Generation 21 – Sir Edward le Despenser, Knt (1310 – 1342)

47 Generations of Family History
Generation 21
Sir Edward le Despenser, Knt
(1310 – 1342)

Great Grandson of King Edward I / Imprisoned in the Tower of London / Son of a Traitor / An officer in King Edward III’s Army / Died in Battle.

Tower of London Photo Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica

Tower of London
Photo Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica

Facts
Name: Sir Edward le Despenser, Knt
Birth: abt 1310 / before 23 November 1315
Place of Birth: Buckland, Buckshire, England

Parents:
Father: Hugh “1st Lord Despenser” le DESPENSER
Mother: Eleanor ‘Alianore’ de CLARE

Spouse: Anne ‘of Groby’ de FERRERS
Marriage: 20 April 1335
Place of Marriage: Groby, Leicestershire, England

Children: They had 4 known children (possibly 5)
i. Edward “1st Baron le Despencer” le DESPENSER K.G.
ii. Sir Hugh le DESPENCER Knt
iii. Henry “Bishop of Norwich” le DESPENSER
iv. Thomas le DESPENSER Knt
v. Gilbert le DESPENSER

Death: 30 September 1342
Place of Death: Morlaix, Finistere, Bretagne, France
Cause of Death: In Combat during the Battle of Morlaix
Burial: March 1342
Place of Burial: Morlaix, Finistere, Bretagne, France

Titles:
(i) Knight

Battles and Wars:
30 September 1342 – Battle of Morlaix

Heraldry: Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent; 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable.

Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent; 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable Source: Wikepedia

Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent; 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable
Source: Wikepedia

My Family Connection: 20th great-grandfather

Short Biography

Edward le Despenser (1310–1342) was the third eldest son of Hugh le Despenser the Younger (1286 – 1326) by his wife Eleanor de Clare (1292 – 1337).

His father is famous for being the favourite of Edward II of England, and was consequently executed for it on the 24th November 1326 in Hereford, Herefordshire, before Mortimer and the Queen. He was judged a traitor and a thief, and sentenced to public execution by hanging, as a thief, and drawing and quartering, as a traitor. Additionally, he was sentenced to be disemboweled for having procured discord between the King and Queen, and to be beheaded, for returning to England after having been banished.

Despenser was dragged behind four horses to his place of execution, where a great fire was lit. He was stripped naked, and Biblical verses denouncing arrogance and evil were carved into his skin. He was then hanged from a gallows 50 ft (15 m) high, but cut down before he could choke to death.
In Froissart’s account of the execution, Despenser was then tied to a ladder, and in full view of the crowd had his genitals sliced off and burned (in his still-conscious sight) then his entrails slowly pulled out, and, finally, his heart cut out and thrown into the fire. Professor Clare Sponsler says that Froissart is the only source to describe castration, where all other contemporary accounts have Despenser quartered, hanged, and beheaded.
Just before he died, it is recorded that he let out a “ghastly inhuman howl”, much to the delight and merriment of the spectators. Finally, his corpse was beheaded, his body cut into four pieces, and his head mounted on the gates of London. Mortimer and Isabella feasted with their chief supporters, as they watched the execution.

Edward le Despenser’s grandfather Hugh le Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester (1261 – 1326) was also executed and his date of death is recorded 27th October 1326, although his death wasn’t as horrific. Still wearing his armour He was executed in Bristol, immediately after his arrest, beheaded and his body cut into pieces for the dogs. His head was sent for display to Winchester, which had supported the king.

Edward le Despenser alongside his mother Eleanor de Clare (1292 – 1337) and his siblings were imprisoned in the Tower of London (November 1326 – February 1328). He was clearly too young to be seen as a threat to Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, unlike his older brother, Hugh (who was imprisoned by the two in 1327).

Through his mother, he was a great grandson of Edward I of England.

Later life

Like a few of his brothers, Edward served in Edward III’s military campaigns. In 1342, he accompanied his older brother Hugh to mainland Europe. Although they were originally heading for Gascony, they were diverted to Brest to aid King Edward’s ally the Countess of Montfort in the Breton Civil War. On September 30, 1342, he and his brother’s forces joined the English and helped achieve a victory against the French army at Morlaix. Unfortunately, Edward died during the battle. He was the highest-ranking English casualty there.

Anne de FERRERS is the daughter of William ‘of Groby’ “1st Lord Ferrers” de FERRERS and Ellen de SEGRAVE [1, 4, 6, 7]. She was born Abt. 1315 in Groby Old Hall, Leicestershire, England [1]. She died on 08 Aug 1367 in Essendine, Rutland, England [1, 6].

