le Despenser
Thomas le Despenser [a] b abt 1165, of Loughborough, Leicestershire, England, d 1207. The identity of his wife is not known.
Children of Thomas le Despenser were:
  • Thomas le Despenser b abt 1190, d s.p. by 1218.
  • Rohese le Despenser b abt 1192. She md Stephen de Segrave abt 1204, son of Gilbert de Segrave.
  • Sir Hugh le Despenser b abt 1195.
  • Geoffrey le Despenser b abt 1198, d 1251; md Emma de Harcourt.
Sir Hugh le Despenser [b] b abt 1195, of Loughborogh, Leicestershire, England, d bef 31 May 1238. The identity of his wife is not known.
Child of Hugh le Despenser was

Sir Hugh le Despenser [c], Knight, b bef 1223, Loughborough, Leicestershire, England, d 4 Aug 1265, Battle of Evesham, Worcestershire, England. He md Aline Basset [d] abt 1250, daughter of Sir Philip Basset and Hawise de Louvaine.
Children of Sir Hugh le Despenser and Aline Basset were:

  • Eleanor le Despenser b abt 1252, Ryhall, Rutlandshire, England, d 30 Sep 1328, London, Middlesex, England. She md Sir Hugh de Courtenay, Knight, abt 1265, son of John de Courtenay and Isabel de Vere.
  • Anne le Despenser [e] b abt 1255, of Leicestershire, England, d 30 Sep 1328. She md Sir William de Ferrers abt 1268, son of Sir William de Ferrers and Margaret de Quincy.
  • Hugh le Despenser b 1 Mar 1259/60.
  • Joan le Despenser b abt 1264, d abt 1322. She md Sir Thomas de Furnival, Lord Furnival, bef Jan 1291/92, son of Sir Thomas de Furnival, Lord Furnival.
Hugh le Despenser [f], Earl of Winchester, Lord le Despenser, b 1 Mar 1259/60, Winchester, Hampshire, England, d 27 Oct 1326, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England (hanged). He md Isabel de Beauchamp abt 1284, daughter of Sir William de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and Maud Fitz John.
Children of Hugh le Despenser and Isabel de Beauchamp were:
  • Hugh le Despenser, Earl of Winchester, b abt 1286. See LINE A
  • Philip le Despenser b abt 1289. See LINE B
Sir Hugh le Despenser [g], Lord le Despenser, b abt 1286, Barton, Gloucestershire, England, d 29 Nov 1326, Hereford, Herefordshire, England (hanged/quartered). He md Alianore de Clare [h] aft 14 Jun 1306, Westminster, Middlesex, England, daughter of Sir Gilbert de Clare, Knight, Earl of Gloucester, and Joan of Acre Plantagenet.
Children of Hugh le Despenser and Alianore de Clare were:
  • Hugh le Despenser b abt 1308/09, Winchester, Gloucestershire, England, d s.p. 8 Feb 1348/49; md Elizabeth de Montagu bef Apr 1341.
  • Isabel le Despenser b abt 1312, Gloucestershire, England, d abt 1372. She md Sir Richard Fitz Alan, Earl of Arundel, 9 Feb 1320/21, Essex, England, son of Sir Edmund Fitz Alan, Earl of Arundel, and Alice de Warenne.
  • Sir Edward le Despenser b bef Nov 1315.
  • Eleanor le Despenser b abt 1318, d aft 1351 (nun).
  • Joan le Despenser b abt 1320, d 1384 (nun).
  • Sir Gilbert de Despenser b bef Jul 1321, d s.p. 1381.
  • Margaret le Despenser b abt 1323, d 1337.
  • Elizabeth le Despenser b abt 1325/26, Stoke, Gloucestershire, England, d 13 Jul 1389; md Sir Maurice de Berkeley Aug 1338.
Sir Edward le Despenser [i] b bef Nov 1315, Buckland, Buckinghamshire, England, d 30 Sep 1342, Morlaix, France (killed). He md Anne de Ferrers 20 Apr 1335, daughter of William de Ferrers and Ellen de Segrave.
Children of Edward le Despenser and Anne de Ferrers were:
  • Sir Edward le Despenser b 24 Mar 1336.
  • Sir Thomas le Despenser b 1337/38, d s.p. Feb 1381.
  • Sir Hugh le Despenser b 1339/40, d Mar 1375; md Anne de Hotham.
  • Henry le Despenser b 1341/42, d 23 Aug 1406 (unmarried).
Sir Edward Despenser [j], Knight of the Garter, b 24 Mar 1335/36, Essendine, Rutland, England, d 22 Nov 1375, Glamorganshire, Wales. He md Elizabeth de Burghersh bef Dec 1364, Rutland, England, daughter of Sir Bartholomew de Burghersh, Knight of the Garter, and Cecily de Weyland.
Children of Edward Despenser and Elizabeth Burghersh were:
  • Edward le Despenser, d. young.
  • Hugh le Despenser, d. young.
  • Thomas le Despenser, Earl of Gloucester, b 22 Sep 1373, d Jan 1400 (beheaded); md Constance of Langley Jan 1384.
  • Cecily le Despenser, d. young.
  • Margaret le Despenser b abt 1377, poss Rutland, England, d 3 Nov 1415. She md Sir Robert de Ferrers abt 1390, son of Sir John de Ferrers and Elizabeth de Stafford.
  • Elizabeth le Despenser, d 1408; md [1] John de Arundel, and [2] William la Zouche.
  • Anne le Despenser, d 1421; md [1] Sir Hugh Hastings, and [2] Thomas, Lord Morley.
Sir Philip le Despenser [k] b abt 1289, Stoke, Gloucestershire, England, d 24 Sep 1313; md Margaret Goushill abt 1311, daughter of Sir Ralph de Goushill and Hawise Fitz Warin.
Child of Philip le Despenser and Margaret de Goushill was:

