Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2003-01 > 1042157918

From: (Brad Verity)
Subject: Amie de Gaveston Rebuttal - Part 2: Joan Gaveston
Date: 9 Jan 2003 16:18:38 -0800

[I am very grateful to the ever-helpful Chris Phillips for providing
translations of the Irish chronicle entries below.]

The established conclusion - at least up until 1959, with John G.
Hunt's first article on Amie de Gaveston in TAG - was that Joan
Gaveston, the only recorded daughter of Piers Gaveston and Margaret de
Clare, was the daughter recorded in the Bridlington chronicle and
Edward II's household expenses as being born at York in January 1312.

In order for Amie to be the daughter born in January 1312, Joan must
then be shown to have been born earlier, as the execution of Piers in
June 1312 prevents a daughter being born later.

An IPM for Piers would have shown how many legitimate daughters he had
in 1312 and how old they were - and in my opinion would have verified
Joan as the only one, born six months prior to his execution.
Unfortunately, there was no IPM commissioned since all of Piers' lands
were considered forfeit to the crown.

That leaves us to rely on other records to determine the name of the
daughter born in 1312. Joan Gaveston first appears in a Calendar Roll
record in 1316, when she would have been aged 4, if that daughter.
The fact that she was referred to as the King's niece proves she was
indeed Piers' legitimate daughter by Margaret de Clare. It's possible
that household records mention Joan previous to 1316 - Hamilton, in
his 1988 biography of Gaveston, states that Joan and Eleanor de Bohun,
another niece of Edward II, received a joint annual allowance of 100
marks for their maintenance while being raised at Amesbury. But the
source for this is an unpublished Wardrobe Account document in the PRO
(E.101/325/13 m. 5), and the date hasn't been determined. Amie de
Gaveston first appears in a Calendar Roll record in 1332, when she
would have been aged 20, if the daughter born in January 1312. We
know, thanks to Chris Phillips, that she does appear in an unpublished
Wardrobe Account record misdated at the PRO as to 5 Edw. II (1311/12),
but more likely 5 Edw. III (1331). Whether she appears in earlier
unpublished records has not yet been determined.

Robert Todd (RT), in his article in the Winter 2001 issue of TPC,
presents evidence for Joan Gaveston's earlier (than January 1312)

1) Margaret and Piers both had much at stake in producing an heir, and
wouldn't wait five years to produce their first child. Evidence
exists (citing Frances Underhill's biography on Margaret's sister
Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady of Clare, and J.R. Maddicott's biography of
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, as sources) that Margaret accompanied Piers
to Ireland from June 1308 to June 1309, so their cohabitation was not
interrupted, as previously thought.

2) Joan's birth in Ireland would have gone unrecorded because Irish
chroniclers were only interested in Gaveston's military exploits
(citing Hamilton's 1988 biography as source), and Piers would have had
to travel back to England in order for Edward II to have had a
celebration at the birth similar to the one in York in January 1312.

3) Piers received the grant of the marriage of royal ward Thomas Wake
in 1309, after his return to England from Ireland. Citing Dr. Scott
Waugh's book on royal wardships as source, the Wake marriage was
granted by Edward II for Piers to arrange a marriage for his daughter.
"Piers had held onto the marriage of Wake until it was confiscated
from him by the ordinances in 1311. There was no value for Piers in
keeping the marriage to himself unless he intended Wake for his
daughter Joan." [RT, TPC Winter 2001, pgs. 216-17] The Wake marriage
was regranted to Piers in March 1312, citing both Waugh and Maddicott
as sources.

