|Earl of Lancaster and Leicester|
|Predecessor||Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl|
|Successor||Henry, 3rd Earl|
|Died||22 March 1322 (aged c. 43–44)|
|Cause of death||Execution by beheading|
|Spouse(s)||Alice de Lacy, 4th Countess of Lincoln (m. 1294; div. c. 1318)|
|Mother||Blanche of Artois|
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and Leicester (c. 1278 – 22 March 1322) was an English nobleman. A member of the House of Plantagenet, he was one of the leaders of the baronial opposition to his first cousin, King Edward II.
Thomas was the eldest son of Edmund Crouchback and Blanche of Artois, Queen Dowager of Navarre and niece of King Louis IX of France. Crouchback was the son of King Henry III of England.
His marriage to Alice de Lacy was not successful. They had no children together, while he fathered, illegitimately, two sons named John and Thomas.In 1317 Alice was abducted from her manor at Canford, Dorset, by Richard de St Martin, a knight in the service of John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey. This incident caused a feud between Lancaster and Surrey; Lancaster seized two of Surrey's castles in retaliation. King Edward then intervened, and the two earls came to an uneasy truce. Thomas continued to hold the powerful earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury. This was due to the marriage contract the two families had agreed; upon the death of his father-in-law, Thomas would hold these earldoms in his own right, not, as would be expected, in right of his wife.
On reaching full age he became hereditary sheriff of Lancashire, but spent most of the next ten years fighting for Edward I in Scotland, leaving the shrievalty in the care of deputies. He was present at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 as part of Edward I's wing of the army.
He served in the coronation of his cousin, King Edward II of England, on 25 February 1308, carrying Curtana, the sword of Edward the Confessor. At the beginning of the King's reign, Lancaster openly supported Edward, but as the conflict between the king and the nobles wore on, Lancaster's allegiances changed. He despised the royal favourite, Piers Gaveston, who mocked him as "the Fiddler",and swore revenge when Gaveston demanded that the King dismiss one of Lancaster's retainers.
Lancaster was one of the Lords Ordainers who demanded the banishment of Gaveston and the establishment of a baronial oligarchy. His private army helped separate the King and Gaveston, and Lancaster was one of the "judges" who convicted Gaveston and saw him executed in 1312.
After the disaster at Bannockburn in 1314, Edward submitted to Lancaster, who in effect became ruler of England.[ citation needed ] He attempted to govern for the next four years, but was unable to keep order or prevent the Scots from raiding and retaking territory in the North. In 1318 his popularity with the barons declined and he was persuaded "to accept a diminished authority."[ citation needed ]
The new leadership, eventually headed by Hugh le Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester, and his son Hugh the younger Despenser, proved no more popular with the Baronage, and in 1321 Lancaster was again at the head of a rebellion. This time he was defeated at the Battle of Boroughbridge on 16 March 1322, and taken prisoner.
Lancaster was tried by a tribunal consisting of, among others, the two Despensers, Edmund FitzAlan, 9th Earl of Arundel, and King Edward. Lancaster was not allowed to speak in his own defence, nor was he allowed to have anyone to speak for him. He was convicted of treason and sentenced to death. Because of their kinship and Lancaster's royal blood, the King commuted the sentence to beheading, as opposed to being hanged, drawn and beheaded,and Lancaster was executed on 22 March 1322 near Pontefract Castle.
Upon his death his titles and estates were forfeited, but in 1323 his younger brother Henry successfully petitioned to take possession of the Earldom of Leicester, and in 1326 or 1327 Parliament posthumously reversed Thomas's conviction, and Henry was further permitted to take possession of the Earldoms of Lancaster, Derby, Salisbury and Lincoln.
Soon after Thomas's death, miracles were reported at his tomb at Pontefract, and he became venerated as a martyr and saint. In 1327 the Commons petitioned Edward III to ask for his canonisation, and popular veneration continued until the reformation.
In 1942 it was reported by E. J. Rudsdale that some of Thomas's bones had been found in a box at Paskell's auctioneers in Colchester, Essex, having been removed from Pontefract Castle in 1885.
From his father Thomas inherited the Earldoms of Lancaster, Leicester, and a Ferrers earldom of Derby. By his marriage to Alice de Lacy, Countess of Lincoln, daughter and heiress of Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln, he became Earl of Lincoln, Earl of Salisbury, 11th Baron of Halton and 7th Lord of Bowland upon the death of his father-in-law in 1311. Master of five earldoms, he was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in England.Thomas was in possession of many key fortresses, including Clitheroe Castle, particularly in northern England. He was responsible for the extension of Pontefract Castle and in 1313 he began the construction of Dunstanburgh Castle, a massive fortress in Northumberland.
Inherited from his father, Thomas bore the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label France of three points (that is to say azure three fleur-de-lys or, each).
Thomas was exceptionally closely related to both the Capetian kings of France and the Plantagenet kings of England. His contemporaries commented that, "as each parent was of royal stock, he was clearly of nobler descent than the other earls".
Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall was an English nobleman of Gascon origin, and the favourite of Edward II of England.
The Battle of Boroughbridge was fought on 16 March 1322 in England between a group of rebellious barons and King Edward II, near Boroughbridge, north-west of York. The culmination of a long period of antagonism between the King and Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, his most powerful subject, it resulted in Lancaster's defeat and execution. This allowed Edward to re-establish royal authority, and hold on to power for almost five more years.
Edmund Fitzalan, 2nd Earl of Arundel was an English nobleman prominent in the conflict between King Edward II and his barons. His father, Richard Fitzalan, 1st Earl of Arundel, died in 1302, while Edmund was still a minor. He therefore became a ward of John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, and married Warenne's granddaughter Alice. In 1306 he was styled Earl of Arundel, and served under Edward I in the Scottish Wars, for which he was richly rewarded.
