24 May, 2020

Philippa Arundel (d. 1399) And Her Children

In my last post, I looked at the three daughters of Sir Edmund Arundel (d. 1381/2), son of the earl of Arundel, and Sybil Montacute, daughter of the earl of Salisbury. Here's a post dedicated to Philippa Arundel, the best-known of their daughters.

Philippa was perhaps the second daughter of Edmund and Sybil, younger than Katherine and older than Elizabeth, though I'm not sure about that; she might have been the youngest. Given that she might have given birth as early as c. 1366/67, and almost certainly by 1370, she can hardly have been born later than the early 1350s. Her father Edmund was apparently born in 1326, and her mother Sybil perhaps in the early 1330s or thereabouts. Over the last few years and decades, there's been a lot of confusion about Philippa and her sisters, and a good few writers have followed the Complete Peerage in stating, erroneously, that the sisters (or at least one or two of them) were the daughters of Richard, earl of Arundel (d. 1376) and his first wife Isabella Despenser, rather than Richard and Isabella's granddaughters, as they in fact were. Philippa's parentage is, however, made perfectly clear by this entry on the Close Roll (CCR 1396-99, p. 72):

Philippa Arundel married Sir Richard Sergeaux or Cergeaux or Serjeaux, an important landowner, politician, keeper of the peace, justice, knight of the shire, and commissioner in Cornwall; his page on the History of Parliament site states that he held at least twenty-two manors in the county. I've seen Richard's date of birth estimated as c. 1340, which seems about right; he appeared on the Patent Roll from the early 1360s onwards with his father of the same name, and was called 'Richard Sergeaux the younger'. His father was called leisne, 'the elder', in 1361, so Richard the younger was of age and active by then. [1] Richard Sergeaux the younger was previously married to Elizabeth Bodrugan, granddaughter and co-heir of Sir Otto Bodrugan (1290-1331), the only child of Otto's second son William (b. 1311). He and Elizabeth had no children together, or at least, no surviving children. The dates of Elizabeth's death and Richard Sergeaux's subsequent second marriage to Philippa Arundel are uncertain. [2]

Philippa Arundel and Richard Sergeaux had one son and four daughters: Richard, Elizabeth, Philippa, Alice, and Joan. The birth order of their daughters is clear, though where their son fits into the order is not quite as clear, and the estimated ages and dates of birth for the eldest three of the five Sergeaux children are confusingly all over the place. They were widely spaced, with the eldest children born in the late 1360s or early 1370s, the fourth certainly born in 1384, and the fifth almost certainly born in or around 1392.

- Richard Sergeaux, the only son. His father's inquisition post mortem of November 1393 states that he was born around 21 December 1374, and also that he was 'nineteen and more'. According to another inquisition taken in 1398, however, Richard was twenty-six when his father died in September 1393 and would therefore have been born c. 1367, and this inquisition makes him, whether correctly or not, the oldest of the five Sergeaux siblings, with his sister Elizabeth two years younger and his sister Philippa four years younger. Other evidence, though, makes him younger than Elizabeth and perhaps younger than Philippa as well. Richard was named as his father's sole heir in 1393, but he outlived Sir Richard by less than three years and died on 23 or 24 June 1396. At yet another inquisition in July 1400, he was said to have died in his twentieth year, i.e. was still nineteen in June 1396, and to have died underage, i.e. under twenty-one. I haven't found any entries in the chancery rolls where Richard II took Richard Sergeaux's homage and allowed him livery of his lands, which would tend to confirm that he died before he reached his twenty-first birthday and was therefore born after 23/24 June 1375. [3] He doesn't seem to have been married, as I haven't seen any record of dower being assigned to his widow. Richard certainly left no children, and his four sisters became joint and equal heirs to the Sergeaux inheritance.

- Elizabeth Marny, the eldest daughter. According to various jurors at her mother Philippa Arundel's inquisition post mortem in January and July 1400, Elizabeth might have been as old as thirty-three then, which would place her date of birth in 1366/67, though other jurors estimated her age at thirty, or twenty-one, or twenty, in early 1400. She was also said to be twenty-four when her brother died in June 1396, placing her date of birth in 1372. Elizabeth cannot have been as young as twenty in January 1400, as she gave birth to her son Thomas Marny (or Marney) on 6 or 7 February 1393, and had a younger son John and a daughter Anne as well. [4] Thomas was the eldest grandchild of Philippa Arundel, great-grandson of Edmund Arundel and Sybil Montacute, great-great-grandson of Richard, earl of Arundel (d. 1376) and great-great-great-grandson of Hugh Despenser the Younger and Eleanor de Clare (d. 1337). Thomas's father was Elizabeth's husband Sir William Marny, landowner in Buckinghamshire and Essex, who died on 21 or 24 August 1414. 

