De Vere was a close friend of Richard II as well as being part of the extended family. He was married to Philippa de Courcy, whose mother was Edward III’s eldest daughter Isabella of Woodstock. He was such a good friend that Richard made him a duke – he was the first non-royal to be granted the title which probably didn’t go down terribly well with Richard’s relations.
During the mid 1380’s de Vere decided that he no longer wished to be married to Philippa, preferring instead to marry his mistress who was one of Anne of Bohemia’s waiting women. When the couple married in 1376 Philippa was under ten years old so when de Vere took up with his mistress and caused a national scandal she was still a young woman. Agnes Lancecrona may have been Czech and although she was one of the queen’s domicellas she had no family in England, no land, no money and no political clout. Monastic chroniclers described her as low born and ugly – they said much the same of Edward III’s mistress, Alice Perrers.
De Vere managed to persuade the Pope to annul his marriage and then it was a case of marrying his mistress and living happily ever after. The only down side to this scenario is that Agnes appears to have been abducted on the orders of the earl who appears not to have taken no for an answer, although equally given that he was a friend of Richard II it’s equally likely that the records were blackened by those wishing to vilify the earl and further discredit Richard II. Armed retainers carried Agnes to Chester where there seems to have been some form of marriage. That winter de Vere lost the Battle of Radcoat Bridge and fled the country. Agnes may have gone with him because there is no further reference to her.
As for Philippa, her mother-in-law, Maud de Ufford (a descendent of Henry III) backed her and in 1389 the annulment was reversed. De Vere never returned to England. He died in 1392 but Philippa was granted an annuity as well as her dower rights. And the Czechs, since we’re on the subject, got the blame for quite a lot aside from adulterous earls…apparently the fashionable pointy shoes of the period were entirely their fault.
First things first – it should actually be Newstead Priory rather than Newstead Abbey given that it was the home to Austin Canons or Augustine Canons. They are also described as Black Canons because of their robes. All Austin Canons were priests as well as monks. They were not an enclosed order they believed that they should serve within the wider community.
The priory of St. Mary of Newstead in Sherwood was founded by Henry II in about 1170. The charter granted the manor of Papplewick, it’s church and mill to the new priory as well as meadowland at Bestwood and 100s. of rent in Shapwick and Walkeringham.
The charter was confirmed by King John and added to by other Plantagenet monarchs including Henry III, Edward I, Edward II and Edward III. Queen Joan of Scotland left many of her goods to the priory.
Despite this the priory faced a variety of financial difficulties across the decades. So it wa probably just as well that the Austin Canons who had a reputation or being good hosts entertained Edward I when he was hunting in Sherwood Forest and also Edward II. The royal hunting lodge at Clipstone isn’t that far away but the relationship between the Plantagenets and the priory protected the canons from the problems of financial constraint.
The Plantagenet desire to ensure that the canons of Newstead Priory could meet their financial obligations meant that they gained more church livings, mortmain lands, tenements, and rents. They were also excused many of the fees that were liable to the Crown due to the priory’s status as Lord of the Manor.
Richard II continued the Plantagenet patronage of the Austin Canons at Newstead by granting them an annual allowance of a tun of wine in the port of Hull in aid of the maintenance of divine service.
Both Henry VI and Edward IV continued the tradition of granting lands to the priory. The rent that Henry VI charged for eight acres within Sherwood Forest was one midsummer rose to be delivered to the exchequer.
There were various visitations across the centuries. Archbishop Ludham of York visited personal in 1259 and whilst he approved the rule of the prior he added a note that the canons shouldn’t drink after compline and they shouldn’t wander around the cloister. In 1280 Archbishop Wickwane required the prior to be more earnest about divine service, canons shouldn’t keep private property and they were still drinking after compline. Later a visitation said that the canons should maintain silence and that when anyone took a new set of clothes they had to return the old ones to the common store.
By 1535 and the Valor Ecclesiasticus that gave a value to the wealth of the monasteries, Newstead was worth £167 16s 11 1/2d of which 20s was given on a Maundy Thursday to the poor in commemoration of Henry II who founded the priory. It was clearly worth less than £200, making it a lesser monastery. The act for their suppression was passed in 1536.
