Monday, March 8, 2010

Plantagenet 4: John, Firstborn Son of Edward I


For Lord Edward and his wife Eleanor of Castile, the Barons' War of 1264 to 1265 was the greatest dynastic challenge they would ever face. Edward was a hostage of Simon de Montfort, the leader of the baronial opposition, for an entire year, from the battle of Lewes in May 1264, until he managed to make his escape at Hereford in May 1265. Eleanor had been ordered to go to Westminster with the couple's only child, a nearly two-year-old daughter Joan, who died there late in September 1264. Eleanor then suffered an unsuccessful birth in January 1265. If Edward had died before the couple was reunited, Eleanor would have been a childless widow, with no landed income and her fate in the hands of the crippled Plantagenet dynasty, reduced to puppets of Montfort and the barons.

The battle of Evesham was a decisive victory for Lord Edward, but it wasn't the final one. Resistance to royal administrative and military authority continued throughout the kingdom. The prince and his wife were reunited in September 1265, likely at Winchester, where a parliament had been summoned to deal with the lands and widows of the rebel barons who had been killed and captured at Evesham. In October, the English queen, Edward's mother Eleanor of Provence, made a triumphant return to England in the company of the papal legate, and Dover Castle surrendered to Edward. By Christmas of that year, Eleanor of Castile would be certain she was carrying another child. Lord Edward spent that holiday in the fens and marshes of north Lincolnshire, where the slain Simon de Montfort's son, Simon de Montfort the younger, was holding out with a baronial force on the Isle of Axholme. They came to terms on Christmas Day [1].

In the spring, Eleanor retreated to Windsor Castle to await her lying in, while Edward dealt successfully with baronial resistance in Kent and Hampshire. By far the strongest strategic point that was refusing to surrender to royal authority was Montfort's chief administrative seat, Kenilworth Castle. Forces led by Edward's younger brother Lord Edmund, had laid siege to the castle for months, in the largest such operation to have occurred so far on English soil. But the rebel garrison, secure in the castle's strength, continued to hold out. In May 1266, Lord Edward joined his brother at Kenilworth to oversee the siege [2].

The Church had long ago combined pagan celebrations marking the beginning of summer with the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on June 24th. It was one of the most important festivals of the medieval calendar, during which no one, from nobleman to serf, was allowed to work. Huge bonfires were lit on the eve of St. John, for the greater the light of the fire, the greater the harvest. Burning wheels were guided down hills by industrious lads, and if they extinguished in a body of water, rather than burning out beforehand, it was another blessing for the harvest. Dancing and singing accompanied the bonfires, and leaping over one as it burned low was thought to bring good luck. No less than three masses were celebrated on the feast day - it was regarded as a time for cleansing one's soul. Though secluded far from the public eye in a private chamber at Windsor for her lying in and unable to participate in the celebration, Eleanor must still have observed the fires from a distance and overheard the merriment. Another resident of Windsor unable to celebrate personally was Robert Ferrers, Earl of Derby. He had refused to submit to royal authority after Evesham, was captured just a few weeks previous by a royal force led by Edward's first cousin Henry of Almain, and had been taken as a prisoner to Windsor Castle [3]. Lord Edward and the soldiers surrounding Kenilworth Castle would have kept the festival more guardedly, but still have celebrated. Shortly afterwards, King Henry III himself joined the siege of Kenilworth and the process of negotiation with the rebel garrison inside began again in earnest.

A few weeks later at Windsor, during the night between the 13th and 14th of July 1266, Eleanor gave birth to a healthy son. He was christened John in honor of St. John the Baptist [4], though the name also served to symbolically underscore the victory of the Plantagenets over the barons by harking back to King John, and reinforcing the fact that his direct bloodline still was blessed and in charge. News of little John's birth was greeted ecstatically throughout the kingdom. Henry III rewarded the messenger who brought "the delightful news" with an annual income of £20 [5], while Walter Giffard, Bishop of Bath and Wells, whose parents had raised Lord Edward, would reward the messenger (Eleanor of Castile's clerk, William, rector of Gattington) who brought him the news with forty shillings a year [6]. But the biggest celebration of John's birth was held in London. The Londoners had much to make up for to the Plantagenets. They had strongly supported Simon de Montfort, had pelted the barge of Queen Eleanor of Provence, and had opposed the King and Lord Edward at the battle of Lewes. After Evesham, Henry III arrested the delegation of forty Londoners led by the mayor that came to him at Windsor, and the mayor and four others were given over to Edward as hostages. A large number of forfeited London properties was made over to Lord Edward's knights and close adherents. It wasn't until January 1266 that a formal royal pardon was issued to Londoners, in return for a fine of the staggering sum of 20,000 marks [7].

To honor the birth of the newest Plantagenet, the Londoners called a holiday and held a procession, terminating at the shrine of St. Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey, where offerings were made. Henry III also insured that Eleanor of Castile's churching ceremony, held thirty to forty days after John's birth, took place at the shrine of his patron saint [8]. The Plantagenets were again a blessed dynasty, further demonstrated when the rebel garrison at Kenilworth, which was beset by hunger and cold as much as by the royal forces surrounding the castle, finally surrendered in mid-December 1266. The stench in the castle was so great, that the royalist besiegers were almost overcome when they finally entered it [9].

As the only child of his parents and a future king of England, John was set up in his own household at Windsor Castle, just as his father Lord Edward had been soon after his own birth. He was joined there by a younger brother Henry in 1268, and a younger sister Eleanor in 1269. It was Windsor where John spent the majority of his short life. In August 1270, a month after his fourth birthday, the young prince saw his parents for the final time, just prior to their departure from England for a Crusade to the Holy Land. By that point King Henry III was in such poor health that Lord Edward entrusted the care of his children to his uncle, Richard of Cornwall, instead, with the provision that if anything happened to Richard, the children would be put under the care of his son and heir, Edward's trusted cousin Henry of Almain. Richard of Cornwall moved the children from Windsor to his favorite residence and chief administrative seat, Wallingford Castle [the remaining tower standing from the castle's ruins is pictured]. Here young John would spend his final months. His fifth birthday on July 13th was no doubt a subdued affair, for Richard of Cornwall would still be in mourning over the murder on the continent, four months previous on March 13th, of his son Henry of Almain by two of the surviving sons of Simon de Montfort.

The five-year-old prince, whose birth had been so celebrated, died at Wallingford Castle three weeks later, on the night of the Invention of St. Stephen (3rd of August) 1271 [10]. The outpouring of grief over the death of the handsome child was as widespread as the outpouring of joy had been at his birth [11]. Richard of Cornwall oversaw the funeral arrangements, and five days later, on the 8th of August 1271, young John was buried in Westminster Abbey on the north side of the rebuilt shrine of St. Edward the Confessor [12], the completion of which had been celebrated by Henry III in a grand ceremony on the saint's feast day three years previous, 13 October 1269. John was the third Plantagenet to be interred there, following Henry III's youngest child Katherine in 1257, and his own sister Joan, the first child of Lord Edward and Eleanor of Castile, in 1264.

News of their eldest child's death didn't reach Lord Edward and Eleanor until the autumn of 1272, after they had completed their Crusade, and were wintering at the court of Edward's uncle Charles of Anjou, King of Sicily, at Trapani. In November, the couple received the news of the death of Edward's father King Henry III. A story, which historian John Carmi Parsons, deduces is apocryphal, sprang up about the surprise of King Charles to find Edward extremely upset by the death of his father and unconcerned at the death of his son John, with Edward explaining that it was easy to beget sons but the loss of a father was irreplaceable [13]. It may well have a grain of truth to it, however. One's father symbolizes the past, and one's son the future. The loss of both in such a close timeframe is a reminder of the importance of the present. Edward was now King of England. The past could not be undone, but the future, with the potential for further children, was in the hands of himself, those of his wife, and those, as always in medieval theology, of God.

A beautiful little tomb in Westminster Abbey, inlaid with Italian mosaic tiles, that lies between the chapels of St. Edmund and St. Benedict, is thought to have been made for John by his father Edward I. It is without inscription and is said to now contain the bones of all the children of Henry III and Edward I (nine in total) that were buried in the Abbey [14].

Notes
[1] Michael Prestwich, Edward I (Yale English Monarchs Series, 1988), pp. 54-55.
[2] Ibid, p. 56.
[3] John R. Maddicott, "Ferrers, Robert de, sixth earl of Derby (c.1239–1279)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). His career will be looked at more fully when I get to Henry Ferrers, 3rd Lord Ferrers of Groby.
[4] Liber de Antiquis Legibus: Cronica Maiorum et Vicecomitum Londoniarum, edited by Thomas Stapleton, Camden Society Volume 34 (1846), p. 87. The full entry reads, “Eodem anno, ij idus Julii, de nocte, uxor Domini Edwardi peperit filium suum primogenitum apud Windleshores; quibus rumoribus auditus Cives Londoniarum fecerunt proclamare in Civitate, quod in crastino /tota communa solempnizassent nullum opus servile faciendo pre gaudio nativitatis dicti pueri. Unde factum est, quod illa die, omnibus seldis et schopis clausis, omnes viri et mulieres, tam clerici quam laici, pede et equo perrexerunt apud Westmonasterium, gratias agentes Deo pro nativitate pueri et orantes pro salute sua. Et per vicos Civitatis tripudium ducentes et cantilenas facientes pre gaudio, sicut solet fieri annuatim in festo Sancti Johannis Baptiste; cui vero puero impositum est nomen Johannes.”
[5] Calendar of Patent Rolls 1258-1266 (1910), p. 617. The full entry, dated at Kenilworth 21 July 1266, reads, “Grant to John Ferre, for the delightful news which he brought to the king of the birth of John son of Edward the king’s son, that the king will assign to him 20l. yearly of land out of the first escheats, as soon as an opportunity offer.”
[6] The Register of Walter Giffard, Lord Archbishop of York 1266-1279, edited by William Brown, Surtees Society Volume 109 (1904), p. 101.
[7] Prestwich, Edward I, p. 54.
[8] John Carmi Parsons, Eleanor of Castile: Queen and Society in Thirteenth-Century England (1995), pp. 25, 264 n. 51.
[9] Prestwich, Edward I, p. 57.
[10]
John Carmi Parsons, “The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and Her Children by Edward I”, Mediaeval Studies, Volume 46 (1984), pp. 258-259.
[11] Prestwich, Edward I, p. 126.
[12] Liber de Antiquis Legibus, p. 141. The full entry reads, "Hoc anno obiit Johannes, primogenitus Domini Edwardi, puer etate quinque annorum et non plene quatuor septimanarum. Cujus corpus in Ecclesia Westmonasterii, ex opposito basilice Sancti Edwardi in parte aquilonali datum est sepulture viij die mensis Augusti.”
[13] Parsons, Eleanor of Castile.
[14] Barbara Hervey, Westminster Abbey and its Estates in the Middle Ages (1977), pp. 374-375. She cites "Tombs of Royal Babies in Westminster Abbey" a 1953 article by J.D. Tanner in the Journal of the British Archaelogical Association (which I have not yet seen) as her source.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Plantagenet 3: Joan, First Recorded Child of Edward I


The first child of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile to appear by name in a record is a daughter named Joan. Other than her name, the only certain fact we have about her is that she had a tomb in Westminster Abbey prior to the autumn of 1265. We know this from an entry in the Close Rolls, dated 7 September 1265 at Marlborough Castle. Henry III ordered a gold cloth for the tomb of his granddaughter "Johanne filie Edwardi", recently dead (”nuper defuncte”) [1].

