Friday, 19 June 2015

Jilting Bernard Ezi

Princess Isabella (b.1332) was the eldest daughter of King Edward III of England and his wife Philippa. Isabella was spoiled and over-indulged by her father, who allowed and forgave her anything.
In 1351, when Isabella was 19 years old it was announced that she was to marry Bernard, second son of Bernard Ezi Lord d'Albret (1295-1358) and Mathe D'Armagnac (1300-48). Lord d'Albret was a Gascon lord and King Edward's chief lieutenant in the region.

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King Edward III
Due to Isabella's willful nature, she must have at the very least agreed to the match, rather than her father arranging it. There was very little to be gained by King Edward by marrying Isabella into the Ezi family as they were not politically prominent. It is possible that it was a love match, and that Isabella had met the diplomat's son and fallen in love with him, and told her father that she wished to marry the young Frenchman. In early May the king wrote to Lord d'Albret agreeing to the betrothal "with mutually glad hearts", again showing that this match was not initiated by the king, and it is doubtful that Lord d'Albret would suggest such a marriage.

The wedding was to take place in Gascony, where the Ezi family were seated, at the request of Lord d'Albret. King Edward settled a marriage portion on Isabella of 4000 marks as well as £1000 per year, along with the condition that if for any reason the marriage does not go ahead, Isabella was to keep the money. Isabella's impressive wedding trousseau was an array of expensive materials and jewels, including; cloth of gold, Tripoli silk, Indian silk lined with ermine, all embroidered in silver and gold - using seven ounces of gold thread.

Isabella was to sail to Gascony immediately after Christmas, and on the 15th November five ships were placed west of the mouth of the Thames River ready for her journey. As well as this, all ships bound for Gascony were told to dock at Plymouth so that they could accompany the Princess' fleet on their journey. However, a week before she was set to sail Isabella suddenly changed her mind and called off the wedding. King Edward showed no signs of being angry with his daughter, and in fact seemed delighted with her decision. He rewarded her with money, estates and honours over the next few years.

Bernard Ezi was devastated by Isabella's actions. He signed all of his rights and possessions over to his younger brother, and then entered a Franciscan monastery where he died later that month.

It is possible that Isabella's actions were related to her own experience when she herself was jilted by Louis de Male, Count of Flanders in 1347. After nine years of refusing, Louis finally agreed to the marriage, however as soon as the engagement was formalised in Flanders the whole court absconded. Isabella was quite literally left at the altar by her fiance. Isabella had to make the return journey to England and returned humiliated. For a spoiled child who was accustomed to having her own way, this may have been a slight she could not forget. Or perhaps, she remembered how only three years earlier, her sister Joan had sailed to France on the way to her wedding and how she had died of the plague during the journey through France. A third, more selfish, reason is possible; Isabella saw herself gaining nothing by marrying. She had money and was the most important woman at the royal court after her mother the queen. Whatever the reason, Isabella had made her decision and there was no changing her mind. 

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Marriage of Isabella and Enguerrand, 1365
Isabella did finally marry on the 27th July 1365 at the age of 33. Having the eldest daughter of a king marry so late in life would have been highly unusual, especially as by the end of 1561 Isabella was their only surviving daughter. Enguerrand, Lord of Coucy, was brought to England in 1360 as a hostage to be exchanged for an English prisoner, King John II of France. Enguerrand was seven years younger than Isabella, and the son and heir of a wealthy French lord. It seems that while he was in England, Isabella fell in love with him; again she was allowed to choose her husband rather than have an arranged marriage. Isabella and Enguerrand had two daughters; Marie (1366-1404) and Philippa (1367-1411). King Edward did not stop indulging his daughter; he released Enguerrand from being his prisoner without demanding a ransom, and he later made him Earl of Bedford and Count of Soissons.

Isabella was with her father when he died on the 21st June 1377. She spent most of her time at the English royal court, as her husband returned to France only a few years into the marriage, so Isabella and her daughters lived at her father's court. After the accession of her nephew King Richard II, Enguerrand cut all ties with England. Isabella died suddenly in England in 1379.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Cardinal Swynford's illegitimate daughter

Henry Beaufort (d.1447) was a son of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford, and was therefore a half-brother to King Henry IV. On the 14th July 1398 Henry was consecrated as Bishop of Lincoln, in November 1404 he became Bishop of Winchester and then in 1426 he was made a Cardinal by Pope Martin V. 

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Henry Beaufort

In 1402 Henry fathered a daughter named Jane Beaufort. Many people gave her mother as Alice FitzAlan (1378-1415) however this is highly unlikely due to Jane's date of birth. It is possible that Jane was in fact named Joan, however due to non-standardized spelling it is unclear which it is. She may have been named Joan after Henry's sister. It does not appear that Jane was kept a secret or hidden away, as the Beaufort family themselves were an illegitimate line it appears they treated their children the same whether they were legitimate or not. 

