Alexander Sutherland1

M, #7951, b. circa 1400

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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Family: Marion MacDonald of the Isles b. c 1410, d. c 1504

  • Last Edited: 5 Jan 2018


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S861], online,

Henry Sinclair 2nd Earl of Orkney1

M, #7952, b. circa 1375, d. between 1 February 1420 and 1421

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Henry Sinclair 2nd Earl of Orkney was born circa 1375 in Orkney Islands, Scotland.1,3
  • Marriage*: He married Egidia Douglas, daughter of Sir William Douglas of Ninthdale and Egidia Stewart, on 17 November 1407 in Scotland.4
  • Death*: Henry Sinclair 2nd Earl of Orkney died between 1 February 1420 and 1421 in Scotland.2
  • Biography*: He was also known as Henry St. Clair. He was Guardian to Prince James, afterwards King James I of Scotland. He succeeded to the title of 2nd Earl of Orkney [S., 1379] circa 1404.

    He was son of Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney by his wife Jean, daughter of John Halyburton of Dirleton. Sinclair was one of those captured following the Battle of Homildon Hill, but released on ransom. He had succeeded his father by 1404, and was one of those who accompanied James Duke of Rothesay on his journey to France aboard the Maryenknyght, which was captured by English pirates off Flamborough Head. He followed the Prince into captivity, but was soon released.

    Marriage and issue
    In about 1407 he married Egidia Douglas, daughter of Sir William Douglas of Nithsdale and maternal granddaughter of King Robert II of Scotland.
    William Sinclair, 3rd Earl of Orkney
    Beatrix Sinclair, who married James Douglas, 7th Earl of Douglas.2,5

Family: Egidia Douglas b. c 1388, d. a 1438

  • Last Edited: 29 Sep 2017

Egidia Douglas1

F, #7953, b. circa 1388, d. after 1438

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Egidia Douglas was born circa 1388 in Scotland.1
  • Marriage*: She married Henry Sinclair 2nd Earl of Orkney, son of Henry Sinclair 1st Earl of Orkney and Jane Halyburton, on 17 November 1407 in Scotland.3
  • Married Name: As of 17 November 1407,her married name was Sinclair.1
  • Death*: Egidia Douglas died after 1438 in Scotland.2
  • Biography*: She married, firstly, Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney, son of Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney and Jane Halyburton. She married, secondly, Sir Alexander Stewart, son of Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany and Isabel of Lennox, Countess of Lennox, after 1421. She married Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney, son of Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney and Jane Halyburton, on 17 November 1407. She died after 1438.

    Her married name became Sinclair. She was also known as Jill. From after 1421, her married name became Stewart.2

Family: Henry Sinclair 2nd Earl of Orkney b. c 1375, d. bt 1 Feb 1420 - 1421

  • Last Edited: 29 Sep 2017


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  3. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  4. [S861], online,

Henry Sinclair 1st Earl of Orkney1

M, #7954, b. circa 1325, d. 1404

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Henry Sinclair 1st Earl of Orkney was born circa 1325 in Scotland.1
  • Marriage*: He married Jane Halyburton, daughter of Sir William Halyburton of Dirletoun, circa 1375 in Scotland.1,3
  • Death*: Henry Sinclair 1st Earl of Orkney died in 1404 in Orkney, Scotland; Killed in an attack on Orkney, possibly by English seaman.2
  • Biography*: Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslin (c. 1345 – c. 1400) was a Scottish and a Norwegian nobleman. Sinclair held the title Earl of Orkney under the King of Norway. He is sometimes identified by another spelling of his surname, St. Clair. He was the grandfather of William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness, the builder of Rosslyn Chapel. He is best known today because of a modern legend that he took part in explorations of Greenland and North America almost 100 years before Christopher Columbus. William Thomson, in his book The New History of Orkney, wrote: "It has been Earl Henry's singular fate to enjoy an ever-expanding posthumous reputation which has very little to do with anything he achieved in his lifetime.

    Henry Sinclair was the son and heir of William Sinclair, Lord of Roslin, and his wife Isobel of Strathearn, a daughter of Maol Ísa, Earl of Orkney. Henry Sinclair's maternal grandfather had been deprived of much of his lands (the earldom of Strathearn being completely lost to the King of Scots).

    Sometime after 13 Sep 1358, Henry's father died, at which point Henry Sinclair succeeded as Baron of Roslin, Pentland and Cousland, a group of minor properties in Lothian. The Sinclair Diploma states he married Joneta (or Joan, ou Jean) Haliburton, daughter of Walter de Haliburton, 1st Lord Haliburton of Dirleton, and that they had a son Henry, who became the next Earl of Orkney. Also they apparently had a daughter, Elizabeth Sinclair, who married the justiary Sir John Drummond of Cargill, and daughter Beatrice who married William Borthwick, 2nd Lord Borthwick.

    Three cousins – Alexander de L'Arde, Lord of Caithness; Malise Sparre, Lord of Skaldale; and Henry Sinclair – were rivals for the succession to the earldom of Orkney. On 2 August 1379, at Marstrand, near Tønsberg, Norway, King Haakon VI of Norway invested and confirmed Sinclair as the Norwegian Earl of Orkney over a rival claim by his cousin Malise Sparre.

    In 1389, Sinclair attended the coronation of King Eric of Pomerania in Norway, pledging his oath of fealty. Historians have speculated that in 1391 Sinclair and his troops slew Malise Sparre near Scalloway, Tingwall parish, Shetland.

    It is not known when Henry Sinclair died. The Sinclair Diploma, written or at least commissioned by his grandson states: "...he retirit to the parts of Orchadie and josit them to the latter tyme of his life, and deit Erile of Orchadie, and for the defence of the country was slain there cruellie by his enemiis..." We also know that sometime in 1401: "The English invaded, burnt and spoiled certain islands of Orkney." This was part of an English retaliation for a Scottish attack on an English fleet near Aberdeen. The assumption is that Henry either died opposing this invasion, or was already dead.

    The alleged voyage to North America
    Almost nothing more is known about Sinclair's life. However, much has been written through conjecture about his supposed career as an explorer. In 1784, he was identified by Johann Reinhold Forster as possibly being the Prince Zichmni described in letters allegedly written around the year 1400 by the Zeno brothers of Venice, in which they describe a voyage throughout the North Atlantic under the command of Zichmni.

    The authenticity of the letters (which were allegedly rediscovered and published in the early 16th century), the exact course of the voyage, as well as whether it even took place, are challenged by historians. Most regard the letters (and the accompanying map) as a hoax by the Zenos, their publishers.[6] Moreover, the identification of Zichmni as Henry Sinclair is not taken seriously by historians, although it is taken for granted by the supporters of the theory.

    Some supporters of the theory contend that there are stone carvings of American plants in Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. The Chapel was built by Henry Sinclair's grandson William Sinclair and was completed in 1486. Columbus made his first voyage in 1492. This is seen by writers Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas as being compelling evidence for the theory that Sinclair had sailed to America, although scholars have said the plants are simply stylised depictions of common European plants.

    In addition, some writers such as Native American historian Evan Pritchard have claimed that Glooscap, the spiritual hero figure of the Micmac people, is in fact a depiction of an early European explorer, most likely Henry Sinclair.

    The claim that Henry Sinclair explored North America has been popularised by several other authors, notably by Frederick J. Pohl, Andrew Sinclair, Michael Bradley, William S. Crooker (who claimed to have discovered Henry Sinclair's castle in Nova Scotia), Steven Sora, and more recently by David Goudsward. The claim is based on several separate propositions:

    That the letters and map ascribed to the Zeno brothers and published in 1558 are authentic.

    That the voyage described in the letters as taken by Zichmni around the year 1398 to Greenland actually reached North America.

    That Zichmni is Henry Sinclair.

    Alleged Templar connections
    Intertwined with the Sinclair voyage story is the claim that Henry Sinclair was a Knight Templar and that the voyage either was sponsored by or conducted on the behalf of the Templars, though the order was suppressed almost half a century before Henry's lifetime.

    Knight and Lomas speculate that the Knights Templar discovered under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem a royal archive dating from King Solomon's times that stated that Phoenicians from Tyre voyaged to a westerly continent following a star called "La Merika". According to Knight and Lomas, the Templars learned that to sail to that continent, they had to follow a star by the same name, which became the origin of the name "America". Sinclair supposedly followed this route.

    The theory also makes use of the supposed Templar connection to explain the name Nova Scotia ("New Scotland" in Latin). It is based on the 18th century tale that some Templars escaped the suppression of their order by fleeing to Scotland during the reign of Robert the Bruce and fought in the Battle of Bannockburn.

    Claims persist that Rosslyn Chapel contains Templar imagery. Andrew Sinclair speculates that the grave slab now in the crypt is that of a Templar knight: According to author Robert Lomas, the chapel also has an engraving depicting a knight templar holding the sword over a head of an initiate, supposedly to protect the secrets of the templars. Rosslyn Chapel was built by Sir William St Clair, last St Clair Earl of Orkney, who was the grandson of Henry. According to Lomas, Sir William, the chapel builder, is also the direct ancestor of the first Grand Master of Masons of Scotland, also named William St Clair (Sinclair).

    However, a biography of Hugues de Payen by Thierry Leroy identifies his wife and the mother of his children as Elizabeth de Chappes. The book draws its information on the marriage from local church cartularies dealing chiefly with the disposition of the Grand Master's properties, the earliest alluding to Elizabeth as his wife in 1113, and others spanning Payen's lifetime, the period following his death and lastly her own death in 1170.

    Criticisms of this theory
    One primary criticism of this theory is that if either a Sinclair or a Templar voyage reached the Americas, they did not, unlike Columbus, return with a historical record of their findings. In fact, there is no known published documentation from that era to support the theory that such a voyage took place. The physical evidence relies on speculative reasoning to support the theory, and all of it can be interpreted in other ways. For example, according to one historian, the carvings in Rosslyn Chapel may not be of American plants at all but are nothing more than stylized carvings of wheat and strawberries.

    Historians Mark Oxbrow, Ian Robertson, Karen Ralls and Louise Yeoman have each made it clear that the Sinclair family had no connection with the mediaeval Knights Templar. Karen Ralls has shown that among those testifying against the Templars at their 1309 trial were Henry and William Sinclair – an act inconsistent with any alleged support or membership.

    Alternative histories
    In the 1980s, modern alternative histories of Earl Henry I Sinclair and Rosslyn Chapel began to be published. Popular books (often derided as pseudo-history) such as The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln (1982) and The Temple and the Lodge by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh (1989) appeared. Books by Timothy Wallace-Murphy and Andrew Sinclair soon followed from the early 1990s onwards.2,3

Family 1:

Family 2: Jane Halyburton

  • Last Edited: 8 Dec 2018


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  3. [S746] Wikipedia, online,,_Earl_of_Orkney.
  4. [S746] Wikipedia, online,,_1st_Lord_Borthwick.
  5. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  6. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Jane Halyburton1

F, #7955

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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Family: Henry Sinclair 1st Earl of Orkney b. c 1325, d. 1404

  • Last Edited: 8 Dec 2018


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  3. [S746] Wikipedia, online,,_Earl_of_Orkney.
  4. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Sir William Sinclair of Roslin1

M, #7956, b. circa 1325

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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Family: Isabel (?) b. c 1330

  • Last Edited: 7 Dec 2014


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
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Isabel (?)1

F, #7957, b. circa 1330

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Last Edited: 30 Jan 2015


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  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Sir William Sinclair of Roslin, the younger1

M, #7958, b. circa 1300, d. 25 August 1330

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  • Name Variation: Sir William Sinclair of Roslin, the younger was also known as Sir William St. Clair of Roslin.2
  • Birth*: He was born circa 1300 in Scotland.1
  • Death*: He died on 25 August 1330; He died on 25 August 1330, killed with his brother on their way to the East with the heart of king Robert I.2
  • Last Edited: 11 Sep 2017


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Sir Henry Sinclair of Roslin, 7th Lord of Roslin1,2

M, #7959, b. circa 1255, d. between 1335 and 1336

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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Family: Alice de Fenton b. c 1300

  • Last Edited: 26 Dec 2017


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  4. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Alice de Fenton1

F, #7960, b. circa 1300

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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Family: Sir Henry Sinclair of Roslin, 7th Lord of Roslin b. c 1255, d. bt 1335 - 1336

  • Last Edited: 26 Nov 2017


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S746] Wikipedia, online,
  3. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Sir William Sinclair of Roslin, 6th Lord of Roslin1

M, #7961, b. circa 1230, d. circa 1297

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  • Birth*: Sir William Sinclair of Roslin, 6th Lord of Roslin was born circa 1230 in Roslyn Castle, Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland.1,3
  • Marriage*: He married Amicia de Roskelyn, daughter of Henry de Roskelyn, circa 1255 in Scotland.1,3
  • Death*: Sir William Sinclair of Roslin, 6th Lord of Roslin died circa 1297 in Tower of London, London, England.3
  • Biography*: He lived on 14 September 1280 he was granted the territorial barony of Roslin by a charter from King Alexander II on the resignation of Henry de Roskelyn (probably Sir William’s father-in-law). Between 1296 and 1299 he opposed King Edward's invasion of Scotland.2
  • Last Edited: 26 Dec 2017


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  3. [S1163], online,…

Amicia de Roskelyn1

F, #7962

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Last Edited: 26 Dec 2017


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Robert de St. Clair1

M, #7963, b. circa 1190

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Last Edited: 26 Dec 2017


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Eleanor de Dreux1

F, #7964, b. circa 1200

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  • Birth*: Eleanor de Dreux was born circa 1200 in France.1,3
  • Married Name: As of circa 1225,her married name was de St. Clair.1
  • Marriage*: She married Robert de St. Clair in 1225 in France.1,3
  • Last Edited: 26 Dec 2017


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  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,
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Comte (?) de Dreux1

M, #7965, b. circa 1225

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Comte (?) de Dreux was born circa 1225.1
  • Biography*: The Counts of Dreux were a noble family of France, who took their title from the chief stronghold of their domain, the château of Dreux, which lies near the boundary between Normandy and the Île-de-France. They are notable for inheriting the Dukedom of Brittany through Pierre de Dreux's marriage to Alix de Thouars in the early 13th century.2


  • Last Edited: 12 Mar 2015

John Stewart 2nd Lord Lorne1

M, #7966, b. circa 1430, d. 20 September 1463

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  • Last Edited: 26 Jul 2017


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  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  3. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Robert Stewart 1st Lord of Lorne1

M, #7967, b. circa 1400, d. 1449

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Family 1: Joan (?) b. 1375, d. 1439

Family 2: Lady Joan Stewart b. c 1365

  • Last Edited: 29 Sep 2017


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  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  3. [S861], online,…
  4. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  5. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Lady Joan Stewart1,2

F, #7968, b. circa 1365

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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Family: Robert Stewart 1st Lord of Lorne b. c 1400, d. 1449

  • Last Edited: 1 Apr 2017


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S925] George Seaton, A History of the Family of Seton, page 33.
  3. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  4. [S742] The Peerage, online,

John de Beaufort 1st Earl of Somerset1

M, #7969, b. between 1371 and 1373, d. 16 March 1409

Early arms of John Beaufort with a bend dexter

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  • Birth*: John de Beaufort 1st Earl of Somerset was born between 1371 and 1373 in England; born illegitimately.1
  • Marriage*: He married Lady Margaret de Holand, daughter of Thomas de Holland 2nd Earl of Kent and Lady Alice (?), before 28 September 1397 in England.3
  • Death*: John de Beaufort 1st Earl of Somerset died on 16 March 1409 in Hospital of St. Katherine-by-the-Tower, The City, London, Greater London, England.2
  • Burial*: He was buried after 16 March 1409 in Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.2
  • Biography*: He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) circa 1397. In February 1397 his illegitmate birth was legitimated by Parliament and Papal decree. He was created 1st Earl of Somerset [England] on 10 February 1397. He was created 1st Marquess of Somerset [England] on 29 September 1397. He was created 1st Marquess of Dorset [England] on 29 September 1397. He was deposed as Marquess of Dorset and Somerset on 3 November 1399. He held the office of Constable of England in 1404. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.

    John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Somerset and 1st Marquess of Dorset, later only 1st Earl of Somerset, KG (1373 – 16 March 1410) was the first of the four illegitimate children of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford, later his wife. Beaufort was born in about 1371 and his surname probably reflects his father's lordship of Beaufort in Champagne, France.

    The family emblem was the portcullis which is shown on the reverse of British pennies minted between 1971 and 2008. John of Gaunt had his nephew Richard II declare the Beaufort children legitimate in 1390, John of Gaunt married Katherine Swynford in January 1396. Despite being the grandchildren of Edward III, and next in the line of succession after their father's legitimate children, the Lancasters, the Beauforts, including John Beaufort, were barred from succession to the throne.

    Early life
    In May to September 1390 Beaufort served in Louis II, Duke of Bourbon's crusade in North Africa. In 1394 he was in Lithuania serving with the Teutonic Knights.

    In 1396, after his parents' marriage, John and his siblings were legitimated by a papal bull. Early the next year, their legitimation was recognized by an act of Parliament, and then, a few days later, John was created Earl of Somerset (10 February 1397).That summer the new Earl was one of the noblemen who helped Richard II free himself from the power of the Lords Appellant. As a reward on 29 September he was created Marquess of Somerset and Marquess of Dorset, and sometime later that year he was made a Knight of the Garter and appointed Lieutenant of Ireland. In addition, two days before his elevation as a Marquess he married the King's niece, Margaret Holland, sister of 3rd Earl of Kent, another of the counter-appellants.

    He remained in the King's favour even after his half-brother Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) was banished. In February 1397 he was appointed Admiral of the Irish fleet, as well as Constable of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports. In May his Admiralty was extended to include the northern fleet.

    Later career
    After Richard II was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke in 1399, the new king rescinded the titles that had been given to the counter-appellants, and thus John Beaufort became merely Earl of Somerset again. Nevertheless, he proved loyal to his half-brother's reign, serving in various military commands and on some important diplomatic missions. It was he who was given the confiscated estates of the Welsh rebel leader Owain Glyndwr in 1400, although Beaufort could not effectively come into these estates until after 1415. In 1404 he was Constable of England.

    John Beaufort and his wife Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Somerset (née Holland), the daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent and Alice FitzAlan, had six children; his granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort married a son, (Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond), of dowager queen Catherine of Valois by Owen Tudor — thus creating a powerful branch of the Lancastrian family which enabled the issue of that (Beaufort) marriage, Henry Tudor, ultimately to claim the throne, as Henry VII, in spite of the agreement barring the Beaufort family from the succession.

    Somerset died in the Hospital of St Katharine's by the Tower. He was buried in St Michael's Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral.

    His children included:
    Henry Beaufort, 2nd Earl of Somerset (1401 – 25 November 1418)
    John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset (baptized 25 March 1404 – 27 May 1444)
    Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scotland (1404 – 15 July 1445) married James I, King of Scots.
    Thomas Beaufort, Count of Perche (1405 – 3 October 1431)
    Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1406 – 22 May 1455)
    Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Devon (1409 – 1449) married Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon.2,4

Family: Lady Margaret de Holand b. bt 1381 - 1385, d. 31 Dec 1439

  • Last Edited: 13 Jan 2019


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  3. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  4. [S746] Wikipedia, online,,_1st_Earl_of_Somerset.
  5. [S861], online, 0861 - 7823 - Lady Jane Beaufort.docx.

Lady Margaret de Holand1

F, #7970, b. between 1381 and 1385, d. 31 December 1439

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Lady Margaret de Holand was born between 1381 and 1385 in England.1
  • Married Name: As of 1397,her married name was de Beaufort.1
  • Marriage*: She married John de Beaufort 1st Earl of Somerset, son of John of Gaunt (?) Duke of Lancaster and Katherine Roet, before 28 September 1397 in England.3
  • Death*: Lady Margaret de Holand died on 31 December 1439 in St. Saviour's Abbey, Bermon, Dsey, London, England.4
  • Burial*: She was buried after 31 December 1439 in Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.4
  • Biography*: From before 28 September 1397, her married name became de Beaufort. She was invested as a Lady Companion, Order of the Garter (L.G.) in 1399.

    Margaret Holland, Countess of Somerset (1385 – 31 December 1439) was the daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, who was the son of Joan "the Fair Maid of Kent" (granddaughter of Edward I of England, wife of Edward the Black Prince and mother of Richard II of England). Margaret's mother was Alice FitzAlan, daughter of Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel and Eleanor of Lancaster.
    Margaret married John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, son of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and his mistress Katherine Swynford. They had six children:
    Henry Beaufort, 2nd Earl of Somerset (c. 1401–25 November 1418).
    John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset (baptized 25 March 1404–27 May 1444).
    Thomas Beaufort, Count of Perche (c. 1405–1431).
    Lady Joan Beaufort (c. 1406–15 July 1445), who married James I of Scotland and Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn.
    Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset (c. 1406–22 May 1455).
    Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Devon (c. 1409–1449), married Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon.

