The History of Tewkesbury

By James Bennett

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2015

CHAPTER VI.

HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE GREAT LORDSHIP OR MANOR OF TEWKESBURY

THE first proprietors of the Tewkesbury estate, whose names we find upon record, were Oddo and Doddo, the pious founders of the abbey; and from the time of the death of these noblemen, which happened about the year 725, we have little information which can be relied upon respecting the lordship for upwards of two centuries.

Hugh, a person of distinction in the Mercian kingdom, held the manor of Tewkesbury in 800; but the quarrels of the petty princes during the Heptarchy, kept the country in such a disturbed state, that the property of individuals was at all times insecure; and it is no subject for wonder, that the account of the proprietors of the lordship, which has been handed down to us, is not more perfect.

In the reign of Athelstan, about 980, Haylward Snow, a knight of considerable renown, and a descendant of King Edward the Elder, was possessed of this manor, as well as of the rich honour of Gloucester,[72] and many other great estates.

He was succeeded by Algar, his eldest son by his wife Algive, who appears to have lived to enjoy the property for only a very short period.

In the reign of Edward the Confessor, Brictric, the son of Algar, held the manor, and was in such favour with the king, that he sent him as ambassador to the court of Baldwin Earl of

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Flanders, where, unfortunately for Brictric, the earl's daughter, Maud, was so enamoured with him, that she endeavoured to prevail upon him to marry her. Brictric's refusal was eventually the cause of his ruin; for Maud afterwards married William Duke of Normandy, who obtained the crown of England in 1066, and the queen, in revenge for Brictric's refusal of her hand, induced the conqueror to effect his destruction. William was perhaps anxious to obtain so large an estate as that of Brictric, and with that stimulus, added to his wife's entreaties, he soon found some pretext for charging him with delinquency: he was seized at his manor-house at Hanley Castle, and sent a close prisoner to Winchester, where he shortly afterwards died without issue.

The king having confiscated the whole of Brictric's large possessions, bestowed the honour of Gloucester and manor of Tewkesbury upon queen Maud, and she retained both until her death in 1083.

When Domesday survey was taken, the manor of Tewkesbury was part of the crown demesnes, and the king held it in his own hands during the remainder of his life.

After the conqueror's death, his third son Henry claimed his mother's possessions in England; but William Rufus dispossessed him of them, and bestowed the whole of Brictric's estates in Gloucestershire upon Robert Fitz-Hamon,[73] son of Hamon Dentatus, Lord of Corboile in Normandy, as a reward for the zeal and activity with which he opposed the pretensions of that monarch's brother Robert to the crown of England, as well as for the services rendered to his father in the subjugation of this kingdom. Fitz-Hamon married Sybil, daughter of Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, by whom he had

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four daughters, viz. Mabel, Hawise, Cicely and Amice. He was wounded in the retaking of Falaize, in Normandy, and died soon afterwards, in 1107; though William of Malmesbury tells us, that, having received a blow on his head with a pole, he lived for a long time distracted.

King Henry the first, being unwilling that so great an estate as the honour of Gloucester should be divided amongst females, made Hawise abbess of Winchester, Cicely abbess of Shaftesbury, married Amice to the Earl of Brittany, and, in 1109, united Mabel[74] to his natural son Robert, whom he created Consul and Earl of Gloucester,[75] who rebuilt great

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part of the castle at Bristol, and the whole of Cardiff Castle. He died of a fever at Gloucester, on the 31st of October, 1147, in his 57th year, and was buried at Bristol, in the centre of the choir of a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary in St. James's priory, (now the parish church of St. James), under a tomb of green jasper. Robert left four sons, viz. William, Roger, Hamon, and Philip, and one daughter named Maud.

William, son and heir of Robert, succeeded him, and married Hawise, daughter of the Earl of Leicester. He died in 1173, and was buried in the abbey of Keynsham, Somersetshire, which he had founded in memory of his son Robert, who died in 1166. He left one son, named Roger, who, taking holy orders, became a bishop; and three daughters, viz. Mabel, Amice and Isabel.

King Richard the first, gave Isabel, the youngest daughter, in marriage, and with her the earldom of Gloucester and lordship of Tewkesbury, to his brother John, Earl of Cornwall, surnamed Lackland, afterwards King of England. Soon after the accession of John to the crown, in 1199, having no issue, he divorced Isabel on the plea of barrenness; and in 1213 bestowed her in marriage (or, as some historians say, sold her for 20,000 marks), to

Geoffrey de Mandeville,[76] Earl of Essex: the king, however, retained in his own hands the town of Bristol, and the

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Gloucestershire estate, part of her inheritance, till the year 1215, when he resigned those territories to Geoffrey, who was killed at a tournament in London the next year. Isabel, in the same king's reign, married

Hugh or Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, chief justice of England, who having on several occasions made himself obnoxious to the king, and unpopular with the citizens of London, was at length committed to the tower. He died in 1243, having long survived his wife, as she died in 1218, at Banstead, Surrey, and was buried at the friary in Holborn.

