Eleanor de Clare

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Eleanor de Clare
suo jure 6th Lady of Glamorgan
Elenor de clare.png
Eleanor de Clare
Born3 October 1292 [1]
Caerphilly Castle, Glamorgan, Wales [1]
Died30 June 1337 [1]
Monmouth Castle
Resting place Tewkesbury Abbey [1]
51°59′25″N2°09′37″W / 51.9903°N 2.1604°W / 51.9903; -2.1604 Coordinates: 51°59′25″N2°09′37″W / 51.9903°N 2.1604°W / 51.9903; -2.1604
Titlesuo jure 6th Lady of Glamorgan (until 1329) [1] [2]
Other titles1st Baroness le Despenser
NationalityEnglish
Spouse(s) Hugh le Despenser the Younger
William de la Zouche
Issue Hugh le Despencer, Baron le Despencer
Gilbert le Despenser
Edward le Despenser
John le Despenser
Isabel le Despenser, Countess of Arundel
Eleanor le Despenser
Joan le Despenser
Margaret le Despenser
Elizabeth le Despenser, Baroness Berkeley
William de la Zouche
Joyce Zouche
Parents Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford and Joan of Acre

Eleanor de Clare, suo jure 6th Lady of Glamorgan (3 October 1292-30 June 1337) was a powerful English noblewoman who married Hugh Despenser the Younger and was a granddaughter of Edward I of England. [2] [3] With her sisters, Elizabeth de Clare and Margaret de Clare, she inherited her father's estates after the death of her brother, Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester, 7th Earl of Hereford at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. [1] [2] [3] She was born in 1292 at Caerphilly Castle in Glamorgan, Wales and was the eldest daughter of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford, 7th Earl of Gloucester, 5th Lord of Glamorgan and Princess Joan of Acre.

Edward I of England 13th and 14th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved from an early age 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 defeated the baronial leader Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham in 1265. Within two years the rebellion was extinguished and, with England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth 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 was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 19 August.

Elizabeth de Clare Engliah heiress

Elizabeth de Clare, 11th Lady of Clare was the heiress to the lordships of Clare, Suffolk, in England and Usk in Wales. She was the youngest of the three daughters of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford and Joan of Acre, and sister of Gilbert de Clare, who later succeeded as the 7th Earl. She is often referred to as Elizabeth de Burgh, due to her first marriage to John de Burgh. Her two successive husbands were Theobald II de Verdun and Roger d'Amory.

Margaret de Clare, Countess of Gloucester, Countess of Cornwall was an English noblewoman, heiress, and the second-eldest of the three daughters of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford and his wife Joan of Acre, making her a granddaughter of King Edward I of England. Her two husbands were Piers Gaveston and Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester.

Contents

De Clare inheritance

As a co-heiress with her sisters Elizabeth de Clare (wife of Roger d'Amory), and Margaret de Clare (wife of Hugh Audley), in 1314 she inherited the de Clare estates including the huge feudal barony of Gloucester, following the death of her brother, Gilbert de Clare, 4th Earl of Gloucester at the Battle of Bannockburn. The partition was not fully settled until 1317. During this period the family seat of Caerphilly Castle was held by the king under the stewardship of Payn de Turberville of Coity Castle. In protest against Turberville's mistreatment, the Welsh nobleman Llywelyn Bren and his supporters launched a surprise attack on 28 January 1316, and besieged Caerphilly Castle, which successfully held out under the command of "The lady of Clare" (almost certainly Eleanor) and a small garrison until relieved by Sir William Montacute on 12 March 1316. [4]

Roger Damory, Lord d'Amory, Baron d'Amory in Ireland, was a nobleman and Constable of Corfe Castle.

Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester English noble

Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester, 1st Baron Audley of Stratton Audley in Oxfordshire, and of Gratton in Staffordshire, served as Sheriff of Rutland and was the English Ambassador to France in 1341. He was buried in Tonbridge Priory.

The feudal barony of Gloucester or Honour of Gloucester was one of the largest of the mediaeval English feudal baronies, in 1166 comprising 279 knight's fees, or manors. The constituent landholdings were spread over many counties. The location of the caput at Gloucester is not certain as Gloucester Castle appears to have been a royal castle, but it is known that the baronial court was held at Bristol in Gloucestershire.

Marriage to Hugh Despenser the younger

In May 1306 at Westminster, Eleanor married Hugh le Despenser the Younger, the son of Hugh le Despenser, Earl of Winchester by his wife Isabella de Beauchamp, daughter of William de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick. Despenser thereby became Lord of Glamorgan. Her grandfather, King Edward I, granted Eleanor a dowry of 2,000 pounds sterling. Eleanor's husband rose to prominence as the new favourite of her uncle, King Edward II of England. The king strongly favoured Hugh and Eleanor, visiting them often and granting them many gifts. Eleanor's fortunes changed drastically after the invasion of Isabella of France and Roger Mortimer, following which her husband Hugh le Despenser was executed.

