|Mary of Woodstock|
|Born||11 March 1278|
|Died||before 8 July 1332|
|Father||Edward I of England|
|Mother||Eleanor of Castile|
Mary of Woodstock (11 March 1278– before 8 July 1332 ) was the seventh named daughter of Edward I of England and Eleanor of Castile. She was a nun at Amesbury Priory, but lived very comfortably thanks to a generous allowance from her parents. Despite a papal travel prohibition in 1303, she travelled widely around the country.
Mary's grandmother, Eleanor of Provence, had decided to retire to Amesbury Priory in Wiltshire, a daughter house of Fontevrault. She lobbied for Mary and another granddaughter, Eleanor of Brittany, to become Benedictine nuns at the priory. Despite resistance from Eleanor of Castile,Mary was dedicated at Amesbury on Assumption Day 1285, at the age of seven, alongside thirteen daughters of nobles. She was not formally veiled as a nun until December 1291, when she had reached the age of twelve. Eleanor of Brittany had been veiled in March, while Eleanor of Provence did not arrive until June 1286.
Mary's parents granted her £100 per year for life (approximately £100,000 in 2021); she also received double the usual allowance for clothing and a special entitlement to wine from the stores, and lived in comfort in private quarters. Her father visited her and Eleanor at the priory repeatedly: twice in 1286 and in 1289, and again in 1290 and 1291. Eleanor of Provence died in 1291, and it was expected that Mary would move to Fontevrault. Certainly the prioress of Fontevrault wrote frequently to Edward I asking that his daughter be allowed to live there. Probably to prevent his daughter falling into French hands in the event of war with England, Edward refused, and Mary remained at Amesbury, while her allowance was doubled to £200 per year. In 1292, she was also given the right to forty oaks per year from royal forests and twenty tuns of wine per year from Southampton.
Despite being a resident at the priory, Mary began to travel the country. She visited her brother Edward in 1293, and regularly attended court, spending five weeks there in 1297, in the run-up to her sister Elizabeth's departure to Holland.By the end of the century, she held the post of vicegerent and visitatrix for the abbess, with the right to authorise the transfer of nuns between convents. In 1302, her £200 per year was replaced by the rights to several manors and the borough of Wilton, all held on condition that she remain in England. However, she ran up considerable dice gambling debts while visiting her father's court, and in 1305 was given £200 to pay them off. She was also given Grovebury Priory in Bedfordshire to manage, holding this until her death.
Mary was unsuccessful in obtaining high office in the order,whereas Eleanor of Brittany became abbess at Fontevrault in 1304. The papal bull Periculoso was read at Amesbury in 1303, requiring nuns to remain within their religious establishments, but Mary's travels do not appear to have been affected. She went on numerous pilgrimages, including one to Canterbury, and continued to visit court, with a retinue of up to twenty-four horses, sometimes with fellow nuns. Soon after 1313, her role as visitor was removed. In 1317, Mary's brother Edward, by now King Edward II, asked Eleanor to restore her to the post, but his request was refused. But Mary persevered and obtained a papal mandate requiring her reinstatement, which Eleanor appears to have obeyed.
Despite her apparent conflict with Eleanor, Mary continued to live comfortably. In 1316, she was able to borrow more than £2 from abbey funds (approximately £1,100 in 2021), and sent a clerk to London on personal errands, at the priory's expense.
It was effectively as a princess, not a nun, that Mary received the homage of the English Dominican friar Nicholas Trevet, a prolific and versatile university scholar and author, who in 1328–1334 dedicated to her his Cronicles,which she may even have commissioned him to write. Intended as an amusing history of the world, it later became an important source for several popular works of the period. In part it is an account of Mary's own Plantagenet clan, and she herself is given a flattering mention there:
the fourth daughter was dame Mary of whom it ys before sayde that she wedded herself unto the hygh king heaven. And in so moche as hit ys trewly sayde of her and notably this worthy text of holy scripture: optimam partem elegit ipsi Maria, que non auferetur ab ea. The whych ys as moche to say "As Maria hathe chosyn the best party to her, the whych shall not be done away from her".
Trevet here quotes from Jesus' words in the Gospel of Luke (10:42), where Jesus good-humouredly defends Mary to her sister Martha. It is a somewhat daring use of the Gospel text, which was traditionally often applied the Virgin Mary.
Likewise because of Mary's status, several nobles who wished their daughters to take vows placed them into her custody.
Mary died before 8 July 1332,and was buried in Amesbury Priory. After her death, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey, attempting to divorce Mary's niece Joan, claimed to have had an affair with Mary before he married Joan. If John's claim was valid, his marriage to Mary's niece would have been rendered null and void, but despite papal mandates for inquests to be made into the matter, the truth was never established.
|Ancestors of Mary of Woodstock|
The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud or Fontevrault was a monastery in the village of Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, near Chinon, in the former French duchy of Anjou. It was founded in 1101 by the itinerant preacher Robert of Arbrissel. The foundation flourished and became the center of a new monastic Order, the Order of Fontevraud. This order was composed of double monasteries, in which the community consisted of both men and women — in separate quarters of the abbey — all of whom were subject to the authority of the Abbess of Fontevraud. The Abbey of Fontevraud itself consisted of four separate communities, all managed by the same abbess.
