Alice of Norfolk, was born about 1324. She was the daughter of Thomas of Brotherton and Alice Hales. She was the youngest of their three children.
Her story begins for the purposes of this post in October 1330 when Edward III pictured at the start of this post staged a coup to rid himself of the regency of Roger Mortimer and Isabella of France. The band of men who crept through the tunnels beneath Nottingham Castle were led by William Montagu or Montacute. In 1337 he was created Earl of Salisbury and remained a key influence on Edward III throughout his life.
Thomas was Edward II’s oldest half-brother but had been swift to align himself with his sister-in-law Isabella of France and her lover Roger Mortimer. Now he had a problem. In October 1330 Edward III had regained control of the kingdom and Thomas, despite being Earl Marshal, was not what you might describe as a central political figure. It is evident from Edward III’s letters that Thomas was not his favourite uncle – that place had been reserved for Thomas’s younger brother, Edmund Earl of Kent whose execution may have decided Edward III to claim what was his.
It is perhaps not surprising then that Thomas used his youngest child as a political pawn and married her into the Montagu family in 1333. William Montagu had been raised alongside Edward III and had married into the extended royal family in the person of thirteen year old Joan of Kent. Unfortunately it had turned out to be a bigamous marriage. Joan having already married Thomas Holland before the knight went on crusade in Prussia. Eventually, after much wrangling, the pope told Joan to return to Thomas Holland.
Joan’s cousin, Alice, married Edward, William Montagu’s brother. The couple had five children of whom four were daughters.
Twenty years after her marriage Alice died as a result of injuries sustained during a violent assault by her husband and some of his retainers. They had a bit of a reputation in and around Bungay which is saying something given that this story unfolds against the backdrop of the Hundred Years War. Montagu fought at Crecy (1346) as did his more famous older brother.
After Alice’s death at the end of January 1352 Montagu and some of his retainers, no doubt heroes of Crecy, were charged with her murder but only one, William Dunche of Bungay, was convicted in and he was eventually pardoned in 1361.
Montagu eventually died in July 1361 having got away with the murder of his wife.