Almeric Montfort, the nephew of Isabel, and son of the Earl of D'Evereux in Normandy, by Mabel, eldest daughter of Earl William, succeeded to the honour of Gloucester, &c. He married Millicent, daughter of Sir Hugh Gournay, and died about 1221, without issue, and was buried at Keynsham.

Gilbert de Clare, son and heir of Richard de Clare,[77] Earl of Hertford, who had married Amice, the second daughter of the said Earl William, was then admitted to the honours of Gloucester and Glamorgan, and the lordships annexed, as his legal inheritance. He was the first Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, both which earldoms he held jointly. He married Isabel, third daughter of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, and dying in 1230, was buried in the middle of the chancel of Tewkesbury church; leaving three sons, Richard, William and Gilbert, and three daughters, Amice, Agnes and Isabel. His countess afterwards married Richard, brother to King Henry the third, and died in 1239. She was buried at Beaulieu in

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Hampshire; but her heart was sent, according to her own request, in a silver cup to her brother, then abbot of Tewkesbury, to be interred before the high altar.

Richard de Clare the second, eldest son and heir of Gilbert, succeeded his father in his titles and estates, and married Maud, daughter of the Earl of Lincoln. He died July 14, 1262, at Emersfield, in Kent: his bowels were buried at Canterbury, his heart in the church of Tunbridge,[78] and his body on the right hand of his father in Tewkesbury abbey. He left three sons, Gilbert, Thomas and Benedict; and three - daughters, Isabel, Margaret and Rose.

Gilbert de Clare the second succeeded to the titles and estates of his father Richard, at the age of seventeen. Like his father, he made a conspicuous figure in the long and embarrassed reign of Henry the third. He joined Simon Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and the other mutinous barons, against the king; and at another period, instigated the populace of London to arms; but for both rebellions he was pardoned by the king, and received again into favour. He was appointed one of the regency during the absence of King Edward; and twice entertained his majesty and his whole retinue in great splendour. About 1285 he was divorced from Alice de March, daughter of Guy Earl of Angoulesme and niece to King Henry the third, to whom he had been married in his father's life time. He afterwards, in 1289, married Joan d' Acres, second daughter of King Edward the first. He died at his castle at Monmouth, in 1295, and was buried at Tewkesbury, on the left hand of his grandfather, under a plain stone, with an inscription on brass round the edges; leaving issue, by his second wife, one son, Gilbert, an infant, and three daughters, Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth. Joan d'Acres, his relict, soon afterwards was married clandestinely to

Ralph de Monthermer, a person of no higher rank than an esquire, who experienced some difficulties in obtaining livery

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of the lands and the title of Earl of Gloucester and Hertford: he was however summoned by that title to parliament from 1300 to 1307, but never by the same title after the death of his wife in 1307, or at least not after Gilbert, his son-in-law. came of age. In consequence of his great bravery in the Scottish wars, Edward the first showered upon him many benefits, and created him Duke of Athol. He had two sons by Joan d'Acres, Thomas and Edward, who were called the king's nephews; and married a sister of the Earl of Pembroke as his second wife.

Gilbert de Clare the third, son of the last Earl Gilbert, was but five years old at the time of his fathers death, being born at Tewkesbury in 1291: When he came of age, he was summoned to parliament by the title of Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, and was also lord of Tewkesbury. He married Maud, daughter of John de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, and had issue one son, John, who died young, and was buried With his ancestors at Tewkesbury. He was actively employed, and in great esteem during his short life. In 1311 he was made keeper of England, and constituted guardian of the whole realm during his majesty's abode in Scotland; and when the king went to France, in 1313, he was appointed regent. The line of the Clares terminated in this earl, who fell at the battle of Bannockburn, in Scotland, in 1314, in the twenty-third year of his age.[79] His body was conveyed to Tewkesbury, and buried in

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the Virgin Mary's chapel, on the left hand of his father. The lady Maud, his countess, died in 1315, and was buried on the left hand of her husband. As he left no issue, his three sisters became his co-heirs, and the earldoms of Gloucester and Hertford were divided.

