailers tried to suffocate him with the stench of animal carcasses, which was invented decades later by Geoffrey le Baker and is nonsense, and is disproved anyway by Berkeley Castle records.  Felix claims that the king's screams could be heard outside the castle without noticing the contradiction with his previous claim that the men killed Edward in this manner so as not to leave a mark on his body and so that no-one would realise he'd been murdered.  He also claims "it took him well over quarter of an hour to die in dreadful agony," which is something not recorded in any source.  He also says that with Edward dead, "the road was now clear for Mortimer and Isabella" without clarifying what that means, and that Isabella, who he says was known as the 'She-Wolf' (a nickname in fact only given to her in 1757), wanted to punish her husband for being "openly gay."  Ciaran O'Keeffe continued this theme by talking about Isabella's "public humiliation."

Paul Doherty argued - yay! - that Edward escaped from Berkeley Castle in 1327, but the only evidence he cited for this was Thomas, Lord Berkeley's curious words to parliament in November 1330, the lack of royal officials present at Berkeley Castle after the death, and the fact that Edward wasn't buried at Westminster Abbey.  The Fieschi Letter of c. the late 1330s was only briefly mentioned, and the Melton Letter of 1330 (both letters state that Edward survived past 1327) and the plot of William Melton, archbishop of York and Edward's half-brother the earl of Kent to free him in 1330 were not mentioned at all.  The narrative of Edward's survival as described in the Fieschi Letter was dismissed as 'unlikely' without further explanation, and it's stated that there's 'precious little evidence' that he didn't die at Berkeley and an 'absence of hard proof' for this notion.  I suppose a letter written by an archbishop over two years later stating that Edward was then still alive and in good health somehow doesn't count.

Weird/horrid bits: at one point they were talking about the execution of Edward's cousin Thomas of Lancaster in 1322 (he was beheaded), and we were shown a man tied to a stake, screaming as he's burned to death.  Heh?  Naturally we had to get a long-ish reconstruction of the red-hot poker murder with lots of screams and close shots of Edward's face as he's tied up and bent over a table, though thankfully we didn't see what's going on below (and this scene was repeated what felt to me like about forty-seven times).  As if that's not enough, there was then a discussion of how fast, or otherwise, a poker inserted inside the bowels would have killed Edward and how far up you'd have to insert it (yuck), and a computer generation of a skeleton having this done to it.

Stuff that's fine: the documentary was quite good on Edward and Isabella's relationship, saying that 'by 1325 it had started to crumble' rather than depicting as a disaster from start to finish.  Isabella went to France and began an association with Roger Mortimer, rather than beginning a passionate affair with him.  The shots of Berkeley Castle were terrific, and it was nice to see Charles Berkeley looking at the fourteenth-century manuscripts held there.  The guide at the castle, Linda McLaren, stated that Edward was well-treated at Berkeley with his own chef, servants and even a marshal to look after his horses, which is correct and contradicts Richard Felix's taking Geoffrey le Baker's tales as gospel truth.  The discussion about suffocation being far more plausible than a poker is interesting, the pathologist also made a good point about the lack of independent witnesses at Berkeley Castle to verify the cause of Edward's death or even his identity, and the barrister points out the improbability of a red-hot poker when there would have been much easier methods to hand.

Conclusion: some not so bad bits, but for the most part, sensationalist and superficial, and a wasted opportunity.  I've been hoping for a long time that we might get a TV programme featuring Edward II's death and survival, done properly and seriously with people who actually know what they're talking about.  Instead, we get paranormal investigators.  Frankly, I find it weird to see people discussing Edward II when I don't even know who they are, besides Paul Doherty and Charles Berkeley.  (Paranormal investigators!?!)

