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Monday, August 10, 2020

Baron Hugh le Despenser & Lady Eleanor de Clare

 2954874. Baron Hugh le Despenser & 2954875. Lady Eleanor de Clare

~1285, Hugh born in England, s/o 5909748. Hugh le Despencer & 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.

1303, Piers de Gaveston described in the royal household records as Edward II’s “socius” [companion]. Gilbert de Clare and Hugh le Despenser (2954874) were also members of Edward’s household. (S) Edward II, Warner, 2014, P23.

5/22/1306, Hugh, 1 of 267 knighted by King Edward I in London at Westminster abbey.

[––Hugh & Eleanor––]

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 niece, 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 assembly of 305 knights.

5/14/1309, Edward II gave Hugh the former Templar manor of Sutton, Norfolk.

6/1309, Loyal to Edward II, Hugh was “dismissed” from the King’s household by opposition barons.

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.

5/23/1313, King Edward and Queen Isabella left from Dover for a trip to France.

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 losing Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland, against Robert Bruce. Eleanor’s brother was killed in the battle, which eventually led to the estates being distributed to her and her 2 sisters. King Edward II,nearly captured, but escaped with Hugh’s help. It was the largest loss of English knights in a single day. 4000 Scots were killed.

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 banished from England on the force of a coalition of barons.

11/15/1317, 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, worth £1,415 yearly. [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] 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.

1320, Matilda de Burgh, wife of Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, died. Her dower lands were divided among Gilbert’s sisters: Eleanor de Clare (2954875), Margaret de Clare (60845659) and Elizabeth de Clare (2498691), each receiving lands worth about £900 yearly.

10/26/1320, Hugh convinced the King to dispossess John de Mobray (5910160) 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. (S) Edward II, Werner, 2017, P138.

5/4/1321, 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. [Hugh le Despenser (the father) ‘cursed the time that he ever begot his son Hugh’.] (S) Edward II, Werner, 2017, P147.

10/1321, Hugh secretly met with King Edward at Porchester.

12/8/1321, Edward issued a safe conduct for Hugh to return to England. [Hugh’s father’s was issued 12/25).

3/3/1322, King Edward was reunited with the Despensers who also brought a large number of men to his aid. Hugh also advised the King to not unfurl his banners against the opposition as that would be a declaration of war.

5/1322, Hugh and his father were returned to power after the defeat of the “contrariants”. Hugh recovered the lordships of Glamorgan and Gower.

3/16/1322, At the battle of Boroughbridge, northwest of York, King Edward defeated the forces of the Marcher lords and Thomas of Lancaster.  The royalist forces were defending their position with dismounted men-at-arms and archers against an attacking calvary.

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 niece Eleanor at Tynemouth, where she was attending the Queen.

10/1322, King Edward, having unsuccessfully invaded Scotland the previous month, had to flee from Yorkshire and the advancing forces of Robert Bruce. [The Earl of Richmond led a force against Bruce and was captured, but it gave time for King Edward to escape. (The Earl later ransomed for 14,000 marks.)]

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, on 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.

12/25/1323, Edward and Isabella spent Christmas at Kenilworth.

1324, The lordship of Gower, traded to Elizabeth de Clare, granted back to Hugh le Despenser.

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.]

10/9/1325, Hugh at Caerpjilly in Wales. [Hugh remained away from court through 11/19 when King Edward wrote to him. Edward had heard rumors that Hugh had been killed.]

By 10/1325, Apparently King Edward was in an affair with his niece Eleanor de Clare, wife of his favorite Hugh le Despenser.  King Edward frequently visited Eleanor, 11 times during the final year of his reign. His household accounts show he sent her gifts of jewels and golden chaffinches, and gave her lots of money. “Privy dining” is mentioned in the accounts, as well as medicines brought to them “when they were ill.”

12/1325, King Edward, celebrating Christmas at Bury St. Edmunds, received letters from Eleanor.

1/1326, Eleanor met King Edward at Stowmarket and gave him a palfrey with saddle and other items as her New Year’s gift to him.

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.]

9/16/1326, Hugh withdrew £2,000 from his Italian bankers. [Hugh had become second in wealth only to King Edward.]

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 niece 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.

10/27/1326, Hugh’s father executed at Bristol.

11/16/1326, Hugh le Despenser with King Edward and others captured at Llanstrisant, Glamorgan, Wales. [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. 3 of her daughters were placed in convents.

1326, 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.


1/1/1327, 3 of Eleanor’s daughters: Joan (~10), Eleanor (~7) and Margaret (~4), were sent to different convents and veiled as nuns. [The eldest, Isabel, already married; the youngest, Elizabeth, too young to be veiled.]

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.

[For additional details of the time Eleanor’s marriage to William, see (1249366).]

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.

6/30/1337, Eleanor died; buried at Tewkesbury. (S) The History of Tewkesbury, Bennett, 1830, P175.

(S) Weir, 2005. (S) Magna Carta Ancestry, P276. (S) Edward II, Warner, 2017.

Children of Hugh and Eleanor: [4 sons, 5 daughters]

i. Hugh le Despenser, born 1308 in England.

1327, 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.

1/1334, Hugh attended the tournament at Dunstable.

7/21/1337, Order to the escheator on this side Trent, … the lands late of Eleanor late the wife of Hugh le Despenser, tenant in chief, … to deliver to the king's kinsman, Hugh le Despenser, son and heir of the said Eleanor, the lands late of his said mother, he having done homage. (S) CFRs.

~1338, Hugh married Elizabeth, d/o William de Montacute, earl of Salisbury, widow of Giles de Balelesmere (s/o 5909950.)

1347, Hugh at the siege of Calais, with 234 men in his contingent. (S) English Historical Doc’s 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.

Children: Sir Edward le Despenser (b.1336), 1st Baron le Despenser.

iii. Isabel le Despenser (30422277), born 1313 in England.

iv. Elizabeth le Despenser (1477437), born 12/1325 in England.

12/14/1325, King Edward II made and offering to the Virgin Mary in thanks that God had granted Eleanor (her mother) a ‘prompt delivery of her child.’ He also ordered his almoner to give sixpence each to 40 poor pregnant women.] (S) Edward II, Warner, 2017, P204.

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