Sir Edward le DESPENSER Knt and Anne de FERRERS. They were married on 20 Apr 1335 in Groby, Leicestershire, England [1, 3]. They had 5 children.

  • i. Edward “1st Baron le Despencer” le DESPENSER K.G. [8, 9, 10, 1, 11, 4, 12, 13].
    He was born 24 Mar 1335/36 in Essendine, Rutlandshire, England [8, 9, 1].
    Christening 24 Mar 1335/36 in Essendine, Rutlandshire, England. He married
    Elizabeth “Baroness” de BURGHERSH. They were married 1364 [1]. Effigy
    1375 in Tewkesbury Abbey, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England (Foster,
    Joseph. 1902. Some feudal coats of arms and others. pg 69. London: J.
    Parker & Co..). Burial 1375 in Tewkesbury Abbey, Tewkesbury,
    Gloucestershire, England (Tewkesbury Abbey, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire,
    England) [8, 9, 11, 12]. Will on 06 Nov 1375 in Lanblethyan in Wales [12]. He died on 11 Nov 1375 in Llanblethian, Glamorganshire, Wales [8, 9, 10, 1, 11].
  • ii. Sir Hugh le DESPENCER Knt [14, 15]. He was born 1339 in Colyweston,
    Northamptonshire, England [14]. He married Alice de HOTHAM. They were
    married Abt. 1358 in Cranswick, Hotham, & Kennythorpe, Yorkshire, England
    [14]. He died on 02 Mar 1374 in Padua, Padua, Veneto, Italy [14]. Coat of Arms was Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable.
  • iii. Thomas le DESPENSER Knt [16]. He was born 1341 in Groby Castle,
    Leicestershire, England. He died Feb 1381 in England.
  • iv. Henry “Bishop of Norwich” le DESPENSER[10, 17, 18, 19]. He was born 1341 in Groby Castle, Leicestershire, England [10, 17, 18]. Canon of Salisbury 1354 in Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England [18]. Rector of Bosworth, Leicestershire 1361 in Bosworth, Leicestershire, England [18]. Ordination on 17 Dec 1362 [17]. Archdeacon of Llandaff 1364 in Llandaff, Glamorganshire, Wales [18]. Rector of Elsworth, Cambridgeshire 1364 in Elsworth, Cambridgeshire, England [18]. Canon of Lincoln 1364 in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England [18]. Canon of Llandaff 1366 in Llandaff, Glamorganshire, Wales [18]. Consecration on 20 Apr 1370 [17]. Bishop of Norwich on 12 Jul 1370 in Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, Norfolk, England (Until his death in 1406) [17, 18]. He died on 23 Aug 1406 in Elmham, Norfolk, England [10, 18].
  • v. Gilbert le DESPENSER [20]. He was born Abt. 1342 in Groby Castle,
    Leicestershire, England. He died 1358 in Groby Castle, Leicestershire,
    England.

Sources

[1] Heritage Consulting, Millennium File (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003.Original data – Heritage Consulting. The Millennium File. Salt Lake City, UT, USA: Heritage Consulting.Original data: Heritage Consulting. The Millennium File. Salt Lake City, UT, USA).

[2] Alfred Gibbons, Early Lincoln Wills. An Abstract of all the Wills & Administrations recorded in the Episcopal Register of the Old Diocese of Lincoln (290 High Street, Lincoln), Last Will and Testament of EDWARD LE DESPENSER, Knight – March 1342. Last Will and Testament of EDWARD LE DESPENSER, Knight – March 1342 The Last Will and Testament of EDWARD LE DESPENCER, knight. EDWARD LE DESPENCER, knight.Dat’ apud Elsham, xii Kal. Marcij 1342. [fo. 97.]Adm. to Ralph de Donyngton, vicar of Rihale, power beingreserved to Wm. de Bayous, knight, & Anne widow of deceased.

[3] Sir Edward le Despenser, Sir Edward le Despenser. Sir Edward le Despenser1 M, #26435, d. 30 September 1342 Sir Edward le Despenser was the son of Hugh le Despenser, 1st Lord le Despenser and Lady Eleanor de Clare.1 He married Anne de Ferrers, daughter of Sir William de Ferrers, on 20 April 1335.1 He died on 30 September 1342.1 He lived at Pelsthorpe, England.1 Child of Sir Edward le Despenser and Anne de Ferrers Edward le Despenser, 1st Lord le Despenser+1 b. 24 Mar 1335/36, d. 11 Nov 1375 Citations [S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 1385. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37].

