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Both of my parents appear to descend from the Plantagenets of England. The princess daughters of Edward I, Joan and Elizabeth, are my 22nd and 21st great-grandmothers. I have found double ancestry before in my tree in the past. I am not so concerned about inbreeding since this happened to my parents’ families in the 1200’s and they did not marry until 1942.
Princess Joan was born in Syria while her parents were on a crusade to the holy land. Elizabeth was born in Wales. There is a 10 year difference in their ages. Joan and Elizabeth both married twice. After her first husband died young Joan married a commoner, my ancestor, who would be killed in battle.
Princess Elizabeth Plantagenet of England
Youngest Daughter of Edward I
Not much is written about Elizabeth. In medieval times, unless she became queen, a woman had little hope of being remembered in history. Rich or poor, most women faded into obscurity upon their death, never to be thought of again. So, what can be drawn from the known tidbits of Elizabeth’s life as a princess?
All little girls at one time or another dream of being a princess -no matter which country, culture, language, or religion; around the world, this is a universal fantasy for very young girls. Oddly enough however, the fantasy has nothing to do with the realities of medieval life, which was arguably coarse, unpaved, and uncomfortable for several hundred years. Rather, in a little girl’s mind, being a princess would mean spendiing money like it was going out of style, buying lavish wardrobes, dating all the good looking guys who always hang around the king in those ‘not particularly accurate’ movies about the middle ages -not to mention that we’d have a maid, meaning we’d never have to do household chores again. But, the lives of medieval noble women in actuality were far from idyllic.
A Princess’s Life
Elizabeth Plantagenet was born in August of 1282 at Rhuddlan Castle in North Wales. Her father, King Edward I, was on a millitary campaign in Wales, and Queen Eleanor had accompanied him, as was her custom.
Like moons locked in orbit around a domineering star, generally their fathers or husbands, there was no escape for medieval noble women. Their lives were often planned years in advance.
Frankly, it was the men in Elizabeth’s life who shaped her as a person. Fist, her father Edward, whom she loved dearly. Like all the other possessions belonging to her father, as a princess, Elizabeth was a tool in the making of Edward’s foreign policy.
But then, a Princess was not consulted with regard to her feelings on the matter. After all, in her father’s eyes, it was none of her business who she married. She was simply expected to do as the king requested.
Elizabeth Plantagenet was first married to John I, Count of Holland, in 1297.
After his death, she married Humphrey de Bohun on Nov. 14th, 1302. Although never done in continental royalty, a few daughters of the English Plantagenet Kings did marry commoners, such as in the case of Elizabeth. This fact is what permits any of the commoners of today to have a royal line of descent. Elizabeth had 6 sons and 4 daughters with Humphrey de Bohun, which included the twins William and Edward.
Elizabeth is reported to have been the most strong-headed of her sisters. She could be stuborn, confrontational, and openly argumentative, qualities that are traditionally discouraged in a princess. But, Elizabeth also knew how to get at least some of what she wanted in life -through superficial charm and flattery.
In fact, when Elizabeth and her other sisters wanted something, they used to gang up on their father the king, complimenting him, capitalizing on topics they knew to be ego boosters for him, turning him into malleable taffy, all the better to wrap him around their fingers. Poor Edward was a sucker for a beautiful girl, batting her eyes, fawning over him, making him feel like a pampered man. But, the decisions he made concerning his daughters’ futures were sober, carefully thought out ones. He was determined to have them married to his choice of men, for his reasons only -personal feelings notwithstanding.
Husband #1 -John I, Count of Holland
John I (1284-1299) was count of Holland and son of Count Floris V. After a campaign in 1287-1288 Cloris finally defeated the Frisians. In the meantime he had received Zeeland-bewester-Schelde (the area that controls access to the Scheldt river) as a loan from the Holy Roman King in 1287, but the local nobility sided with the count of Flanders who invaded in 1290. Floris arranged a meeting with count Guy of Flanders, but he was taken prisoner and was forced to abandon his claims and then set free.