Westminster Area of central London, within the City of Westminster

Westminster is a government district and former capital of the Kingdom of England in Central London within the City of Westminster, part of the West End, on the north bank of the River Thames. Westminster's concentration of visitor attractions and historic landmarks, one of the highest in London, includes the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.

Isabella de Beauchamp, Lady Kidwelly, Baroness Despenser, was an English noblewoman and wealthy heiress.

William de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick English nobleman and soldier, Earl of Warwick

William de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick was the eldest of eight children of William de Beauchamp of Elmley and his wife Isabel de Mauduit. He was an English nobleman and soldier, described as a “vigorous and innovative military commander." He was active in the field against the Welsh for many years, and at the end of his life campaigned against the Scots.

By Despencer Eleanor had nine children:

  1. Hugh le Despencer, Baron le Despencer (1308–1349), eldest son and heir.
  2. Gilbert le Despenser, (1309–1381).
  3. Edward le Despenser, (1310–1342), soldier, killed at the siege of Vannes; [5] father of Edward le Despencer, 1st Baron le Despencer, Knight of the Garter
  4. John le Despenser, (1311 - June 1366).
  5. Isabel le Despenser (1312–1356), wife of Richard Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel
  6. Eleanor le Despenser, (c. 1315 – 1351), a nun at Sempringham Priory
  7. Joan le Despenser, (c. 1317 – 1384), a nun at Shaftesbury Abbey
  8. Margaret le Despenser, (c. 1319 – 1337), a nun at Whatton Priory
  9. Elizabeth le Despenser (1325- 13 July 1389), wife of Maurice de Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley.

Imprisonment

In November 1326, Eleanor was confined to the Tower of London. [3] The Despenser family's fortunes also suffered with the executions of Eleanor's husband and father-in-law. Eleanor and Hugh's eldest son Hugh le Despencer, Baron le Despencer (1308–1349), who held Caerphilly Castle against the queen's forces until the spring of 1327, was spared his life when he surrendered the castle, but he remained a prisoner until July 1331, after which he was eventually restored to royal favour. Three of Eleanor's daughters were forcibly veiled as nuns. Only the eldest daughter, Isabel, and the youngest daughter, Elizabeth, escaped the nunnery, Isabel because she was already married and Elizabeth on account of her infancy. In February 1328 Eleanor was freed from imprisonment. In April 1328, she was restored to possession of her own lands, for which she did homage. [2] [3]

Tower of London A historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

Hugh le Despencer, Baron le Despencer (1338) English noble

Hugh le Despencer, 2nd Baron le Despencer (1308–1349), Lord of Glamorgan, was the eldest son and heir of Hugh Despenser the Younger and grandson of Hugh le Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester. His father and grandfather were both executed in 1326. His mother was Eleanor de Clare, suo jure Lord of Glamorgan, daughter of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford and Joan of Acre. Through his mother, Hugh was a great grandson of King Edward I. He married Elizabeth Montague (d.1359), and both are buried in Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire, which abbey was founded by Robert Fitzhamon (d.1107), the first Norman feudal baron of Gloucester and Lord of Glamorgan.

Marriage to William de la Zouche

Arms of la Zouche: Gules, ten bezants 4, 3, 2, 1 Blason fam fr de Malestroit ancien.svg
Arms of la Zouche: Gules, ten bezants 4, 3, 2, 1
1329 seal of William la Zouche, 1st Baron Zouche of Mortimer (died 1337), jure uxoris Lord of Glamorgan, husband of Eleanor de Clare (1292-1337), daughter and eventual heiress of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford, 7th Earl of Gloucester, Lord of Glamorgan and feudal baron of Gloucester. Inscribed: S(igillum) Will(elm)i La Zouche Domini De Glamorgan ("Seal of William la Zouche, Lord of Glamorgan"). His shield and the caparison of his horse show the Zouche arms bezantee NLW Penrice and Margam Deeds 204 (Front) (8633584195).jpg
1329 seal of William la Zouche, 1st Baron Zouche of Mortimer (died 1337), jure uxoris Lord of Glamorgan, husband of Eleanor de Clare (1292–1337), daughter and eventual heiress of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford, 7th Earl of Gloucester, Lord of Glamorgan and feudal baron of Gloucester. Inscribed: S(igillum) Will(elm)i La Zouche Domini De Glamorgan ("Seal of William la Zouche, Lord of Glamorgan"). His shield and the caparison of his horse show the Zouche arms bezantée

In January 1329 Eleanor was abducted from Hanley Castle by William la Zouche, 1st Baron Zouche of Mortimer, who had been one of her first husband's captors and who had led the siege of Caerphilly Castle. The abduction may in fact have been an elopement; in any case, Eleanor's lands were seized by King Edward III, and the couple's arrest was ordered. At the same time, Eleanor was accused of stealing jewels from the Tower of London. Sometime after February 1329, she was imprisoned a second time in the Tower, and was later moved to Devizes Castle. In January 1330 she was released and pardoned after agreeing to sign away the most valuable part of her share of the lucrative Clare inheritance to the crown. She could recover her lands only on payment of the enormous sum of 50,000 pounds in a single day.

