Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2003-01 > 1043193362

From: (Brad Verity)
Subject: Amie de Gaveston Rebuttal - Part 4: A Damsel's Life
Date: 21 Jan 2003 15:56:02 -0800

With the Clare inheritance, Joan Gaveston, and Margaret de Clare -
none of the three having any evidence of a direct link to Amie - out
of the way, we can now focus on the damsel herself.

A book on the Household of Queen Isabella in 1311-12 has been
published. F. D. Blackley, in his Introduction to the book, says this
about damsels of the chamber: "The queen's very personal attendants
were her ladies and damsels 'of the queen's chamber.'...Of less social
importance were the queen's eight damsels. All of these, like the
queen's ladies, were entitled to draw both a winter and summer robe
allowance. ... The names of the damsels suggest that some of them may
have been married to other members of the queen's household. ... The
fact that the queen's damsels were more than mere attendants is shown
by the fact that two of them, on one occasion, were sent by the queen
on some business for her to London. The queen had some concern for
the comfort of her damsels."

John C. Parsons studied the household of Queen Eleanor of Castile in
great detail, and had this to say about the queen's damsels in his
biography of her: "The group most easily documented are the knights
and the queen's women, both socially and officially a coherent group
of uniformly modest origin. ... Rather than those rarely glimpsed male
guardians, it was Eleanor's women who were responsible for her
personal needs. ... As with the knights, there was no obvious foreign
element among the women, nor were they from prominent families. ...
The queen was naturally responsible for the security of her women and
in fact had a double motive for watching over them, for misbehavior by
unattached females in her household could compromise her own
reputation. ... likewise, the girls chosen from her attendants'
families to be raised with the queen's daughters married as soon as
they reached a suitable age. ... Of the nine or ten women with Eleanor
in 1289-90, two were widows of husbands she had chosen; the other
seven or eight were wives or daughters of knights and squires in her
household or the king's. It was the offspring of these couples who
were raised with Eleanor's children, and continued to serve them as
adults. ... but in a large, itinerant court, families helped to order
a potentially unruly environment, kept husbands and wives on the job,
and assured a new generation of service as the attendants' children
grew up with their future masters."

It is in this environment that Amie first appears in a record. Chris
Phillips checked into an unpublished Wardrobe account cited by
Hamilton in his biography of Piers as a source for Amie, and misdated
by the PRO as 5 Edward II (1311-12). Chris estimated the date to be
sometime in the early 1330s (1331-1335), and had this to say about the
Amie entries in the specific document [E101/374/14, Account book of

"...clearly Amy is a damsel of the chamber (domicella camere)
and as far as I can work out the lower entry is providing for winter
clothing (pro corsetto suo hiemali) of the [?]cloth (panno) specified.
"Cap'" is written "capuc'" elsewhere, so it stands for caputium (hood)
and I think "bog'" must stand for boga, which apparently is
"high-grade lamb-skin" (also called "budge" is English)."

This apparently removes any evidence of Amie being a damsel of the
chamber to Queen Isabella.

Paul Reed provided to the newsgroup the six Patent Roll entries which
mention Amie. Along with one Close Roll entry, they constitute the
damsel's entire appearance in the Calendar Rolls.

"28 January 1332. Ratification of a grant, for life, by queen
Philippa to Amicia de Gavaston, her damsel, of the lands in Havering
atte Boure and elsewhere in the county of Essex, which escheated to
the queen by the forfeiture of Robert William."

"16 June 1332. Grant, for life, to Amy de Gaveston, damsel of the
chamber of queen Philippa, for service to the queen, of the manor of
Woghfield, co. Berks, an escheat by the forfeiture of Roger de Mortuo
Mari, late earl of March."

"25 February 1333. Inspeximus and confirmation of letters patent of
queen Philippa, dated Windsor 17 November, 5 Edward III, being a
release to Amice de Gaveston her damsel, of the rents and services due
from the escheated lands of Robert William in Averyng atte Boure and
elsewhere in the county of Essex, lately granted to her for life, and
a grant of the waste due to the queen by reason of the forfeiture."

From Close Rolls: "Ipswich, 16 June 1338. To the bailiffs of Redyng
of the abbot of Redyng. Order not to put John de Driby in default for
his absence on
Thursday in Easter week last, in the suit before them, which was
before the justices of the bench between Edmund Danvers, demandant and
John and Alina his wife, tenants, concerning the manor of Wogthfield,
which suit was adjourned by the justices according to the liberties
granted to the abbot by the king's progenitors, to be pleaded in his
court, because John was in the king's service by his order on that
day. By p.s."