The name Joan is significant, and helps to establish the timing of her birth. It had been previously used by the Plantagenets - Henry II and King John had each given it to a daughter - but not for a generation, with both of those royal Joans dead before Lord Edward had even been born. Rather, it was a name chosen to emphasize the ancestry of Eleanor of Castile, specifically to honor her mother Jeanne (the French form of Joan), dowager Queen of Castile and countess of Ponthieu in her own right. For it was to her mother that Eleanor likely owed the adult, sexually active relationship she now shared with Lord Edward, and blessed by the birth of this, their first child.

Every inch a queen, Jeanne de Dammartin was a strong-willed woman and a force to be reckoned with in her own right in the mid-thirteenth-century. As granddaughter of the famous Alice of France, who was such a beauty that Henry II took her as his mistress even though she was betrothed to his son Richard the Lionheart, Jeanne apparently inherited some of her grandmother’s looks, and was herself thought a great beauty [2]. By the 1230s, she was certainly in line to inherit her grandmother’s territory, Ponthieu, a small, but well-located county in northern France, bordering Normandy. Its principal town was Abbeville, on the river Somme, a few miles from the channel coast. Jeanne’s ancestor Hugues d’Abbeville founded the dynasty of the counts of Ponthieu in the tenth century. It’s strategic location made its comital family one enmeshed in the great dynastic rivalry between the royal families of France (the Capets) and of England (the Plantagenets).

Normandy, the original duchy that had spawned the English royals, had been lost to them in 1204, when it was seized from King John by Philip II of France. In 1235, Henry III and his council saw a way to regain a foothold near the duchy through an alliance with the Dammartins: the king would marry young Jeanne. This of course was unacceptable to the queen regent of France, Blanche of Castile, who put pressure on Jeanne’s father Simon de Dammartin to cease the marriage negotiations in November 1235. Instead, Jeanne, through the arrangement of Queen Blanche, married Ferdinand III of Castile in 1237 [2], and succeeded to Ponthieu at her mother’s death in 1251. At her husband's death in 1252, Jeanne was attractive woman in her early thirties, a queen and a countess, who was not about to meekly obey her stepson, Castile’s new king Alfonso X, only a year or two her junior. When he withheld her rights in lands that her husband had granted her, she threw her support behind the rebellion of another stepson, Henry of Castile, also denied lands by the new king. This led to a scandal and to rumors of an affair between the dowager queen and disgruntled prince. Queen Jeanne left Castile never to return, in August 1254, pointedly two months before the wedding ceremony of her daughter Eleanor. She was on her way back to Ponthieu, and stopped at Henry III’s court in Bordeaux in Aquitaine, to meet with the English king, queen and Lord Edward, her soon-to-be son-in-law [3]. She clearly was determined to form a relationship with the Plantagenets on her own terms, independent of the Castilian royal family and court. For their part, the English royals were only too happy to have direct access to Ponthieu through Queen Jeanne and not have to negotiate with the king of Castile over the strategically important county.

Eleanor of Castile bade goodbye to her mother in August 1254 as a twelve-year-old bride-to-be, and did not see her again until March 1260, when she was a nineteen-year-old wife. She accompanied her royal in-laws across the Channel in November 1259 while Lord Edward remained in England. Henry III was negotiating a final peace with the French and marrying his younger daughter Beatrice to the heir of the duke of Brittany [4]. It was during this trip that the king received rumors that Lord Edward was rising in rebellion against him back in England. Eleanor would have had much to consult about with her mother. She had not yet borne a child with her husband, and likely was being ignored by the young prince, who was cutting his military chops, spending money he didn’t have, and trying hard to develop a political identity for himself independent of his father. Perhaps Edward did not know how to fit his foreign wife into these activities, perhaps his household knights and political allies were distrustful of her and plotted to keep the young Plantagenet couple apart [5], perhaps Eleanor was supportive of her in-laws and frowned on her husband’s move against them. Whatever the causes, the marriage seems to have hit a rocky point: the couple was not together.

Countess Jeanne no doubt gave her daughter much advice that spring. In 1260, the former queen took a second husband, the widower knight Jean I, seigneur of Falvy, a member of the family of Nesle. He was either her age or a couple years younger, and though of the Ponthevin nobility, was not her equal in status [6]. The marriage was certainly one that the Countess Jeanne, about age forty, chose for herself. Eleanor’s mother was not the type of woman to piously retire from the pleasures of the world, and her advice to her daughter would not be to leave everything to the hand of God. Eleanor needed to step out of the shadow of her royal in-laws and assert herself within her marriage. The quickest way to the heart of a twenty-one year-old man, even a prince, was through his loins. If he was avoiding her bed, she needed to do everything possible to entice him back into it. An important way to do that would be to show Lord Edward that she supported him in his political maneuvers, and indeed could help him with them through her own contacts.

Eleanor returned to England with the king and queen late in April 1260. Henry III and Lord Edward were reconciled in May, and that summer likely saw Eleanor putting her mother’s advice to work. She helped arrange a marriage for Geoffrey de Lusignan, the uncle to whom Edward had grown the closest, to her cousin Jeanne of Châtelleraut. She accompanied Edward when he left England in November 1260 for Gascony, stopping in Paris to meet with Edward’s uncles and witness the marriage she had helped to arrange [7]. Edward was in England again from April to July 1261 to deal with the growing crisis there around the reforms the barons were trying to impose on the king (and Lord Edward’s) administrations. It is not certain if Eleanor returned to England with him in 1261, or remained on the continent. It is certain that they both returned to England in late February 1262, and accompanied Henry III and Eleanor of Provence to France in July that year [8]. With Eleanor went Alice de Luton, who had been one of Lord Edward’s nurses in his early years, a possible indication that Eleanor either already had, or was expecting, a child [9]. The king and queen returned to England in the fall of 1262, but Edward and Eleanor remained on the continent, recruiting for a campaign in Wales against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, whose position had strengthened so much it threatened the English commander there. Once more, Eleanor proved her loyalty and worth to her husband, by helping to provide him mercenary soldiers from Ponthieu [10]. When Lord Edward returned to England late in February 1263 for the Welsh campaign that spring, he brought with him his wife, the Ponthevin mercenaries she’d helped him to recruit, and, most important of all from a dynastic perspective, a daughter.

That no English chronicle records the birth of a child to Edward and Eleanor until 1266, is a good indication that there were no (surviving) children born to them in England until that date. As there is no record of Henry III rewarding the messenger who brought him the news of the birth of his first Plantagenet grandchild, he must have been nearby when Eleanor of Castile gave birth. The likeliest date for her first child to have been born then is during the latter half of 1262, when Henry III, Queen Eleanor, Lord Edward and his wife were all together in France. There likely was disappointment when the first child to bless the Plantagenet/Castilian alliance proved to be female. The first child born to Lord Edward’s immediate Plantagenet forebears - father Henry III, grandfather King John, and great-grandfather Henry II - had been a son, as was the first child born to each of the marriages of Eleanor’s royal Castilian father Ferdinand III. A daughter as the first child born to Eleanor and Lord Edward could not be allowed to be seen as a negative reflection from God in any way. Her given name of Joan thus emphasized her maternal ancestry within the county of Ponthieu, which allowed for female inheritance, and publicly emphasized the base of support Lord Edward was receiving from that territory through his wife and mother-in-law.

Henry III summoned Lord Edward back to England to deal with the crisis caused in the Welsh Marches by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. He set up his wife and little daughter in Windsor Castle in February 1263, and embarked on a military campaign in the Marches in April and May, though little was achieved. Meanwhile, Simon de Montfort had returned to England that spring and the crisis the royal family was facing with the barons was increasing dramatically. Henry III and the Queen were forced to take refuge in the Tower, while Edward was at Clerkenwell outside London. Desperate for funds, Edward and a gang of knights gained entry into the New Temple and ransacked its treasure. This caused the furious Londoners to rise in rebellion, forcing Edward to retreat to Windsor. When his mother the Queen tried to join her son, her boat was pelted by a mob on London Bridge and she had to turn back to the Tower. Henry III agreed to the baronial terms in July 1263, but the 24-year-old Lord Edward defiantly refused to capitulate and moved to his castle at Bristol, where his bullying gang of knights caused the townspeople there to rise in arms and besiege the castle. The bishop of Worcester negotiated a truce [11]. Lord Edward set himself up as the military arm of the royal family, leaving negotiation and diplomacy to his father the King and his uncle Richard of Cornwall. Hot-headed young knights, with lordships in the Welsh Marches, flocked to his side. They set up headquarters at Windsor Castle, where Eleanor of Castile and little Joan had remained. It was the favorite residence of Henry III and he had established the nursery for his children there. Little Joan was no doubt enjoying the royal nursery, but the castle itself was in full military mode, far different from her father Lord Edward’s childhood there. Mercenary soldiers from Ponthieu and her father’s household knights mingled with the steward, John de Weston, and damsels of her mother’s household. The threat of military conflict filled the air, and strategies were discussed endlessly.

Lord Edward accompanied his father the King to Amiens in France in January 1264. Simon de Montfort and the barons had given their consent to French arbitration. Louis IX of France was not about to have the royal authority of his brother-in-law inhibited by one iota, and his decision was to completely annull the Provisions of Oxford. Little attention was paid by the barons however to the French king’s edict, and civil war became inevitable. Henry III issued a summons for the feudal host to meet him at Oxford, ostensibly for a campaign against Llywelyn of Wales, but in reality to muster a force to fight Montfort and the other rebellious barons. Lord Edward left Windsor Castle in early April to join his father’s host, ordering Eleanor of Castile not to leave the castle under any condition [12]. He would never again see his firstborn child, little Joan.

The Battle of Lewes on 14 May 1264 [the modern monument to the Battle is depicted] was devastating for the Plantagenets. Lord Edward conducted himself well, but was forced to surrender himself and his father the king when Montfort and the barons threatened to execute Richard of Cornwall, Philip Basset and other captured royalist leaders. Edward’s one hope was that his giving himself up as a hostage allowed his Marcher allies to go free [13]. When news reached Eleanor of Castile at Windsor that the King, Lord Edward, Richard of Cornwall and his son Henry of Almain were all now hostages of Montfort and the barons, and that the Queen and her younger son Lord Edmund had fled England for the continent, she must have felt isolated and panicked. She and her daughter were the only Plantagenets on English soil not in Montfort’s hands.