4) Edward II arranged a betrothal between Joan and Thomas Wake after
Piers' execution. "It was therefore an espousal 'per verba de
futuro', which means that within medieval terminology they both had to
be 'within age.' In this context, 'within age' is meant a male or
female being above the age of seven, and below the age of majority,
that is fourteen for males, and twelve to fourteen for females,
depending upon the onset of puberty." [RT, Winter 2001 TPC, pg. 229]
Wake married without royal licence in 1316, when Joan, if born January
1312, would have been age 4 at her failed betrothal. "Thus the
testimony of the original canonical laws in effect at that time
confirm that Joan could not be the daughter born in 1312 because she
had to be at least seven years of age to consent to a betrothal in
1316." [RT, TPC Winter 2001, pg. 231]

5) Joan became a ward of Thomas de Multon, Lord of Egremont, whose son
and heir John de Multon, she was granted to in marriage by Edward II
in May 1317, as soon as they attained the legal age of marriage.
"That Joan was a ward of Thomas de Multon and endowed with lands is
known from the inquisition that was held seven years after her death,
which was held to inquire whether the said Thomas had alienated any of
her lands." [RT, TPC Winter 2001, pg. 232] These lands may have been
her maritagium, originally arranged by Piers when granted the wardship
and marriage of Thomas Wake in Oct. 1309, and carried over to the
Multon marriage. Or, citing Douglas Richardson as a source, a castle
in Essex which Margaret de Clare had held jointly with Piers and was
allowed to retain, and which mat have been Margaret's original
maritagium from the Clares at her marriage to Piers, could have been
used as maritagium for her daughter Joan's marriage to Multon.

6) The 1332 Inquisition ad quod damnum (IQD) inquired into Joan's
lands, and since it asked if the lands were alienated before or after
her death, there would be no need for an IQD if Joan had died still in
minority (under age 14), as her lands would revert back to the crown.
The Multons kept all of Joan's lands after her death - the value of
the never-completed marriage being equal or greater to the value of
Joan's lands. "The IQD was therefore commissioned to ascertain
whether the land held beyond full age was alienated, and hence the
necessity of stating Joan's age." [RT, TPC Winter 2001, pg. 242]
Since an IQD into her lands was undertaken, Joan had reached the age
of majority (14 or 15 years and more), and the age of Joan at death
(15) returned in the IQD confirms this. Since age was an important
factor for this IQD, as whether or not Joan had reached age of
majority was important regarding her lands retained by the Multons,
kinsmen must be part of the jury, according to medieval law. Justice
Roger Bavent from the IQD was related to the Clares through his
brother-in-law William de Braose, and could truthfully swear that Joan
was of the age of 15 years. "Conclusion: Joan de Gaveston was born
sometime before January 1311, the latest date possible that fits the
wording of the original source, the 1332 IQD." [RT, TPC Winter 2001,
pg. 243]

Though the evidence on the surface seems quite strong that Joan
Gaveston was born earlier than 1312, when the evidence goes further
than conclusions of secondary sources to the original contemporary
records, it turns out there is no evidence of a daughter of Piers and
Margaret existing befor January 1312, and that nothing in all the
records of Joan's life (save her age at death given in 1332) which
contradict a date of birth of January 1312 for her. Let's look at
each of RT's arguments.


Margaret was born either very late in 1293 (her elder sister Eleanor
was born in Oct. 1292, so given the churching period, Margaret
couldn't have been conceived until the very end of that year), or in
1294 (her younger sister Elizabeth, born in Sep. 1295, was conceived
in January 1295). So, when married to Piers on 1 Nov. 1307, Margaret
was 13, and she turned 14 during her first year of marriage. Margaret
was in Ireland from June 1308 (aged 13/14) to June 1309 (aged 14/15),
and a birth to her during that time would require a conception when
Margaret was 13 or 14, which was not the pattern for the royal family
at this time. Queen Isabella was 12 at marriage and 16 when her first
child was conceived. Joan of Acre was 18 at marriage and the
conception of her first child, Eleanor (de Clare) Despenser was 13 at
marriage and 15 or 16 at the conception of her first child, Elizabeth
de Burgh, Lady of Clare, was just 13 at marriage and 16 at conception
of her first child.

Strong as the impetus for an heir was for Piers and Margaret, it would
have been a stronger impetus for Piers to not risk the life of his new
bride by forcing conception before a proper age. Margaret was vital
to his acceptance by the English barons and it was probably through
her Clare connections that his year-long stint as King's Lieutenant in
Ireland transpired smoothly. In the spring of 1311, when the daughter
born in January 1312 was conceived, Margaret was 16 or 17, and
definitely 17 when she gave birth.