Jane married Sir Edward Stradling (1389-1453, Acre) in about 1423. Edward was the eldest son of Sir William Stradling and Lady Isabel St Barbe. The ancient Stradling family was seated at St Donat's Castle in Glamorgan in Wales. Like his father and grandfather before him, Edward made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to receive his knighthood in 1408.

The couple had four children;
+ Henry Stradling (1423-77, Cyprus) m. Elizabeth Herbert
                                                           + Thomas Stradling (1454-80) m. Janet Matthew
                                                           + Charles Stradling (b.1457)
                                                           + Jane Stradling (b.1459) m. Myles ap Harry
                                                           + Elizabeth Stradling (b.1461) m Richard Fleming
In 1449 Henry, his family and a servant were captured by the Breton pirate Colyn Dolphyn on their journey sailing from Wales to Somerset. The pirate held the family at St Malo while demanding a ransom of 2,200 marks. Sir Edward had to sell off  four of his manors to pay it; Sutton, Bassalleg, Rogerston and Tregwillim. Dolphyn finally released the family in 1451. A year later, Colyn Dolphyn returned to St Donat's and so the Stradlings lured the pirate to Nash Point, a sandbank, using false lights on the cliffs so as to capture him. Dolphyn was given a trial - although the legality of this is in question - and he was condemned to death. Colyn Dolphyn was buried up to his neck in the sand in Tresillian Cave. As his father did, Henry Stradling went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1476. Henry was knighted at the Holy Sepulchre the following year. He died on his way back to England in 1477. He was buried in Famagusta in Cyprus.
+ Katherine Stradling m. Maurice Denys (1410-1503)
                                   + Walter Denys
                                   + John Denys
                                   + William Denys
                                  m2. Hugh Winston
+ John Stradling (b.1425). Had a daughter named Ann Danvers (b.1459)
It has been suggested by some that John joined the church and became Archdeacon of Llandaff in 1448, but later leaving Wales and obtaining the rectory of North Tawton in the diocese of Exeter in 1454.
+ David Stradling
The only mention of David was that he was the youngest child of the family and that he lived in Somerset, as he was very close to his mother.

It seems likely that Edward's appointment as Chamberlain of South Wales in December 1423 may have been a result of his new connection to the Bishop. He remained in this position until March 1437. Edward held a number of positions throughout the years; his rise furthered due to his connection to the royal family he had married into. 

November 8th 1424, Westminster
Grant, during pleasure, by advice of the council, to Edward Stradlyng, king's knight of the office of steward and receiver of the lordships of Cantreselly, Alsandreston and Penkethly, which are held of the earl of Hereford, the said office of steward and receiver of the kings lordships having been previously held as one office, with the fees of 40s. [a year].

July 31st 1432, Dogmersfield
Commission to Edward Stradelyng, knight, and William ap Thomas, knight, to enquire as to the malefactors who took at sea a ship called le George of Sluys laden with wines and honey of certain merchants of Flanders and Picardy, and brought her to the town of Dynby and sold the ship there with part of the wines and honey, giving the remainder to divers persons. The circumstances are to be ascertained and persons refusing to make restitution are to find. surety to appear in Chancery in the quinzaine of Michaelmas next.

April 28th 1434, Westminster
Commission to James Audeley, knight, Edward Stradlyng, knight, William ap Thomas, knight, Robert Grendour, knight, Thomas Arundell, knight, John Herle, knight, John Polryden and John Hunte, sarjeant at arms, to make inquisition touching a petition by Peter Preere, Richard Goulle, Francis Sarratt, William Lorget and their fellows, burgesses and merchants of the king's cities of Paris and Rouen, shewing that, whereas they recently laded two vessels of Rouen at Leseluse with goods worth 2,000 marks for the victualling of the said cities, these vessels were taken off Brumalet in Caux by certain of the king's lieges in two balingers of Wynchelse and Sandewyche and carried as if belonging to enemies to the parts of Cornwall and Wales, where they were disposed of. All goods whereof the petitioners can prove their ownership by the merchants' marks or otherwise are to be restored, or their value paid if they have been consumed, and any persons proving contumacious are to be brought before the king in chancery.

July 27th 1438, Dogmersfield
Appointment, during pleasure, of Edward Stradelyng knight, to be sheriff of Kermerdyn in South Wales, accounting at the exchequer of Kermerdyn.

When Cardinal Beaufort died in 1447, he mentioned both his daughter and son-in-law in his Will. 
In the original Will of Henry Beaufort, dated 20 January 1446;
"Item, I bequeath to Johanna, wife of Edward Stradling, Knight, two dozen dishes, four chargers, XII salt-cellars, etc and c li in gold". This bequest was the first one listed after the gift of a cup of gold to the king, Henry.
In the second codicil (2 September 1447) to Henry's Will is states;
"Item, I bequeath to Edward Stradling, Knight, a certain portion of silver vessels, according to the discretion of my executors"

Jane died in 1453, the same year as her husband.