Orders were issued in June for the garrison Edward had left at Windsor to surrender and vacate the castle, and for Eleanor to take her daughter, her steward, and her household and remove to Westminster Palace [14]. The orders were under the seal of Henry III, but Eleanor and the garrison were not fooled. They knew the King was in Montfort’s hands and that it was the baronial leader who wanted Eleanor and her daughter, who could be seen as rallying points for royalists, not to mention Eleanor’s continental relatives in Ponthieu and Castile, more firmly under his thumb in London, his seat of power. With Eleanor at Windsor Castle was Joan, the heavily pregnant wife of Henry III’s half-brother William de Valence. She was ordered to go to a nearby religious house and await her delivery. What was likely only known to Eleanor and her attendants in June 1264 was that she too was pregnant. The orders were re-issued a week later, which shows that Eleanor and the garrison tried to delay surrendering Windsor, but Montfort was at the height of his power and could not be denied [15].

Medieval London was a very unsanitary city, and a cauldron for contagion. The Plantagenets raised their children far away from it, in the cleaner air of Windsor Castle and other country royal residences. Eleanor no doubt dreaded taking her young daughter to a city that had proven itself not only hostile to the Plantagenets, but carried the ever-present threat of disease as well. The date of her arrival at Westminster is not known, nor can it be determined if she was able to see her royal father-in-law before Simon de Montfort moved the king and the royal household to Canterbury in August in order to consult with the bishops in the cross-channel negotiations being conducted with the papal legate and the French king. Whatever Eleanor’s fears for her child’s safety, they were fully realized when young Joan died late in September at Westminster Palace. There is reference to expenses for her burial at Westminster Abbey on an entry dated 3 October 1264 in the Calendar of Liberate Rolls [16]. Eleanor would have had no choice as to where her daughter was buried: Henry III was placing his bloodline in the hands of the Confessor, and the royal family would lie as close as possible to his shrine (for which the king was building a magnificent chapel in the Abbey, work interrupted by the Barons' War) until the Second Coming. To lose their only child must’ve devastated Eleanor and Lord Edward, still a prisoner. An attempt by some of his knights to free him from Wallingford Castle had failed [17]. For King Henry III, who spent most of his days since Montfort had taken control of the government, in prayers to his favorite saint, Edward the Confessor, the death of his first grandchild was another sorrowful blow. It would have appeared to many that God was punishing the young Plantagenet couple.

Eleanor’s only consolation was the child she was carrying, knowledge of which would have reached Henry III and Simon de Montfort, perhaps even the captive Lord Edward, by the time of Joan’s death. Preparations for Eleanor’s confinement were underway on 7 December 1264 at Westminster Palace [18]. Henry III spent Christmas at Woodstock, and Lord Edward at Kenilworth Castle, the chief administrative seat of Simon de Montfort, where he had to endure a magnificent celebration thrown by his captor [19]. Eleanor, still in mourning for Joan, lay awaiting her labor away from the rest of the royals. It came at some point shortly after the New Year. The exact date is not known. There is record of payment on 25 January for medicines for Eleanor’s use, and record of her churching (the purification ceremony a woman underwent 30 to 40 days after having given birth) being imminent on 3 February [18]. Again disaster struck.

The only record of Eleanor’s January 1265 birth are administrative: the preparations for her lying in, the medicine she received, and of her churching. No chronicle mentions it, and considering that Simon de Montfort’s Parliament was assembling in January 1265 to convene on the 25th, it is odd that the birth of a child, an heir to the captive Lord Edward whose release was one of the leading items on the Parliament’s agenda [20], would go unmentioned. There is no record of celebration, or of a messenger being rewarded for delivering news of the birth. No subsequent administrative record exists that mentions the name, or even existence, of a child in 1265, save Henry III’s ordering of a gold cloth for the tomb of Joan in September. There is no record of burial expenses at Westminster Abbey for any child after October 1264, no mention of any child in record until John in July 1266, and only one child (John) is mentioned in household expenses in July 1267 [21]. This leads to the conclusion that the birth in January 1265 was either stillborn, or of an infant who died very shortly afterwards, probably not living long enough to be baptized, let alone warrant its own tomb in the Abbey. Eleanor certainly had enough stress during that Christmas season to cause a difficult birth.

April 1265 was one year since the young Plantagenet couple had seen each other, and they were in dire straits. Lord Edward was still a prisoner of his uncle Montfort, and he and Henry III were amongst the army being taken by Montfort to Gloucester [20]. Back in London, Eleanor was forced to borrow £40 from Hugh le Despenser, the Justiciar of England appointed by Montfort, just to meet her expenses [22]. The 23-year-old princess was in a precarious position dynastically. If God chose to take her husband, as he had taken her daughter and infant, she could expect little in the way of sustenance from Montfort or the captive Plantagenets. The best she could hope for would be to be sent to her mother’s court in Ponthieu, a penniless widow. The worst would be for her to be a prize awarded in marriage to one of Montfort’s ambitious sons or another of his baronial supporters. Her days in the spring of 1265 were likely spent in prayer. If so, it paid off. A miracle occurred.

On Thursday, 28 May 1265, Lord Edward, accompanied by his cousin Henry de Montfort, Thomas de Clare, and some others of his captors, went out riding from Hereford, where Montfort and his army were headquartered, ... and escaped, making his way to Wigmore Castle, the chief seat of powerful Marcher Lord Roger Mortimer [23]. The tide had turned. Over the next two months, the Marcher Lords, and other barons disaffected by the greed of Montfort and his sons, rallied to Edward’s banner, and began scoring military victories against the baronial forces. The decisive blow was dealt on the morning of August 5th, when battle was joined at Evesham in Worcestershire. Edward and his forces were triumphant, Montfort was killed, and the captivity of Henry III finally ended. When the king gave the order on September 7th for a gold cloth to be placed on the Westminster Abbey tomb of his granddaughter Joan, to commemorate the one year anniversary of the only Plantagenet to die during the Barons’ War, he did so as a free ruler.

Since Lord Edward moved northward to Chester immediately after Evesham, it was likely not until September at Winchester, where Parliament had been summoned to meet, that he and Eleanor of Castile were reunited. It was no doubt emotional. They had suffered enforced separation for seventeen months, the loss of their only child, plus the failed birth of another. They had endured great travails, and triumphed over them. Ten months later, God sent them a blessing - a healthy son and heir.

Notes
[1] Calendar of Close Rolls [CCR] 1264-1268 (1937), pp. 71-72. The full entry reads, “De panno ad aurum ad tumbam Johanne filie Edwardi.--Mandatum est Ricardo de Ewell’, emptori garderobe regis, quod provideat de uno bono et pulcro panno ad aurum ad cooperiendum inde tumbam Johanne, filie Edwardi, primogeniti regis, nuper defuncte et in ecclesia Westmonasterii sepulte. Et hoc nullo modo omittat. Teste rege apud Merleberg vij. die Septembris.”
[2] John Carmi Parsons, Eleanor of Castile: Queen and Society in Thirteenth-Century England (1995), pp. 8-9.
[3] Ibid., p. 16.
[4] Ibid., pp. 17, 263 n. 33.
[5] Ibid, p. 21; Michael Prestwich, Edward I (Yale English Monarchs Series, 1988), pp. 32-33.
[6] For genealogical details of the Nesle family, see William Mendel Newman, Les seigneurs de Nesle en Picardie (XIIe-XIIIe siècle), leurs chartes et leur histoire; étude sur la noblesse régionale ecclésiastique et laïque (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1971). Falvy’s mother died by May 1223. Jeanne de Dammartin was born between 1215 and 1220. See also John Carmi Parsons, “The Beginnings of English Administration in Ponthieu: An Unnoticed Document of 1280”, Mediaeval Studies, Volume 50 (1988), pp. 371-403.
[7] Prestwich, pp. 34-35; Parsons, Eleanor of Castile, pp. 22-23, 263 n. 44.
[8] Prestwich, pp. 37-38; Parsons, Eleanor of Castile, pp. 23, 264 n. 46.
[9] John Carmi Parsons, “The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and Her Children by Edward I”, Mediaeval Studies, Volume 46 (1984), p. 258.
[10] Parsons, Eleanor of Castile, pp. 23-24, 264 n. 47.
[11] Prestwich, pp. 38-40.
[12] Ibid., pp. 41-43; Parsons, Eleanor of Castile, p. 24.
[13] Prestwich, pp. 45-47.
[14] Calendar of Patent Rolls [CPR] 1258-1266 (1910), p. 325. The full entry reads, “To Eleanor, consort of Edward the king’s son. As the king wishes that she shall retire by all means from the castle of Windesor where she now is, he commands her to go out with her daughter, John de Weston, her steward, William Charles, her knight, her ladies, donzels (’domicellis’) and the rest of her household, harness and goods, and to come to Westminster to stay there, until the king shall make further order; and not to fail as the king undertakes to excuse her to E. her lord and will keep her harmless, and receives them into his safe conduct.”
[15] Parsons, Eleanor of Castile, pp. 24, 264 n. 49.
[16] Parsons, “The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and Her Children by Edward I”, p. 258, citing Calendar of Liberate Rolls [CLR], Volume 5, pp. 142-143 as his source, which I have not yet seen.
[17] Prestwich, p. 47.
[18] Parsons, “The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and Her Children by Edward I”, p. 258.
[19] H.W. Ridgeway, "Henry III (1207-1272)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004).
[20] John R. Maddicott, "Montfort, Simon de, eighth earl of Leicester (c.1208–1265)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004).
[21]
Parsons, “The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and Her Children by Edward I”, pp. 258-259.
[22] Parsons, Eleanor of Castile, pp. 24, 264 n. 50.
[23] Prestwich, p. 49.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ryther 1: Who Was Maud Percy, Dame Ryther?


This is a post I made a couple years back to soc.genealogy.medieval. It at least gets some content up on the blog while I'm busy with the Olympics. Don't worry - another Plantagenet post is coming soon!

In the Ryther (their coat of arms is depicted) pedigree in the 1563 Visitation of Yorkshire, Sir Ralph Ryther is given an unidentified first wife, as well as a second wife "Matilda daughter of Henry Percy, Erle of Northumberland". In the Constable pedigree of the same Visitation, "Kateren", daughter of Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough, and his wife Agnes Wentworth, is married to "Sir Raff Ryther", and was indeed his first wife. But in the Percy pedigree of the 1563 Visitation, there is no mention of a Percy/Ryther marriage. The editor of the Visitation comments on the Percy/Ryther marriage: “His second wife was Maud, daughter of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland,--the fourth Earl, I believe…Vincent, in his ‘Baronage’, calls her Katherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Percy and Eleanor Harbottle; but the dates are against him.”

So who was the Percy second wife of Sir Ralph Ryther? There are six possibilities:

1) Katherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Percy and Eleanor Harbottle, and sister of the ill-fated 7th and 8th Earls of Northumberland, as claimed by 17th-century Windsor Herald Augustine Vincent. This identity was continued in Collins’ Peerage, and remains in many modern-era Percy pedigrees, including W. Percy Hedley’s Northumberland Families (1968-70).
2) Maud, legitimate daughter of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland and his wife Catherine Spencer. The 1563 Visitation of Yorkshire gives them a daughter “Lady Mary” who died young, while Henry Lane in his 1910 work Royal Daughters of England and Their Representatives says this daughter was Maud Percy who died young. She may not have died young, but instead married Sir Ralph Ryther.
3) Maud, illegitimate daughter of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland. This could be why she was left off of the 1563 Visitation pedigree.
4) Maud, granddaughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland and his wife Maud Herbert. Not through the 5th Earl, but through one of his younger brothers.
5) Maud, illegitimate daughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. Again, illegitimacy would be the reason why she was left off of the 1563 Percy pedigree.
6) Maud, legitimate daughter of the 4th Earl of Northumberland and his wife Maud Herbert.

A look at the Rythers and their surviving documents eliminates a number of the above possibilities.

Sir Ralph Ryther, lord of Ryther Castle in Yorkshire and associated manors, including Scarcroft, Shadwell, Kirkby upon Wharf, and Hornington in the city of York, as well as the Lincolnshire manors of Alford and Kelcottes, and half of the castle and manor of Harewood in Yorkshire (which the Rythers shared with the Redman family for several generations), was born about 1450, the second son of Sir William Ryther (died 19 July 1475) and Eleanor Fitzwilliam. On the death of his elder brother Sir Robert Ryther in 1491, Ralph inherited the family castle and estates. About that time, he married Catherine, one of the daughters of Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough, and they had two sons, Robert and Thomas, and a daughter Eleanor. Ralph was made a Knight of the Bath on Prince Henry’s creation as Duke of York 1 November 1494, served with the Earl of Surrey in Scotland and was made knight banneret by him in 1497. Both his father and his elder brother had served as sheriff of Yorkshire, and Sir Ralph continued the family influence by serving as sheriff in 1503-04.

His status as a powerful member of the Yorkshire gentry was confirmed by the marriages he arranged for his children. His elder son Robert was contracted to marry Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe and his wife Alice Frognell. They were children, and the marriage terminated with the death of young Robert Ryther, probably around 1508 or so. Little Elizabeth Gascoigne was then married (by 1510) to Robert Redman (d. 1545), the son and heir of Edward Redman, who shared the lordship of Harewood Castle with Sir Ralph Ryther. The younger son Thomas Ryther then became his father’s heir and a marriage was arranged for him in about 1510 (the marriage settlement was dated 2 April 1510) with Agnes, one of the younger sisters of Henry, 7th Lord Scrope of Bolton. Sir Ralph arranged his daughter Eleanor in marriage to John, the son and heir of Robert Aske of Aughton, and a nephew of the 10th Lord Clifford.

It is not known when Sir Ralph’s first wife Katherine Constable died, but it was likely in the first decade of the 16th century, for on 7 October 1510, Sir Ralph enfeoffed Sir William Percy and others with his two Lincolnshire manors, for the use of “Dame Matilde” his wife, for her life. With his second wife, Sir Ralph had a son, Henry Ryther, born in late 1511 (said to be nearly age 16 in October 1527), and a daughter Elizabeth Ryther, who was also under age when Sir Ralph wrote his will on 26 March 1520. He died at Sheffield on 2 April 1520, and was buried in the All Hallows church in Ryther. His will was proven on 15 April, and his IPM was taken on 14 May. His second wife survived him, and his heir was his (now) elder son Thomas Ryther, husband of Agnes Scrope.

It is not surprising that Sir Ralph looked to the Percy family for a young bride after the death of his first wife, for Sir William Gascoigne (d. 1552), the father of his elder son Robert’s young wife Elizabeth, was a first cousin of the 5th Earl of Northumberland, and Agnes Scrope (d. 1525), the young wife of his next son Thomas, was another first cousin of the 5th Earl. That his Percy second wife was a full generation (likely close to 40 years) younger than him was also not surprising for the early Tudor era, nor was it surprising that the Percy family would want to closely ally itself with Ryther, who was of importance and influence in Yorkshire.

With the Ryther chronology laid out, several of the above possibilities for the identity of Sir Ralph’s Percy wife can be eliminated.

1) Katherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Percy and Eleanor Harbottle. That Sir Ralph’s second wife was named Maud/Matilda, not Katherine, is proven by the will of her stepson Thomas Ryther, Esquire, of Ryther Castle, dated 1 July 1527, who refers to her as “Dame Matilde”, and the will of her own son Henry Ryther, Esquire, of Ryther Castle, dated 23 January 1543, who refers to her as “dame Mawde my mother”. It is chronologically impossible for Sir Thomas Percy, born about 1505, and Eleanor Harbottle, born about 1513, to have been the parents of Sir Ralph Ryther’s second wife, who was married in 1510 and a mother in 1511. Whether or not they even had a daughter named Katherine is unclear, but if so, she was certainly not married to any Ryther. The only children of Sir Thomas Percy (d. 2 June 1537) and Eleanor Harbottle (d. 1567) that can be confirmed in contemporary records are their sons Thomas (born 10 June 1528, eventual 7th Earl of Northumberland), Henry (born about 1532, eventual 8th Earl of Northumberland), and daughter Mary (born about 1531, said to be buried 7 February 1598, age 66, married Francis Slingsby of Scriven, Yorkshire), who are mentioned in the wills of their grandmother Katherine (Spencer), Countess of Northumberland (dated 14 October 1542) and their stepfather Sir Richard Holland of Denton, Lancashire (dated 27 March 1548). The Harris pedigree in the 1558 Visitation of Essex gives the wife of “Arthur Harris of Prickwell in Sussex” as “Joane”, daughter of Sir Thomas Percy and Eleanor Harbottle, but only the three children Thomas, Henry and Mary are given to the couple in the Percy pedigree in the 1563 Visitation of Yorkshire. The Herald Vincent also assigns them the daughter Joan wife of Arthur Harris in addition to Mary and to Katherine wife of Ralph Ryther. It would appear from 16th-century evidence however that Mary was the only surviving daughter of Sir Thomas Percy and Eleanor Harbottle who went on to marry.

2) Maud, legitimate daughter of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland and his wife Catherine Spencer. The 5th Earl was born 14 January 1478, and Catherine Spencer was born 1477. The account in Complete Peerage [CP] of the 5th Earl says only that they were married “before 1502”. It is very likely the marriage took place several years earlier, perhaps arranged as early as 1489. His father the 4th Earl was murdered in April that year, and the 11-year-old 5th Earl became a ward of the crown and made a Knight of the Bath at the creation of Arthur as Prince of Wales in November. Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, mother of the King, actively arranged marriages for her extended family and the mother of Catherine Spencer was a Beaufort cousin. Lady Anne Clifford, writing an account of her family in the late 17th-century, refers to Lady Margaret Percy, the second wife of the 1st Earl of Cumberland, as “first child and only daughter” of the 5th Earl and Catherine Spencer, and goes on to say, “She was born 10 or 11 years before any of her brothers, & lived so long only child to her father & mother, so as they resolved to give her a good portion in lands.” Indeed her parents gave her on her marriage, contracted on 2 February 1513, the Percy lordships in Craven (with an income of about ƒ120 a year) for life. Thomas Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, was born about 1502, placing his sister Margaret’s birthdate, per Lady Anne Clifford’s account, as 1491/2, which is too early, given the birthdates of her parents. Margaret Percy, Countess of Cumberland, was likely born about 1495/6, with her parents cohabiting about 1494, possibly around November when the 5th Earl participated in the creation of Prince Henry as Duke of York. Given the chronology, plus the fact that Maud Percy brought to her marriage to Sir Ralph Ryther in 1510 nothing near to what Margaret Percy brought to her marriage to Henry Clifford in 1513, plus the fact that Catherine, Countess of Northumberland (who outlived all of her children) in her 1542 will mentions grandchildren from her three children who left issue and makes no mention of Henry Ryther, who was still alive at the time, Sir Ralph Ryther’s second wife Maud could not have been the daughter of the 5th Earl and Catherine Spencer. If they did have a daughter Mary/Maud, as given in the Percy pedigree in the 1563 Visitation, contemporary evidence shows she indeed died young, with Countess Margaret being their eldest and only surviving daughter.

3) Maud, illegitimate daughter of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland. Though it would seem natural for the 5th Earl to name a natural-born daughter after his own mother, chronology is too tight for the earl, born January 1478, to father a daughter who was herself a mother in 1511. Also if Sir Ralph Ryther was marrying the illegitimate daughter of the 5th Earl, it would make more sense for him to have made the Earl himself one of the feoffees in 1510 overseeing her interests, rather than the Earl’s younger brother Sir William Percy.

4) Maud, granddaughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland and his wife Maud Herbert. Could the fact that it was Sir William Percy, second son of the 4th Earl, who was chosen by Sir Ralph Ryther in 1510 as a feoffee overseeing Maud’s interests, indicate that Sir William was Maud’s father? Again, chronology is just too tight for Sir William Percy, Alan Percy (who embarked on a clerical career) or Joscelin Percy (d. 1532), the younger sons of the 4th Earl, who all had to have been born between 1479 and 1484, to have fathered a daughter, legitimate or otherwise, who was herself a mother in 1511.

5) Maud, illegitimate daughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. The 4th Earl was born about 1449 and could have fathered bastard children at any point from his reaching puberty in the late 1460s to his 1489 murder. Maud’s marriage to Sir Ralph Ryther in 1510 and the birth of their son Henry the following year would indicate a birth for Maud in the 1480s, though she could have been born, from a biological standpoint, as early as 1473 or so. Since the Ryther pedigree in the 1563 Visitation mentions only her father the Earl, and there is no mention of her in the Percy pedigree in the same Visitation, illegitimacy cannot be ruled out. However if the case, it is curious that the 4th Earl would give a bastard daughter the same first name as that of his wife.

6) Maud, legitimate daughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland and his wife Maud Herbert. At first glance, this possibility seems easily ruled out. CP states the couple was married “about 1476”, but they were actually married by Michaelmas (October) 1472 (see Michael Hicks, “Dynastic Change and Northern Society: The Career of the Fourth Earl of Northumberland, 1470-89” in Northern History, xiv (1978), pp. 83-84). Per the Percy pedigree in the Visitation of the North circa 1480-1500, their children were “Henricus Percy, Anna, Elizabeth Percy obijt iuuencula, and Aleonora.” Per the will of the 4th Earl, dated 27 July 1485 as he was mustering to fight for Richard III at Bosworth, his children were sons Henry, William, Alan and Jocelin, and daughters Eleanor and Anne. No daughter Maud. Eleanor (named for paternal grandmother Eleanor, Countess of Northumberland), the eldest surviving daughter and no doubt born before her brother Henry the 5th Earl, was bequested 3,000 marks as her marriage portion by her father, and was contracted in marriage in 1490, the year following her father’s murder, to Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. Anne Percy (named for maternal grandmother Anne, Countess of Pembroke), bequested 2,000 marks as a marriage portion by her father, did not marry William, son and heir of the Earl of Arundel, until February 1511, when she was well over age 25 and possibly (if older than her brother the 5th Earl) over age 30. Why there was such a delay in her marrying is not clear. Per CP, Maud Herbert, wife of the 4th Earl, died before July 1485, when her husband made his will. So it would appear there is no room for another daughter Maud, wife of Sir Ralph Ryther.

But CP is incorrect in its statement about Maud Herbert’s death. A full reading of the 4th Earl’s will shows that she was alive when he wrote it. He goes into great detail about his funeral arrangements, and prayers for the soul of himself and his parents, without any indication that his wife had died. And later he clearly states, “Also I will that William Rilston [an executor and one of his most trusted retainers] have fourtie markes yerlie during his lyve, t’abide wt my wyff and wt myne heir.” So, how did CP get confused? Because a codicil to the will, added by the 4th Earl “at Newburgh, ye xxiiij day of Fev’yer, wt my hand” adds the following, “Also I wol ther be mortest as moch land to Beverlay, wher my wife lyes, and I entend shal lye…” So at some point after Bosworth, Countess Maud died. The 4th Earl was imprisoned after the battle but released by December 1485, so the February 24th codicil could have been written in 1486/87/88 or 89. Countess Maud was a young woman in the late 1480s, in her early 30s at the most – could her death have been in childbirth? A daughter Maud, born in 1486/88, would be of the perfect age for marriage in October 1510.

After the 4th Earl’s children were orphaned in April 1489, the two eldest, Eleanor and Henry, in their preteens, were taken in by the Court and soon married, probably under the watchful eyes of the King’s mother and her good friend their maternal aunt Anne (Herbert), Lady Powis. Anne, the next daughter, probably close in age, may have been taken into the Court as well. But the younger sons, all under age 10, would have been given to the care of their father’s executors, as per the instructions in his will, until they reached the age of 18. And little Maud would have been a mere infant, perhaps sent to the household of one of her paternal aunts, Dame Margaret Gascoigne or Elizabeth, Lady Scrope of Bolton? Each of which ladies would see a granddaughter and daughter, respectively, married to a son of Sir Ralph Ryther before October 1510. And it would be perfectly natural for the brother who would oversee Maud’s interests in her marriage to Sir Ralph, to not be her eldest brother the 5th Earl, raised far away from her at Court, but her next eldest brother Sir William, himself approaching age 30 in 1510, who was her oldest sibling while they were raised in the North.

It is not clear when Maud Percy, Dame Ryther, died. She was alive when her stepson Thomas Ryther made his will in 1527 and dead by the time her son Henry Ryther made his will in 1543. Perhaps she is mentioned in the wills of Eleanor, Duchess of Buckingham (1528), Joscelin Percy (1532), or Anne, Countess of Arundel (1552), and her identification as their sister can be confirmed.

At this point, her identification as a daughter of the 4th Earl of Northumberland seems very solid on chronological and other evidence (she named her son ‘Henry’), and the possibility of her being a daughter by his wife Maud Herbert seems promising as well.

Maud Percy’s daughter Elizabeth Ryther married, at some point after 1527, William Aclam of Moreby, Yorkshire, and died before her brother Henry, who died without issue 5 January 1544, when his nephew William Aclam (d. 1567) was found to be one of his co-heirs, and the latter carried the line of his grandmother Maud Percy further forward.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Personal Update


Just a quick note that I will have new content on this blog soon. We are about halfway through the Winter Olympics, and the experience of having it in our own backyard is incredible. The highlight so far has been watching the Practice Session for the Men's Figure Skating last Thursday morning. The guys went for the Gold that night (congrats to Evan Lysacek!), and being able to watch them do their routines beforehand was fantastic.

Tonight we're going to the Medal Award Ceremony at BC Place (we need to leave for that in about an hour). We have company in from out of town until Tuesday. I hope to get a post up before then - probably a revised version of a soc.genealogy.medieval post from a few years ago.

I'm currently re-reading the first two chapters of Michael Prestwich's biography of Edward I, and hope to have another Plantagenet post up later next week.

In the meantime, check out Susan Higginbotham's great post on Edmund, Earl of Rutland, and Kathryn Warner's post on Isabella Mortimer, Lady Fitzalan.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Weakest Link in Jane Seymour's Royal Descent: Mary Clifford, Dame Wentworth


It's often remarked in peerage works that all six wives of Henry VIII descended from Edward I of England. Three of his wives - Katherine of Aragon, Jane Seymour (pictured), and Katherine Parr - are also descended from Edward III. Jane Seymour's 8-generation descent is given as:

Edward III of England, had
1. Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, who had
2. Philippa of Clarence, Countess of Ulster, m. Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March, & had
3. Elizabeth Mortimer, m. 1) Sir Henry 'Hotspur' Percy, and had
4. Elizabeth Percy, m. 1) John, 7th Lord Clifford (a descendant of Edward I), and had
5. Mary Clifford, m. Sir Philip Wentworth of Nettlested, and had
6. Sir Henry Wentworth of Nettlested m. 1) Anne Say, and had
7. Margery Wentworth, m. Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall, and had
8. Jane Seymour, Queen of England

Of the eight generations above, there is 15th-century evidence for all save Generation #5: Mary Clifford and Sir Philip Wentworth. There is plenty enough evidence for Sir Philip, who was a knight of the household of Henry VI, a M.P., a flunky of the notorious William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, and an ardent Lancastrian executed by Edward IV in 1464. He even appears in the Paston Letters [1]. But in none of the many published 15th-century references to Sir Philip do we find out anything about his wife. All Complete Peerage says of her is: "Sir Philip Wentworthe, by Mary, da. of John (de Clifford), Lord Clifford” [2]. Though it cites no source for her identification, the authority of that prestigious peerage series has been enough for subsequent 20th-century genealogists to present the Wentworth/Clifford marriage without question or reservation.

But back in 1850, Agnes Strickland had the following to say about Jane Seymour's royal descent: "Through Margaret Wentworth, the mother of Jane Seymour, a descent from the blood-royal of England was claimed, from an intermarriage with a Wentworth and a daughter of Hotspur and Lady Elizabeth Mortimer, grand-daughter to Lionel, duke of Clarence. This Lady Percy is stated by all ancient heralds to have died childless. Few persons, however, dared dispute a pedigree with Henry VIII.; and it appears that on this ground Cranmer granted a dispensation for nearness of kin between Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour; rather a work of supererogation, since, even if the Wentworth genealogy held good, the parties could not be related within the forbidden degrees, viz. as fourth cousins" [3].

Though she was accurate as to Henry VIII and Jane not being fourth cousins (they would be fifth cousins if the Clifford-Wentworth marriage was true), she was mistaken in claiming that ancient heralds had Lady Percy as childless. The true difficulty in the descent was that many of the earlier heralds, including Sir William Dugdale, did not assign any daughters to John, 7th Lord Clifford and his wife, the daughter of Lady Percy. But Strickland did provide a great clue: the fact that the Seymours were claiming such a royal descent in the 1530s is the earliest evidence that exists for a Wentworth/Clifford marriage. In 1853 William Hardy corrected Miss Strickland, providing the descent as given above, and cited manuscripts in the Harleian collection in the British Library as his sources [4]. He went on to point out that Dugdale, in his 1675 opus, The Baronage of England, did not give John, 7th Lord Clifford and Elizabeth Percy any daughters, and instead made the wife of Sir Philip Wentworth a daughter of Roger, 5th Lord Clifford (which removes any descent from Edward I and Edward III). Collins's Peerage followed Dugdale in making Mary, the wife of "Sir Philip Wentworth, of Wentworth-Woodhouse," a daughter of Roger, 5th Lord Clifford, and said that the only child of John the 7th Lord and Elizabeth Percy was their son and heir, Thomas, 8th Lord Clifford [5]. Hardy pointed out that in the Wentworth account in Collins's Peerage, though, the wife of Sir Philip Wentworth is said to be a daughter of the 7th Lord Clifford. He then argued that on chronological grounds, Mary Clifford would have to have been the daughter of the 7th, not the 5th, Lord Clifford, to be the wife of Sir Philip Wentworth [6].

The pedigree Hardy worked out in 1853 was based on chronological deduction and various Harleian manuscripts. Many of the manuscripts were subsequently published by the Harleian Society, and turned out to be notes and pedigrees compiled by 16th and 17th century heralds from the College of Arms as they made visitations to the gentry throughout the counties of England and Wales. Many of the visitation manuscripts were published later in the 19th and throughout the 20th centuries by the Harleian Society and privately by individual editors. The earliest mention I can find of a Wentworth/Clifford marriage in the published visitations is in the Wentworth pedigree in the 1558 Visitation of Essex, where "Richard Wentworth of West Bretton in Yorksh. 2 sonne" [of "John Wentworth of Elmeshall in Yorkshire = Elizabeth da. to Rich. Beaumont of Whitbye Hall in Yorksh."], had two wives: "Mawde da. to Thom. Lord Clifford", by whom he had a son "Mathew Wentworth of West Bretton in Yorkshire"; and "Margery da. to Sr Phillip le Spencer Kt widow to the L. Roose", by whom he had "Henry Wentworth 2 sonne of Codham in Essex," with Margery also having married the brother of Richard, "Roger Wentwoorth of Nettlested in Suff." In 1612, the Wentworth pedigree had some changes and additions. "Richard Wentworth, of Westbretton in com. Yorksh. 2d sonne[of "John Wentworth of Elmeshall in com. Yorksh. = .... daugh. to Beaumont of Whitby hall in Yorkshr. esquier"] mar. Mawde dau. to Thomas Lord Clifford." Richard's elder brother was "Roger Wentworth of Nettellsted in com. Suffolke ar. = Margarett, dau. & coheire to Phillip, Lord Spencer, wydow to ye Lord Roose whoe died wtowt issue", and they were shown as parents of "Sir Phillip Wentworth of Nettellsted in com. Suffolke, Knight, sonne and heire = Mary daugh. to John Lord Clifford", who in turn were parents of "Sir Henry Wentworth of Nettellsted in com. Suffolke, Knight, sonne and heire = Ann, dau. to Sr John Saye Knight." [7]. In the Visitation of Suffolk in 1561, there was a Wentworth pedigree in which "Sir Philip Wentworth of Nettlested, co. Suff., Kt., son and heir to Roger, mar. Mary, da. of John, Lord Clifford, and by her had issue,--Sir Henry, son and heir" [8]. Finally, in three Wentworth pedigrees presented by Charles B. Norcliffe in 1881, we have Richard Wentworth of West Bretton married to Maud, Countess of Cambridge, with his younger brother Roger Wentworth and wife Margery Despenser, Lady Ros, the parents of Sir Philip Wentworth, whose wife is not given [9]. In the Clifford pedigree in the same volume, no daughter is shown for John, 7th Lord Clifford and Elizabeth Percy, nor is there any marriage to a Wentworth. In a footnote to one of the Wentworth pedigrees, Norcliffe states that the name of Maud, Countess of Cambridge, was scratched out in one version, and that genealogist Joseph Hunter, in his work South Yorkshire, stated that the wife of Richard Wentworth of West Bretton was Cecilia, daughter and heir of John Tansley of Everton.

Is there any sign from the Cliffords that they held the tradition of a marriage with the Wentworths some time in the past? William Hardy found one in The Pembroke MS., an account of the lives of the Lords Clifford and Earls of Cumberland, compiled in the 1600s for descendant Anne Clifford, Countess of Pembroke, from original documents and family records. The family of the 7th Lord Clifford is described: "This Elizabeth Percy was one of the greatest women of her time, both for her birth and her marriages, &c. Their eldest son, Thomas de Clifford, succeeded his father both in his lands and honours. Henry, their second son, died without issue, but is mentioned in the articles of his brother's marriage. Mary Clifford, married to Sir Philip Wentworth, Kt., of whom descended the Lords Wentworth that are now living, and the Earl of Strafford, and the Earl of Cleveland." It should be noted that even this family account is not without error for daughters, younger sons and their marriages when it comes to the medieval Lords Clifford, but at least we get the mention of Mary and Sir Philip Wentworth, and in the proper generation given Sir Philip's known chronology.

So, summing up the evidence so far:
  • Nothing from the 15th century to indicate the identity of the wife of Sir Philip Wentworth of Nettlested.
  • A tradition from the Seymours in the 1530s that they had a royal descent through the Cliffords via the Wentworths, and a dispensation being granted to Henry VIII and Jane Seymour to marry though related.
  • A pedigree from the Wentworths in Essex claiming a Richard Wentworth of West Bretton marriage to Maud, daughter of Thomas, Lord Clifford, but no mention of Sir Philip Wentworth.
  • A pedigree from the Wentworths in Suffolk in 1561 stating that the wife of Sir Philip Wentworth was Mary, daughter of John, Lord Clifford.
  • A pedigree from the Wentworths in Essex in 1612 claiming both the Richard Wentworth/Maud Clifford marriage and Sir Philip Wentworth's marriage to Mary, daughter of John, Lord Clifford.
  • No mention of a Sir Philip Wentworth/Mary Clifford marriage in either Clifford or Wentworth pedigrees from a compilation of 16th-century Yorkshire Visitations, though there is reference to a marriage of Richard Wentworth of West Bretton and Maud (Clifford), Countess of Cambridge, in Wentworth pedigrees.
  • An account of the Clifford family from the early 17th-century which mentions Mary, daughter of John, 7th Lord Clifford & Elizabeth Percy, and wife of Sir Philip Wentworth.
  • The statement by Dugdale in 1675 that the wife of Sir Philip Wentworth was the daughter of Roger, 5th Lord Clifford - a statement later shown by Hardy in 1853 to be chronologically impossible.
Given the evidence, it's fair to say, despite the lack of corroborating 15th-century documentation, that the wife of Sir Philip Wentworth was Mary, daughter of John, 7th Lord Clifford and Elizabeth Percy, and that Jane Seymour's family was correct to claim a royal descent in the 1530s. In a follow-up post, I'll look more closely at the Cliffords and the Wentworths and try to piece together when, how and why the marriage between the two families came about.

Notes
[1] Oddly, given the fact that he was a rather influential player in the Wars of the Roses, Sir Philip doesn't have a bio in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). The most thorough account of him to date is his bio in Josiah C. Wedgwood, The History of Parliament Vol. I: Biographies of the Members of the Commons House, 1439-1509 (1936), pp. 934-935. Complete Peerage was the only source Wedgwood used for Sir Philip's genealogical facts, however.
[2] Complete Peerage, Volume 4 (1916), p. 292 (sub Despenser).
[3] Agnes Strickland, Lives of the Queens of England, New Edition, Volume 4 (1850), p. 217.
[4] William Hardy, "Descent of the Queen From John of Gaunt", Notes and Queries, Volume 7 (January-June 1853), pp. 41-43.
[5] Sir Egerton Brydges (ed.), Collins’s Peerage of England, Volume 6 (1812), pp. 515-516 (sub Lord de Clifford).
[6] William Hardy, "Lady Percy, Wife of Hotspur (Daughter of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March), and Jane Seymour's Royal Descent", Notes and Queries, Volume 8 (July-December 1853), pp. 251-252.
[7] Walter C. Metcalfe (ed.), The Visitations of Essex by Hawley, 1552; Hervey, 1558; Cooke, 1570; Raven, 1612; and Owen and Lilly, 1634, Part One (Harleian Society Publications 13, 1878), pp. 124-125 (Wentworth pedigree of 1558); 313-314 (Wentworth pedigree of 1612).
[8] Walter C. Metcalfe (ed.), The Visitations of Suffolk made by Hervey, Clarinceux, 1561, Cooke, Clarenceux, 1577, and Raven, Richmond Herald, 1612 (1882), p. 77 (Wentworth of Nettlested pedigree).
[9] Charles Best Norcliffe (ed.), The Visitation of Yorkshire in the Years 1563 and 1564, made by William Flower, Esquire, Norroy King of Arms (Harleian Society Publications 16, 1881): "Richard Wentworth of Bretton a second sone out of the howsse of Emsall = Mawde Countess of Cambrydge" (Wentworth of Bretton pedigree p. 339); "Rychard Wentworth 2 son (his descent in the leaf folowing) = Mawde Countess of Cambrydge" and "Roger Wentworth 3 son of whom is descended the Lord Wentworth = Margery Lady Rosse doter & heyre of Phelyp Lord Spenser" (Wentworth pedigree, p. 340); "Rychard Wentworth of Breton = Mawde Countess of Cambrydge" and "Roger Wentworth 3 son = Margaret doughter & on of theyres to Phelype Lord Spenser, and the wedoo of the Lord Roos", parents of "Sir Phelyp Wentworth of Netelsted in Suffolk of whom the Lord Wentworth & others be descended" (Wentworth pedigree, p. 342).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Plantagenet 2: Katherine, Alleged Child of Edward I

The exact number of children born to Edward I and his first wife Eleanor of Castile is far from certain. Through 13th-century administrative records, the existence of eleven can be proven by name (Joan, John, Henry, Eleanor, Joan of Acre, Alphonso, Margaret, Berengaria, Mary, Elizabeth, Edward). In his thoroughly researched 1984 article on the subject [1], historian John Carmi Parsons speculated on the existence of additional children, from various pieces of evidence. Thirteenth-century administrative records, specifically the Calendar of Liberate Rolls, refer to Eleanor's confinement in December 1264 and churching in February 1265 [2]. Dr. Parsons concluded that this January 1265 birth was of Joan, a daughter referred to eight months later in September 1265 as being entombed in Westminster Abbey [3]. This allowed him to associate the unnamed daughter mentioned in a Patent Roll entry of June 1264, whose burial in Westminster Abbey is referred to in the Liberate Rolls in October that year [4], with Katherine, a daughter of King Edward, whose obit of September 5th is given in the necrology of Christ Church, Canterbury, written sometime after Edward's accession to the throne in 1272 [5].

But Dr. Parsons' conclusion of two daughters, Katherine and Joan, pre-1266, leads to quite a few questions. If Edward and Eleanor had two different daughters buried in Westminster Abbey within a year apart, why do burial expenses for a daughter in the Abbey only exist in 1264, and not 1265? Why is there no mention in the English chronicles of the January 1265 birth, which we know was in England, and would necessarily be of a potential heir to the throne? Why is there no record of a messenger being rewarded for bringing news of Joan's birth in 1265, as there is for the next three births to Eleanor in England (in 1266, 1268 and 1269)? Why did Henry III, a month after his liberation from Simon de Montfort, order a gold cloth for the tomb of Joan, but not of Katherine, when both would have been buried in Westminster Abbey while he was in the hands of Montfort? Dr. Parsons’s conclusion that there were two different daughters rests on two assumptions: 1) That the daughter Katherine who died on the 5th of September should be associated with the burial in Westminster in September/October 1264; and 2) That the birth Eleanor of Castile experienced in January 1265 was not a miscarriage, but of of a baby who lived, at least long enough to be baptized and provided with a tomb in the Abbey.

I'm always wary to speculate about children for which there is no evidence in the administrative record. Though there is evidence of a daughter in the record in 1264, there is no evidence that her name was Katherine. Another possibility is that there was only one daughter born (probably outside of England given the lack of mention in English chronicles) to Edward and Eleanor prior to John’s birth in 1266, whose name was Joan, who was with her mother in Windsor Castle in June 1264, who was buried in Westminster Abbey by 3 October that year, for whose tomb Henry III ordered a gold cloth a year later for the one-year anniversary of her death, and who was followed in January 1265 by a miscarried or stillborn child.

Whatever the name of the daughter in 1264, the fact remains that she was the only child of Lord Edward and Eleanor of Castile to appear on record in the first ten years of their marriage. Eleanor was just turning thirteen when she married the fifteen-year-old Lord Edward in November 1254. On leaving Castile, the young couple went to Gascony, a territory that Edward had been granted earlier that year. There they held court until October 1255, when Eleanor traveled to England. Dr. Parsons mentions previous speculation that a daughter of the couple known to have been buried at the Dominican priory in Bordeaux, could have died due to a premature birth during the spring that the youthful Edward and Eleanor were newlyweds in Gascony [6]. But that assumes their marriage was immediately consummated and Eleanor conceived quickly. Thirteen would have been viewed as dangerously young for an important princess such as Eleanor to begin a sexual marriage. Childbirth for a young woman just entering puberty could be fatal or harm the womb preventing any future children, bringing to naught the efforts put forward by both families to achieve the sacred alliance. Because Eleanor’s own mother, Jeanne of Ponthieu, was in her later teen years when she married Ferdinand III of Castile, that marriage was immediately consummated and the first child, Ferdinand, born within twenty months of the wedding. But Eleanor of Provence was thirteen when she married Henry III of England, and it took three years for her first child, Lord Edward, to be born, implying sexual co-habitation with her husband was delayed until she was fifteen. It’s very likely the same pattern followed for Eleanor of Castile, with her marriage to Lord Edward not becoming sexual until about 1257.

It was almost a year after her marriage - in October 1255 - that Eleanor first arrived in England and finally met the parents and younger siblings of her new husband. Henry III had planned for her arrival in London to coincide with the feast day of his beloved saint, Edward the Confessor, on 13 October. But her London entry was delayed because the Castilian princess arrived at Dover so poorly arrayed that purchases had to be made to equip her for a proper ceremony. She didn't arrive in London and offer at St. Edward's shrine in Westminster Abbey until October 17th [7]. It's also noteworthy that Lord Edward was not with her. He didn't arrive in England until some weeks later, and had wished to remain in Gascony, only returning on his father's orders [8]. Well aware that her own childbearing would be expected to begin in the near future, Eleanor likely took a special interest in the infant Katherine, the youngest child of the English king and queen. She was a small miracle to her royal parents, for eight years of barrenness passed between the birth of the next youngest sibling Edmund in 1245, and Katherine's birth in 1253. But the little princess, who turned age two a month after Eleanor's arrival, would prove to be deaf, a disability which would have become evident to the Plantagenet royals about this time. As Eleanor began to form her personal relationships with the members of her husband's family, much of the focus would be on this afflicted toddler. She died in May 1257, seventeen months after Eleanor’s arrival.

How close were Edward and Eleanor in the early years of their marriage? Most historians, including the couple's modern-era biographers Michael Prestwich and Dr. Parsons, agree that the union was a great success on a personal level, with Eleanor accompanying Edward on Crusade, and on his military campaigns in Wales in the 1280s. It's a completely valid assumption when their marriage is viewed in its entirety. The evidence from the 1250s and early 1260s, however, paints a different picture. In their first ten years of marriage (eight of which were appropriate for sexual relations), administrative records show that only two children were conceived, the latter conception not occurring until April 1264. Eleanor's fertility from that point forward, with children coming regularly on an average of every two years, shows that biology was not the issue. Edward, and not his wife, must then be the reason for there only being one conception for the couple prior to 1264.

Unlike his father Henry III, who was twenty-eight when he married, and his grandfather King John, who was twenty-three at his first marriage, Lord Edward was only fifteen. He needed the opportunity to sow wild oats, and could not be expected to view his marriage with a princess just entering puberty with the same level of maturity as his father had viewed his own marriage. In order to fulfill the terms Alfonso X of Castile had set for the marriage, Henry III had granted Lord Edward several territories - Gascony, Ireland, the earldom of Chester and Bristol Castle - in the months preceding the ceremony. The teenaged prince would have been as excited (if not more so) about familiarizing himself with the officials and extents of his new territories than about familiarizing himself with a new bride who he wasn't able to touch yet, and whose upbringing had been in a faraway court, to whose customs and ceremonies he'd only had a brief exposure. The fact that he wished to stay behind in Gascony when she made her first trip to England in October 1255, indicates he didn't have a very strong desire for her companionship at that point.

For the first few years of his marriage, Lord Edward would be in extensive training as a knight and military commander. He fought in his first tournament, at Blythe, when he was seventeen, and embarked on his first military campaign in Wales at about the same time [9]. He was starting to make his own alliances, primarily with the barons of the Welsh Marches, and promote a political identity for himself independent of his royal parents. These were years of male-bonding, feats of arms, carousing and wenching. It may have been easier for Lord Edward to view his wife as a virginal princess than as a partner with whom he could share his plans and ideas for the future. She likely was settled in the court of his parents, especially the household of the queen from whom she would be receiving training, than accompanying her husband on his knightly adventures. The administrative record backs this up, with Eleanor appearing in it during the years 1255-1259 associated with her royal in-laws rather than her young husband [10]. Though no doubt each strongly felt the expectation that they should produce an heir, their youth may have made it difficult to develop the familiarity and trust that would be the ingredients of the mature years of their marriage.

Dr. Parsons suggests that Eleanor and Lord Edward’s daughter Katherine may have been born in April 1261, as there is a passage in one manuscript of the Flores historiarum that states Henry III’s daughter Katherine died on 21 April 1261 when about eight years old. As administrative records prove that Katharine actually died on 3 May 1257, Parsons surmises that the Flores may have confused the younger Katherine’s birth with the death of the elder one. If so, Katherine was born at a time when there were rifts between her father Lord Edward and his own royal parents, caused by Edward’s public support for his father’s kinsmen the Lusignans over the Savoyards, the favored kinsmen of his mother, as well as his enthusiastic support for Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and the other barons pushing for reform in the royal administration. Henry III even came to believe, while he was in France from November 1259 to April 1260, that back in England his twenty-year-old heir was trying to depose him. It took some time for father and son to be reconciled that year, one of the conditions being that Edward remove himself from the stormy political situation in England, which he did by leaving in November to participate in tournaments in France [9].

Naming a daughter Katherine, whenever she was born, would be a symbolic display of his commitment to his parents, who had greatly mourned the death of their daughter Katherine, and to the future of the Plantagenet dynasty. Eleanor of Provence had a special devotion to the medieval cult of St. Katherine of Alexandria (pictured in an original early 14th-century illumination by Simone Martini), viewed as the most important of the virgin-martyrs in heaven, and as a paradigm for young noblewomen to be learned and chaste. A phial of oil from her monastery on Mount Sinai was brought to England by Edward the Confessor, and housed at Westminster Abbey. Most importantly, Queen Eleanor’s youngest child had been born on the 25th of November, the feast day of St. Katherine [11]. From that point on, the queen revered the saint. The hospital of St. Katherine by the Tower, dedicated to the saint, was one of the many institutions under the patronage of the queen consort. Following her daughter's birth, Eleanor began to take an active and direct interest in it, going so far as interfering in its administration. Katherine was not a name used by the Plantagenets until Eleanor of Provence, nor was it used at all by either the paternal or maternal families of Eleanor of Castile. Indeed it would be more than a hundred years before a Plantagenet princess would again bear the name of the virgin saint: in 1372, John of Gaunt gave the name to his daughter (who would go on to become Queen of Castile), though his reasons for doing so were personal and had little to do with the saint.

We cannot be certain that Edward I ever had a daughter named Katherine. No daughter with that name appears in any of the extensive administrative records from the thirteenth-century. Canterbury was not Westminster, and the necrology of Christ Church could have been mistaken in the first name they had given to the daughter whose obit was September 5th. Until 1271, the only Plantagenet tombs in Westminster Abbey were those of Henry III's daughter Katherine, and Edward I's daughter Joan, and that could have led to later confusion by the compilers of the necrology. The context of the necrology also needs to be taken into consideration. Does it have obits of other Plantagenets, for example? Dr. Parsons makes an interesting case for her existence as Edward and Eleanor's first child, but I must respectfully conclude that there isn't enough hard evidence to prove she was the daughter buried in 1264, or that she even existed at all.

Notes
[1] John Carmi Parsons, "The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and Her Children by Edward I", Medieval Studies, Volume 46 (1984).
[2] Calendar of Liberate Rolls [CLR], Volume 5, pp. 150, 160. I have not yet seen this source.
[3] Calendar of Patent Rolls [CPR] 1258-1266 (1910), p. 235.
[4] CLR, Vol. 5, pp. 142-143.
[5] This necrology manuscript is now housed in the British Library: British Library Arundel 68, fol. 40v. I, of course, have not seen it.
[6] Parsons, "The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and Her Children by Edward I", p. 257. Interestingly, the only source for this daughter is an administrative entry from 1287 which shows that the queen provided a gold cloth for the anniversary of her daughter on 29 May at the Dominican priory in Bordeaux, where the child was buried (P.R.O. E 36/201). This indicates that the gold cloth Henry III provided in September 1265 for the Westminster Abbey tomb of Joan, was more likely to mark the anniversary of her death than to cover a newly buried infant.
[7] John Carmi Parsons, Eleanor of Castile: Queen and Society in Thirteenth-Century England (1995), pp. 17, 262 n. 30.
[8] Michael Prestwich, Edward I (Yale English Monarchs Series, 1988), p. 15.
[9] Michael Prestwich, "Edward I (1239–1307)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004).
[10] Parsons, Eleanor of Castile, pp. 17, 262 n. 32.
[11] Mary Anne Everett Green, The Lives of the Princesses of England from the Norman Conquest, Volume 2 (1857), p. 270.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Badlesmere 2: Marriages of 1316


Bartholomew Badlesmere did well in the early years of Edward II's reign. At about age 32 in 1307, he was roughly 10 years older than the new king. Badlesmere's relationship with the respected military leader Robert, Lord Clifford (they were brothers-in-law) helped him achieve the strategic appointment of constable of Bristol Castle (pictured as it would have appeared in about 1300, drawn by artist Chris Molan, from the website Bristol Past). In addition, Badlesmere's 20-year-old wife Margaret was a Clare, first cousin to the head of the family, the 16-year-old Earl of Gloucester. This was an important link, for Gloucester was the eldest nephew of the new King, and was being allowed to come into control of his inheritance five years sooner than the traditional age of 21. The King was symbolically and literally creating a Plantagenet/Clare/Cornwall alliance by transforming the knight he trusted most in the world, Sir Piers Gaveston, into Earl of Cornwall and marrying him to Gloucester's sister Margaret de Clare. Badlesmere was made a leading retainer of Gloucester, with the hope no doubt that his seniority and kinship would provide sound advice to the teenaged earl, whose vast inheritance made him financially and territorially the second-most powerful figure in England, after the King. The early months of 1308 proved to be a bump in this Plantagenet/Clare/Cornwall alliance, for Clifford joined the Earl of Lincoln and other barons in calling for Gaveston's exile and as a result lost his post of Marshal of England in March 1308 [1]. Badlesmere loyally followed Clifford in this opposition, but Gaveston's exile to Ireland that summer calmed the waters.

By October 1308, the witnesses to a grant to Badlesmere show him firmly in the midst of Gloucester's household (among which was the knight Sir Roger Damory, who would later have a tremendous role in the Clare inheritance) [2]. Badlesmere led bands of knights from Gloucester's company in the Scottish campaign of 1310-1311, during at least a portion of which he also acted as deputy constable of England for the Earl of Hereford, who had chosen to work on the Ordinances in London than go on the campaign in person. As a result, Badlesmere was able to enjoy direct patronage from the King, and received favours from him in December 1310 and January 1311. When Gloucester became keeper of the realm on the death of the Earl of Lincoln, Badlesmere took an active part in Gloucester's administration [3]. Badlesmere appears to have been the steward (chief administrator) of Gloucester, and managed to amass an impressive estate spread throughout several counties as a result. Whether this can be credited to the younger earl eagerly rewarding his senior adviser, or passively rubber-stamping the plans Badlesmere had made for himself, is open for debate. I feel somehow it more likely to be the latter. Whatever the truth, Gloucester trusted Badlesmere and worked closely with him, and the trust Clifford and Edward II had placed in the baron to shepherd the Clare dynasty was being fulfilled ... until the summer of 1314, when Badlesmere made his first of two major failures in regard to the Clares.

Bannockburn was horrific for the English, leaving the king and his surviving military leaders demoralized, and chroniclers and other non-participants scrambling for divine meaning behind the defeat. For Badlesmere the day was devastating on a personal level, for not only was his lord, the Earl of Gloucester, killed, so was his dear brother and former patron, Lord Clifford. In addition, Badlesmere also received the brand of coward, and in at least one political song of the time, was held personally responsible for the death of Gloucester, fleeing the battlefield and leaving the young earl to his fate [4]. Care should be taken when analyzing secondhand post-battle accounts: depending on which chronicle you read, Edward II himself either fled the field shamelessly, or fought hard and had to be led away. But the fact that Badlesmere achieved this reputation, whether deserved or not, would've tarnished his image enough to knights and soldiers that he wouldn't be able to command any military expedition on his own from that point forward, and indeed, he never did.

Badlesmere, just about forty years old, was in a unique position following the battle: as chief administrator of the now-dead Gloucester, he was the figure who best knew the daily ins and outs and workings of the vast Clare inheritance. The power vacuum caused by Gloucester's death, and the effect it had on Edward II, are great enough to be topics of their own in future posts. No matter what Edward thought of Badlesmere's actions at Bannockburn, he needed the baron to maintain continuity with the Clare retainers and tenants. Gloucester's widowed countess was pregnant, and God willing, would give birth within months to a healthy baby, which, no matter the infant's sex, would keep the Clare inheritance in one piece. Badlesmere was allowed by the King to stay on and administer important parts of it [5]. He also was made a co-administrator (with the earl of Warwick and the northern baron Henry Percy) of the Clifford inheritance, as Clifford's son (Badlesmere's nephew) was a minor.