The canons managed to avoid this by paying a fine of £233 6s 8d but on the 21st July 1539 they succumbed to the inevitable. Cromwell’s commissioner – London- took the surrender. The prior received £26 pension, the sub prior £6 and the ten canons who also signed the surrender document received a pension ranging between £3 and £5.
In 1540 the property passed into the possession of the Byron family – as in mad, bad and dangerous to know.
In later years, the eighteenth century, whilst the monk’s fish pond was dredged a medieval lectern was discovered. It appears to have been thrown there by the canons hoping to save it from Henry VIII’s commissioners. It can now be seen in Southwell Minster.
In 1817 the property was sold to Colonel Thomas Wildman and from him into the Webb family. It was finally bequeathed together with its gardens to the City of Nottingham in 1931.
‘Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Newstead’, in A History of the County of Nottingham: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1910), pp. 112-117. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/notts/vol2/pp112-117 [accessed 27 December 2020].
It’s Friday already! it’s time to consider the royal beasts that can be found on armorial bearing down the centuries – in particular the supporters. The idea of having two armorial supporters- one on either side of a shield of arms is usually credited to medieval engravers with a space to fill in a circular seal according to H Stanford London in 1953.
The lion of England is first recorded in evidence during the reign of Henry I when his daughter Matilda married her second husband, Geoffrey of Anjou from whom the Plantagenets are descended. From that time onwards lions appear on royal shields including that of William Longespée or Long Sword, Earl of Salisbury who was one of Henry I’s illegitimate sons.
It was probably during the time of Henry II that the two lions of the Conqueror were invented so that when he married Eleanor of Aquitaine – the lion of Aquitaine could be added to the royal coat of arms. Normandy had two leopards rather than lions.
Edward III reigned from 1322 until 1377. The beast most closely associated with him is the griffin as it was engraved on his private seal. It represented the qualities of guardianship and vigilance – so a polite statement that Edward III was in charge and caring for his country unlike his deposed father Edward II or mother Isabella of France.
Another of the beasts linked to Edward III on display during the coronation was the falcon and the fetterlock which was also associated with Richard II and both houses of York and Lancaster. Later Elizabeth of York used it as her badge as had her brother Richard, Duke of York. Another Tudor is also associated with the falcon – Elizabeth I- but hers is crowned and sceptred. It is a direction reference to her mother who used the falcon as her badge.
Richard II chose a white hart as his personal badge. It has links with his mother, Joan of Kent’s, white hind badge and is also a pun on Richard’s name. The white hart was not one of the royal beasts on display at the coronation in 1953 and given what happen to Richard II, it’s probably not surprising.
Henry IV and his son Henry V included a white swan amongst their armorial beasts – Henry IV’s wife and the mother of his children was the heiress Mary deBohun. The swan in question usually has a crown round its neck from which a chain is attached. Another Bohun beast to make into the royal stable was the white antelope but neither of these beasts featured as part of the display for the queen’s coronation.
Henry VI’s armorial bearings were the first English monarch’s to use supporters. They were a pair of de Bohun antelope such as can be seen on the gateway of Eton College which Henry VI founded. He also made use of the heraldic panther or panther incensed – i.e. with flames coming out of it’s ears and mouth. The panther is of course the third of the three heraldic moggies – lions, leopards and panthers. There were no panthers flaming or otherwise on display in Westminster in 1953. Presumably because its not a good auspice to be reminded of a king with mental health issues whose rule, though long, resulted in a bloody civil war ending by the monarch in question being bumped off whilst at prayer in the Tower.
Edward IV’s lion supporter isn’t actually the lion of England – it’s actually the badge of the Earls of March – the white lion. Unlike the lion of England the white lion of Mortimer is not depicted with a crown and it is always shown sitting with it’s tail curled between its legs – in fact it looks a bit like a dog begging. It made it on to the list of 10 coronation beasts unlike the black dragon of Ulster which he also used as a personal badge on occasion.
Edward IV also made use of the black bull of Clarence or Clare which was another of the Queen’s royal beasts in 1953. He was making a statement about his claim to the throne in the use of these two supporters which belonged to Roger Mortimer, Earl of March and Lionel Duke of Clarence respectively. Lionel was the elder of the royal brothers and so it was work who should have inherited the throne rather than Lancaster which was descended from John of Gaunt. The black bull continued in use as a royal beast until 1603.
Richard III is famous for his use of a white boar.
Meanwhile the Tudors introduced some new species to the proceedings. Margaret Beaufort is often associated with the emblem of the portcullis but she also used the yale as a personal badge. The yale is a bit like a cross between a goat and an antelope – clearly mythical! Margaret’s is silver with golden spots. Mane, hoofs, horns and tusks are also gold. Interestingly the yale turned up earlier as a supporter for John of Bedford’s arms (Henry V’s brother famous for incinerating Joan of Arc.) This suggests that the yale was more antelope than goat as it would have had a link to the de Bohun antelope. When the earldom of Kendal was passed to the Beaufort earls of Somerset after Bedford’s death in 1435 the yale passed with the title into the Beaufort family.
Next we have the white greyhound of Richmond which reflects Henry Tudor’s title of Earl of Richmond inherited from his father Edmund.
The greyhound is swiftly followed by the red dragon of Wales because as followers of the History Jar know, Henry VII saw himself as the descendant of King Arthur – or at least that’s what he tried to convince his subjects in order to steer them away from the fact that he took his crown on the battlefield and that his wife Elizabeth of York was actually the person most people regarded as royal.
Mary Tudor chose an eagle as one of her armorial supporters but it’s not one of the coronation beasts in 1953 – again no doubt because of the unfortunate life of the monarch in question.
With the Stuarts the royal arms acquired the unicorn and the pairing of the lion and the unicorn as supporters of the royal arms with which we are all familiar.
And finally – the white horse of Hanover which has never been a supporter of the Royal Arms and is not often listed as a royal beast but which none the less made it into the ten royal beasts identified in 1953.
Constance was the only daughter of Edmund of Langley and Isabella of Castile. She was born at Conisburgh Castle – probably in 14374. Four years later she was betrothed to Edward le Despenser – who inconveniently died so she promptly became the betrothed of his brother Thomas. The pair were the great-grandson’s of Isabella of France’s lover – the ones who toppled Edward II from power – despite this they were still one of the wealthiest families in the country. Richard II gave Thomas the title Earl of Gloucester but this was stripped from him by Henry IV – leaving him as Baron Despenser of Glamorgan.
In 1392 Isabella of Castile died and Edmund of Langley married a bride who was younger than his daughter – Joan Holland (I’m starting to think that there must be at least one Holland in every post.) And just so we’re clear about this she was the daughter of Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent but the niece of John Holland who I mentioned in the previous post as being Isabella of Castile’s lover…not sure how that’s covered by papal dispensation.
The couple had several children but not all survived until adulthood. Richard survive to marry a cousin – Eleanor Neville the daughter of Joan Beaufort and the Earl of Westmorland – who I have posted about previously: https://thehistoryjar.com/2018/04/03/joan-beauforts-descendants-eleanor-neville-countess-of-northumberland/ He died without heirs. His title passed to his sister Isabella (a posthumous child) who was married twice, firstly to the Earl of Worcester and secondly to the Earl of Warwick – both men were called Richard Beauchamp. The latter marriage produced a daughter Anne. Anne was a wealthy heiress with both Despencer and Beauchamp lands. She married one of her Neville cousins who took the title of Earl of Warwick by right of his wife. History knows him as the Kingmaker. Constance’s great grand daughter Anne became queen of England when her husband the Duke of Gloucester (yet another cousin) became Richard III.
Just as Edmund of Langley and his sons were loyal to Richard II, so was Constance and her husband Thomas le Despenser. Unfortunately this meant that when Henry of Bolingbroke deposed his cousin that Constance’s family were left rather disgruntled. Thomas took part in the Epiphany Rising of 1400 and was executed in Bristol where he was captured as he attempted to flee – leaving Constance as the wife of an attainted traitor and totally reliant on her cousin Henry IV. There was also the fact that Constance’s brother Edward of Norwich was probably the person who betrayed the plot to Henry IV.