    In 1399, she was invested as a Lady Companion, Order of the Garter (L.G.) After Beaufort died in 1410 (in the Tower of London), she married his nephew Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence, the son of King Henry IV. They had no children. She died on 31 December 1439 at St. Saviour's Abbey, Bermondsey, in London, England. Margaret and both her husbands are buried together in a carved alabaster tomb in Canterbury Cathedral that shows her lying between the two of them.

    Through her son, the 1st Duke of Somerset, Lady Margaret is an ancestress to the Tudor monarchs. Both Lady Joan, Queen consort of Scotland, and the Duke of Somerset, are ancestors of King George I of Great Britain. As such, both children are ancestors to the current British royal family.4,2

Family: John de Beaufort 1st Earl of Somerset b. bt 1371 - 1373, d. 16 Mar 1409

  • Last Edited: 13 Jan 2019


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S746] Wikipedia, online,,_Countess_of_Somerset.
  3. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  4. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  5. [S861], online, 0861 - 7823 - Lady Jane Beaufort.docx.

John of Gaunt (?) Duke of Lancaster1

M, #7971, b. March 1340

John of Gaunt
Duke of Lancaster

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: John of Gaunt (?) Duke of Lancaster was born in March 1340 in St. Bavon's Abbey, Ghent, Belgium*.3
  • Marriage*: He married Katherine Roet, daughter of Sir Payne Roet, on 13 January 1396 in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England.4
  • Biography*: John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster was born in March 1340 at St. Bavon's Abbey, Ghent, Belgium.3 He was the son of Edward III, King of England and Philippe de Hainaut. He married, firstly, Blanche of Lancaster, Countess of Derby, daughter of Henry Grosmont of Derby Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Isabella de Beaumont, on 13 May 1359 at Reading Abbey, Reading, Berkshire, England. He married, secondly, Constanza de Castilla, Reina de Castilla, daughter of Pedro I, Rey de Castilla y León and Maria de Padilla, on 21 September 1371 at Roquefort, Gascogne, France. He married, thirdly, Katherine Roët, daughter of Sir Payne Roët, on 13 January 1396 at Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. He died on 3 February 1399 at age 58 at Leicester Castle, Leicester, Leicestershire, England.5 He was buried on 15 March 1399 at Old St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England.

    He gained the title of Earl of Richmond on 20 September 1342. He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) in April 1361. As a result of his marriage, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster was styled as Earl of Derby on 21 July 1361. As a result of his marriage, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster was styled as Earl of Lancaster before 14 August 1361. As a result of his marriage, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster was styled as Lord of Beaufort and Nogent on 14 August 1361. He succeeded to the title of Earl of Lincoln on 10 April 1362. He succeeded to the title of Earl of Leicester on 10 April 1362. He succeeded to the title of Earl of Derby on 10 April 1362. He gained the title of Duke of Lancaster on 13 November 1362. He gained the title of Lord de Bergerac et Roche-sur-Yon [France] on 8 October 1370. He and Katherine Roët were associated between 1371 and 1372. He abdicated as Earl of Richmond on 5 June 1372. As a result of his marriage, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster was styled as Rey John de Léon before 6 October 1372. As a result of his marriage, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster was styled as Rey John de Castilla before 6 October 1372. He was created Duke of Aquitaine [England] on 2 March 1390.2

Family: Katherine Roet b. c 1350, d. 10 May 1403

  • Last Edited: 13 Dec 2015

Katherine Roet1

F, #7972, b. circa 1350, d. 10 May 1403

Katherine Swynford
Duchess of Lancaster
Katherine's tomb

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Katherine Roet was born circa 1350 in England.3
  • Marriage: She married John of Gaunt (?) Duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III (?) King of England and Phillipe de Hainaut Queen Consort of England, on 13 January 1396 in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England.4
  • Death*: Katherine Roet died on 10 May 1403 in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England.2
  • Burial*: She was buried after 10 May 1403 in Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England.2
  • Biography*: From before 1367, her married name became Swynford. She and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster were associated between 1371 and 1372. She was invested as a Lady Companion, Order of the Garter (L.G.) in 1388. Her married name became Beaufort.

    Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster (also spelled Catherine and Synford), née (de) Roet (also spelled (de) Rouet, (de) Roët, or (de) Roelt) (probably 25 November 1350 – 10 May 1403), was the daughter of Sir Payne (or Paen/Pain/Paon) (de) Roet (also spelled (de) Rouet, (de) Roët or (de) Roelt), originally a Flemish herald from County of Hainaut, later knighted.

    Katherine became the third wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and their descendants were the Beaufort family, which played a major role in the Wars of the Roses. Henry VII, who became King of England in 1485, derived his claim to the throne from his mother Lady Margaret Beaufort, who was a great-granddaughter of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford.

    The children of Paganus Ruet (argued by modern-day genealogist Lindsay Brook and followed by biographer Alison Weir as "probably christened as Gilles") included Katherine, her sister Philippa, a son, Walter, and the eldest sister, Isabel (also called Elizabeth) de Roet (Canoness of the convent of St. Waudru's, Mons, c. 1366). Katherine is generally held to have been his youngest child. Weir argues that Philippa was the junior and that both were children of a second marriage.

    Paon de Ruet is found early, in a legal document, in the form Paganus de Rodio — referring to Rodium, the mediaeval Latin form corresponding to the Roeulx, or Le Rœulx, the name of a town of 3000 inhabitants, 8 miles north-east of Mons, on the highway leading from Mons to Nivelle located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. Paon de Ruet may have been impelled to seek his fortune in England by the recital of the exploits of Fastre de Ruet, who accompanied John of Beaumont in 1326, when, with three hundred followers, he went to assist the English against the Scots. Fastre was the younger brother of the last lord of Roeulx descended from the Counts of Hainault. He and his brother Eustace fell into pecuniary straits, and were obliged to alienate their landed possessions. Fastre died in 1331, and was buried in the abbey church of Roeulx, while his brother Eustace survived till 1336. Paon was, like Fastre, a younger brother — possibly of a collateral line.

    As the king was in the North, a number of the Flemings returned home without proceeding further than London, but Paon de Ruet was one of those who remained in England in the retinue of Philippa of Hainaut, accompanying the young queen in her departure from Valenciennes to join her youthful husband Edward III in England at the close of 1327. His name does not appear in the list of knights who accompanied the queen from Hainault, however, described by Froissart to be among additional knights referred to as 'pluissier jone esquier'. Speght (1598) prefixed to his history a genealogical tree which began: 'Paganus de Rouet Hannoniensis, aliter dictus Guien Rex Armorum' describing de Ruet as Guienne King of Arms. Upon the coronation of Henry the Fifth (1413), Sir William Bruges held the same title in the fifth year of the King's reign (Edmondson 1. 104) and the same monarch was accompanied to France before Agincourt by a herald bearing that name (Wylie, Reign of Henry the Fifth 1. 493).

    In 1347, Ruet was sent to the Siege of Calais, and was one of two knights deputed by Queen Philippa to conduct out of town the citizens whom she had saved.

    Katherine's birth date in 1350 is assumed to be 25 November, as that is the feast day of her patron, St. Catherine of Alexandria. The family returned to England in 1351, and it is likely that Katherine stayed there during her father's continued travels.

    In about 1366, at St Clement Danes Church, Westminster, Katherine married "Hugh" Ottes Swynford, a knight from the manor of Kettlethorpe in Lincolnshire, the son of Thomas Swynford by his marriage to Nicole Druel. She had the following children by him: Blanche (born 1 May 1367), Thomas (21 September 1368 – 1432), and possibly Margaret Swynford (born about 1369), later recorded as a nun of the prestigious Barking Abbey nominated by command of King Richard II.

    Katherine became attached to the household of John of Gaunt as governess to his daughters Philippa of Lancaster and Elizabeth of Lancaster. The ailing duchess Blanche had Katherine's daughter Blanche (her namesake) placed within her own daughters' chambers and afforded the same luxuries as her daughters; additionally, John of Gaunt stood as godfather to the child. Katherine's sister Philippa, a lady of Queen Philippa's household, married the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, whose poem The Book of the Duchess commemorated Blanche's death by plague in 1369. Speght (1598) said of Philippa's marriage: 'He [Chaucer] matched in marriage with a Knight's daughter of Henault, called Paon de Ruet, king of Armes, as by this draught appeareth, taken out of the office of the Heraldes.' M Speght's authority Stow (1592) recorded: 'He [Chaucer] had to wife the daughter of Paine Roete alias Gwine [ed. 1631, Guian] king at armes, by whom he had issue Tho. Chaucer.'

    Some time after Blanche's death in 1369 but before the Duke's second marriage, Katherine and John of Gaunt entered into a love affair which would entail four children being born out of wedlock to the couple and would endure as a lifelong relationship. On 13 January 1396, two years after the death of the Duke's second wife, Infanta Constance of Castile, Katherine and John of Gaunt married in Lincoln Cathedral. Records of their marriage kept in the Tower and elsewhere list: 'John of Ghaunt, Duke of Lancaster, married Katharine daughter of Guyon King of Armes in the time of K. Edward the 3, and Geffrey Chaucer her sister'.
    On John of Gaunt's death, Katherine became known as dowager Duchess of Lancaster. She outlived him by four years, dying on 10 May 1403.

    Family tombs
    Katherine's tomb and that of her daughter, Joan Beaufort, are under a carved-stone canopy in the sanctuary of Lincoln Cathedral. Joan's is the smaller of the two tombs; both were decorated with brass plates — full-length representations of them on the tops, and small shields bearing coats of arms around the sides and on the top — but those were damaged or destroyed in 1644 during the English Civil War. A hurried drawing by Dugdale records their appearance.

    Also defaced in 1644, and removed of any precious or semi-precious metals, was the tomb of Katherine's father Paon de Ruet in Old St Paul's, near Sir John Beauchamp's tomb (commonly called Duke Humphrey's). It was recorded that "Once a fair marble stone inlaid all over with brass, nothing but the heads of a few brazen nails are at this day visible, previously engraven with the representation and coat of arms of the party defunct, thus much of a mangled funeral inscription was of late times perspicuous to be read". It, along with the tombs of many others, including John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster's, were completely destroyed in the Great Fire of London. The former inscription regarding Paganus Roet (styled as 'Guinne', 'Guyenne', or 'Gwinne' the king at arms or master of arms, often shortened simply to the frank reference to 'armes' as 'Guiles' or 'Giles') was as follows:

    " Hic Jacet Paganus Roet Miles Guyenne Rex Armorum Pater Catherine Ducisse Lancastrie."
    By 1658, viewed without its brass plate and effigies, this tomb was described by Dugdale as: "In australi ala, navi Ecclesue opposita (prope tumulum D. Johannis de Bellocampo), sub lapide marmoreo, jacet Paganus Roet, Rex Armorum tempore Regis Edwardi tertii".

    Children and descendants
    Katherine's children by Hugh Swynford were
    Margaret Swynford (born c. 1363), became a nun at the prestigious Barking Abbey in 1377 with help from her future stepfather John of Gaunt, where she lived the religious life with her cousin Elizabeth Chaucer, daughter of the famous Geoffrey Chaucer and Katherine's sister Philippa de Roet.
    Sir Thomas Swynford (1367–1432), born in Lincoln while his father Sir Hugh Swynford was away on a campaign with John of Gaunt in Castile fighting for Peter of Castile.
    Blanche Swynford, named after the Duchess of Lancaster and a godchild of John of Gaunt. (If, as suggested, she was born after 1375, this date is too late for her to have been fathered by Hugh Swynford, who died in 1371/2).

    In 1846 Thomas Stapleton suggested that there was a further daughter named Dorothy Swynford, born c. 1366, who married Thomas Thimelby of Poolham near Horncastle, Lincolnshire, Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1380, but there is no current evidence to support this claim.

    Katherine's children by John of Gaunt were:
    John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset (1373–1410)
    Henry Beaufort, Cardinal (1375–1447)
    Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter (1377–1426)
    Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (1379–1440)

    The descendants of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt are significant in English and Scottish history. Their four children had been given the surname "Beaufort" and with the approval of King Richard and the Pope were legitimated as adults by their parents' marriage in 1393. Despite this, the Beauforts were barred from inheriting the throne of England by a clause in the legitimation act inserted by their half-brother, King Henry IV, although modern scholarship has disputed the authority of a monarch to alter an existing parliamentary statute. This provision was later revoked by King Edward VI, placing Katherine's descendants (including himself) back within the legitimate line of inheritance; the Tudor dynasty was directly descended from John and Katherine's eldest child, John Beaufort, great-grandfather of Henry VII, who based his claim to the throne on his mother's descent from John of Gaunt, a son of Edward III. John Beaufort also had a daughter named Joan Beaufort, who married King James I of Scotland and thus was an ancestress of the House of Stuart. John and Katherine's daughter, Joan Beaufort, was grandmother of the English kings Edward IV and Richard III, whom Henry VII defeated at the Battle of Bosworth; Henry's claim was strengthened by marrying Elizabeth of York, eldest daughter of Edward IV. It was also through Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmoreland that the sixth queen of Henry VIII, Catherine Parr, descended. John of Gaunt's son — Katherine's stepson — became Henry IV after deposing Richard II (who was imprisoned and died in Pontefract Castle, where Katherine's son, Thomas Swynford, was constable and is said to have starved Richard to death for his stepbrother). John of Gaunt's daughter by his first marriage to Blanche of Lancaster, Philippa of Lancaster, was great-great-grandmother to Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII and mother of Mary I of England. John of Gaunt's child by his second wife Constance, Catherine (or Catalina), was great-grandmother of Catherine of Aragon as well.

    In literature
    Katherine Swynford is the subject of Anya Seton's novel Katherine (published in 1954) and of Alison Weir's 2008 biography Katherine Swynford: The Story of John of Gaunt and his Scandalous Duchess (ISBN 0-224-06321-9). Swynford is also the subject of Jeannette Lucraft's historical biography Katherine Swynford: The History of a Medieval Mistress. This book seeks to establish Swynford as a powerful figure in the politics of fourteenth-century England and an example of a woman's ability to manipulate contemporary social mores for her own interests.2,5

Family: John of Gaunt (?) Duke of Lancaster b. Mar 1340

  • Last Edited: 15 May 2013

Edward III (?) King of England1

M, #7973, b. 13 November 1312, d. 21 June 1377

King Edward III of England
Effigy in Westminster Abbey

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Edward III (?) King of England was born on 13 November 1312 in Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, England.3
  • Marriage*: He married Phillipe de Hainaut Queen Consort of England, daughter of Guillaume V (III) (?) Count of Hainault, Holland & Zealand and Jeanne de Valois, on 24 January 1328 in York Minster, York, Yorkshire, England.3
  • Death*: Edward III (?) King of England died on 21 June 1377 in Sheen Palace, Surrey, England, at age 64.2
  • Burial*: He was buried after 21 June 1377 in Westminster Abbey, London, Greater London, England.2
  • Biography*: Edward III, King of England was born on 13 November 1312 at Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, England. He was the son of Edward II, King of England and Isabelle de France. He married Philippe de Hainaut, daughter of Guillaume V (III), Comte de Hainaut, Hollande et Zélande and Jeanne de Valois, on 24 January 1328 at York Minster, York, Yorkshire, England. He died on 21 June 1377 at age 64 at Sheen Palace, Surrey, England, from a stroke. He was buried at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.

    He was created 1st Earl of Chester [England] on 24 November 1312. He gained the title of Comte de Ponthieu et Montreuil [France] on 2 September 1325. He was created Duc d'Aquitaine [France] on 10 September 1325. He gained the title of King Edward III of England on 25 January 1327. He was crowned King of England on 1 February 1328 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England, and styled 'Rex Angliae, Dominus Hiberniae et Dux Aquitaniae.9' On 20 October 1330 he assumed personal rule over England, after overthrowing the Regents, his mother and Roger Mortimer. In January 1340 he claimed the title of King of France, which started the Hundred Years War.5

    Edward's reign lasted 50 years. He was only 14 on his accession to the throne and the country was ruled by his mother Isabella and her lover Robert Mortimer. When he was 17 Edward took control and had Mortimer hanged and his mother imprisoned. He organised a professional army including trained long bow archers. In 1340 the English Navy beat the French thus winning control of the Channel and in 1346 he sailed with his son the Black Prince to start the 100 Years War in France. On Monday evening on 26 August 1346 he fought a French army three times the size of his at Crecy and the battle raged through the night into the next day. The French were annihilated and Edward followed this by laying siege to Calais and taking the town within 12 months. Gunpowder was used for the first time in this campaign but the real winner was the English long bow. At home, the Black Death raged and about 500,000 to 800,000 people died in England. On 19 Sept 1356 the Black Prince and his brother John of Gaunt slaughtered a French army twice their size at Poitiers. Under Edward, the House of Commons was developed as a means of raising taxes. Among institutions, justices of the peace were so titled in 1360, and Edward founded the Order of the Garter (1348). His parliaments were first divided into Lords and Commons (1332) and became fixed at Westminster, using English from 1362. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.2

Family: Phillipe de Hainaut Queen Consort of England b. 24 Jun 1311, d. 15 Aug 1369

  • Last Edited: 15 Feb 2016


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  3. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Phillipe de Hainaut Queen Consort of England1

F, #7974, b. 24 June 1311, d. 15 August 1369

Philippa of Hainault
Queen consort of England

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Phillipe de Hainaut Queen Consort of England was born on 24 June 1311 in Valenciennes, Artois, France.3
  • Marriage*: She married Edward III (?) King of England, son of Edward II (?) King of England and Isabel de France Queen of England, on 24 January 1328 in York Minster, York, Yorkshire, England.4
  • Death*: Phillipe de Hainaut Queen Consort of England died on 15 August 1369 in Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, England, at age 58; from a dropsy-like illness.2
  • Burial*: She was buried after 15 August 1369 in Westminster Abbey, London, Greater London, England.2
  • Biography*: Philippa of Hainault, or, Philippe (d'Avesnes) de Hainaut (24 June 1314 – 15 August 1369) was the Queen consort of King Edward III of England. Edward, Duke of Guyenne, her future husband, promised in 1326 to marry her within the following two years. She was married to Edward, first by proxy, when Edward dispatched the Bishop of Coventry "to marry her in his name" in Valenciennes (second city in importance of the county of Hainaut) in October 1327. The marriage was celebrated formally in York Minster on 24 January 1328, some months after Edward's accession to the throne of England. In August 1328, he also fixed his wife’s dowry.

    Philippa acted as regent on several occasions when her husband was away from his kingdom and she often accompanied him on his expeditions to Scotland, France, and Flanders. Philippa won much popularity with the English people for her kindness and compassion, which were demonstrated in 1347 when she successfully persuaded King Edward to spare the lives of the Burghers of Calais. It was this popularity that helped maintain peace in England throughout Edward's long reign. The eldest of her fourteen children was Edward, the Black Prince, who became a renowned military leader. Philippa died at the age of fifty-five from an illness closely related to dropsy. The Queen's College, Oxford was founded in her honour.

    Philippa was born in Valenciennes, county of Hainaut, in the Low Countries, a daughter of William I, Count of Hainaut, nicknamed the Good, and Joan of Valois, the granddaughter of Philip III of France. She was one of eight children and the second of five daughters. Her eldest sister Margaret married Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor in 1324; and in 1345, she became the suo jure Countess of Hainaut upon the death of their brother William in battle. William II, Count of Hainaut, nicknamed the Audacious, was also possessor of the counties of Zealand and Holland as well as of the seigniory of Frieze: these vacant inheritances were devolved to Margaret after agreement between Philippa and her sister. Edward III of England, however, in 1364-65, in the name of his wife Philippa, demanded the return of Hainaut and other inheritances which had been given over to the Dukes of Bavaria–Straubing. He was not successful, as it was the custom in these regions to favour male heirs.

    Philippa was interested in learning and was as avid a reader as her mother, Joan of Valois, who introduced French literary culture to the court of Hainaut.

