Royal Roots

John Beaufort

On this day, 16 March 1410, John Beaufort passed away. He was my 18th great-grandfather through his daughter Joan and my 19th great-grandfather through his son Edmund.

Born circa 1373, John Beaufort was the eldest child of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford.

In both 1390 and 1397, John and his siblings were declared legitimate by Parliament, as well as by the Pope in September 1396, after his parents were married. Despite being made legitimate by both the church and state, Henry IV barred John and his Beaufort siblings from succession to the throne, even though they too were the grandchildren of Edward III.

Between May and September 1390, John Beaufort embarked on the Barbary Crusade, led by Louis II, Duke of Bourbon. The objective of this crusade was to curtail piracy in and around Mahdia; however, the siege proved unsuccessful.

In 1394, John Beaufort served in Lithuania with the Teutonic Knights.

On 10 February 1397, John was created Earl of Somerset. Also in February 1397, he also was appointed constable of Dover Castle, warden of the Cinque Ports, and admiral of the Irish fleet. In May 1397, John Beaufort’s admiralty was extended to include the northern fleet.

In the summer of 1397, John Beaufort helped Richard II extricate himself from the power of the Lords Appellant. As a reward, John Beaufort was married to Margaret Holland, niece of Richard II on 27 September 1397. (Together, John Beaufort and Margaret Holland had six children.)

On 29 September 1397, John Beaufort was named Marquess of Somerset and Marquess of Dorset.

In late 1397, John Beaufort was honored as a Knight of the Garter and was appointed Lieutenant of Aquitaine.

In 1398, Richard II banished John Beaufort’s half-brother Henry Bolingbroke (a.k.a. Henry IV) from England; however, John Beaufort remained in Richard II’s good graces.

In 1399, Henry Bolingbroke came back to England and deposed Richard II. As the reigning king, Henry IV rescinded the titles Marquess of Somerset and Marquess of Dorset;, making John Beaufort only Earl of Somerset again. Despite this demotion, John Beaufort remained loyal to Henry IV.

In 1404, John Beaufort was named Constable of England.

Then, at the age of 37, John Beaufort died on 16 March 1410, in the Hospital of St Katharine’s by the Tower. He was buried in St Michael’s Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral.

#englishhistory    #familyhistory     #genealogy

Categories: Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Royal Roots, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gateway Ancestor: Peter Worden

When tracing ancestors across the centuries, kin are often clustered together in a similar locations, an economic situation, or an ethnic identity.  A gateway ancestor is anyone with known or traceable ancestry from one specific group who marries into another group. Each immigrant from one country to another is a potential gateway, if his/her descendants can then trace his/her ancestry to the original country. Gateways can also occur when someone moves from one distinct social group into another or across distinct religious, economic, or racial barriers.

In the United States, however, the term “gateway ancestor” most commonly is used to refer to colonial immigrants whose ancestry can be traced in the Old World—specifically to gentry, nobility, or royalty. According to Gary Boyd Roberts, author of the book, Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the United States, most Americans with significant New England, Quaker, or Southern plantation ancestry are descended from English, Scottish, Welsh, and French royalty, nobility, or gentry.

Why is that?, you might ask. The reason is primogeniture: the right of succession belonging to the firstborn child, typically the eldest son. Many colonists of high social status were the daughters or younger sons of aristocratic families who came to the New World looking for land because, given their gender or birth order, they could not inherit. At least 650 colonists are known to have traceable royal and noble ancestry; approximately 387 of them had descendants.

Both my family and my spouse’s family have several gateway ancestors.  In the first installment, I gave an overview of Edward Foulke, my spouse’s 8th great-grandfather through his mother’s maternal line.

The second gateway ancestor whom I will introduce is Peter Worden, my 12th great-grandfather through my mother’s maternal line. Through his maternal great-great grandfather, Nicholas Rishton, Peter has been proven to descend several times from Charlemagne, Magna Carta barons, and a couple of saints.

Circa 1569, Peter Worden was born in Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire, England to Robert Worden (1534–1580) and Isabel Worthington (1547–1580).

Circa 1604, Peter Worden married Margaret (Grice) Wall. She was the widow of Anthony Wall of Chingle Hall, who died sometime between February 1603 and March 1604, according to a 1607 Palatine Chancery Court action. Margaret, born sometime between 1568 and 1572, was the daughter of Thomas Grice and Alice, of Warrington, Lancashire, England.

Together, Peter and Margaret had three children: Elizabeth (born circa 1605); Bridget (born circa 1607); and Peter, my 11th great-grandfather (born circa 1609).

