I regret to say that, after having seen this painting of Thomas Howard (Duke of Norfolk and uncle to Anne Boleyn) about a gazillion times, it JUST occurred to me that he is not actually holding some kind of Tudor snooker cue. For the student of history, this is definitely a facepalm moment.


The gold staff is actually his staff of office as Earl Marshall of England.

However, I bet he could have played snooker with it if he’d wanted.

I doubt he would have wanted, though. Sigh.

Better Now

I drowned my woes in the splendor of forbidden snacks. 

I’ll tackle the data loss problem next week. As the wise creators of the “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” Christmas special so sagely opined: “There’s always tomorrow / To make dreams come true”. And, although not in Rudolph: “After all – tomorrow is another day.” And come to think of it, Cheetos look kind of like those sad, wizened, nasty carrots Scarlett was hurling up onto the gorgeously scenic destruction of Tara. Perhaps she just needed some grape soda to go with the carrots, and everything would have seemed so much more cheerful. Right?

Um… Never mind. 

A Moment Of Silence

Please join me in a moment of silence for some of my research, done over the last two years, that was lost this afternoon.

Two ladies in mourning, Germany, 1860s.

And I can’t even have a glass of wine or some chocolate to feel better. I think I’ll go for a walk to stem the utter screaming frustration.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, or, “The Genealogist’s Lament”

There are two, or possibly five, men in my family tree in three, or maybe five, generations around 1090 who had — you guessed it — three or possibly up to eight wives, who are giving me hair-tearing fits.

I don’t even want to tell you how many of these recursive and possibly fictitious people have the same names.

Because really.

So this is how I feel about these people right now:

Bulluc sterteþ
bucke uerteþ
murie sing cuccu

The Rabbit of Caerbannog

Needs no caption

And last but not least

Oh!! And then there’s this:

“Medievalist Shares Ripe Fruit Of Penis Tree”. I’m not posting the image here, because if I do, FB will perversely select that as the image to accompany this article; but it’s worth a looky-loo.

Charles Hawksley and the ownership of the Cock Inn and the Crown Inn

I was researching the Hawksley branch of my mom’s family when I found the following item: an advert in a November 1780 edition of the Norfolk Chronicle, in which:

“18 November 1780. Page 3, column 2

Charles HAWKSLEY, at the Cock Inn, at Attleburgh, begs Leave to return his Thanks to the Public in general, and his Friends in particular, for the many Favours already conferred, at the same time, at the particular request of Mr R. HOBBLEDAY, of the Crown Inn, he returns Thanks of the said Richard HOBBLEDAY, for Favours received, but who, thro’ Deecline [sic] of Business, has thought proper to give up his House and Post-chaise business to the said Charles HAWKSLEY, who will at all Times endeavour to merit the patronage of the Public, and their Encouragement will be gratefully acknowledged by most humble Servants, Charles HAWKSLEY, R. HOBBLEDAY.”

(transcription from microfilm supplied by the British Library Newspaper Library)

I’m not certain yet whether Charles is my ancestor, but it’s entirely possible. The branch of the family I’m researching was in Thetford, and Attleborough (Attleburgh) is fairly close by, so it’s conceivable they might be the same folks. I’ve got to do a bit more checking around in church records. In any case, I was curious and looked up the Crown Inn in Attleborough, which was closed in 1970, but may still be standing. Here’s a photo from 1968, when it was still open:

The Cock Inn seems to still be operating, and can be found here: link. The Cock is also listed at http://www.norfolkpubs.co.uk/norfolka/attleborough/attlco.htm, and Charles is listed as the licensee from 1779 to 1795, after which an Elizabeth Hawkesley is listed until 1805. I haven’t figured out if this is his wife Elizabeth, or a daughter.

The last items dealing with Charles specifically and the Cock Inn are these, found on the page above:

“In February 1779, Mr. Hawkesley was offering the services of his well-bred Bay Horse, called the Fox, at One Guinea a Mare and One Shilling the Man. It was his third Season.



CHARLES HAWKSLEY- HUMBLY begs leave to inform his Friends and the Public in general, that through the very alarming price of Horsekeeping and every other necessity of life, it is impossible for him to let his Post-chaise at 9d per mile therefore hopes that the small advance which has been made by his neighbours at Norwich, and on most other Roads, in England for some time will justify his taking the same step.”