Eleanor, his eldest sister, had the honour of Gloucester as her share, to which were added, on the death of her mother, in 1315, the manor and borough of Tewkesbury, Hanley Castle, and the rest of her mother's dowry. In 1321 she became the wife of that unfortunate favourite,

Hugh le Despenser the younger, son of the Earl of Winchester, who thus became possessed of the lordship of Tewkesbury, and bore the title of Earl of Gloucester, in right of his wife. He was lord chamberlain and chief favourite of King Edward the second; and being accused, with his father, of seducing the king and oppressing the state, he was, by the queen's orders, without trial, in 1326, drawn on a hurdle through the streets of Hereford, hanged on a gallows fifty feet high, and afterwards beheaded and quartered: his four quarters were sent to different parts of the kingdom, and his head fixed upon London bridge, or, according to Hume, sent to Winchester, and there set on a pole and exposed to the insults of the populace. Some parts of his body were privately buried in Tewkesbury church, near the lavatory of the high altar.[80] He left issue, by his wife Eleanor, three sons, Hugh,

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Edward and Gilbert. Upon his attainder, the custody of the manor was for a short time granted to Sir Maurice Berkeley. The second husband of Eleanor was

William la Zouch of Mortimer,[81] youngest son of Robert de Mortimer, lord of Richard's Castle, (surnamed la Zouch from his manor-house at Ashby-de-la-Zouch), by whom she had one son, Hugh la Zouch. William Lord la Zouch died in 1335, and was buried in the middle of the Virgin Mary's chapel at Tewkesbury. Eleanor, his widow, died in 1337, when Hugh de Audley, her sister Margaret's husband, was created Earl of Gloucester;[82] but

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Hugh le Despenser the third,[83] son of Hugh by Eleanor, succeeded his mother in the fine inheritance of Tewkesbury, Hanley Castle, Fairford, &c. (which was from this period separated from the honour of Gloucester), and married Elizabeth, widow of Giles de Badlesmere, and daughter of William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury. He died without issue in 1349, and was buried near the high altar in Tewkesbury church. His relict, Elizabeth, afterwards married

Guy O'Brien, knight, of Castle Walwaine, Pembrokeshire. By some he is said to have been of the noble family of Thomond, in Ireland; but others assert that he was of English extraction, and descended from a distinguished family in Devonshire, though he bore the arms of the Irish O'Briens. He died in 1390, and lies entombed in St. Margaret's chapel at Tewkesbury.[84] Elizabeth died in 1359, when her dowry, including the manor of Tewkesbury, Hanley Castle, Malvern Chase, &c. devolved to her first husband's nephew,

Edward le Despenser, eldest son of Edward, who was the second son of Hugh the younger, by Anne, daughter of Lord Ferrars. He married Elizabeth, only daughter and sole heiress of Lord Bartholomew de Burghersh, lord chamberlain to King Edward the third. Edward le Despenser was the tenth knight of the order of the garter, at its institution in 1350, and

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commanded the rear of the English army in 1373, during its most fatiguing and perilous march from Calais to Bourdeaux. His eldest son, named Edward, died in his youth, at Cardiff, but was conveyed to Tewkesbury, where he was buried with his ancestors, and also an infant brother and sister. Edward died in 1375, at Cardiff Castle, leaving issue a son, named Thomas, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Anne and Margaret; and was buried on the south side of Tewkesbury church, near the chancel, where his wife, in memory of her lord, built the chapel of the Holy Trinity.

Elizabeth, his countess, continued in widowhood thirty-three years, and kept for her dowry, Tewkesbury, Hanley Castle, Fairford, &c. She died in 1409, and was buried at Tewkesbury, on the left of her husband. She had the pain to survive her son, Thomas le Despenser, who, in right of his mother, was Lord Burghersh: he married Constance, daughter of Edmund de Langley, Duke of York, son of King Edward the third, and was created Earl of Gloucester, 21 Richard II. in respect of his descent from Eleanor the wife of Hugh le Despenser the younger. Having associated with other noblemen to dethrone Henry the fourth, and being taken at Bristol, he was attainted and there executed in 1400; and afterwards buried in the middle of the choir of Tewkesbury church, under a lamp that burned before the host. He left issue one son, Richard, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Isabel, but since his attainder the Earldom of Gloucester has not been revived. Upon the death of the Countess Elizabeth, the estates possessed by her in dowry, devolved to her grandson,

Richard le Despenser, only son of Thomas le Despenser, Earl of Gloucester, then a minor. He died in 1414, in the eighteenth year of his age, while he was under the guardianship of Edmund Duke of York, who had married him to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmoreland. He left no issue; and was buried at Tewkesbury, on the left hand of his father.

Isabel le Despenser, his youngest sister, became baroness of Tewkesbury, and succeeded to the estates, (Elizabeth, the

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eldest, having died in her infancy). She was married at Tewkesbury, in 1411, by Abbot Parker, when but eleven years of age, to

Richard Beauchamp, the fourth of that name, Lord Abergavenny, afterwards Earl of Worcester, son and heir of William Lord Beauchamp. He, in right of his wife, had livery of the manor of Tewkesbury, 2 Hen. V. This Richard Beauchamp, in 1421, at the siege of Meaux, in France, was struck on his side by a stone cast from a sling, and soon afterwards died, leaving an only daughter Elizabeth,[85] and was buried at Tewkesbury on the 25th of April following, near the founder's chapel, where the Lady Isabel, his countess and widow, built a chapel, in 1438, in memory of him.[86] Afterwards, by a dispensation from the pope, she married his cousin-german,

Richard Beauchamp, the fifth Earl of Warwick, who was tutor to King Henry the sixth, and governor of France and Normandy. He died at Rouen in 1439, and was buried at Warwick; leaving issue by his said wife Isabel, one son and one daughter, Henry and Anne. The lady Isabel died on the 26th of December 1439, and was buried, with great funeral pomp, at Tewkesbury, near the chapel which she had built, on the right hand of her father, 13th Jan. 1439, (under a carved marble stone), by Thomas Plufford, bishop of Hereford, her confessor; William Bristow, abbot of Tewkesbury; and John, abbot of Winchcomb.

Henry Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, son of Richard, by Isabel, the heiress of the Despenser family, who was about fourteen years old at his father's death, inherited his mother's Gloucestershire estates. In his father's life time, when he was not ten years of age, being then called Lord le Despenser,

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he married Cicely, daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, whose portion was 4700 marks. He was crowned king of the Isle of Wight by Henry the sixth, and at the age of nineteen was created Duke of Warwick, and declared premier Earl of England. He had the castle of Bristol given him, and the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, and the patronage of the church and priory of St. Mary Magdalen, at Goldcliff, with licence to annex it to the church of Tewkesbury. He died on the 11th of June 1446, in the twenty-second year of his age, at his castle at Hanley, and was buried in the middle of Tewkesbury choir. His duchess afterwards married John Lord Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, and, dying in 1450, was also buried at Tewkesbury. The Duke of Warwick had issue, by his wife Cicely, one daughter,

Anne, who died seised of the manor of Tewkesbury, at the age of six years, having survived her father but four years. At her death, her aunt, (sister to the above duke),

Anne, succeeded to the great united inheritances of the Despensers and Beauchamps. She was born in 1429, and was the wife of

Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, who after his marriage was created Earl of Warwick, and generally called "the stout Earl of Warwick", and "the King-Maker"; for Henry the sixth and Edward the fourth held the crown by turns, as this earl favoured or opposed. He was killed in the battle of Barnet Field, fighting for the house of Lancaster, April 14, 1471.[87]

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After the fall of this renowned earl, Anne, his countess, was forced to abscond, and was reduced to great distress. King Edward would have seized on her estates, had not her daughters (Isabel and Anne) been his sisters-in-law; but he put those ladies in possession of them all, by a partition of the inheritance between them,[88] and an act of parliament, in 1473, confirmed that allotment. The poor Countess Anne was afterwards taken and thrown into prison, by her son-in-law, King Richard the third.

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Isabel, the eldest of these daughters, married George Duke of Clarence, (brother to king Edward the fourth), and had the manor of Tewkesbury included in her share. She died in child-bed, or, as others say, by poison, on the 22d December, 1476, aged twenty-five, at Warwick, and her body was brought to Tewkesbury, on the 4th of January, for interment.

George Duke of Clarence, who derived from his wife Isabel the title of Earl of Warwick and Salisbury, held the manor of Tewkesbury after the countess's death; but falling under the displeasure of his brother, King Edward the fourth, he was imprisoned in the tower, attainted of high treason in 1477, and shortly afterwards executed. Historians have generally asserted that he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine: the utter improbability of such a mode of execution, precludes, however, acquiescence in the popular rumour.[89] His body is said to have been conveyed to Tewkesbury, and buried with that of his duchess. He left one son, Edward,[90] and one daughter, Margaret.[91]

Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, and heir to the great lordship of Tewkesbury, (during whose minority the stewardship of the lordship, hundred and park was granted by the king to Richard Lord Beauchamp), was seized and imprisoned by his tyrannic uncle, Richard the third, in the beginning of his reign; removed for safer custody to the tower, by his cautious cousin, Henry the seventh, and most inhumanly beheaded, in 1499, for a pretended conspiracy, when about twenty-five years old - the king having for some time viewed him with a jealous eye, he being the only male heir of the house of York. This innocent youth had been stripped of all

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his inheritance, ten years before, by a resumption, which justice was said to demand, in favour of his unfortunate grandmother Anne, Countess of Warwick and Salisbury. This act of parliament was repealed, and by a statute, 3 Hen. VII. it was enacted that all the estates, of which that countess had been disseised, and which had been shared between her daughters, should be restored to her, with power to alienate all or any part thereof. The object of this act of restitution soon appeared; for the old countess was obliged, in the same year, to execute a feoffment, granting and conveying to the king, and his issue male, in perpetuity, all the restored estates, viz. Warwick, and twelve other manors in Warwickshire; the city of Worcester, Hanley Castle, Upton-upon-Severn, Elmley-Castle, Droitwich, and thirteen other manors in Worcestershire; Tewkesbury, Fairford, Stoke Orchard, Whittington, Sodbury, Tredington, Pamington, Fiddington, Northway, the Mythe, King's Barton near Bristol, Barton Hundred, Kemerton, Chedworth and Lidney, in Gloucestershire; Glamorgan, &c. in Wales; Walsall, and four other manors, in Staffordshire; Barnard-Castle, in the bishopric of Durham; considerable lordships and estates in sixteen other counties; together with the islands of Guernsey, Jersey and Sark. This was a base and selfish manoeuvre of Henry the seventh; for he thus reduced to a state of dependence and poverty the children of the house of Clarence, under pretence of restitution to their grandmother, and yet without entrusting power in the hands of the old countess; to whom he assigned the little manor of Sutton, in Warwickshire, and some further pension, for her maintenance during life.

The lordship of Tewkesbury remained annexed to the crown from 4 Henry VII. until 1 Edward VI.; during which time it was held under stewards.[92]

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King Edward the sixth, in the first year of his reign, granted the manor of Tewkesbury to his uncle, Sir Thomas Seymour, afterwards created Lord Seymour of Sudeley.[93] He held it till his attainder, when it reverted to the crown, and was again placed under stewards.

James the first, by letters patent, dated March 23, 1609, in consideration of the sum of £.2453. 7s. 4½d. sold to the corporation of Tewkesbury the entire manor and borough, including Warwick's and Spencer's lands, and the fee originally held by the monastery of the honour of Gloucester, under the name of the Abbey Fee or Barton Manor,[94] and the same has ever since remained vested in that body.[95]

Notes
[72] The honour of Gloucester contained 327 knights' fees and some fractions; that is, upwards of 222,360 acres, - Archaeologia, v.2, p.355.
[73] Robert Fitz-Hamon, who was a gentleman of the bedchamber to William Rufus, made a descent into South Wales in the year 1091, slew Rhys ap Tudor, its last prince, and conquered Glamorganshire. - He is styled, in the charters which he granted, "Sir Robert Fitz-Hamon, by the grace of God, Prince of Glamorgan, Earl of Corboile, Baron of Thorigny and Granville, Lord of Gloucester, Bristol, Tewkesbury, and Cardiff, Conqueror of Wales, near kinsman to the King, and general of his Highness's army in France",
[74] There is a curious poetical account of the king's wooing this lady for his son, in Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle, which is thus abridged in the Glossary to Peter Langtoft's Chronicle: "One of the grettest lordes of Englonde, except the kyng, callede Robert le figh Haym. For he lefte his bodi buried at Tewkesbury, for he rered that abbey hym selfe. He hadde a doughter and his heire called Maboly. Kynge Henry thoght to marry his bastard son Robert to hir, and this gentille damyeelle seide nay, that hit were not sittynge [f. fittynge] to mary suche aman, that bare no name but only Robard. Then the kynge seide, that his son schulde haue a name. And bycause hir name was Maboly le Fizhaym, his name schulde Robert le Fiz Roy. Nay, quoth she, what name shalle oure children bere betwene hym and me? Par ma fey, seide the kyng, then he shalle haue aname, his name shalbe, Robert Erle of Gloucester, and I geve hym the Erledome for thy sake, and to him and to youre bothes heires. Then this damyeelle thankede hym, and then the mariage was done. And this was the first Erle of Gloucester".
[75] Robert, whose mother was Nesta, daughter of Rhys ap Tudor, Prince of South Wales, and who was born about the year 1090, strenuously supported the cause of Queen Matilda against the usurpation of Stephen, and, during every reverse of fortune, preserved the most unshaken loyalty to his sovereign. He was also distinguished above his contemporaries by his love of science and literature, and by his patronage of learned men: to him William of Malmsbury dedicated his history, and if no other circumstance entitled him to the admiration of posterity, this alone would consecrate his name to immortality. Lord Lyttleton justly eulogises this nobleman, who, he says, "had no inconsiderable tincture of learning, and was the patron of all who excelled in it; qualities rare at all times in a nobleman of his high rank, but particularly in an age when knowledge and valour were thought incompatible, and not to be able to read was a mark of nobility. He was unquestionably the wisest man of those times; and his virtue was such, that even those times could not corrupt it. If, when the nation was grown equally tired of Matilda and of Stephen, he had aspired to obtain the crown for himself, he might very possibly have gained it from both: but he thought it less glorious to be a king, than to preserve his fidelity and honour inviolate, he seems to have acted only from the purest and noblest principles of justice and duty, without pride, without passion, without any private views or selfish ambition: and to this admirable temper of mind he joined all the address and extensive abilities, that are particularly necessary for the head of a party, who must connect and keep together great numbers of independent persons, held by no regular bond of obedience, conciliate their different passions and interests, endure their absurdities, sooth their ill-humour, manage their pride, and establish an absolute authority over them, without seeming to exercise any, but that of persuasion". - Lytt. Life of Hen. II.
[76] This Geoffrey de Mandeville, or, as he is sometimes called, Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, was one of the twenty-five barons who signed, and compelled King John to sign, the great charter of English liberties, at Runnimede.
[77] Richard was descended from Richard de Clare, who came over with William the Conqueror, and was eldest son to the Earl of Brian in Normandy. The elder Richard was one of the chief justices of England in that king's reign, and was seised of thirty-eight manors in Surrey, thirty-five in Essex, three in Cambridgeshire, three in Kent, one in Middlesex, one in Wilts, one in Devonshire, and ninety-five in Suffolk, of which Clare was the principal. - The first baron whose signature was affixed to that bulwark of British liberty, Magna Charta, was Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford; and Gilbert de Clare, his son, who was afterwards Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, was also among these ancient assertors of the rights and privileges of Englishmen.
[78] This earl introduced the friars of the order of St. Augustin into England, and founded a priory for them at Tunbridge, about 1211, and consecrated it to St. Mary Magdalen. - Weever.
[79] By the inquisition taken after his death, it appears, he was seised of a park at Tewkesbury, containing eighty acres, whose underwood and herbage were worth 30s. a year; of four hundred and sixty acres of arable land at 4d. an acre; of eighty-five acres and a half of meadow at 2s.; and of fifty acres of pasture at 1s. an acre; of the rent of free tenants, £.12. 12s. 3d.; of a mill worth 20s.; of De-la-Home farm, in manu custumaria, which paid 11s. 8d.; of a messuage which the chaplain of Ashehurch held, worth 5s.; of a messuage which Walter ----- held, worth 4s.; and of the More farm, worth 16s. a year: that there were one hundred and fourteen burgages and a half and a quarter part of a burgage, which paid £.0. 7s. 10d.; and that the burgesses rented lands within the hundred of the said town, containing seventy acres and a half and a third part of an acre, at 35s. 5d. and paid 20s. per annum for a custom called falstal, and 12s. per annum for stallage; that there were forty-seven customary lands and a half, every one of which was a virgate, and held in villeinage; that the total value of the whole manor with the burgh, was £.131. 5s. 6d.: that there were two views of frank-pledge, at Michaelmas and Easter, and the certain fines were £.7. 12s.; that the fees and perquisites of the court were worth 100s.; the toll of the burgh 100s.; and the pleas and perquisites of the said burgh, by itself, 100s. per annum.
[80] Hugh le Despenser the younger, at his death, was seised of 59 manors, 28000 sheep, 1000 oxen, 1200 kine, 40 mares, 160 horses, 2000 hogs, 3000 bullocks, 40 tuns of wine, 600 bacons, 80 carcasses of Martinmas beef, 600 muttons in his larder, 10 tuns of cider, 36 sacks of wool, and a library of books, besides in armour, plate, jewels, and money, to the value of £.10,000 and upwards. One of the ancestors of the Despenser family was steward to William the Conqueror; and from an elder branch of that family is descended the present ducal family of Marlborough.
[81] In the parliament holden in the fourth year of King Edward the third, "William Le Zouch of Mortimer and Eleanor his wife, prayed to he restored to their lands in Glamorgan, &c. and the manor of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, being the inheritance of the said Eleanor, the which they, by the extort means of the late Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, were enforced to pass the same to the king by fine. In consideration of £.10,000 to the king, he restoreth them to their former estate". - {Cotton's Tower Records.) The family of Zouch of Haringworth was also, according to Sir Robert Atkyns, connected with Tewkesbury monastery: he says, "William Lord le Zouch of Haringworth lies buried in St. Mary's Chapel there". And Dugdale, in his Baronage, says, that Elizabeth, wife of William Lord le Zouch of Haringworth, by her testament, bearing date l408, bequeathed her body to be buried in the abbey of Tewkesbury, where the corpses of her brothers lay interred, with twenty pounds to that house.
[82] In a recent work, entitled the Stafford Peerage, it is said, that from Lady Margaret de Audley, sole daughter and heir of Hugh de Audley by Margaret de Clare, who was grand-daughter of King Edward the first, and married to the Right Hon. Ralph Earl of Stafford, K.G. is descended his Grace the Duke of Wellington. It has been justly observed by Mr. Brewer, in his "Delineations of Gloucestershire", that, "if a striking instance be wanting of the instability of human grandeur - the evanescent nature of human power, it may be found in the depth of humility into which the chief line of the Clares, Earls of Gloucester; the Bohuns, Earls of Hereford; and the Staffords, Dukes of Buckingham; sank, before it was utterly extinguished". Roger Stafford, representative of the above illustrious houses, and descended from the blood-royal of England, was compelled, by the arbitrary government of Charles the first, to surrender his claim to the barony of Stafford, "because he had no lands or means" to support its dignity. Jane, his sister, the great grand-daughter of the mighty Edward Duke of Buckingham, was the wife of a joiner, at Newport, near Shiffnal, Shropshire, where she was living, his widow, in 1637, and her son, by trade was a cobler! - Fosbroke's Gloucestershire, v.2, p.122.
[83] In 1336, Hugh le Despenser seized a Genoese vessel, valued at 14,300 marks, for which, as usual in those times, neither restitution was made, nor was any punishment inflicted on the criminals, as the government sometimes feared the plunderer, and sometimes connived at the offence. - Rym. Foed.
[84] Sir Guy O'Brien was a person of great consideration in the reign of Edward the third. He was standard-bearer to that monarch in his last engagement with the French at Calais in 1347, and for his bravery on that occasion obtained a pension of two hundred marks a year during his life. He was a knight of the garter, and was constituted governor of St. Briavel's Castle and Warden of the Forest of Dean. He went twice as ambassador to Rome; was appointed admiral of the west in 1370; and was summoned to parliament among the barons of the realm, from 24 Edward III. to 13 Richard II. inclusive. Independently of his great benefactions to Tewkesbury abbey, he founded and endowed a chantry at Slapton, near Kingsbridge, Devon.
[85] This Elizabeth was married to Edward Neville, fourth son of Ralph Earl of Westmoreland, who was the first Baron Abergavenny of that family; and from her has lineally descended the present noble families of Abergavenny and Westmoreland, and collaterally that of le Despenser.
[86] This nobleman was one of the most considerable persons in the kingdom in the fifteenth century. He died possessed of an estate which was valued at no less a sum than eight thousand six hundred and six marks, eleven shillings and eleven pence half-penny.
[87] Warwick was in fortune, power, influence and integrity, the greatest subject that ever appeared in England; his generosity and liberality were beyond example; his abilities, both as a soldier and a politician, were of the first rank; and he would more effectually have served the royal house of Lancaster, had he not unfortunately been connected with treacherous friends and deceitful relations. - We are told, as a proof of the hospitality of this nobleman, and of the simplicity of the manners of the age in which he flourished, that any soldier who had fought under his banners, might go into the kitchen and take away as much meat as he could carry off on the point of his dagger. Not less than thirty thousand persons are supposed to have daily lived at his board, in the different manors and castles which he possessed; and Baker informs us, that his household consumed daily six oxen at breakfast, besides other provisions in proportionate quantities.
[88] Anne, the youngest daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury and Warwick, was first betrothed, or, as some say, married to Edward Prince of Wales, son of King Henry the sixth, who was taken prisoner at the battle of Tewkesbury, and afterwards murdered by his unfeeling captors. She subsequently married the Duke of Gloucester, who was afterwards King Richard the third, and had issue by him Edward, (though by some he is called George), Prince of Wales, who died in 1484, aged about seven years, and not long before his mother, who is said to have been poisoned by her husband, Richard, to facilitate his intended marriage with his niece Elizabeth, daughter to King Edward the fourth, and afterwards queen to King Henry the seventh. - Walpole, in his Historic Doubts, transcribes a curious passage from the Chronicle of Croyland, respecting the marriage of Richard Duke of Gloucester, with Anne Neville: from this account it appears that she had only been betrothed to Edward Prince of Wales; and that when Gloucester desired her for his wife, Clarence, unwilling to share so rich an inheritance with his brother, concealed the lady, but Gloucester was too alert for him, and discovered her in the dress of a cook-maid in London, and removed her to the sanctuary of St. Martin's le Grand. The brothers pleaded each his cause in person, before the king in council, in the year 1473; and he settled their difference by bestowing the maiden (as she is there termed) on Gloucester; and parting the estate between Anne and Clarence. - Who can peruse the account of this extraordinary marriage of Richard, without the beautiful passage of Shakspeare, on the subject, recurring to his mind?
"Was ever woman in this humour woo'd ?
"Was ever woman in this humour won ?
"Hath she forgot already that brave prince,
"Edward, her lord, whom I, some three months since,
"Stabb'd in my angry mood at Tewkesbury ?" - K. Rich. III.
It will be observed, that the ambitious views of the Earl of Warwick, in marrying his eldest daughter, Isabel, to the Duke of Clarence; and his youngest, Anne, to Edward Prince of Wales, were entirely frustrated. By these politic alliances, he thought to have secured the succession of the crown to his own family, whatever might have been the issue of the contest between the rival roses; for by these marriages of his children, he became equally allied to the Yorkists and Lancastrians.
[89] "Whoever can admit of so ridiculous an account, may as well suppose that his executioners crammed him in at the bung-hole". - Spelman.
[90] Leland asserts, that the Duke of Gloucester had another son, named Richard, who is said to have been poisoned in 1476, the same year in which his mother died.
[91] Margaret was married to Sir Richard Pole, and was beheaded, 33 Hen. VIII. upon an act of attainder, passed against her for corresponding with her son, Cardinal Reginald Pole, then declared a rebel and an enemy to his country.
[92] Richard Nanfan, esq. of Birtsmorton, who was made sheriff of Worcestershire by King Henry the seventh, for the great services he rendered the house of Lancaster during its struggle for sovereign power, was also by that monarch appointed steward of the lordship of Tewkesbury, and keeper of the Park and Lodge there. - Rolls of Parliament, v.6. p.360.
[93] He was the third son of Sir John Seymour, of Wolf Hall, Wilts, by Margaret, daughter of Sir H. Wentworth, of Nettlestead, Suffolk, and was brother of the Duke of Somerset, lord protector. He had served with great merit against the French in the wars during the reign of Henry the eighth; was appointed master of the ordnance for life, and was lord high admiral of England. In 1547, after an ineffectual proposal of marriage to the Princess Mary, he married Queen Catherine Parr, widow of Henry the eighth. In the sequestered castle of Sudeley, the widowed queen hoped to have enjoyed that happiness which a crown had failed to confer; but her hopes were short lived - she escaped the capricious cruelty of a kingly tyrant, to fall a victim to the unprincipled and heartless ambition of a subject. The admiral is supposed to have aspired to the hand of the Princess Elizabeth; but Catherine Parr, while living, formed an insurmountable obstacle to the accomplishment of that project; and the unhappy lady being delivered of a daughter, and dying shortly afterwards, her husband was strongly suspected of having poisoned her. Indeed, she herself suspected some unfair treatment, and on her death-bed severely reproached the admiral for his unkind usage. She died Sept. 5, 1548, and was buried in Sudeley chapel, Gloucestershire, where her body was found, wrapped in cerecloth, and almost perfect, in 1782. In consequence of his addresses to Princess Elizabeth being refused, and every other path to power being obstructed, he pursued his ambitious views by attempting to overthrow his brother's authority; and laboured to gain the young king to his interest with so much effect, that the protector, for his own security, consented to his impeachment. He was beheaded March 20, 1549, for high treason.
[94] "From a charter in my possession, dated May 27, 3 Edw. VI. at a view of frank-pledge for his majesty's manor of Tewkesbury Bartona nuper Monasterie, Geo. Hatton is mentioned as steward; Thomas Witherston, deputy; and Thomas Sternhold, esq. supervisor of his majesty's county of Gloucester". - Fosbroke's Gloucestershire.
[95] See Appendix, No.6.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in October 2015.

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