Monday, May 30, 2016

Gloucestershire Inquisitions Post mortem, Henry III, selective index

Gloucestershire Inquisitions Post mortem, Henry III, selective index

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

In 1903 the British Record Society published the Inquisitions Post Mortem for Gloucestershire, covering the years 1236 to 1300 and edited by Sidney J. Madge.[1] The publication had no index except for a table of contents. This table had a reference number for the inquisition, the name of the person, or the institution concerned, the place of the writ, date of same, regal year, the reference number in the Chancery Series of inquisitions at the Public Record Office and the page number in the Record Society book.

The editor noted that plans were in place in 1903 for an index of names and places once all the inquisitions from the reign of Henry III to Edward III were published. The index below is a selective list that may aid historians and others who are interested in the research of buildings and events rather than following the great and the good.

View over Gloucester


Church enlargement, 8

Dovecots, 7, 20, 21, 40 (2), 41, 42, 50, 53, 55

Fishing, 20, 21, 55

Fruit trees, 9

Gloucester castle construction, 37, 45, 46

Gloucester built houses, 15

Grants from the sick bed, 44

Great War, 51

Lewes, Battle of, 36

Llanthony priory, 35, 37, 38, 45, 46

Mills, 3, 7, 9, 11, 17, 18, 20, 21, 27, 29, 33, 40, 45, 50, 52 (2), 55, 56, 58

No stock on manor, 52, 53, 57

Oats in custody, 24

Poor land, 10, 11

Sandy wastes, 26

Ship, 39

Shop pulled down, 36

Soldiers for the Forest of Dene, 24

Weirs, 7, 13, 37, 38, 45

Wheat in a cemetery, 24

Wood destroyed, 5

Work services, 31, 32, 54

Work services, value of, 20, 21, 27, 41, 42, 48


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[1] Sidney J. Madge (ed.), Abstracts of Inquisitions Post Mortem for Gloucestershire, Part IV, 20 Henry III to 29 Edward 1, 1236-1300 (British Record Society, 1903), pp. i-xvi, 1-241  

Monday, May 16, 2016

Edmund Mortimer and the treasurership of York

Edmund Mortimer and the treasurership of York

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

On 13th November 1263 King Henry III promised to Edmund Mortimer (Mortuo Mari) that he would provide him with an ecclesiastical benefice as soon as one became available.[1] Edmund Mortimer was the second, but eventually first surviving son of Roger Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore.[2]

But before the king could carry out his promise the Battle of Lewis intervened. This battle (14th May 1264) was part of the ongoing struggle between Simon de Montfort (Monte Forti), Earl of Leicester, and Henry III on who should be the chief advisers of the king; English nobles or nobles from the English areas of France. The King lost the Battle of Lewis and was taken captured by Simon de Montfort.

Henry III and de Montfort claim the treasurership of York

While in captivity Simon de Montfort used the presence of the King to issued letters purporting to be sanctioned and agreed by Henry III. In one such letter, Henry III later recalled, Simon de Montfort affixed the king’s seal to a letter granting the treasury-ship of York to Amaury de Montfort, his son, against the will Henry III.[3]

The treasurer’s position in York cathedral was seen for many years as a rich reward for political favourites. In January 1256 John Mansell was made treasurer of York. John Mansell was a close friend and trusted adviser of King Henry III.[4] John Mansell was also a noted pluralist holding many church positions across the country. In 1262 John Mansell was still treasurer at York.[5] But by 1263 he had fled the country and never returned to England.[6] Simon de Montfort was therefore attempting to change not just the government but the top positions in the church that were still loyal to the king.

On 28th May 1265 Henry III escaped from his captors, assisted by Roger Mortimer of Wigmore.[7] On 7th August 1265 King Henry was a Worcester when he addressed a letter to the chapter of York informing them that the king had resumed full power and therefore revoked and annulled the grant made to Amaury de Montfort of the treasury-ship of York.[8]

Edmund becomes Treasurer of York

On 17th September 1265 Henry III granted the treasurership position to Edmund de Mortimer and the chapter at York were to assign Edmund a stall in the choir and a place in the chapter.[9] Edmund de Mortimer was still a minor in 1265 when made treasurer. In 1282 he was said to be thirty years old and more (born 1252) and in 1301 was said to be forty years or more (born 1261). In 1268 Edmund Mortimer was at Oxford, studying theology at the university, when the constable of the castle was instructed to pay £20 towards Mortimer’s expenses.[10] Presumingly he didn’t get much money from York or the king had desired to endow Edmund Mortimer with special favour. Following his appointment as treasurer there was a protract dispute with Amaury de Montfort of the office and this may help restricted Edmund’s income from York.[11] In 1268 the case was at the Roman curia.[12]

It would appear that Rome had favoured Edmund, or not seriously object to him as in 1270 Edmund Mortimer was still listed as treasurer of York. He was a late teenager at that time. It is presumed that he didn’t do much in the way of actually accounting at York cathedral. The cartulary of the treasurership does not mention his name. The office of treasurer was created in 1218 with the prebend of Newthorp as endowment and the office received further endowments in 1242. Although the treasurership was the least of the four major dignities in York cathedral, the office was the next richest after the deanery. In 1291 it was valued at £233 10s 8d.[13]

York Cathedral 

In 1276 he was living at the king’s houses in Oxford, presumingly still studying at the university.[14] In the 1270s Edmund Mortimer had acquired a canonry and an unnamed prebendary at Hereford which he resigned in 1276 for the prebend of Huntington. By 1282 he had resigned Huntington and acquired the prebend of Hunderton.[15] Edmund Mortimer had also acquired a prebend in the Diocese of Salisbury which he neglected. In 1284 a letter of summons was sent to him by way of his vicar because the cathedral officials didn’t know where Edmund was living.[16]

Edmund become 2nd lord Wigmore

In 1282 Edmund’s father died and Edmund succeeded to the family estates as 2nd Baron Wigmore. As the second son, Edmund Mortimer had plans of a clerical career, may be end up as a bishop or archbishop. His elder brother, Ralph Mortimer was the initially heir to the family estates and was one time sheriff of Shropshire and Staffordshire in the area of family influence. But Ralph died before October 1274 and so Edmund became the heir and his clerical career was all but finished.[17] Shortly after succeeding to the family estates Edmund Mortimer resigned the treasurer of York and was succeeded there in 1285 by royal provision, by Bogo de Clare.[18]
Llewelyn ap Gruffurd

A few weeks after succeeding to the family estates Edmund Mortimer successively defeated Llewelyn ap Gruffudd, King of Wales, in an ambush. Llewelyn was separated from his army in the battle near Orewin Bridge and was killed later that day, 11th December 1282, in a wood near Aberedw.[19] Edmund’s father had first acquired his mortal illness while on campaign against Llewelyn.[20]

Treasurership of York returns

The treasurership of York comes into the story of Llewelyn ap Gruffurd and Edmund Mortimer. After the battle of Evesham in 1265 Amaury de Montfort fled to France and pursued his clerical career there. In 1275 Amaury sailed to Wales with his sister, Eleanor de Montfort as she went to become wife of Llewelyn ap Gruffurd. But they were captured at sea by mercenaries of King Edward I and taken captive. Amaury de Montfort had a difficult imprisonment in Corfu castle until April 1282 when he agreed to never return to England without the invitation of the king, if released.

In 1278 Eleanor de Montfort married Llewelyn and died in child birth in 1282 a few months before her husband was killed. A few years later Amaury de Montfort left the church and became a knight and in 1301 was killed on campaign in Italy.[21]

Edmund Mortimer at Wigmore

In about 1285 Edmund Mortimer married Margaret, daughter of Sir William de Fiennes, second cousin of Queen Eleanor of Castile. Edmund Mortimer engaged himself fully in the administration and military duties of the estates and was called to Parliament on a number of occasions. On 17th July 1304 Edmund Mortimer died and was buried at Wigmore.[22] He was succeeded by his son Roger Mortimer who in 1328 was created Earl of March.[23]

Edmund Mortimer the son

In the fourteenth century another son of Edmund and Margaret Mortimer, also called Edmund Mortimer, became rector of Hodnet in Shropshire and, as is said, treasurer of York cathedral.[24] Whatever about Hodnet rectory, Edmund’s name does not appear among the treasurers of York in the fourteenth century.[25] It would seem that Edmund the younger is confused with his father in this regard.