    King Edward II had decided that an alliance with Flanders would benefit England and sent Bishop Stapledon of Exeter on the Continent as an ambassador. On his journey, he crossed into the county of Hainaut to inspect the daughters of Count William of Hainaut, in order to determine which daughter would be the most suitable as an eventual bride for Prince Edward. The bishop's report to the king as regards Philippa (who was about eight years old at that time) reads in part: "The lady ..... has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown. Her head is clean-shaped; her forehead high and broad, and standing somewhat forward. Her face narrows between the eyes, and the lower part of her face is still more narrow and slender than the forehead. Her eyes are blackish-brown and deep. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that it is somewhat broad at the tip and flattened, yet it is no snub-nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full, and especially the lower lip. Her teeth which have fallen and grown again are white enough, but the rest are not so white. The lower teeth project a little beyond the upper; yet this is but little seen. Her ears and chin are comely enough. Her neck, shoulders, and all her body and lower limbs are reasonably well shapen; all her limbs are well set and unmaimed; and nought is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is of brown skin all over like her father; and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us." Four years later Philippa was betrothed to Prince Edward when, in the summer of 1326, Queen Isabella arrived at the Hainaut court seeking aid from Count William to depose King Edward. Prince Edward had accompanied his mother to Hainaut where she arranged the betrothal in exchange for assistance from the count. As the couple were second cousins, a Papal dispensation was required; and it was sent from Pope John XXII at Avignon in September 1327. Philippa and her retinue arrived in England in December 1327 escorted by her uncle, John of Hainaut. On 23 December she reached London where a "rousing reception was accorded her".

    Queen of England
    Philippa married Edward at York Minster, on 24 January 1328, eleven months after his accession to the English throne; although, the de facto rulers of the kingdom were his mother, Queen Dowager Isabella and her avaricious lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, who jointly acted as his regents. Soon after their marriage the couple retired to live at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire. Unlike many of her predecessors, Philippa did not alienate the English people by retaining her foreign retinue upon her marriage or by bringing large numbers of foreigners to the English court. As Isabella did not wish to relinquish her own status, Philippa's coronation was postponed for two years. She eventually was crowned queen on 4 March 1330 at Westminster Abbey when she was almost six months pregnant; and she gave birth to her first son, Edward, the following June just nine days before her sixteenth birthday.

    In October 1330, King Edward commenced his personal rule when he staged a coup and ordered the arrest of his mother and Mortimer. Shortly afterward, the latter was executed for treason, and Queen Dowager Isabella was sent to Castle Rising in Norfolk, where she spent the remainder of her life.

    Joshua Barnes, a medieval writer, said "Queen Philippa was a very good and charming person that exceeded most ladies for sweetness of nature and virtuous disposition." Chronicler Jean Froissart described her as "The most gentle Queen, most liberal, and most courteous that ever was Queen in her days."

    Philippa accompanied Edward on his expeditions to Scotland, and the European continent in his early campaigns of the Hundred Years War where she won acclaim for her gentle nature and compassion. She is best remembered as the kind woman who, in 1347, persuaded her husband to spare the lives of the Burghers of Calais, whom he had planned to execute as an example to the townspeople following his successful siege of that city.

    She acted as regent in England on several occasions when her husband was away from his kingdom. She also influenced the king to take an interest in the nation's commercial expansion. Philippa was a patron of the chronicler Jean Froissart, and she owned several illuminated manuscripts, one of which currently is housed in the national library in Paris.

    Later years and death
    Always buxom and matronly, Philippa's figure had become stout in her later years. She had given birth to fourteen children and outlived nine of them. Three of her children died of the Black Death in 1348.
    On 15 August 1369, Philippa died of an illness similar to dropsy in Windsor Castle at the age of fifty-five. She was given a state funeral six months later on 29 January 1370 and interred at Westminster Abbey. Her tomb, placed on the south side of the Chapel of Edward the Confessor, displays her alabaster effigy which was executed by sculptor Jean de Liège.

    By all accounts, her forty-year marriage to Edward had been happy, despite his adulterous affair with her lady-in-waiting, Alice Perrers, during the latter part of it.

    Philippa and Edward had thirteen children, including five sons who lived into adulthood and the rivalry of whose numerous descendants would, in the fifteenth century, bring about the long-running and bloody dynastic wars known as the Wars of the Roses.
    Edward, the Black Prince (1330 – 1376)
    Isabella of England (1332 – 1379)
    Joan of England (1335 – 1348)
    William of Hatfield (16 February - 8 July 1337)
    Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence (1338 – 1368)
    John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (1340 – 1399)
    Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York (1341 – 1402)
    Blanche (1342 – 1342)
    Mary (1344 – 1362)
    Margaret (1346 – 1361)
    Thomas of Windsor (1347 – 1348)
    William of Windsor (24 June 1348 – 5 September 1348)
    Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester (1355 – 1397)

    Through her children, Philippa reintroduced the bloodline of an earlier English king, Stephen, into the royal family. She was descended from Stephen through Matilda of Brabant, the wife of Floris IV, Count of Holland. Their daughter, Adelaide of Holland, married John I of Avesnes, Count of Hainaut, Philippa's paternal great-grandfather. Matilda of Brabant in turn was the great-granddaughter of Stephen through her mother Matilda of Boulogne, the wife of Henry I, Duke of Brabant.

    Philippa was also a descendant of Harold II of England through his daughter Gytha of Wessex, married to Vladimir II Monomakh of Kiev. His bloodline, however, had been reintroduced to the English royal family by Philippa's mother-in-law, Isabella of France, who was a granddaughter of Isabella of Aragon, the wife of Philip III of France. Isabella of Aragon's mother, Violant of Hungary, was a daughter of Andrew II of Hungary, a grandson of Géza II by Euphrosyne of Kiev, herself a granddaughter of Gytha. She was matrilineally descended from Elizabeth the Cuman (born before 1241), a daughter of Kuthen, Khan of the Cumens, thus bringing Central Asian genes into the English royal line.

    The Queen's College, Oxford is named after Philippa. It was founded in 1341 by one of her chaplains, Robert de Eglesfield, in her honour.

    Philippa also is known to be the "most royal" Queen consort of England due to four of her great-great-grandfathers having been kings of France, Aragon, Naples, and Hungary.5

Family: Edward III (?) King of England b. 13 Nov 1312, d. 21 Jun 1377

  • Last Edited: 9 Nov 2015

Edward II (?) King of England1

M, #7975, b. 25 April 1284, d. 21 September 1327

Edward II, King of England

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Edward II (?) King of England was born on 25 April 1284 in Caernarfon Castle, Caernarfon, Caernarfonshire, Wales*.2
  • Marriage*: He married Isabel de France Queen of England, daughter of Phillip IV (?) King of France and Joan I (?) Queen of Navarre, between 25 January 1307 and 1308 in Boulogne Cathedral, Bologne, Champagne, France.2
  • Death*: Edward II (?) King of England died on 21 September 1327 in Berkley Castle, Berkley, Gloucestershire, England, at age 43; Murdered with a red-hot poker in the bowels, probably done on the orders of Roger Mortimer.2
  • Biography*: Edward II, King of England was born on 25 April 1284 at Caernarfon Castle, Caernarfon, Caernarvonshire, Wales. He was the son of Edward I 'Longshanks', King of England and Eleanor de Castilla, Comtesse de Ponthieu. He married Isabelle de France, daughter of Philippe IV, Roi de France and Jeanne I, Reina de Navarre, on 25 January 1307/8 at Boulogne Cathedral, Bologne, Champagne, France He died on 21 September 1327 at age 43 at Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England, murdered with a red-hot poker in the bowels, probably done on the orders of Roger Mortimer.5 He was buried at Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England.

    He was also known as Edward of Caernarvon. He succeeded to the title of Comte de Ponthieu et Montreuil on 28 November 1290. He was created Prince of Wales on 7 February 1301. He was created 1st Earl of Chester [England] on 7 February 1301. He was created Comte de Ponthieu et Montreuil.1 He was created Duc d'Aquitaine in May 1306. He gained the title of King Edward II of England on 7 July 1307. He was crowned King of England on 24 February 1308 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England, and styled 'Rex Angliae, Dominus Hiberniae et Dux Aquitaniae.6' He was deposed as King of England on 20 January 1327. He abdicated as King of England on 25 January 1327.

    He was the first English prince to bear the title 'Prince of Wales'. He married Isabella, daughter of King Philip IV of France. All the evidence indicates that Edward was bisexual. His first close advisor and unnatural friend was Piers Gaveson who was beheaded by the opposing barons at Deddington, Oxon in 1312. In 1314 Edward marched against the Scots and on 24 June of that year his large army was massacred by Robert Bruce at Bannockburn, gaining independance for Scotland. Thomas, the Earl of Lancaster, the leader of the barons opposing Edward, gained control for a time but Edward found new favourites in the Despensers, and Thomas was overcome in 1321 and subsequently put to death. In 1324 Edward's wife, Isabella, returned to France and then with a Welsh Marcher Lord, Roger Mortimer, they assembled followers and in 1327 set sail and landed in Suffolk. Edward was captured and deposed and the Despensers were hanged. Edward was imprisoned at Berkley Castle, Gloucestershire and attempts were first made to starve him to death. Then an order was issued by Isabella's followers that he should be killed without a mark being left on his body. At Berkley Castle, on Monday 21 September 1327, he was reputedly disembowelled with a red hot iron rod. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.2

Family: Isabel de France Queen of England b. bt 1292 - 1295, d. 22 Aug 1358

  • Last Edited: 13 Dec 2015


  1. [S742] The Peerage, online,
  2. [S742] The Peerage, online,

Isabel de France Queen of England1

F, #7976, b. between 1292 and 1295, d. 22 August 1358

Isabella of France
A 14th-century depiction of Isabella
Queen consort of England

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Isabel de France Queen of England was born between 1292 and 1295 in Paris, France.3
  • Marriage*: She married Edward II (?) King of England, son of Edward I 'Long Shanks' (?) King of England and Eleanor of Castile Countesse de Ponthieu, Queen Consort of England, between 25 January 1307 and 1308 in Boulogne Cathedral, Bologne, Champagne, France.4
  • Death*: Isabel de France Queen of England died on 22 August 1358 in Castle Rising, Norfolk, England.2
  • Burial*: She was buried after 22 August 1358 in Grey Friars Church, Greenwich, London, Greater London, England.2
  • Biography*: Isabelle de France also went by the nick-name of Isabelle 'le Bel' (or in English, 'the Fair'). As a result of her marriage, Isabelle de France was styled as Queen Consort Isabella of England on 25 January 1307/8. She held the office of Regent of England between 1327 and 1330, along with her lover, Roger Mortimer. She and Roger de Mortimer, 1st Earl of March were associated between 1327 and 1330.

    Isabella of France (1295 – 22 August 1358), sometimes described as the She-wolf of France, was Queen consort of England as the wife of Edward II of England. She was the youngest surviving child and only surviving daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre. Queen Isabella was notable at the time for her beauty, diplomatic skills and intelligence.

    Isabella arrived in England at the age of twelve during a period of growing conflict between the king and the powerful baronial factions. Her new husband was notorious for the patronage he lavished on his favourite, Piers Gaveston, but the queen supported Edward during these early years, forming a working relationship with Piers and using her relationship with the French monarchy to bolster her own authority and power. After the death of Gaveston at the hands of the barons in 1312, however, Edward later turned to a new favourite, Hugh Despenser the younger, and attempted to take revenge on the barons, resulting in the Despenser War and a period of internal repression across England. Isabella could not tolerate Hugh Despenser and by 1325 her marriage to Edward was at a breaking point.

    Travelling to France under the guise of a diplomatic mission, Isabella began an affair with Roger Mortimer, and the two agreed to depose Edward and oust the Despenser family. The Queen returned to England with a small mercenary army in 1326; moving rapidly across England, the King's forces deserted him. Isabella deposed Edward, becoming regent on behalf of her son, Edward III. Many have believed that Isabella then arranged the murder of Edward II. Isabella and Mortimer's regime began to crumble, partly because of her lavish spending, but also because the Queen successfully, but unpopularly, resolved long-running problems such as the wars with Scotland.

    In 1330, Isabella's son Edward III deposed Mortimer in turn, taking back his authority and executing Isabella's lover. The Queen was not punished, however, and lived for many years in considerable style, although not at Edward III's court, until her death in 1358. Isabella became a popular "femme fatale" figure in plays and literature over the years, usually portrayed as a beautiful but cruel, manipulative figure.

    Early life and marriage: 1295–1308
    Isabella was born in Paris on an uncertain date – on the basis of the chroniclers and the eventual date of her marriage, she was probably born between May and November 1295. She is described as born in 1292 in the Annals of Wigmore, and Piers Langtoft agrees, claiming that she was 7 years old in 1299. The French chroniclers Guillaume de Nangis and Thomas Walsingham describe her as 12 years old at the time of her marriage in January 1308, placing her birth between the January of 1295 and of 1296. A Papal dispensation by Clement V in November 1305 permitted her immediate marriage by proxy, despite the fact that she was probably only 10 years old. Since she had to reach the canonical age of 7 before her betrothal in May 1303, and that of 12 before her marriage in January 1308, the evidence suggests that she was born between May and November 1295. Her parents were King Philip IV of France and Queen Joan I of Navarre; her brothers Louis, Philip and Charles became kings of France.

    Isabella was born into a royal family that ruled the most powerful state in Western Europe. Her father, King Philip, known as "le Bel" (the Fair) because of his good looks, was a strangely unemotional man; contemporaries described him as "neither a man nor a beast, but a statue";[3] modern historians have noted that he "cultivated a reputation for Christian kingship and showed few weaknesses of the flesh". Philip built up centralised royal power in France, engaging in a sequence of conflicts to expand or consolidate French authority across the region, but remained chronically short of money throughout his reign. Indeed, he appeared almost obsessed about building up wealth and lands, something that his daughter was also accused of in later life. Isabella's mother died when Isabella was still quite young; some contemporaries suspected Philip IV of her murder, albeit probably incorrectly.

    Isabella was brought up in and around the Château du Louvre and the Palais de la Cité in Paris. Isabella was cared for by Théophania de Saint-Pierre, her nurse, given a good education and taught to read, developing a love of books. As was customary for the period, all of Philip's children were married young for political benefit. Isabella was promised in marriage by her father to King Edward II of England whilst she was still an infant, with the intention to resolve the conflicts between France and England over the latter's continental possession of Gascony and claims to Anjou, Normandy and Aquitaine. Pope Boniface VIII had urged the marriage as early as 1298 but was delayed by wrangling over the terms of the marriage contract. The English king, Edward I attempted to break the engagement several times for political advantage, and only after he died in 1307 did the wedding proceed.

    Isabella and Edward were finally married at Boulogne-sur-Mer on 25 January 1308. Isabella's wardrobe gives some indications of her wealth and style – she had gowns of baudekyn, velvet, taffeta and cloth, along with numerous furs; she had over 72 headdresses and coifs; she brought with her two gold crowns, gold and silver dinnerware and 419 yards of linen. At the time of her marriage, Isabella was probably about twelve and was described by Geoffrey of Paris as "the beauty of beauties... in the kingdom if not in all Europe." This description was probably not simply flattery by a chronicler, since both Isabella's father and brothers were considered very handsome men by contemporaries, and her husband was to nickname her "Isabella the Fair". Isabella was said to resemble her father, and not her mother, queen regnant of Navarre, a plump, plain woman. This indicates that Isabella was slender and pale-skinned, although the fashion at the time was for blonde, slightly full-faced women, and Isabella may well have followed this stereotype instead. Throughout her career, Isabella was noted as charming and diplomatic, with a particular skill at convincing people to follow her courses of action. Unusual for the medieval period, contemporaries also commented on her high intelligence.

    As Edward's Queen
    As Edward II's queen, the young Isabella faced numerous challenges. Edward was handsome, but highly unconventional, possibly forming close romantic attachments to first Piers Gaveston and then Hugh Despenser the younger. Edward found himself at odds with the barons, too, in particular the Lancastrians under Thomas of Lancaster, whilst continuing the war against the Scots that he had inherited from Edward I. Using her own supporters at court, and the patronage of her French family, Isabella attempted to find a political path through these challenges; she successfully formed an alliance with Gaveston, but after his death at the hands of the barons her position grew increasingly precarious. Edward began to take revenge on his enemies, using an ever more brutal alliance with the Despenser family, in particular his new favourite, Hugh Despenser the younger. By 1326 Isabella found herself at increasing odds with both Edward and Hugh, ultimately resulting in Isabella's own bid for power and the invasion of England.

    The fall of Gaveston: 1308–12
    Isabella's new husband, Edward was an unusual character by medieval standards. Edward looked the part of a Plantagenet king to perfection. He was tall, athletic, and wildly popular at the beginning of his reign. Edward, however, rejected most of the traditional pursuits of a king for the period – jousting, hunting and warfare – and instead enjoyed music, poetry and many rural crafts. Furthermore, there is the question of Edward's sexuality. He can be considered to have been bisexual, in a period when homosexuality of any sort was considered a very serious crime, but there is no complicit evidence which comments directly on his sexual orientation. Contemporary chroniclers made much of his close affinity with a succession of male favourites; some condemned Edward for loving them "beyond measure" and "uniquely", others explicitly referring to a "illicit and sinful union". Isabella did, however, have four children by Edward, leading to an opinion amongst historians that Edward's affairs with his male favourites may have been platonic.

    When Isabella first arrived in England following her marriage, her husband was already in the midst of a relationship with Piers Gaveston, an "arrogant, ostentatious" soldier, with a "reckless and headstrong" personality that clearly appealed to Edward.[18] Isabella, then aged twelve, was effectively sidelined by the pair. Edward chose to sit with Gaveston rather than Isabella at their wedding celebration, causing grave offence to her uncles Louis, Count of Évreux, and Charles, Count of Valois, and then refused to grant her either her own lands or her own household. Edward also gave Isabella's own jewelry to Gaveston, which he wore publicly. It took the intervention of Isabella's father, Philip IV, before Edward began to provide for her more appropriately.

    Isabella's relationship with Gaveston was a complex one. Baronial opposition to Gaveston, championed by Thomas of Lancaster, was increasing, and Philip IV began to covertly fund this grouping, using Isabella and her household as intermediaries. Edward was forced to exile Gaveston to Ireland for a period, and began to show Isabella much greater respect and assigning her significant lands and patronage; in turn, Philip ceased his support for the barons. Gaveston eventually returned from Ireland, and by 1309–11 the three seemed to be co-existing together relatively comfortably. Indeed, Gaveston's key enemy, Thomas of Lancaster, considered Isabella to be an ally of Gaveston's. Isabella had begun to build up her own supporters at court, principally the de Beaumont family, itself opposed to the Lancastrians; originating, like her, from France, the senior member of the family, Isabella de Vesci, had been a close confidant of Queen Eleanor; supported by her brother, Henry de Beaumont, Isabella de Vesci became a close friend of Isabella in turn.

    During 1311, however, Edward conducted a failed campaign against the Scots, during which Isabella and he only just escaped capture. In the aftermath, the barons rose up, signing the Ordinances of 1311, which promised action against Gaveston and expelled Isabella de Vesci and Henry de Beaumont from court. 1312 saw a descent into civil war against the king and his lover – Isabella stood with Edward, sending angry letters to her uncles d'Évreux and de Valois asking for support. Edward left Isabella, rather against her will, at Tynemouth Priory in Northumberland whilst he unsuccessfully attempted to fight the barons. The campaign was a disaster, and whilst Edward escaped, Gaveston found himself stranded at Scarborough Castle, where his baronial enemies first surrounded and captured him. Guy de Beauchamp and Thomas of Lancaster ensured Gaveston's execution as he was being taken south to rejoin Edward. Isabella's rival for Edward's affections was gone, but the situation in England was deeply unstable.

    Tensions grow: 1312–21
    Tensions mounted steadily over the decade. In 1312, Isabella gave birth to the future Edward III, but by the end of the year Edward's court was beginning to change. Edward was still relying upon his French relatives – Isabella's uncle, Louis d'Évreux, for example had been sent from Paris to assist him – but Hugh Despenser the elder now formed part of the inner circle, marking the beginning of the Despensers' increased prominence at Edward's court. The Despensers were opposed to both the Lancastrians and their other allies in the Welsh Marches, making an easy alliance with Edward, who sought revenge for the death of Gaveston.
    In 1313, Isabella travelled to Paris with Edward to garner further French support, which resulted in the Tour de Nesle Affair. The journey was a pleasant one, with lots of festivities, although Isabella was injured when her tent burned down. During the visit, however, Louis and Charles had had a satirical puppet show put on for their guests, and after this Isabella had given new embroidered purses both to her brothers and to their wives. Isabella and Edward then returned to England with new assurances of French support against the English barons. Later in the year, however, Isabella and Edward held a large dinner in London to celebrate their return and Isabella apparently noticed that the purses she had given to her sisters-in-law were now being carried by two Norman knights, Gautier and Philippe d'Aunay. Isabella concluded that the pair must have been carrying on an illicit affair, and appears to have informed her father of this during her next visit to France in 1314. The consequence of this was the Tour de Nesle Affair in Paris, which led to legal action against all three of Isabella's sisters-in-law; Blanche of Burgundy and Margaret of Burgundy were imprisoned for life for adultery. Joan II, Countess of Burgundy was imprisoned for a year. Isabella's reputation in France suffered somewhat as a result of her perceived role in the affair.

