Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2003-01 > 1042661782

From: (Brad Verity)
Subject: Re: Amie de Gaveston Rebuttal - Part 2: Joan Gaveston
Date: 15 Jan 2003 12:16:22 -0800
References: <>


When Piers Gaveston was executed in June 1312, Thomas Wake was 14
years old and his marriage reverted back to the crown (due to the
forfeiture of all of Piers' holdings, not for lack of an heir). At
14, Wake was of the canonical age to enter into marriage, and he seems
to have been part of Queen Isabella's household [I am indebted to
Rosie Bevan for pointing this out to me], as the following entry in
Isabella's Household Book shows:

WAKE. To Henry Picot, for money paid by him for the carriage of the
equipment of Thomas Wake with one cart with 3 horses for 7 days in the
trip of the queen because two of his sumpters were sick, by his own
hands receiving the money in the queen's wardrobe, at York, 25th day
of June in the present year. 8s.2d."

Queen Isabella had custody of his lands, and the tennaged Wake may
have been greatly influenced by the young queen, two years his senior,
and by all accounts a beauty. Edward II granted on 10 Sep. 1313, the
then 15-year-old Wake the custody of his manor of Kirkeby Moresheved,
though Wake had not yet proved his age, but had to reverse this grant
a few weeks later on 3 Nov. 1313, having forgotten he had already
granted it to Henry de Percy (who in turn had granted it to Ballardi
society of merchants). Edward II does not seem to have compensated
Wake with another manor.

Paul Reed provided the newsgroup with the original 1316 Calendar Roll
entry from which we know of the offer to Wake of a marriage with Joan

From Patent Rolls: "9 Oct. 1316, York. Grant to the king's kinswoman,
Joan, the daughter of Peter de Gaveston, earl of Cornwall, of the
forfeiture pertaining to the king for the marriage without licence of
Thomas Wake, son and heir of John Wake, deceased, tenant in chief,
whose marriage the king granted to the said earl and to whom, after
the death of the latter, he offered Joan in marriage. [Foedera.] By

The entry shows that the Thomas Wake/Joan Gaveston match the King was
attempting to arrange never made it beyond the offer stage to Wake.
At some point between Piers' execution in June 1312 and Oct. 1316,
Wake was offered Joan Gaveston in marriage by Edward II, perhaps
knowing this had been Piers' intention in March 1312 when re-granted
Wake's marriage. We cannot know if Wake refused the marriage to Joan
outright, or simply had his act of marriage without licence to another
woman be his official refusal of Joan.

The marriage Wake made without licence of the king was to Blanche of
Lancaster, a girl of at least 12, the eldest child of Henry of
Lancaster, and niece to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, the king's chief
opponent. Queen Isabella may have had some influence in arranging
this match between her ward Wake and her first cousin Blanche.
Whether Wake preferred a girl in puberty as wife over the toddler-aged
daughter of the hated Piers, or the 1313 grant, and quick reversal, of
the Kirkeby Moresheved manor, bred resentment in the 15-year-old to
Edward II, or other political reasons were the primary motivation for
the Wake/Lancaster marriage cannot be determined.

But Thomas Wake's refusal did result in Joan de Gaveston receiving
money which could then be applied to her marriage portion for a
subsequent match, which the King quickly made. And, as a result of
efforts on the part of his new father-in-law Henry of Lancaster, the
19-year-old Wake was given control of his lands less than a year

From Close Rolls: "6 June 1317, Westminster. To Master John Walewayn,
escheator this side Trent. Order to cause Thomas Wake, son and heir
of John Wake, to have seisin of the lands that his father held in
chief of the late king and that his mother Joan held of the present
king in chief, although he has not yet proved his age, the king having
taken his homage for the same, as he wishes to show him special favour
at the request of the king's kinsman Henry de Lancastre, whose
daughter Thomas has married; saving to those who hold these lands by
the king's demise or grant their corn sown in those lands, and their
other goods and chattels in the same. The like to Robert de Sapy,
escheator beyond Trent. By K."

The Wake offer cannot be viewed as a betrothal, or as an espousal per
verba de futuro, for either party, and no minimum age of 7 for Joan
can be determined from it. She could have been any age when offered
to Wake, and the facts that we have do not contradict a birth for Joan
of January 1312.


John de Multon, born in October 1308, was the eldest son and heir of
Thomas de Multon, Lord of Egremont. John's mother was Eleanor de
Burgh, eldest daughter of Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster. The
Multon lands were primarily in Lincoln and Cumberland, and John's
parents had lands in Ireland as well.

The spring of 1317 found Edward II busy making matrimonial alliances
for his Clare nieces, who had become great heiresses on the death of
their brother Gilbert, Earl of Gloucester, at Bannockburn. Margaret,
Piers' widow, was married to the king's kinsman Sir Hugh d'Audley, a
trusted member of Edward II's household, while her twice-widowed
sister Elizabeth de Burgh was married to Sir Roger d'Amory, the
favorite who had replaced Gaveston in the king's affections. With
both of those marriages settled by May, and the partition of the Clare
inheritance into three shares underway, Edward II also saw to the
future of Joan Gaveston. Though the question of whether she would be
able to obtain any of her father's vast former properties remained
unsettled, Joan in 1317 was the sole heiress of her mother Margaret.
Unless a son was born to Margaret and new husband Hugh, Gaveston's
daughter was guaranteed to inherit a share of her mother's third of
the Clare lands.

The Multons already had links of kinship to the Clares through the
Earl of Ulster, who had been an ally of Piers during his lieutenancy
in Ireland. The Earl may also have had a hand in helping arrange the
marriage of his firstborn grandson John to young Joan Gaveston, as the
Earl's heir was another grandson, William de Burgh, aged four in the
spring of 1317, a first cousin to both John de Multon and Joan. For
Gaveston's daughter, a husband who not only would more firmly tie her
to the future Earl of Ulster, but also would be first cousin to the
future Earls of Louth, Kildare, and Desmond, as well as first cousin
to children of Robert the Bruce by his second wife, was a very
beneficial match.

Paul Reed posted the original Calendar Roll entries that detailed the
marriage contract.

From Close Rolls: "Enrolment of deed witnessing that, on 25 May, 10
Edward II, it was agreed between the king and Sir Thomas de Multon,
lord of Egremont, that a marriage shall take place between John,
eldest son and heir of the said Thomas, and Joan, daughter of Sir
Peter de Gavaston, formerly earl of Cornwall, so soon as they come to
marriageable age age. Sir Thomas has agreed to make such surety to
the king by recognisance as he shall devise that he will not eloign
from himself any lands that he now holds or that he shall inherit by
reversion or otherwise, to the damage or disinheritance of his son;
and he ought in the meantime to assign to the said Joan 400 marks
yearly of land in suitable places to hold for life in name of dower
after John's death, if he die in his father's lifetime; and he ought
to find his son and Joan and their children honourable maintenance at
such time as it shall please the king or other friends of Joan's that
she shall stay with Thomas. To accomplish this marriage, the king
ought to give to Sir Thomas 1,000l., to wit 500 marks in hand, 500
marks at Midsummer, and 500 marks at Michaelmas following. Dated at
Westminster, the day and year abovesaid."

"25 May 1317, Westminster. Thomas de Multon, lord of Egremont,
acknowledges that he owes to the king 10,000l.; to be levied, in
default of payment, of his lands and chattels in the county of

"3 Nov. 1317, Westminster. Thomas de Wake, son and heir of John de
Wake, acknowledges that he owes to Thomas de Multon of Egremound 1,000
marks; to be levied, in default of his lands and chattels in cos. York
and Lincoln. Cancelled on payment."

So Edward II, by using the money Thomas Wake owed him for marrying
Blanche of Lancaster without licence, was able to provide Joan
Gaveston's 1,000l. maritigium to Thomas de Multon, without a farthing
of it coming out of the royal coffers. For his part, Multon had to
pay the fortune of 10,000l. should he pull out of the marriage
contract, and he was to assign 400 marks worth of land for Joan's
dower, should his son John predecease him.

*A) The above entries show that the 1317 marriage arrangement between
John de Multon and Joan Gaveston was a contract, not a betrothal. A
marriage contract could be entered into when the spouses in question
were of any age, from infancy up.
*B) The contract does tell us that the groom and bride were not of an
age in 1317 to be married. Since we know John de Multon was age 8 at
the time, this implies Joan was under age 7, or there could have been
a formal betrothal ceremony.
*C) There is nothing in the 1317 marriage contract that makes Joan
older than age 7 at the time, nor is there anything about the contract
that contradicts a birth for her in January 1312.


The marriage of Joan Gaveston and John de Multon never took place.
Thomas, Lord Multon, held some lands (chiefly the manors of
Thurstaneston in Suffolk and Flete in Lincoln) of the Earl of
Lancaster. Whether it was this connection, or a specific quarrel with
Edward II and/or the Despensers, that made Lord Multon join the Earl
of Lancaster's rebellion against the King in May 1321, is not clear.
Luckily for his family, Lord Multon died in his 56th year in late
January 1322, before the defeat of Lancaster at the battle of
Boroughbridge and the subsequent forfeiture of all the rebels' lands
to the crown. Instead, the Multon lands came under control of the
crown due to the heir John de Multon being a minor (aged 13 at his
father's death). Eleanor (de Burgh), Lady Multon, received her dower
lands in March 1322, Edward II retained John de Multon's wardship for
the crown, and Joan Gaveston died at Amesbury three years later.

The question of why an inquisition ad quod damnum into the matter of
Joan Gaveston's death was undertaken in 1332 was answered by Paul
Reed's posting of a relevant Calendar Roll document.

