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Valentina Doria of Milan

April 23, 2014 , , ,

Valentina Doria

Valentina Doria

My 19th great-grandmother was from a noble family that still has branches in parts of Europe carrying titles.  The Doria family was influential in northern Italy. She married Stefano Visconti, Duke of Milan, when she was 25:

Stefano Visconti (died 4 July 1327) was a member of the House of Visconti that ruled Milan from the 14th to the 15th century. He was the son of Matteo I Visconti.
In 1318 he married Valentina Doria, with whom he had three children: Matteo, Galeazzo and Bernabò, who shared the rule in Milan after his death.

They are buried in a very fancy tomb in the church of Sant’Eustorgio in Milan.  Now I have many reasons to return to Milan.

Valentina Doria (1293 – 1359)
is my 19th great grandmother
Bernabo Lord Milan di Visconti (1319 – 1385)
son of Valentina Doria
Veridis Duchess Austria Visconti (1352 – 1414)
daughter of Bernabo Lord Milan di Visconti
Ernst I “Ironside” Archduke of Austria Habsburg (1377 – 1424)
son of Veridis Duchess Austria Visconti
Katharina Archduchess Austria Von Habsburg (1420 – 1493)
daughter of Ernst I “Ironside” Archduke of Austria Habsburg
Christof I VanBaden (1453 – 1527)
son of Katharina Archduchess Austria Von Habsburg
Beatrix Zahringen (1492 – 1535)
daughter of Christof I VanBaden
Sabine Grafin VonSimmern (1528 – 1578)
daughter of Beatrix Zahringen
Marie L Egmond (1564 – 1584)
daughter of Sabine Grafin VonSimmern
Richard Sears (1590 – 1676)
son of Marie L Egmond
Silas Sears (1638 – 1697)
son of Richard Sears
Silas Sears (1661 – 1732)
son of Silas Sears
Sarah Sears (1697 – 1785)
daughter of Silas Sears
Sarah Hamblin (1721 – 1814)
daughter of Sarah Sears
Mercy Hazen (1747 – 1819)
daughter of Sarah Hamblin
Martha Mead (1784 – 1860)
daughter of Mercy Hazen
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of Martha Mead
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

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I have legitimate descent through Thaddaea Visconti b. 1351.
But of more interest to me is something I wrote years ago. I need to go back over this but here it is anyway with any proof:

I have run into many interesting people who were not ennobled. I have had it in my mind to cover some of those, so I will start with John Hawkwood (born c. 1320, died 1394) who was an English mercenary or condottiero who was active in 14th century Italy.
We descend through his daughter, Antiocha Hawkwood (1351-1379), and the progression is as follows:

Antiocha Hawkwood (1351 – 1379)
Your 17th great grandmother
Alice Coggeshall (1382 – 1422)
daughter of Antiocha Hawkwood
William Tyrrell (1415 – 1459)
son of Alice Coggeshall
Eleanor Tyrrell (1466 – 1514)
daughter of William Tyrrell
Thomas Knyvett (1482 – 1512)
son of Eleanor Tyrrell
Henry Knyvett (1510 – 1547)
son of Thomas Knyvett
Henry Knyvett (1539 – 1598)
son of Henry Knyvett
Thomas Knyvett (1558 – 1594)
son of Henry Knyvett
Eleanor Knyvett (1580 – 1630)
daughter of Thomas Knyvett
Thomas Hastings (1605 – 1685)
son of Eleanor Knyvett
Thomas Hastings (1652 – 1712)
son of Thomas Hastings
Margaret Hastings (1674 – 1740)
daughter of Thomas Hastings
Sylvanus Evarts (1721 – 1809)
son of Margaret Hastings
Ambrose Everts (1759 – 1832)
son of Sylvanus Evarts
Gustavus Adelphus Everts (1797 – 1884)
son of Ambrose Everts
Eliza Ann Everts (1830 – 1894)
daughter of Gustavus Adelphus Everts
Octavia Abigail Hendricks (1865 – 1961)
daughter of Eliza Ann Everts
Walter Root Bennett (1886 – 1935)
son of Octavia Abigail Hendricks
Ethel Bennett (1917 – )
daughter of Walter Root Bennett
Frederick Edward Rehfeldt

In order to save time, I have simply copied and pasted from my sources. This approach fits my objectives. I can always go back and do it right.
The French chronicler Jean Froissart knew John Hawkwood as Jean Haccoude and the Italian statesman, Niccolò Machiavelli, as Giovanni Acuto. Hawkwood served first the Pope and then various factions in Italy for over 30 years, amassing a fortune in land and gold.

John Hawkwood was the second of three son’s of a prosperous tanner, Gilbert Hawkwood of Sible Hedingham in Essex, very close to the home of the powerful de Vere family at Hedingham Castle.

John’s elder brother who was the de Vere’s steward was also called John and inherited Hawkwood Manor as was the custom of the day. John only received a modest inheritance of £20 and a quantity of corn. He was also, as was the custom, given a bed and maintenance for a year. After that he left home and ended up in the army. The records do not recount his early life. There is unsubstantiated legend that he was a tailor but this seems unlikely. What is certain is that he took part in the battles of the early part of the Hundred Years War and there is no reason not to accept that he was at both the famous battle of Crecy and Poitiers ten years later and that he distinguished himself sufficiently to have knighthood conferred upon him.

