Monastic Wales.

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Hugh Despenser (the Younger) , first Lord Despenser

Died: 1326   Active: 1306-26   

Administrator and royal favourite, his parents were Hugh Despenser the elder (1261-1326) and Isabel (d. 1306), daughter of William de Beauchamp(d. 1296) and widow of Payn Chaworth.

Hugh was knighted by the prince of Wales on 22 May 1306. He married Earl Gilbert de Clare's daughter, Eleanor, who was in fact Edward I's grandaughter. In October 1318 Hugh was appointed chamberlain of the king's household at the York parliament and was greatly relied upon by Edward II.
Hugh's ambitions in the Welsh March led to an attack of the Despenser lands by the Marcher lords and in August 1321, in an attempt to cease hostilities, Hugh was exiled.
He was later recalled to help Edward II successfully reassert royal authority.
From 1322 until his death in 1326 Hugh and his son rose in prominence and their aggressive ambition generated deep resentment. Indeed, in 1326 Queen Isabella ordered their removal from the royal court and following her invasion of the country in September of that year Edward and Hugh fled from London to Wales where they were arrested. Hugh was condemned to death as a traitor and on 24 November 1326 was hanged, drawn and quartered; his head was displayed on London Bridge while his quarters were sent to Bristol, Dover, Newcastle and York. In December 1330 Hugh's widow, Eleanor de Clare received, was permitted to collect her husband's bones and inter them in Tewkesbury Abbey which Hugh had remodelled and she completed.

Sites associated with this person

Usk Priory, Monmouthshire (patron)

Bibliographical sources

Web links (open in new window)

Hamilton, J. S., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online - Hugh Despenser, the Younger (View website) (Subscription reqd.)