    In the north, however, the situation was turning worse. Edward attempted to quash the Scots in a fresh campaign in 1314, resulting in the disastrous defeat at the battle of Bannockburn. Edward was blamed by the barons for the catastrophic failure of the campaign. Thomas of Lancaster reacted to the defeats in Scotland by taking increased power in England and turning against Isabella, cutting off funds and harassing her household. To make matters worse, the "Great Famine" descended on England during 1316–7, causing widespread loss of life and financial problems.

    Despite Isabella giving birth to her second son, John, in 1316, Edward's position was precarious. Indeed, John Deydras, a royal Pretender, appeared in Oxford, claiming to have been switched with Edward at birth, and to be the real king of England himself. Given Edward's unpopularity, the rumours spread considerably before Deydras' eventual execution, and appear to have greatly upset Isabella. Isabella responded by deepening her alliance with Lancaster's enemy Henry de Beaumont and by taking up an increased role in government herself, including attending council meetings and acquiring increased lands. Henry's sister, Isabella de Vesci, continued to remain a close adviser to the Queen. James Douglas, war leader under Robert I of Scotland, made a bid to capture Isabella personally in 1319, almost capturing her at York – Isabella only just escaped. Suspicions fell on Lancaster, and one of Edward's knights, Edmund Darel, was arrested on charges of having betrayed her location, but the charges were essentially unproven. In 1320, Isabella accompanied Edward to France, to try and convince her brother, Charles IV, to provide fresh support to crush the English barons.

    Meanwhile, Hugh de Despenser the younger became an increasing favourite of Isabella's husband, and was widely believed to have begun a sexual relationship with him around this time. Hugh was the same age as Edward. His father, Hugh the elder, had supported Edward and Gaveston a few years previously. The Despensers were bitter enemies of Lancaster, and with Edward's support began to increase their power base in the Welsh Marches, in the process making enemies of Roger Mortimer de Chirk and his nephew, Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, their rival Marcher lords. Whilst Isabella had been able to work with Gaveston, Edward's previous favourite, it became increasingly clear that Hugh the younger and Isabella could not work out a similar compromise. Unfortunately for Isabella, she was still estranged from Lancaster's rival faction, giving her little room to maneouvre. In 1321, Lancaster's alliance moved against the Despensers, sending troops into London and demanding their exile. Aymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, a moderate baron with strong French links, asked Isabella to intervene in an attempt to prevent war; Isabella publicly went down on her knees to appeal to Edward to exile the Despensers, providing him with a face-saving excuse to do so, but Edward intended to arrange their return at the first opportunity.

    The return of the Despensers, 1321-6
    Despite the momentary respite delivered by Isabella, by the autumn of 1321, the tensions between the two factions of Edward, Isabella and the Despenser, opposing the baronial opposition led by Thomas of Lancaster, were extremely high, with forces still mobilised across the country. At this point, Isabella undertook a pilgrimage to Canterbury, during which she left the traditional route to stop at Leeds Castle, a fortification held by Bartholomew de Badlesmere, steward of the King's household who had by 1321 joined the ranks of Edward's opponents. Historians believe that the pilgrimage was a deliberate act by Isabella on Edward's behalf to create a casus belli. Lord Badlesmere was away at the time, having left his wife Margaret in charge of the castle. When the latter adamantly refused the Queen admittance, fighting broke out outside the castle between Isabella's guards and the garrison, marking the beginning of the Despenser War. Whilst Edward mobilised his own faction and placed Leeds castle under siege, Isabella was given the Great Seal and assumed control of the royal Chancery from the Tower of London. After surrendering to Edward's forces on 31 October 1321, Margaret, Baroness Badlesmere and her children were sent to the Tower, and 13 of the Leeds garrison were hanged. By January 1322, Edward's army, reinforced by the Despensers returning from exile, had forced the surrender of the Mortimers, and by March Lancaster himself had been captured after the battle of Boroughbridge; Lancaster was promptly executed, leaving Edward and the Despensers victorious.

    Hugh Despenser the younger was now firmly ensconced as Edward's new favourite and lover, and together over the next four years Edward and the Despensers imposed a harsh rule over England, a "sweeping revenge" characterised by land confiscation, large scale imprisonment, executions and the punishment of extended family members, including women and the elderly. This was condemned by contemporary chroniclers, and is felt to have caused concern to Isabella as well; some of those widows being persecuted included her friends. Isabella's relationship with Despenser the younger continued to deteriorate; the Despensers refused to pay her monies owed to her, or return her castles at Marlborough and Devizes. Indeed, various authors have suggested that there is evidence that Hugh Despenser the younger may have attempted to assault Isabella herself in some fashion. Certainly, immediately after the battle of Boroughbridge, Edward began to be markedly less generous in his gifts towards Isabella, and none of the spoils of the war were awarded to her. Worse still, later in the year Isabella was caught up in the failure of another of Edward's campaigns in Scotland, in a way that permanently poisoned her relationship with both Edward and the Despensers.

    Isabella and Edward had travelled north together at the start of the autumn campaign; following the disastrous battle of Old Byland, Edward had ridden south, apparently to raise more men, sending Isabella east to Tynemouth Priory. With the Scottish army marching south, Isabella expressed considerable concern about her personal safety and requested assistance from Edward. Her husband initially proposed sending Despenser forces to secure her, but Isabella rejected this outright, instead requesting friendly troops. Rapidly retreating south with the Despensers, Edward failed to grip the situation, with the result that Isabella found herself and her household cut off from the south by the Scottish army, with the coastline patrolled by Flemish naval forces allied to the Scots. The situation was precarious and Isabella was forced to use a group of squires from her personal retinue to hold off the advancing army whilst other of her knights commandeered a ship; the fighting continued as Isabella and her household retreated onto the vessel, resulting in the death of two of her ladies-in-waiting. Once aboard, Isabella evaded the Flemish navy, landing further south and making her way to York. Isabella was furious, both with Edward for, from her perspective, abandoning her to the Scots, and with Despensers for convincing Edward to retreat rather than sending help. For his part, Edward blamed Lewis de Beaumont, the Bishop of Durham and an ally of Isabella, for the fiasco.

    Isabella effectively separated from Edward from here onwards, leaving him to live with Hugh Despenser. At the end of 1322, Isabella left the court on a ten-month-long pilgrimage around England by herself. On her return in 1323 she visited Edward briefly, but refused to take a loyalty oath to the Despensers and was removed from the process of granting royal patronage. At the end of 1324, as tensions grew with Isabella's homeland of France, Edward and the Despensers confiscated all of Isabella's lands, took over the running of her household and arrested and imprisoned all of her French staff. Isabella's youngest children were removed from her and placed into the custody of the Despensers. At this point, Isabella appears to have realised that her marriage was effectively over and begun to consider radical solutions.

    The invasion of England
    By 1325, Isabella's marriage to Edward II was effectively over, and she was facing increasing pressure from Hugh Despenser the younger, Edward's new royal favourite. With her lands in England seized, her children taken away from her and her household staff arrested, Isabella began to pursue other options. When her brother, King Charles IV of France, seized Edward's French possessions in 1325, she returned to France, initially as a delegate of the King charged with negotiating a peace treaty between the two countries. However, her presence in France became a focal point for the many nobles opposed to Edward's reign. Isabella gathered an army to oppose Edward, in alliance with Roger Mortimer, whom she took as a lover. Isabella and Mortimer returned to England with a mercenary army, seizing the country in a lightning campaign. The Despensers were executed, and Edward II forced to abdicate – his eventual fate and possible murder remains of considerable historical debate. Isabella ruled as regent until 1330, when Isabella's son, Edward deposed Mortimer in turn and ruling directly in his own right.

    Tensions in Gascony, 1323-5
    Isabella's husband Edward, as the Duke of Aquitaine, owed homage to the King of France for his lands in Gascony. Isabella's three brothers each had only short reigns, and Edward had successfully avoided paying homage to Louis X, and had only paid homage to Philip V under great pressure. Once Charles IV took up the throne, Edward had attempted to avoid doing so again, increasing tensions between the two. One of the elements in the disputes was the border province of Agenais, part of Gascony and in turn part of Aquitaine. Tensions had risen in November 1323 after the construction of a bastide, a type of fortified town, in Saint-Sardos, part of the Agenais, by a French vassal. Gascon forces destroyed the bastide, and in turn Charles attacked the English-held Montpezat: the assault was unsuccessful, but in the subsequent War of Saint-Sardos Isabella's uncle, Charles of Valois, successfully wrestled Aquitaine from English control;[65] by 1324, Charles had declared Edward's lands forfeit and had occupied the whole of Aquitaine apart from the coastal areas.

    Edward was still unwilling to travel to France to give homage; the situation in England was febrile; there had been an assassination plot against Edward and Hugh Despenser in 1324, there had been allegations that the famous magician John of Nottingham had been hired to kill the pair using necromancy in 1325, and criminal gangs were occupying much of the country. Edward was deeply concerned that should he leave England, even for a short while, the barons would take the chance to rise up and take their revenge on the Despensers. Charles sent a message through Pope John XXII to Edward, suggesting that he was willing to reverse the forfeiture of the lands if Edward ceded the Agenais and paid homage for the rest of the lands:[68] the Pope proposed Isabella as an ambassador. Isabella, however, saw this as a perfect opportunity to resolve her situation with Edward and the Despensers.

    Having promised to return to England by the summer, Isabella reached Paris in March 1325, and rapidly agreed a truce in Gascony, under which Prince Edward, then thirteen years old, would come to France to give homage on his father's behalf. Prince Edward arrived in France, and gave homage in September. At this point, however, rather than returning, Isabella remained firmly in France with her son. Edward began to send urgent messages to the Pope and to Charles IV, expressing his concern about his wife's absence, but to no avail. For his part, Charles replied that the, "queen has come of her own will and may freely return if she wishes. But if she prefers to remain here, she is my sister and I refuse to expel her." Charles went on to refuse to return the lands in Aquitaine to Edward, resulting in a provisional agreement under which Edward resumed administration of the remaining English territories in early 1326 whilst France continued to occupy the rest.

    Meanwhile, the messages brought back by Edward's agent Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter and others grew steadily worse: Isabella had publicly snubbed Stapledon; Edward's political enemies were gathering at the French court, and threatening his emissaries; Isabella was dressed as a widow, claiming that Hugh Despenser had destroyed her marriage with Edward; Isabella was assembling a court-in-exile, including Edmund of Kent and John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond.[69] By this stage Isabella had begun a romantic relationship with the English exile Roger Mortimer.

    Roger Mortimer, 1325-6
    Roger Mortimer of Wigmore was a powerful Marcher lord, married to the wealthy heiress Joan de Geneville, and the father of twelve children. Mortimer had been imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1322 following his capture by Edward during the Despenser wars. Mortimer's uncle, Roger Mortimer de Chirk finally died in prison, but Mortimer managed to escape the Tower in August 1323, making a hole in the stone wall of his cell and then escaping onto the roof, before using rope ladders provided by an accomplice to get down to the River Thames, across the river and then on eventually to safety in France. Victorian writers suggested that, given later events, Isabella might have helped Mortimer escape and some historians continue to argue that their relationship had already begun at this point, although most believe that there is no hard evidence for their having had a substantial relationship before meeting in Paris.

    Isabella was reintroduced to Mortimer in Paris by her cousin, Joan, Countess of Hainault, who appears to have approached Isabella suggesting a marital alliance between their two families, marrying Prince Edward to Joan's daughter, Philippa. Mortimer and Isabella began a passionate relationship from December 1325 onwards; Isabella was taking a huge risk in doing so – female infidelity was a very serious offence in medieval Europe, as shown during the Tour de Nesle Affair – both Isabella's former French sisters-in-law had died by 1326 as a result of their imprisonment for exactly this offence. Isabella's motivation has been the subject of discussion by historians; most agree that there was a strong sexual attraction between the two, that they shared an interest in the Arthurian legends and that they both enjoyed fine art and high living. One historian has described their relationship as one of the "great romances of the Middle Ages". They also shared a common enemy – the regime of Edward II and the Despensers.

    Taking Prince Edward with them, Isabella and Mortimer left the French court in summer 1326 and travelled north to William I, Count of Hainaut. As Joan had suggested the previous year, Isabella betrothed Prince Edward to Philippa, the daughter of the Count, in exchange for a substantial dowry. She then used this money plus an earlier loan from Charles to raise a mercenary army, scouring Brabant for men, which were added to a small force of Hainaut troops. William also provided eight men of war ships and various smaller vessels as part of the marriage arrangements. Although Edward was now fearing an invasion, secrecy remained key, and Isabella convinced William to detain envoys from Edward. Isabella also appears to have made a secret agreement with the Scots for the duration of the forthcoming campaign. On 22 September, Isabella, Mortimer and their modest force set sail for England.

    Seizure of power, 1326
    Having evaded Edward's fleet, which had been sent to intercept them, Isabella and Mortimer landed at Orwell on the east coast of England on 24 September with a small force; estimates of Isabella's army vary from between 300 to around 2,000 soldiers, with 1,500 being a popular middle figure. After a short period of confusion during which they attempted to work out where they had actually landed, Isabella moved quickly inland, dressed in her widow's clothes. The local levies mobilised to stop them immediately changed sides, and by the following day Isabella was in Bury St Edmunds and shortly afterwards had swept inland to Cambridge. Thomas, Earl of Norfolk, joined Isabella's forces and Henry of Lancaster – the brother of the late Thomas, and Isabella's uncle – also announced he was joining Isabella's faction, marching south to join her.

    By the 27th, word of the invasion had reached the King and the Despensers in London. Edward issued orders to local sheriffs to mobilise opposition to Isabella and Mortimer, but London itself was becoming unsafe because of local unrest and Edward made plans to leave. Isabella struck west again, reaching Oxford on the 2nd October where she was "greeted as a saviour" – Adam Orleton, the bishop of Hereford, emerged from hiding to give a lecture to the university on the evils of the Despensers. Edward fled London on the same day, heading west toward Wales.[86] Isabella and Mortimer now had an effective alliance with the Lancastrian opposition to Edward, bringing all of his opponents into a single coalition.

    Isabella now marched south towards London, pausing at Dunstable, outside the city on 7 October. London was now in the hands of the mobs, although broadly allied to Isabella. Bishop Stapledon, unfortunately, failed to realise the extent to which royal power had collapsed in the capital and tried to intervene militarily to protect his property against rioters; a hated figure locally, he was promptly attacked and killed – his head was later sent to Isabella by her local supporters. Edward, meanwhile, was still fleeing west, reaching Gloucester by the 9th. Isabella responded by marching swiftly west herself in an attempt to cut him off, reaching Gloucester a week after Edward, who slipped across the border into Wales the same day.

    Hugh de Despenser the elder continued to hold Bristol against Isabella and Mortimer, who placed it under siege between 18–26 October; when it fell, Isabella was able to recover her daughters Eleanor and Joan, who had been kept in the Despenser's custody. By now desperate and increasingly deserted by their court, Edward and Hugh Despenser the younger attempted to sail to Lundy, a small island just off the Devon coast, but the weather was against them and after several days they were forced to land back in Wales. With Bristol secure, Isabella moved her base of operations up to the border town of Hereford, from where she ordered Henry of Lancaster to locate and arrest her husband. After a fortnight of evading Isabella's forces in South Wales, Edward and Hugh were finally caught and arrested near Llantrisant on 16 November.

    The retribution began immediately. Hugh Despenser the elder had been captured at Bristol, and despite some attempts by Isabella to protect him, was promptly executed by his Lancastrian enemies – his body was hacked to pieces and fed to the local dogs. The remainder of the former regime were brought to Isabella. Edmund Fitzalan, a key supporter of Edward II and who had received many of Mortimer's confiscated lands in 1322, was executed on 17 November. Hugh Despenser the younger was sentenced to be brutally executed on 24 November, and a huge crowd gathered in anticipation at seeing him die. They dragged him from his horse, stripped him, and scrawled Biblical verses against corruption and arrogance on his skin. He was then dragged into the city, presented to Queen Isabella, Roger Mortimer, and the Lancastrians. Despenser was then condemned to hang as a thief, be castrated, and then to be drawn and quartered as a traitor, his quarters to be dispersed throughout England. Simon of Reading, one of the Despensers' supporters, was hanged next to him, on charges of insulting Isabella. Once the core of the Despenser regime had been executed, Isabella and Mortimer began to show restraint. Lesser nobles were pardoned and the clerks at the heart of the government, mostly apponted by the Despensers and Stapleton, were confirmed in office. All that was left now was the question of Edward II, still officially Isabella's legal husband and lawful king.

    The death of Edward, 1327
    As an interim measure, Edward II was held in the custody of Henry of Lancaster, who surrendered Edward's Great Seal to Isabella. The situation remained tense, however; Isabella was clearly concerned about Edward's supporters staging a counter-coup, and in November she seized the Tower of London, appointed one of her supporters as mayor and convened a council of nobles and churchmen in Wallingford to discuss the fate of Edward. The council concluded that Edward would be legally deposed and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. This was then confirmed at the Parliament of England, dominated by Isabella and Mortimer's followers. The session was held in January 1327, with Isabella's case being led by her supporter Adam Orleton, Bishop of Hereford. Isabella's son, Prince Edward, was confirmed as Edward III, with his mother appointed regent. Isabella's position was still precarious, as the legal basis for deposing Edward was minimal and many lawyers of the day maintained that Edward was still the rightful king, regardless of the declaration of the Parliament. The situation could be reversed at any moment and Edward was known to be a vengeful ruler.

    Edward II's subsequent fate, and Isabella's role in it, remains hotly contested by historians. The minimally agreed version of events is that Isabella and Mortimer had Edward moved from Kenilworth Castle in the Midlands to the safer location of Berkeley Castle in the Welsh borders, where he was put into the custody of Lord Berkeley. On 23 September, Isabella and Edward III were informed by messenger that Edward had died whilst imprisoned at the castle, because of a "fatal accident". Edward's body was apparently buried at Gloucester Cathedral, with his heart being given in a casket to Isabella. After the funeral, there were rumours for many years that Edward had survived and was really alive somewhere in Europe, some of which were captured in the famous Fieschi Letter written in the 1340s, although no concrete evidence ever emerged to support the allegations. There are, however, various historical interpretations of the events surrounding this basic sequence of events.

    According to legend, Isabella and Mortimer famously plotted to murder Edward in such a way as not to draw blame on themselves, sending a famous order (in Latin: Eduardum occidere nolite timere bonum est) which, depending on where the comma was inserted, could mean either "Do not be afraid to kill Edward; it is good" or "Do not kill Edward; it is good to fear". In actuality, there is little evidence of anyone deciding to have Edward assassinated, and none whatsoever of the note having been written. Similarly, accounts of Edward being killed with a red-hot poker have no strong contemporary sources to support them. The conventional 20th-century view has been that Edward did die at Berkeley Castle, either murdered on Isabella's orders or of ill-health brought on by his captivity, and that subsequent accounts of his survival were simply rumours, similar to those that surrounded Joan of Arc and other near contemporaries after their deaths.

    Three recent historians, however, have offered an alternative interpretation of events. Paul Doherty, drawing extensively on the Fieschi Letter of the 1340s, has argued that Edward in fact escaped from Berkeley Castle with the help of William Ockle, a knight whom Doherty argues subsequently pretended to be Edward in disguise around Europe, using the name "William the Welshman" to draw attention away from the real Edward himself. In this interpretation, a look-alike was buried at Gloucester. Ian Mortimer, focusing more on contemporary documents from 1327 itself, argues that Roger de Mortimer engineered a fake "escape" for Edward from Berkeley Castle; after this Edward was kept in Ireland, believing he was really evading Mortimer, before finally finding himself free, but politically unwelcome, after the fall of Isabella and Mortimer. In this version, Edward makes his way to Europe, before subsequently being buried at Gloucester. Finally, Alison Weir, again drawing on the Fieschi Letter, has recently argued that Edward II escaped his captors, killing one in the process, and lived as a hermit for many years; in this interpretation, the body in Gloucester Cathedral is of Edward's dead captor. In all of these versions, it is argued that it suited Isabella and Mortimer to publicly claim that Edward was dead, even if they were aware of the truth. Other historians, however, including David Carpenter, have criticised the methodology behind this revisionist approach and disagree with the conclusions.

    Later years
    Isabella and Mortimer ruled together for four years, with Isabella's period as regent marked by the acquisition of huge sums of money and land. When their political alliance with the Lancastrians began to disintegrate, Isabella continued to support Mortimer, her lover. Isabella fell from power when her son, Edward III deposed Mortimer in a coup, taking back royal authority for himself. Unlike Mortimer, Isabella survived the transition of power, however, remaining a wealthy and influential member of the English court, albeit never returning directly to active politics.