Floris immediately wanted to resume war, but King Edward I of England, who had an interest in access to the great rivers for wool and other English goods, convinced Floris to stop hostilities with Flanders. Then Edward I moved his trade in wool from Dordrecht in Holland to Mechelen in Flanders and, in 1296. he prohibited all English trade on Holland and conspired with count Guy of Flanders to have Floris kidnapped and taken to France.The humiliated lords Gijsbrecht IV of Amstel and Hendrik of Woerden enter the scene again as part of the conspiracy.
Together with Gerard of Velzen they capture Count Floris during a hunting party. The news of his capture spreads quickly and the small group of knights is stopped by an angry mob of local peasants. In panic Gerard of Velzen kills the count, and the knights flee. Gerard of Velzen is later captured and killed in Leiden.
Having rid himself of both these irritants, Edward then arranges Elizabeth’s marriage to the dead man’s son John. In many ways, Edward I outdid his predescessors by developing his own dispicable brand of viciousness.
Elizabeth was the most strong willed of her sisters and was not afraid to argue with her father. Nonetheless, whether or not she agreed with the decision, she did as she was asked and married John, Count of Holland. And he wasn’t that bad of a catch for her. John inherited the county in 1296 after Edward practically arranged for the murder of his father. In the following year, he married Princess Elizabeth. At the wedding, Edward I threw her coronet into the fire, apparently unhappy at some aspect of wedding planning.
The marriage was not to last as John died soon afterwards in 1299, only fifteen years-old. With his death without descendents, Elizabeth was free to marry again.
Husband #2 -Earl Humphrey VIII of Hereford-Essex
The marriage of Humphrey VII to Elizabeth Plantagenet, daughter of Edward I was the very pinnacle of the DeBohun dynastic rise to power. Sir Humphrey was a favorite of Edward’s. Like the Claypools to follow, the DeBohun’s were Social climbers. They were among the people who sought their fortune by getting as close as they possibly could to the sovreign on the throne at any given time. Indeed, many fortunes were made and lost in just this way throughout the centuries in England.
Although he may have loved her, Humphrey was more concerned with how his marriage improved his social standing and the extent to which it could improve his landholdings and profits. This worked out great when Edward I was king. Unfortunately, when Edward II -Elizabeth’s brother- took the helm, Humphrey suddenly had some stiff competition in the way of Piers Gaveston and the Despencers. (The Claypooles also share a line with the Despencers.)
Needless to say Sir Humphrey did a great deal of complaining. Although he was married to Edward II’s sister and carried the sceptre with the cross at his coronation, Humphrey was to die, a proclaimed traitor, from the thrust of a Welshman’s lance at the battle of Boroughbridge. This would be the ignoble end of Elizabeth’s second and final husband.
Brotherly Influence -Edward II and His Sister Elizabeth
Close to the same age, Elizabeth had a strong sibling relationship with her brother Edward, later to be the ill-fated King Edward II. Elizabeth Plantagenet died c. May 5, 1316, and was buried at Walden Priory in Essex. King Edward I was born on June 17th, 1239, the son of King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence. He acceded to the throne on Nov. 16th, 1272. During Edward’s long reign, he became the outstanding English king of the middle ages.
He married Eleanor, daughter of King Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon, at Las Huelgas in 1254. Edward and Eleanor had 14 children, with Elizabeth being the 12th, and the future Edward II the 13th. Eleanor of Castile died in 1290; and after her funeral procession from Lincolnshire marked by the famous Eleanor Crosses, she was buried in London at Westminster Abbey. Edward I later married Margaret of France as his second wife in 1299. While on a military campaign against the Scots, Edward I died July 7th, 1307, at the border site of Burgh-on-the-Sands near Carlisle. He also was buried at Westminster Abbey. The tombs of Edward and Eleanor can be visited at the Abbey to the present day.
Edward II was more than just an ineffectual king, he was a jerk and people simply didn’t like him. England suffered under many ineffectual leaders in the middle ages, but a monarch who committed what his subjects viewed as ‘abominible acts’ was something the English couldn’t stomach. Without the hearts and minds of the people, such a monarch is doomed, no matter how good or bad a sovreign he or she may be. Elizabeth was on her brother’s side for quite a while. However, Edward’s behavior eventually got completely out of hand, and her continued support for him made things increasingly awkward for her, considering her marriage into the DeBohun family. So, what exactly did Edward do that was so terrible?