Hawkwood learned his trade as the English battled the French for twenty years. It was during this time that the tactics of the English with their men at arms supported ably by the dreaded longbowmen meant that money was to be made for soldiers and nobles alike and it was Hawkwoods’ only source of income. Therefore when the peace treaty of Bretigny was signed in 1360 John and thousands of other soldiers were out of a job. He was, according to the famous chronicler Froissart, “a poor Knight with nothing but his spurs”.
Being out of a job in a foreign land with literally thousands of others in the same boat, Hawkwood joined and eventually came to lead a number of free companies who would work for whoever would pay them or when no pay was available they would help themselves to whatever the local countryside, town or village had to offer; much to the horror of those who happened to be living there at the time.
Once in Italy, John rose to command of the free company which became known as the White Company; so called because the armour which they wore was polished to mirror brightness.
Turning up with a ready made and efficient army meant that you did not have too much trouble in finding employment in 14th Century Italy and John was soon working for Pisa against Florence, Florence against Pisa, etc. The English were much sought after because they were tough, professional and if they were on your border with an army it might just be a good idea to get them on your side.
Hawkwood was fighting in Italy for over 20 years and had notable employers during that time including the Pope, the Visconti’s of Milan and the city states of Pisa, Padua and Florence.
Never known for his prowess as a combatant, he excelled as a general. He fought many successful battles, the high point being the Battle of Castagnaro (1387) between Padua and Verona, whose army was led by Hawkwood. Following a strategic withdrawal from his siege lines due to a brilliant outflanking move, Hawkwood won the day.
His lowest and most infamous action was at Cesena (1377) when under the direct order of Cardinal Robert, Count of Geneva (a future pope), the inhabitants of the town were massacred and 8,000 died. Although Hawkwood sent about a thousand women to Rimini and safety.

If not paid, mercenaries like Hawkwood could threaten their employers with desertion or pillage. However, part of the White Company’s reputation was built upon the fact that Sir John’s men were far less likely to desert in dangerous situations than other mercenaries and Hawkwood soon grew much richer than many other condottieri. He bought estates in the Romagna and in Tuscany, and a castle at Montecchio Vesponi. Despite all this, it is claimed that he was illiterate. His education was rudimentary at best; contemporaries specifically remarked on his lack of oratorical skills, and much of his business and correspondence was done by proxy and later by his wife.

In 1368, he attended the wedding of Lionel of Antwerp to Violante, daughter of Galeazzo II Visconti, in Milan. Also in attendance were the literary stars of the era Chaucer, Jean Froissart and Petrarch.

Hawkwood was probably first married during the early years of the Hundred Years War but no detail is known about his first wife. His daughter from that marriage, Antioca, married into the Coggeshall family. A descendant of hers was the poet Shelly.
Later in life, he married Donina Visconti, illigitimate daughter of the Duke of Milan, his employer on many occasions. He was loyal to England, the Country of his birth, and stressed that he would not take up arms against his homeland. He was a man of simple tastes who spent almost his entire life soldiering. In his later years he was appointed the Captain General of the armies of Florence but never retired.

In the 1390s Hawkwood became a commander-in-chief of the army of Florence in the war against the expansion of Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan. Hawkwood’s army invaded Lombardy and was within ten miles of Milan before he had to retreat over Adige river. Later in the year, forces under his command defended Florence and later defeated the Milanese force of Jacopo dal Verme. Eventually Visconti sued for peace. Contemporary opinion in Florence regarded Hawkwood as a savior of Florence’s independence against Milanese expansion.
Florence gave Hawkwood citizenship and a pension. He spent his later years in a villa in the vicinity of Florence.

It was Hawkwood’s intention to return to England and he was in the process of selling his estates so that he could do so when he died in Florence on March 16-March 17, 1394. The Florentines gave him a state funeral and after his death the famous artist Paolo Ucello in 1436 painted a great equestrian fresco in the Duomo in Florence. Shortly afterwards, Richard II asked for his body to be returned to his native England. Hawkwood’s son also moved to Essex, England.

Posthumously Hawkwood gained a reputation of both brutality and chivalry. In Sible Hedingham there is a Hawkwood memorial chapel and a Hawkwood Road. In Romagna there is a Strada Aguta.
He is one of the Nine Worthies of London mentioned by Richard Johnson in his book of 1592.

Liked by 1 person

frederick (rick) rehfeldt

April 24, 2014

What a great story. You have gathered so many details. Not too shabby to have one’s equestrian fresco in the Duomo in Florence.I need to see about my connection to Gian Galeazzo, if any. Our ancestors were quilted together, cousin Rick.



April 24, 2014

cousin Pamela- I read last night that Sir John Hawkwood was knighted in the field at Poiters by Edward III. I also read that the wife of Sir John Hawkwood, Domnina Visconti, was the adopted daughter of Bernabo. CR


frederick (rick) rehfeldt

April 24, 2014

CR, Fabulous!!!! Bernabo was huge. He has portraits and equestrian statue art. It is so cool (and pretty wild) that we are related so many different times and ways.CP



April 24, 2014

Such an amazing personal history. This woman lived in incredible times.


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

April 30, 2014

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