Sir Philip le Depenser [l] b 6 Apr 1313, of Lincolnshire, England, d Aug 1349, Lincolnshire, England. He md Joan de Cobham 1339/40, daughter of Sir John de Cobham. She was b abt 1323, prob Cobham, Kent, England, d bef 15 May 1357.
Children of Philip le Despenser and Joan de Cobham were:

  • Sir Philip le Despenser b 18 Oct 1342, d 4 Aug 1401, Goxhill, Lincolnshire, England; md Elizabeth.
  • Hawise le Despenser b abt 1345, Lincolnshire, England, d 10 Apr 1414. She md Sir Andrew Luttrell, Lord Luttrell, Knight, 7 Sep 1363, son of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, Lord Luttrell, Knight, and Agnes Sutton.

It is held that this illustrious family derived its name from their office of dispensators, or dispensers to the Earls of Chester, or possibly to the Lacys, Constables of Chester. In the early 13th century, many of the charters of the Earls of Chester are witnessed by a Thomas or a Hugh Dispensator (or both). J. H. Round notes that one Elyas Dispensator was one of three persons enfeoffed in Arnesby by Hugh de Beauchamp, and is thought likely to be an ancestor of this family. Arnesby is known to have been inherited by Sir Hugh le Despenser (died 1238) as heir to his elder brother, Thomas, in or before Oct 1218.

While neither of the spouses for the first two generations of this line are (yet) known, some researchers believe that there may have been some connection by marriage to the de Lacy family.