    As regent, 1326–30
    Isabella's reign as regent lasted only four years, before the fragile political alliance that had brought her and Mortimer to power disintegrated. 1328 saw the marriage of Isabella's son, Edward III to Philippa of Hainault, as agreed before the invasion of 1326; the lavish ceremony was held in London to popular acclaim. Isabella and Mortimer had already begun a trend that continued over the next few years, in starting to accumulate huge wealth. With her lands restored to her, Isabella was already exceptionally rich, but she began to accumulate yet more. Within the first few weeks, Isabella had granted herself almost £12,000; finding that Edward's royal treasury contained £60,000, a rapid period of celebratory spending then ensued. Isabella soon awarded herself another £20,000, allegedly to pay off foreign debts. At Prince Edward's coronation, Isabella then extended her land holdings from a value of £4,400 each year to the huge sum of £13,333, making her one of the largest landowners in the kingdom. Isabella also refused to hand over her dower lands to Philippa after her marriage to Edward III, in contravention of usual custom. Isabella's lavish lifestyle matched her new incomes. Mortimer, as her lover and effective first minister, after a restrained beginning, also began to accumulate lands and titles at a tremendous rate, particularly in the Marcher territories.

    The new regime also faced some key foreign policy dilemmas, which Isabella approached from a realist perspective. The first of these was the situation in Scotland, where Edward II's unsuccessful policies had left an unfinished, tremendously expensive war. Isabella was committed to bringing this issue to a conclusion by diplomatic means. Edward III initially opposed this policy, before eventually relenting, leading to the Treaty of Northampton. Under this treaty, Isabella's daughter Joan would marry David Bruce (heir apparent to the Scottish throne) and Edward III would renounce any claims on Scottish lands, in exchange for the promise of Scottish military aid against any enemy except the French, and £20,000 in compensation for the raids across northern England. No compensation would be given to those earls who had lost their Scottish estates, and the compensation would be taken by Isabella. Although strategically successful and, historically at least, "a successful piece of policy making", Isabella's Scottish policy was by no means popular and contributed to the general sense of discontent with the regime. Secondly, the Gascon situation, still unresolved from Edward II's reign, also posed an issue. Isabella reopened negotiations in Paris, resulting in a peace treaty under which the bulk of Gascony, minus the Agenais, would be returned to England in exchange for a 50,000 mark penalty. The treaty was not popular in England because of the Agenais clause.

    Henry of Lancaster was amongst the first to break with Isabella and Mortimer. By 1327 Lancaster was irritated by Mortimer's behaviour and Isabella responded by beginning to sideline him from her government. Lancaster was furious over the passing of the Treaty of Northampton, and refused to attend court, mobilising support amongst the commoners of London. Isabella responded to the problems by undertaking a wide reform of royal administration, local law enforcement. In a move guaranteed to appeal to domestic opinion, Isabella also decided to pursue Edward III's claim on the French throne, sending her advisers to France to demand official recognition of his claim. The French nobility were unimpressed and, since Isabella lacked the funds to begin any military campaign, she began to court the opinion of France's neighbours, including proposing the marriage of her son John to the Castilian royal family.

    By the end of 1328 the situation had descended into near civil war once again, with Lancaster mobilising his army against Isabella and Mortimer. In January 1329 Isabella's forces under Mortimer's command took Lancaster's stronghold of Leicester, followed by Bedford; Isabella – wearing armour, and mounted on a warhorse – and Edward III marched rapidly north, resulting in Lancaster's surrender. He escaped death but was subjected to a colossal fine, effectively crippling his power. Isabella was merciful to those who had aligned themselves with him, although some – such as her old supporter Henry de Beaumont, whose family had split from Isabella over the peace with Scotland, which had lost them huge land holdings in Scotland – fled to France.

    Despite Lancaster's defeat, however, discontent continued to grow. Edmund of Kent had sided with Isabella in 1326, but had since begun to question his decision and was edging back towards Edward II, his half-brother. Edmund of Kent was in conversations with other senior nobles questioning Isabella's rule, including Henry de Beaumont and Isabella de Vesci. Edmund was finally involved in a conspiracy in 1330, allegedly to restore Edward II, whom he claimed was still alive: Isabella and Mortimer broke up the conspiracy, arresting Edmund and other supporters – including Simon Mepeham, Archbishop of Canterbury. Edmund may have expected a pardon, possibly from Edward III, but Isabella was insistent on his execution. The execution itself was a fiasco after the executioner refused to attend and Edmund of Kent had to be killed by a local dung-collector, who had been himself sentenced to death and was pardoned as a bribe to undertake the beheading. Isabella de Vesci escaped punishment, despite have been closely involved in the plot.

    Mortimer's fall from power, 1330
    By mid-1330, Isabella and Mortimer's regime was increasingly insecure, and Isabella's son, Edward III, was growing frustrated at Mortimer's grip on power. Various historians, with different levels of confidence, have also suggested that in late 1329 Isabella became pregnant. A child of Mortimer's with royal blood would have proved both politically inconvenient for Isabella, and challenging to Edward's own position.

    Edward quietly assembled a body of support from the Church and selected nobles, whilst Isabella and Mortimer moved into Nottingham Castle for safety, surrounding themselves with loyal troops. In the autumn, Mortimer was investigating another plot against him, when he challenged a young noble, Montague, during an interrogation. Mortimer declared that his word had priority over the king's, an alarming statement that Montague reported back to Edward. Edward was convinced that this was the moment to act, and on 19 October, Montague led a force of twenty three armed men into the castle by a secret tunnel. Up in the keep, Isabella, Mortimer and other council members were discussing how to arrest Montague, when Montague and his men appeared. Fighting broke out on the stairs and Mortimer was overwhelmed in his chamber. Isabella threw herself at Edward's feet, famously crying "Fair son, have pity on gentle Mortimer!" Lancastrian troops rapidly took the rest of the castle, leaving Edward in control of his own government for the first time.

    Parliament was convened the next month, where Mortimer was put on trial for treason. Isabella was portrayed as an innocent victim during the proceedings, and no mention of her sexual relationship with Mortimer was made public. Isabella's lover was executed at Tyburn, but Edward III showed leniency and he was not quartered or disembowelled.

    In retirement, 1330–58
    After the coup, Isabella was initially transferred to Berkhamsted Castle, and then held under house arrest at Windsor Castle until 1332, when she then moved back to her own Castle Rising in Norfolk. Agnes Strickland, a Victorian historian, argued that Isabella suffered from occasional fits of madness during this period but modern interpretations suggest, at worst, a nervous breakdown following the death of her lover. Isabella remained extremely wealthy; despite being required to surrender most of her lands after losing power, in 1331 she was reassigned a yearly income of £3000, which increased to £4000 by 1337. She lived an expensive lifestyle in Norfolk, including minstrels, huntsmen, grooms and other luxuries, and was soon travelling again around England. In 1342, there were suggestions that she might travel to Paris to take part in peace negotiations, but eventually this plan was quashed. She was also appointed to negotiate with France in 1348 and was involved in the negotiations with Charles II of Navarre in 1358.

    As the years went by, Isabella became very close to her daughter Joan, especially after Joan left her unfaithful husband, King David II of Scotland. Joan also nursed her just before she died. She doted on her grandchildren, including Edward, the Black Prince. She became increasingly interested in religion as she grew older, visiting a number of shrines. She remained, however, a gregarious member of the court, receiving constant visitors; amongst her particular friends appear to have been Roger Mortimer's daughter Agnes Mortimer, Countess of Pembroke, and Roger Mortimer's grandson, also called Roger Mortimer, whom Edward III restored to the Earldom of March. King Edward and his children often visited her as well. She remained interested in Arthurian legends and jewellery; in 1358 she appeared at the St George's Day celebrations at Windsor wearing a dress made of silk, silver, 300 rubies, 1800 pearls and a circlet of gold. She may also have developed an interest in astrology or geometry towards the end of her life, receiving various presents relating to these disciplines.

    Isabella finally took the habit of the Poor Clares before she died on 22 August 1358, and her body was returned to London for burial at the Franciscan church at Newgate, in a service overseen by Archbishop Simon Islip. She was buried in her wedding dress and Edward's heart, placed into a casket thirty years before, was interred with her at her request. Isabella left the bulk of her property, including Castle Rising, to her favourite grandson, the Black Prince, with some personal effects being granted to her daughter Joan.

    Queen Isabella appeared with a major role in Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II, and thereafter has been frequently used as a character in plays, books and films, often portrayed as beautiful but manipulative or wicked.

    Thomas Gray, the 18th-century poet, combined Marlowe's depiction of Isabella with William Shakespeare's description of Margaret of Anjou (the wife of Henry VI) as the "She-Wolf of France", to produce the anti-French poem The Bard, in which Isabella rips apart the bowels of Edward II with her "unrelenting fangs".[152] The epithet of the "She-Wolf" stuck, and was re-used by Bertolt Brecht in his The Life of Edward II of England.[152]

    In Derek Jarman's 1991 film based on Marlowe's play, Isabella is played by actress Tilda Swinton as a 'femme fatale' whose thwarted love for Edward causes her to turn against him and steal his throne.
    Similarly, Isabella appears in Jean Plaidy's novels The Follies of the King and The Vow on the Heron as an antagonist. She is depicted as a murderous sociopath from childhood, having inherited bloodthirsty tendencies from her father. She is deeply homophobic and becomes obsessed with destroying Edward II and his male companions, due more to damaged pride than unrequited love. She is also portrayed as a very vain egoist with a deep streak of sadism. After Edward's murder, she is troubled by nightmares and sleepless nights, and is tortured by guilt. She is still intoxicated with power, however and is unwilling to hand it over to her son. As in the real histories, Isabella and Mortimer are eventually deposed by the future Edward III.

    Isabella has been the subject of a number of other historical novels, including Margaret Campbell Barnes' Isabel the Fair, Hilda Lewis' Harlot Queen, Maureen Peters' Isabella, the She-Wolf, Brenda Honeyman's The Queen and Mortimer, Paul Doherty's The Cup of Ghosts and Edith Felber's Queen of Shadows. The Queen figures prominently in the later books of Michael Jecks' Knights Templar Mysteries series.
    She is very sympathetically portrayed in Isolde Martyn's 'The Knight and the Lady' – the 'lady' of the novel becomes a great friend and confidant to her.

    She is the title character of The She-Wolf of France by the well-known French novelist Maurice Druon. The series of which the book was part, The Accursed Kings, has been adapted for French television in 1972 and 2005.

    Most recently, Isabella figures prominently in The Traitor's Wife: A Novel of the Reign of Edward II by Susan Higginbotham. Ken Follett's 2007 novel, World Without End uses the alleged murder of Edward II (and the infamous letter) as a plot device. Susan Howatch's Cashelmara and The Wheel of Fortune, based on the lives of the Plantagenet kings, depict her as a young abused wife and an old widow hidden from her grandchildren in a retirement home run by nuns. She features in a fictional autobiography, written by Alice Walworth Graham, of Elizabeth, the daughter of Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick and later the wife of Thomas of Astley, 3rd Lord Astley; the book is entitled The Vows of the Peacock.

    In contrast to the negative depictions, in Mel Gibson's Braveheart, Isabella was played by the French actress Sophie Marceau more sympathetically. In the film Isabella is fictionally depicted as having a romantic affair with the Scottish hero William Wallace despite being 9 years old at the time of Wallace's death. Additionally, Wallace is incorrectly portrayed as the real father of her son, Edward III, despite Wallace's death many years before Edward's birth.

    Alison Weir in her 2005 biography also attempted to portray Isabella more positively through first-hand accounts and archival evidence, in particular stressing her marital patience and loyalty.

    Edward and Isabella did manage to produce four children, and she suffered at least one miscarriage. Their itineraries demonstrate that they were together 9 months prior to the births of all four surviving offspring. Their children were:
    Edward III of Windsor, born 1312
    John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall, born 1316
    Eleanor of Woodstock, born 1318, married Reinoud II of Guelders
    Joan of the Tower, born 1321, married David II of Scotland.2,5

Family: Edward II (?) King of England b. 25 Apr 1284, d. 21 Sep 1327

  • Last Edited: 14 Oct 2015

Edward I 'Long Shanks' (?) King of England1,2

M, #7977, b. 17 June 1239, d. 7 July 1307

King Edward I of England
by Renold Elstrick

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  • Burial*: Edward I 'Long Shanks' (?) King of England was buried in Westminster Abbey, London, Greater London, England.3
  • Birth*: He was born on 17 June 1239 in Westminster Palace, Westminster, Greater London, England.3
  • Baptism: Edward I 'Long Shanks' (?) King of England was baptized on 21 June 1239; He was baptised on 21 June 1239 by Eudes, the Pope's legate.3
  • Marriage*: He married Eleanor of Castile Countesse de Ponthieu, Queen Consort of England, daughter of Fernando III (?) King of Castile & Leon and Jeanne d'Aumale Comtesse de Ponthieu, on 18 October 1254 in Abbey of Las Huelgas Burgos, Kingdom of Castile, Spain*.4
  • Marriage*: Edward I 'Long Shanks' (?) King of England married Margaret (?) of France, Queen of England, daughter of Phillip III (?) King of France and Marie (?) of Brabant, Queen Consort of France, circa 1299.5
  • Death*: Edward I 'Long Shanks' (?) King of England died on 7 July 1307 in Burgh-on Sands, Cumberland, England, at age 68; from dysentry.3
  • Biography*: Edward I 'Longshanks', King of England was born on 17 June 1239 at Westminster Palace, Westminster, London, England. He was the son of Henry III, King of England and Eleanor of Provence. He was baptised on 21 June 1239 by Eudes, the Pope's legate. He married, firstly, Eleanor de Castilla, Comtesse de Ponthieu, daughter of Fernando III, Rey de Castilla y León and Jeanne d'Aumale, Comtesse de Ponthieu, on 18 October 1254 at Abbey of Las Huelgas, Burgos, Castile, Spain. He married, secondly, Marguerite de France, daughter of Philippe III, Roi de France and Marie de Brabant, on 10 September 1299 at Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.1 He died on 7 July 1307 at age 68 at Burgh-on-the-Sands, Cumberland, England, from dysentry, while marching against the Scots.6 He was buried at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.

    He gained the title of Duke of Gascony in 1254. He was created 1st Earl of Chester [England] on 14 February 1253/54. He fought in the Battle of Lewes on 14 May 1264, where he was taken priosner by the rebellious barons. On 24 December 1264 he was forced the deliver the Earldom of Chester into the hands of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, but received it back on 4 August 1265 on the death of Simon. He succeeded to the title of King Edward I of England on 20 November 1272. He was crowned King of England on 19 August 1274 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England, and styled 'Rex Angliae, Dominus Hiberniae et Dux Aquitaniae.'

    Edward towered over his contemporaries - he was the then rare height of six feet two inches. He was on a Crusade at the time of his accession and returned to England in 1274. Reigning for 35 years he was a strong and wise King. He married Eleanor of Castille and, after her death Margaret, daughter of Phillip III of France. Edward had 16 children by Eleanor and three by Margaret, the most of any Monarch. He carried out much needed reform and clarification of the law. Starting in 1277 he set out to resolve the Welsh problem which had proved so troublesome in Henry III's reign. The area around Snowdon and Anglesy harboured Llewelyn and other warlike princes. Llewelyn was killed in battle and the Welsh resistance collapsed. The Statute of Wales in 1284 arranged for administration under a mixed English and Welsh law. Castles were built to secure the Principality, including Caernarvon where Edward's son (Edward) was born and who was created Prince of Wales in 1301. During his campaign in Wales, it was found that the long bow used by the Southern Welsh, was an amazingly effective weapon which would revolutionise forthcoming conflicts. Edward next marched on Scotland and won a crushing victory at Falkirk but Robert Bruce arose and made himself King of Scotland. Although known as The Hammer of the Scots, Edward had not succeeded in subjugating that noble land. Edward may be best remembered by the Model Parliament called in 1295. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.

    Edward I (17 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots (from Latin: Malleus Scotorum), was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and joined the fight against Simon de Montfort. Montfort was defeated at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and within two years the rebellion was extinguished. With England pacified, Edward left on a crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and he was crowned king at Westminster on 19 August.

    He spent much of his reign reforming royal administration and common law. Through an extensive legal inquiry, Edward investigated the tenure of various feudal liberties, while the law was reformed through a series of statutes regulating criminal and property law. Increasingly, however, Edward's attention was drawn towards military affairs. After suppressing a minor rebellion in Wales in 1276–77, Edward responded to a second rebellion in 1282–83 with a full-scale war of conquest. After a successful campaign, Edward subjected Wales to English rule, built a series of castles and towns in the countryside and settled them with Englishmen. Next, his efforts were directed towards Scotland. Initially invited to arbitrate a succession dispute, Edward claimed feudal suzerainty over the kingdom. In the war that followed, the Scots persevered, even though the English seemed victorious at several points. At the same time there were problems at home. In the mid-1290s, extensive military campaigns required high levels of taxation, and Edward met with both lay and ecclesiastical opposition. These crises were initially averted, but issues remained unsettled. When the king died in 1307, he left to his son, Edward II, an ongoing war with Scotland and many financial and political problems.
    Edward I was a tall man for his era, hence the nickname "Longshanks". He was temperamental, and this, along with his height, made him an intimidating man, and he often instilled fear in his contemporaries. Nevertheless, he held the respect of his subjects for the way he embodied the medieval ideal of kingship, as a soldier, an administrator and a man of faith. Modern historians have been more divided on their assessment of the king; while some have praised him for his contribution to the law and administration, others have criticised him for his uncompromising attitude to his nobility. Currently, Edward I is credited with many accomplishments during his reign, including restoring royal authority after the reign of Henry III, establishing parliament as a permanent institution and thereby also a functional system for raising taxes, and reforming the law through statutes. At the same time, he is also often criticised for other actions, such as his brutal conduct towards the Scots, and issuing the Edict of Expulsion in 1290, by which the Jews were expelled from England. The Edict remained in effect for the rest of the Middle Ages, and it would be over 350 years until it was formally overturned under Oliver Cromwell in 1656.

    Early years
    Childhood and marriage
    Edward was born at the Palace of Westminster on the night of 17–18 June 1239, to King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence. Although the young prince was seriously ill on several occasions, in 1246, 1247, and 1251, he grew up to be strong and healthy.[3] Edward was in the care of Hugh Giffard—father of the future Chancellor Godfrey Giffard—until Bartholomew Pecche took over at Giffard's death in 1246. Among his childhood friends was his cousin Henry of Almain, son of King Henry's brother Richard of Cornwall. Henry of Almain would remain a close companion of the prince, both through the civil war that followed, and later during the crusade.

    In 1254, English fears of a Castilian invasion of the English province of Gascony induced Edward's father to arrange a politically expedient marriage between his fourteen-year-old son and Eleanor, the half-sister of King Alfonso X of Castile. Eleanor and Edward were married on 1 November 1254 in the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas in Castile. As part of the marriage agreement, the young prince received grants of land worth 15,000 marks a year. Though the endowments King Henry made were sizeable, they offered Edward little independence. He had already received Gascony as early as 1249, but Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, had been appointed as royal lieutenant the year before and, consequently, drew its income, so in practice Edward derived neither authority nor revenue from this province. The grant he received in 1254 included most of Ireland, and much land in Wales and England, including the earldom of Chester, but the king retained much control over the land in question, particularly in Ireland, so Edward's power was limited there as well, and the king derived most of the income from those lands.

    From 1254 to 1257, Edward was under the influence of his mother's relatives, known as the Savoyards, the most notable of whom was Peter of Savoy, the queen's uncle. After 1257, Edward increasingly fell in with the Poitevin or Lusignan faction—the half-brothers of his father Henry III—led by such men as William de Valence. This association was significant, because the two groups of privileged foreigners were resented by the established English aristocracy, and they would be at the centre of the ensuing years' baronial reform movement. There were tales of unruly and violent conduct by Edward and his Lusignan kinsmen, which raised questions about the royal heir's personal qualities. The next years would be formative on Edward's character.

    Early ambitions
    Edward had shown independence in political matters as early as 1255, when he sided with the Soler family in Gascony, in the ongoing conflict between the Soler and Colomb families. This ran contrary to his father's policy of mediation between the local factions. In May 1258, a group of magnates drew up a document for reform of the king’s government—the so-called Provisions of Oxford—largely directed against the Lusignans. Edward stood by his political allies and strongly opposed the Provisions. The reform movement succeeded in limiting the Lusignan influence, however, and gradually Edward’s attitude started to change. In March 1259, he entered into a formal alliance with one of the main reformers, Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester. Then, on 15 October 1259, he announced that he supported the barons' goals, and their leader, Simon de Montfort.