Amesbury is a town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. It is known for the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge which is within the parish. The town is claimed to be the oldest occupied settlement in Great Britain, having been first settled around 8820 BC. The parish includes the hamlets of Ratfyn and West Amesbury, and part of Boscombe Down military airfield.
Eleanor of Provence was a French noblewoman who became Queen consort of England as the wife of King Henry III from 1236 until his death in 1272. She served as regent of England during the absence of her spouse in 1253.
Eleanor of Lancaster, Countess of Arundel was the fifth daughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Maud Chaworth.
Eleanor of Castile was Queen of England as the first wife of Edward I, whom she married as part of a political deal to affirm English sovereignty over Gascony.
Eleanor de Clare, suo jure 6th Lady of Glamorgan was a powerful Anglo-Welsh noblewoman who married Hugh Despenser the Younger and was a granddaughter of Edward I of England. 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. 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.
Robert of Arbrissel was an itinerant preacher, and founder of Fontevraud Abbey. He was born at Arbrissel and died at Orsan Priory in the present department of Cher.
Amesbury Abbey was a Benedictine abbey of women at Amesbury in Wiltshire, England, founded by Queen Ælfthryth in about the year 979 on what may have been the site of an earlier monastery. The abbey was dissolved in 1177 by Henry II, who founded in its place a house of the Order of Fontevraud, known as Amesbury Priory.
Amesbury Priory was a Benedictine monastery at Amesbury in Wiltshire, England, belonging to the Order of Fontevraud. It was founded in 1177 to replace the earlier Amesbury Abbey, a Saxon foundation established about the year 979. The Anglo-Norman Amesbury Priory was disbanded at the Dissolution of the monasteries and ceased to exist as a monastic house in 1539.
Westwood Priory was a priory of Benedictine nuns founded in 1153, near Droitwich, Worcestershire, England. It was a daughter house of Fontevraud Abbey, seized by the English crown in 1537 during the Dissolution of the monasteries.
Boulaur is a Cistercian Abbey in the Gers department in southwestern France.
Eleanor de Bohun, Countess of Ormond was an English noblewoman born in Knaresborough Castle to Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford, and Elizabeth, daughter of King Edward I of England and Eleanor of Castile. After the deaths of her parents, she was placed in the care of her aunt Mary of Woodstock and brought up at Amesbury Priory alongside various cousins including Joan Gaveston, Isabel of Lancaster and Joan de Monthermer. Edward II of England gave the priory a generous allowance of 100 marks annually for the upkeep of Eleanor and her younger cousin, Joan Gaveston.
Isabel de Verdun, Baroness Ferrers of Groby was an heiress, who was related to the English royal family as the eldest daughter of Elizabeth de Clare, herself a granddaughter of King Edward I of England. When she was a child, Isabel was imprisoned in Barking Abbey, along with her mother and half-sister, after her stepfather had joined the Earl of Lancaster's ill-fated rebellion against King Edward II. Her husband was Henry Ferrers, 2nd Baron Ferrers of Groby.
Maud of Lancaster, Countess of Ulster was an English noblewoman and the wife of William Donn de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster. She was the mother of Elizabeth de Burgh, suo jure Countess of Ulster. Her second husband was Sir Ralph de Ufford, Justiciar of Ireland. After Ufford's death, Maud became a canoness at an Augustinian nunnery, Campsey Priory, in Suffolk.
Grovebury Priory, also known as La Grave or Grava was a priory in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England. It was established in 1164 and disestablished in 1414.
Campsey Priory,, was a religious house of Augustinian canonesses at Campsea Ashe, Suffolk, about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) south east of Wickham Market. It was founded shortly before 1195 on behalf of two of his sisters by Theobald de Valoines, who, with his wife Avice, had previously founded Hickling Priory in Norfolk for male canons in 1185. Both houses were suppressed in 1536.
Nuneaton Priory was a medieval Benedictine monastic house in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. It was initially founded by Robert de Beaumont and Gervase Paganell in 1153 at Kintbury in Berkshire as a daughter house of Fontevraud Abbey in France. Soon afterwards, in around 1155 the foundation was moved to Etone in Warwickshire, which subsequently became known as Nuneaton.
Eleanor of Brittany was the sixteenth abbess of Fontevrault.
Sybil Montagu or Montague or de Montague or Montacute was a daughter of John de Montagu, 1st Baron Montagu and his wife Margaret de Monthermer. At an unknown date she entered Amesbury Priory and became a nun, then in 1391 was elected the monastery's prioress. Her vigorous government led to a few stormy years in the monastery, in the period when the conflict between Richard II and his eventual successor Henry IV came to a head. She weathered that and later storms and died as prioress in 1420.
The Fontevraud Gradual is an antiphonary or gradual of the mid-13th century, owned by Eleanor of Brittany, abbess of Fontevraud Abbey, and bequeathed to the abbey on her death. It contains Gregorian chant as well as three early polyphonic pieces. It is also noted for its miniatures in the form of historiated initials.
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