16 November, 2015

Edward II: The Unconventional King in Paperback, and Medieval Murder Mysteries

First of all, I'd like to make a polite request that actually isn't a request and frankly isn't that polite either.  Damn well stop plagiarising my blog!!!  You know who you are, people!  I keep seeing my posts reproduced on Facebook and Tumblr and Ancestry.co.uk and other sites, without citation and without a link.  Just copied and pasted from here, as though the copier wrote the text him/herself.  Look, if you'd like to quote one or several of my articles, you're most welcome, but acknowledge that it's mine and not yours, name me (I'm Kathryn Warner and my name appears at the end of every post and all over the blog, so don't pretend you don't know who I am), and put in a link to this site.  I'm getting really sick of it.  I put a hell of a lot of work into this site, it takes a lot of my time, it takes a lot of reading and research and writing, and it angers me to see my hard work plagiarised elsewhere without my permission and without even the sodding courtesy to name me as the author.  JUST STOP IT!!!!  I will take the matter further if you keep doing it.

Calming down and moving onto much better news, I'm delighted to announce that my book Edward II: The Unconventional King is now available in paperback in Europe and Canada.  Yay!  I'm afraid that in the US, though, you'll have to wait till 19 January 2016.  Links below if you'd like to purchase a copy:

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Germany

Amazon France

Amazon Italy

Book Depository (in the UK but free delivery worldwide)

Guardian Bookshop

More news: tomorrow, Tuesday 17 November at 9pm, on the Yesterday TV channel in the UK, there's a programme which is the second part of a series called Medieval Murder Mysteries and which is entitled King Edward II: A Mysterious Death.  I'm not sure what to expect, really; I had nothing to do with the programme and don't know anyone who did (at least not anyone who's told me), and I hope it's not too awful.  If we get the silly old stories about red-hot pokers and Edward being held in a cell near rotting animal corpses being presented as though they're fact, I might just scream.  (Not true.  Definitely not true.)  Though maybe I'm being unfair to the makers and it'll be fab, and it's Edward II getting more exposure so yay for that.  Though then again, the programme website does say 'Discover the grisly truth about this royal scandal', which doesn't sound like a particularly measured account of Edward's possible survival in Italy.  'Grisly truth' sounds very much like a damned red-hot poker to me.  Anyway, report to follow, assuming I can watch the programme soon, and Anerje's intending to write one too.  The next in the series, to be shown on 24 November, looks like it could be really interesting as well: it's about Arthur, duke of Brittany, who disappeared in 1203 and is assumed to have been murdered by or on the orders of his uncle King John.

12 November, 2015

October/November 1325: Isabella Refuses to Return to Edward (2)

Second part of a post; the first part is here, or directly below this one.

Isabella and Edward II's son Edward of Windsor sailed from Dover on 12 September 1325 and paid homage to his uncle Charles IV for Gascony and Ponthieu at Vincennes twelve days later. The boy turned thirteen on 13 November 1325. Edward of Windsor's presence in France was a key factor in Isabella's decision not to return to her husband: with their son the king's heir, the future king of England, under her control, she held a vitally important bargaining chip, and used her adolescent son as a weapon against her husband. As I've pointed out before, although Edward II's decision to send his heir to France in September 1325 appears with hindsight to have been an incredibly foolish decision, it wasn't really; Edward had painted himself into a corner where all possible options available to him were fraught with risk, and after weeks of agonising sending his son away must have seemed, and in fact probably was, the least dangerous course of action.

Edward of Windsor was accompanied to France by, among others, Walter Stapeldon, bishop of Exeter and treasurer of England (who had founded Exeter College at Oxford in 1314). Isabella loathed Stapeldon, believing that along with Hugh Despenser the Younger he had been instrumental in persuading her husband to confiscate her lands in September 1324. Stapeldon came to believe, whether correctly or not, that there were people at the French court who intended to harm him, and fled back to England disguised as a common traveller. He was back by late October 1325.  Historian F. D. Blackley suggested a few decades ago that Walter Stapeldon was the immediate cause of Isabella's decision; he had been authorised to pay the queen's expenses, but only for her return journey to England. As he fled from Paris before he gave her the money, this may have forced her into making the decision whether to return to England and the dominance of the hated Despensers, or remain in France. A furious Isabella sent Stapeldon a sharply-worded letter on 8 December accusing him of being of Hugh Despenser’s 'accord' and more obedient to him than to her. She also accused him of dishonouring Edward II, Charles IV and herself.

According to the Vita Edwardi Secundi, Charles IV, "not wishing to seem to detain her said 'The queen has come of her will, and may freely return if she so wishes. But if she prefers to remain in these parts, she is my sister, and I will not detain her.'" (Vita, ed. Denholm-Young, p. 143.)  One modern writer has claimed "There is no incontrovertible evidence to prove that Isabella and her brother King Charles had worked behind the scenes to secure her son's presence in France and simultaneously prevent her own return to England, but it is by far the most likely conclusion in the light of their wholly compatible interests and the immediate support Charles gave her once she had made her feelings known."  The French king's speech above is then cited as evidence of this support. Charles IV's role in the events of 1325/26 is intriguing and often ignored, but quite how anyone gets from his seemingly rather grudging remark 'I won't expel my sister from my kingdom, but she's also free to go back to England if she wants to' to 'Charles had been supporting Isabella behind the scenes for years to help her bring down her husband' frankly is beyond me. In the same way, I really don't get how Isabella's speech 'an intruder has come between my husband and myself, and I won't return to my husband until he is removed' has come to be interpreted as 'I hate my husband and am defying and rebelling against him with my beloved Roger at my side'. This is all too typical of much modern writing about Isabella; frankly it's little more than fiction with her name attached to it. There's a tendency to see secret plots and cunning conspiracies and long-term, Europe-wide strategies  against Edward II everywhere, which makes a good story; a better story than people just muddling through and making short-term decisions rather than following a series of complicated, high-risk steps over a period of years with the aim of bringing Edward II down. A good story is a good story, but that doesn't necessarily make it true. It's so tempting to look at where Isabella ended up in 1326/27 and assume that she'd been planning her husband's downfall since August 1323 when she supposedly helped Roger Mortimer escape from the Tower, or since 1322 when Hugh Despenser returned to England and became her enemy, or even since November 1312 when her son was born and it occurred to her that she could wield more power as the mother of the king than as the wife of the king. In reality, however, it's even possible that Edward II's deposition wasn't intended or mooted until as late as Christmas 1326, after the executions of the Despensers and when it was clear that his position as king had become untenable.

Edward II, having heard of Isabella's refusal return to him, cut off her expenses in mid-November 1325, and, short of funds, the queen was forced to borrow 1000 Paris livres from Charles IV on 31 December. This was the equivalent of only £200 sterling, less than a month's income for Isabella even on the reduced amount imposed on her in September 1324 when Edward confiscated her lands and gave her an income from the Exchequer, and was a loan, not a gift – hardly a sign of her brother’s great favour towards her, as it has sometimes been interpreted. Many of Isabella's servants, whom she could no longer afford to pay, went back to England, from late November 1325 to January 1326: they're mentioned in Edward II's chamber account when they received money for their travel and other expenses from the king on their return.

Edward II wrote his last-ever letter to Isabella on 1 December 1325, ordering her home and claiming that he was suffering badly from her 'so very long absence'. Unfortunately, he also went into endlessly long and tedious justifications for Hugh Despenser the Younger's behaviour, which must have irritated Isabella immensely. He did the same thing in letters to his son Edward of Windsor, Charles IV and numerous French magnates and bishops, and before the parliament which began at Westminster - the last one he ever held - on 18 November 1325. Faced with the painful realisation of her husband's priorities and his utter refusal to take her seriously and to send Hugh away from him, Isabella was left with no other choice but to remain in France in November 1325 and, not long afterwards, to ally herself with the English Contrariants on the Continent, led by Roger Mortimer, the men who could help her gain the revenge she had sworn on Hugh Despenser for destroying her marriage.

07 November, 2015

October/November 1325: Isabella Refuses to Return to Edward (1)

On 9 March 1325, Isabella of France, queen of England, left her husband's kingdom and travelled to her homeland of France, in order to negotiate a peace settlement between her brother Charles IV and her husband Edward II.  The two kings had gone to war the previous year, the little known War of St-Sardos.  The much later chronicler Jean Froissart, who is often cited as a source for Edward II's reign though he wasn't even born until about 1337 and first set foot in England in about 1361/2, claims that Isabella and her twelve-year-old son Edward of Windsor (the future Edward III), persecuted victims of the king and his malevolence, pretended to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury then fled in secret from Winchelsea to the safety of France. Needless to say, this is absolute nonsense. Isabella departed from Dover with Edward II's full consent and knowledge, with a large amount of money for her expenses and a retinue. Her son remained in England for another six months, departing for France - in order to pay homage to his uncle Charles IV for Gascony and Ponthieu - on 12 September 1325.

