29 May, 2018

The Marriage of Juliana Hastings and Thomas Blount

I've written a couple of posts before about the Kent heiress Juliana Hastings, née Leyburne, born 1303 or 1304: see here and here. I've also written one about the Hastings family of the early fourteenth century and the endless confusion about them in a lot of modern books and articles; some modern writers wrongly state that Juliana's son Laurence Hastings was the son of Isabella Despenser, who in fact was the stepmother of Juliana's husband John Hastings (but was several years younger than he was, and John's mother was also called Isabella, hence the confusion). Here's a shortish post about Juliana's second marriage.

Juliana née Leyburne's much older first husband John, Lord Hastings (b. September 1286), died on 6 January 1325, leaving his and Juliana's son Laurence, not yet five years old, as his heir. [CIPM 1317-27, no. 612] Sometime before 27 July 1325, Laurence was betrothed to Eleanor Despenser, third daughter of Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II's eldest niece Eleanor née de Clare. [CPR 1324-7, p. 153] She was about the same age as he, perhaps slightly older. At the beginning of 1327, Queen Isabella forced the young Eleanor Despenser and two of her sisters into convents and had them veiled as nuns, so this planned marriage never went ahead, and Laurence married Roger Mortimer of Wigmore's daughter Agnes instead.

I hardly know anything at all about Juliana's second husband Sir Thomas Blount and his family, but I assume he was a cousin of Sir William Blount, who married Margery de Verdon, third daughter and co-heir of Theobald de Verdon (d. 1316) and who was a close adherent of Edward II's first cousin Henry of Lancaster, earl of Lancaster and Leicester. William Blount died shortly before 3 October 1337, and his heir was his thirty-year-old brother John Blount. [CIPM 1336-46, no. 115] The Complete Peerage identifies Thomas as the second son and heir of Sir Ralph Blount of Belton, Rutland and his wife Cecily or Alice, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Lovett of Worcestershire. Thomas Blount was given letters of protection to accompany Henry of Lancaster overseas in May 1318, indicating that he shared William Blount's - his cousin? - Lancastrian adherence. [CPR 1317-21, p. 146] Like many other Lancastrians in and after 1322, Thomas Blount switched allegiance, and was appointed steward of Edward II's household in May 1325, replacing Sir Richard Damory. He held the position until the end of Edward's reign. Famously, he broke his staff of office at Kenilworth Castle in January 1327 to signify that the reign was over, and had not been one of the men captured with Edward on 16 November 1326, so evidently had abandoned him.

On 13 July 1325, Edward II issued the following: "Licence, out of affection towards Thomas le Blont, steward of the household, for Juliana late the wife of John de Hastinges, tenant in chief, to marry the said Thomas if she will, but if she will not then that which pertains to the king of her marriage shall be reserved to the king." [CPR 1324-7, p. 153] At some point shortly after that, Juliana did marry Thomas Blount, and it was at this time that her son Laurence was betrothed to Hugh Despenser the Younger's daughter. In January 1326, Thomas wrote to Edward II explaining that he would be somewhat delayed in returning to court as Juliana was ill, which implies a degree of marital affection between the couple and that Thomas cared enough about his wife's well-being to stay with her when she was ill rather than hasten back to court. Thomas's position as the king's household steward, however, did not prevent Hugh Despenser the Younger taking a manor in Norfolk which by right was part of Juliana's Hastings dower lands.

Juliana and Thomas had no children, and it may be that Juliana's experience of childbirth damaged her, as she had no more children after Laurence in 1320, either by John Hastings, Thomas Blount, or her third husband William Clinton, later earl of Huntingdon. She and Thomas were married for just three years. I've often seen 17 August 1328 given on genealogy websites as the date of Thomas Blount's death, but I have no idea what the source is; there's no Inquisition Post Mortem extant for him. The date must be more or less correct, however, as his lands were taken into the king's hands on 23 August 1328 because he was dead. [CFR 1327-37, p. 102]

Juliana was married to her third husband Sir William Clinton, younger brother of John, Lord Clinton, by 17 October 1328, when an entry on the Patent Roll referring to the bishop of London states "...with other advowsons, assigned to Thomas le Blount, now deceased, and Juliana his wife, formerly the wife of the said John de Hastyng, as her dower; that the said bishop may discharge his duty herein at the presentation of William de Clynton, her present husband." [CPR 1327-30, p. 404] This was only two months after Thomas Blount's death, which is a remarkably hasty re-marriage by the standards of the time. It might indicate that Juliana had not found her second marriage a happy one; it might indicate that she and William Clinton had fallen in love, or lust. Her third marriage lasted much longer than her second: until 1354, when William died.

No comments: