2954874. Lord Hugh le Despenser & 2954875. Eleanor de Clare
~1285, Hugh born in England, s/o 5909748. Hugh le Despencer II & 5909749. Isabel de Beauchamp.
10/1292, Eleanor born in Caerphilly, Glamorgan, Wales, d/o 4997382. Gilbert de Clare & 4997383. Joan of Acre.
1296, Eleanor’s widowed mother assigned Bristol castle as her residence for her and her children. Leaving her children at Bristol Castle, under the care of persons appointed by the king, Joan retired to Wales.
~1297, Hugh was placed in the royal household to grow up with future King Edward II and other children of nobility such as Piers Gaveston.
5/22/1306, Hugh, 1 of 267 knighted by King Edward I in London at Westminster abbey.
5/26/1306, Hugh married to Eleanor at Westminster in the presence of the King Edward I.
6/14/1306, Grant to Hugh le Despenser, son of Hugh le Despenser, between whom and Eleanor daughter of Gilbert, sometime earl of Gloucester and Hertford, the king’s neice, a marriage is contracted, with the king’s and the said Hugh’s assent, the said Hugh promising before the king to give them 200£ a year in land, for life, … (S) CPRs.
6/1306, Hugh participated in a campaign with Edward I in Scotland, when they removed the Scot’s ancient coronation stone from Scone, installing it at Westminster.
4/28/1308 at Westminster in Parliament, Hugh sided against his father and King Edward II, declaring “a higher duty is owed to the Crown that to the person of the King.” (S) Weir, P44.
4/1309, Hugh participated in the tournament at Dunstable; an assemblage of 305 knights.
5/14/1309, Edward II gave Hugh the former Templar manor of Sutton, Norfolk.
1310, Hugh given multiple manors by his father.
1310, Hugh participated in the tournament at Mons, France.
9/8/1312, Hugh de Despenser the younger granted license to hunt with his dogs by himself or with others of his choosing. (S) CPRs.
5/3/1313, Protection for Hugh le Despenser, the elder, going beyond seas on the king’s service [with 17 others in his retinue including son Hugh.] (S) CPRs.
1313, Hugh accompanied the King to Pontoise, France. Eleanor was a lady-in-waiting of Queen Isabella; with her own personal retinue.
10/9/1313, Hugh received the wardship and marriage of Roger Huntingfield.
2/28/1314 at Sandwich, Eleanor departed with the Queen on a trip to France. They travelled through the Queen’s country of Ponthieu. By 16 March they had reached Paris.
7/29/1314, Hugh 1st summoned to parliament.
4/26/1314, Eleanor in the company of the Queen arrived back at Dover, England.
6/24/1314, Hugh fought at the battle of Bannockburn. Eleanor’s brother was killed in the battle, which eventually led to the estates being distributed to her and her two sisters. King Edward II was nearly captured, but escaped with Hugh’s help.
1/2/1315 at Langley, Hugh attended the funeral of Piers Gaveston [executed 1312, buried by Edward II after his excommunication was lifted.]
1315, Hugh 1st summoned to Parliament. The same year he illegally seized Tonbridge castle, believing it belonged to the estate of Joan’s father. [It was actually held by the Archbishop of Canterbury.]
1315, Eleanor the wife of Hugh le Despenser the younger, appointing Henry de Gerston her attorney to receiver her pourparty of the inheritance of Gilbert de Clare, sometime earl of Gloucester and Hertford, her brother. (S) CIsPM.
11/23/1315, Licence for John de Crumbwelle and Idonia his wife to grant 11.5 knights’ fees … successive remainders … Hugh le Despenser the younger, Hugh le Despenser the elder, and to Edward son of Hugh le Despenser the younger … (S) CPRs.
2/22/1316, during Parliament, Hugh physically attacked another member, John de Ros; who had married the widow of his brother Philip.
1316, Hugh seized Elizabeth Comyn, a child and heir of Goodrich castle and compelled her to sign over her estates. [They were returned when he was executed.]
8/8/1316, Sir Gilbert de Clare the elder, sometime earl of Gloucester and Hertford, espoused Lady Joan daughter of the late King Edward, of whom he begat Gilbert the late earl, Eleanor the wife of Hugh le Despenser the younger, Margaret late the wife of Peter de Gavaston, and Elizabeth late the wife of John de Burgo; and thus the said Eleanor, Margaret, and Elizabeth are sisters and heirs of the said earl, and the said Elizabeth is 17 and more. (S) CIsPM.
5/22/1317, Whereas the king lately took the homage of Hugh le Despenser the younger, who married Eleanor the eldest sister and one of the heirs of Gilbert de Clare, late earl of Gloucester and Hertford, of Hugh de Augele the younger, who married Margaret, another of the sisters and co-heiresses … and of Roger Damory, who married Elizabeth, the third sister and co-heiress, … (S) CPRs.
1317, Hugh served in Scotland.
11/1317, Eleanor a coheir of a third of her brother Earl Gilbert’s estates, receiving the lordship of Glamorgan in Wales, the largest and richest of the “de Clare” inheritance, and other lands. [This greatly enhanced Hugh’s power as a land holder.]
1318, Eleanor de Clare, the Queen’s Isabella’s chief Lady-in-waiting, with others including Alice Comyn and Ida de Oddingseles. Eleanor was sufficiently important to have her own staff.
10/28/1318, Parliament named Hugh the Chamberlain of the King’s household; which controlled patronage [access to the King.] Hugh made many enemies by requiring bribes to gain access, and by requiring himself or his father be present.
9/7/1319, Hugh [and his father] with 98 men participated in the seige of Berwick-upon-Tweed, Scotland.
5/1320, Hugh deceitfully obtained Newport and Netherwent from Hugh de Audley-4221750 in exchange for lessor manors in England.
6/17/1320, Hugh traveled with the royal family to France where Edward II paid homage to the French King for his lands on the continent.
10/20/1320, Hugh convinced the King to dispossess John de Mobray of his barony of Gower because he had obtained them without license [Which was not required since he was a Marcher lord]. This led to a confederation of the Lords Marcher, headed by the Earl of Hereford, the Mortimers, and Mowbray against the Despensers.
5/1321, the “Marcher lords” of northern Wales attacked the Despenser’s estates in southern Wales; beginning the “Despenser War”. The forces opposing Hugh le Despenser and King Edward II were Roger de Mortimer, Earl Humphrey de Bohun, leading the Marcher forces; Earl Thomas of Lancaster, leading norther barons; and supporting barons including Roger de Armory, Hugh de Audley, Roger de Clifford and John de Giffard.
8/19/1321, Hugh’s corruption and unjust behaviour led to his being exiled again, along with his father. Hugh became a pirate on the English channel.
5/1322, Hugh and his father were returned to power after the defeat of the “contrariants”. Hugh recovered the lordships of Glamorgan and Gower.
1322-26, Hugh, influential with the King, directed England’s internal and foreign policy.
3/20/1322, Hugh a member of the group finding Thomas, Earl of Lancaster guilty of treason and sentenced to death.
7/1322, Hugh ceased paying his land dues to Queen Isabella.
9/13/1322, King Edward sent a letter to his neice Eleanor at Tynemouth, where she was attending the Queen.
12/1322, Edward II coerced Elizabeth de Clare, widow of Roger de Armory, into giving his favorite Hugh le Despenser the lordship of Usk [worth £770 yearly] for a lessor lordship of Gower [worth £300 yearly]. [This united the powerful Welsh Marcher lords against Hugh.]
2/7/1323, Eleanor de Clare signed a petition, along with the Queen, in behalf of relatives imprisoned in the Tower.
5/30/1323, “Our Lord the King being at Bishopthorp near York … caused to be summoned before him at his council there … Edmund, Earl of Kent, his brother, … Hugh le Despenser, Earl of Winton, … Hugh le Despenser, junior, … William le Ros of Hamelake, … to deliberate upon a certain truce between the said king and Robert de Bruce …” (S) Monumenta de Insula Manniae, Oliver, 1860-62.
9/1323, after the outbreak of hostilities between England and France, the King had the Queen’s 3 youngest children removed from her and placed in the care of Eleanor. The eldest, John, age 8, stayed with Eleanor while the other two were later placed with other relatives. Eleanor was also assigned to be a constant “chaperone” with the Queen.
1324, The lordship of Gower, traded to Elizabeth de Clare, granted back to Hugh.
8/1324, Hugh commanded the [losing] English forces in the Saint Sardos War in France.