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[1] Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry III, 1258-1266, p. 298
[2] A.B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford (Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 1316
[3] Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry III, 1258-1266, p. 436
[4] Janet E. Burton (ed.), The Cartulary of the Treasurer of York Minster: And Related Documents (University of York, 1978), p. 27
[5] W.H. Bliss & J.A. Twemlow (eds.), Calendar of Papal Registers, volume V, 1398-1404 (Stationery Office, London, 1904), p. 383
[6] Janet E. Burton (ed.), The Cartulary of the Treasurer of York Minster: And Related Documents, p. 27
[7] Thomas F. Tout, ‘Mortimer, Roger’, in Dictionary of National Biography, Vo. 39, p. 133
[8] Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry III, 1258-1266, p. 436
[9] A.B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford, p. 1316
[10] A.B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford, p. 1316
[11] G.E. Cockeye, The Complete Peerage (Alan Sutton, Gloucester, 1987), vol. IX, p. 281, note (f)
[12] Diana E. Greenway (ed.), Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 6, York (London, 1999), p. 25
[13] Janet E. Burton (ed.), The Cartulary of the Treasurer of York Minster: And Related Documents, pp. v, 91
[14] A.B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford, p. 1316
[15] J.S. Barrow (ed.), Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 8, Hereford (London, 2002), pp. 43, 44, 159
[16] Diana E. Greenway (ed.), Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 4, Salisbury (London, 1991), p. 84
[17] G.E. Cockeye, The Complete Peerage, vol. IX, p. 281
[18] Diana E. Greenway (ed.), Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 6, York (London, 1999), p. 109
[20] Thomas F. Tout, ‘Mortimer, Roger’, in Dictionary of National Biography, Vo. 39, p. 134
[22] A.B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford, p. 1316
[23] G.E. Cockeye, The Complete Peerage, vol. VIII, p. 433
[25] B. Jones (ed.), Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: Volume 6, Northern Province (London, 1963), pp. 12-15

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ancestors for the mitochondrial DNA of Richard III

Ancestors for the mitochondrial DNA of Richard III

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien


The work carried out at the University of Leicester in 2012 and 2013 by Dr. Turi King on the DNA of a skeleton discovered in the choir area of the destroyed Greyfriars friary in Leicester proved that the skeleton was that of King Richard III, the last king of England of the Plantagenet dynasty. The type of DNA used was that of mitochondrial DNA which is passed down the female line. A mother gives it to all her children, male and female, but it is the female children who pass it on to the next generation.

Richard III left had one legitimate son and two illegitimate children but none of these left descendants. Researchers at Leicester therefore had to find another female of the Plantagenet family who was close to Richard III and who left female descendants. Anne of York, elder sister of Richard III, fitted the bill and left female descendants with at least two descendants alive in 2013, Michael Ibsen and Wendy Duldig. These two descendants provided DNA samples which matched each other, and that of the skeleton in the car park, Richard III. But where did this mitochondrial DNA come from?

King Richard III

Female ancestors of Richard III

King Richard III was the twelfth child of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (1411-1460) and Cecily Neville (1415-1495). Richard inherited his mitochondrial DNA from his mother, Cecily Neville as did all his other brothers and sisters. The sister who had the necessary modern descendants was Anne of York, second child of Richard Plantagenet and Cecily Neville. Anne of York was born on 10th August 1439 and married twice, first to Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter and secondly to Thomas St. Leger. The second marriage produced an only child, Anne St. Leger, later wife of George Manners, 11th Baron de Ros and mother of Catherine Manners.

On 14th January 1476 Anne of York died after giving birth to Anne St. Leger. Thus if Anne St. Leger was a boy the mitochondrial DNA need in 2012 would have stopped in 1476 as boys cannot pass it on to their descendants. Anne St. Leger married Sir Robert Constable and was the mother of Barbara Constable and Everhilda Constable, the two ancestors of Michael Ibsen and Wendy Duldig respectively.