[4] Yates Publishing, U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.Original data – This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Originally, the information was derived), Source number: 88.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: FAI.

[5] Ancestry Family Trees (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.), Ancestry Family Tree.
http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=4632607&pid=14783.

[6] Anne de Ferrers, Anne de Ferrers. Anne de Ferrers1 F, #322450, 6 d. 8 August 1367.

[7] Ancestry Family Trees (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.), Ancestry Family Tree.
http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=4632607&pid=18808.

[8] Ancestry.com, Web: International, Find A Grave Index (Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.).

[9] Ancestry.com, UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s-Current (Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.).

[10] Ancestry.com, Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.Original data – Stephen, Sir Leslie, ed. Dictionary of National Biography, 1921â\u20ac\u201c1922. London, England: Oxf).

[11] Ancestry.com, UK, Extracted Probate Records (Ancestry.com Operations Inc).

[12] Alfred Gibbons, Early Lincoln Wills. An Abstract of all the Wills & Administrations recorded in the Episcopal Register of the Old Diocese of Lincoln (290 High Street, Lincoln), Last Will and Testament of EDWARD LE DESPENSER, lord of Glowmorg & Morgann. EDWARD LE DESPENSER, lord of Glowmorg & Morgann. Dated at Lanblethyan in Wales, 6 Nov. 1375. [fo. 163.] To be buried in Tewkesbury Abbey, near my ancestors, gisantez al costez del south. My wife Elizabeth. To Teukesbury Abbey, a chalice, &c., which I had of the gift of the King of France. To Nicole Abbot of Weymonstr* un hanap &c. which I had of the gift of the Abbot of Glastyngbury. My uncle Ralph de Ferres un hanape which I had of the gift of the Earl of Stafford. Friars of Kerdyff &c. Executors:—Sir John Daundeseye, Sir John ffallesle & Sir Edward Dallyngregg knights, Robert Perole elk, Brother Rob. Borton my confessor, Hen. Yakesle, & Thos. Broun. No probate annexed.

[13] Ancestry Family Trees (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.), Ancestry Family Tree.
http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=4632607&pid=18417.

[14] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, Hugh Le Despenser – Page 73. See added Story.

[15] Ancestry Family Trees (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.), Ancestry Family Tree.
http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=4632607&pid=18817.

[16] Ancestry Family Trees (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.), Ancestry Family Tree.
http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=4632607&pid=18818.

[17] Henry le Despenser (Wikepedia), Henry le Despenser. See Webpage for more details.

[18] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, Henry LE DESPENSER – Page 74.

[19] Ancestry Family Trees (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.), Ancestry Family Tree.
http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=4632607&pid=18820.

[20] Ancestry Family Trees (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.), Ancestry Family Tree.
http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=4632607&pid=18819.

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8 thoughts on “Generation 21 – Sir Edward le Despenser, Knt (1310 – 1342)

  1. Well, dear Cousin, we are somehow related. My maternal family tree is littered with De Ferrers. Baron William is my 19th great grandfather, and Anne is my 18th great-grandmother. Poor Anne, to have had her husband meet such a ghastly fate.

    • Lol, 🙂 Hi Cousin, I relate to the De Ferrers family in many ways too, although this particular line is the best sourced and well researched. I still have other connections to investigate further and once my sources are all in place and I am happy with the results I will write these lines too.
      I am sure we are related severel times over. 🙂

    • It is very sick, although atrocities still occur today all around the world. Sadly if allowed, there are many people who would do awful things. I dont think medieval people are that different from people today. We are just more educated and have a safer and fairer system. Take that all away, and the monsters like Hitler are never to far away.

      • Scary thought. But yes, torture still exists, even state-sponsored torture, as we’ve seen in the US recently. But most people today (I hope) would not get pleasure out of watching someone dragged through the streets.

      • I would hope not too, but I think public executions still occur. Like stoning of women in arabian countries. Awful world we live in, I only hope it keeps getting better

  2. My great great grandmother is Florence Parish Spencer who immigrated from britain to New York State america in the 1800s… we have traced her line back to the 1100s ..and the le despensers… oddly enough in 2009 knowing nothing of this i visited the tower i did not go in but was drawn to traitors gate and fell in love with the odd feeling of peace i felt there. ..

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