Isabella remained in France for eighteen months, and when she finally returned to England in September 1326, it was at the head of an invasion force, with her husband's greatest enemy - Roger Mortimer, lord of Wigmore - at her side.  Isabella and Roger's relationship has been excessively romanticised in much modern writing, and we don't actually know for sure that they were in love or even that they were necessarily sleeping together. (I'm not saying they certainly weren't, just that we should bear in mind how little we know or can possibly ever know about people's state of mind, personal feelings and personal  relationships.) They had begun some kind of association by 8 February 1326, when Edward II complained that his queen was 'adopting the counsel' of Roger Mortimer and his allies on the Continent, meaning other English noblemen and knights who had joined the 1321/22 Contrariant rebellion against the king and the Despensers and who fled the country after the Contrariant defeat at the battle of Boroughbridge on 16 March 1322.

At some point before her association with Mortimer began, probably in late October 1325 or thereabouts, Queen Isabella announced in public at the French court that she was refusing to return to her husband. The Vita Edwardi Secundi, which was written by one of Edward II's clerks and which abruptly ends shortly after this, records Isabella's speech:

"I feel that marriage is a joining together of man and woman, maintaining the undivided habit of life, and that someone has come between my husband and myself trying to break this bond; I protest that I will not return until this intruder is removed, but discarding my marriage garment, shall assume the robes of widowhood and mourning until I am avenged of this Pharisee."  (Vita, ed. N. Denholm-Young, pp. 142-3)

The 'Pharisee' of course meant Hugh Despenser the Younger, Edward II's chamberlain and 'favourite' who dominated his life - politically or emotionally or more likely both - in the 1320s. Isabella's speech has often been interpreted, weirdly, to mean that she was defying Edward and openly declaring her rebellion against him. But of course that is not even close to what her words say. What her words actually say is that she believed a third party, Hugh, had come between herself and her husband to such an extent that she felt like a widow (and the French Chronicle of London confirms that the queen took to wearing clothes "as a lady in mourning who had lost her lord"). She felt that Hugh was intruding into her marriage. She spoke of what marriage meant to her. She stated that she would not return to Edward unless he removed Hugh from his side, and swore that she would avenge herself on Hugh for destroying her marriage. What she did not say was that she was rebelling against Edward. She stated that she would return to him when 'this intruder is removed'. Now, we could debate and discuss what was really going on in Isabella's mind, whether she meant this or not, but we cannot know for sure. And perhaps for a change we should do her the courtesy of actually listening to her instead of blithely reinterpreting her speech as 'Well actually, what she really meant was that she loathed and despised and was repelled by her husband and had no intention of ever going back to him, that she was in love with Roger Mortimer and was planning Edward's downfall with him, and that she was openly declaring her rebellion against Edward'. Hmmmmm.

The often-repeated assumption that Isabella was in love with Roger Mortimer in 1325, that she had helped him escape from the Tower of London on 1 August 1323 and that she had been secretly conspiring with him and others for years to bring down her husband makes a nice story, but there is not a shred of evidence for any of it. As I've written before, and also here, it is incredibly unlikely that Edward II stupidly fell into her and Roger Mortimer's and Charles IV's cunning 'trap', or that there was ever a 'trap' in the first place, by sending his son to France in September 1325. I think it's quite likely that when Isabella left England in March 1325, she had some notion of asking Edward to send the hated Hugh Despenser away from him as a condition of her return. I think it's incredibly unlikely that Isabella had an inkling that she would eventually return to England at the head of an invasion force eighteen months later. To me, Isabella's behaviour in late 1325 and 1326 indicate a woman deeply distressed at the breakdown of her marriage and furious at the man she held responsible for it, not a woman who loathed her husband and was deeply in love with someone else. She set Edward an ultimatum, and must have been deeply hurt by his utter refusal to consider her feelings; in long rambling letters to herself, her brother Charles IV and French bishops and noblemen, and in a speech to parliament in London in November 1325, Edward II showed that his greatest priority was to defend Hugh Despenser against all accusations. And of course he completely refused to send Hugh away from him. Left with no other choice but to act on her threat, Isabella duly did so, and began a political alliance with Roger Mortimer and the other Contrariants on the Continent such as John Maltravers, Thomas Roscelyn and William Trussell which resulted, whether she and they had originally intended it or not, in Edward II's forced deposition.