The following entries from both an English and an Irish chronicle
prove that Margaret was in Ireland with Piers.

From Chronicle of Lanercost: "But while it was decreed that he [Piers]
should embark at Dover and have an annuity for life of f200 sterling
for himself and f100 for his wife, if she were willing to leave the
country with him, the king secretly caused him to sail to Ireland with
his wife, furnishing him with letters to the effect that, wheresoever
he should go within the lands of the King of England, he should be
received with the glory and honour due to the person of the king

From the Annals of Dublin: "Item, in Anglia cito post tentum est
magnum Parliamentum London, in quo oriebatur dissensio et fere
mortalis conflictus inter Regem et Barones, occasione Domini Petri de
Gaveston, qui proscriptus est a regno Anglie in crastino Natalis Beati
Johannis Baptiste, et transfretavit in
Hiberniam circa festum Sanctorum Quirite et Julite, cum uxore et
Comitissa Glovernie, ad Dublin, cum pompa vehementi et ibidem traxit

Translation by Chris Phillips: "In England soon afterwards was held a
great Parliament [?at] London, on which arose dissension and almost
mortal conflict between the king and the barons, because of Sir Peter
de Gaveston, who was proscribed from the kingdom of England on the
morrow of the Nativity of the Blessed John the Baptist, and crossed
into Ireland around the feast of Saints Quirite and Julite [sp?], with
his wife and sister, the countess of Gloucester, to ublin, with
vehement pomp, and there lengthened his sojourn."

"Item, Ricardus de Burgo, Comes Ultonie, tenuit magnum festum in
Pentecosten, apud Trym et fecit Walterum de Lacy et Hugonem de Lacy
milites. Et, in vigilia Assumptionis, Comes Ultonie venit contra
Petrum Gaveston, Comitem Cornubie, apud Drogheda. Et eodem tempore
remeavit passagium in Scociam. Item, dicto anno, Matildis, filia
Comitis Ultonie, transfretavit versus Angliam ad maritagium
contra-hendum cum Comite Glovernie. Et cito post infra mensem Comes
et ipsa fuerunt desponsati."

Translation by Chris Phillips: "Richard de Burgh, earl of Ulster, held
a great feast at Pentecost, at Trym, and made Walter de Lacy and Hugh
de Lacy knights. And in the Vigil of the Assumption the earl of Ulster
came against Peter Gaveston, earl of Cornwall, at Drogheda. And at the
same time he passed back into Scotland. The said year, Maud, daughter
of the earl of Ulster, crossed to England for the marriage contracted
with the earl of Gloucester. And soon afterwards, within a month, the
earl and she were espoused."

The above entries also show that the Irish chroniclers were interested
in more than just Piers’ military exploits. Also, there was
much traveling of messengers and correspondence back-and-forth between
Ireland and Edward II and his court. Both Piers’ kinsman
Bernard Caillau, his armed retainer Robert Darcy, and baron Roger
Mortimer of Wigmore (whose lands Piers had once held) traveled to
Ireland the year Piers and Margaret were there.

Had there been a birth to the couple in Ireland, a messenger would
have been paid by the king for delivering the good news, and a
celebration of it in Dublin would probably have warranted a mention in
the chronicles.


Thomas Wake, the son and heir of John, Lord Wake of Liddell, was born
about March 1298, and was two years old when his father died in April
1300. Most of the Wake lands had been granted in jointure to John
Wake and his wife, Joan de Fiennes, a kinswoman of Queen Eleanor of
Castile. So after Lord John’s death, his widow Joan controlled
most of the Wake lands and appears to have had custody of young
Thomas, though technically he was a ward of the King. It was probably
in July 1308, that the 10-year-old Thomas Wake first came into
physical custody of King Edward II.