"18 June 1338. Whereas the king lately granted for life to Amy de
Gaveston the manor of Woghfeld, co. Berks., an escheat by the
forfeiture of Roger de Mortuo Mari, the king's enemy, he has granted
it to John de Driby, who has now married her, and the said Amy license
to fell trees in the woods of the manor at their will, and to apply
the moneys arising from the sale of these to their own use, and in
defending the right of the king and Amy in pleas moved against them
touching the manor."

"18 May 1340. Grant to John Brocas that the lands in Donemowe, co.
Essex…, and the lands in Wokefeld held for life by Amy de Gavaston of
the king's grant, shall remain to him in fee, to wit the lands in
Essex as of the value of 10l. 5s. yearly and those in Wokefeld as of
the value of 11l. 2s. yearly, as appears by the extents..."

"12 June 1340. Mandate to John de Dryby and Anne his wife to attorn
in the usual manner to John Brocas for the services due from lands in
Wokefeld, which they hold for the life of Anne of the king's grant,
the king having granted the reversion of those lands to him in fee."

Were these grants unusual at all? Can we estimate an age for Amie
from these grants? Not easily. Damsels of the queen could be any
age, from unmarried girls up to and including widows.

Eleanor of Castile's damsels (mentioned by Parsons) were: Margerie de
Haustede, Joan "de Valle Viridi" (occurs 1262), Margaret Wake (occurs
1277, 1279), Maud de Columbars (occurs 1278, 1279), Grace de Middelton
(occurs 1279), Amice de Weston (occurs 1279), and a 'domina de Hache',
probably Eustace de Hacche's wife Amice (occurs 1279, 1282). Also
Ermentrude de Sakeville, Sybil le Poer, and Iseult le Bruyn.

Queen Isabella's damsels in 1311-12 were Alice de la Legrave (former
nurse to Edward II), her daughter Cecily de la Legrave, Joan de
Villers, Joan Launge, Mary de Sancto Martino, Margaret de Villers,
Joan de Falaise, and Juliana (or Joan) Nauntel.

Other grants to damsels around the time we see those made to Amie

From Patent Rolls: "12 March 1327, Westminster. Grant in fee simple
to Isabella de la Helde, damsel of queen Isabella, of Peter son of
Stephen de Esyngton, a bondman of the manor of Esyngton, with his
goods and all his issue, in enlargement of the grant of the said Peter
already made by the queen for her life. By p.s."

"25 May 1329, Dover. Grant to the abbot and convent of St. Albans,
who at the king's request have agreed to allow for life to Isabella de
la Hilda, damsel of queen Isabella, the sustenance out of their house
which Vivian de Luk', deceased, had, and to augment the same to be
more befitting her station, that the further amount allowed to her
shall not prejudice their house as a precedent."

"3 June 1330, Woodstock. Exemption for seven years, at the request of
Isabella de Helde, damsel of queen Isabella, of John de Bataille and
John de Rishale, merchants of Coventry, from toll, pontage, murage,
pavage and the like customs. By p.s."

"31 July 1330, Northampton. Grant to the abbot and convent of Selby,
who, at the king's request, have granted, for life, a fitting
sustenance to Emma Priour, damsel of the chamber of queen Philippa,
that this shall not prejudice their house as a precedent. By p.s."

"19 Aug. 1330, Heckington. Grant to the abbot and convent of Selby,
who, at the king's request, have given sustenance, for life, out of
their house to Emma Priour, that this shall not prejudice their house
as a precedent, and that they shall not be called upon to provide the
like for any other after her death. By p.s."

From Fine Rolls: "31 Oct. 1330, Woodstock. Commitment to Joan de
Carru, one of the ladies of the chamber of queen Philippa, the king's
consort, of the keeping of the manor of Ippelpenne, co. Devon, late of
John de Sancto Amando, tenant in chief, in the king's hand by reason
of the minority of Aymer, son and heir of the said John, to hold until
the lawful age of the heir, rendering yearly at the Exchequer 26l.4d.,
at which the manor is extended, in moieties at Easter and at
Michaelmas. By p.s. [4025] Order to the sheriff of Devon to take
into the king's hand the said manor, which was in the keeping of Hugh
de Turpliton, and to deliver it to her or her attorney. By the same

From Close Rolls: "15 Feb. 1339, Kennington. To the bailiffs of
Shafton. Order to pay to Joan Gambon, damsel of the chamber of queen
Philippa, or to her attorney, the arrears of 10l. yearly, which the
king granted to her to be received of the issues of the toll of that
town, for life, and to pay the 10l. yearly henceforth. By p.s.