    The motive behind Edward's change of heart could have been purely pragmatic; Montfort was in a good position to support his cause in Gascony.[18] When the king left for France in November, Edward's behaviour turned into pure insubordination. He made several appointments to advance the cause of the reformers, causing his father to believe that his son was considering a coup d'état.[19] When the king returned from France, he initially refused to see his son, but through the mediation of the Earl of Cornwall and the archbishop of Canterbury, the two were eventually reconciled.[20] Edward was sent abroad, and in November 1260 he again united with the Lusignans, who had been exiled to France.

    Back in England, early in 1262, Edward fell out with some of his former Lusignan allies over financial matters. The next year, King Henry sent him on a campaign in Wales against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, with only limited results. Around the same time, Simon de Montfort, who had been out of the country since 1261, returned to England and reignited the baronial reform movement. It was at this pivotal moment, as the king seemed ready to resign to the barons' demands, that Edward began to take control of the situation. Whereas he had so far been unpredictable and equivocating, from this point on he remained firmly devoted to protecting his father's royal rights. He reunited with some of the men he had alienated the year before—among them his childhood friend, Henry of Almain, and John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey—and retook Windsor Castle from the rebels. Through the arbitration of King Louis IX of France, an agreement was made between the two parties. This so-called Mise of Amiens was largely favourable to the royalist side, and laid the seeds for further conflict.

    Civil war
    Second Barons' War
    The years 1264–1267 saw the conflict known as the Second Barons' War, in which baronial forces led by Simon de Montfort fought against those who remained loyal to the king. The first scene of battle was the city of Gloucester, which Edward managed to retake from the enemy. When Robert de Ferrers, earl of Derby, came to the assistance of the rebels, Edward negotiated a truce with the earl, the terms of which he later broke. Edward then captured Northampton from Montfort's son Simon, before embarking on a retaliatory campaign against Derby's lands. The baronial and royalist forces finally met at the Battle of Lewes, on 14 May 1264. Edward, commanding the right wing, performed well, and soon defeated the London contingent of Montfort's forces. Unwisely, however, he followed the scattered enemy in pursuit, and on his return found the rest of the royal army defeated. By the agreement known as the Mise of Lewes, Edward and his cousin Henry of Almain were given up as prisoners to Montfort.

    Edward remained in captivity until March, and even after his release he was kept under strict surveillance. Then, on 28 May, he managed to escape his custodians and joined up with the Earl of Gloucester, who had recently defected to the king's side. Montfort's support was now dwindling, and Edward retook Worcester and Gloucester with relatively little effort. Meanwhile, Montfort had made an alliance with Llywelyn and started moving east to join forces with his son Simon. Edward managed to make a surprise attack at Kenilworth Castle, where the younger Montfort was quartered, before moving on to cut off the earl of Leicester. The two forces then met at the second great encounter of the Barons' War—the Battle of Evesham, on 4 August 1265. Montfort stood little chance against the superior royal forces, and after his defeat he was killed and mutilated on the field.

    Through such episodes as the deception of Derby at Gloucester, Edward acquired a reputation as untrustworthy. During the summer campaign, though, he began to learn from his mistakes, and acted in a way that gained the respect and admiration of his contemporaries. The war did not end with Montfort's death, and Edward participated in the continued campaigning. At Christmas, he came to terms with the younger Simon de Montfort and his associates at the Isle of Axholme in Lincolnshire, and in March he led a successful assault on the Cinque Ports. A contingent of rebels held out in the virtually impregnable Kenilworth Castle and did not surrender until the drafting of the conciliatory Dictum of Kenilworth. In April it seemed as if Gloucester would take up the cause of the reform movement, and civil war would resume, but after a renegotiation of the terms of the Dictum of Kenilworth, the parties came to an agreement. Edward, however, was little involved in the settlement negotiations following the wars; at this point his main focus was on planning his upcoming crusade.

    Crusade and accession
    Edward took the crusader's cross in an elaborate ceremony on 24 June 1268, with his brother Edmund and cousin Henry of Almain. Among others who committed themselves to the Ninth Crusade were Edward's former adversaries—like the earl of Gloucester, though the earl did not ultimately participate. With the country pacified, the greatest impediment to the project was providing sufficient finances. King Louis IX of France, who was the leader of the crusade, provided a loan of about £17,500. This, however, was not enough; the rest had to be raised through a tax on the laity, which had not been levied since 1237. In May 1270, Parliament granted a tax of a twentieth, in exchange for which the king agreed to reconfirm Magna Carta, and to impose restrictions on Jewish money lending. On 20 August Edward sailed from Dover for France. Historians have not determined the size of the force with any certainty, but Edward probably brought with him around 225 knights and all together less than 1000 men.

    Originally, the Crusaders intended to relieve the beleaguered Christian stronghold of Acre, but Louis had been diverted to Tunis. The French king and his brother Charles of Anjou, who had made himself king of Sicily, decided to attack the emirate to establish a stronghold in North Africa.[47] The plans failed when the French forces were struck by an epidemic which, on 25 August, took the life of King Louis himself.[48] By the time Edward arrived at Tunis, Charles had already signed a treaty with the emir, and there was little else to do but return to Sicily. The crusade was postponed until next spring, but a devastating storm off the coast of Sicily dissuaded Charles of Anjou and Louis's successor Philip III from any further campaigning.[49] Edward decided to continue alone, and on 9 May 1271 he finally landed at Acre.

    By then, the situation in the Holy Land was a precarious one. Jerusalem had fallen in 1244, and Acre was now the centre of the Christian state. The Muslim states were on the offensive under the Mamluk leadership of Baibars, and were now threatening Acre itself. Though Edward's men were an important addition to the garrison, they stood little chance against Baibars' superior forces, and an initial raid at nearby St Georges-de-Lebeyne in June was largely futile. An embassy to the Mongols helped bring about an attack on Aleppo in the north, which helped to distract Baibar's forces. In November, Edward led a raid on Qaqun, which could have served as a bridgehead to Jerusalem, but both the Mongol invasion and the attack on Qaqun failed. Things now seemed increasingly desperate, and in May 1272 Hugh III of Cyprus, who was the nominal king of Jerusalem, signed a ten–year truce with Baibars. Edward was initially defiant, but an attack by a Muslim assassin in June forced him to abandon any further campaigning. Although he managed to kill the assassin, he was struck in the arm by a dagger feared to be poisoned, and became severely weakened over the following months.

    It was not until 24 September that Edward left Acre. Arriving in Sicily, he was met with the news that his father had died on 16 November. Edward was deeply saddened by this news, but rather than hurrying home at once, he made a leisurely journey northwards. This was partly due to his health still being poor, but also due to a lack of urgency. The political situation in England was stable after the mid-century upheavals, and Edward was proclaimed king at his father's death, rather than at his own coronation, as had until then been customary. In Edward's absence, the country was governed by a royal council, led by Robert Burnell. The new king embarked on an overland journey through Italy and France, where among other things he visited the pope in Rome and suppressed a rebellion in Gascony. Only on 2 August 1274 did he return to England, and was crowned on 19 August.

    Administration and the law
    Upon returning home, Edward immediately embarked on the administrative business of the nation, and his major concern was restoring order and re-establishing royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father. To accomplish this, he immediately ordered an extensive change of administrative personnel. The most important of these was the appointment of Robert Burnell as chancellor, a man who would remain in the post until 1292 as one of the king's closest associates. Edward then replaced most local officials, such as the escheators and sheriffs. This last measure was done in preparation for an extensive inquest covering all of England, that would hear complaints about abuse of power by royal officers. The inquest produced the set of so-called Hundred Rolls, from the administrative subdivision of the hundred.

    The second purpose of the inquest was to establish what land and rights the crown had lost during the reign of Henry III.

    The Hundred Rolls formed the basis for the later legal inquiries called the Quo warranto proceedings. The purpose of these inquiries was to establish by what warrant (Latin: Quo warranto) various liberties were held. If the defendant could not produce a royal licence to prove the grant of the liberty, then it was the crown's opinion – based on the writings of the influential thirteenth-century legal scholar Bracton – that the liberty should revert to the king.

    By enacting the Statute of Gloucester in 1278 the king challenged baronial rights through a revival of the system of general eyres (royal justices to go on tour throughout the land) and through a significant increase in the number of pleas of quo warranto to be heard by such eyres.

    This caused great consternation among the aristocracy, who insisted that long use in itself constituted license. A compromise was eventually reached in 1290, whereby a liberty was considered legitimate as long as it could be shown to have been exercised since the coronation of King Richard I, in 1189.[69] Royal gains from the Quo warranto proceedings were insignificant; few liberties were returned to the king. Edward had nevertheless won a significant victory, in clearly establishing the principle that all liberties essentially emanated from the crown.

    The 1290 statute of Quo warranto was only one part of a wider legislative effort, which was one of the most important contributions of Edward I's reign. This era of legislative action had started already at the time of the baronial reform movement; the Statute of Marlborough (1267) contained elements both of the Provisions of Oxford and the Dictum of Kenilworth. The compilation of the Hundred Rolls was followed shortly after by the issue of Westminster I (1275), which asserted the royal prerogative and outlined restrictions on liberties. In the Mortmain (1279), the issue was grants of land to the church. The first clause of Westminster II (1285), known as De donis conditionalibus, dealt with family settlement of land, and entails. Merchants (1285) established firm rules for the recovery of debts, while Winchester (1285) dealt with peacekeeping on a local level. Quia emptores (1290) – issued along with Quo warranto – set out to remedy land ownership disputes resulting from alienation of land by subinfeudation. The age of the great statutes largely ended with the death of Robert Burnell in 1292.

    Welsh wars
    Llywelyn ap Gruffudd enjoyed an advantageous situation in the aftermath of the Barons' War. Through the 1267 Treaty of Montgomery, he officially obtained land he had conquered in the Four Cantrefs of Perfeddwlad and was recognised in his title of Prince of Wales. Armed conflicts nevertheless continued, in particular with certain dissatisfied Marcher Lords, such as the earl of Gloucester, Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford. Problems were exacerbated when Llywelyn's younger brother Dafydd and Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn of Powys, after failing in an assassination attempt against Llywelyn, defected to the English in 1274. Citing ongoing hostilities and the English king's harbouring of his enemies, Llywelyn refused to do homage to Edward. For Edward, a further provocation came from Llywelyn's planned marriage to Eleanor, daughter of Simon de Montfort. In November 1276, war was declared. Initial operations were launched under the captaincy of Mortimer, Lancaster (Edward's brother Edmund) and William de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Support for Llywelyn was weak among his own countrymen. In July 1277 Edward invaded with a force of 15,500—of whom 9,000 were Welshmen. The campaign never came to a major battle, and Llywelyn soon realised he had no choice but to surrender. By the Treaty of Aberconwy in November 1277, he was left only with the land of Gwynedd, though he was allowed to retain the title of Prince of Wales.

    When war broke out again in 1282, it was an entirely different undertaking. For the Welsh, this war was over national identity, enjoying wide support, provoked particularly by attempts to impose English law on Welsh subjects] For Edward, it became a war of conquest rather than simply a punitive expedition, like the former campaign. The war started with a rebellion by Dafydd, who was discontented with the reward he had received from Edward in 1277. Llywelyn and other Welsh chieftains soon joined in, and initially the Welsh experienced military success. In June, Gloucester was defeated at the Battle of Llandeilo Fawr. On 6 November, while John Peckham, archbishop of Canterbury, was conducting peace negotiations, Edward's commander of Anglesey, Luke de Tany, decided to carry out a surprise attack. A pontoon bridge had been built to the mainland, but shortly after Tany and his men crossed over, they were ambushed by the Welsh and suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Moel-y-don. The Welsh advances ended on 11 December, however, when Llywelyn was lured into a trap and killed at the Battle of Orewin Bridge. The conquest of Gwynedd was complete with the capture in June 1283 of Dafydd, who was taken to Shrewsbury and executed as a traitor the following autumn.

    Further rebellions occurred in 1287–8 and, more seriously, in 1294—with five under Madog ap Llywelyn, a distant relative of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. This last conflict demanded the king's own attention, but in both cases the rebellions were put down. By the 1284 Statute of Rhuddlan, the Principality of Wales was incorporated into England and was given an administrative system like the English, with counties policed by sheriffs. English law was introduced in criminal cases, though the Welsh were allowed to maintain their own customary laws in some cases of property disputes.[99] After 1277, and increasingly after 1283, Edward embarked on a full-scale project of English settlement of Wales, creating new towns like Flint, Aberystwyth, and Rhuddlan. An extensive project of castle-building was also initiated. The assignment was given to Master James of Saint George, a prestigious architect whom Edward had met in Savoy on his return from the crusade. Among the major buildings were the castles of Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech. His programme of castle building in Wales heralded the introduction of the widespread use of arrowslits in castle walls across Europe, drawing on Eastern influences. Also a product of the Crusades was the introduction of the concentric castle, and four of the eight castles Edward founded in Wales followed this design. In 1284, King Edward's son Edward—the later Edward II—was born at Caernarfon Castle. In 1301 at Lincoln, the young Edward became the first English prince to be invested with the title of Prince of Wales.

    Diplomacy and war on the Continent
    Edward never again went on crusade after his return to England in 1274, but he maintained an intention to do so, and took the cross again in 1287. This intention guided much of his foreign policy, until at least 1291. To stage a European-wide crusade, it was essential to prevent conflict between the greater princes on the continent. A major obstacle to this was represented by the conflict between the French House of Anjou ruling southern Italy, and the kingdom of Aragon in Spain. In 1282, the citizens of Palermo rose up against Charles of Anjou and turned for help to Peter of Aragon, in what has become known as the Sicilian Vespers. In the war that followed, Charles of Anjou's son, Charles of Salerno, was taken prisoner by the Aragonese. The French began planning an attack on Aragon, raising the prospect of a large-scale European war. To Edward, it was imperative that such a war be avoided, and in Paris in 1286 he brokered a truce between France and Aragon that helped secure Charles' release. As far as the crusades were concerned, however, Edward's efforts proved ineffective. A devastating blow to his plans came in 1291, when the Mamluks captured Acre, the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land.

    After the fall of Acre, Edward's international role changed from that of a diplomat to an antagonist. He had long been deeply involved in the affairs of his own Duchy of Gascony. In 1278 he assigned an investigating commission to his trusted associates Otto de Grandson and the chancellor Robert Burnell, which caused the replacement of the seneschal Luke de Tany. In 1286, Edward visited the region himself and stayed for almost three years. The perennial problem, however, was the status of Gascony within the kingdom of France, and Edward's role as the French king's vassal. On his diplomatic mission in 1286, Edward had paid homage to the new king, Philip IV, but in 1294 Philip declared Gascony forfeit when Edward refused to appear before him in Paris to discuss the recent conflict between English, Gascon, and French sailors (that had resulted in several French ships being captured, along with the sacking of the French port of La Rochelle).

    In the war that followed, Edward planned for a two-pronged attack. While the English forces focused on Gascony, alliances were made with the princes of the Low Countries, Germany, and Burgundy, who would attack France from the north. The alliances proved volatile, however, and Edward was facing trouble at home at the time, both in Wales and Scotland. It was not until August 1297 that he was finally able to sail for Flanders, at which time his allies there had already suffered defeat. The support from Germany never materialised, and Edward was forced to seek peace. His marriage to the French princess Margaret, Philip IV's half-sister and his own first cousin once removed, in 1299 ended the war, but the whole affair had proven both costly and fruitless for the English.

    The Great Cause
    The relationship between the nations of England and Scotland by the 1280s was one of relatively harmonious coexistence. The issue of homage did not reach the same level of controversy as it did in Wales; in 1278 King Alexander III of Scotland paid homage to Edward I, but apparently only for the lands he held of Edward in England. Problems arose only with the Scottish succession crisis of the early 1290s. In the years from 1281 to 1284, Alexander's two sons and one daughter died in quick succession. Then, in 1286, King Alexander died himself, leaving as heir to the throne of Scotland the three-year-old Margaret, the Maid of Norway, who was born in 1283 to Alexander's daughter Margaret and King Eric II of Norway. By the Treaty of Birgham, it was agreed that Margaret should marry King Edward's then one-year-old son Edward of Carnarvon, though Scotland would remain free of English overlordship.

    Margaret, by now seven years of age, sailed from Norway for Scotland in the autumn of 1290, but fell ill on the way and died in Orkney. This left the country without an obvious heir, and led to the succession dispute known to history as the Great Cause. Even though as many as fourteen claimants put forward their claims to the title, the real contest was between John Balliol and Robert de Brus. The Scottish magnates made a request to Edward to arbitrate in the dispute. At Birgham, with the prospect of a personal union between the two realms, the question of suzerainty had not been of great importance to Edward. Now he insisted that, if he were to settle the contest, he had to be fully recognised as Scotland's feudal overlord. The Scots were reluctant to make such a concession, and replied that since the country had no king, no one had the authority to make this decision. This problem was circumvented when the competitors agreed that the realm would be handed over to Edward until a rightful heir had been found. After a lengthy hearing, a decision was made in favour of John Balliol on 17 November 1292.

    Even after Balliol's accession, Edward still continued to assert his authority over Scotland. Against the objections of the Scots, he agreed to hear appeals on cases ruled on by the court of guardians that had governed Scotland during the interregnum. A further provocation came in a case brought by Macduff, son of Malcolm, Earl of Fife, in which Edward demanded that Balliol appear in person before the English Parliament to answer the charges. This the Scottish king did, but the final straw was Edward's demand that the Scottish magnates provide military service in the war against France. This was unacceptable; the Scots instead formed an alliance with France and launched an unsuccessful attack on Carlisle. Edward responded by invading Scotland in 1296 and taking the town of Berwick in a particularly bloody attack. At the Battle of Dunbar, Scottish resistance was effectively crushed. Edward confiscated the Stone of Destiny – the Scottish coronation stone – and brought it to Westminster, deposed Balliol and placed him in the Tower of London, and installed Englishmen to govern the country. The campaign had been very successful, but the English triumph would only be temporary.

    Finances, Parliament and the Expulsion of Jews
    Edward I's frequent military campaigns put a great financial strain on the nation. There were several ways through which the king could raise money for war, including customs duties, money lending and lay subsidies. In 1275, Edward I negotiated an agreement with the domestic merchant community that secured a permanent duty on wool. In 1303, a similar agreement was reached with foreign merchants, in return for certain rights and privileges. The revenues from the customs duty were handled by the Riccardi, a group of bankers from Lucca in Italy. This was in return for their service as money lenders to the crown, which helped finance the Welsh Wars. When the war with France broke out, the French king confiscated the Riccardi's assets, and the bank went bankrupt. After this, the Frescobaldi of Florence took over the role as money lenders to the English crown.

    Another source of crown income was represented by England's Jews. The Jews were the king's personal property, and he was free to tax them at will. By 1280, the Jews had been exploited to a level at which they were no longer of much financial use to the crown, but they could still be used in political bargaining. Their usury business – a practice forbidden to Christians – had made many people indebted to them and caused general popular resentment. In 1275, Edward had issued the Statute of the Jewry, which outlawed usury and encouraged the Jews to take up other professions; in 1279, in the context of a crack-down on coin-clippers, he arrested all the heads of Jewish households in England and had around 300 of them executed. In 1280, he ordered all Jews to attend special sermons, preached by Dominican friars, with the hope of persuading them to convert, but these exhortations were not followed. The final attack on the Jews in England came in the Edict of Expulsion in 1290, whereby Edward formally expelled all Jews from England. This not only generated revenues through royal appropriation of Jewish loans and property, but it also gave Edward the political capital to negotiate a substantial lay subsidy in the 1290 Parliament. The expulsion, which was not reversed until 1656, followed a precedent set by other European territorial princes: Philip II of France had expelled all Jews from his own lands in 1182; John I, Duke of Brittany, drove them out of his duchy in 1239; and in the late 1240s Louis IX of France had expelled the Jews from the royal demesne before his first passage to the East.

    Among the main achievements of the reign of Edward I were the reforms of the institution of the English Parliament and its transformation into a source for generating revenues. Edward held Parliament on a reasonably regular basis throughout his reign. In 1295, however, a significant change occurred. For this Parliament, in addition to the secular and ecclesiastical lords, two knights from each county and two representatives from each borough were summoned. The representation of commons in Parliament was nothing new; what was new was the authority under which these representatives were summoned. Whereas previously the commons had been expected simply to assent to decisions already made by the magnates, it was now proclaimed that they should meet with the full authority (plena potestas) of their communities, to give assent to decisions made in Parliament. The king now had full backing for collecting lay subsidies from the entire population. Lay subsidies were taxes collected at a certain fraction of the moveable property of all laymen. Whereas Henry III had only collected four of these in his reign, Edward I collected nine. This format eventually became the standard for later Parliaments, and historians have named the assembly the "Model Parliament".