The Norfolk Chronicle from 1780 also includes such interesting tidbits as these:

“Last Monday night RUMNEY, the horse-stealer, now in the City Gaol, made another attempt to break prison. He was confined alone in a cell, chained to a post, notwithstanding which he cut off his irons, made a hole through the plank in the cell, and also the wall, and then worked his way under ground fifteen or sixteen feet, next to Messrs CARTER and COPPING’s, grocers, where he intended to have got out. Immediately after he was missed, several labourers were set to work in order to widen the breach he made in the cell, while others kept digging away on Mr CARTER’s premises. After digging and searching for about five hours, he called out, almost suffocated for want of air, when he was taken out and properly secured, being now double ironed and chained.”

It’s quite a shame he hadn’t access to good scuba equipment. He might have made it, or at least been captured with more dignity. (imagines how most people look in scuba gear) Or not.

“On Saturday Last, Mr James SEAGON, butcher, dropped down dead in the market with a cleaver in his hand, as he was chopping a piece of beef. He was a friendly well behaved man, and much respected.”

I don’t think we use the phrase “dropped down dead” nearly enough these days. The next obituary had also dropped down dead, although the St. Stephen’s parish Clerk, who was next to go, simply “died” in a more dignified and genteel manner.

And also a longish and fascinatingly descriptive bit about highwaymen (I’m having Adam & the Ants flashbacks: “Staaaaand and deliver (woah woah woah)…. your money or your life!” –
I can’t resist. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B2a6l6wM2k

“On Friday and Saturday evenings last, 10th and 12th, two highwaymen, (one of whom had a pistol) well mounted, infested the turnpike road between Hockering and Easton, in this county, and about six o’clock in the evening of the 11th stopped and robbed several persons, particularly Mr SMITH, of Beatly, and Mr WIGGETT, of East Bradenham, farmers, and one Lydia SHARDELOW, of East Tuddenham, who were all returning from Norwich market.
They intended to have robbed the Rev. Mr IVES of Bungay, on the Friday, who had been collecting his tithes at Easton Dog, but were prevented by the lucky discovery of a boy who overheard their discourse, as he was setting some rabbet [sic] traps. They were pursued by several persons, towards Mattisall, at one of whom (Mr. ATHOW of Hoe,) they fired a pistol, but escaped through the goodness of their horses, and are supposed to have gone towards the sea coast, having robbed on that road, about eight in the evening, Mr GREEN, who keeps the Bull at Attlebridge, and a person near Reepham. It appears from a number of informations, taken by the Dereham Justices, that one of the highwaymen is very well known; that his name is John EWSTON, was apprentice to Robert CARFOOT, of Ringland, in this county, gardener, and ran away from him about three years since. He is about 22 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches high, pale complexion, dark brown hair, had on at the time of the robberies a dark-coloured great coat, dark ribb’d fustian breeches, white waistcoat, rode a black hobby, with a white face, two white feet behind, and switch tail cut, and has a wife and children at Drayton. The other appears to be about 24 years of age, low and squattish, wore his own hair, of a darkish colour, had on a dark surtout coat, leather breeches, and rode a sorrel horse, 16 hands high, with a little white down his face, and nick’d tail; they both wore round hats.

The above highwaymen, from their appearance and speeches, are supposed to belong to a large smuggling party; they were at two or three public houses in and about East Tuddenham, Near Hockering, much in liquor, and about four o’clock on Saturday afternoon drank in company with William GOOLD, horse-dealer, and James SHIPLEY, a farmer’s servant, at the sign of the Coach and Horses in East Tuddenham, behaved in the most riotous and daring manner, bought gunpowder, charged and fired their pistol, abused and greatly terrified the landlord and landlady, Mr and Mrs ATHERTON, rent the said William GOOLD’s coat, and threatened his life.

It is melancholy to reflect, that smuggling is at this time got to so daring a height in this county, partly encouraged by the connivance of too many ill-disposed and self-interested persons, and partly from some defect in the laws, insomuch that gangs of 40 or 50, and more, are seen often to ride in the day-time in the most audacious and triumphant manner from the sea-coast, through the middle of this county, towards London, with carts and horses fully laden, and armed with fire-arms and other offensive weapons, to the great disturbance and terror of the industrious and worthy part of his Majesty’s subjects, witness the late attempt made by a desperate and wicked party of them, of near 20, to murder Mr DIGGENS, who keeps the inn at Rainham, in this county, whom they supposed to have informed against them for some smuggled goods which were lately seized. They besat his house in the night, broke all his locks, did other damage, confined his wife and servants, and swore desperately they would murder him unless sixty pounds were paid them, the price of the goods seized, and it is believed would have carried their wicked design into execution, had not Mr DIGGENS been fortunately from home when the house was beset, and had notice given him by his wife, who narrowly escaped from the smugglers, and alarmed Lord TOWNSHEND and his servants, who immediately came to their assistance, and upon whose approach the smugglers thought proper to make off.