More on this in another post, coming soon.

01 November, 2015

Some Of The New Knights Of 22 May 1306 (2)

Part two of a series which began here, looking at some of the men who were knighted with Edward of Caernarfon at Westminster on 22 May 1306.  As well as Piers Gaveston, Roger Mortimer and Hugh Despenser the Younger, they also included Edward II's good friend William Montacute (d. 1319), Edward's fifteen-year-old nephew Gilbert de Clare, future earl of Gloucester, and Gilbert's first cousin Gilbert de Clare, lord of Thomond, born in 1281 (Gilbertus de Clare filius domini Thomae de Clare).

Today, I'm looking at Edmund of Cornwall, Giles Astley, Ralph Camoys, William Trussell and Robert Wateville.

- Edmund of Cornwall (Edmundus de Cornubia)

Edmund was a second cousin of Edward of Caernarfon, being the grandson of Henry III's younger brother Richard, earl of Cornwall and king of Germany (1209-1272), and was frequently acknowledged as kinsman by Edward I and Edward II in the chancery rolls.  His father Richard (d. 1296) was one of Earl Richard's illegitimate children and the half-brother of Richard's legitimate son and heir Edmund, earl of Cornwall (d. 1300).  Earl Edmund was a first cousin of Edward I on both sides: their fathers were brothers, and their mothers Eleanor and Sanchia of Provence were sisters.  Sir Edmund of Cornwall had a younger brother, Geoffrey of Cornwall, and married a woman called Elizabeth, one of the two daughters and co-heirs of Brian de Brompton.  Brian died sometime before 28 November 1308, and Elizabeth proved her age, fourteen, in November 1309.  (Cal Inq Post Mortem 1307-27, pp. 57-8, 128).  She inherited lands in Shropshire and Herefordshire.  Sir Edmund of Cornwall lived a long life, and died on 22 March 1354, leaving his widow Elizabeth and a son and heir Edmund of Cornwall, who in 1354 was either aged 'thirty years and more' or 'forty years and more'. (Thanks, Inquisitions Post Mortem!)  (Cal Inq Post Mortem 1352-60, pp. 138-9).  Richard, earl of Cornwall, Henry III's brother, had no legitimate grandchildren - his sons Henry of Almain and Edmund, earl of Cornwall died childless, and his other legitimate children with Isabella Marshal and Sanchia of Provence all died in infancy - but did have descendants via his illegitimate children.

- Giles Astley (Egidius de Asteley)

Giles was a younger son of Sir Andrew Astley and a woman named Sibyl, and the younger brother of Nicholas Astley, who was twenty-four in 1300 when their father died.  Both brothers were taken prisoner by the Scots while fighting for Edward II at the battle of Bannockburn in June 1314, and Nicholas died later that year, apparently of natural causes.  Giles married a woman named Alice de Wolvey and died in or before 1316, leaving a young son Thomas Astley, who was heir to his childless uncle Nicholas.  Thomas Astley married Elizabeth Beauchamp, one of the daughters of Guy Beauchamp, earl of Warwick (d. 1315) and Alice de Toeni, and they had four children, including William, Lord Astley.

- Ralph Camoys (Radulphus de Kamoys)

Ralph was a long-term adherent of the Despensers, from at least the beginning of the 1300s, and often accompanied Hugh Despenser the Elder abroad in the company of such well-known Despenser retainers as Ingelram Berenger, John Ratinden, Ralph Gorges, John Haudlo and Malcolm Musard.  He was the son and heir of Sir John Camoys, who died in 1298, and Margaret Gatesden (d. 1311), the heiress of her father John Gatesden in Sussex.  An entry on the Fine Roll of November 1294 relates to Ralph receiving one of his father John's manors for which he had done homage, so he must have been at least twenty-one then, and must have been born in 1273 or earlier.

