Hugh le Despenser Earl of Winchester
- Born: 1 Mar 1260/1, Loughborough, Leicestershire, England 141
- Marriage: Lady Isabel de Beauchamp 141
- Died: 27 Oct 1326, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England at age 66 141
Information about this person:
• Background Information. 141
Sir Hugh le Despenser, of Loughborough, Arnesby, Parlington, Ryhall, &c.(a262), Wycombe, Compton-Basset and Wootton-Basset, &c., s. and h. (of Sir Hugh le Despenser who d. 4 Aug. 1265, b. 1 Mar 1260/1. In 28 May 1281 he was given the administration of the lands which his father had forfeited, and had livery of his mother's lands, 8 Aug. 1281, although he was not of age till 1 Mar following. He had livery of the manor of Martley, co. Worcester, 3 Mar 1281/2, as heri of his father's first cousin, John le Despenser.
Hugh was with the King in Gascony in 1287. Was one of those ordered, 22 Aug 1288, during the King's absence abroad, to abstain from violations of the peace. Was appointed Constable of Odiham Castle, 12 Jun 1294. He waas appointed an envoy to treat with the King of the Romans, Jun 1294, with the King of France, 1 Jan 1295/6, and with the King of France and the King of the Romans, Nov.1296. He accompanied the King to Scotland in 1296. Was one of the proxies who swore to the treaty with the Count of Flanders, 5 Feb 1296/7 to 18 Aug. 1307. Received instructions to threaten the Clergy, 21 Mar 1296/7. One of the King's Council, 1297. Accompanied the King to Flanders in Aug 1297. He was with the King in Scotland in 1300, 1303, 1304, and 1306. Was appointed an envoy to the Pope, Sep 1300, to treat of peace with the King of France, 25 Apr 1302, and an envoy to the Pope, Oct 1305. In 1305 he was appointed and sworn, in Parl., a commissioner to treat with the Scots. At the Coronation of Edward II, 25 Feb. 1307/8, he was one of the four who carried the table [saccarium] on which were laid the royal robes. Constable of the castles of Devizes and Marlborough, 12 Mar 1307/8 to 2 Dec 1308. Constable of the Castle of Strigoil and Keeper of the town of Chepstow, 12 Mar 1307/8 to 17 July (or 21 Aug) 1310.
Sir Hugh le Despenser was appointed Justice of the forests South of Trent during the King's pleasure, 16 Mar 1307/8, and for life, 28 Aug. 1309. In the quarrel about Gavastone in 1308 he alone sided with the King against the Barons, who induced the King to promise to dismiss him from Court. He took part in the Baron's letter to the Pope, 6 Aug 1309. Had licence to crenellate all his dwelling houses throughout the kingdom, 29 Sep 1311. Keeper of the forests South of Trent, 14 Jun 1312 to 19 Feb 1314/5. He was one of the King's deputies in the treaty with the magnates concerning the death of Gavastone, 20 Dec 1312. Was pardoned for all arrears and debts to the King, 25 Mar 1313, and accompanied him to Pontoise, 23 May following. He was excluded from the peace that was arranged between the King and the discontented barons in the autumn of 1313.
Sir Hugh le Despenser Was at the battle of Bannockburn, 24 Jun 1314, and accompanied the King in his flight to Dunbar, and thence by sea to Berwick. A few months afterwards the party of the Earl of Lancaster obtained his dismissal from Court, and his removal from the council in Feb 1314/5. A commission was appointed, 13 Jul 1315, to hear complaints against his acts of oppression as Keeper of the forests South of Trent. He was in the Scottish Wars in 1317. He was again specially excluded when peace was made with the Earl of Lancaster in Aug 1318: to avoid the Earl, he is said to have gone "on pilgrimage" to Compostella. Was sent to set in order the affairs of Gascony, 28 Feb 1319/20, and on missions to the King of France and the Pope in Mar following. Was appointed Constable of Marlborough Castle, 2 May 1321.
Sir Hugh le Despenser was summoned for Military Service from 14 Mar (1282/3) 11 Edw. I to 11 May (1322) 15 Edw. II, to attend the King at Shrewsbury, 28 Jun (1283) 11 Edw. II, to attend the King at Salisbury, 26 Jan (1296/7) 25 Edw. I, to Councils from 8 Jan (1308/9) 2 Edw. II to 1 Jul (1317) 10 Edw. II, and to Parliment from 24 Jun (1295) 23 Edw. I to 14 Mar (1321/2) 15 Edw. II, by writs directed Hugoni le Despenser, whereby he is held to have become Lord le Despenser.
In May and June 1321 the barons of the Welsh Marches and their adherents ravaged the lands of the younger Despenser in Wales, and those of the elder throughout the country. In Aug. of that year both Despensers were accused in Parliment, chiefly on account of the son's misconduct, of many misdeeds, viz., of accroaching to themselves royal power, counselling the King evilly, replacing good ministers by bad ones, &c. Wherefore they were disinherited for ever (19 Aug.), and exiled from the realm, not to return without the assent of the King and Parl.
The elder Hugh accordingly retired to the Continent. His lands were taken into the King's hand, 15 Sep 1321. The sentence on the Despensers was pronounced unlawful at a provincial council of the clergy about 1 Jan 1321/2. In Mar following the elder Hugh accompanied the King against the contrariants, and was present at the judgment on the Earl of Lancaster. The proceedings against the Despensers were annulled and cancelled in the Parl. of York, the lands of the elder Hugh being formally restored, 7 May 1322. Three days later, 10 May, the King granted him £20 a year from the issues of co. Hants, to be received nomine et honore comitis Wyntonie, and girded him with the sword as Earl of Wincester.
Hugh accompanied the King in his expedition against the Scots in Aug 1322. He was appointed Keeper of the forests South of Trent, 27 Jun 1324, for life. He was summoned for Military Service from 20 Sep (1322) 16 Edw. II to 1 May (1325) 18 Edw. II, to Councils from 20 Nov (1323) 17 Edw. II to 20 Feb (1324/5) 18 Edw. II, and to Parliment from 18 Sep (1322) 16 Edw. II to 10 Oct (1325) 19 Edw. II, by writs directed Hugoni le Despenser Comiti Wynton'.
Sir Hugh le Despenser married in or before 1286, without the King's lic. (fine of 2,000 marks, afterwards remitted), Isabel, widow of Sir Patric de Chaurces or Chaworces (Sir Patrick de Chaworth), of Kidwelly, co. Carmarthen, Somborne, Hants, &c., and daughter of of William (de Beauchamp), Earl of Warwick, by Maud, sister and coheir of Sir Richard fitz John, of Shere, Surrey, Fambridge, Essex, &c. (Lord FitzJohn), and 1st daughter of Sir John fitz Geoffrey, of Shere and Fambridge. She died shortly before 30 May 1306.
On the King's flight to Wales in Oct. 1326 the Earl was dispatched to defend Bristol, which, however, he at once surrendered on the arrival of the Queen, 26 Oct. Next day he was tried (without being allowed to speak in his own defence) condemned to death as a traitor, and hanged on the common gallows. On his death, 27 Oct. 1326, at the age of 65, all his honours were forfeited, the sentence of "Exile" passed on him in 1321 being re-affirmed in Parliment, 1 Edw. III.
~Cokayne's The Complet Peerage, Vol. IV, pp. 262-266
Hugh married Lady Isabel de Beauchamp, daughter of William de Beauchamp 9th Baron de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick and Maud Fitz John. (Lady Isabel de Beauchamp was born about 1263 of Stoke, Northamptonshire, England and died Shortly before 30 apr 1301 in England 160,721.)