    Constitutional crisis
    The incessant warfare of the 1290s put a great financial demand on Edward's subjects. Whereas the king had only levied three lay subsidies until 1294, four such taxes were granted in the years 1294–97, raising over £200,000. Along with this came the burden of prises (appropriation of food), seizure of wool and hides, and the unpopular additional duty on wool, dubbed the maltolt. The fiscal demands on the king's subjects caused resentment, and this resentment eventually led to serious political opposition. The initial resistance was not caused by the lay taxes, however, but by clerical subsidies. In 1294, Edward made a demand of a grant of one half of all clerical revenues. There was some resistance, but the king responded by threatening with outlawry, and the grant was eventually made. At the time, the archbishopric of Canterbury was vacant, since Robert Winchelsey was in Italy to receive consecration. Winchelsey returned in January 1295 and had to consent to another grant in November of that year. In 1296, however, his position changed when he received the papal bull Clericis laicos. This bull prohibited the clergy from paying taxes to lay authorities without explicit consent from the Pope. When the clergy, with reference to the bull, refused to pay, Edward responded with outlawry. Winchelsey was presented with a dilemma between loyalty to the king and upholding the papal bull, and he responded by leaving it to every individual clergyman to pay as he saw fit. By the end of the year, a solution was offered by the new papal bull Etsi de statu, which allowed clerical taxation in cases of pressing urgency.

    Chronicle of Walter of Guisborough
    Opposition from the laity took longer to surface. This resistance focused on two things: the king's right to demand military service, and his right to levy taxes. At the Salisbury parliament of February 1297, Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, in his capacity as Marshal of England, objected to a royal summons of military service. Bigod argued that the military obligation only extended to service alongside the king; if the king intended to sail to Flanders, he could not send his subjects to Gascony. In July, Bigod and Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Constable of England, drew up a series of complaints known as the Remonstrances, in which objections to the extortionate level of taxation were voiced. Undeterred, Edward requested another lay subsidy. This one was particularly provocative, because the king had sought consent only from a small group of magnates, rather than from representatives from the communities in parliament. While Edward was in Winchelsea, preparing for the campaign in Flanders, Bigod and Bohun turned up at the Exchequer to prevent the collection of the tax. As the king left the country with a greatly reduced force, the kingdom seemed to be on the verge of civil war. What resolved the situation was the English defeat by the Scots at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The renewed threat to the homeland gave king and magnates common cause. Edward signed the Confirmatio cartarum – a confirmation of Magna Carta and its accompanying Charter of the Forest – and the nobility agreed to serve with the king on a campaign in Scotland.

    Edward's problems with the opposition did not end with the Falkirk campaign. Over the following years he would be held up to the promises he had made, in particular that of upholding the Charter of the Forest. In the parliament of 1301, the king was forced to order an assessment of the royal forests, but in 1305 he obtained a papal bull that freed him from this concession. Ultimately, it was a failure in personnel that spelt the end of the opposition against Edward I. Bohun died late in 1298, after returning from the Falkirk campaign. As for Bigod, in 1302 he arrived at an agreement with the king that was beneficial for both: Bigod, who had no children, made Edward his heir, in return for a generous annual grant. Edward finally got his revenge on Winchelsey in 1305, when Clement V was elected pope. Clement was a Gascon sympathetic to the king, and on Edward's instigation had Winchelsey suspended from office.

    Final years: return to Scotland
    The situation in Scotland had seemed resolved when Edward left the country in 1296, but resistance soon emerged under the leadership of the strategically gifted and charismatic William Wallace. On 11 September 1297, a large English force under the leadership of John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, and Hugh de Cressingham was routed by a much smaller Scottish army led by Wallace and Andrew Moray at Stirling Bridge. The defeat sent shockwaves into England, and preparations for a retaliatory campaign started immediately. Soon after Edward returned from Flanders, he headed north. On 22 July 1298, in the only major battle he had fought since Evesham in 1265, Edward defeated Wallace's forces at the Battle of Falkirk. Edward, however, was not able to take advantage of the momentum, and the next year the Scots managed to recapture Stirling Castle. Even though Edward campaigned in Scotland both in 1300, when he successfully besieged Caerlaverock Castle and in 1301, the Scots refused to engage in open battle again, preferring instead to raid the English countryside in smaller groups.[185] Furthermore the defeated Scots, secretly urged on by the French, appealed to the pope to assert a claim of overlordship to Scotland in place of the English. His papal bull addressed to King Edward in these terms was firmly rejected on Edward's behalf by the Barons' Letter of 1301. The English managed to subdue the country by other means, however. In 1303, a peace agreement was reached between England and France, effectively breaking up the Franco-Scottish alliance.[186] Robert the Bruce, the grandson of the claimant to the crown in 1291, had sided with the English in the winter of 1301–02. By 1304, most of the other nobles of the country had also pledged their allegiance to Edward, and this year the English also managed to re-take Stirling Castle. A great propaganda victory was achieved in 1305 when Wallace was betrayed by Sir John de Menteith and turned over to the English, who had him taken to London where he was publicly executed. With Scotland largely under English control, Edward installed Englishmen and collaborating Scots to govern the country.

    The situation changed again on 10 February 1306, when Robert the Bruce murdered his rival John Comyn and a few weeks later, on 25 March, had himself crowned king of Scotland by Isobel, sister of the Earl of Buchan. Bruce now embarked on a campaign to restore Scottish independence, and this campaign took the English by surprise. Edward was suffering ill health by this time, and instead of leading an expedition himself, he gave different military commands to Aymer de Valence and Henry Percy, while the main royal army was led by the Prince of Wales.[193] The English initially met with success; on 19 June, Aymer de Valence routed Bruce at the Battle of Methven. Bruce was forced into hiding, while the English forces recaptured their lost territory and castles. Edward responded with severe brutality against Bruce's allies; it was clear that he now regarded the struggle not as a war between two nations, but as the suppression of a rebellion of disloyal subjects. This brutality, though, rather than helping to subdue the Scots, had the opposite effect, and rallied growing support for Bruce. In February 1307, Bruce reappeared and started gathering men, and in May he defeated Aymer de Valence at the Battle of Loudoun Hill. Edward, who had rallied somewhat, now moved north himself. On the way, however, he developed dysentery, and his condition deteriorated. On 6 July he encamped at Burgh by Sands, just south of the Scottish border. When his servants came the next morning to lift him up so that he could eat, he died in their arms.

    Various stories emerged about Edward’s deathbed wishes; according to one tradition, he requested that his heart be carried to the Holy Land, along with an army to fight the infidels. A more dubious story tells of how he wished for his bones to be carried along on future expeditions against the Scots. Another account of his deathbed scene is more credible; according to one chronicle, Edward gathered around him the earls of Lincoln and Warwick, Aymer de Valence, and Robert Clifford, and charged them with looking after his son Edward. In particular they should make sure that Piers Gaveston was not allowed to return to the country. This wish, however, the son ignored, and had his favourite recalled from exile almost immediately. Edward I's body was brought south, and after a lengthy vigil he was buried in Westminster Abbey on 27 October. The new king, Edward II, remained in the north until August, but then abandoned the campaign and headed south. He was crowned king on 25 February 1308.

    Character and assessment
    Physically, Edward was an imposing man; at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) he towered over most of his contemporaries, and hence perhaps his epithet "longshanks". Edward I by Michael Prestwich states his "Long arms gave him an advantage as a swordsman, long thighs one as a horseman. In youth, his curly hair was blond; in maturity it darkened, and in old age it turned white. [His features were marred by a drooping left eyelid.] His speech, despite a lisp, was said to be persuasive." He also had a reputation for a fierce temper, and he could be intimidating; one story tells of how the Dean of St Paul's, wishing to confront Edward over the high level of taxation in 1295, fell down and died once he was in the king's presence. When Edward of Caernarfon demanded an earldom for his favourite Gaveston, the king erupted in anger and supposedly tore out handfuls of his son's hair. Some of his contemporaries considered Edward frightening, particularly in his early days. The Song of Lewes in 1264 described him as a leopard, an animal regarded as particularly powerful and unpredictable. Despite these frightening character traits, however, Edward's contemporaries considered him an able, even an ideal, king. Though not loved by his subjects, he was feared and respected. He met contemporary expectations of kingship in his role as an able, determined soldier and in his embodiment of shared chivalric ideals. In religious observance he also fulfilled the expectations of his age: he attended chapel regularly and gave alms generously.

    Modern historians have been more divided in their view of Edward I. Bishop William Stubbs, working in the whig tradition of historical writing, praised Edward as a king deliberately working towards the goal of a constitutional government. "...the self-regulating action of the body politic", according to Stubbs "was very much the work of Edward." Stubbs' student T. F. Tout departed from this view. In Tout's opinion, "Even the parliamentary system grew up in obedience to the royal will. It was no yielding to a people crying for liberty, but the shrewd device of an autocrat, anxious to use the mass of the people as a check upon his hereditary foes among the greater baronage." F. M. Powicke offered a more positive perspective in his extensive work on Edward I in King Henry III and the Lord Edward (1947) and The Thirteenth Century (1953). K. B. McFarlane, on the other hand, criticised Edward's restrictive policy towards his earls, and concluded that "...he belonged less to the future than to the past."

    In 1988, Michael Prestwich released what has been called "...the first scholarly study devoted exclusively to the political career of Edward I." Prestwich's work, which is considered authoritative, tries to assess Edward by the standards of his own age, and concludes that his reign was a great one. His contributions to the development of the law, parliament and a functioning system of taxation, as well as his military exploits, stand out in particular. At the same time, he left a legacy of financial difficulties, political distrust and an unresolved situation in Scotland. The roots of the disasters of the reign of Edward II can be found in the reign of Edward I. Other contemporary writers have been more willing to criticise Edward for his failings, particularly his severe treatment of the Jews. There is also a great difference between English and Scottish historiography on King Edward. G. W. S. Barrow, in his biography on Robert the Bruce, accused Edward of ruthlessly exploiting the leaderless state of Scotland to obtain a feudal superiority over the kingdom. This view of Edward is reflected in the popular perception of the king, as can be seen in the 1995 movie Braveheart's portrayal of the king as a hard-hearted tyrant.

    Name and epithets
    Edward, being an Anglo-Saxon name, was not a common name among the aristocracy of England after the Norman Conquest. Henry III was devoted to the veneration of Edward the Confessor, and for this reason decided to name his firstborn son after the saint. Other Anglo-Saxon kings had included Edward the Elder and Edward the Martyr, and numerals were still not commonly used in Edward's time; as the first post-Conquest king to carry that name, he was referred to simply as "King Edward", "King Edward, son of King Henry", or "King Edward, the first by that name after the Conquest". It was only after the succession of first his son and then his grandson—both of whom bore the same name—that "Edward I" came into common usage.

    The epithet under which Edward I is best known is probably "Longshanks" – meaning "long legs" or "long shins" – in reference to his tall stature. On 2 May 1774, the Society of Antiquaries opened Edward's tomb in Westminster Abbey. They reported that his body had been well preserved over the preceding 467 years, and measured the king's body to be 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm). At this length, he would tower over most of his common contemporaries. Another epithet applied to Edward I is "Hammer of the Scots". This comes from the Latin inscription on his tomb, which reads Edwardus Primus Scottorum Malleus hic est, 1308. Pactum Serva ("Here is Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, 1308. Keep the Vow"). This inscription, however, referring to his incessant campaigns against the Scots in the later years of his reign, is from a later date, probably the sixteenth century. The seventeenth-century lawyer Edward Coke called Edward the "English Justinian". This was a way of highlighting the king's legislative accomplishments, by comparing him to the renowned Byzantine law-maker Justinian I. Unlike Justinian, Edward did not codify the law, but as William Stubbs pointed out, "if it be meant to denote the importance and permanence of his legislation and the dignity of his position in legal history", the comparison is still a valid one.

    Eleanor of Castile died on 28 November 1290. Uncommon for such marriages of the period, the couple loved each other. Moreover like his father, Edward was very devoted to his queen and was faithful to her throughout their married lives—a rarity among monarchs of the time. He was deeply affected by her death. He displayed his grief by erecting twelve so-called Eleanor crosses, one at each place where her funeral cortège stopped for the night. As part of the peace accord between England and France in 1294, it was agreed that Edward should marry the French princess Margaret. The marriage took place in 1299.
    Edward and Eleanor had at least fourteen children, perhaps as many as sixteen. Of these, five daughters survived into adulthood, but only one boy outlived Edward: the future King Edward II. Edward I was reportedly concerned with his son's failure to live up to the expectations of an heir to the crown, and at one point decided to exile the prince's favourite Piers Gaveston. Edward may have been aware of his son's bisexual orientation even though he did not throw the prince's favourite from the castle battlements as depicted in Braveheart.

    By Margaret, Edward had two sons, both of whom lived into adulthood, and a daughter who died as a child. The Hailes Abbey chronicle indicates that John Botetourt may have been Edward's illegitimate son, however the claim is unsubstantiated.3,6

Family 1: Eleanor of Castile Countesse de Ponthieu, Queen Consort of England b. c 1244, d. 28 Nov 1290

Family 2: Margaret (?) of France, Queen of England b. c 1279, d. 14 Feb 1318

  • Last Edited: 12 Jan 2015

Eleanor of Castile Countesse de Ponthieu, Queen Consort of England1

F, #7978, b. circa 1244, d. 28 November 1290

Eleanor of Castile
Queen consort of England

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  • Birth*: Eleanor of Castile Countesse de Ponthieu, Queen Consort of England was born circa 1244 in Kingdom of Castile, Spain*.3
  • Marriage*: She married Edward I 'Long Shanks' (?) King of England, son of Henry III Plantagenet King of England and Eleanor (?) of Provence, on 18 October 1254 in Abbey of Las Huelgas Burgos, Kingdom of Castile, Spain*.4
  • Death*: Eleanor of Castile Countesse de Ponthieu, Queen Consort of England died on 28 November 1290 in Harby, Nottinghamshire, England.2
  • Burial*: She was buried after 28 November 1290 in Westminster Abbey, London, Greater London, England.2
  • Biography*: Eleanor of Castile (1241 – 28 November 1290) was the first queen consort of Edward I of England. She was also Countess of Ponthieu in her own right from 1279 until her death in 1290, succeeding her mother and ruling together with her husband.

    Eleanor was born in Castile, now Spain, daughter of Ferdinand III of Castile and Joan, Countess of Ponthieu. Her Castilian name, Leonor, became Alienor or Alianor in England, and Eleanor in modern English. She was named after her great-grandmother, Eleanor of England.

    Eleanor was the second of five children born to Ferdinand and Joan. Her elder brother Ferdinand was born in 1239/40, her younger brother Louis in 1242/43; two sons born after Louis died young. For the ceremonies in 1291 marking the first anniversary of Eleanor's death, 49 candlebearers were paid to walk in the public procession to commemorate each year of her life. This would date her birth to the year 1241. Since her parents were apart from each other for 13 months while King Ferdinand conducted a military campaign in Andalusia from which he returned to the north of Spain only in February 1241, Eleanor was probably born toward the end of that year. Both the court of her father and her half-brother Alfonso X of Castile were known for its literary atmosphere. Growing up in such an environment probably influenced her later literary activities as queen. She was said to have been at her father's deathbed in Seville in 1252.

    Prospective bride to Theobald II of Navarre
    Eleanor's marriage in 1254 to the future Edward I of England was not the first marriage her family planned for her. The kings of Castile had long made the flimsy claim to be paramount lords of the Kingdom of Navarre in the Pyrenees, and from 1250 Ferdinand III and his heir, Eleanor's half-brother Alfonso X of Castile, hoped she would marry Theobald II of Navarre. To avoid Castilian control, Margaret of Bourbon (mother to Theobald II) in 1252 allied with James I of Aragon instead, and as part of that treaty solemnly promised that Theobald would never marry Eleanor.

    Then, in 1252, Alfonso X resurrected another flimsy ancestral claim, this time to the duchy of Gascony, in the south of Aquitaine, last possession of the Kings of England in France. Henry III of England swiftly countered Alfonso's claims with both diplomatic and military moves. Early in 1254 the two kings began to negotiate; after haggling over the financial provision for Eleanor, Henry and Alfonso agreed she would marry Henry's son Edward, and Alfonso would transfer his Gascon claims to Edward. Henry was so anxious for the marriage to take place that he willingly abandoned elaborate preparations already made for Edward's knighting in England, and agreed that Alfonso would knight Edward before the wedding took place.

    The young couple married at the monastery of Las Huelgas, Burgos on 1 November 1254. Edward and Eleanor were second cousins once removed, as Eleanor's great-grandmother Eleanor of England was a daughter of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Henry III took pride in resolving the Gascon crisis so decisively, but his English subjects feared that the marriage would bring Eleanor's kinfolk and countrymen to live off Henry's ruinous generosity. Several of her relatives did come to England soon after her marriage. She was too young to stop them or prevent Henry III from paying for them, but she was blamed anyway and her marriage was unpopular. Interestingly enough, Eleanor's mother had been spurned in marriage by Henry III and her great-grandmother, Alys, Countess of the Vexin, had been spurned in marriage by Richard I. However, the presence of more English, Frank and Norman soldiers of fortune and opportunists in the recently reconquered Seville and Cordoba Moorish Kingdoms would be increased, thanks to this alliance between royal houses, until the advent of the later Hundred Years War when it would be symptomatic of extended hostilities between the French and the English for peninsular support.

    Second Barons' War
    There is little record of Eleanor's life in England until the 1260s, when the Second Barons' War, between Henry III and his barons, divided the kingdom. During this time Eleanor actively supported Edward's interests, importing archers from her mother's county of Ponthieu in France. It is untrue, however, that she was sent to France to escape danger during the war; she was in England throughout the struggle. Rumours that she was seeking fresh troops from Castile led the baronial leader, Simon de Montfort, to order her removal from Windsor Castle in June 1264 after the royalist army had been defeated at the Battle of Lewes. Edward was captured at Lewes and imprisoned, and Eleanor was honourably confined at Westminster Palace. After Edward and Henry's army defeated the baronial army at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, Edward took a major role in reforming the government and Eleanor rose to prominence at his side. Her position was greatly improved in July 1266 when, after she had borne three short-lived daughters, she finally gave birth to a son, John, who was followed by a second, Henry, in the spring of 1268, and in 1269 by a healthy daughter, Eleanor.

    By 1270, the kingdom was pacified and Edward and Eleanor left to join his uncle Louis IX of France on the Eighth Crusade. Louis died at Carthage before they arrived, however, and after they spent the winter in Sicily, the couple went on to Acre in Palestine, where they arrived in May 1271. Eleanor gave birth to a daughter, known as "Joanna of Acre" for her birthplace.

    The crusade was militarily unsuccessful, but Baibars of the Bahri dynasty was worried enough by Edward's presence at Acre that an assassination attempt was made on the English heir in June 1272. He was wounded in the arm by a dagger that was thought to be poisoned. The wound soon became seriously inflamed, and an English surgeon saved him by cutting away the diseased flesh, but only after Eleanor was led from his bed, "weeping and wailing." Later storytellers embellished this incident, claiming Eleanor sucked poison from the wound, but this fanciful tale has no foundation.

    They left Palestine in September 1272 and in Sicily that December they learned of Henry III's death (on 16 November 1272). Edward and Eleanor returned to England and were crowned together on 19 August 1274.

    Queen consort of England
    Arranged royal marriages in the Middle Ages were not always happy, but available evidence indicates that Eleanor and Edward were devoted to each other. Edward is among the few medieval English kings not known to have conducted extramarital affairs or fathered children out of wedlock. The couple were rarely apart; she accompanied him on military campaigns in Wales, famously giving birth to their son Edward on 25 April 1284 in a temporary dwelling erected for her amid the construction of Caernarfon Castle.

    Their household records witness incidents that imply a comfortable, even humorous, relationship. Each year on Easter Monday, Edward let Eleanor's ladies trap him in his bed and paid them a token ransom so he could go to her bedroom on the first day after Lent; so important was this custom to him that in 1291, on the first Easter Monday after Eleanor's death, he gave her ladies the money he would have given them had she been alive. Edward disliked ceremonies and in 1290 refused to attend the marriage of Earl Marshal Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk; Eleanor thoughtfully (or resignedly) paid minstrels to play for him while he sat alone during the wedding.

    That Edward remained single until he wed Marguerite of France in 1299 is often cited to prove he cherished Eleanor's memory. In fact he considered a second marriage as early as 1293, but this does not mean he did not mourn Eleanor. Eloquent testimony is found in his letter to the abbot of Cluny in France (January 1291), seeking prayers for the soul of the wife "whom living we dearly cherished, and whom dead we cannot cease to love." In her memory, Edward ordered the construction of twelve elaborate stone crosses (of which three survive, almost intact) between 1291 and 1294, marking the route of her funeral procession between Lincoln and London.

