Last week, when Valerie Bertinelli was featured on WDYTYA, I whined on Facebook about how jealous I am that not only is there ALWAYS a parking place in front of the library or archives in the series, but the celebrity’s records are always just waiting for them, while, mine, if there at all, are buried so deeply they require an archaeologist to excavate them.
My husband said to me, “You just have to find a gateway ancestor, like Valerie, and then your pedigree will be done too.” I told my husband that all my gateway ancestor would lead to is likely a prison cell. My ancestors, at least some of them, were none too well behaved and let’s say that sometimes the only records they left were related to prosecution of some type. Thank heavens they at least did that!!! My family is always colorful, and interesting, and infamous…but seldom famous.
As you all know, I write one of these “52 Ancestors” articles every week, generally late at night, and I often mutter rather unspeakable things at Amy Johnson Crow in the process. Let’s just say that doing this series forces you to go back through your records, all of your records, for each ancestor, and to be sure they are in order. Now, on the surface this is a good and admiral thing to be doing, but in the middle of the night, it just doesn’t seem so.
This week, I was working on my Bolton and Clarkson lines out of Claiborne County, TN and I noticed a rather large article on the Brooks family that my now deceased cousin, Bill Nevils, had written. Bill was a retired Episcopal Priest, which is a story all by itself, especially being from Claiborne County in the Bible Belt south. After his retirement, he moved home to “take care” of his mother, Thelma. Now I met Thelma and Bill some years ago and let me tell you, I’m not at all sure it was Bill taking care of Thelma. When we arrived, this little 90 year old lady had just finished mowing the yard with a push mower (and not because Bill wouldn’t, because she insisted) and came in to make lunch for us, and not one single hair out of place. Fittingly, Bill had written the article about the Brooks family in tribute to his mother, Thelma. Little did we know that Thelma would outlive her only child. Not only that, after Bill’s death, she wrote me a lovely letter after I sent her a sympathy card. She was celebrating Bill’s life, not grieving his death, although of course she was saddened by his passing.
So you can understand why, when I saw this article, I paused to read it. I mean, I’m already down to about 4 hours sleep so what are a few more lost minutes. I was reading Bill’s lovely tribute to his mother and just kept reading when the article, of course, shifted to genealogy. It was a “People’s History Book,” after all. I should have stopped reading, but I was tired and just kept skimming. I read that Thelma was descended from King Edward I. I thought to myself, “Oh, Thelma is related to Valerie Bertinelli.” And I kept reading, when I started recognizing familiar names. And then more familiar names, and then I realized that the family that Thelma descended from that descended from King Edward I was my family too. I read it a second time, because I was sure I had misread it. Then a third time. Then I went to bed, because I was sure I was hallucinating due to lack of sleep.
I read this again the next day, in broad daylight, after at least 4 hours sleep, and it said the same thing.
Bill was a fastidious researcher. He listed sources. I checked them. Bill, it seems, was right. I was shocked and couldn’t quite believe my eyes.
And the great irony was that this line, this article that felled the wall, was right on my own shelf AND HAD BEEN for years. Just like those celebrities at the archives, just waiting for me with no parking space needed. I have to retract my whine.
I have suddenly, for some unknown reason, developed a fascination with King Edward I, British history and royal genealogy. Edward’s father, Henry III is at the bottom of this first tree and the top of the second tree.
How I wish I had known this before I went to England last year. I skipped Westminster Abbey entirely and that is where Edward is buried, and was crowned. I did visit Westminster Abbey in 1970 when I was in London, and I has absolutely NO IDEA that I had any history of any kind in England, let alone an ancestor buried in Westminster Abbey.
What’s worse yet, is that Edward’s coronation “chair” is in Westminster, and I could have seen it.
King Edward’s Chair (also known as St. Edward’s Chair), the throne on which English and British sovereigns have been seated at the moment of coronation, is housed within the Abbey and has been used at every coronation since 1308. From 1301 to 1996 (except for a short time in 1950 when it was temporarily stolen by Scottish nationalists), the chair also housed the Stone of Scone upon which the kings of Scotland are, or were, traditionally crowned. Although the Stone is now kept in Scotland, in Edinburgh Castle, at future coronations it is intended that the Stone will be returned to St. Edward’s Chair for use during the coronation ceremony.
The Stone of Scone would have been located beneath the seat of the chair. A replica is shown below.
The photo below is of the coronation chair, before the stone was re-kidnapped and then broken in half.
The stone and the coronation chair is show in this drawing from Westminster Abbey in 1855. The Stone of Scone has a rich and mysterious history all of its own.
King Edward was born during the night of June 17/18, 1239 at Westminster Palace and died on July 7, 1307, the son of Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence.
He married Eleanor of Castille in 1254, between October 13th and November 1st, in the church of the monastery of Las Huelgas at Burgos, the capital city of Old Castille in northern Spain, shown below. This was an arranged marriage. Edward was only 14 years old and Eleanor 12 or 13, although their first child would be stillborn the following year.
He and Eleanor perhaps walked in these protected cloisters, before or after their marriage, discussing their dreams for the future.
Eleanor died on November 28, 1290 at in the house of Richard de Weston, the foundations of which can still be seen near Harby parish church. Her body was taken to Westminster Abbey for burial where she and Edward were crowned August 19, 1274.
Eleanor had survived 16 pregnancies, but likely died of malaria or complications thereof.
Grieving his Eleanor terribly, he had twelve “Eleanor Crosses” constructed at each location that her body stopped on its way from Harby, Nottinghamshire, to London for burial, including Charring Cross in London. Three remain today, although none entirely. There were originally massive crosses on the top of each monument. The one at Northampton is shown below.
After her body had been embalmed, which in the 13th century involved evisceration (removal of some of the internal organs, including the bowel,) Eleanor’s viscera were buried in Lincoln cathedral, and Edward placed a duplicate of the Westminster tomb there. The Lincoln tomb’s original stone chest survives; its effigy was destroyed in the 17th century and replaced with a 19th-century copy. I must admit, having an ancestor with parts buried in two locations is a first for me.
Eleanor’s tomb in Lincoln Cathedral.
Edward and Eleanor had the following children:
- Daughter, stillborn in May 1255 in Bordeaux, France. Buried in Dominican Priory Church, Bordeaux, France.
- Katherine (before 17 June 1264 – 5 September 1264) and buried in Westminster Abbey.
- Joanna (January 1265 – before 7 September 1265), buried in Westminster Abbey.
- John (13 July 1266 – 3 August 1271), died at Wallingford, in the custody of his granduncle, Richard, Earl of Cornwall. Buried in Westminster Abbey.
- Henry (before 6 May 1268 – 16 October 1274), buried in Westminster Abbey.
