| Earl of March |
Baron Mortimer of Wigmore
|Born||25 April 1287|
Wigmore Castle, Wigmore, Herefordshire, England
|Died||29 November 1330 43) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Joan de Geneville, 2nd Baroness Geneville|
|Father||Edmund Mortimer, 2nd Baron Mortimer of Wigmore|
|Mother||Margaret de Fiennes|
Roger Mortimer, 3rd Baron Mortimer of Wigmore, 1st Earl of March (25 April 1287 –29 November 1330), 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.
Mortimer, grandson of Roger Mortimer, 1st Baron Mortimer of Wigmore, and Maud de Braose, was born at Wigmore Castle, Herefordshire, England, the firstborn of Marcher Lord Edmund Mortimer, 2nd Baron Mortimer of Wigmore, and Margaret de Fiennes. He was born on 25 April 1287, the Feast of Saint Mark, a day of bad omen. He shared this birthday with King Edward II, which would be relevant later in life.Edmund Mortimer was a second son, intended for minor orders and a clerical career, but on the sudden death of his elder brother Ralph, Edmund was recalled from Oxford University and installed as heir. According to his biographer Ian Mortimer, Mortimer was possibly sent as a boy away from home to be fostered in the household of his formidable uncle, Roger Mortimer de Chirk. It was this uncle who had carried the severed head of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd of Wales to King Edward I in 1282.
Mortimer attended the Coronation of Edward II on 25 February 1308 and carried a table bearing the royal robes in the ceremony's procession.
Like many noble children of his time, Mortimer was betrothed at a young age, to Joan de Geneville (born 1286), the daughter of Sir Peter de Geneville, of Trim Castle and Ludlow. They were married on 20 September 1301 when he was aged fourteen. Their first child was born in 1302.
Through his marriage, Mortimer not only acquired numerous possessions in the Welsh Marches, including the important Ludlow Castle, which became the chief stronghold of the Mortimers, but also extensive estates and influence in Ireland.However, Joan de Geneville was not an "heiress" at the time of her marriage. Her grandfather Geoffrey de Geneville, at the age of eighty in 1308, conveyed most, but not all, of his Irish lordships to Mortimer, and then retired: he finally died in 1314, with Joan succeeding as suo jure 2nd Baroness Geneville. During his lifetime Geoffrey also conveyed much of the remainder of his legacy, such as Kenlys, to his younger son Simon de Geneville, who had meanwhile become Baron of Culmullin through marriage to Joanna FitzLeon. Mortimer therefore succeeded to the eastern part of the Lordship of Meath, centred on Trim and its stronghold of Trim Castle. He did not succeed, however, to the Lordship of Fingal.
Mortimer's childhood came to an abrupt end when his father was mortally wounded in a skirmish near Builth in July 1304. Since Mortimer was underage at the death of his father, he was placed by King Edward I under the guardianship of Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall.However, on 22 May 1306, in a lavish ceremony in Westminster Abbey with two hundred and fifty-nine others, he was knighted by Edward and granted livery of his full inheritance.
His adult life began in earnest in 1308, when he went to Ireland in person to enforce his authority. This brought him into conflict with the de Lacys, who turned for support to Edward Bruce, brother of Robert Bruce, King of Scots. Mortimer was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland by Edward II on 23 November 1316. Shortly afterwards, at the head of a large army, he drove Bruce to Carrickfergus and the de Lacys into Connaught, wreaking vengeance on their adherents whenever they were to be found. He returned to England and Wales in 1318and was then occupied for some years with baronial disputes on the Welsh border.
Mortimer became disaffected with his king and joined the growing opposition to Edward II and the Despensers. After the younger Despenser was granted lands belonging to him, he and the Marchers began conducting devastating raids against Despenser property in Wales. He supported Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford, in refusing to obey the king's summons to appear before him in 1321 as long as "the younger Despencer was in the King's train."Mortimer led a march against London, his men wearing the Mortimer uniform which was green with a yellow sleeve. He was prevented from entering the capital, although his forces put it under siege. These acts of insurrection compelled the Lords Ordainers led by Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, to order the king to banish the Despensers in August. When the king led a successful expedition in October against Margaret de Clare, Baroness Badlesmere, after she had refused Queen Isabella admittance to Leeds Castle, he used his victory and new popularity among the moderate lords and the people to summon the Despensers back to England. Mortimer, in company with other Marcher Lords, led a rebellion against Edward, which is known as the Despenser War.
In January 1322, Mortimer attacked and burnt Bridgnorth but, being heavily outnumbered, was forced to surrender to the king at Shrewsbury.Mortimer joined Lancaster at the Battle of Boroughbridge in March 1322 and warrants for his arrest were issued in July. A death sentence was passed upon Mortimer but this was commuted to life imprisonment and he was consigned to the Tower of London. In August 1323 Mortimer, aided by Gerald de Alspaye, the sub-lieutenant or valet of the Tower's Constable, drugged the warders during a feast, allowing Mortimer to escape. He attempted to capture Windsor and Wallingford Castles to free imprisoned Contrariants. Mortimer eventually fled to France, pursued by warrants for his capture dead or alive.