Cecily Neville

As said, Richard III and Anne of York received their mitochondrial DNA from their mother Cecily Neville. Cecily Neville was on 3rd May 1415 as a daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, and his wife Joan Beaufort. In 1424, when Cecily was nine years old, she was betrothed by her father to his thirteen-year-old ward, Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York. Ralph Neville died in October 1425, bequeathing the wardship of Richard to his widow, Joan Beaufort. By October 1429 Cecily and Richard were married.

Their first son, Henry of York was born in February 1441 but died young. Their second son, Edward (born 22nd April 1442) went on to become King Edward IV of England. Cecily Neville and Richard Plantagenet then had another six boys, the last of whom was the future Richard III, King of England. In total, Cecily Neville and Richard Plantagenet had thirteen children. All thirteen children received their mitochondrial DNA from their mother, Cecily Neville and she inherited it from her mother, Joan Beaufort.

Joan Beaufort

Joan Beaufort was the only daughter of the four illegitimate children of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (fourth son of King Edward III), and his mistress, later wife, Katherine Swynford. In 1390 her cousin, Richard II, privately declared the four children as legitimate. In January 1396 John of Gaunt married Katherine Swynford after the death of his second wife in 1394. In 1397 the four children were declared legitimate by an Act of Parliament.

In 1391 at the age of twelve Joan Beaufort married her first husband Robert Ferrers, 5th Baron Botiller of Wem and left two daughters and co-heirs, Elizabeth (1393-1434) and Margery (1394-1458) before he died in 1395. Elizabeth Ferrers married (c.1407) John de Greystoke and left issue while Margery married her stepbrother, Sir Ralph Neville, son of Ralph Neville, 1st earl of Westmorland and also left issue.

In February 1397, at Beaufort castle, Joan Beaufort married Ralph Neville, 1st earl of Westmorland as his second wife. They had nine sons and five daughters. The mitochondrial DNA that Joan Beaufort inherited from her mother, Katherine Swynford, was passed to all her children. The DNA inherited by her sons ended with their deaths but it continued in her daughters descendants. Of the five daughters, the eldest, Joan Neville became a nun while the second daughter, Katherine Neville married four times, firstly, in 1411, to John Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk (one son), secondly to Sir Thomas Strangways, thirdly to John Beaumont, 1st Viscount Beaumont, fourthly to Sir John Woodville (son of Earl Rivers).

The third daughter, Eleanor Neville (1398–1472), married firstly to Richard le Despencer, 4th Baron Burghersh (no issue), secondly to Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland (seven sons and three daughters with female descendants);[1] while the fourth daughter, Anne Neville (1414–1480), married firstly to Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham (six sons and four daughters with female descendants),[2] secondly to Walter Blount, 1st Baron Mountjoy (four sons and two daughters).[3] The mitochondrial DNA of Joan Beaufort would pass down the female descendants of her children and thus a female descendant may be living today of her daughters and if so would have the same mitochondrial DNA as King Richard III.

The fifth daughter of Joan Beaufort was Cecily Neville (1415–1495), and she married Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and was the mother of King Edward IV and King Richard III.

When Ralph Neville died in 1425 the vast bulk of his estate should have gone to the eldest son by his first wife but Joan Beaufort was too strong of a personality and had powerful royal connections to back up her claims. Thus she took a substantial part of the Neville estate for her own use and for the inheritance of her children.

Katherine Swynford

Joan Beaufort was the only daughter of Katherine Swynford and thus inherited the mitochondrial DNA of King Richard III from her. In turn Katherine Swynford was the youngest daughter of Sir Payn Roet and an unknown woman. Katherine Swynford was born about 1350 and in 1367 married Sir Hugh Swynford (1340-1372) of Coleby, Lincolnshire. The couple had one child, a son called Thomas, born in 1368. Thomas Swynford served in the retinue of Henry, Earl of Derby (afterwards Henry IV), as early as 1382. Thomas Swynford was left one hundred marks by John of Gaunt in his will. He supported Henry IV on his accession to the throne, and was one of the guardians of Richard II. In 1402 Thomas Swynford was sheriff of Lincoln and in 1404 he was captain of Calais for his half-brother, John Beaufort.

