Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2001-01 > 0979533301

Subject: Re: Father of Amy de Gaveston
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 04:35:01 GMT
References: <x%p86.30990$>, <93te1k$6tv$>, <93tpl7$g2e$>


Thank you for your interesting post. I've inserted my comments and
questions below:

In article <93tpl7$g2e$>,

> Thank you for your good posts. Last year, after studying the
> evidence, I proposed that Amy de Gaveston was an illegitimate daughter
> of Margaret de Clare. I presumed Amy was born in the five years that
> Margaret was a widow after Peter de Gaveston's death.

According to Underhill in *For Her Good Estate* (which can be ordered
through or - it's a very well-researched book with a
lot of additional information on all the children of the three Clare
heiresses culled from Elizabeth de Burgh's household records),

"No chronicler records Margaret's reaction to Piers' death...In material
terms, Margaret could claim a third of the couple's property. The king
assigned her dower by September 1312; later there were exchanges of
lands, but Margaret was well provided for. By 1316 these grants were
made contingent on her marrying with the king's license, for by then
she, too, was a widowed heiress.

Margaret may have lived in Oxford before Piers' burial....Later she
lived in the king's household, and went with him on a 1316 progress from
London to York. There he and his suite stayed at the Franciscan priory,
where Edward paid for Margaret's chamber renovations."

It's unlikely the king would have been so generous to her had she had an
illicit affair and born an illegitimate child during her widowhood after
Piers. I'm not saying it's impossible she had an affair - I suppose she
could have taken the example of her widowed mother Joan of Acre's
illicit marriage to Ralph de Monthermer, which eventually received royal
approval. But it would be very foolish for her to do so, given her
precarious position. From 1312-14, Margaret's brother the Earl of
Gloucester was alive and there was no reason for anyone to assume she'd
ever have lands other than her third of her property with Piers. If
anything, I'd think she'd try to remain above reproach and possibly
enter into a second marriage with another landed noble at the king's

After Bannockburn and the death of her brother in 1314, this of course
all changed - Margaret was suddenly one of three tremendously important
heiresses. The king seems to have taken her more closely under his
wing, and an affair is highly unlikely with the watchful eyes of the
court on her.

Her sister Elizabeth married Theobald de Verdun in 1316 without the
king's license and he was extremely unhappy about it. There wasn't
anything he could do, as she quickly became pregnant, but Underhill
argues it affected his relationship to her in a negative way for the
rest of his life.

IF Margaret, during her widowhood from Piers, had had an affair with a
gentleman she loved and became pregnant, she COULD have married, as her
sister Elizabeth did. Yes, she'd be out of favor with the king, but,
especially if she was pregnant, the marriage would stand and SHE WOULD
STILL INHERIT her third of the vast Clare estates, as Elizabeth did.

I published my
> somewhat radical theory in Plantagenet Ancestry, 2nd edition, by David
> Faris.

I only have the first edition of Plantagenet Ancestry, and have found it
very useful. I understand a third edition is coming out soon, so I'll
wait for that.

> In the new issue of Ken Finton's periodical, Plantagenet Connection,
> there is an interesting new article on Amy de Gaveston by Robert Todd.
> Mr. Todd agrees that Amy was an illegitimate child of Margaret de
> Clare, but he advances the theory that Amy was the product of an
> adulterous relationship which Margaret de Clare had during, not after,
> her marriage to Peter de Gaveston. Todd shows rather conclusively
> Peter de Gaveston was out of the country in Scotland when Margaret de
> Clare conceived a female child born to her about 12 January 1312.

This, to me, seems an even more radical theory, as it requires a
cover-up on the part of Margaret, Piers, Edward II, and Queen Isabella,
who all celebrated the birth of PIERS's daughter in York in Jan. 1312,
according to contemporary chronicle sources and the household records of
Queen Isabella for that year.

Also, if Todd's theory was true, how could the revelation of such a
scandal not have been reported? Margaret would have every reason to
publicly maintain that her daughter was legitimate and Piers', so the
child [Amy, according to Todd] would have remained so in the records.
The king, I imagine, would also continue the charade, out of respect and
love for his murdered friend. But there is no mention of Amy de
Gaveston at all in any surviving records of the time. And as its highly
unlikely that either Margaret or Edward II would reveal the daughter
born in 1312 to Margaret was not Piers', who did? Queen Isabella?
Rumors in the household? Something like that finally coming to light
would be bound to have made the chronicles, I feel.

I'm afraid that this theory needs much further corroboration to back it
up, considering all the other 14th-century evidence existing points to
it being highly unlikely. If Piers was in Scotland nine months before
his and Margaret's daughter was born, then the daughter could have been
either premature, or Margaret was with him in Scotland at the time.
Underhill states in *For Her Good Estate* that Margaret accompanied
Piers during his time in Ireland - do we know for a fact that she wasn't
with him in Scotland in 1311?

> Having read the Todd article, I think it is a plausible explanation of
> the mysteries surrounding Amy de Gaveston. I also found the article
> interesting to read, as Todd shares details of Peter de Gaveston's
life and relationship to King Edward II not commonly found in your
average history books.

It sounds like an interesting article - I'm definitely going to track it
down. Thanks for the reference!

> As for the 1334 fine which Brad mentioned, I don't believe that it
> proves that Amy de Gaveston was Peter de Gaveston's daughter. I know
> of a case in which a woman was born during the period of her mother's
> widowhood as a bastard, yet years later a deed was recorded in which
> she is identified as the daughter of mother's prior husband. If the
> same thing happened to Amy, it would explain why she might have been
> called Peter de Gaveston's daughter without actually having been his
> lawful issue. As the French say, "Plus ca change, plus ca meme!"

It would also imply that Amy was still publicly presenting herself as
Piers' daughter, and not as her mother's illegitimate daughter. If so,
there would have definitely been mention of her in the records that
survive from 1312-34, and she is not mentioned once in this regard. As
John Parsons pointed out in his posts to the board in 1999, it is
inconceivable that a legitimate daughter of Piers and Margaret de Clare
(or one pretending to be so) could escape mention or investigation in
the mounds of legal records regarding the partition of the Clare

> As for Amy's marriage date, the 1334 fine has all the earmarks of a
> marriage settlement which was common in that time period. I have seen
> many of these kinds of fines over the years. The 1334 fine was almost
> certainly recorded just previous to the marriage of Amy de Graveston
to John de Driby.

I respectfully bow to your experience in this regard, Doug. This sounds
like a reasonable and likely explanation.

> I haven't seen the Underhill book which Brad mentions. However, I'm
> interested to read it, as the subject of the book, Elizabeth de Burgh,
> Lady of Clare, is a distant ancestress of mine. Elizabeth is one of
> the more interesting women of the English medieval period.

Yes, it's a very good read! I especially appreciated the additional
genealogical and biographical info on Joan of Acre's children and
grandchildren that it contains.

Best regards, --------Brad Verity

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