- Eleanor (18 June 1269 – 29 August 1298). She was long betrothed to Alfonso III of Aragon, who died in 1291 before the marriage could take place, and in 1293 she married Count Henry III of Bar, by whom she had one son and one daughter.
- Daughter (28 May 1271, Palestine – 5 September 1271), probably buried in Dominican Priory Church, Bordeaux, France. Some sources call her Juliana, but there is no contemporary evidence for her name.
- Joan (April 1272 – 7 April 1307). She married (1) in 1290 Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford, who died in 1295, and (2) in 1297 Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer. She had four children by each marriage.
- Alphonso (24 November 1273 – 19 August 1284), Earl of Chester.
- Margaret (15 March 1275 – after 1333). In 1290 she married John II of Brabant, who died in 1318. They had one son.
- Berengaria (1 May 1276 – before 27 June 1278), buried in Westminster Abbey.
- Daughter (December 1277/January 1278 – January 1278), buried in Westminster Abbey. There is no contemporary evidence for her name.
- Mary (11 March 1279 – 29 May 1332), a Benedictine nun in Amesbury.
- Son, born in 1280 or 1281 who died very shortly after birth. There is no contemporary evidence for his name.
- Elizabeth (7 August 1282 – 5 May 1316). She married (1) in 1297 John I, Count of Holland, (2) in 1302 Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford & 3rd Earl of Essex. The first marriage was childless, but by Bohun, Elizabeth had ten children.
- Edward II of England, also known as Edward of Caernarvon (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327). In 1308 he married Isabella of France. They had two sons and two daughters.
My ancestor was their 15th child, Elizabeth.
Edward and Eleanor as Parents
It has been suggested that Eleanor and Edward were more devoted to each other than to their children. As king and queen, however, it was impossible for them to spend much time in one place, and when they were very young, the children could not travel constantly with their parents. The children had a household staffed with attendants carefully chosen for competence and loyalty, with whom the parents corresponded regularly. The children lived in this comfortable establishment until they were about seven years old; then they began to accompany their parents, if at first only on important occasions. By their teens they were with the king and queen much of the time. In 1290, Eleanor sent one of her scribes to join her children’s household, presumably to help with their education.
In 1306 Edward sharply scolded Margerie de Haustede, Eleanor’s former lady in waiting who was then in charge of his children by his second wife, because Margerie had not kept him well informed of their health. Edward also issued regular instructions for the care and guidance of these children.
Two incidents cited to imply Eleanor’s lack of interest in her children are easily explained in the contexts of royal childrearing in general, and of particular events surrounding Edward and Eleanor’s family. When their six-year-old son Henry lay dying at Guildford in 1274, neither parent made the short journey from London to see him; but Henry was tended by Edward’s mother Eleanor of Provence. The boy had lived with his grandmother while his parents were absent on crusade, and since he was barely two years old when they left England in 1270, he could not have had many worthwhile memories of them at the time they returned to England in August 1274, only weeks before his last illness and death. In other words, the dowager queen was a more familiar and comforting presence to her grandson than his parents would have been at that time, and it was in all respects better that she tended him then.
Similarly, Edward and Eleanor allowed her mother, Joan of Dammartin, to raise their daughter Joan in Ponthieu (1274–78). This implies no parental lack of interest in the girl; the practice of fostering noble children in other households of sufficient dignity was not unknown and Eleanor’s mother was, of course, dowager queen of Castile. Her household was thus safe and dignified, but it does appear that Edward and Eleanor had cause to regret their generosity in letting Joan of Dammartin foster young Joan. When the girl reached England in 1278, aged six, it turned out that she was badly spoiled. She was spirited and at times defiant in childhood, and in adulthood remained a handful for Edward, defying his plans for a prestigious second marriage for her by secretly marrying one of her late first husband’s squires. When the marriage was revealed in 1297 because Joan was pregnant, Edward was enraged that his dignity had been insulted by her marriage to a commoner of no importance. Joan, at twenty-five, reportedly defended her conduct to her father by saying that nobody saw anything wrong if a great earl married a poor woman, so there could be nothing wrong with a countess marrying a promising young man. Whether or not her retort ultimately changed his mind, Edward restored to Joan all the lands he had confiscated when he learned of her marriage, and accepted her new husband as a son-in-law in good standing. Joan marked her restoration to favour by having masses celebrated for the soul of her mother Eleanor.
Looks like spoiled children are nothing new to our life and times. I would simply view her as “spirited” or perhaps she simply took after her father who, it seems, had a bit of a temper himself.
King Edward I
Drawing of Edward I taken from the various carvings. He seemed to be a very handsome man, but his drooping eyelid was not portrayed in the drawing.
Edward I was known as Edward Longshanks and the “Hammer of the Scots.” The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father’s reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, Edward briefly sided against his father with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford.
After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons’ War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and joined the fight against Simon de Montfort. Montfort was defeated at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and within two years the rebellion was extinguished. With England pacified, Edward left on a crusade to the Holy Land.
The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster on 19 August.
He spent much of his reign reforming royal administration and common law. Through an extensive legal inquiry, Edward investigated the tenure of various feudal liberties, while the law was reformed through a series of statutes regulating criminal and property law. Increasingly, however, Edward’s attention was drawn towards military affairs. After suppressing a minor rebellion in Wales in 1276–77, Edward responded to a second rebellion in 1282–83 with a full-scale war of conquest. After a successful campaign, Edward subjected Wales to English rule, built a series of castles and towns in the countryside and settled them with Englishmen.
Next, his efforts were directed towards Scotland. Initially invited to arbitrate a succession dispute, Edward claimed feudal suzerainty over the kingdom. In the war that followed, the Scots persevered, even though the English seemed victorious at several points. At the same time there were problems at home. In the mid-1290s, extensive military campaigns required high levels of taxation, and Edward met with both lay and ecclesiastical opposition. These crises were initially averted, but issues remained unsettled. When the King died in 1307, he left to his son, Edward II, an ongoing war with Scotland and many financial and political problems.
Edward I was a tall man for his era, hence the nickname “Longshanks”. He was temperamental, and this, along with his height, made him an intimidating man, and he often instilled fear in his contemporaries. Nevertheless, he held the respect of his subjects for the way he embodied the medieval ideal of kingship, as a soldier, an administrator and a man of faith. Modern historians are divided on their assessment of the King: while some have praised him for his contribution to the law and administration, others have criticized him for his uncompromising attitude towards his nobility.