In 1405 Constance who had attained a position as governess to her Mortimer relations (Edmund Mortimer the young 5th Earl of March and rightful king in the eyes of many and his younger brother) absconded with them from Windsor to take them to their uncle in Wales.The refugees were recaptured a week later and the Earl of March found himself in closer confinement. Constance also implicated her brother Edward of Norwich in the plot – he was imprisoned for seventeen weeks. Again, this is recapping events which readers of the History Jar may well remember from earlier posts: https://thehistoryjar.com/2014/09/16/edmund-mortimer-5th-earl-of-march-from-the-house-of-mortimer-to-the-house-of-york/
There is another child – Constance had an affair with Edmund Holland the 4th Earl of Kent – her step-mother’s brother. A daughter resulted. Eleanor, was born at Kenilworth Castle in about 1405. She later married James Touchet, Lord Audley. Throughout her life she insisted that she was legitimate – that Constance and Edmund had married just as Joan of Ken had married by a verbal exchange of vows followed by consummation. The Holland family utterly refused to accept this.
Next the descendants of Thomas of Woodstock. As for the descendants of Edmund of Langley it is apparent from their histories that the Wars of the Roses in the Fifteenth Century which people at the time called the Cousins War had been simmering for three generations.
Edmund was born the year after John of Gaunt at Langley in Hertfordshire. When he was twenty-one he was created the Earl of Cambridge. He was created Duke of York by his nephew in 1385.
Edmund married twice. His first marriage was to Isabella of Castile. She was the sister of Constanza of Castile who was John of Gaunt’s second wife – he claimed the kingdom of Castile by right of his wife who was the elder of the sisters. Edward III had sought to marry Edmund into the royal house of Flanders during the period when he was looking to provide wealth and title to his sons but in 1372 Edmund married Isabella. By that time he was about 31 and Isabella was about 16.
It doesn’t appear to have been a very happy marriage if Isabella’s will is anything to go by. She died in 1392. She left property to her children, to Richard II and to the Duke of Lancaster but nothing to her husband. Despite this the pair had three children: Edward of Norwich born in 1373, Constance born in 1374 and Richard born in 1375 at Conisburgh Castle.
The chronicler Thomas of Walsingham was rather sniffy about Isabella’s morals. The reason for this is that Isabella had an affair with John Holland (they do get everywhere don’t they?) John Holland was the Duke of Exeter and Richard II’s half brother (executed in 1400). The affair appears to have started in 1374 which raised an interesting question about the legitimacy of Richard of Conisburgh who was the grandfather of Edward IV and Richard III. Remember though that even if he wasn’t Edmund’s son, and indeed Edmund left him nothing in his will, the Yorkist claim to the throne came from Richard’s marriage to Anne Mortimer – a descendant of Lionel of Antwerp rather than the York connection which was the junior line because Edmund of Langley was a younger brother.
Perhaps I’d better go back to the start with this one. John Holland has cropped up in a recent post because he had to marry John of Gaunt’s daughter Elizabeth when she became pregnant by him. This caused a scandal because her first marriage had to be annulled, her husband was too young to have consummated the marriage, so that she could marry John. John’s affair with Isabella was before he seduced Elizabeth. Even Chaucer wrote about about the affair – he describes Mars (John) kissing Venus (Isabella) but it would seem that whilst it was an open secret Edmund did acknowledge his youngest son and the affair fizzled out.
Isabella gave the bulk of her estate to Richard II when she died but asked that her youngest son should be provided by the king with a pension. Richard of Conisburgh was the king’s godson as well as being a royal cousin. The allowance that was granted was £500 but it was only paid occasionally and after the deposition of Richard II, Richard of Conisburgh was reliant on the generosity of another cousin Henry of Bolingbroke who was now Henry IV. Unfortunately Edmund of Langley and his children were counter appellants and had benefited from Richard II banishing Henry. They had been granted some of his lands for example.
Not only was this impecunious younger son not mentioned in Edmund of Langley’s will but Edward of Norwich also failed to mention him in his will either – Richard had been executed shortly before Edward’s death due to his part in the Southampton Plot which sought to depose Henry V. Richard was executed on 5th August 1415 for his part in the plot. Edward of Norwich was killed on 25 October 1415 at the Battle of Agincourt (he had no heirs.)