The date of Elizabeth Sergeaux Marny's death is not recorded, to my knowledge, but in William Marny's inquisition post mortem taken in Cornwall and Oxfordshire in September/October 1414, he was said to have held a third of the Oxfordshire manor of Chipping Norton and a third of various Cornish manors "by the courtesy of England after the death of Elizabeth his wife", so she died sometime before August 1414. There's a great account of William's career here. His and Elizabeth's elder son Thomas Marny died on 22 March 1421 aged twenty-eight, and his daughter Margaret Marny was his heir; she was born posthumously on 14 August 1421. Some jurors at Thomas's inquisition post mortem did not realise that his widow (named Margaret, like their daughter) was pregnant, and hence named his brother John Marny as his heir. Little Margaret, however, died on 4 or 15 November 1421, so the Marny heir was her uncle John, after all. John Marny, second son of Elizabeth Sergeaux and grandson of Philippa Arundel, was born in Layer Marney, Essex on 14 August 1402, and his godmother was his aunt Philippa Sergeaux Passele. At John's proof of age in 1424, one of the jurors remembered his birth because he played football in Layer Marney that day and broke his shin when he fell, another remembered because a resident of the village hanged himself that day and he went to look at the hanging body (!), and another remembered because he and his wife attended Elizabeth's churching on 14 September 1402. [5]

- Philippa Passele (or Pasele or Passhelee or Pashley), later Swynbourne, second daughter. She was said to be twenty-two when her brother died in June 1396, eighteen in January 1400, twenty-eight in March 1400, and nineteen in July/September 1400, so might have been born any time between 1371/72 and 1381. Fabulous. Most inquisitions stated that she was somewhere between a year and three years younger than her sister Elizabeth, except for the Oxfordshire jurors of July 1400, who said that she was fourteen years younger than Elizabeth and that they were thirty-three and nineteen respectively. Philippa died on 13 July 1420, leaving her son John Passele as her heir; he was said to be twenty-two in her IPM of November 1420, so, if this estimate is accurate (which of course it might not be), he was born sometime between November 1397 and November 1398. Philippa married firstly Robert Passele and secondly William Swynbourne or Swinborne, and as well as her son John Passele, she had a daughter, Anne Passele. I haven't been able to find the date of Robert Passele's death, but Philippa was already married to her second husband William Swynbourne by 12 February 1407. William died on 22 May 1409, and as he had no children, his heir was his brother John, then aged about thirty. Philippa outlived her second husband by eleven years. [6]

- Alice Saint Aubyn, later de Vere, then Thorley, countess of Oxford, third daughter and fourth child, born in her father's manor of Colquite, Cornwall on 1 September 1384. We know her exact date and place of birth, because she proved her age in June 1400! Yay! Alice was said to be nine when her brother died in June 1396, though in fact she was eleven going on twelve, fourteen in January and March 1400 (actually fifteen), and fifteen in July/August 1400 (correctly). Alice Sergeaux married her first husband Guy Saint Aubyn between 20 September 1398 and 24 January 1400, when she was fourteen or fifteen. [7] He died childless sometime around 1405, and she subsequently married Richard de Vere, earl of Oxford, who was a year her junior, born on 15 August 1385. [8] Their eldest son John de Vere, earl of Oxford, was born at Hedingham Castle in Essex on 23 April 1408, and they had younger sons Robert and Richard as well. Alice was widowed on 15 February 1417, when Earl Richard died at the age of only thirty-one, and she married her third husband Sir Nicholas Thorley in or before October 1421. They wed without royal licence and Nicholas was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and were finally pardoned in December 1424. This would be the longest of her three marriages: Nicholas died on 5 May 1442, and Alice Sergeaux Saint Aubyn de Vere Thorley, dowager countess of Oxford, on 28 May 1452, in her mid-sixties. Her eldest son the earl of Oxford was beheaded ten years later. [9] 