Was it that he was a murderer? No. While murder is a heinous thing, his subjects did not consider it an ‘abominible act’ for a king to commit. Instead, what Edward did was thought to be a sin against nature and God -Edward II was openly homosexual. Not that there hadn’t been gay princes and kings in the past -Richard I was notoriously attracted to same sex relationships. It’s the idea that he was not discreet about it. He didn’t do what princes of the past had done -marry and keep any extracurricular relationships, whether they be with men or women, out of the public eye. Edward pushed the bounds of decency, even at formal events when the eyes of the world were upon him.
At his own coronation in 1324, Edward horrified the nobility and visitiing French royalty with he blatently flirted with Piers Gaveston, completely ignoring his wife, Queen Isabella. Not that his preferring the company of a man his own age to that of his twelve-year-old spouse was so strange, but he wasn’t just conversing with him. Edward was treating Gaveston as if he were talking to the opposite sex.
It was extremely embarrassing for his family members present. Such behavior dangerously flauted social convention of the day, which was heavily influenced by the Church and its draconian notions of propriety and sin. Elizabeth, who had been on her brother’s side, was placed in an awkward postion. She loved Edward her brother, but she was also married to one of the chief plaintiffs where Gaveston and the Despencers were concerned. That, coupled with the openess with which Edward displayed his sexuality, made the world nervous and ultimately forced her to withdraw her support as well. [Above and Left: Edward II, King of England]
Like many kings before him, Edward II’s reign was perverted by the counsel of evil favorites. Favorites were, in any case, a considerable threat to magnates’, such as Sir Humphrey, possibilities of bettering themselves, or of even surviving. Those magnates rich and important enough to frequent the court were always haunted by the fear that their power, based on a quasi-monopoly of royal favor and patronage, might be eroded by the arrival of newcomers or monopolized by one or two individuals.
This meant not only the loss of land grants but of possibilities of finding the best marriages for themselves and their children. And these favorites -are they gracious to others in their new found fortune? -Hardly. Favorites tend to not only absorb a lot of royal wealth, but also develop a hostility or contemptuous attitude toward the nobility. This portrait of ugliness is a perfect depiction of Piers Gaveston and the Despencers.
The Plantagenet Bloodline
Although the women of the king’s household never were allowed to wield any actual power per se over the kingdom, oddly enough, because of wars, assassinations, and sometimes just general bad luck, it was the women who were the ones, more often than not, to carry on the family bloodline. In the case of Edward and his sister Elizabeth, it was Elizabeth who would become the great progenetor of subsequent generations of noble children through her marriage to Humphrey DeBohun.
Edward, was eventually imprisoned at Kenilworth Castle, and a parliament met at Westminster in January 1327, which chose his son to be king as Edward III. It was thought prudent to compel the captive king to resign the crown, and on January 20 Edward was forced to renounce his office before a committee of the estates.
The government of Isabella, Edward’s wife, and Mortimer, a former baronial exile, was so precarious that they dared not leave the deposed king alive. On April 3 he was secretly removed from Kenilworth and entrusted to the custody of two dependants of Mortimer. After various wanderings he was imprisoned at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire. Every indignity was inflicted upon him, and he was systematically ill-treated in the hope that he would die of disease. When his strong constitution seemed likely to prevail he was secretly put to death on September 21. The popular legend is that his murder was by a red-hot poker thrust up his anus through a hollow tube, considered by his captors as an appropriate punishment for his homosexuality, which would show no outward signs of violence. It was announced that he had died a natural death, and he was buried in St Peter’s Abbey at Gloucester, now the cathedral, where his son afterwards erected a magnificent tomb.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, went on to bear her husband, Humphrey, several children, one of which was William DeBohun, 1st Earl of Northampton, who in turn had a daughter named Elizabeth DeBohun, who married Richard Fitalan KG, 11th/4th Earl of Arundel, Earl of Surry, English nobleman, naval and miltary commander. Richard was the grandson of Baron Hugh Despencer, fierce rival of Humphrey DeBohun, who was his wife’s grandfather. In this way, marriage and money held powerful sway over family aliances and enmities. Quite often the need to increase fortunes and landholdings led natural enemies to eventually join households, pursuant to building an exponentially more powerful noble house than the two ever could have been as separate entities.
