(Abt 1223-1265)
Countess Aline Bassett NORFOLK
(Abt 1212-Bef 1281)
Earl William De Beauchamp WARWICK, II
(Abt 1227-1298)
(Abt 1237-1301)
Earl Hugh Le Despenser WINCHESTER, IV
(Abt 1260-1326)
(Abt 1236-Abt 1306)


Family Links

Eleanor De CLARE

  • Isabel Le DESPENSER


  • Born: 1287, Barton St Mary, Gloucester, England
  • Married: Bef 1309, Barton St Mary, Gloucester, England
  • Died: 1326, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England

   Another name for Hugh was The Younger.

   General Notes:

"The Younger".

Executed 1326 KQGB.

Kings and Queens of Great Britain, Genealogical Chart, Anne Taute and Romilly Squire, Taute, 1990: "Eleanor De Clare, Mar =1 Hugh Le Despenser the Younger, Executed 1326...Richard Earl of Arundel, Mar =1 Isabel Daughter of Hugh Despenser The Younger."

A History of the Plantagenets, Vol III, The Three Edwards, Thomas B Costain, 1958, Doubleday & Co
p194: "His son, Hugh le Despenser the younger, had married Eleanor, the oldest of the three daughters of Gilbert de Clare, Earlof Gloucester and wealthiest peer in England..."
p223: "Edward II was in the Tower of London when the news reached him of the landing of the queen and Prince Edward on the coast of Suffolk with an army of foreign knights and mercenaries. With him were the two Despensers, the wife of Nephew Hugh, who was a niece of the king, and Baldock, the chancellor. The news seemed to have dumfounded him..."
p228: "The king's party continued to dwindle until he was left with no one but the younger Despenser and Chancellor Baldock and, of course, some servants...
"On November 16 the king was captured with the sorry remnants of his following and conducted to the castle of Llantrissant. Nephew Hugh and Baldock were taken toBristol and surrendered into the hands of the queen...
p230: "There was one participant in the first stages of this triumphant journey who did not display the enthusiasm of the others, Hugh le Despenser the younger. The marshal of the queen's forces saw to it that the captive favorite rode on the back of a small and mean specimen of a horse. In every town and village they reached, trumpets sounded and heralds called attention to the passing through of this once powerful man perched on his mangy steed; a form of derision to which Despenser paid little heed. He was refusing food and drink. As a result he grew steadily weaker, and when they reached Hereford it was feared he had not much longer to live. Not to be cheatedof their revenge in this way, they quickly placed him on trial befoe Sir William Trussell, a member of the justiciary. He was charged with many offenses, among others that of urging the execution of Thomas of Lancaster, of conspiring against the queen, and of mismanagement of the affairs of the realm. He was even blamed for the defeat at Bannockburn and for the steps taken to conceal miracles at the tomb of Lancaster. Trussell, who was to gain for himself a reputation of unnecessary severity on the bench, sentenced the deposed favorite in the following terms:
"`Hugh, all the good people of the kingdom, great and small, rich and poor, by common assent do award that you are found as a thief and therefore shall be hanged, and are found as a traitor, and therefore shall be drawn and quartered; and for that you have been outlawed by the king and by common consent, and returned to the court without warrant, you shall be beheaded; and for that you abetted and procured discord between king and queen, and others of the realm, you shall be embowelled and your bowels burned; and so go to your judgment, attainted, wicked traitor.'
"Accordingly the unfortunate man was attired in a black gown with his escutcheon upside down and a crown of nettles on his brow. He was cragged to the place of execution, a gallows fifty feet high, and here all the grim and savage ritual was carried out. It is said that he died patiently, but it may have been that his wiakened condition brought about a loss of consciousness. The queen was present.
"Before leaving the younger Despenser at the almost unanimous verdict which his acquisitiveness had made inevitable, it should in fairness be pointed out that he had striven during his days of powere to make improvements in the administrative departments. There was nothing of the standstill conservative officeholder in him. Realizing that Westminster functioned with leaden slowness and muddle-headedness, he undertook to improve procedure with changes which were called radical. This admirable effort accomplished no more than to increase the enmity of his ill-wishers."

A History of the English Speaking People Winston S Churchill Vol I The Birth of Britain Dodd Mead & Co p318:
"Edward [II], for his part began to build up a royalist party, at the head of which were the Despensers, father and son, both named Hugh. These belonged to the nobility, and their power lay on the Welsh border. By a fortunate marriage with the noble house of Clare, and by the favour of the King, they rose precariously amid the jealousies of the English baronage to the main direction of affairs. Against both of them the hatreds grew, because of their self-seeking and the King's infatuation with the younger man. They were especially unpopular among the Marcher lords, who were disturbed by their restless ambitions in South Wales. In 1321 the Welsh Marcher lords and the Lancastrianparty joined hands with intent to procure the exile of the Despensers. Edward soon recalled them, and for once showed energy and resolution. By speed of movement he defeated first the Marcher lords and then the Northern barons under Lancasterat Boroughbridge in Yorkshire in the next year. Lancaster was beheaded by the King. But by some perversity of popular sentiment miracles were reported at his grave, and his execution was adjudged by many of his contemporaries to have made him amartyr to royal oppression.
"The Despensers and their King now seemed to have attained a height of power. But a tragedy with every feature of classical ruthlessness was to follow. One of the chief Marcher lords, Roger Mortimer, though captured by the King, contrived to escape to France. In 1324 Charles IV of France took advantage of a dispute in Gascony to seize the duchy, except for a coastal strip. Edward's wife, Isabella, `the she-wolf of France,' who was disgusted by his passion for Hugh Despenser, suggested that she should go over to France to negotiate with her brother Charles about the restoration of Gascony. There she became the lover and confederate of the exiled Mortimer. She now hit on the stroke of havingher son, Prince Edward, sent over from England to do homage for Gascony. As soon as the fourteen-year-old prince, who as heir to the throne could be used to legitimise opposition to King Edward, was in her possession she and Mortimer staged aninvasion of England at the head of a large band of exiles. So unpopular and precarious was Edward's Government that Isabella's triumph was swift and complete, and she and Mortimer were emboldened to depose him. The end was a holocaust. In thefurious rage which in these days led all who swayed the Government of England to a bloody fate the Despensers were seized and hanged. For the King a more terrible death was reserved. He was imprisoned in Berkeley Castle, and there by hideous methods, which left no mark upon his skin, was slaughtered. His screams as his bowels were burnt out by re-hot irons passed into his body were heard outside the prison walls, and awoke grim echoes which were long unstilled."

Political History ofEngland 1216-1377, Vol III, T F Tout, AMS Press, 1905,
p277: "...[1319] Edward bore no love to Pembroke and his associates, and was quietly feeling his way towards the re-establishment of the court party. His chief helpers in this work were the two Despensers, father and son, both named Hugh. The elder Despenser, then nearly sixty years of age, had grown grey in service of Edward I. A baron of competent estate, he inherited from his father, the justiciar who fell at Evesham, anhereditary bias towards the constitutional tradition, but he looked to the monarch of to the popular estates, rather than to the baranage, as the best embodiment of his ideals. Ambitious and not over-scrupulous, he saw more advantage to himself in playing the game of the king than in joining a swarm of quarrelsome opposition lords. From the beginning of the reign he had identified himself with Gaveston and the courtiers, and had incurred the special wrath of Lancaster and the ordainers. Excluded from the court, forced into hiding, excepted from several pacifications as he had been, Despenser never long absented himself from the court. His ambition was kindled by the circomstance that his eldest son had become the most intimate personal friend of the king..."
p279: "...[1321] Both the Despensers desired to be earls, and the younger Hugh wished that the Gloucester earldom should be revived in his favour. Assured of the good-will of the king, both had to contend against the jealousy of the baronage and the exclusiveness of the existing earls. The younger Hugh had also to reckon with his two brothers-in-law, with whom he had divided the Clare estates. These were Hugh of Audley, who had married Margaret the widow ofGaveston, and Roger of Amory, the husband of Elizabeth, the youngest of the Clare sisters. There had been difficulty enough in effecting the partition of The Gloucester inheritance among the three coheiresses. In 1317 the division was made, and Despenser had become lord of Glamorgan, which politically and strategically was most important of all the Gloucester lands. Yet even then, Despenser was not satisfied with his position..."

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Micropaedia, Vol III, p491, Despenser: "English family prominent in the 13th and 14th centuries. Hugh Le Despenser the Elder (1261-1326), and Hugh Le Despenser the Younger (Died 1326) were unpopular favourites of Edward II, and were executed by Edward's opponents, Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer. Their name probably derives for `dispensator' (steward), an office held by early members of the family under the Earls of Chester."

The Later Middle Ages 1272-1485, George Holmes, 1962, The Norton History of England, p30: "...The contract system was important in two ways. Firstly, it enabled the magnate to raise an army quickly in time of war (as Lancaster and the Despensers did in the reign of Edward II)..."
p113: "...[Lancaster] was supplanted in 1318 by a group of men who had acquired the King's confidence since 1314, the Earls of Pembroke and Hereford and the knights, Bartholomew de Badlesmere, Roger d'Armory, Hugh d'Audley, and Hugh Despenser the younger. Thesemen have been called the `Middle Pary', and the phrase is just in so far as it emphasizes that they aimed neither at the rule of a single, all-powerful courtier, like Gaveston, nor at destroying the King's independence from outside, like Lancaster..."
p114: "...The parliament of York (October-December 1318) confirmed the power of the knights of the Middle Party in the royal household.
"The next period of the reign saw the astonishing rise fo one of these knights to supremepower. The younger Despenser was the son of a trusted courtier of Edward I and was himself essentially a creature of the court. The York parliament gave him his great opportunity, or at least helfped him on his way, by making him Chamberlain, that is, administrator of the King's Chamber and therefore an official in constant and intimate contact with the King. Gradually and ruthlessly during the years 1318-21 he climbed into a position of absolute ascendency at the court. The chroniclers tell us that he eventually refused to let the King give audience to anyone unless he was present; and we know from some of his own letters that he was able to order judges to give verdicts in his favour. But his use of these powers raised up a powerful opposition to him from two quarters. The first was in the Welsh Marches. Theinheritance of the last Earl of Gloucester, including a great part of modern Glamorganshire and Monouthshire, was divided between his three sisters, who were married, with royal approval, to Audley, Amory, and Despenser. Despenser was not content with his own share and attacked the lands of the others. When he added to this offence by trying to acquire the nearby lordship of Gower with royal influence, he aroused the violent opposition of the other Marcher lords, including the Earl of Hereford and the Mortimers. The King stood by Despenser and finally, in the summer of 1321, the Marcher lords advanced on London. Meanwhile, in the north, Thomas of Lancaster was roused to opposition by his concern about the danger of such a power over the King. He and his many followers in the north held a meeting at Pontefract in May, and in June sealed the so-called `Sherburn Indentures', pledging to support the Marchers and oust the evil counsellors. In July 1321 Despenser was condemned in a parliament at London, dominated by the armed force of his enemies, and he and his father were banished..."

The New Columbia Encyclopedia, 1975, p752, Despenser Hugh Le: "...About 1318 the younger Despenser, who had earlier supported the barons, joined his father and king, soon gaining more influence with Edward than had the elder Hugh...Both became involved in a quarrel with the barons, who formed a league against them and brought about their banishment in 1321. In 1322, however, they returned to England, and after the baronial defeat at Boroughbridge they were the real rulers of the kingdom. The elder Despenser was created Earl of Winchester in 1322. Their rule was notable for several important administrative reforms and the conclusion of peace with Scotland (1323), but their greed was enormous and they were bitterly hated by the barons. Both Despensers wereexecuted after the invasion of Queen Isabella in 1326."

IGI Birth 7329602-13-822910 Hugh LE DESPENSER Father Hugh LE DESPENSER ?Mother < Wife = ?Alainore DE CLARE < Isabel DE BEAUCHCAMP 1287 Barton St Mary Gloucester England, 7403702-87-934338 Isabel LE DESPENSER Father Hugh LE DESPENSER Mother Alainore DE CLARE 1309 Barton St Mary Gloucester England.

   Marriage Information:

Hugh married Eleanor De CLARE, daughter of Earl Gilbert De Clare GLOUCESTER and Duchess Joan Acre GLOUCESTER, before 1309 in Barton St Mary, Gloucester, England.

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