- Joan Sergeaux, fourth daughter, fifth and youngest child, was probably born in 1392. She was therefore much younger than her siblings, young enough to be the child of her eldest sister Elizabeth (who gave birth in February 1393) and perhaps of Philippa as well. Joan was said to be four when her brother died in June 1396, seven in January 1400, and eight in March 1400. She died on 31 July 1400, and although Richard II had granted her marriage rights to her stepfather Sir John Cornwall in September 1398, John had not yet arranged her marriage. [10] After her death, the Sergeaux inheritance was shared out among Joan's three surviving older sisters. Had she lived into her teens, she, Elizabeth, Philippa and Alice would each have inherited a quarter of their late father's lands.

Philippa Arundel Sergeaux's first husband Sir Richard Sergeaux died on 30 September 1393, probably in London; he was certainly in London on 27 September, three days before his death. [11] She remained a widow for a few years, and sometime before 13 April 1398, probably not long before, married her second husband, Sir John Cornwall. [12] He was many years her junior, and might have been younger than her eldest children. Philippa's eldest grandchild Thomas Marny was already five years old when she married John, and given that she had borne her eldest child probably in the late 1360s or beginning of the 1370s (though her youngest child was only six in 1398), she might have passed beyond childbearing age when she married her second husband. Certainly she and John Cornwall had no children together. John Cornwall was himself of Cornish birth and was descended from Sir Richard Cornwall (d. 1296/97), illegitimate son of Richard, earl of Cornwall (d. 1272), younger son of King John and brother of Henry III.

John Cornwall became a household knight of Richard II in late 1396 or not long before, and accompanied Richard to Ireland in the summer of 1399, but switched his allegiance to Henry of Lancaster when Henry returned to England that year to claim his confiscated inheritance. [13John was also said to be 'sailing beyond seas' in July 1398 and February 1399, so it hardly seems likely that he and Philippa had much chance to spend time together during their brief marriage. [14]

Philippa Arundel Sergeaux Cornwall died on 13 September 1399, probably in her late forties or so. [15] Her inqusition post mortem was held in January and July 1400, and her heirs were her four daughters, her only son having already died in 1396, though her youngest child Joan Sergeaux only outlived her by a few months. Philippa's widower Sir John Cornwall made a brilliant second marriage in 1400 when he wed Elizabeth of Lancaster, dowager countess of Huntingdon, sister of King Henry IV and of Philippa, queen of Portugal, half-sister of Catalina, queen of Castile and Leon. Elizabeth (1363-1425) was the mother of John's two legitimate children, John and Constance Cornwall. Sir John Cornwall, made Baron Fanhope by Elizabeth's great-nephew Henry VI, finally died in late 1443, having fathered two illegitimate sons as well. He was one of the greatest and most renowned English warriors of the fifteenth century.


1) CPR 1361-4, pp. 65, 528.
2) See CFR 1391-9, pp. 105-6.
3) CIPM 1392-9, nos. 421-2, 1093; CIPM 1399-1405, nos. 35-6.
4) CIPM 1392-9, no. 1093; CIPM 1399-1405, nos. 31-8; CIPM 1413-18, nos. 190-94.
5) CIPM 1418-22, nos. 764-8; CIPM 1422-27, nos. 13, 257-8, 364.
6) CIPM 1392-9, no. 1093; CIPM 1399-1405, nos. 31-8; CIPM 1418-22, nos. 443-6; CIPM 1422-27, no. 416.
7) CFR 1391-9, p. 291; TNA SC 8/213/10650; CIPM 1399-1405, nos. 31-8, 312.
8) CIPM 1399-1405, nos. 190-204.
9) CIPM 1413-18, nos. 633-54; CIPM 1422-27, no. 416; CIPM 1427-32, no. 310; CIPM 1437-42, nos. 536-7; CPR 1422-29, p. 422; Complete Peerage, vol. 10, p. 236.
10) CIPM 1392-9, no. 1093; CIPM 1399-1405, nos. 31-8; CFR 1391-9, p. 291.
11) CCR 1392-6, p. 231.
12) CFR 1391-9, p. 254.
13) CPR 1396-9, pp. 64, 91, 187, 516, 550, 559; CCR 1396-9, p. 268.
14) CCR 1396-9, pp. 321, 371.
15) CIPM 1399-1405, nos. 31-8.

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