Mr DIGGENS has been obliged to abscond from his house and family ever since, and his house is at this time guarded by four dragoons. — Unless Government, and particularly the respectable gentlemen of this county, will exert themselves to redress these very heavy grievances by appointing a Committee to inspect the laws against smuggling, amending such of them as are deficient, or by making new laws, necessary and proper to bring such notorious offenders to public justice, and putting such laws as are already made in execution with the firmness and intrepidity becoming worthy Magistrates zealous for the good of the community; also by appointing proper coasting vessels to prevent the landing of smuggled goods, or by enacting some law whereby it may not worth the while of such a number of stout, idle, and disorderly persons, to engage in this dangerous traffic, the great nursery of highwaymen, housebreakers, and every desperate offender against the laws, through whom it cannot be said that any man’s person or property is safe. — There is a well known reward of forty pounds for taking of each highwayman, besides other privileges, and the real satisfaction of doing so noble an act to serve their country.”

Hmmm. I think I would rather like to be described as having an “audacious and triumphant manner”. I imagine it would involve a lot of feathers, and possibly a small brass band of likewise insouciant musical souls. I’m afraid I’d probably end up described as “low and squattish”, however.

This last item was found in the same paper on November 11, and I include it because it gives me the chance to type the word “crumpet”. 😀 This makes me feel both audacious and triumphant.

“William HILLING, Muffin and Crumpet Baker, Removed from his House near Charing-cross, to the Lower Goat-lane, Norwich, Takes the Opportunity of acquainting the Public, that he has begun making Muffins, and will continue during the Season; also Manchers, French Rowls [sic], Biscuit, etc every Morning. He begs Leave to return thanks for the Favours already received, and hopes for a Continuance of the same. N.B. Good allowance to Wholesale Dealers in the Country.”

The paper can be found at http://www.origins.org.uk/genuki/NFK/norfolk/newspapers/nfkchron/1780/11.shtml#nov18 and is a great read. There appears to have been rather a great deal of horse-stealing at the time, so be prepared for villiany!!

Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog, and it cracks me right up.

This has nothing to do with my family history, just for the record. However, a friend recently reminded me about this blog, and it bears reading for any lover of medieval culture with a funny bone.

A recent entry about Star Wars just killed me so I thought I’d post a snippet here for your enjoyment. Among other things, he writes a verse about several characters who meet on a pilgrimage. Here is the first part of that verse from “A Long Time Agoon in a Shire Far Away”:


Ther was a SMUGGELERE, and he the beste,
Wyth gowne of whit and snazzye litel veste.
He hadde a shippe that was a noble vessel
For in twelf parsekkes it had yronne the Qessel;
At customes houses nevir did he pause –
For resoned he ther was but litel cause:
To paye a tax or impost made hym wood,
And I seyde his opinioun was good:
Why sholde hys labour fatten up the paunches
Of bureaucrates that sitte upon their haunches
And tak their paye from honest merchauntes werke?
This good man kepte the officiales in the derke
And oft he wolde in his shippes floore hyde.
From oon ende of the sterres to the other syde,
He hadde yflowne, and seene many a wondere,
And yet he hadde no feare of Goddes thondere.
He seyde hys destinee was hys to make
Wyth blastere or wyth sleight or wyth wisecrake.
Of goold and eek of love he had a thirste,
In altercaciouns he ay shot firste.

(sigh) This made my heart happy. ❤ Seriously, go read it. And check out his Twitter account too, because it's a scream.


Did medieval people actually bathe or not?

This morning I found myself unexpectedly wondering about medieval bathing habits, and I found this grand page:

All the answers to your never-asked middle ages hygiene questions!! Well, not all the answers. But a lot. (And some medieval sexytimes too!)

This is the kind of detail that intrigues me:

“If people could afford a to have private bath – and not many could – they would use a wooden tub that could also have a tent-like cloth on top of it. Attendants would bring jugs and pots of hot water to fill the tub. In John Russell’s Book of Nurture, written in the second half of the fifteenth-century, he advises servants that if their lord wants a bath they should:

hang sheets, round the roof, every one full of flowers and sweet green herbs, and have five or six sponges to sit or lean upon, and see that you have one big sponge to sit upon, and a sheet over so that he may bathe there for a while, and have a sponge also for under his feet, if there be any to spare, and always be careful that the door is shut. Have a basin full of hot fresh herbs and wash his body with a soft sponge, rinse him with fair warm rose-water, and throw it over him.