There is absolutely no basis for the "elaborate imposture" by unscrupulous heralds and genealogists, to derive the later Spencer family of Althorpe from this line of Dispensators, which was evidently an effort to explain the rather sudden appearance of the latter family from relative obscurity to prominence in the early 15th century.

a. The earliest generation which is known with certainty, Thomas had at least three sons, Thomas, Hugh, and Geoffrey, and a daughter, Roese. The eldest son, Thomas, was dead before October 1218, when his heir was found to be his brother, Hugh. A grant was made to Geoffrey "that when Hugh, his brother, shall die, he shall keep the manor of Ryhall, which Hugh had of the King's gift, and all the lands which Hugh held of the Earl of Chester in Chester and elsewhere, till the age of sons and heirs of the said Hugh". Thomas "Dispensator" gave to Stephen de Segrave with his daughter Roese in free marriage, a rent in Burton, and Hugh Dispensator confirmed to Stephen de Segrave and Roese, sister of the said Hugh, and heirs of their bodies, a virgate of land in Barwe in free marriage.

b. Heir to his elder brother, Thomas, he had obtained various grants, including Ryhall and Belmesthorp between 1227 and 1233. There also exists record of a grant to Hugh, son and heir of Hugh le Despenser, for his father's faithful services, that he might marry where it should seem best. He died probably 23 February, but was certainly deceased before 30 May following, 1238, and had inherited Arnesby, and doubtless other manors on the death of his elder brother.

c. He accompanied Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to Aachen, for the latter's coronation as King of the Romans in May 1257, and, in Jun 1258, was one of the twelve elected by the Barons at the Oxford Parliament, to redress grievances, and also one of the twelve selected to treat with the King's Council in Parliament. By nomination of the Barons, he was appointed Justiciar of England 25 Oct 1260, but was deprived of the office by the King the following year. He attended Montfort's Parliament at Oxford in Apr 1263, and was appointed Justiciar of England and Constable of the Tower of London, about Jul 1263, by the Barons and with the King's consent. In March the following year, he led the rioters who sacked the King of the Roman's mansion of Isleworth, and was present at the battle of Lewes, 14 May 1264. He was appointed an arbiter to consider the peace between the Barons and the King 11 Sep 1264, as well as an arbiter between the Earls of Leicester and Gloucester in May 1265. He joined the Earl of Leicester at the battle of Evesham and, with him, was slain, 4 Aug 1265.

d. After Hugh's death, she had a grant for life of the manors of Loughborough, Freeby, and Hugglescote, and bef 29 Oct 1271, she married (as his first wife), Roger le Bigod, Earl of Norfolk and Marshal of England.

e. Sir William de Ferrers married Anne, "said to be daughter of Sir Hugh le Despenser by Aline, daughter and heir of Sir Philip Basset".

f. One of the most powerful Barons of his time, he was often in attendance with the King, being with him in Gascony (1287), France (Jan 1295/96), Scotland (1296, 1300, 1303, 1304, 1306), Flanders (Aug 1297), Pontoise (1313), etc. He evidently aroused the enmity of his peers when he alone among the Barons sided with the King on the issue of Piers de Gaveston, being excluded from the peace that was arranged between the King and the discontented Barons in the Fall of 1313. He was at the battle of Bannockburn 24 Jun 1314, and accompanied the King in his flight to Dunbar, and several months later the party of the Earl of Lancaster obtained his dismissal from Court and his removal from the Council, but he was again excluded when peace was made with the Earl. He continued in his service to the King, being made Lord le Despenser. In May and June of 1321, the barons of the Welsh Marches and their adherents ravaged his lands throughout the country, and in August of that year, both he and his son, Hugh, were accused at Parliament (chiefly on account of the son's misconduct) of many misdeeds. Thus, they were disinherited "for ever" and exiled from the realm, and not to return without the assent of the King and Parliament. Hugh accordingly retired to the Continent and his lands were taken into the King's hands. But the sentence was pronounced unlawful at a provincial council of the clergy in Jan 1321/22, and in the following March, Hugh accompanied the King against the contrariants, being present upon the judgment on the Earl of Lancaster. All accusations against both Despensers were annulled at the Parliament of York, and Hugh's lands were formerly restored to him 2 May 1322. Three days later, the King girded him with the sword as Earl of Winchester. There followed more important appointments, but upon the King's flight to Wales in Oct 1326, Hugh was dispatched to defend Bristol, which he at once surrendered on the arrival of the Queen 26 Oct. The following day he was tried, being allowed no defence of himself, and condemned to death as a traitor, being hanged on the common gallows at age 65. No doubt his adherence and loyalty to a most unpopular King was his downfall.