"7 March 1343, Westminster. Joan Gambon, damsel of queen Philippa,
for her good service to the king amd queen and to Isabel, the king's
daughter, is sent to the abbot and convent of St. Augustine's,
Canterbury, to receive such maintenance for life in that house as Maud
de Eton, deceased, had there at the king's request. By p.s.

From Patent Rolls: "24 July 1343, Clarendon. In consideration of the
good service of Edmund Rose, king's yeoman, and because he has taken
to wife Agnes Archer, damsel of queen Philippa's chamber, the king has
granted to the said Edmund and Agnes an annuity of 40 marks at the
exchequer, until he order otherwise for their estate. By p.s."

So, Amie receiving lands in the royal manor of Havering atte Bower,
Essex, marrying a king's yeoman John de Driby, and receiving, for
life, the manor of Wokefield, co. Berks, is comparable to other
damsels of queen Philippa. Damsels apparently were provided for by
the king and queen with some kind of annual salary (for Amie, the
rents and services due from lands in Havering atte Bower), a gift upon
marriage (for Amie, this was probably Wokefield manor), and provision
for their retirement at a religious house (which Amie did not receive,
perhaps indicating she left service or died before retirement age).

As to Amie's age at marriage, John Parsons says this about daughters
of queen Eleanor's damsels, who were put into the households of her
royal daughters, then married: "Maud de Haversham (b. 1274), with the
Q's daus 1287, m. 1289; Beatrice, dau. of Iseult le Bruyn, with the
Q's daus 1290, m. by 1293. Joan de Haustede, with the daus 1289-90,
m. soon thereafter."

We know Amie was in Queen Philippa's household by 1331, and married
between 3 and 6 years later, but her age remains undetermined. The
last mention of her in a medieval record is in the 1412 will of her
daughter Alice (de Driby), Dame Basset of Bytham, who provides for the
remembrance of the souls of herself, her deceased three husbands, and
her deceased father and mother:

"Testamentum domine de Bytham. Ego Alicia Basset de Bytham compos
mentis…Item lego eidem domui quadraginta libras sterling rum vt et
ipsi orent pro anima mea et pro anima bus domini Radulphi Basset
domini Roberti tochet et domini Anketini maloree quondam maritorum
meorum Johannis Dryby et anne vxoris sue quondam parentum meorum et
pro anima bus omnium antecessor meorum et omnium benefactor meorum et
omnium fidelium defunct rum."

Amie had to have been young enough after marriage to bear a daughter
Alice who was herself young enough to have a son in 1380, and at least
one other son (and at least two more children if the daughters
mentioned in her will were hers and not from her third husband Anketil
Mallory's previous marriage) after that.

The Gavestons first came to notice in Edward I's court through his
household. Sir Arnaud de Gaveston was a household knight (banneret),
as were at least two of his sons, one of whom was illegitimate. Piers
being raised to an earldom and marrying a royal niece was certainly
the exception, definitely not the norm, for a someone of his class.
It is not surprising after his execution to find Gavestons returning
the status of royal household retainers. Nor is it surprising to find
Gavestons in Edward III and Philippa's household. The turbulent reign
of Edward II left many men of far nobler blood than Piers executed or
killed in battle, their lands forfeited, etc., and with children
needing provision into the next reign. Edward III rehabilitated the
issue of Hugh Despenser the Younger, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March,
and various other 'traitors.' In addition to Amie, there is mention
of a Raymund de Gaveston in a 1338-40 entry in Edward III's household

"Arnaldo Garcy pro consimili restauro unius equi sui nigri liardi
mortui ut supra appreciati pro Reymundo de Gaveston ad 11 li. 6 s. 8
d., unius equi liardi pomellati appreciati ad 10 mr. pro Johanne
Gernach et unius equi ferrandi pomellati appreciati ad 10 mr. pro
Radulpho Abbot, 24 li. 13s. 4 d. Claisio Lump pro consimili restauro 1
equi nigri morelli mortui ut supra et appreciati, 12 li."