From Patent Rolls: “12 July 1308, Windsor. Protection, until
Easter, for Joan, late the wife of John Wake, going beyond

“26 Aug. 1308, Chertsey. Presentation of Simon de Beverlaco,
chaplain, to the church of Eston, in the diocese of Carlisle, in the
king’s gift by reason of the custody of the lands and heir of
John Wake, deceased, tenant in chief, being in his hands. By

Joan de Fiennes, Lady Wake, did not long survive her trip abroad
– she was dead by Oct. 1309.

From Fine Rolls: “26 Oct. 1309, York. Order to the same [the
escheator beyond Trent] to take into the king’s hands the lands
late of Joan late the wife of John Wake, deceased, tenant in chief.
The like to the escheator on this side Trent.”

From Patent Rolls: “26 Oct. 1309, York. Grant to Peter de
Gaveston, earl of Cornwall, of the custody of the lands and tenements
held at the date of her death by Joan, late the wife of John Wake, of
the inheritance of her husband, which are in the king’s hands,
by reason of the minority of Thomas, son and heir of the same John.
Grant also of the marriage of the heir.”

From Fine Rolls: “15 Dec. 1309, Westminster. Order to the same
[the escheator on this side Trent] to resume into the king’s
hand the wardship of the lands which Joan late the wife of John Wake
held on the day of her death in dower and otherwise for life of the
inheritance of Thomas, son and heir of John, a minor in the
king’s ward, which wardship Peter de Gaveston, earl of Cornwall,
had of the king’s gift and has rendered to the king. The like
to the escheator beyond Trent.”

From Patent Rolls: “21 March 1310, Westminster. Assignment to
William Trente of the custody and town of Ware, which Joan, late the
wife of John Wake, held at the date of her death of the inheritance of
Thomas son and heir of her late husband, a minor in the king’s
custody, to hold until 15 December and for three years then next
ensuing, together with its issues received since 15 December last, on
which day Peter de Gaveston, earl of Cornwall, surrendered the custody
of all lands formerly held by the same Joan.”

“4 March 1311, Berwick-on-Tweed. Grant to queen Isabella of the
custody of the lands of John Wake, tenant in chief, during the
minority of his heir; also of the farms of all the other lands of the
deceased, which have been granted to other persons, together with the
knights’ fees, advowsons of churches, reversions and all other
rights belonging to that custody. By p.s.”

“2 March 1312, York. Re-grant of the marriage of Thomas, son
and heir of John Wake, or in case of his decease unmarried of that of
the next heir, to Peter de Gaveston earl of Cornwall. He had
surrendered to the king a previous grant of the custody of the lands,
which Joan, late the wife of John Wake, tenant-in-chief had held for
her life of the inheritance of her late husband, and which were in the
king’s hands by reason of his custody of Thomas, son and heir of
John Wake, and of the marriage of the heir. [Foedera.] By K.”

Dr. Scott Waugh, in his discussion of the Thomas Wake wardship in his
book, correctly summarizes the custody of the Wake lands, but goes on
to say, “The marriage of the heir, which Edward had originally
given to Gaveston so that he could arrange a marriage for his
daughter, was likewise resumed and likewise restored in March 1312,
after the Ordinances had been revoked.” This is incorrect, as
the above entries show. The marriage was not resumed by Edward II due
to the Ordainers’ efforts (March 1310 to October 1311), but had
been restored to him by Piers, along with the Wake lands, in Dec.
1309. Holding onto the Thomas Wake marriage for less than two months
in 1309 is not the action of a man trying to arrange a marriage for
his daughter. Nor is Waugh’s assertion that the marriage was
originally granted to Piers in order to arrange a marriage for his
daughter supported anywhere in the original Calendar Roll entries.

There is no evidence in the grant of Thomas Wake’s marriage to
Piers in Oct. 1309 of a daughter existing then. When the marriage
(and not the lands) of Wake was re-granted to Piers in March 1312
– which does suggest the actions of a man wishing to arrange a
marriage for a daughter – his daughter and heiress was about two
months old.

More to follow.

Cheers, ---------Brad

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