Currently, Edward I is credited with many accomplishments during his reign, including restoring royal authority after the reign of Henry III, establishing Parliament as a permanent institution and thereby also a functional system for raising taxes, and reforming the law through statutes. At the same time, he is also often criticized for other actions, such as his brutal conduct towards the Scots, and issuing the Edict of Expulsion in 1290 by which the Jews were expelled from England. The Edict remained in effect for the rest of the Middle Ages, and it would be over 350 years until it was formally overturned under Oliver Cromwell in 1656.
Edward as a Young Man
Edward was born at the Palace of Westminster (shown below) during the night of June 17/18, 1239, to King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence. Ironically, I visited this location in 1970 as a student and bought a charm of the clock tower, known as Big Ben, which I still have.
Edward was an Anglo-Saxon name, and was not common among the aristocracy of England after the Norman Conquest, but Henry was devoted to the veneration of Edward the Confessor, and decided to name his firstborn son after the saint.
Edward was in the care of Hugh Giffard – father of the future Chancellor Godfrey Giffard – until Bartholomew Pecche took over at Giffard’s death in 1246.
There were concerns about Edward’s health as a child, and he fell ill in 1246, 1247, and 1251.
His illnesses apparently didn’t impair his health, as he became an imposing man; at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) he towered over most of his contemporaries, and hence perhaps his epithet “Longshanks”, meaning “long legs” or “long shins”. The historian Michael Prestwich states that his “long arms gave him an advantage as a swordsman, long thighs one as a horseman. In youth, his curly hair was blond; in maturity it darkened, and in old age it turned white. His speech, despite a lisp, was said to be persuasive.”
Edward’s features were marked by piercing blue eyes and a drooping left eyelid, a trait that he inherited from his father and is depicted in the 14th century manuscript, below, where he is shown with Eleanor.
In 1254, English fears of a Castilian invasion of the English province of Gascony induced Edward’s father to arrange a politically expedient marriage between his fourteen-year-old son and Eleanor, the half-sister of King Alfonso X of Castile.
Eleanor and Edward were married on or about November 1, 1254 in the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas in Castile. As part of the marriage agreement, the young prince received grants of land worth 15,000 marks a year. Though the endowments King Henry made were sizeable, they offered Edward little independence. He had already received Gascony as early as 1249, but Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, had been appointed as royal lieutenant the year before and, consequently, drew its income, so in practice Edward derived neither authority nor revenue from this province. The grant he received in 1254 included most of Ireland, and much land in Wales and England, including the earldom of Chester, but the King retained much control over the land in question, particularly in Ireland, so Edward’s power was limited there as well, and the King derived most of the income from those lands.
From 1254 to 1257, Edward was under the influence of his mother’s relatives, known as the Savoyards, the most notable of whom was Peter of Savoy, the queen’s uncle. After 1257, Edward increasingly fell in with the Poitevin or Lusignan faction – the half-brothers of his father Henry III – led by such men as William de Valence. There were tales of unruly and violent conduct by Edward and his Lusignan kinsmen, which raised questions about the royal heir’s personal qualities. The next years would be formative on Edward’s character.
Back in England, early in 1262, Edward fell out with some of his former Lusignan allies over financial matters. The next year, King Henry sent him on a campaign in Wales against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, with only limited results. Around the same time, Simon de Montfort, who had been out of the country since 1261, returned to England and reignited the baronial reform movement. It was at this pivotal moment, as the King seemed ready to resign to the barons’ demands, that Edward began to take control of the situation. Whereas he had so far been unpredictable and equivocating, from this point on he remained firmly devoted to protecting his father’s royal rights. He reunited with some of the men he had alienated the year before – and retook massive Windsor Castle, built by William the Conqueror, Edward’s 4th great-grandfather, shown below, from the rebels.
Through the arbitration of King Louis IX of France, an agreement was made between the two parties. This so-called Mise of Amiens was largely favorable to the royalist side, and laid the seeds for further conflict.
Wars and Crusades
Between 1262 and 1267, the Second Baron’s War took place in England. In the end, after being held hostage for nearly a year, the Royalists were victorious and Edward began to plan for his Crusade to the Holy Land.
Edward took the crusader’s cross in an elaborate ceremony on 24 June 1268, with his brother Edmund and cousin and childhood friend, Henry of Almain.
With the country pacified, the greatest impediment to the project was providing sufficient finances. King Louis IX of France, who was the leader of the crusade, provided a loan of about £17,500. This, however, was not enough; the rest had to be raised through a tax on the laity, which had not been levied since 1237. In May 1270, Parliament granted a tax of a twentieth, in exchange for which the King agreed to reconfirm Magna Carta, and to impose restrictions on Jewish money lending. On August 20, Edward sailed from Dover for France. Historians have not determined the size of the force with any certainty, but Edward probably brought with him around 225 knights and all together less than 1000 men.
Originally, the Crusaders intended to relieve the beleaguered Christian stronghold of Acre, but Louis had been diverted to Tunis. The French King and his brother Charles of Anjou, who had made himself king of Sicily, decided to attack the emirate to establish a stronghold in North Africa. The plans failed when the French forces were struck by an epidemic which, on August 25th, took the life of King Louis himself. By the time Edward arrived at Tunis, Charles had already signed a treaty with the emir, and there was little else to do but return to Sicily. The crusade was postponed until next spring, but a devastating storm off the coast of Sicily dissuaded Charles of Anjou and Louis’s successor Philip III from any further campaigning. Edward decided to continue alone, and on May 9, 1271, he finally landed at Acre.
Operations during the Crusade of Edward I.
By then, the situation in the Holy Land was a precarious one. Jerusalem had fallen in 1244, and Acre was now the center of the Christian state. The Muslim states were on the offensive under the Mamluk leadership of Baibars, and were now threatening Acre itself. Though Edward’s men were an important addition to the garrison, they stood little chance against Baibars’ superior forces, and an initial raid at nearby St Georges-de-Lebeyne in June was largely futile. The area is shown below.
An embassy to the Ilkhan Abaqa (1234–1282) of the Mongols helped bring about an attack on Aleppo in the north, which helped to distract Baibar’s forces. In November, Edward led a raid on Qaqun, which could have served as a bridgehead to Jerusalem, but both the Mongol invasion and the attack on Qaqun failed. Things now seemed increasingly desperate, and in May 1272 Hugh III of Cyprus, who was the nominal king of Jerusalem, signed a ten-year truce with Baibars. Edward was initially defiant, but an attack by a Muslim assassin in June forced him to abandon any further campaigning. Although he managed to kill the assassin, he was struck in the arm by a dagger feared to be poisoned, and became severely weakened over the following months.
It was not until September 24th that Edward left Acre. Arriving in Sicily, he was met with the news that his father had died on November 16th. Edward was deeply saddened by this news, but rather than hurrying home at once, he made a leisurely journey northwards. This was partly due to his health still being poor, but also due to a lack of urgency. The political situation in England was stable after the mid-century upheavals, and Edward was proclaimed king at his father’s death, rather than at his own coronation, as had until then been customary.
In Edward’s absence, the country was governed by a royal council, led by Robert Burnell. The new king embarked on an overland journey through Italy and France, where among other things he visited the pope in Rome and suppressed a rebellion in Gascony. On August 2, 1274 he returned to England, and was crowned with Eleanor on August 19th in Westminster Abbey in London.
The Round Table
Edward had a reputation for a fierce temper, and he could be intimidating; one story tells of how the Dean of St Paul’s, wishing to confront Edward over the high level of taxation in 1295, fell down and died once he was in the King’s presence.
When Edward of Caernarfon demanded an earldom for his favorite Gaveston, the King erupted in anger and supposedly tore out handfuls of his son’s hair. Some of his contemporaries considered Edward frightening, particularly in his early days. The Song of Lewes in 1264, a very enlightening, if difficult to read poem translated from Latin about Edward, described him as a leopard, an animal regarded as particularly powerful and unpredictable.
Whereunto shall the noble Edward be compared? Perhaps he will be rightly called a leopard. If we divide the name it becomes lion and pard; lion, because we saw that he was not slow to attack the strongest places, fearing the onslaught of none, with the boldest valour making a raid amidst the castles, and wherever he goes succeeding as it were at his wish, as though like Alexander he would speedily subdue the whole world, if Fortune’s moving wheel would stand still for ever; wherein let the highest forthwith know that he will fall, and that he who reigns as lord will reign but a little time. And this has, it is clear, befallen the noble Edward, who, it is agreed, has fallen from his unstable position. A lion by pride and fierceness, he is by inconstancy and changeableness a pard, changing his word and promise, cloaking himself by pleasant speech. When he is in a strait he promises whatever you wish, but as soon as he has escaped he renounces his promise. Let Gloucester be witness, where, when free from his difficulty, he at once revoked what he had sworn. The treachery or falsehood whereby he is advanced he calls prudence; the way whereby he arrives whither he will, crooked though it be, is regarded as straight; wrong gives him pleasure and is called right ; whatever he likes he says is lawful, and he thinks that he is released from law, as though he were greater than the King. For every king is ruled by the laws which he makes; King Saul is rejected because he broke the laws; and David is related to have been punished as soon as he acted contrary to the law; hence, therefore, let him who makes laws, learn that he cannot rule who observes not the law; nor ought they, whose concern it is, to make this man king.
Despite these frightening character traits, however, Edward’s contemporaries considered him an able, even an ideal, king. Though not loved by his subjects, he was feared and respected. He met contemporary expectations of kingship in his role as an able, determined soldier and in his embodiment of shared chivalric ideals. In religious observance he also fulfilled the expectations of his age: he attended chapel regularly and gave alms generously. He was also a model, loyal, husband in a time when model husband did not exist and loyalty was not expected in a royal marriage.
Edward took a keen interest in the stories of King Arthur, which were highly popular in Europe during his reign. In 1278 he visited Glastonbury Abbey, in ruins today, shown above, to open what was then believed to be the tomb of Arthur and Guinevere, recovering “Arthur’s crown” from Llywelyn after the conquest of North Wales, while his new castles drew upon the Arthurian myths in their design and location.
Glastonbury Abbey Photochrom photo taken about 1900, above.
He held “Round Table” events in 1284 and 1302, involving tournaments and feasting, and chroniclers compared him and the events at his court to Arthur. In some cases Edward appears to have used his interest in the Arthurian myths to serve his own political interests, including legitimizing his rule in Wales and discrediting the Welsh belief that Arthur might return as their political savior.
This round table was made by Edward and is now hung in Winchester Castle.
Soon after assuming the throne, Edward set about restoring order and re-establishing royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father. To accomplish this, he immediately ordered an extensive change of administrative personnel. The most important of these was the appointment of Robert Burnell as chancellor, a man who would remain in the post until 1292 as one of the King’s closest associates.
Edward then replaced most local officials, such as the escheators and sheriffs. This last measure was done in preparation for an extensive inquest covering all of England, that would hear complaints about abuse of power by royal officers. The inquest produced the set of so-called Hundred Rolls, from the administrative subdivision of the hundred.
The second purpose of the inquest was to establish what land and rights the crown had lost during the reign of Henry III.
The Hundred Rolls formed the basis for the later legal inquiries called the Quo warranto proceedings. The purpose of these inquiries was to establish by what warrant various liberties were held. If the defendant could not produce a royal license to prove the grant of the liberty, then it was the crown’s opinion – based on the writings of the influential thirteenth-century legal scholar Bracton – that the liberty should revert to the king.
By enacting the Statute of Gloucester in 1278 the King challenged baronial rights through a revival of the system of general eyres (royal justices to go on tour throughout the land) and through a significant increase in the number of pleas of quo warranto to be heard by such eyres.
Long cross penny with portrait of Edward.
This caused great consternation among the aristocracy, who insisted that long use in itself constituted license. A compromise was eventually reached in 1290, whereby a liberty was considered legitimate as long as it could be shown to have been exercised since the coronation of King Richard I, in 1189. Royal gains from the Quo warranto proceedings were insignificant; few liberties were returned to the King. Edward had nevertheless won a significant victory, in clearly establishing the principle that all liberties essentially emanated from the crown.
Groat of Edward (4 pences).
The 1290 statute of Quo warranto was only one part of a wider legislative effort, which was one of the most important contributions of Edward I’s reign. This era of legislative action had started already at the time of the baronial reform movement; the Statute of Marlborough (1267) contained elements both of the Provisions of Oxford and the Dictum of Kenilworth. The compilation of the Hundred Rolls was followed shortly after by the issue of Westminster I (1275), which asserted the royal prerogative and outlined restrictions on liberties. In the Mortmain (1279), the issue was grants of land to the church. The first clause of Westminster II (1285), known as De donis conditionalibus, dealt with family settlement of land, and entails. Merchants (1285) established firm rules for the recovery of debts, while Winchester (1285) dealt with peacekeeping on a local level. Quia emptores (1290) – issued along with Quo warranto – set out to remedy land ownership disputes resulting from alienation of land by subinfeudation or subletting their land. The age of the great statutes largely ended with the death of Robert Burnell in 1292.
Wars and Castles
Wars in medieval England seem to be a way of life.
From 1276 to1294, conflicts erupted in Wales. They ebbed and flowed, and were politically motivated as most wars are. In 1277, 15,000 English forcefully invaded Wales on a punitive mission. Of those 15,000, 9000 were Welsh. The Welsh surrendered. However, in 1282, war broke out again and episodic rebellions would occur until 1294. In 1284, the Statute of Rhuddlan incorporated the principality of Wales unto England. Edward then focused on the English settlement of Wales and building castles.
An extensive project of castle-building was initiated under the direction of Master James of Saint George, a prestigious architect whom Edward had met in Savoy on his return from the crusade. These included the castles of Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech, intended to act both as fortresses and royal palaces for the King.
Caernarfon Castle where Edward’s son, Edward II, was born.
Many of these new towns, built for the English to settle in Wales, were extensively walled, such as Conwy. The Conwy Castle walls extended to be the actual city walls.
This artists rendition reconstructs Conwy Castle and the village in the 13th century. You can see the remainder of the city walls extending from the castle below to the left, in 2013.
Conwy Castle, with its massive walls was extremely well fortified.
Edward’s program of castle building in Wales heralded the introduction of the widespread use of arrowslits in castle walls across Europe, drawing on Eastern influences.
You can see an example, behind my left shoulder, in the ramparts of Conwy Castle.
When I visited Conwy Castle in the fall of 2013, I had no idea that I was connected in to this castle in quite this way. I’m incredibly glad, now, that I visited when given the opportunity.
Also a product of the Crusades was the introduction of the concentric castle, and four of the eight castles Edward founded in Wales followed this design.
The castles made a clear, imperial statement about Edward’s intentions to rule North Wales permanently, and drew on imagery associated with the Byzantine Roman Empire and King Arthur in an attempt to build legitimacy for his new regime.
In 1284, King Edward had his son Edward (later King Edward II) born at Caernarfon Castle, probably to make a deliberate statement about the new political order in Wales. David Powel, a 16th-century clergyman, suggested that the baby was offered to the Welsh as a prince “that was borne in Wales and could speake never a word of English”, but there is no evidence to support this account. In 1301 at Lincoln, the young Edward became the first English prince to be invested with the title of Prince of Wales, when King Edward granted him the Earldom of Chester and lands across North Wales. The King seems to have hoped that this would help in the pacification of the region, and that it would give his son more financial independence.
However, even today when talking with the Welsh, there is clearly still tension between the two countries, or parts of the UK. One Welchman told us that all he knew about English/Welsh history is that there were “bloody English castles all over the place, but we still speak Welsh here.”
The Great Cause of Scotland
Edward seems to have trouble keeping all of the neighbors under control. Scotland paid homage to England in 1278, but by the 1280s, the question of succession in Scotland came to a head. As a result of a long series of royal deaths, Edward’s then one year old son, Edward, was betrothed to the three year old Margaret, Maid of Norway, heir to the throne of Scotland after her parent’s deaths. This brought Scotland clearly under the rule of England. Her parents died, then she died in 1290. Fourteen men claimed the heirless throne, but it came down to John Balloil and Robert de Brus.
Edward was asked to mediate this dispute, which he did in favor of John. However, Edward continued to assert his authority over Scotland, especially militarily. The Scots took issue with this, especially as Edward pushed the issue, which led to Edward invading Scotland and taking the town of Berwick in a particularly bloody attack.
At the Battle of Dunbar, in 1296, Scottish resistance was defeated. Stirling castle surrendered – “the garrison having run away and left none but the porter, who did surrender the keys.”
However, while in Scotland, to add insult to injury, Edward confiscated the Stone of Scone, known as the Stone of Destiny, the Scottish coronation stone and brought it back to Westminster, placing it in King Edward’s chair. The message to Scotland was clear – they were subjects of England.
Constant warfare drained the coffers and caused Edward to have to raise funds by levying taxes. In 1275, he permanently taxed wool.
The Jews were another source of income as many English were indebted to and despised them. Christianity forbade money-lending, so the Jews were the financiers of English people. In 1275, Edward outlawed usury and encouraged Jews to take up other occupations. In 1279, he arrested all heads of Jewish households and executed about 300. They still did not convert, and in 1290, following the lead of other European leaders such as France and Brittany, he expelled them in the Edict of Expulsion. This generated revenue through royal appropriation of Jewish loans and property.
In 1295, Edward summoned 2 knights from each county and 2 men from each burgh to attend Parliament, setting the stage to collect lay subsidies on the entire population. Lay subsidies were collected on a fraction of the moveable property of all laymen and were occasionally collected for special purposes during a King’s reign. Henry III collected 4 during his reign and Edward collected 9 in total; three before 1294 and 4 between 1294-1297. In addition, he seized wool and hides and the burden of prises (appropriation of food.)
Warfare is expensive.
Edward became very unpopular and his policies created a great deal of resentment. However, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the clerical subsidies ordered in 1294 which demanded half of all clerical (church) revenues.
In 1295, a papal bull from the Pope prohibited the Catholic churches from paying taxes to lay authorities without explicit consent from the Pope. A compromise was reached which allowed clergymen to pay the tax “in cases or pressing urgency.”
In 1297, the Earl of Norfolk objected to the King’s right to demand military service. He argued that the King’s ability to demand service was limited to those serving with him, but that he could not sail to Flanders, for example, and send his subjects to Gascony. In July, Roger Bigod and Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Constable of England drew up a series of complaints known as The Remonstrances which included required military service and extortive levels of taxation. Humphrey de Bohun was the father of Humphrey de Bohun, the 4th Earl of Hereford, born about 1276 who married King Edward’s daughter, Elizabeth in 1302, and from whom I descend. Edward responded by levying another lay subsidy which was particularly provocative.
The King left for Flanders with a greatly reduced force and the country seemed on the brink of civil war.
Ironically, it was the Scots that saved England. The defeat by the Scots at the Battle of Stirling Bridge (below) provided a threat to the homeland and united the English, the King and the magnates in a common cause.
Edward signed a confirmation of the Magna Carta called Confirmatio cartarum (in Norman French) and the nobility agreed to serve with the King on the campaign in Scotland. Edward’s father, Henry III, signed the original 1225 Magna Carta document, below.
Back to Scotland
The situation in Scotland had seemed resolved when Edward left the country in 1296, but resistance soon emerged under the leadership of the strategically gifted and charismatic William Wallace. On September 11, 1297, a large English force under the leadership of John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, and Hugh de Cressingham was routed by a much smaller Scottish army led by Wallace and Andrew Moray at Stirling Bridge. The defeat sent shockwaves into England, and preparations for a retaliatory campaign started immediately. Soon after Edward returned from Flanders, he headed north.
Stirling Bridge with the Abbey Craig today.
On July 22, 1298, in the only major battle he had fought since Evesham in 1265, Edward defeated Wallace’s forces at the Battle of Falkirk by utilizing longbows, creating gaps in the Scot’s defenses allowing the cavalry to charge.
Edward, however, was not able to take advantage of the momentum, and the next year the Scots managed to recapture Stirling Castle. Even though Edward campaigned in Scotland both in 1300, when he successfully besieged Caerlaverock Castle and in 1301, the Scots refused to engage in open battle again, preferring instead to raid the English countryside in smaller groups.
Caelaverick Castle in ruins, about 1900. The castle, shown from the air today, is triangularly shaped and was built in the 1200s.
The defeated Scots, secretly urged on by the French, appealed to the pope to assert a claim of overlordship to Scotland in place of the English. His papal bull addressed to King Edward in these terms was firmly rejected on Edward’s behalf by the Barons’ Letter of 1301. The English managed to subdue the country by other means, however. In 1303, a peace agreement was reached between England and France, effectively breaking up the Franco-Scottish alliance.
Robert the Bruce, the grandson of the claimant to the crown in 1291, had sided with the English in the winter of 1301–02. By 1304, most of the other nobles of the country had also pledged their allegiance to Edward, and this year the English also managed to re-take Stirling Castle.
Stirling Castle drawn in 1693.
A great propaganda victory was achieved in 1305 when Wallace was betrayed by Sir John de Menteith and turned over to the English, who had him taken to London where he was publicly executed. With Scotland largely under English control, Edward installed Englishmen and collaborating Scots to govern the country.
The situation changed again on February 10, 1306, when Robert the Bruce murdered his rival John Comyn and a few weeks later, on 25 March, had himself crowned King of Scotland by Isobel, sister of the Earl of Buchan. Bruce now embarked on a campaign to restore Scottish independence, and this campaign took the English by surprise.
King Edward was suffering ill health by this time, and instead of leading an expedition himself, he gave different military commands to Aymer de Valence and Henry Percy, while the main royal army was led by the Prince of Wales. The English initially met with success; on June 19, Aymer de Valence routed Bruce at the Battle of Methven. Bruce was forced into hiding, while the English forces recaptured their lost territory and castles. Edward responded with severe brutality against Bruce’s allies; it was clear that he now regarded the struggle not as a war between two nations, but as the suppression of a rebellion of disloyal subjects. This brutality, though, rather than helping to subdue the Scots, had the opposite effect, and rallied growing support for Bruce.
Unfulfilled Crusades and the War on the Continent
The portrait above has been reported to be Edward I and also his son, Edward II.
Edward never again went on crusade after his return to England in 1274, but he maintained an intention to do so, and took the cross again in 1287. Like pilgrims, each crusader swore a vow (a votus) to be fulfilled on successfully reaching Jerusalem, and they were granted a cloth cross (crux) to be sewn into their clothes. This “taking of the cross”, the crux, eventually became associated with the entire journey. They saw themselves as undertaking an iter, a journey, or a peregrinatio, an armed pilgrimage. The inspiration for this “messianism of the poor” was the expected mass apotheosis at Jerusalem.
This image from the Jena Codex in the 1400s shows the Crusader’s Cross.
This intention of leaving on a second Crusade guided much of Edward’s foreign policy, until at least 1291.
To stage a European-wide crusade, it was essential to prevent conflict between the greater princes on the continent. A major obstacle to this was represented by the conflict between the French House of Anjou ruling southern Italy, and the kingdom of Aragon in Spain. In 1282, the citizens of Palermo rose up against Charles of Anjou and turned for help to Peter of Aragon, in what has become known as the Sicilian Vespers. In the war that followed, Charles of Anjou’s son, Charles of Salerno, was taken prisoner by the Aragonese. The French began planning an attack on Aragon, raising the prospect of a large-scale European war. To Edward, it was imperative that such a war be avoided, and in Paris in 1286 he brokered a truce between France and Aragon that helped secure Charles’ release. As far as the crusades were concerned, however, Edward’s efforts proved ineffective. A devastating blow to his plans came in 1291, when the Mamluks captured Acre, the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land.
Medieval painting called “Les Templars” depicting the Siege of Acre.
After the fall of Acre, Edward’s international role changed from that of a diplomat to an antagonist. He had long been deeply involved in the affairs of his own Duchy of Gascony. In 1278 he assigned an investigating commission to his trusted associates Otto de Grandson and the chancellor Robert Burnell, which caused the replacement of the seneschal Luke de Tany. In 1286, Edward visited the region himself and stayed for almost three years. The perennial problem, however, was the status of Gascony within the kingdom of France, and Edward’s role as the French king’s vassal. On his diplomatic mission in 1286, Edward had paid homage to the new king, Philip IV, but in 1294 Philip declared Gascony forfeit when Edward refused to appear before him in Paris to discuss the recent conflict between English, Gascon, and French sailors (that had resulted in several French ships being captured, along with the sacking of the French port of La Rochelle).
Edward I (right) giving homage to Philip IV (left). As Duke of Aquitaine, Edward was a vassal of the French king.
Eleanor of Castile died on November 28, 1290. Uncommon for such marriages of the period, and even though it was an arranged marriage, the couple loved each other.
Carvings of Edward and Eleanor at the Lincoln Cathedral.
Like his father, Edward was very devoted to his wife and was faithful to her throughout their married lives — a rarity among monarchs of the time. He was deeply affected by her death. He displayed his grief by erecting twelve so-called Eleanor crosses, one at each place where her funeral cortège stopped for the night. As part of the peace accord between England and France in 1294, it was agreed that Edward should marry Philip IV’s half-sister Margaret, but the marriage was delayed by the outbreak of war.
Edward made alliances with the German king, the Counts of Flanders and Guelders, and the Burgundians, who would attack France from the north. The alliances proved volatile, however, and Edward was facing trouble at home at the time, both in Wales and Scotland. It was not until August 1297 that he was finally able to sail for Flanders, at which time his allies there had already suffered defeat. The support from Germany never materialized, and Edward was forced to seek peace. His marriage to Margaret in 1299 ended the war, but the whole affair had proven both costly and fruitless for the English.
Edward married Margaret of France in 1299 and was married to her until his death in 1307.
Edward and Margaret had three more children.
- Thomas born 1 June 1300, died 4 Aug 1338, buried in the abbey of Bury St Edmunds. Married (1) Alice Hales, with children; (2) Mary Brewes, no children.
- Edmund born 1 Aug 1301, died 19 Mar 1330, married Margaret Wake, had children.
- Eleanor born 6 May 1306, died 1310.
It was sweet of Margaret to name her daughter Eleanor, especially as Henry’s health was declining. Sadly, Eleanor died three years after her father.