Sounds good to me! Regular folk went to bathhouses, where they often got up to some scandalous secretive scootly-pooping, by which I mean illicit sex. Also, the all-bros hot-tub phenomenon (and oh, my, I hope this is a phenomenon) is not new:

Albrecht Dürer – “Bathhouse” – 1496

“Royalty throughout Europe often entertained guests with baths, often trying to impress each other with how luxurious they could make it. This tradition even goes back to the Carolingians – Einhard says that Charlemagne loved taking baths, and that “he would invite not only his sons to bathe with him, but his nobles and friends as well, and occasionally even a crowd of attendants and bodyguards, so that sometimes a hundred men or more would be in the water together.”

Oh, Chuck, you crazy Carolingian you.

The image above, by the way, is by Albrecht Dürer, and was painted in Nuremberg in 1496. I found a fascinating blog post by a blogger who is committed to revealing “The Hidden Secrets In Albrecht Dürer’s Art And Life”. I haven’t read far enough to see what these putative secrets might be, but the entry about the bathhouse image is fairly – if you’ll pardon the expression – steamy. The post also contains interesting information about bathing habits around that time, including the thought that many people in Nuremberg received a bathing stipend to be spent at the bathhouses, and may have been let off work early once a week to go and get clean. If you’re interested in more, it’s here.

And in case two wasn’t enough for you, here’s one more:

Well!! There you go. I have an urge to set up a tent over my bath tub and strew some herbs and flowers about so I can have a good royal sort of soak… but I’d have to clean the tub first. Where, oh where are my minions?


The Will of Dame Jane Chamond, d. 1550-1551, and Tudor Sumptuary Laws

“In the name of the blessed Trinitie, Father, Sone, & Holy Gost, I Dame Jane Chamond, widowe, beyng in perfyte minde & memorie, thankes be gyven to Almyghty God, my creator & onely Redeemer, perceavyng by Faith and Creation my naturall liffe to be transitorie, holy myndyng Repentaunce, in most humble maner aske Almyghty forgiveness, and also of all the worlde. And here, under the protection of God, make & declare here my last will & testament in this manner following: First I give & bequeth my soule unto Almyghty God, my bodie to be beried in the Church of St. Androwe of Stratton, in the south yield (aile) of the Churche theare, in the place betwixt my first husband Sir John Arundell, Therys, Knyght, and Sir John Chamond, Knyght, my second and last husband. Also I do give and bequeth to my eldest son Sir John Arundell, Treryse, Knyght, all such somes of money as he oweth me for fyve thousand & haulf poundes of white tynne which he had of me: and also the two cheynes of gold which I have allredye delyvered hym. And also all sych other somes of money & other things that he hath had of myn or owith me, my part in that parte of the premisses, that he bestoew to the mariage of his doghters at his pleasure. And also besydes the mreises, I doo give and bequeth to my said sone Sir John Arundell Trerys, my basin and ewer of silver; also I give and bequeth to my doghter Dame Juliane Arundell, wiff to my said sone, my best velvet gowne, furred & edged with white martens. Also I give and bequeth to my daughter Margaret Chamonde, wiffe to my son Richard Chamonde, Esquyer, my best saten gowne & my best velvet kirtell. And as to the rest of my goods, moveable and unmoveable, not gevyn nor bequethed, I doo give & bequeth to my said sone Richard Chamone, partly therwith to marry his children; and hym the same Richard Chamonde I doo make my hole & sole executor, to dispose such part of my said goodes for the wealth of my soule, as he shall think best, & pay my debtes & chardgies for my funeral. Dated & gyven the first day of Januarye, in the fourth yere of the Reigne of our Soverayng Lord Edward the Sixt, by the Grace of God, &c. Which will and testament was made in the presence of Sir John Chamonde, Richard Prideauxe, Esquyor, Sir John Lill, clerk, then her Chaplain, Martyn Poyle, Gent. John Kympthorne her servuant, & desired to be witnes hereunto by the same Jane Chamonde.

Proved at Exeter 9 March 1552. Property sworn to the amount of 188 pounds, 0 shillings, 10 pence.”