From Close Rolls: "27 March 1332, Westminster. Enrolment of writ of
privy seal, dated at Westminster, 26 March, 6 Edward III. Addressed to
J. bishop of Winchester, the chancellor, ordering him to cancel a
recognisance for 10,000l. made to the late king as security for
performance of the proposed marriage between John his son and Joan,
daughter of Peter de Gaveston, then earl of Cornwall, which sum is
demanded from the said John, although Thomas did not divest himself of
any lands, as found by inquisition, and was always ready to perform
the said marriage, wherefore John has besought the king to shew him
grace in this matter."

Chris Phillips' transcription of the full inquisition document at the
PRO also sheds more light as to the reason it was ordered on 27
January 1332, at Westminster.

"It starts by reciting that John the son of Thomas de Multon lord of
Egermound has shown that there was an agreement between Edward II of
the one part and the said Thomas of the other. … Then it states that
Thomas, for the greater security of the agreement, made a recognizance
of ten thousand pounds to the king in his Chancery and the king by
letters patent granted that if Thomas observed the agreement that the
recognizance should be void. Then it states that Joan, before she had
come to such age that she could properly be married, died at
Aumbresbury in the county of Wiltshire, for which reason Thomas could
not fulfill the agreement. John has asked the king to order that the
recognizance be cancelled. Finally, it states that the king orders
the recipients to make inquiry by the oath of worthy men of the said
county to establish whether Joan was dead or not, and if so then where
and when she died, and of what age she was, and how and in what way,
and if the aforesaid Thomas alienated any of his lands or tenements
before the death of the aforesaid Joan or after, or not, and if so
then what lands and tenements before and what lands after and where
and to whom and when and how and in what way, and [to establish] fully
the truth concerning all other articles touching on the premises."

The jurors in Amesbury returned the following information to the
justices of the IQD during the first week of Lent in 1332.

"They say that Joan the daughter of Peter de Gauestone formerly earl
of Cornwall died in the priory of Amberesbury in the feast of St
Hilary 18 Edward II, and that she was then of the age of 15 years
(tu'c fuit de etate q'ndecim anno[rum]) "& qd fuit [...] tam grau[...]
infirmitate detenta in qua infirmitate tu'c ib'm obiit" (illegible at
a couple of points, but it seems to be saying she was gravely stricken
by sickness, in which sickness she then died there). And they say
that Thomas de Multone lord of Egermond did not alienate any of his
lands or tenements before the death of the aforesaid Joan or after
(nullas terras seu tenementa sua an' morte' p'dce Johanne nec post
hucusq' alienauit')."

Perhaps the jurors were shown Joan's tomb in the chapel of the Virgin
at Amesbury Priory, where she was buried, according to Mary Anne
Everett Green's article on the nun-princess Mary in Lives of the
Princesses of England.

Two years after Joan's death, John de Multon's marriage was granted by
Edward II to William la Zouche in January 1327, and confirmed by new
king Edward III in March of that year. The 20-year-old John was given
seisin of the Multon lands in May 1329. He died young, in November
1334, aged 26. His wife Alice was pregnant, but lost the baby, and
John de Multon's three sisters inherited the Multon lands.
Ironically, Joan Gaveston's other proposed husband, Thomas, Lord Wake,
also died childless, in May 1349, and his sister Margaret, the widowed
Countess of Kent, inherited his lands.

*A) The 1332 inquisition ad quod damnum was undertaken as a response
to John de Multon's request to be relieved of the 10,000l.
recognizance his father had made in 1317 to ensure the marriage with
Joan Gaveston occurred.
*B) The IQD was asked to determine Joan's age at death, cause of death
and date of death because none of these facts were known by the King
(who was aged 12 when Joan died) and his council in January 1332.
*C) The lands in question were those of Thomas de Multon, Lord of
Egremont, according to the terms of the 1317 marriage contract, and
there is no evidence Joan Gaveston ever held any lands at her death
(if she had, an IPM for her would have been undertaken at the time).
*D) Other than the returned age as 15 when she died, there is nothing
further in the IQD that suggests Joan had to be at least age 14 or
older at her death.
*E) The age of 15 at death given for Joan in the IQD was determined by
jurors who knew her (or at least knew of her) at Amesbury, but were
not around for the 1312 birth at York, and were determining an age
seven years after Joan's death.
*F) Edward II had the wardship of both Joan and John de Multon for
three years (February 1322 to January 1325). If Joan really was aged
15 at her death, rather than just turning age 13, it is curious that
the king did not move forward with the marriage. The fact that she
was still in unmarried in January 1325 favors the later birth
(recorded birth of a daughter to Margaret and Piers in January 1312)
for Joan over the earlier birth (some point between January 1309 and
January 1310, for which there is no record) that her age at death in
the 1332 IQD implies.

More to follow.

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

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