Between 1609 to 1613, Peter Worden (recorded as Peter Werden, gent.) appeared as a juror for nine inquisitions.

In 1612, after only nine years of marriage, Peter Worden’s wife Margaret died. He was left with five stepchildren from Margaret’s previous marriage and three of his own children, with the youngest, Peter, being only about three years old.

Although he was a gentleman, Peter Worden was also a merchant of textiles. His ancestors had acquired Burgess rights, and these rights had been passed down to their progeny. Burgess rights were a valuable asset, necessary for trading purposes. Peter Worden’s name appears in the Preston Guild Roll for 1622. He was listed as being a Foreign Burgess in the records of the town of Preston, just five miles from Clayton. Foreign referred to the fact that he was not a native of the town but an outsider.

Peter Worden held a lease on a shop in Preston’s Moothall, a two-story building approximately 35 feet by 70 feet, housing the town Council chamber and offices on the second floor and businesses on the first. Peter’s shop was next to the stairs at the north end of the building. Early archives list the following mention of Peter’s lease:

Item of Elizabeth Weren widdowe for on shop on the east side of moothall next adjoyning to the staires at the north end of the hall with a standing (open stall) at the south end of the hall formerly demised to Peter Werden by lease dated Primo Oct XVth Jac ye improved yearly rent of L01-15s-00d.

This date would indicate that Peter Worden held a lease on his shop and stand in October 1617.

In 1625, Peter Worden’s daughter Elizabeth bore an illegitimate child, whom she named John Lewis. The child was the product of an adulterous affair she had with John Lewis, a married vicar who was defrocked and debarred either because of this adulterous affair or for some other shenanigans—it seems he was rather good at being bad. A few years later, Elizabeth married Hugh Swansey and had another son, Robert.

On 19 November 1628, Peter Worden’s younger daughter Bridget died. She never married.

About 1628, Peter accepted the office of County Aulnager (or Alnager), “an officer in a port or market town responsible for ensuring that all cloth sold was woven in the correct length and width laid down by statute (standards).” He also was a member of the town council of Preston, Lancashire, England.

Peter Worden was last recorded in Preston on 21 January 1629, when, according to the early archives of Preston Borough, he loaned eight shillings to the Borough for a project concerning common lands.

In 1630, the town of Preston was ravaged by the plague. Prior to the outbreak, the town of Preston had a population of nearly 3,000; however, due of this pandemic, 1,069 residents perished.

In July 1635 in Kirkham, Lancashire, Peter Worden’s elder daughter Elizabeth died.

Circa 1636, Peter Worden, his son Peter, and his grandson John Lewis immigrated to the Colony of Massachusetts.

On 7 January 1638, Peter Worden was listed as “Old Worden” in a list of inhabitants of Yarmouth, Massachusetts. At the time, there were only four men in Yarmouth to whom land grants had been made.

On 5 March 1638, the last will and testament of Peter Worden was proved:

The Last Will and Testament of Peter WORDEN of Yarmouth ye elder, deceased, proved at ye General Court held at Plymouth, the fifth day of March in ye XIIIth year of ye reign of our sovereign Lord Charles, King of England AC1638, by ye oathes of Mr. Nicholas Sympkins, Hugh Tillie & Giles Hopkins as followith, viz “Be it known unto all men to whome this doth or may concern, that I, Peter Worden, of Yarmouth in New England, in Plymouth Patten, being very sick, in this Year of Our Lord 1638 and on ye ninth day of February, do make my last will to testify unto all that I Peter Worden, do give and bequeath unto Peter Worden, my only sonne and heir, and in the presense of Nicholas Sympkins Hugh Tillie and Giles Hopkins, I do make him my whole executor to whom I do give all my lands, leases & tenaments with goods movable and unmovable in the Town of Clayton in the County of Lankcester. Likewise I do give unto Peter my son all my goods which I have at this present in New England. My will is my son is to give John Lewis one nate goat, also my will is my son is to give my grandchild such money as is due for the keeping of goats and calves until this day and that my son is with the money to buy a kid or dispose it otherwise for his use. Also one bed or bolster, three blankets, also my son is to have the tuition of my grandchild until he be at the age of one and twenty years of age, also my will is he shall find him with meat, drink, and clothes and at the three last years of the twenty-one years also to have forty shillings the years after and above, for to add to his stock with the sow pig when the sow pigs — s/Peter WORDEN 1/s.

In March 1639, Peter Worden died in Yarmouth and was buried in Worden Cemetery in Dennis, Massachusetts. And, on 5 March 1639, Peter Worden’s will was probated. (It is interesting to note that Peter Worden’s will was the first one printed in the Plymouth Court Records. A copy of his will is on file in the Barnstable Probate Court.)

#englishhistory    #familyhistory     #genealogy

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Immigrant Ancestors, Royal Roots | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Urraca of León, Castile, and Galicia

On this date, 8 March 1126, Urraca of León, Castile, and Galicia, passed away. She was my 27th great-grandmother through her grandson Fernando II of Léon, my 28th great-grandmother through her grandson Sancho III of Castile, and my 28th great-grandmother through her granddaughter Sancha of Castile.

Urraca was born circa April 1079 in Burgos, Spain to Alfonso VI and Constance of Burgundy. As the eldest and only surviving child of Alfonso VI, Urraca was heir presumptive to Castile and León until 1107, when her father recognized his illegitimate son Sancho as his heir.

Urraca’s place in the line of succession, however, made her the focus of dynastic politics.  Circa 1086, Raymond of Burgundy arrived in Spain. In 1087, Urraca, who was eight years old at time, was betrothed and possibly even wedded to Raymond of Burgundy. Although canon law set a minimum age for marriage at 12 years old for women, exceptions did occur. Some evidence that they might have been married, instead of just betrothed, was in protocol documents, which, almost immediately, began labeling Raymond of Burgundy as Alfonso VI’s son-in-law. Nevertheless, it appears their marriage was formalized by 1090, when Alfonso VI issued a charter to the church of Palencia in their name.

Together, Urraca and Raymond had two surviving children: daughter Sancha and son Alfonso VII of Léon (my 27th great-grandfather through his son Sancho III, my 26th great-grandfather through his son Fernando II, and my 27th great-grandfather through his daughter Sancha.)

In 1107, Raymond of Burgundy died. In late September 1107, Urraca succeeded her late husband as ruler of Galicia.

In 1108, Urraca again became the heir presumptive to her father when her brother Sancho died at the Battle of Uclés. Alfonso VI reunited the nobles of Toledo, announcing that he had chosen Urraca to succeed him. The nobles agreed with his choice, on the condition that Urraca would marry again. Several candidates for her hand were proposed, including Count Gómez González and Count Pedro González de Lara. However, Alfonso VI feared that the rivalries between the nobles of Castile and of Léon would increase if Urraca were to wed one of these suitors; therefore, Alfonso VI decided that Urraca would marry a relative, Alfonso I of Aragon, thereby uniting Castile and Léon with Aragon.

When Alfonso VI died on 30 June 1109, Urraca ascended to the throne. In October 1109, in accordance with her father’s wishes, she married Alfonso I of Aragon. For Alfonso I of Aragon, the match was politically advantageous, while for Urraca it meant a loss of the power she had held since 1107.

Unfortunately, many were opposed to the marriage. The marriage agreement between Urraca and Alfonso I stipulated that if either party left the other against the other person’s will, he or she would forfeit the loyalty of his or her followers. Alfonso I of Aragon promised not to leave Urraca for reasons of blood relationship or excommunication. If Alfonso I of Aragon and Urraca had a child, that child would inherit Alfonso I of Aragon’s territories jointly with Urraca, in the event of Alfonso I of Aragon’s death. If no child were conceived, Urraca and her heirs would be the inheritors. If Urraca died first, Alfonso would be entitled to the profits from her lands until he died; following his death, the lands would fall to her son by her first marriage, Alfonso VI.

In the summer of 1109, the Muslims threatened to occupy Aragon. Alfonso I of Aragon, accompanied by Urraca, defeated the Muslim forces on January 24, 1110.

However, increasing tensions between the couple became more evident, and by May 1110, Urraca and Alfonso I of Aragon had separated. Two years later, Urraca led her forces against those of Alfonso I of Aragon in an attempt to retake Castile, which her estranged husband had seized. By 1113, Alfonso I of Aragon had laid claim to Toledo, Léon, Castile, and Aragon. Finally, in 1114, their marriage was annulled.

With continued fighting between Urraca and Alfonso I of Aragon, Urraca named her son Alfonso VI co-ruler and heir. By the winter of 1116, Urraca had reclaimed most of Castile. By that time, Alfonso I of Aragon was planning to lay siege to the Muslim stronghold of Zaragoza. To free up his forces for this siege, Alfonso I of Aragon negotiated a truce with Urraca in 1117.

In 1118, Alfonso I of Aragon wrested Zaragoza from the Moors. In 1120, he captured Calatayud in 1120. In 1125, he raided Andalusia, encouraging Christians in Muslim lands to settle in his domain. Meanwhile, Urraca focused her attention on securing Toledo.

In 1120, Urraca made the tactical mistake of seizing Bishop Gelmirez, who had served her father but favored a faction surrounding her son following the death of Alfonso VI. The act placed her at risk of excommunication and could have led to her deposition. But by appealing directly to the pope, Urraca escaped excommunication.

On March 8, 1126, Urraca died in Tierra de Campos, Spain. Initially, Uracca’s heir Alfonso VII was refused the crown in favor of Count Pedro Gonzalez of Lara and his brother, Rodrigo Gonzalez, Count Astururias de Santillana. But with the support of his allies, Alfonso VII of Léon ascended to the throne. Alfonso VII of Léon then began to recover the lands that had been lost to his stepfather Alfonso I of Aragon. Finally, in 1134, Alfonso VII of Léon defeated Alfonso I of Aragon, who died in battle.

#familyhistory     #genealogy     #spanishhistory

Categories: Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Royal Roots, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

William de Longespée and Joan of Valois

On this day, 7 March, in the year 1226, William de Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, died in Salisbury, England.  He was my 24th great-grandfather through his son William II Longespée and my 25th great-grandfather through his son Stephen Longespée.

Circa 1176, William de Longespée was born. He was the illegitimate son of Henry II and  Ida de Tosny, who married Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk  (my 26th great-grandfather through their son Hugh) in 1181.

In 1188, Henry II acknowledged William as his son. He gave William de Longespée the honor of Appleby, Lincolnshire and granted him the use of the coat of arms of his grandfather, Geoffrey IV of Anjou.

In 1196, William de Longespée married Ela of Salisbury, 3rd Countess of Salisbury. Together, they had the following children: William II (my 23rd great-grandfather), Richard, Stephen (my 24th great-grandfather), Nicholas, Isabella, Petronilla, Ela, Ida, Ida II, Mary, and Pernel.

William de Longespée was at court on several important ceremonial occasions and held various offices, including constable of Dover, sheriff of Wiltshire (1199–1202, 1203–07, 1213–26), lieutenant of Gascony (1202), warden of the Cinque Ports (1204–06), honor of Eye (1205), warden of the Welsh Marches (1208), and sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire (1212–16).

William de Longespée was sent on missions to France in 1202 and to Germany in 1209. In 1213 through 1214.

William de Longespée organized Flemish allies on behalf of his half-brother John “Lackland” of England (my 24th great-grandfather). In 1213, William de Longespée, along with these allies, took part in the destruction of the French fleet at the port of Bruges, Belgium.

On 27 July 1214, at the Battle of Bouvines, William de Longespée, one of the leaders of the allied army, was captured and held prisoner. William de Longespée was exchanged for Robert III de Dreux (my 26th great-grandfather).

By May 1215, William de Longespée had returned to England, where he was employed by John “Lackland” of England to inspect the defenses of royal castles and to fight the rebels in the southwest.

In May 1216, William de Longespée deserted John “Lackland” of England after the landing of Louis VIII of France (my 24th great-grandfather through his son Robert I and my 25th great-grandfather through his son Louis IX). However, by March 1217, William de Longespée had returned to royal allegiance, fighting at Lincoln in May and Sandwich in August and attesting the Treaty of Lambeth in September 1217.

During the young reign of Henry III (my 23rd great-grandfather through his grandson Edward II, my three-times 25th great-grandfather through his granddaughter Joan, my 23rd great-grandfather through his grandson Edmund, and my both 24th and 25th great-grandfather through his grandson Henry of Lancaster), William de Longespée fought in Wales in 1223 and in Gascony in 1225.

William de Longespée and his wife were benefactors of Salisbury Cathedral and laid foundation stones of the new cathedral in 1220.

On 7 March 1226, William de Longespée died and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral; his effigy still survives.

Also on this day, 7 March, in the year 1342, Joan of Valois, Countess of Hainault, died. She was my 22nd great-grandmother through her grandson Thomas of Woodstock, my 23rd great-grandmother through her grandson Lionel of Antwerp, my two-times 20th great-grandmother through her grandson John of Gaunt, and my 20th great-grandmother through her grandson Edmund of Langley.

Born circa 1294, Joan of Valois was the second eldest daughter of Charles of Valois and Margaret of Anjou.

On 23 May 1305, Joan of Valois married William I of Hainault.

Together, William I of Hainault and Joan of Valois had the following children: William II, John, Margaret, Philippa (my 21st great-grandmother through Thomas of Woodstock, my 22nd great-grandmother through Lionel of Antwerp, my two-times 19th great-grandmother through John of Gaunt, and my 19th great-grandmother through Edmund of Langley), Agnes, Joanna, Isabella, and Louis.

Joan of Valois supported her cousin Isabella of France (my 22nd great-grandmother) in her struggle against her husband Edward II (my 22nd great-grandfather). In December 1325, Joan of Valois traveled to France to attend the funeral of her father. While in France, Joan of Valois spoke at length with Isabella and her brother, Charles IV. An alliance was formed between those in opposition to Edward II and his favorite, Hugh le Despenser “The Younger” (my 22nd great-grandfather). During this time, Isabella and Roger Mortimer (my 21st great-grandfather) finalized their plans to invade England.

On 7 June 1337, William I of Hainault passed away. Soon after her husband passed away, Joan of Valois took the veil, entering Fontenelle Abbey.

In 1340, Joan of Valois’ son-in-law Edward III defeated her brother Philip IV of France (my 22nd great-grandfather) at sea near Sluys, Belgium. Edward III then besieged Tournai, Belgium. Pope Benedict XII requested that Joan of Valois mediate. Joan of Valois first pleaded for peace from Philip VI. She then visited Edward III, begging for pace. Her pleas and the Pope’s intercession resulted a signed truce with no loss of honor on either part.

On 7 March 1342, Joan of Valois died at the Fontenelle Abbey, Maing, France (which is no longer standing, see left.)

#englishhistory    #familyhistory     #frenchhistory

Categories: Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Royal Roots, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Marjory Bruce

On this day, 2 March 1316, Marjory Bruce died. She was my 19th great-grandmother through her grandson John (who became Robert III), my 19th great-grandmother through her grandson Robert, my 20th great-grandmother through her granddaughter Egidia, and my 20th great-grandmother through her granddaughter Elizabeth.

Marjory was the only child of Robert the Bruce and Isabella of Mar. On 12 December 1296, soon after Marjory’s birth, Isabella died; she was only 19.

Six years later, Robert the Bruce married Elizabeth de Burgh. On 27 March 1306, Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots at Scone, Perthshire. Marjory was nine years of age.

In June 1306, three months after the coronation, Robert the Bruce was defeated at the Battle of Methven. Consequently, he sent Marjory, his wife, and his two sisters north, accompanied by Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, an ardent supported. Unfortunately, the women were betrayed by the Earl of Ross, who handed them over to Edward I “Longshanks” of England (my 22nd great-grandfather through his son Edward II, my three-times 24th great-grandfather through his daughter Joan, and my 22nd great-grandfather through his son Edmund.)

Although a cage had been built for Marjory at the Tower of London, Edward I decided against this. Instead, he sent Marjory to the convent at Watton. Marjory’s aunt Christina Bruce was sent to another convent. Marjory’s stepmother was placed under house arrest at a manor house in Yorkshire. Marjory’s aunt Mary Bruce and Isabella MacDuff were imprisoned in wooden cages; Mary Bruce was at Roxburgh Castle, and Isabella MacDuff was at Berwick Castle. For the next four years, Marjory, Elizabeth, Christina, Mary, and Isabella endured solitary confinement. Mary and Isabella were also subjected to public humiliation on a daily basis.

On 7 July 1307, Edward I died. He was succeeded by his son Edward II (my 21st great-grandfather), who continued to hold Marjory captive at the convent for seven more years. Marjory was finally freed in 1314.

Not long after, in 1314, Marjory Bruce was wed to Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland, who had distinguished himself in battle. Her dowry included the Barony of Bathgate.

Two years later, on 2 March 1316, Marjory was riding in Gallowhill, Paisley, Renfrewshire. She was heavily pregnant. Suddenly, her horse was startled, and Marjory was thrown to the ground. She was seriously injured in the fall, suffering a dislocated neck and going into premature labor.

Marjory was transported to nearby Paisley Abbey, where a son was delivered via cesarean section. Like her mother, Marjory died at the age of 19 from childbirth. Her body was interred at Paisley Abbey.

Marjorie’s son, Robert II, eventually would become king. Robert II was the first monarch of the House of Stewart.

Today, at the junction of Renfrew Road and Dundonald Road in Paisley, a cairn marks the spot near where Marjory fell.

#familyhistory     #genealogy    #scottishhistory

Categories: Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Royal Roots, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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