10/1324, Queen Isabella smuggled a letter to her brother, the King of France, in which she accused Hugh of depriving her of her husband’s love.
1/1325, Hugh, as a member of the 1st Royal Council and Parliament, spoke out against Queen Isabella’s peace mission to France. [He was in disagreement with his father on this issue.]
2/17/1326, in a letter from the Pope to Hugh, the Pope suggests he retire from court [because fear of him was the reason the Queen stated that she had not returned from France.]
1325-6, King Edward frequently visited Eleanor. His household accounts show he sent her gifts of jewels and golden chaffinches. [Some writers of the time claimed she was his mistress.]
9/27/1326, King Edward and both Despensers were in the Tower when they heard that the Queen had landed in England with a great army [which was incorrect – she only had 700 soldiers.]
10/2/1326, King Edward and Hugh fled from London after the successful invasion of Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer. Edward left his neice Eleanor de Clare in custody of the Tower.
10/15/1326, Londoners stormed the Tower, liberated all of the prisoners, and taking Prince John from Eleanor, proclaimed the 10-year-old Warden of the City.
11/16/1326, Hugh with King Edward and others captured in Glamorgan, Wales hiding in Neath abbey. [There is a supported theory that Hugh at this time was holding the King captive.]
11/17/1326, on the Queen’s orders Eleanor was imprisoned in the Tower. Three of her daughters were placed in convents.
Hugh, being transported to London for trial, started starving himself [thereby hoping to escape punishment.] Fearing he would die, the Queen decided to proscute him at Hereford.
11/24/1326, Hugh executed for treason at Hereford. His headless body would hang from a 50-foot ladder for 4 years. Beforehand, he was brutally tortured; his genitals were cut off “because of his unnatural practices with the king,” though evidence of homosexuality between Edward II and Hugh is not proven. (S) A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes, Howell, 1816, PP24–38.
4/22/1328, Eleanor was pardoned by the Queen, released from the Tower, and her lands were returned to her.
1/26/1329, Eleanor 2nd married Lord William la Zouche (1249366), who had “abducted” her from Hanley castle.
12/15/1330, King Edward III ordered the bones of Hugh taken down. They were given to Eleanor who had them buried in Tewkesbury Abbey in a tomb. Their son Hugh was restored to the Despenser barony.
1/20/1331, Restitution to William la Zousche of Mortimer, Eleanor his wife and her heirs, of the land of Glaumorgan and Morgannon in the march of Wales, … manors of Teukesbury, co. Gloucester, and Hanle, co. Worcester, … grant is made to ease the king’s conscience … the king is not bound to make such restitution until satisfied of 5,000£ wherein they became bound to obtain pardon for a theft by Eleanor of a very great quantity of jewels and other goods at the Tower of London. (S) CPRs.
8/23/1335, Licence … lands in Ireland … which descended to Eleanor, wife of William la Zouche of Mortimer, one of the sisters and heirs of Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, … (S) CPRs.
10/13/1335, Pardon to William la Zousche of Mortimer and Eleanor his wife of 2,000 marks beyond the sums already pardoned out of the 10,000£ … (S) CPRs.
6/30/1337, Eleanor died; buried at Tewkesbury. (S) The History of Tewkesbury, Bennett, 1830, P175.
(S) Queen Isabella, by Alison Weir, 2005. (S) Magna Carta Ancestry, P276.
Children of Hugh and Eleanor: [4 sons, 5 daughters]
i. Hugh le Despenser, born 1308 in England.
1326, Hugh defended Caerphilly castle against Queen Isabella’s beseiging forces. [He was pardoned by the Queen 2 months after it fell.]
12/1330, Hugh restored to the Despenser barony by King Edward III. (S) Weir, P363.
1347, Hugh at the siege of Calais, with 234 men in his contingent. (S) English Historical Documents 1327-1485, Myers, 1996, P497.
ii. Edward le Despencer, born ~1311 in Stoke, Gloucestershire, England.
4/20/1335 in Groby, Edward married Anne, d/o 2498688. Lord William de Ferrers & 2498689. Ellen de Seagrave.
9/30/1342, Edward killed in the Battle of Morlaix at Vannes.
Sir Edward le Despenser, 1st Baron le Despenser.
iii. Isabel le Despenser (30422277), born 1313 in England.
iv. Elizabeth le Despenser (1477437), born by 1327 in England.