Henry, 3rd Earl of Leicester and Lancaster was a grandson of King Henry III (1216–1272) of England and was one of the principals behind the deposition of King Edward II (1307–1327), his first cousin.
Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick was an English magnate, and one of the principal opponents of King Edward II and his favourite, Piers Gaveston. Guy was the son of William de Beauchamp, the first Beauchamp earl of Warwick, and succeeded his father in 1298. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Falkirk and subsequently, as a capable servant of the crown under King Edward I. After the succession of Edward II in 1307, however, he soon fell out with the new king and the king's favourite, Piers Gaveston. Warwick was one of the main architects behind the Ordinances of 1311, that limited the powers of the king and banished Gaveston into exile.
Aymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke was a Franco-Welsh nobleman. Though primarily active in England, he also had strong connections with the French royal house. One of the wealthiest and most powerful men of his age, he was a central player in the conflicts between Edward II of England and his nobility, particularly Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster. Pembroke was one of the Lords Ordainers appointed to restrict the power of Edward II and his favourite Piers Gaveston. His position changed with the great insult he suffered when Gaveston, as a prisoner in his custody whom he had sworn to protect, was removed and beheaded on the instigation of Lancaster. This led Pembroke into close and lifelong cooperation with the King. Later in life, however, political circumstances combined with financial difficulties would cause him problems, driving him away from the centre of power.
The title of Earl of Lancaster was created in the Peerage of England in 1267. It was succeeded by the title Duke of Lancaster in 1351, which expired in 1361.
Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent, whose seat was Arundel Castle in Sussex, was the sixth son of King Edward I of England, and the second by his second wife Margaret of France, and was a younger half-brother of King Edward II. Edward I had intended to make substantial grants of land to Edmund, but when the king died in 1307, Edward II refused to respect his father's intentions, mainly due to his favouritism towards Piers Gaveston. Edmund remained loyal to his brother, and in 1321 he was created Earl of Kent. He played an important part in Edward's administration as diplomat and military commander and in 1321–22 helped suppress a rebellion.
Maud de Chaworth was an English noblewoman and wealthy heiress. She was the only child of Patrick de Chaworth. Sometime before 2 March 1297, she married Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster, by whom she had seven children.
Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester, 7th Earl of Hertford was an English nobleman and military commander in the Scottish Wars. In contrast to most English earls at the time, his main focus lay in the pursuit of war rather than in domestic political strife. He was the son of Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester, and Joan of Acre, daughter of King Edward I. The older Gilbert died when his son was only four years old, and the younger Gilbert was invested with his earldoms at the young age of sixteen. Almost immediately, he became involved in the defence of the northern border, but later he was drawn into the struggles between Edward II and some of his barons. He was one of the Lords Ordainers who ordered the expulsion of the king's favourite Piers Gaveston in 1311. When Gaveston was killed on his return in 1312, Gloucester helped negotiate a settlement between the perpetrators and the king.
Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, Baron of Pontefract, Lord of Bowland, Baron of Halton and hereditary Constable of Chester, was an English nobleman and confidant of King Edward I. He served Edward in Wales, France, and Scotland, both as a soldier and a diplomat. Through his mother he was a great grandson of Amadeus IV, Count of Savoy. He is the addressee, or joint composer, of a poem by Walter of Bibbesworth about crusading, La pleinte par entre missire Henry de Lacy et sire Wauter de Bybelesworthe pur la croiserie en la terre seinte.
The Ordinances of 1311 were a series of regulations imposed upon King Edward II by the peerage and clergy of the Kingdom of England to restrict the power of the king. The twenty-one signatories of the Ordinances are referred to as the Lords Ordainers, or simply the Ordainers. English setbacks in the Scottish war, combined with perceived extortionate royal fiscal policies, set the background for the writing of the Ordinances in which the administrative prerogatives of the king were largely appropriated by a baronial council. The Ordinances reflect the Provisions of Oxford and the Provisions of Westminster from the late 1250s, but unlike the Provisions, the Ordinances featured a new concern with fiscal reform, specifically redirecting revenues from the king's household to the exchequer.
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 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 1322 Battle of Burton Bridge was fought between Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster and his cousin King Edward II of England during the Despenser War. Edward's army was proceeding northwards to engage Lancaster, having defeated his Marcher Lord allies in Wales. Lancaster fortified the bridge at Burton upon Trent, an important crossing of the River Trent, in an attempt to prevent the King from proceeding. Edward arrived at nearby Cauldwell on 7 March 1322 and intended to use the ford at Walton-on-Trent to cross the river and outflank Lancaster. Edward was delayed for three days by floodwaters, during which time some of his force was deployed opposite Lancaster's men at the bridge.
The Lordship of Denbigh was a marcher lordship in North Wales created by Edward I in 1284 and granted to the Earl of Lincoln. It was centred on the borough of Denbigh and Denbigh Castle. The lordship was held successively by several of England's most prominent aristocratic families in the 14th and 15th centuries. Title to the lordship was disputed for much of the second half of the 14th century between two powerful noble families: the Mortimer Earls of March and the Montagu Earls of Salisbury. Eventually, the lordship returned to the crown when Edward, Duke of York, who had inherited the lordship through his grandmother, acceded to the throne in 1461 as Edward IV. In 1563, Elizabeth I revived the lordship and granted it to her favourite Lord Robert Dudley, later becoming the Earl of Leicester. Leicester mortgaged it to raise money and the lordship was finally returned to the crown when Elizabeth redeemed the mortgage in 1592/3.