Seven months after Bannockburn, on 2 January 1315, Edward II held the funeral of Piers Gaveston at Langley in Hertfordshire. Badlesmere was in attendance, as were the Hugh Despensers, father and son. No doubt the three men met many times in the days surrounding the burial to discuss the Clare inheritance, for the countess had yet to give birth, and Hugh the Younger was married to Gloucester's eldest sister and stood next in line for the best part of the inheritance should no baby materialize. Their biggest concern would be Gloucester's other two sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth, both young widows and now the two hottest women on the marriage market that the nobility had seen in decades. As Gaveston's widow, Margaret was firmly under the influence of her uncle the King and a fixture at his court, but Elizabeth was far away in Ireland at the court of her father-in-law the Earl of Ulster. It was vital she be sent for and join her sister in their uncle's court. It would be in this task that Badlesmere would make his second great failure regarding the Clare dynasty.

Meanwhile a few weeks later, Edward II formally agreed in Parliament to obey all of the Ordinances, meaning Thomas of Lancaster now had effective control of the government. He began replacing all royal military posts, down to the level of the county sheriffs. In July 1315, Badlesmere was replaced as administrator of Glamorgan by Payn de Turberville, but how much this was a decision made by Lancaster as opposed to Edward II is not clear. The decision may simply have been made to focus Badlesmere on the northern marches, for he was sent along with the Earl of Pembroke (who was the same age as Badlesmere and would become a close ally) to organize the defenses of the northern march against Scotland from July to October 1315. It was in this capacity that Badlesmere first arranged a marriage for one of his children, that of his eldest daughter Margery. One of the leaders in the defense of the northern march was the elderly (then about age 60) Yorkshire baron William de Ros. He was too old for military service, but his son and heir John de Ros (who was probably Badlesmere's age or a bit younger) was an active knight, who would be made a banneret in the royal household of Edward II on 20 November 1315 [6], likely on the recommendation of Pembroke and Badlesmere. Sir John de Ros in turn had a son and heir, William, who was about the same age as Badlesmere's daughter Margery, and so a marriage was arranged between the two families. The Ros dynasty was influential in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and would increase Badlesmere's influence in the northern marches. Later in the 14th century, the Lords Ros were Lancastrian retainers, but whether this was the case in 1315 is not clear. If so, the marriage may also have been an attempt by Badlesmere to enter the circle of Thomas of Lancaster, still holding the reins of power.

By the summer of 1315, while Badlesmere was on Pembroke's campaign in the northern marches, it would have been clear to everyone that the countess of Gloucester was not going to provide the longed-for heir. As Christmas approached, Thomas of Lancaster, who hated Hugh the Elder and had removed both Despensers from the royal household back in January, was continuing to prevent either from having any access to the King. Elizabeth de Clare was ordered to leave Ireland and come to court. All hell had broken loose in Glamorgan due to the actions of Badlesmere's replacement there, Payn de Turberville. On top of it all, Bristol was becoming an issue Badlesmere was unable to control on his own. Then, as if to symbolize the crumbling of Badlesmere's stewardship abilities, Elizabeth de Clare, newly-arrived from Ireland, was abducted from Bristol Castle by Theobald de Verdun in January 1316. Whatever plans the King had been forming regarding the Clare inheritance had now been thwarted. Badlesmere had failed the Clare dynasty in a major way once again.

The poor baron had to work on damage control, and insure that he had influential figures watching the interests of his own back, and that of his family. The best way would be to align himself sacredly to them through marriage, as he had done with Lord Ros. Badlesmere's next two daughters, Maud, born about 1310, and Elizabeth, born about 1313, were both beneath the canonical age of marriage (which was age 7 for consent, and age 12 for consummation), but desperate times called for desperate measures. Badlesmere could be expected to move to strengthen his alliances with the earls of Pembroke and Hereford through marriage, but Pembroke was childless and Badlesmere was apparently not in the position, socially or economically, to approach Hereford for the hand of one of his half-royal children [7]. Luckily, Badlesmere was included in the February 1316 expedition to Glamorgan to put down the rebellion of Llewellyn Bren, where he had the opportunity to initiate an alliance with one of the most powerful dynasties in the marches of Wales.

On 2 May 1316 in London, Badlesmere contracted with Robert, Lord FitzPayn, for the marriage of FitzPayn's son and heir, also named Robert, aged about ten [8], to Badlesmere's six-year-old daughter Maud. It was agreed that Lord FitzPayn would provide Maud with a dower of 200 marks’ worth of land, and that he would not grant out any of his land, save £200 worth, without Badlesmere’s permission. Badlesmere agreed to pay FitzPayn 1,200 marks in instalments as the marriage portion, and to keep Maud in his own custody for a year after the marriage. FitzPayn also agreed to enter into a recognizance (formally entered into on 16 July 1316) to Badlesmere for 20,000 marks to guarantee the marriage (which took place by October 1316, when Maud was formally assigned her dower by FitzPayn) [9]. One week later, on 9 May 1316, also in London, Badlesmere contracted with Roger, Lord Mortimer of Wigmore, for the marriage of Mortimer's thirteen-year-old son and heir, Edmund, to Badlesmere's three-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Mortimer would provide Elizabeth with a dower of 500 marks' worth of land (300 coming from manors under his control, with the other 200 coming from manors after the death of Mortimer's mother Margaret). Badlesmere agreed to pay Mortimer 2,000 marks as the marriage portion, and entered into a recognizance of 20,000 marks to guarantee the marriage, which took place at the Mortimer manor of Ernwood in Shropshire on 27 June 1316. Badlesmere was with the king throughout June and so did not attend, but Mortimer hosted the nuptials with several officials, including the king's knights William de Montagu and Roger Damory, and Badlesmere's nephews Bartholomew and Henry Burghersh [10].

Badlesmere's reasons for the alliance with Lord FitzPayn remain obscure. The FitzPayn barony was in Dorset, the chief seat being the manor of Okeford Fitzpaine. The estate stretched into Somerset and Wiltshire, but remained localized in those three counties. Badlesmere would have gotten to know Lord FitzPayn's father on the Scottish campaigns of the early 1300s, and especially when Lord FitzPayn senior served as steward of Edward II's household from March 1308 to December 1310. But compared to the Lords Mortimer of Wigmore, and even the Lords Ros, the FitzPayns of Okeford were small potatoes. Lord FitzPayn's father had died in August 1315, and he himself appeared at Edward II's court in November that year to pay homage and receive his father's lands. Since Maud, Badlesmere's elder available daughter, was given to the FitzPayns despite the fact that the Mortimers were more powerful and had an heir older in age, its likely the FitzPayn marriage had been initiated before the Mortimer one. It may have been the new Lord FitzPayn who approached Badlesmere for it, perhaps in need of money that the wealthy Badlesmere could provide. At any rate, Badlesmere clearly had the upper hand in the alliance. Lord FitzPayn was summoned for military service (but not to Council or Parliament) in February 1316, and if he joined the Llewellyn Bren campaign that month, its likely the marriage alliance with Badlesmere was already in the works at that point. The marriage would ultimately prove tragic for the FitzPayns. Lord FitzPayn held to the marriage alliance and followed Badlesmere into rebellion and the baronial camp in the 1321-22 civil war. But he may have done so reluctantly, as he was back in the King's favor by May 1322. However, it was too late. His son Robert FitzPayn, the teenaged husband of Maud Badlesmere, was killed at Boroughbridge, leaving both his father and young Maud childless [11].

Ian Mortimer surmises that the advantages Roger Mortimer of Wigmore obtained by marrying his heir to Badlesmere's toddler-aged daughter "were not so much military as political" (p. 78), and financial. It was Badlesmere's position at court and great wealth which attracted the then cash-poor Lord Mortimer. If so, Badlesmere certainly got his money's worth: an alliance with a powerful Marcher lord and the muscle of an acclaimed military captain. The payoff was immediate: Mortimer joined Badlesmere on the Bristol campaign and took the military lead. Hopefully Kathryn Warner will have a post with full details of the Bristol incident at a future date. Meanwhile, the Wheel of Fortune would turn little Elizabeth Badlesmere around several times in the next few years, her fate intertwined with those of her father and of her new father-in-law.

Notes
[1] Conway Davies, The Baronial Opposition to Edward II (1918), p. 208, citing Cal. Patent Rolls 1307-13, p. 51, as his source.
[2] Kathryn Warner, "The Rise and Fall of a Royal Favourite: Roger Damory (1)", January 2010.
[3] Davies, Baronial Opposition to Edward II, pp. 427-428.
[4] Many thanks to Kathryn Warner for providing details of the political song. The author of the Vita Edwardi Secundi states Gloucester was abandoned to death by his knights, but doesn't name Badlesmere specifically.
[5] Ian Mortimer, in his 2006 book, The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England 1327-30, pp. 73-74, states Badlesmere was the overseer of the lordship of Glamorgan until July 1315, but unfortunately doesn't cite his source for this. It's likely Badlesmere was initially overseeing much more of the inheritance than just Glamorgan, but more research is needed.
[6] Colm McNamee,
"Ros, William de, first Lord Ros (c.1255–1316)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). Complete Peerage says only that William de Ros and Margery Badlesmere were married by December 1316. As eldest daughter though, her marriage would necessarily have been arranged before those of her sisters in May 1316. It likely was not arranged until after the birth of Badlesmere's son and heir Giles in October 1314, for until that point, Margery was Badlesmere's senior coheiress. So Badlesmere's time on the northern march in 1315 seems the likeliest time. Curiously, Sir John de Ros would be attacked a few months later by Hugh Despenser the Younger at the Lincoln Parliament of February 1316.
[7] "Item, to Monsire Bartholomew de Badlesmere the black charger which I brought from beyond the sea." From Hereford's August 1319 will, as translated by Melville M. Bigelew in "The Bohun Wills", American Historical Review, Volume 1 Number 3 (April 1896), pp. 422-426. Though Hereford thought enough of Badlesmere to bequeath him a warhorse (the only bequest to any earl or baron in Hereford's entire will) and had five young unmarried sons, no marriage alliance occurred in their lifetimes. Ironically, Badlesmere's daughter Elizabeth would eventually marry Hereford's son William, but not until 1335, and for far a different reason.
[8] As Lord FitzPayn was found to be aged 28 and more, or 30 and more, in the inquisitions taken in September and October 1315 following his father's death, so born about 1285/6, his son and heir was likely born about 1305/6.
[9] Michael Prestwich, Plantagenet England 1225-1360 (2005), p. 415. A portion of the original document (Harl. Charter, 45, F 11, in Anglo-Norman French), was transcribed by George Wentworth Watson in Complete Peerage, Volume V (1926), p. 454 n. a (sub FitzPayn).
[10] Mortimer, The Greatest Traitor, pp. 77-79; George A. Holmes, The Estates of the Higher Nobility in Fourteenth Century England (1957), pp. 43-44.
[11] Watson, Complete Peerage Vol. V, pp. 448-455 (sub FitzPayn). Watson has young Robert FitzPayn dead before 10 December 1322, and surmises he may have been killed in the rout at Byland Abbey on 14 October. But as Robert was buried at the Grey Friars church in York, where the Earl of Hereford was buried after Boroughbridge, and given the fact that Lord FitzPayn had his lands restored to him by the King on 30 May, it's more likely that Badlesmere's son-in-law was killed with Hereford at Boroughbridge.