In the following year Queen Isabella, anxious to escape from her husband, obtained his consent to her going to France to use her influence with her brother, King Charles IV, in favour of peace. At the French court the queen found Mortimer, who became her lover soon afterwards. At his instigation, she refused to return to England so long as the Despensers retained power as the king's favourites.
Historians have speculated as to the date at which Mortimer and Isabella actually became lovers.The modern view is that the affair began while both were still in England, and that after a disagreement, Isabella abandoned Mortimer to his fate in the Tower. His subsequent escape became one of medieval England's most colourful episodes. However almost certainly Isabella risked everything by chancing Mortimer's companionship and emotional support when they first met again at Paris four years later (Christmas 1325). King Charles IV's protection of Isabella at the French court from Despenser's would-be assassins played a large part in developing the relationship. In 1326, Mortimer moved as Prince Edward's guardian to Hainault, but only after a furious dispute with the queen, demanding she remain in France. Isabella retired to raise troops in her County of Ponthieu; Mortimer arranged the invasion fleet supplied by the Hainaulters and an army supplied by his supporters back in England, who had been sending him aid and advice since at least March 1326.
The scandal of Isabella's relations with Mortimer compelled them both to withdraw from the French court to Flanders, where they obtained assistance for an invasion of England from Count William of Hainaut, although Isabella did not arrive from Ponthieu until the fleet was due to sail. Landing in the River Orwell on 24 September 1326, they were accompanied by Prince Edward and Henry, Earl of Lancaster. London rose in support of the queen, and Edward took flight to the west, pursued by Mortimer and Isabella. After wandering helplessly for some weeks in Wales, the king was taken prisoner on 16 November, and was compelled to abdicate in favour of his son. Though the latter was crowned as Edward III of England on 1 February 1327, the country was ruled by Mortimer and Isabella.On 21 September that same year, Edward II died in captivity. The suspicious death of Edward II has been the subject of many conspiracy theories, including that Mortimer's men killed him, but none has been proven.
Following the removal of the Despensers, Mortimer set to work in restoring the status of his supporters, primarily in the Marches, and hundreds of pardons and restorations of property were made in the first year of the new king's reign.Rich estates and offices of profit and power were heaped on Mortimer. He was made constable of Wallingford Castle and in September 1328 he was created Earl of March. However, although in military terms he was far more competent than the Despensers, his ambition was troubling to all. His own son Geoffrey, the only one to survive into old age, mocked him as "the king of folly" deriding his ambitious extravagance of "rich clothes ot of manner resoun, both of shaping and wearing." During his short time as ruler of England he took over the lordships of Denbigh, Oswestry, and Clun (the first of which belonged to Despenser, the latter two had been the Earl of Arundel's). He was also granted the marcher lordship of Montgomery by the queen. During the War of Saint Sardos the Regent and his queen spent over £60,000 bankrupting the Treasury, even after the proscriptions of Arundel and the Despensers. The Lancastrian opposition were incensed by this casual display of irresponsible government.
The jealousy and anger of many nobles were aroused by Mortimer's use of power, which in many ways was tenuous. In 1328 Simon de Mepham, reportedly a Lancastrian at court, was elected Archbishop of Canterbury without controversy. However, the feuding would not stop. The day Parliament opened on 15 October Thomas of Lancaster's nemesis, Sir Robert Holland was murdered by highway robbers. Whereupon March swore on Mepham's cross that he knew nothing of it. Nonetheless the King decreed an indictment; he would be judged at law against the standards of Magna Carta. With Parliament adjourned on 31 October, he was able to slip away to his estates on the Marches. The two earls’ lethal enmity, and enforced absence from the King's presence, rendered their motives almost equally suspect to rowdy Londoners. The young king would have to raise an army of archers if he was to defend his throne from a northern rebellion controlled from Lancaster. In charge of the army Lancaster blamed Mortimer and his queen for the debacle, and the highly contentious Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton with the Scots.
Henry, Earl of Lancaster, one of the principals behind Edward II's deposition, tried to overthrow Mortimer, but the action was ineffective as the young king passively stood by. Then, in March 1330, Mortimer ordered the execution of Edmund, Earl of Kent, the half-brother of Edward II. After this execution Henry Lancaster prevailed upon the young king, Edward III, to assert his independence. In October 1330, a Parliament was summoned to Nottingham, just days before Edward's eighteenth birthday, and Mortimer and Isabella were seized by Edward and his companions from inside Nottingham Castle. In spite of Isabella's entreaty to her son, "Fair son, have pity on the gentle Mortimer," Mortimer was conveyed to the Tower. Accused of assuming royal power and of various other high misdemeanours, he was condemned without trial and hanged at Tyburn on 29 November 1330, his vast estates forfeited to the crown.His body hung at the gallows for two days and nights in full view of the populace. Mortimer's widow Joan received a pardon in 1336 and survived until 1356. She was buried beside Mortimer at Wigmore, but the site was later destroyed.
In 2002, the actor John Challis, the owner of the remaining buildings of Wigmore Abbey, invited the BBC programme House Detectives at Large to investigate his property. During the investigation, a document was discovered in which Mortimer's widow Joan petitioned Edward III for the return of her husband's body so she could bury it at Wigmore Abbey. Mortimer's lover Isabella had buried his body at Greyfriars in Coventry following his hanging. Edward III replied, "Let his body rest in peace." The king later relented, and Mortimer's body was transferred to Wigmore Abbey, where Joan was later buried beside him.[ citation needed ]
The marriages of Mortimer's children (three sons and eight daughters) cemented Mortimer's strengths in the West.
Through his son Sir Edmund Mortimer, he is an ancestor of the last Plantagenet monarchs of England from King Edward IV to Richard III. By Edward IV's daughter, Elizabeth of York, the Earl of March is an ancestor to King Henry VIII of England and King James V of Scotland, and therefore to all subsequent Scottish, English, and British monarchs.
|Ancestors of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March|
Mortimer appears in Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II (c. 1592) as well as Bertolt Brecht's The Life of Edward II of England (1923). In Derek Jarman's film Edward II (1991), based on Marlowe's play, he is portrayed by Nigel Terry.
Mortimer is also a character in Les Rois maudits (The Accursed Kings), a series of French historical novels by Maurice Druon. He was portrayed by Claude Giraud in the 1972 French miniseries adaptation of the series, and by Bruno Todeschini in the 2005 adaptation.Mortimer is also briefly mentioned in the film A Knight's Tale (2001) as a contestant in a joust.
Mortimer is also a character in World Without End played by Hannes Jaenicke.
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Wigmore Castle is a ruined castle about 1 km (0.62 mi) from the village of Wigmore in the northwest region of Herefordshire, England.
Events from the 1320s in England.
This article is about the particular significance of the century 1301–1400 to Wales and its people.
Joan de Geneville, 2nd Baroness Geneville, Countess of March, Baroness Mortimer, also known as Jeanne de Joinville, was the daughter of Sir Piers de Geneville and Joan of Lusignan. She inherited the estates of her grandparents, Geoffrey de Geneville, 1st Baron Geneville, and Maud de Lacy, Baroness Geneville. She was one of the wealthiest heiresses in the Welsh Marches and County Meath, Ireland. She was the wife of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, the de facto ruler of England from 1327 to 1330. She succeeded as suo jure 2nd Baroness Geneville on 21 October 1314 upon the death of her grandfather, Geoffrey de Geneville.
Margaret de Badlesmere, Baroness Badlesmere was a Norman-Irish noblewoman, suo jure heiress, and the wife of Bartholomew de Badlesmere, 1st Baron Badlesmere.
Katherine Mortimer, Countess of Warwick was the wife of Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick KG, an English peer, and military commander during the Hundred Years War. She was a daughter and co-heiress of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March and Joan de Geneville, Baroness Geneville.
Agnes Mortimer, Countess of Pembroke was the wife of Laurence Hastings, 1st Earl of Pembroke. She was a daughter of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March and Joan de Geneville, Baroness Geneville.
Roger Mortimer, 1st Baron Mortimer of Chirk was a 14th-century Marcher lord, notable for his opposition to Edward II of England during the Despenser War.
The invasion of England in 1326 by the country's queen, Isabella of France, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, led to the capture of Hugh Despenser the Younger and the abdication of Isabella's husband, King Edward II. It brought an end to the insurrection and civil war.
The Despenser War (1321–22) was a baronial revolt against Edward II of England led by the Marcher Lords Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun. The rebellion was fuelled by opposition to Hugh Despenser the Younger, the royal favourite. After the rebels' summer campaign of 1321, Edward was able to take advantage of a temporary peace to rally more support and a successful winter campaign in southern Wales, culminating in royal victory at the Battle of Boroughbridge in the north of England in March 1322. Edward's response to victory was his increasingly harsh rule until his fall from power in 1326.
Alice de Lacy, suo jure Countess of Lincoln, suo jure 5th Countess of Salisbury was an English peeress.
The Lordship of Meath was an extensive seigneurial liberty in medieval Ireland that was awarded to Hugh de Lacy by King Henry II of England by the service of fifty knights and with almost royal authority. The Lordship was roughly co-extensive with the medieval kingdom of Meath. At its greatest extent, it included all of the modern counties of Fingal, Meath, Westmeath as well as parts of counties Cavan, Kildare, Longford, Louth and Offaly. The Lordship or fiefdom was imbued with privileges enjoyed in no other Irish liberty, including the four royal pleas of arson, forestalling, rape, and treasure trove.
Sir Edmund Mortimer was the eldest son of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, and Joan de Geneville, 2nd Baroness Geneville. By his wife Elizabeth de Badlesmere he was the father of Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March. Though Edmund survived his father by one year, he did not inherit his father's lands and titles as they were forfeited to the Crown and his son only reacquired them gradually.
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