Ralph married firstly Margaret de Braose, daughter of William de Braose, lord of Gower in South Wales (d. 1291) and half-sister of the William de Braose (d. 1326) who inadvertently kicked off the Despenser War of 1321 when he allowed his son-in-law John, Lord Mowbray to take possession of the Gower peninsula in the autumn of 1320.  With Margaret, Ralph had his son and heir Thomas.  He married secondly the much younger Elizabeth Despenser, youngest (as far as I can tell) child of Hugh Despenser the Elder and Isabel Beauchamp, probably born in the mid to late 1290s, and one of the four full sisters of Hugh the Younger (two of the others were Aline Burnell and Isabel Hastings).  With Elizabeth, Ralph had several more children, including sons Hugh, John and Ralph.  Sir Ralph Camoys survived the downfall of his father-in-law and brother-in-law the two Hugh Despensers in 1326 and was pardoned for his long-term adherence to them in early 1327 (Patent Rolls 1327-30, p. 20), and died in 1336.  It was believed for many years that his second wife was one Elizabeth Rogate, but Douglas Richardson convincingly demonstrated that this is not the case.  Ralph was the great-great-grandfather of Edward IV's close friend William, Lord Hastings, executed in 1483, whose mother was Alice Camoys.

- William Trussell (Willelmus Trussel)

There were several men named Sir William Trussell active in the early fourteenth century.  The one knighted with Edward of Caernarfon in May 1306 may be the man of this name who pronounced the death sentence on both Hugh Despensers in October/November 1326.  A father/son pair both named William Trussell were active during the Contrariant rebellion of 1321/22, against Edward II; I'm assuming, I hope correctly, that the son was the man knighted in 1306, and also the man present at the trials of both Despensers.  He or his father, or both, fled overseas after the Contrariant defeat at the battle of Boroughbridge on 16 March 1322, and spent years in exile on the Continent.  With him were John Maltravers, one of the former Edward II's custodians in 1327 who was also knighted on 22 May 1306, and, after his dramatic escape from the Tower of London on 1 August 1323, Roger Mortimer.  William Trussell was associated with Mortimer in exile on the Continent for the next few years and with him took part in the invasion of England in September 1326.  William Trussell, presumably the son, was appointed as the royal escheator this side Trent after Edward II's downfall, and later as the royal escheator beyond Trent.  There's also another William Trussell mentioned in the chancery rolls in Edward II's reign, the son of an Edmund Trussell, and it's really hard to work out who was who.  Edward II's squire Oliver de Bordeaux married Maud Trussell in 1317, with Edward himself attending the wedding.  Maud was the mother of a William Trussell by her first marriage, and had another son, Warin Trussell.  (Patent Rolls 1324-7, p. 214).

- Robert Wateville (Robertus de Watervill)

As with William Trussell, there were two men of this name active in Edward II's reign, and distinguishing them is not easy.  One was pardoned in 1313 for involvement in Piers Gaveston's death (as were more than 350 men) and was captured fighting for the Contrariants at Boroughbridge.  The Robert Wateville knighted in May 1306 was probably the man of this name who was a household knight of Hugh Despenser the Younger and married Hugh's niece Margaret Hastings in Marlborough in Edward II's presence on 19 May 1326.  (An occasion on which Edward gave a pound to a servant of Margaret's mother Isabel, Lady Hastings for "making him laugh very greatly.")  Edward showed huge generosity to Wateville in 1326: he gave him gifts of forty marks on two separate occasions and forty pounds another time, visited him at his house in London, and paid his expenses when he was ill for thirteen days.  All this generosity availed him nothing, as Wateville went over to Isabella's side soon after she arrived in England with the invasion force in September 1326, and was with her at Bristol in October 1326.  (Close Rolls 1323-7, p. 655)  One of the Sir Robert Wate(r)villes was the godfather of Giles Badlesmere, born in 1313/14, son and heir of Bartholomew, Lord Badlesmere and Margaret de Clare.  (Cal Inq Post Mortem 1327-36, p. 480)