On this day, 26 February 1360, Roger de Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March and 4th Baron of Mortimer died. He was my 21st great-grandfather.
In 1330, the family lands and titles were stripped from the Mortimer family after Roger’s paternal grandfather, Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, revolted against the Crown and was hanged. The next year, 1331, Roger’s father, Edmund died. Consequently, Roger de Mortimer grew up with uncertain prospects.
However, the king was sympathetic to young Roger. As Roger de Mortimer matured, he gradually was able to restore the family estates and honors. About 1342, Roger de Mortimer was granted Radnor Castle, along with the lands of Gwrthvyrion, Presteign, Knighton, and Norton (all in Wales); these were put under the care of his stepfather William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton until Roger de Mortimer’s maturity. In 1343, Roger de Mortimer received the old family baronial seat at Wigmore, Herefordshire.
On 12 September 1344, at the age of 17, Roger de Mortimer distinguished himself at a tournament at Hereford.
Roger de Mortimer married Philippa de Montagu, daughter of William Montagu, 1st Earl of Salisbury, and Catherine Grandison. Together, they had at least four children: Roger, Edmund (my 20th great-grandfather), Margery, and Jane.
In 1346, Roger de Mortimer took part in the invasion of France. Upon the landing of the expedition at La Hogue on 12 July, Edward III (my 21st great-grandfather through his daughter Phillipa, my two-times 19th great-grandfather through his son John, and my 19th great-grandfather through his son Edmund) knighted his son, the Prince of Wales. Immediately afterwards, the Prince of Wales knighted Roger Mortimer, along with other companions. Roger de Mortimer fought at the Battle at Crécy along with Edward III.
On 6 September 1346, for his services against the French, Roger de Mortimer received his livery. In 1348, Roger de Mortimer was one of the original knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. On 20 November 1348, he was summoned to Parliament as the 4th Baron of Mortimer. In 1349, he joined in resisting the plot of the French to win back Calais.
In 1354, Roger de Mortimer obtained a reversal of the sentence passed against his grandfather, and the remaining portions of the Mortimer inheritance were restored to him. On 20 September 1355, he was formally summoned to Parliament under as the Earl of March. Various offices were conferred on him in 1355, including the wardenship of Clarendon, the stewardship of Roos and Hamlake, and the constableship of Dover Castle, with the lord wardenship of the Cinque ports.
In 1355, Roger de Mortimer started on the expedition of the Duke of Lancaster to France, which was delayed on the English coast by winds and was ultimately abandoned. Later that same year, he accompanied the expedition led by Edward III.
On 19 October 1356, his paternal grandmother Joan de Geneville died, and Roger de Mortimer inherited her estates, including Ludlow Castle, which was thereafter the Mortimer family seat and power base.
In the following years, he became a member of the royal council. In 1359, he was made constable of Montgomery, Bridgnorth, and Corfe Castles and keeper of Purbeck Chase.
Beginning in October 1359, he accompanied Edward III on his invasion of France. In this he acted as constable, riding in the at the head of 500 men at arms and 1,000 archers. He fought in the failed siege of Rheims and besieged Saint-Florentin. The English forces then moved into Burgundy, where Roger de Mortimer died on 28 February 1360, at Rouvray, France. His bones were taken to England and buried with those of his ancestors in Wigmore Abbey. His funeral rites were also solemnly performed at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.