My paternal line looks like this:
Joan Plantagenet (1272 – 1307)
Lady Margaret De Clare Baroness Audley (1292 – 1342)
daughter of Joan Plantagenet
Lady Alice De Audley Baroness Neville (1315 – 1373)
daughter of Lady Margaret De Clare Baroness Audley
Sir John ‘3rd Baron de Raby’ Neville, Admiral of the Kings Fleet (1341 – 1388)
son of Lady Alice De Audley Baroness Neville
Thomas De Neville (1362 – 1406)
son of Sir John ‘3rd Baron de Raby’ Neville, Admiral of the Kings Fleet
Maude de Neville (1392 – 1421)
daughter of Thomas De Neville
John Talbot (1413 – 1460)
son of Maude de Neville
Isabel Talbot (1444 – 1531)
daughter of John Talbot
Sir Richard Ashton (1460 – 1549)
son of Isabel Talbot
Sir Christopher Ashton (1493 – 1519)
son of Sir Richard Ashton
Lady Elizabeth Ashton (1524 – 1588)
daughter of Sir Christopher Ashton
Capt Roger Dudley (1535 – 1585)
son of Lady Elizabeth Ashton
Gov Thomas Dudley (1576 – 1653)
son of Capt Roger Dudley
Anne Dudley (1612 – 1672)
daughter of Gov Thomas Dudley
John Bradstreet (1652 – 1718)
son of Anne Dudley
Mercy Bradstreet (1689 – 1725)
daughter of John Bradstreet
Caleb Hazen (1720 – 1777)
son of Mercy Bradstreet
Mercy Hazen (1747 – 1819)
daughter of Caleb Hazen
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
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse
The maternal line is:
Elizabeth of Rhuddlan Princess of England Plantagenet (1282 – 1316)
William Earl of Northampton De Bohun (1312 – 1360)
son of Elizabeth of Rhuddlan Princess of England Plantagenet
Lady Elizabeth Countess Arundel Countess DeBohun (1350 – 1385)
daughter of William Earl of Northampton De Bohun
Elizabeth Duchess Norfolk Fitzalan (1366 – 1425)
daughter of Lady Elizabeth Countess Arundel Countess DeBohun
Lady Joan De Goushill Baroness Stanley (1402 – 1459)
daughter of Elizabeth Duchess Norfolk Fitzalan
Countess Elizabeth Sefton Stanley (1429 – 1459)
daughter of Lady Joan De Goushill Baroness Stanley
Thomas Sir 8th Earl of Sefton Molyneux (1445 – 1483)
son of Countess Elizabeth Sefton Stanley
Lawrence Castellan of Liverpool Mollenaux (1490 – 1550)
son of Thomas Sir 8th Earl of Sefton Molyneux
John Mollenax (1542 – 1583)
son of Lawrence Castellan of Liverpool Mollenaux
Mary Mollenax (1559 – 1598)
daughter of John Mollenax
Gabriell Francis Holland (1596 – 1660)
son of Mary Mollenax
John Holland (1628 – 1710)
son of Gabriell Francis Holland
Mary Elizabeth Holland (1620 – 1681)
daughter of John Holland
Richard Dearden (1645 – 1747)
son of Mary Elizabeth Holland
George Dearden (1705 – 1749)
son of Richard Dearden
George Darden (1734 – 1807)
son of George Dearden
David Darden (1770 – 1820)
son of George Darden
Minerva Truly Darden (1806 – 1837)
daughter of David Darden
Sarah E Hughes (1829 – 1911)
daughter of Minerva Truly Darden
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Sarah E Hughes
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor
Both families landed in America in the 1600’s.