Hanley Castle (castle)

Hanley Castle was a Norman castle that stood to the south of the present site of the village of Hanley Castle, which lies 2 km north of Upton-upon-Severn, in the county of Worcestershire, England, United Kingdom..

Baron Zouche A title that has been created three times in the Peerage of England

Baron Zouche is a title that has been created three times in the Peerage of England.

Caerphilly Castle castle in Caerphilly, Wales

Caerphilly Castle is a medieval fortification in Caerphilly in South Wales. The castle was constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century as part of his campaign to conquer Glamorgan, and saw extensive fighting between Gilbert, his descendants, and the native Welsh rulers. Surrounded by extensive artificial lakes – considered by historian Allen Brown to be "the most elaborate water defences in all Britain" – it occupies around 30 acres (12 ha) and is the second largest castle in Britain. It is famous for having introduced concentric castle defences to Britain and for its large gatehouses.

Within the year, however, the young future King Edward III (Eleanor's first cousin) overthrew Queen Isabella's paramour, Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, and had him executed. Eleanor was among those who benefited from the fall of Mortimer and Isabella. She petitioned Edward III for the restoration of her lands, claiming that she had signed them away after being threatened by Roger Mortimer that she would never be freed if she did not. In 1331 Edward III granted her petition "to ease the king's conscience" and allowed her to recover the lands on the condition that she should pay a fine of 10,000 pounds, later reduced to 5,000 pounds, in instalments. Eleanor made part-payments of the fine, but the bulk of it was outstanding at her death.

Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March English nobleman and rebel

Roger Mortimer, 3rd Baron Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, was an English nobleman and powerful Marcher lord who gained many estates in the Welsh Marches and Ireland following his advantageous marriage to the wealthy heiress Joan de Geneville, 2nd Baroness Geneville. In November 1316, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1322 for having led the Marcher lords in a revolt against King Edward II in what became known as the Despenser War. He later escaped to France, where he was joined by Edward's queen consort Isabella, whom he may have taken as his mistress. After he and Isabella led a successful invasion and rebellion, Edward was deposed; Mortimer allegedly arranged his murder at Berkeley Castle. For three years, Mortimer was de facto ruler of England before being himself overthrown by Edward's eldest son, Edward III. Accused of assuming royal power and other crimes, Mortimer was executed by hanging at Tyburn.

Eleanor's troubles were by no means over, however. After Eleanor's marriage to Zouche, John de Grey, 1st Baron Grey de Rotherfield claimed that he had married her first. In 1333 Grey was still attempting to claim marriage to Eleanor; the case was appealed to the Pope several times. Ultimately, Zouche won the dispute and Eleanor remained with him until his death in February 1337, only a few months before Eleanor's own death. By Zouche Eleanor had children as follows:

  1. William de la Zouche, born 1330, died after 1360, a monk at Glastonbury Abbey.
  2. Joyce Zouche, born 1331, died after 4 May 1372, married John de Botetourt, 2nd Lord Botetourt.

Tewkesbury Abbey Renovations

Hugh le Despenser the younger and Eleanor are generally credited with having begun the renovations to Tewkesbury Abbey, a foundation of her ancestors, which transformed it into one of the finest examples of the decorated style of architecture surviving today. The famous fourteenth-century stained-glass windows in the choir, which include the armour-clad figures of Eleanor's ancestors, brother and two husbands, were most likely Eleanor's own contribution, although she probably did not live to see them put in place. The naked kneeling woman watching the Last Judgment in the choir's east window may represent Eleanor.

Ancestry

Fictional portrayals

Eleanor is a supporting character in Les Rois maudits (The Accursed Kings), a series of French historical novels by Maurice Druon. She was portrayed by Florence Dunoyer in the 1972 French miniseries adaptation of the series, and by Angèle Humeau in the 2005 adaptation.

Eleanor features in the 1975/1976 two-part novel, Feudal Family: The De Clares of Gloucester, by Edith Beadle Brouwer. She is the heroine of Susan Higginbotham's 2005 historical novel The Traitor's Wife: A Novel of the Reign of Edward II.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Mason, E. (1984). Legends of the Beauchamps' ancestors: the use of baronial propaganda in medieval England. Journal of medieval history, 10(1), 25-40.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Davies, J. C. (1915). The Despenser War in Glamorgan. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (Third Series), 9, 21-64.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Lewis, M. E. (2008). A traitor's death? The identity of a drawn, hanged and quartered man from Hulton Abbey, Staffordshire. antiquity, 82(315), 113-124.
  4. 'The Rebellion of Llywelyn Bren', J. Beverley Smith in Glamorgan County History Volume III: the Middle Ages, ed. T. B. Pugh (Cardiff, 1971), pp. 72–86
  5. "A few notes on Hugh le Despenser". Patp.us. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2015-05-13. Also said to have died at Morlaix, on the other coast of Brittany
Sources