The Black Prince, Edward of Woodstock, did not get married until 1361 when he was thirty. He chose to marry his first cousin once removed – Joan of Kent who was a few years older than him. She had already been married twice before, once bigamously. The pair married and had two children: Edward of Anglôume born in 1365 who died when he was five and Richard of Bordeaux born in 1367.
Richard of Bordeaux became Richard II when he was ten-years-old. He was married twice; first to Anne of Bohemia and secondly to Isabella of Valois. His second marriage was very unpopular as it was part of a long term truce with the French and his new queen was still a child so unable to fulfil the essential crate for a medieval queen – namely to provide an heir. Neither wife bore Richard a child. The legitimate line of the Black Prince comes to an end.
There is a theory that most of us are related somehow or other to Edward II. From the legitimate family tree it is clear that the Black Prince was not responsible for the proliferation of Plantagenets but he also had a number of illegitimate children. His mistress Edith of Willesford gave him a son Roger of Clarendon (1352-1402). Other women also gave birth to his sons: Edward and John.
Roger of Clarendon was regarded favourably, as many other illegitimate sons have been throughout royal history. He received an annuity of £100 from Edward III. He married the heiress of the Baron de la Roche which should have set him up rather nicely but unfortunately she died without children and her land was distributed between her cousins. Meanwhile Roger managed to get himself imprisoned in Wallingford Castle by his half-brother Richard II for killing someone in a duel. He escaped and was only recaptured once Henry IV was on the throne. Rather then being executed for murder he was executed for treason having attempted to depose the new monarch and reinstall Richard II (who popular rumour placed as being alive and well in Scotland) so was executed along with his squire, valet, eight Franciscan Friars and the prior of Laund in 1402. They are identified in Foxes Book of Martyrs and also in Holinshed’s Chronicle. Murreyandblue makes the point he might not have been actively attempting to depose Henry IV he might just have been rash enough to repeat rumour at a point when Henry IV was feeling a tad beleaguered.
Edward is listed by Weir as dying young. Weir along with the Journal of Medieval History identify Sir John Sounder who claimed to be the son of the Black Prince. France makes the point that Froissart isn’t confidant of Sir John’s surname and provides two alternatives leading him to wonder whether the figure is representative rather than actual.
Next Lionel of Antwerp’s descendant and things become slightly more complicated!
France, John. Journal of Medieval Military History, Volume 10 (pp95-96)
Marchant, Alicia. The Revolt of Owain Glyndwr in Medieval English Chronicles
Weir, Alison. (1999) Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy London: The Bodley Head
The relationships between the children of Edward III, their spouses and their descendants ultimately resulted in the Wars of the Roses. During the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV various families with royal blood in their veins jockeyed for power, position and wealth. Some of this vying for power was through political negotiation. There were the inevitable marriages for land and to tie families together and of course there were rebellions.
There are so many strands that it’s difficult to know where to start.
This evening I shall take a “random” look at the Lords Appellants who sought to impeach Richard II’s favourites in 1386 and ultimately managed to control the king as a figurehead without any real power until Richard’s uncle John of Gaunt returned to England in 1389 having been absent during the period of turmoil. There were five Lords Appellant. The three primary appellants were Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester; Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel and Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick.
Thomas of Woodstock: London, British Library Cotton MS Nero D.VIII, f. 0
Thomas of Woodstock was the youngest surviving son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainhault – Richard II’s uncle. He was also the uncle of the fourth Appellant Henry of Bolingbroke Earl of Derby and Hereford. Henry was John of Gaunt’s son. He and Richard were first cousins. Indeed there was only three months between them so as Ian Mortimer says in his biography of Henry IV the two of them must have been well acquainted.
Richard FitzAlan, the Earl of Arundel‘s mother was Eleanor of Lancaster, a great grand-daughter of Henry III. He was also related though the maternal line to the Beauchamps. His wife was Mary de Bohun’s aunt. Mary de Bohun was married to Henry of Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby. I’m not going to work out the exact relationship but there’s a tangled knot of cousinship and in-lawship – so best to describe him as part of the extended kinship of Richard II.
Thomas Beauchamp, the 12th Earl of Warwick was the son of Katherine Mortimer. His grandfather was Roger Mortimer, the Earl of March who became Isabella of France’s lover and deposed her husband King Edward II. So far so good, however, the Mortimers had married into the Plantagenet family when Edward III’s granddaughter Philippa, Countess of Ulster married Edmund Mortimer. Edmund was the grandson of Roger Mortimer mentioned earlier in this paragraph.
Feeling slightly dizzy? Well just to knot the families even more firmly together Philippa and Edmund Mortimer had four children. One of these children (the great grandchildren of Edward III), was a daughter also called Philippa (she was first cousin once removed of Richard II if you want to be picky). She became the second wife of Richard FitzAlan, the Earl of Arundel…yes, the Lord Appellant. Elizabeth de Bohun died in 1385. The marriage to Philippa took place in 1390 after the Lords Appellant had been forced to allow Richard to regain his power. The marriage was without royal licence and the earl was fined for not asking the king for Philippa’s hand first.
Richard II creating Thomas Mowbray Earl Marshal in 1386. British Library Cotton MS NERO D VI f.85r
For neatness sake the fifth Lord Appellant was Thomas Mowbray, the Earl of Nottingham. He was descended from Edward I – so another cousin of sorts. His wife was the Earl of Arundel’s daughter Elizabeth by his first wife Elizabeth de Bohun – making her a first cousin of Henry of Bolingbroke’s wife Mary de Bohun. You might find it helpful to draw a diagram!
If nothing else it becomes apparent that everyone powerful during this period was related to the other leading families in the land either through blood or through marriage. Interactions between historical figures of this period lay in the overlap between familial interaction and political interaction – the one influencing the other.
With that in mind I shall spend the period between now and Christmas exploring familial Plantagenet links – preferably with diagrams and possibly a large gin! You can read the posts with a drink of your choice in hand!
Mortimer, Ian. The Fears of Henry IV
Weir, Alison. British Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy
The story of the Holland family begins with Robert de Holland from Upholland in Lancashire. He was born about 1283. He was a trusted part of Thomas of Lancaster’s household. He benefitted from being within the Lancaster affinity by acquiring land as well as a wife in the form of Maud de Zouche – a co-heiress.
He fought at Boroughbridge in 1322 but not on the side of the earl who was in rebellion against his cousin the king. This may well have been because Edward II was holding one of Robert’s daughters hostage at the time. However, the Lancaster faction were not quick to forgive the fact that the second earl was executed in Pontefract soon after the battle and that Robert, one of his most trusted men, had been a traitor to the earl’s cause.
Thomas of Lancaster was succeeded by his younger brother – Henry of Lancaster. Time passed. On 15 October 1328 Robert Holland, or Holand, was at Borehamwood. Unfortunately so were a number of Lancaster supporters. There was an argument. Robert was beheaded.
Thomas, Robert’s eldest son pictured at the start of this post in his garter robes, served Edward III. He was a man of no substantial wealth. His mother Maud had to borrow money so he could be outfitted as a knight. However, it would appear that Thomas had a great deal of charm, not to mention nerve and persistence. He wooed and won Edward III’s young cousin Joan of Kent. They married in a secret exchange of vows when she was eleven or twelve. He was more than ten years older than Joan. It would take another nine years, a bigamous marriage and a papal decree before he was allowed to live with his bride.
Thomas’s fortunes really changed when Joan’s brother died. He had no other heirs so Joan became the Countess of Kent in her own right (suo jure). Thomas effectively became an earl through the right of his wife. Thomas who had a proven military track record by this time now had the money and the position in society to fulfil a leading military role in the Hundred Years War. Thomas and Joan’s eldest son another Thomas became a baron after his father’s death but did not become the 2nd Holland Earl of Kent until Joan died in 1385.
Thomas died in December 1360. The following year his widow married her cousin Edward, the Black Prince. The Holland children now had access to patronage with a very heavy clout. Thomas (Joan’s son) gained a wealthy and aristocratic bride from the FitzAlan family. More importantly it was the Hollands’ half-brother, Richard, who ascended the throne after Edward III died in 1377.
Thomas and John Holland were loyal to their half brother, Richard II, and benefited from their close ties – John even managed to get away with murder. The Holland family found themselves spouses from some of the wealthiest families in the country, had the ear and trust of the Crown and continued to thrive whilst Richard II was on the throne. The second earl’s son, another Thomas not only became the 3rd Earl of Kent but from 1397 the 1st Duke of Surrey. This was a reward for loyalty. Thomas had arrested his FitzAlan uncle on behalf of his royal uncle Richard II. Perhaps because he felt a bit guilty about it he the founded of Mount Grace Priory in Yorkshire the following year.
It is perhaps unsurprising that when Richard II was deposed by Henry of Bolingbroke – Richard’s first cousin and the Hollands’ first cousin once removed- that they found themselves being demoted. The dukedom had to be handed back. As a consequence Thomas Holland the 3rd earl of Kent became involved with the Epiphany Rising of 1400. He was executed. He had no children.
Thomas’s uncle John (Joan’s second son) was executed at the same time. John Holland had married another wealthy royal cousin, Elizabeth of Lancaster (John of Gaunt’s daughter). This may have been because of the Black Prince’s patronage and it may have been because his mother Joan of Kent got on well with her cousin John of Gaunt. John became Earl of Huntingdon in 1388 and in 1397 became the Duke of Exeter. He was also involved in removing Richard II’s enemies. In John’s case not only had he arrested his uncle Richard FitzAlan (the 11th Earl of Arundel) he has gone to Calais to arrest Thomas of Woodstock, Richard’s youngest Royal uncle. Thomas had died whilst in Calais as pictured in Froissart – the story involves a mattress…
When Richard II fell from power John was stripped of his dukedom but was allowed to retain his earldom by his brother-in-law the new king Henry IV. This double relationship did not stop John from being involved in the Epiphany Rising of 1400 nor did it prevent his execution.
For the moment the fortunes of the Holland family looked bleak. It would continue to be dubious until 1415 when John Holland’s son, another John, would be able to regain the dukedom of Exeter from Henry V after the Battle of Agincourt. He would also continue the family tradition of marrying someone who was a cousin in a degree that required papal dispensation and which kept his family close to the line of succession!
Hicks, Michael. Whose who in Medieval History
P.S. A family tree will be forthcoming at some point soon.
To leap is to make a sudden movement it can also mean to swiftly provide help or protection. Neither, if I am honest is very helpful in terms of my leaping lords for this post! So, there’s no help for it I shall have to cheat:
The five lords who made a sudden move against Richard II in 1387 to control his tendencies towards tyranny were called the Lords Appellant because they called upon parliament through legal procedure called an appeal of treason to prosecute Richard II’s favourites – the first three were the Duke of Gloucester (the king’s uncle known as Thomas of Woodstock), Richard FitzAlan Earl of Arundel and Thomas de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick. They were joined in their desire to restrain the king’s behaviour by Henry Bolingbroke who was Earl of Derby at that time and also Thomas de Mowbray the Earl of Nottingham.
These men successfully formed a commission for a year to rule the kingdom and at the end of that year they fought a battle with Robert de Vere, the earl of Oxford and the most influential of Richard’s despised favourites. As a result of the Battle of Radcot Bridge Richard II found himself a medieval monarch without much in the way of power and his other favourites found themselves in something of a tight spot. And so it might have continued had Henry Bolingbroke’s father John of Gaunt not returned to England in 1389 from Spain breaking the power of the Lords Appellant. It took Richard until 1397 to regain all his kingly powers and to begin to exact his revenge.
Where men have more than one title they are known by the most senior title from duke via marquess, earl and viscount to baron. If a member of the nobility inherits or is granted a superior title to the one he already holds he is known by the more important title hence forth but keep any others he has accrued – think of it as a form of “top trumps.” This can be a little bit on the confusing side when reading around a subject as historically people are known by their title e.g. Henry of Bolingbroke is known as Derby. When their title changes, their name is recorded differently e.g. Hereford. The person is the same but it isn’t immediately obvious. It is a useful method of dating a primary source but it can take some getting used to.
Let us begin. The earl of Nottingham, Thomas de Mowbray, managed to eventually find his way back into Richard II’s good books by helping to get rid of another Lord Appellant. It is likely that Mowbray helped with the murder of the Duke of Gloucester in 1397 – he had a nasty accident in Calais. As a result of this Richard elevated him from being the Earl of Nottingham to the first Mowbray Duke of Norfolk – so we’ll count him as two lords for the time being given his key titles. It didn’t end well for de Mowbray though as he had an argument with Bolingbroke presumably about killing off co-conspirators. Bolingbroke reported de Mowbray’s comments to the king and there was another argument. They were due to fight a duel in Coventry to resolve the matter but Richard banished them both in 1398. De Mowbray was exiled for life. He died in Venice in 1399 of Plague.
Henry of Bolingbroke initially got away with his involvement with the Lords Appellant after Richard regained power because of the importance of Henry’s father John of Gaunt. Bolingbroke can also be counted a second time because Richard made him the Duke of Hereford during the lull in proceedings. Upon the death of John of Gaunt Richard changed Henry ‘s sentence to life in exile and he kept John of Gaunt’s land for himself rather than allowing Henry the revenue. It was for this reason that Henry returned to England, ostensibly to reclaim the duchy of Lancaster which had been his father’s. From there it was one short step to becoming Henry IV.
Thomas de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick had only the one title so we shall leave him alone and be grateful for small mercies. FitzAlan was not only earl of Arundel, he was also earl of Surrey – so he counts twice giving us seven titles thus far.
It is perhaps not surprising that as a king’s son the Duke of Gloucester had more than his fair share of titles. He was also the first earl of Buckingham and the first earl of Essex – bringing us to a nice round ten.
Unsurprisingly many of the men listed above have other titles as well. I have not counted the fact that de Mowbray became the earl of Norfolk after his grandmother died because he was already the duke of Norfolk. He would have been known by the senior title of duke rather than the more junior earl.
Equally I have not counted the fact that Henry of Bolingbroke was also the Earl of Northampton. He acquired this title through his wife Mary de Bohun in 1384 and demonstrates rather nicely the matrimonial method for collecting a title. but his own title Earl of Derby was more likely to be used rather than the title of Northampton which was of the same value as the one he already held- remember that aristocratic game of top trumps I mentioned earlier.
In 1378 Westminster Abbey had to be closed for several months after an unfortunate interlude. Murder had been done in the choir and John of Gaunt was implicated. It didn’t help his reputation as the abbey had to be reconsecrated.
The back story is important. Two knights called Schakell and Hawle or Hauley had taken a Spanish Count prisoner whilst fighting with the Black Prince during the Hundred Years War – the capture took place in 1367 at the Battle of Najera. A ransom was required for the release of the Count of Denia from Aragon. This was normal procedure and one of the reasons why going to war was so popular as men were able to make a fortune on the battlefield by capturing wealthy men. The Count was allowed to return to Spain to organise the ransom but had to leave his son, Alphonso, as a hostage. Ten years later Alphonso, who was the count’s eldest son was still in England.
Unfortunately for Schakell and Robert Hawle, who was actually Schakell’s squire John of Gaunt was negotiating for the Crown of Castile. The fact that a Spanish noble was being held hostage until his pa sent back large sums of cash was not good press. Pressure was applied. Remember this was only a year after Richard II had become king. John’s power whilst not absolute was non the less impressive.
The two knights refused to release their prisoner. John had them arrested and sent to the Tower of London to focus their minds. They managed to escape from the Tower and fled to Westminster Abbey where they claimed sanctuary.
You can probably see where this is going. Sanctuary was ignored by a group of by the Constable of the Tower, Alan Boxhall. Schakell was captured but Hawle and a monk were murdered in the Choir. All of which sounds as though it was a mad chase through the street and an action which took place in the heat of the moment.
Unfortunately a royal letter made its way to the Abbot of Westminster demanding that Schakell and Hawle be handed over. The abbot refused. And that’s when the Constable made his move – so not the heat of the moment. And he didn’t go with a few men. He took fifty men into the abbey.
The upshot of this was that Bloxhall and all who were involved were excommunicated apart from the young Richard II, his mother Joan of Kent and of course John of Gaunt which seems a bit rich as it’s not a wild leap of deduction to work out who the plan’s mastermind might have been.