In February 1307, Robert the Bruce reappeared and started gathering men, and in May he defeated Aymer de Valence at the Battle of Loudoun Hill. King Edward, who had rallied somewhat, now moved north himself.
The ailing but indomitable King , then aged 68, mortally ill but refusing to admit defeat, embarked on horseback on the journey June 26th which was to prove his last. The protracted journey underlines the poor state of his health, he finally had to be carried in a litter. He reached Kirkandrews-on-Eden on 2nd July but struggled on until three days later he arrived at Burgh by Sands (which is pronounced bruff, not burgh,) just south of the Scottish border, where he finally breathed his last, dying of dysentery. When his servants came the next morning to lift him up so that he could eat, he died in their arms.
This monument rising from Burgh Marsh marks the location of King Edward I’s death.
Various stories emerged about Edward’s deathbed wishes; according to one tradition, he requested that his heart be carried to the Holy Land, along with an army to fight the infidels. A more dubious story tells of how he wished for his bones to be carried along on future expeditions against the Scots. Yet another says that Edward wanted his flesh to be boiled from his bones so that they could be carried with the army on every campaign into Scotland and that his heart be buried in the Holy Land. Another account of his deathbed scene is more credible; according to one chronicle, Edward gathered around him the Earls of Lincoln and Warwick, Aymer de Valence, and Robert Clifford, and charged them with looking after his son Edward. In particular they should make sure that Piers Gaveston was not allowed to return to the country. This wish, however, the son ignored, and had his favorite recalled from exile almost immediately.
King Edward’s body lay in state in St Michael’s Parish Church at Burgh by Sands before being taken to London in stages for burial at Westminster Abbey, the mausoleum of English kings. Below, the sculptured head of Edward I from Winchelsea Church.
He laid in state at Waltham Abbey, before being buried in Westminster Abbey on October 27th in a dalmatic (long tunic) of red silk damask with a mantle or rich crimson satin fastened with a fibula (brooch) gilt in gold. His grave bears this epitaph ‘Edwardus Primus Scottorum Malleus hic est 1308. Pactum Serva’ (Here lies Edward, the Hammer of the Scots. Keep this vow).
His body was visited there by his eldest son, Edward, Prince of Wales, who had been in Scotland at the time of his father’s death, he was proclaimed Edward II the following day at Carlisle. The new king, Edward II, remained in the north until August, but then abandoned the campaign and headed south. He was crowned king on 25 February 1308.
The map below of Westminster Abbey, from Mark Humphrey’s page shows the location of Edward’s tomb circled in blue and Eleanor’s in red.
There are few records of the funeral, which cost £473. Edward’s tomb was an unusually plain sarcophagus of Purbeck marble, without the customary royal effigy, possibly the result of the shortage of royal funds after the King’s death. The sarcophagus may normally have been covered over with rich cloth, and originally might have been surrounded by carved busts and a devotional religious image, all since lost. The Society of Antiquaries opened the tomb in 1774, finding that the body had been well preserved over the preceding 467 years, and took the opportunity to determine the King’s original height.
According to Westminster Abbey, when Edward’s tomb was opened, they found the body wrapped in waxed linen cloth and wearing royal robes of red and gold with a crimson mantle. He had a gilt crown on his head and carried a scepter surmounted by a dove and oak leaves in enamels.
Traces of the Latin inscription Edwardus Primus Scottorum Malleus hic est, 1308. Pactum Serva (“Here is Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, 1308. Keep the Vow”), can still be seen painted on the side of the tomb, referring to his vow to avenge the rebellion of Robert Bruce. This resulted in Edward being given the epithet the “Hammer of the Scots” by historians, but is not contemporary in origin, having been added by the Abbot John Feckenham in the 16th century.
A drawing of Edward’s tomb from when it was opened in 1774.
Ironically, Edward has no decorative tomb, per se, and is buried under a plain marble slab, shown below. I wonder why ornamentations weren’t later added.
His tomb is shown in the drawing below from “The History and Antiquities of the Abbey Church of St. Peter, Westminster” by Edward Brayley, Vol 2, 1823.
The burial location of Eleanor is shown below at right. The tomb of Henry III, the father of Edward I is shown at left. Edward buried Eleanor beside his father. The Norman-French inscription can be translated as “Here lies Eleanor, sometime Queen of England, wife of King Edward son of King Henry, and daughter of the King of Spain and Countess of Ponthieu, on whose soul God in His pity have mercy. Amen”.
Westminster Abbey probably hasn’t changed a great deal. This drawing below shows the choir in 1848.
Edward’s 26 year old widow, Margaret of France retired to Marlborough Castle after his death and never remarried, she is recorded as saying “when Edward died, all men died for me”. She lived on for ten years after her husband’s death, dying at the age of 36 and was buried at Greyfriars Church, Greenwich.
The King and I
King Edward I is my 23rd great-grandfather, or said another way, I’m the 25th generation downstream from him. This means that I’m also related to Valerie Bertinelli. Grandpa King Edward is her 16th great grandfather, so that means that she and are I are 16th cousins 7 times removed, or genetically equal to 19th cousins once removed. Actually, I think she descended through the same daughter, so we’re actually at least one (and possibly more) generations closer.
Sixth cousins share under 1% of their DNA, So 19th cousins share a miniscule amount, if any. It’s absolutely possible that Valerie and I share absolutely no DNA at all from King Edward. In fact, it’s possible that neither Valerie nor I, individually, inherited ANY DNA from King Edward. But let’s face it, despite the odds of not receiving any DNA from a specific ancestor that long ago, we did inherit DNA from ancestors that long ago, and even longer ago, so it had to come from someone, or we wouldn’t be here today with a full DNA compliment. In other words, several someone’s beat the odds and their DNA survived. Seems to me like Edward just might have had some of that survivor DNA to share.
I hope that Valerie will become curious and test her autosomal DNA, and will then have someone work with her to download her DNA to GedMatch where we can drop the thresholds to 1cM to see if we so share even a shred of Edward’s DNA. I’d be glad to volunteer!
I actually did the math, and at 15th cousins, we are down to only one matching base pair from a common ancestor. But, given that, we also know that autosomal DNA is not inherited exactly at 50% in each generation and that it is inherited in clumps, sticky segments, so, indeed, maybe, just maybe…..
One thing we can do, however, is to check and see if the Plantagenet line is represented in DNA testing for the Y line. That would be quite interesting.
In August 2013, Bradley Larkin published a paper about the Y DNA of the British Monarchy in honor of the birth of the Prince of Cambridge.