    However, only one of Eleanor's four sons survived childhood and, even before she died, Edward worried over the succession: if that son died, their daughters' husbands might cause a succession war. Despite personal grief, Edward faced his duty and married again. He delighted in the sons his new wife bore, but attended memorial services for Eleanor to the end of his life, Marguerite at his side on at least one occasion.

    Eleanor is warmly remembered by history as the queen who inspired the Eleanor crosses, but she was not so loved in her own time. The English saw her as a greedy foreigner. Walter of Guisborough preserves a contemporary poem:
    "The king desires to get our gold/the queen, our manors fair to hold..."
    John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury warned Eleanor that her activities in the land market caused outcry, gossip, rumour and scandal across the realm. Her often aggressive acquisition of lands was an unusual degree of economic activity for any medieval noblewoman, let alone a queen: between 1274 and 1290 she acquired estates worth above £2500 yearly. In fact, Edward himself initiated this process and his ministers helped her. He wanted the queen to hold lands sufficient for her financial needs without drawing on funds needed for government. One of his methods to help Eleanor acquire land was to give her debts Christian landlords owed Jewish moneylenders; she foreclosed on lands pledged for the debts. The debtors were often glad to rid themselves of the debts and also profited from the favour Eleanor showed them afterwards. But her reputation in England was further blighted by association with the highly unpopular moneylenders.

    Peckham also warned of complaints against her officials' demands upon her tenants. On her deathbed, Eleanor asked Edward to name justices to examine her officials' actions and make reparations. The surviving proceedings from this inquest do reveal a pattern of ruthless exactions, often without the queen's knowledge. She righted such wrongs when she heard of them, but not often enough to prevent a third warning from Peckham that many in England thought she urged Edward to rule harshly. In fact Edward allowed her little political influence, but her officials' demands were ascribed to her imagined personal severity, which was used to explain the king's administrative strictness. In other words, the queen was made to wear the king's unpopular mask. It was always safer to blame a foreign-born queen than to criticise a king, and easier to believe he was misled by a meddling wife. Eleanor was neither the first queen nor the last to be blamed for a king's actions, but in her case the unsavory conduct of her own administration made it even easier to shift such blame to her.

    Limited political influence
    Contemporary evidence shows clearly that Eleanor had no impact on the political history of Edward's reign. Even in diplomatic matters her role was minor, though Edward did heed her advice on the age at which their daughters could marry foreign rulers. Otherwise she merely bestowed gifts on visiting princes or envoys. Edward always honoured his obligations to Alfonso X, but even when Alfonso's need was desperate in the early 1280s, Edward did not send English knights to Castile; he sent only knights from Gascony, which was closer to Castile. In England, Eleanor did mediate disputes of a minor nature between Edward's subjects, but only with Edward's consent and only with the help of ranking members of his council. Edward was prepared to resist her demands, or to stop her, if he felt she was going too far in any of her activities, and expected his ministers to do likewise.

    If she was allowed no effective official role, Eleanor was an intelligent and cultured woman and found other satisfying outlets for her energies. She was an active patroness of vernacular literature, with scribes and an illuminator in her household to copy books for her. Some of these were apparently vernacular romances and saints' lives, but Eleanor's tastes ranged far more widely than that. The number and variety of new works written for her show that her interests were broad and sophisticated. On Crusade in 1272, she had De Re Militari by Vegetius translated for Edward. After she succeeded her mother as countess of Ponthieu in 1279, a romance was written for her about the life of a supposed 9th century count of Ponthieu. In the 1280s, Archbishop Peckham wrote a work for her to explain what angels were and what they did. In January 1286 she thanked the abbot of Cerne for lending her a book—possibly a treatise on chess known to have been written at Cerne in the late thirteenth century—and her accounts reveal her in 1290 corresponding with an Oxford master about one of her books.

    The queen was a devoted patron of Dominican Order friars, founding several priories in England and supporting their work at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Not surprisingly, Eleanor's piety was of an intellectual stamp; apart from her religious foundations she was not given to good works, and she left it to her chaplains to distribute alms for her. She patronised many relatives, though given foreigners' unpopularity in England and the criticism of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence's generosity to them, she was cautious as queen to choose which cousins to support. Rather than marry her male cousins to English heiresses, which would put English wealth in foreign hands, she arranged marriages for her female cousins to English barons. Edward strongly supported these endeavours.

    In the autumn of 1290, news reached Edward that Margaret, the Maid of Norway, heiress of Scotland, had died. He had just held a parliament at Clipstone in Nottinghamshire, and continued to linger in those parts, presumably to await news of further developments in Scotland. Eleanor followed him at a leisurely pace as she was unwell with a feverish illness, probably a quartan fever first reported in 1287. After the couple left Clipstone they travelled slowly toward the city of Lincoln, a destination Eleanor would never reach.

    Her condition worsened when they reached the village of Harby, Nottinghamshire, less than 22 miles (35 km) from Lincoln. The journey was abandoned, and the queen was lodged in the house of Richard de Weston, the foundations of which can still be seen near Harby's parish church. After piously receiving the Church's last rites, she died there on the evening of the 28 November 1290, aged 49 and after 36 years of marriage. Edward was at her bedside to hear her final requests.

    Procession, burial and monuments
    Edward followed her body to burial in Westminster Abbey, and erected memorial crosses at the site of each overnight stop between Lincoln and Westminster. Based on crosses in France marking Louis IX's funeral procession, these artistically significant monuments enhanced the image of Edward's kingship as well as witnessing his grief. The "Eleanor crosses" stood at Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St Albans, Waltham, Westcheap, and Charing – only 3 survive, none in entirety. The best preserved is that at Geddington. All 3 have lost the crosses "of immense height" that originally surmounted them; only the lower stages remain. The Waltham cross has been heavily restored and to prevent further deterioration, its original statues of the queen are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The Waltham and Northampton crosses have been moved to locations different from their original sites.

    The monument now known as "Charing Cross" in London, in front of the railway station of that name, was built in 1865 to publicise the railway hotel at Charing station. The original Charing cross was at the top of Whitehall, on the south side of Trafalgar Square, but was destroyed in 1647 and later replaced by a statue of Charles I.

    In the thirteenth century, embalming involved evisceration. Eleanor's viscera were buried in Lincoln Cathedral, where Edward placed a duplicate of the Westminster tomb. The Lincoln tomb's original stone chest survives; its effigy was destroyed in the 17th century and replaced with a 19th-century copy. On the outside of Lincoln Cathedral are two statues often identified as Edward and Eleanor, but these images were heavily restored and given new heads in the 19th century; probably they were not originally intended to depict the couple.

    The queen's heart was taken with the body to London and was buried in the Dominican priory at Blackfriars in London. The accounts of her executors show that the monument constructed there to commemorate her heart burial was richly elaborate, including wall paintings as well as an angelic statue in metal that apparently stood under a carved stone canopy. It was destroyed in the 16th century during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

    Eleanor's funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on 17 December 1290. Her body was placed in a grave near the high altar that had originally contained the coffin of Edward the Confessor and, more recently, that of King Henry III until his remains were removed to his new tomb in 1290. Eleanor's body remained in this grave until the completion of her own tomb. She had probably ordered that tomb before her death. It consists of a marble chest with carved mouldings and shields (originally painted) of the arms of England, Castile, and Ponthieu. The chest is surmounted by William Torel's superb gilt-bronze effigy, showing Eleanor in the same pose as the image on her great seal.

    When Edward remarried a decade after her death, he and his second wife Margaret of France, named their only daughter Eleanor in honour of her.

    Eleanor of Castile's queenship is significant in English history for the evolution of a stable financial system for the king's wife, and for the honing this process gave the queen-consort's prerogatives. The estates Eleanor assembled became the nucleus for dower assignments made to later queens of England into the 15th century, and her involvement in this process solidly established a queen-consort's freedom to engage in such transactions. Few later queens exerted themselves in economic activity to the extent Eleanor did, but their ability to do so rested on the precedents settled in her lifetime.

    Historical reputation
    Despite her unpopularity in her own day, Eleanor of Castile has had a positive reputation since the 16th century. The antiquarian William Camden first published in England the tale that Eleanor saved Edward's life at Acre by sucking his wound. Camden then went on to ascribe construction of the Eleanor crosses to Edward's grief at the loss of a heroic wife who had selflessly risked her own life to save his. Camden's discussion of the crosses reflected the religious history of his time; the crosses were in fact intended to attract prayers for Eleanor's soul from passersby, but the Protestant Reformation in England had officially ended the practice of praying for the souls of the dead, so Camden instead ascribed Edward's commemorations of his wife to her alleged heroism in saving Edward's life at the risk of her own. Historians in the 17th and 18th centuries uncritically repeated Camden's information wholesale, and in the 19th century the self-styled historian Agnes Strickland used Camden to paint the rosiest of all pictures of Eleanor. None of these writers, however, used contemporary chronicles or records to provide accurate information about Eleanor's life.

    Such documents became widely available in the late 19th century, but even when historians began to cite them to suggest Eleanor was not the perfect queen Strickland praised, many rejected the correction, often expressing indignant disbelief that anything negative was said about Eleanor. Only in recent decades have historians studied queenship in its own right and regarded medieval queens as worthy of attention. These decades produced a sizeable body of historical work that allows Eleanor's life to be scrutinized in the terms of her own day, not those of the 17th or 19th centuries.

    The evolution of her reputation is a case study in the maxim that each age creates its own history. If Eleanor of Castile can no longer be seen as a paradigm of queenly virtues, her career can now be examined as the achievement of an intelligent and determined woman who was able to meet the challenges of an exceptionally demanding life.

    Issue of Queen Eleanor and King Edward I

    Daughter, stillborn in May 1255 in Bordeaux, France.
    Katherine, (before 17 June 1264 – 5 September 1264) and buried at Westminster Abbey.
    Joan, born January 1265, buried at Westminster Abbey before 7 September 1265.
    John, (13 July 1266 – 3 August 1271) at Wallingford, in the custody of his granduncle, Richard, Earl of Cornwall. Buried at Westminster Abbey.
    Henry of England, (before 6 May 1268 – 16 October 1274).
    Eleanor, (18 June 1269 – 29 August 1298). Buried 12 October 1298. She was long betrothed to Alfonso III of Aragon, who died in 1291 before the marriage could take place, and in 1293 she married Count Henry III of Bar, by whom she had one son and two daughters.
    Daughter, (28 May 1271 Palestine – 5 September 1271). Some sources call her Juliana, but there is no contemporary evidence for her name.
    Joan of Acre (April 1272 – 7 April 1307). She married in 1290 Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford, who died in 1295, and in 1297 Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer. She had four children by each marriage.
    Alphonso, Earl of Chester, born 24 November 1273, died 19 August 1284, buried in Westminster Abbey. He is sometimes accorded the title "Earl of Chester" by modern popular writers, but there is no contemporary evidence that that title, or any other, was ever conferred upon him.
    Margaret Plantagenet, (15 March 1275 – after 1333). In 1290 she married John II of Brabant, who died in 1318. They had one son.
    Berengaria, (1 May 1276 – before 27 June 1278), buried in Westminster Abbey.
    Daughter, died shortly after birth at Westminster, on or about 3 January 1278. There is no contemporary evidence for her name.
    Mary of Woodstock, (11 March 1279 – 29 May 1332), a Benedictine nun in Amesbury, Wiltshire (England), where she was probably buried.
    A son, born in 1280 or 1281 who died very shortly after birth. There is no contemporary evidence for his name.
    Elizabeth of Rhuddlan, (7 August 1282 – 5 May 1316). She married in 1297 John I, Count of Holland, in 1302 Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford & 3rd Earl of Essex. The first marriage was childless; by Bohun, Elizabeth had ten children.
    Edward II of England, also known as Edward of Caernarvon, (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327). In 1308 he married Isabella of France.

    Eleanor as a mother
    It has been suggested that Eleanor and Edward were more devoted to each other than to their children. As king and queen, however, it was impossible for them to spend much time in one place, and when they were very young, the children could not travel constantly with their parents. The children had a household staffed with attendants carefully chosen for competence and loyalty, with whom the parents corresponded regularly. The children lived in this comfortable establishment until they were about seven years old; then they began to accompany their parents for important occasions, and by their teens they were with the king and queen much of the time. In 1290, Eleanor sent one of her scribes to join this household, presumably to share in her children's education, and in 1306 Edward sharply scolded the woman in charge of his children because she had not kept him informed of their health.

    Two incidents cited to imply Eleanor's lack of interest in her children are easily explained in the contexts of royal childrearing in general, and of particular events surrounding Edward and Eleanor's family. When their six-year-old son Henry lay dying at Guildford in 1274, neither parent made the short journey from London to see him; but he was tended by Edward's mother Eleanor of Provence, who had raised the boy during the four years his parents were on Crusade. The grandmother was thus at that moment more familiar to him than his parents, and the better able to comfort him in his illness. Since Henry was always sickly, the gravity of his illness was perhaps not realised until it was too late for his parents to reach him. Similarly, Edward and Eleanor allowed her mother, Joan of Dammartin, to raise their daughter Joan in Ponthieu (1274–78). This implies no parental lack of interest in the girl; the practice of fostering noble children in other households of sufficient dignity was not unknown and Eleanor's mother was, of course, dowager queen of Castile. Her household was thus safe and dignified, but it does appear that Edward and Eleanor had cause to regret their generosity in allowing Joan of Dammartin to foster young Joan. When the girl reached England in 1278, aged six, it turned out that she had been badly spoiled. She was spirited and often defiant throughout childhood, and in adulthood remained a handful for Edward, defying his plans for a prestigious second marriage for her by secretly marrying one of her late first husband's squires. When the marriage had to be revealed because Joan was pregnant, Edward was infuriated that his dignity had been insulted by her marriage to a commoner of no importance. Joan, at twenty-five, reportedly defended her conduct to her redoubtable father by saying that nobody saw anything wrong if a great earl married a poor woman, so there could be nothing wrong with a countess marrying a promising young man. Whether or not her retort ultimately changed his mind, Edward restored to Joan all the lands he had confiscated when he learned of her secret marriage, and accepted her new husband as a son-in-law in good standing. Joan marked her restoration to favour by having masses celebrated for the soul of her mother, Queen Eleanor.5

Family: Edward I 'Long Shanks' (?) King of England b. 17 Jun 1239, d. 7 Jul 1307

  • Last Edited: 11 Jan 2016

Henry III Plantagenet King of England1

M, #7979, b. 1 October 1207, d. 16 November 1272

King Henry III of England

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Henry III Plantagenet King of England was born on 1 October 1207 in Winchester Castle, Winchester, Hampshire, England.3
  • Marriage*: He married Eleanor (?) of Provence, daughter of Raimond Berenger IV (?) Count of Provence and Beatrice di Savola, on 14 January 1236 in Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.3
  • Death*: Henry III Plantagenet King of England died on 16 November 1272 in Westminster Palace, Westminster, Greater London, England, at age 65.2
  • Burial*: He was buried after 16 November 1272 in Westminster Abbey, London, Greater London, England.2
  • Biography*: Henry III, King of England was born on 1 October 1207 at Winchester Castle, Winchester, Hampshire, England. He was the son of John I 'Lackland', King of England and Isabella d'Angoulême. He married Eleanor of Provence, daughter of Raimond Berengar V, Comte de Provence and Beatrice di Savoia, on 14 January 1236 at Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.3 He died on 16 November 1272 at age 65 at Westminster Palace, Westminster, London, England. He was buried at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.

    He succeeded to the title of King Henry III of England on 19 October 1216.3 He was crowned King of England on 28 October 1216 at Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England, and styled 'Rex Anglaie, Dominus Hiberniae, Dux Normanniae, et Dux Aquitaniae.' He abdicated as Duke of Normandy in December 1259. He fought in the Battle of Lewes on 14 May 1264, where he was taken priosner by the rebellious barons.

    He was only 9 years old when he came to the throne which he occupied for 56 years. While he was a minor the land was ruled by the Earl of Pembroke and Hubert de Burgh. His personal rule was weak and ineffective. Many followers from his wife's country were given important positions and the English barons became restless. By 1258 Henry was compelled to hand power to these barons, led by Simon de Monfort. War broke out between the barons and Henry, and he was defeated and made prisoner at Lewes. He had to agree that a new Great Council or Parliament, as it was now called for the first time, be set up. The members of this parliament would be chosen half by the King and half by the barons. In 1265 his son Edward defeated the barons at Evesham and de Monfort was killed. After this, although Henry remained King, the real ruler was Edward. Henry's most lasting contribution to his country was his advancement of the design of Gothic architecture. In particular he instituted the building of a new Abbey at Westminster and in Oct 1269 the relics of the Saint, Edward the Confessor, were laid in a shrine behind its altar. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.2

Family: Eleanor (?) of Provence b. 1223, d. 24 Jun 1291

  • Last Edited: 27 Apr 2016

Eleanor (?) of Provence1

F, #7980, b. 1223, d. 24 June 1291

Eleanor of Provence
Queen consort of England

The ancestry chart of Archibald MacFarlane (ID # 34) is presented because he unites the ancestry of both his parents. If an individual appears more than once in Archibald's chart this indicates descent from the individual in more than one line. By clicking on the each instance (i.e. Ancestry of Archibald MacFarlane (#5)) each line of descent will be shown.

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  • Birth*: Eleanor (?) of Provence was born in 1223 in Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France*.3,4
  • Marriage*: She married Henry III Plantagenet King of England, son of John I 'Lackland' (?) King of England and Isabella d'Angouleme, on 14 January 1236 in Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.5
  • Death*: Eleanor (?) of Provence died on 24 June 1291 in Amesbury, Wiltshire, England.4
  • Burial*: She was buried on 11 September 1291 in Abbey of St. Mary and St. Melor, Amesbury, Wiltshire, England.4
  • Biography*: Eleanor of Provence (c. 1223 – 24/25 June 1291) was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Henry III of England from 1236 until his death in 1272.

    Although she was completely devoted to her husband, and staunchly defended him against the rebel Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, she was very much hated by the Londoners. This was because she had brought a large number of relatives with her to England in her retinue; these were known as "the Savoyards", and they were given influential positions in the government and realm. On one occasion, Eleanor's barge was attacked by angry citizens who pelted her with stones, mud, pieces of paving, rotten eggs and vegetables.

    Eleanor was the mother of five children including the future King Edward I of England. She also was renowned for her cleverness, skill at writing poetry, and as a leader of fashion.

    Born in Aix-en-Provence, she was the second daughter of Ramon Berenguer V, Count of Provence (1198–1245) and Beatrice of Savoy (1205–1267), the daughter of Thomas I of Savoy and his second wife Margaret of Geneva. Her three sisters also married kings. Like her mother, grandmother, and sisters, Eleanor was renowned for her beauty. She was a dark-haired brunette with fine eyes. Piers Langtoft speaks of her as "The erle's daughter, the fairest may of life". On 22 June 1235, Eleanor was betrothed to King Henry III of England (1207–1272). Eleanor was probably born in 1223; Matthew Paris describes her as being "jamque duodennem" (already twelve) when she arrived in the Kingdom of England for her marriage.

    Marriage and issue
    Eleanor was married to King Henry III of England on 14 January 1236. She had never seen him prior to the wedding at Canterbury Cathedral and had never set foot in his kingdom. Edmund Rich, Archbishop of Canterbury, officiated. She was dressed in a shimmering golden gown which was tightly-fitted to the waist, and then flared out in wide pleats to her feet. The sleeves were long and lined with ermine. After riding to London the same day where a procession of citizens greeted the bridal pair, Eleanor was crowned queen consort of England in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey which was followed by a magnificent banquet with the entire nobility in full attendance.

    Eleanor and Henry together had five children:
    Edward I (1239–1307), married Eleanor of Castile (1241–1290) in 1254, by whom he had issue, including his heir Edward II; he married Margaret of France in 1299, by whom he had issue.
    Margaret of England (1240–1275), married King Alexander III of Scotland, by whom she had issue.
    Beatrice of England (1242–1275), married John II, Duke of Brittany, by whom she had issue.
    Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster (1245–1296), married Aveline de Forz in 1269, who died four years later without issue; married Blanche of Artois in 1276, by whom he had issue.
    Katharine (25 November 1253 – 3 May 1257)
    Four others are listed, but their existence is in doubt as there is no contemporary record of them. These are:
    Richard (1247–1256)
    John (1250–1256)
    William (1251–1256)
    Henry (1256–1257.)4

Family: Henry III Plantagenet King of England b. 1 Oct 1207, d. 16 Nov 1272

  • Last Edited: 7 Mar 2016