Finally, the proof of Amie's paternity, the 1334 Fine, which Chris
Phillips transcribed in its original, full version at the PRO:

"Final concord made in the King's court at York in the octave of
Trinity 8 Edward III, before William de Herle, John de Stonore, John
de Cantebrigge, John Inge and John de Shardelowe, justices. Between
John de Driby of Tatereshale, parson of a moiety of the church of
Hedersete, querent, and Roger de Estbriggeford chaplain and John
Cleymond of Kirketon, deforciants, of the manors of Bredon and
Hollewell with appurtenances, and of 14 marcs and 12 pence and a
farthing of rent, and a rent of 5 pounds of pepper and half a pound of
cumin and half of 4 capons and 2 hens, and of 2 parts of a messuage
and of a virgate of land with appurtenances in Ketelby and Holewell,
and of a third part of the manor of Somerdby with appurtenances, and
the advowson of the priory of Langeleye next to Diseworth. The said
John de Driby recognized these premises to be the right of the same
Roger. Roger and John Cleymond have the premises of the gift of the
aforesaid John de Driby. For this the same Roger and John Cleymond
granted the said John de Driby the premises. To have and to hold from
the chief lords of that fee by the services pertaining, for the whole
life of the same John de Driby. And afterwards the same Roger and
John Cleymond granted for themselves and the heirs of Roger that 10
marcs of rent with appurtenances in the aforesaid vill of Hollewell,
which Robert Darcy knight held for life was made, and which after the
death of Robert was to revert to Roger and John Cleymond, that it
should remain to John de Driby to hold together with the aforesaid
manors etc. And after the death of the same John the premises were to
remain to John the son of Thomas de Driby and Amie the daughter of
Petrus de Gaveston and to the heirs of the bodies of the same John and
Amie to hold etc. forever. And if it happens that John the son of
Thomas and Amie die without heirs of their bodies, then after the
deaths of John and Amie, the premises are to remain to the heirs of
the body of John the son of Thomas forever. If no heir of the body of
the same John son of Thomas will have been begotten, then they are to
remain to John de Kirketon knight and the heirs of his body forever.
And if it happens that John de Kirketon dies without heirs of his
body, then after the death of the said John, they are to remain to
Robert de Litlebyry knight and the heirs of his body. And if it
happens that the said Robert de Litlebyry dies without heirs of his
body then after his death they are to remain to the right heirs of the
aforesaid John de Driby forever. Leicester."

*A) The only Petrus de Gaveston who could have fathered Amie that we
know of at this time is the infamous Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall.
The fact that Amie first appears in record in the royal household,
and the mention in the above Fine of Sir Robert Darcy, a longtime
retainer and loyal supporter of Piers and Edward II, indicating he was
at least aware of Amie's marriage to John de Driby, support the
identification of Amie's father 'Petrus' as Earl Piers.
*B) Since Amie could not have been daughter of Piers' wife Margaret de
Clare, she must have been a bastard daughter of Piers, as there is no
evidence at all he had a marriage prior to the 1307 one with Margaret,
plus the childbearing of Amie's daughter Alice in the 1380s favors a
later date for Amie's birth. Also, Amie's status in 1331 as a damsel
to the queen is not what one would expect of (by that point) the only
legitimate heiress of a former earl and tenant-in-chief (albeit
disgraced and with all his lands forfeit).

Further Research Needed:
*Chronology of Amie needs to be more firmly established. A closer
look at the possession of Wokefield manor in the mid 14th century
could possibly establish her year of death. Also, a look at household
records both prior and subsequent to the one Chris Phillips saw
(1331-5), could help further with chronology.
*John Parsons mentions in his Eleanor of Castile book that a list of
Queen Philippa's damsels in 1330 is published in the Calendar of
Memoranda Rolls, no. 2270 [i,ii,iii,v]. But in a newsgroup post on
June 8, 1999 in the 'Re: Amy Gaveston (somewhat long)' thread, Parsons
says, "I cannot be sure from Hunt's wording here just how much
importance he may have been attaching to the assumption that Amy was
"the first recorded of the dozen or so damsels of... Queen Philippa,"
but for the record, there is an earlier list of the women of the
queen's chamber in the calendared Memoranda Roll for 1326-27. Amy
Gaveston does not appear there, so while she may be the first of those
women whose name appears in the Patent Rolls, she is not the first of
the queen's damsels known to us." This needs to be verified and
researched further - which year and which queen does the Memoranda
Roll cover? 1326-7 or 1330? Isabella or Philippa?

Also, if Amie doesn't appear on it, when did she get into Philippa's
household? It's interesting that Edward III made a trip overseas on
business regarding Gascony in the summer of 1329.

From Patent Rolls: "Memorandum that on Friday, 26 May, the king put to
sea in Dover harbour at noon on board a ship of Winchelse to pass
beyond seas on business of the duchy of Aquitaine, attended by H.
bishop of Lincoln and other magnates. [Foedera.]"

I wonder if the king went to Gascony itself? I wonder if queen
Philippa went with him?

Cheers, -------Brad

This thread: