(Abt 1197-1238)
Mrs Despenser Hugh Jr Le
(Abt 1202-)
Sir Philip BASSETT
(Abt 1184-1271)
(Abt 1188-)
(Abt 1223-1265)
Countess Aline Bassett NORFOLK
(Abt 1212-Bef 1281)
Earl Hugh Le Despenser WINCHESTER, IV
(Abt 1260-1326)


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Earl Hugh Le Despenser WINCHESTER, IV

  • Born: Abt 1 Mar 1260-1262, Ryhale, Rutlandshire, England
  • Married: 1286, Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, England
  • Died: 27 Oct 1326, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England

   Other names for Hugh were WINCHESTER Earl and The Elder.

   Ancestral File Number: 84ZQ-94.

   General Notes:

Earl of WINCHESTER, "The Elder".

A History of the Plantagenets, Vol III, The Three Edwards, Thomas B Costain, 1951, Doubleday & Co
p228: "But Bristol was filled with fervor for the cause of the queen and, when the invading army arrived before the gates, they surrendered the castle and everything in it, including the senior Despenser. Isabella's two young daughters had been sent to Bristol for safety, and the queen had an affectionate reunion with them. After embracing them, Isabella turnedto sterner matters. Despenser, clad in his armor, was brought before her. The doddering old man realized that there was no hint of mercy in her handsome eyes. He had still enough courage to say to her, `Ah, Madame, God grant us an upright judge and a just sentence.' His sentence may not have been just, but it was exceptionally speedy. He was immediately taken out and hanged in his armor.
"I is said the two young princesses were allowed to look at what was happening from a window of the castle and were frightened almost into hysterics by the sight of the steel-clad figure turning slowly at the end of a stout rope."

The Political History of England 1216-1377, Vol III, T F Tout, AMS Press, 1905, p241: "...[1308] Only Hugh Despenser and a few lawyers adhered to the favourite [Gaveston]. Gloucester did not like to take an active part against his brother-in-law, but his stepfather, Monthermer, was conspicuous among the enemies of the Gascon..."
p264: "...[1314] At a parliament at York, in September, Edward delivered himself altogether into Thomas' hands, ordered the immediate execution of the ordinances...The only boon that he obtained was that the earls postponed the removal from court of Hugh Despenser and Henry Beaumont, the two faithful friends who had guarded him in his flight from Bannockburn. Despenser, however, thought it prudent to avoid his enemies by going into hiding..."
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, an hereditary 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 thereign 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..."

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. These men have been called the `Middle Party', 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 of one of these knights to supreme power. 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. The inheritance 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..."

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 New Columbia Encyclopedia, 1975, p752, Despenser Hugh Le:
"...Hugh Le Despenser, d. 1265, chief justiciar of England... His son and grandson Hugh Le Despenser, the elder, 1262-1326, and Hugh Le Despenser, the younger, d. 1326, became even more prominent...The elder Despenser took part in Edward I's Scottish campaigns and engaged in negotiations with France. On the accession of Edward II, Despenser alienated the baronial party by his support of Piers Gaveston and, on the latter's death (1312), became chief adviser to the king. After Edward'sdefeat by the Scots at Bannockburn in 1314, Hugh withdrew from the court...Both Despensers 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 were executed after the invasion of Queen Isabella in 1326."

Ancestral File Ver 4.10 84ZQ-94 Hugh Le DESPENCER [EARL OF WINCHESTER] Born 1 Mar 1260/1261 Of Winchester Hampshire E Leicestershire England Mar Bef 1286 Isabel BEAUCHAMP(AFN:84ZQ-B9) Died 27 Oct 1326 Bristol Gloucestershire England.

IGI Birth 1 Mar 1260, EBMicro Born 1261, NCE Born 1262, IGI Marriage 7510804- 86-1058058 1286, IGI Birth 7329602-13-822910 and 7403702-87-934338.

IGI Birth 7329602-13-822910 Hugh LE DESPENSER Father Hugh LE DESPENSER Mother Aline BASSET 1 Mar 1260 Ryhall Rutland England.

IGI Marriage 7510804-86-1058058 Hugh LE DESPENSER Spouse Isabel DE BEAUCHAMP 1286 Warwick Castle Warwick England.

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

   Marriage Information:

Hugh married Isabel De BEAUCHAMP, daughter of Earl William De Beauchamp WARWICK, II and Maud FITZ GEOFFREY, in 1286 in Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, England. (Isabel De BEAUCHAMP was born about 1236-1252 in Warwick, Warwickshire, England and died about 30 May 1306 in Castle, Elmley, Worcestershire, England.)

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