Thomas Swynford had inherited lands in Hainault from his mother, and, being unable to establish this claim through the doubts cast on his birth, obtained a declaration of legitimacy from Henry IV in October 1411. He died in 1433, leaving two sons, Thomas (1406–1465) and William.

Sir Hugh Swynford had served with John of Gaunt in Gascony and this connection brought Katherine Swynford into the company of the Duke. Katherine Swynford became governess to the daughters of John of Gaunt, Philippa and Elizabeth. After the death of John's first wife Blanche in 1369, Katherine and John began a love affair which would bring forth four children born out of wedlock and would endure as a lifelong relationship. The eldest child, John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, was possibly born in about 1372. The four children (John, Earl of Somerset, Henry, Bishop of Winchester, Thomas, Earl of Exeter and Joan) took Beaufort from their father's castle of that name in Anjou. Their relationship continued even after 1371 when John of Gaunt took Constance, elder daughter of Peter the Cruel of Castile and Leon as his second wife.

Katherine Swynford

The St. Albans chronicler asserts that the open manner in which the Duke lived with Katherine Swynford caused much scandal in the early part of Richard II's reign. The scandal was just more ammunition for those who opposed John of Gaunt as he was one of the most unpopular members of the government and was a prime target of the rioters in the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381. But in that year John of Gaunt repented of his conduct and withdrew from her company. Katherine Swynford and her daughter Joan Beaufort were afterwards in the household of Mary de Bohun, the wife of Henry of Lancaster.

Constance of Castile died in 1394 and in January 1396 John of Gaunt married Katherine Swynford. Katherine Swynford died at Lincoln on 10 May 1403, and was buried in the choir of the cathedral.

Sir Payn de Roet

As said, Katherine Swynford was the youngest daughter of Sir Payn Roet and an unknown woman. Payn de Roet took his name from Roeulx, or Le Rœulx, a town about 8 miles north-east of Mons in the County of Hainaut. It is suggested that Payn de Roet was a member of a collateral line of the last lord of Roeulx, descendants of the Counts of Hainault. Payn de Roet may have come to England as part of the retinue of Philippa of Hainaut in 1327 when she came to marry the young Edward III. Yet his name does not appear in the official list of knights who accompanied the queen from Hainaut.[4]

Whenever Payn de Roet came to England he was soon seen by the King and Queen and was considered a person of standing. King Edward III granted Payn de Roet the title of Guyenne King of Arms for the territory of Guyenne (Aquitaine) which was then under English control. In 1347, Payn de Roet was sent to the siege of Calais as one of two knights deputed by Queen Philippa to conduct out of town the citizens whom she had saved (the so-called Burghers of Calais).[5]

The lost tomb of Payn de Roet by Stephen Dickson

By 1349 Sir Payn de Roet had returned to his lands in Hainaut. Later he went to serve the queen’s sister, Marguerite, when she was Empress of Germany. Sir Payn de Roet died in Ghent in 1380 and his tomb was constructed in the old St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.

Sir Payn de Roet had three daughters, Philippa, Isabel (also called Elizabeth) de Roet, and Katherine and a son, Walter. Isabel was to become Canoness of the convent of St. Waudru at Mons in Hainaut. In 1366 Philippa married the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. They met while still children when they were attached to the household of Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster. The youngest daughter Katherine married Hugh Swynford and later John of Gaunt and passed her mitochondrial DNA to King Richard III and his collateral descendants.[6]

The wife of Sir Payn de Roet, from whom the mitochondrial DNA of Richard III came from, is unknown. We are not even told her name or if she was from England or had come over from Hainault. As the children of Payn de Roet appear to have been born in the 1340s it is possible that his wife was English but this is not totally certain.

Further ancestors of the mitochondrial DNA of Richard III

Without a name for the wife of Payn de Roet we can’t trace any further ancestors for the mitochondrial DNA of King Richard III. It may happen someday that a person with no known connections to King Richard III, will have a minor accident in a car park, and their mitochondrial DNA may turn out to be the same as the last Plantagenet king. If the ancestors of this person could be traced, they may bypass the unknown wife of Payn de Roet and provide the name of a mitochondrial ancestor further back in time.


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