-From “Collectanea Topographica Et Genealogica, Volume 4”, edited by Frederic Madden, Bulkeley Bandinel, John Gough Nichols, p. 172-174

Portrait of an anonymous English lady, 1555 - from the Ashmolean Museum

Portrait of an anonymous English lady, 1555 – from the Ashmolean Museum

Footnote: “Daughter of Sir Thomas Grenville; and widow first of Sir John Arundell, of Trerice. The pedigree of Arundell of Trerice in Collins’s Peerage, 1741, vol. iv. page 183, is perfectly incorrect ; another line of the family having apparently been confused with it. The correct descent, and the names of wives and children, are given in C.S. Gilvert’s Survey of Cornwall, 1817, vol. i. p. 538 : but this will proves that Sir John Arundell, who married Jane Grenville, was dead some time before 1550 l and that the monument of a Sir John Arundell, at Stratton in Cornwall, on which his figure is represented in brass, lying between his two wives, attributed by Mr. Gilbert to the husband of Jane Grenville, is that of her son, who married first, Mary, dau. and heiress of John Beville of Garnake; and secondly, Julian, daughter of James Eresby, and widow of ________ Gamlyn. Below the feet of the first wife, stand the sons, Richard, John, and Roger Arundell; under the second are ranged the daughters, Margareta, Marie, Jane, Phelipe, Grace, Margeri, and Annes Arundell. The inscription is, “Here lyeth buryed Syr John Arundell, Trerise, Knyght, who, praysed by God, dyed in the Lorde the xxv daye of November in the yeare of oure Lorde God a MCCCCCLXI, and in the III and VII yeare of his age, whose soule now resteth with the faythfull Chrystians in our Lorde.” Of the thirteen children here named, we find in the pedigree, as the only surviving son by Julian Eresby, John, who succeeded at Trerice ; and these daughters : Margaret, wife of Robert Becket, esq.; Grace, wife of John Trengough; Margery, wife of ______ Dunham ; Mary ; and Jane ; and by Mary Beville, Roger, who married Elizabeth, dau. of Tobert Tridenham, Esq. and had issue John son and heir 1597 ; Katharine, wife of Richard Prideaux ; and Jane, wife of William Wall, Esq.”

I find this will so interesting in many ways. First, I love the spelling. Spelling wasn’t standardized until much later; and it seems as though you could really write so much faster if you could simply spell things the way that seemed best at the moment. (I know, some people still do this. lol) Second, I love all the commas and run-on sentences. I’ve been told before that I’m a “comma monster” and use way too many commas in my writing, a fault I really try to stamp out. However, I think this is proof I’m just a reincarnation of a Tudor person and thus commas may be used like flowers dotted throughout the landscape… the more flowers, the more beautiful the field. And the more commas, the more beautiful the writing. Right? Right? … No? Boo.

What I really adore about this, however, are the bequests. It sounds like her son John Arundell, my 13th great-grandfather on my mom’s side, was something of a borrower… he seemed to “owith” her a lot of money. I also enjoyed the descriptions of her gowns, especially the “best velvet gowne, furred & edged with white martens” that she bequeathed to my 13th great-grandmother. I’ve included a chart of sumptuary laws – laws that governed who could legally wear what – from Tudor England below, as this will was written “the first day of Januarye, in the fourth yere of the Reigne of our Soverayng Lord Edward the Sixt, by the Grace of God, &c.” It really helps you to understand Dame Jane’s place in the pecking order of society. And I wonder why she left each daughter that particular gown: was it because of personal taste? Or perhaps the gown with the furs had been a gift from Arundell rather than Chamdon, and she wanted to pass it down to that daughter-in-law… I wonder if there was any status implicit in the bequests as well. I don’t know enough about rank in Tudor society or sumptuary laws to guess.

Sumptuary laws during the Tudors, through Elizabeth I.

Sumptuary laws during the Tudors through the time of Elizabeth I.

The sumptuary laws were intended to reinforce distinctions of rank and power, and covered dress and food as well – but apparently didn’t always work as well as one might hope:

"Rich Apparel: Clothing and the Law in Henry VIII's England" by Maria Hayward, p 20

“Rich Apparel: Clothing and the Law in Henry VIII’s England” by Maria Hayward, p 20

Edward VI tried to revise the laws to promote plainness of dress in 1552, and Elizabeth I added her own stamp in 1574 by adding dress for females to the laws. Elizabeth, it seems, didn’t want excessive rivals in ostentation of dress, and wasn’t above making a law to ensure it.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 7.39.47 PM

“Rich Apparel: Clothing and the Law in Henry VIII’s England” by Maria Hayward, p 20

“Rich Apparel: Clothing and the Law in Henry VIII’s England” by Maria Hayward, p 20

The full listing of Elizabeth’s sumptuary statue of 1574:

“The excess of apparel and the superfluity of unnecessary foreign wares thereto belonging now of late years is grown by sufferance to such an extremity that the manifest decay of the whole realm generally is like to follow (by bringing into the realm such superfluities of silks, cloths of gold, silver, and other most vain devices of so great cost for the quantity thereof as of necessity the moneys and treasure of the realm is and must be yearly conveyed out of the same to answer the said excess) but also particularly the wasting and undoing of a great number of young gentlemen, otherwise serviceable, and others seeking by show of apparel to be esteemed as gentlemen, who, allured by the vain show of those things, do not only consume themselves, their goods, and lands which their parents left unto them, but also run into such debts and shifts as they cannot live out of danger of laws without attempting unlawful acts, whereby they are not any ways serviceable to their country as otherwise they might be:

Which great abuses, tending both to so manifest a decay of the wealth of the realm and to the ruin of a multitude of serviceable young men and gentlemen and of many good families, the Queen’s majesty hath of her own princely wisdom so considered as she hath of late with great charged to her council commanded the same to be presently and speedily remedied both in her own court and in all other places of her realm, according to the sundry good laws heretofore provided.”

Sumptuary statue is here, including the ladies’ part.

Last but not least, for anyone who’s stumped by traditional English money (as I am), here is a link to the very informative Wikipedia entry for “Pound sterling”, including quite a nice history.

The Tangled Family Relations of William de Braose (either) and Llywelyn the Great

I’ve been trying to write these histories for a while, but there’s SO MUCH to cover that I’ve finally decided to break it up into juicy little bite-size bits. To reward myself for deciding, I’m going to start with one of the juiciest: the tangled web of interrelations between the family of Welsh Marcher Lord William De Braose and Welsh Prince of Gwynedd Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (“the Great”).

Let’s start with the family of William De Braose (the younger – I’ll call him “our” William to differentiate him from his grandfather, William 4th Lord of Bramber), to whom I am directly related in three ways on both my mother’s and father’s sides.

William De Braose, Lord of Abergavenny and son of Reginald De Braose by his first wife Grecia di Briwere (look below for more of Reginald’s marital history), married Eva Marshall and had four daughters:
Isabella de Braose, who married Llywelyn ap Iorwerth’s only legitimate son, Dafydd ap Llywelyn
Maud de Braose, who married Marcher lord Roger Mortimer (grandson of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth) – this is my father’s line
– Eleanor de Braose, who married Humphrey deBohun – this is my mother’s line
– Eva de Braose, who married William Cantelou, and who only has this one notation in our story. Sorry, Eva!

Next, let’s outline Llywelyn ap Iorwerth’s family. Llywelyn, also known as “Llywelyn Fawr” and “Llyweyn the Great”, was Prince of Gwynedd and eventually ruler of much of Wales. He married Joan Plantagenet, illegitimate daughter of King John (yes, the King John who is the baddie in so many Robin Hood tales. He also signed the Magna Carta, but I’m more excited by the fact that I have an ancestor who’s been animated by Disney and voiced by Peter Ustinov. I’m a weenie, I know.)

Prince John, as portrayed in the Disney movie “Robin Hood”

In later years, Llywelyn had Joan legitimized by the Pope in an effort to strengthen his legitimate son Dafydd’s claim to inherit, rather than his older but illegitimate son Gruffydd. His children by Joan are:
Dafydd, married Isabella de Braose
– Elen Ferch Llywelyn, married 3 times. Not in our story (as far as I know)
– Susannah Ferch Llywelyn, who died below marriageable age & isn’t part of our story
Gwladus Ddu (“the Dark”), married 1st Reginald de Braose, then 2nd Ralph de Mortimer
– Angharad Ferch Llywelyn, who’s not in our story
Marared or Margaret Ferch Llywelyn, who married 1st John de Braose and 2nd Walter Clifford (my dad’s lineage comes down through Walter)
– Elen The Younger Ferch Llywelyn, whose daughter later married Robert The Bruce and mothered the first Stuart king. However, that’s all we have to say about her.

Llywelyn the Great with his sons

Llywelyn the Great with his sons

Our story begins in 1205, when Llywelyn married Joan, daughter of King John, while his relationship with John was still cordial. Things between Llywelyn and the King went sour around 1210, however, possibly because of Llywelyn’s alliance with William de Braose (4th Lord of Bramber, the grandfather of “our” William de Braose via Reginald), who had been stripped of his lands by King John and cast into disgrace.

Gravestone of Joan Plantagenet. Was “alas! used as a horse-watering-trough, was rescued from such indignity, and placed here for preservation, as well as to excite serious meditations on the transitory nature of all sublunary distinctions.” St. Mary’s Church, Beaumaris

The actual sign from which the above caption is taken. This just makes me hoot.

The actual sign from which the above caption is taken. This just makes me hoot.

William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber and the grandfather of “our” William de Braose, had been Lord of Gower, Abergavenny, Brecknock, Builth, Radnor, Kington, Limerick, Glamorgan, Skenfrith, Briouze in Normandy, Grosmont, and White Castle (sliders!!), before falling out with King John and losing his lands. (And he went on the run, but his wife Maud St. Valéry, my 27th great-grandmother, and his eldest son William, were caught and killed by King John. But that’s a story for another day!)

In 1215, Llywelyn’s daughter Gwladus Ddu married (as her first husband) Reginald de Braose, the son of William de Braose 4th Lord of Bramber; but although they may have had a daughter, she’s not part of our line or our story. You may recall Reginald de Braose from above; he’s the father of “our” William. After Reginald’s death, she married Ralph de Mortimer and had a son, Roger Mortimer.

Confused yet? Oh, just wait. 😀 I love this, but I’ve had to graph it out several times just to get my head around it. DRAWN FAMILY TREES ARE COMING, just hang on. Keep breathing.

So back to Llywelyn himself. In 1217, after the death of King John, Reginald de Braose was induced by the crown to change sides, betraying Llewelyn, who promptly invaded his lands. Eventually Reginald was forced to offer Llywelyn submission and cede Brecon, Swansea, and Haverford. Presumably, peace ruled for a while between the families after this exchange.

In 1228, Llywelyn was fighting against Hubert de Burgh Justiciar of England, and after the fighting was over, Llywelyn paid 2,000 pounds to the crown, a sum which he raised through the ransom of one of his prisoners: William de Braose (the younger, who is “our” William). Apparently they hit it off, because an agreement was made to marry Dafydd, Llywelyn’s son and heir, to William’s daughter Isabella.

1228 was also a big year for Llywelyn’s daughter Gwladus Ddu, whose first husband Reginald died. After this, she was married to Marcher lord Ralph de Mortimer. They would have issue including Roger Mortimer, who would later marry William’s daughter Maud.

Let’s cut back to William’s family. In 1224, his daughter Maud was born. In 1230, when Maud was six years old, William made a trip to visit his friend Llywelyn, but — oops! — was caught alone with Joan in Llywelyn’s chamber in the dead of night and subsequently hanged. The Brut y Tywysogion chronicler commented: “that year William de Breos the Younger, lord of Brycheiniog, was hanged by the lord Llywelyn in Gwynedd, after he had been caught in Llywelyn’s chamber with the king of England’s daughter, Llywelyn’s wife”.

“On 2nd of May, at a certain manor called ‘Crokein, he was made ‘Crogyn, i.e. hanged on a tree, and this not privily or in the night time, but openly and in the broad daylight, in the presence of more than 800 men assembled to behold the piteous and melancholy spectacle.”
—Abbot of Vaundey as quoted by J.E. Lloyd., History of Wales from the Norman Invasion to the Edwardian Conquest, page 213.

After Llywelyn killed William de Braose, a message was sent to his widow Eva Marshall to ask her if she would still agree to Isabella’s marriage with Llywelyn’s son Dafydd. One can only imagine what Isabella thought; but the marriage was allowed to go forward, and later in 1230 Isabella and Dafydd were married. Isabella was very young, probably around 8 years old.

It appears that Joan and Llywelyn died in the same year, 1237. After his death, his son Dafydd succeeded him, but he and Isabella de Braose had no heirs, and when Dafydd died in 1246, Llywelyn’s greatly diminished legacy passed to Gryfydd’s son, Llywelyn ap Gryfydd. He will show up again later on our blog, in conjunction with one of my other ancestors. MWAHAHAHAHAAA! (giving my imaginary mustache an evil twirl) Among the poets who lamented Llywelyn the Great’s passing was Einion Wan:

True lord of the land – how strange that today
He rules not o’er Gwynedd;
Lord of nought but the piled up stones of his tomb,
Of the seven-foot grave in which he lies.

We’ve talked about the eventual fate of Dafydd, and of Gryfydd’s heir; now let’s go back to Llywelyn’s daughter Gwladus “The Dark”. Gwladus had been married to Reginald de Braose, Maud and Isabella’s grandfather, but Reginald died in 1230. Gwladus then married Ralph de Mortimer, and they had a son Roger.

Roger subsequently married Maud de Braose in 1247, thereby becoming Isabella’s brother-in-law *and* nephew by marriage, and Dafydd’s brother-in-law *and* nephew by blood.

You can't tell the players without a scorecard.

You can’t tell the players without a scorecard. Note: I made an error in classifying John de Braose as “our” William’s nephew. John was actually William’s cousin.

To finish up our little love knot, there is Marared or Margaret, another daughter of Llywelyn. In 1219, she married John de Braose, whose grandfather was William 4th Lord of Bramber. He was cousin to “our” William, who was father of Maud, Isabella, and Eleanor. Whew!

– John was Gwladus’ brother-in-law, Dafydd’s brother-in-law, Roger’s uncle through Marared/Margaret’s sister Gwladus, Maud’s 1st cousin once removed, Roger’s 1st cousin once removed through Roger’s marriage to Maud, Isabella’s brother-in-law, Isabella’s 1st cousin once removed, and 1st cousin once removed to brother-in-law Dafydd through Dafydd’s marriage to Isabella
– Isabella was both Roger’s sister-in-law and aunt by marriage to Dafydd
– Maud was Isabella’s sister and also her niece by marriage to Roger, and daughter-in-law and step-granddaughter of Gwladus
– Llywelyn became father-in-law to Isabella and grandfather-by-marriage to Maud after killing their father. IMAGINE FAMILY HOLIDAYS. THE AWKWARDNESS.
– Probably more, but my head is spinning and I need to stop now.

Here are my family tree scribbles. I hope they help clarify things. I certainly needed to draw them so I could keep track of who was marrying whom. Yeesh!

Llywelyn ap Iorweth's line

Llywelyn ap Iorweth’s line. Note: John de Braose is not Isabella’s uncle, as I noted in his entry. I was getting overwhelmed at this point.

The de Braose line

The de Braose line

I’ll finish by apologizing for any errors, especially in degree or name of relationship; I’m still learning about who’s “once-removed” as opposed to a 2nd cousin, and this is a messy enough knot to confuse anyone. Well, almost anyone. :} If you spot any errors, I would appreciate kind corrections in comments. Thank you!!

(some of my sources – I’ve favored Wikipedia because the person pages are interlinked, they often include references, and seem mostly correct.)

Castle Wales’ page on Llywelyn ap Iorwerth
Pen Y Bryn, the Princes’ Tower – Llywelyn & Joan’s home
Castle Wales’ page on the Kings of Gwynedd
Llywelyn’s page at English Monarchs site
Llywelyn the Great in “A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest” Vol 2, by Sir John Edward Lloyd (1911) Llywelyn’s part starts on P 612, “Early Manhood” and goes until at least p 693.
Sharon K. Penman’s link to interesting research on the family tree. Includes some of the questions about the maternity of the children, and the reasons many researchers tend towards the view I’ve outlined in the previous post.
Related to her book about this family.

Joan’s grave
– Wikipedia’s entry on Joan
– Joan, Lady of Wales on English Monarchs site
“Thirteenth Century England X: Proceedings of the Durham Conference 2003” – Joan’s part starts on p 81 and continues, with a lot of information about our subsequent characters, including William de Braose the younger.

Dafydd ap Llywelyn:
– Wikipedia entry on Dafydd

Gwladus Ddu:
Wikipedia on Gwladus
– More information can be found in “Thirteenth Century England X”, under Joan above

Marared or Margaret ferch Llywelyn:
Halhead family tree including Margaret

William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber:
– Wikipedia entry
– Another page on William
– Matthew Boulter’s dissertation on William
– Michael Family site on William and his wife, Maud

Reginald de Braose
– Wikipedia

William de Braose
– House of Braose
– Wikipedia

Isabella de Braose:
Wikipedia entry on Isabella; has more info on her father’s death

Maud de Braose
Maud on Wikipedia

Roger Mortimer, 1st Baron Mortimer
– Wikipedia