g. Like his father, Hugh "the younger" was also a loyal adherent to the King. Several of his early appointments he was forced to resign, although some were later regranted. Upon his exile and disinheritance, along with his father, in August 1321, he took refuge in the Cinque Ports, where, with the King's connivance, he engaged in piracy. After all accusations were annulled against he and his father early in the following year, he is said to have urged the King not to prosecute the war against the contrariants. After the battle of Boroughbridge, he received large grants of the lands forfeited by the rebels, and more appointments followed. But, along with his father, upon the King's flight to Wales and subsequent capture near Llantrisant in Glamorgan, he was tried, without defence on his part, and condemned a traitor, being hung on the gallows, 13 Nov 1326. His head was set upon London Bridge 4 Dec and his quarters in four different places.

h. She was committed to the Tower during her husband's capture, comdemnation and death. Her lands were restored to her 22 Apr 1328, and the King took her homage and fealty. Before 26 Jan 1328/29, she was abducted from Hanley Castle by Sir William la Zouche de Mortimer, who subsequently married her. Not long after, William, accompanied by her, was besieging her castle of Caerphilly and orders for their arrest were issued. She was imprisoned in the Tower and later Devizes Castle, and though ordered by the King to be released, she did not regain her freedom until after 6 Jan 1329/30.

i. Younger brother of Hugh le Despenser (who died s.p.), sons of Hugh le Despenser and Alianore, Edward had Buckland, co. Bucks, Eyworth, co. Bedford, West Winterslow, co. Wilts, and Essendine, co. Rutland, among others, which by diverse fines, had reverted to him upon the death of Idoine de Leyburne. He and Anne had four sons.

j. Born at Essendine, Rutland, he accompanied the Prince of Wales to Gascony in Sep 1355, and was at the battle of Poitiers, being then a Knight. He had livery of his uncle's lands 26 Mar 1357, his homage being respited as he was still in Gascony with Prince Edward. He was summoned to Parliament from 15 Dec 1357 to 6 Oct 1372, whereby he became Lord le Despenser. On 6 Jul 1359 the King took his homage and he had livery of the lands of Elizabeth, late the wife of his uncle. He was with the King at his invasion of France in Oct 1359-60, and was nominated a Knight of the Garter in 1361. Accompanying the Duke of Clarence to Milan in 1368, he took part in the war at Lombardy, returning to England in Aug of 1372. He served as Constable of the Army in the Duke of Lancaster's unsuccessful expedition to France in 1373-74, and assisted the Duke of Brittany in his campaign in that province in 1375. He was aged 39 at his death.

k. Younger son of Hugh, the elder, who gave him the manors of Parlington, co. York, and Alkborough, co. Lincoln, 24 Jun 1294.

l. The wife of Sir Philip le Despenser has been stated, on the authority of Vincent in the College of Arms to have been Joan Strange, and that her son, Philip, married Margaret Cobham, but as Complete Peerage shows, this is in all likelihood an error, as the said son Philip clearly married Elizabeth. Additionally, from the Close Rolls, it is noted that Philip le Despenser (who married Joan), and John de Cobham were arranging a marriage in Jun 1339, and this Philip, upon his death in 1401, left a frontal charged with his own arms and those of the Lord of Cobham to Goxhill Church.

CP: Vol IV[259-278, 288-291], Vol XI[601]; AR: Line 8[30-31], Line 50[30], Line 58[30], Line 70[35-36], Line 74[31-34], Line 74A[31-34], Line 148A[31], Line 200[35-36]; SGM: Brad Verity.

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