Bradley said: “A review was made of existing genetic genealogy findings that infer characteristics of the Y-DNA of members of the British Monarchy. Nine sustained Y-DNA lineages since the year 927 CE were noted as dynastic groups. Haplogroup and haplotype characteristics of three of the dynasties were presented with two more dynasties noted as testable but unpublished. Cultural and geographical origins of these dynasties were considered as context for their DNA haplogroups. Specimen candidates for further testing were identified noting that some will require Ancient DNA (aDNA) recovery and analysis.”
Bradley identified the dynasties of the British monarchy beginning in the year 927 and ending in 2013, as shown below.
- Knytlinga (Viking)
Bradley then researched each dynasty and lineage. If lines have been tested, he provides the results. Several lines have no male descendants, so for those, we would need ancient DNA. The connections and interconnections are fascinating.
To view the detail and summary data about each dynasty, read Bradley’s paper here, especially the summary table near the end.
Now, you do know, that of course my Plantagenet line is one that is not yet represented in the DNA data bases. However, King Richard III, being King Richard of the Car Park fame, descends from the same paternal male line. King Richard is, in fact, the great-great-grandson of Edward I, through all males, so Richard should indeed carry the same Y DNA that King Edward I carried. In February, 2014 the University of Leister announced that they were going to sequence the entire genome of Richard III. I think that is absolutely wonderful news.
Richard would be my 7th cousin, 16 times removed, or genetically equivalent to my 15th cousin. He’s more closely related to Valerie, 7th cousins 9 times removed, or equivalent to 11th cousins once removed.
I checked with Debbie Kennett who, being a genetic genealogist and blogger in Britain, is familiar with and interested in all things British, and she indicated that a paper is due imminently reporting the results of Richard III’s DNA testing, including Y DNA. I can hardly wait. I did not inherit the patience gene from anyone!
It looks like Bradley will be able to update his table, I’ll be able to discover the Y DNA of my 23rd grandfather and so will Valerie Bertinelli.
And I don’t even have to chase down any relatives and try to figure out how to persuade them to test, nor do I have to pay for any testing. I think this is wonderful. And I didn’t even have to dig anyone up either!!! All done for me! How does this get better?
So, my husband asked me if I’m in the royal line of succession. I had to admit, I had no idea. It never occurred to me, and now that I think about it, I surely hope not! I can’t even curtsey.
I’m not quite sure how things shifted from family lines, or why, since Edward I, so I googled. I found out a lot about the British line of succession, and while Valerie and I both might be in that line along with thousands of our cousins, I discovered one thing for sure. I hate to disappoint Valerie, but both of our families have a Catholic marriage between us and the good King Edward I, so even if we were in the line of succession, we’re disqualified now. Sorry Valerie. I know you’re crushed:)
So, I think that to celebrate our newly found royal ancestor, Valerie and I need to have a sitting to be fitted for our new royal tiaras. Every girl wants to be a princess and my granddaughters would think this is THE coolest thing since sliced bread. I mean, Grandma is a REAL princess. Ok, 24 times removed, but who’s counting. Details. And they are real princesses too, 26 times removed.
So, I kind of like this tiara. What do you think?
I don’t think they’ll let me borrow this one with those luscious green emeralds from the Louvre.
The granddaughters like this pink one. Now there’s a surprise.
I’m thinking, this is probably about as close as I’m going to get.
A couple of years ago, during one the Lost Colony Research Group archaeology digs on Hatteras Island, I fixed the computer in the library, which was refusing to print. For that, I got to wear the honorary tiara. It’s a local tradition. It felt so comfortable, I forgot all about it and then wondered why people were looking at me strangely:)
If you descend from the Sarah Ludlow and Reverend Nathaniel Brewster lines in the US, you too descend from King Edward I. Sarah’s father was the Honorable Roger Ludlow, Deputy Governor of Massachusetts in 1634 and 10th great grandson of Edward I. He’s the “gateway ancestor” who married Mary Cogan. The Rev. Nathaniel Brewster, a member of the first graduating class at Harvard in 1642, married their daughter, Sarah Ludlow. And the rest, is indeed, history.
Maybe you’ll need a tiara too!!!
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Sounds like another trip to England (at the very least!) is in order. Bully for you, Roberta. What a great story!!!
You might read “The Plantagenets” by Dan Jones.
Thank you. I just ordered it.
I wonder if anyone has ever used DNA to sort out the question raided on the internet of whether Richard Beldon of Wethersfield CT was the Richard Baildon (Bayldon) born in Kippax Yorkshire to Sir Francis Baildon. He is my gateway ancestor through the Nevilles to John of Gaunt, and his ggf Edward I.
Sorry, “raided” should be raised.
Enjoyed your discussion of Longshanks.
I have Edward I as a grandfather thru 2 of his children.
I show Elizabeth, Countess of Hereford, daughter of Eleanor as my 19th ggm, thru my immigrant ancestor William Hawkins, Rhode Island, ca 1636.
In addition, I have Edmund, Earl of Kent, son of Margaret Capet as my 18th ggf thru immigrant ancestor Edward FitzRandolph, ca 1630 in Mass.
I am no Valerie Bertinelli, but my ftDNA kit is 337248, and I am in the Cumberland Gap group.
I still have no idea how to pursue the DNA matching techniques, but I have put my results online for any one who may want to tie into my research.
I checked and we don’t have any matches at their threshold level. If we shared any of King Edward’s DNA, it would likely be smaller segments, not over their matching criteria. If you have downloaded your autosomal file to http://www.gedmatch.com, I’m kit f6656 there and we might match if the threshold was lowered both for cM and number of SNPs.
I know this DNA stuff is childs play for many of you..
..but as I look to load my ftDNA data to Gedmatch, I encounter this at the ftDNA raw data page..
…and nowhere can I find any explanation as to the difference, if any, between Build 37 and Build 36
So I get stumped before I get started as I don’t know what to upload to Gedmatch
(GZIP, CSV, Build 37 Autosomal Raw Data
(GZIP, CSV) Build 36 Autosomal Raw Data
(GZIP, CSV) Build 37 X Chromosome Raw Data
(GZIP, CSV) Build 36 X Chromosome Raw Data
(GZIP, CSV) Printable Population Finder Map
I believe the instructions for uploading GedMatch files tell you which version to upload. I think it’s 36, but please check the GedMatch pages because the wrong version won’t work.
I believe my kit is now on gedmatch, f337248
I really am clueless regarding those suggested parameters or even how to structure a match search
Great read as usual. Thanks Roberta
Not to detract from this wonderful romp through history, but your photo of the Palace of Westminster is of the replacement built after the fire of 1834. As your link points out, the original building did not survive another fire in 1512. Very enjoyable account.
Welcome to the club…
My gateway ancestor is Alexander Falconar of Maryland who is descended from King James IV of Scotland in one line and Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scotland in another line, both descendants of King Edward I of England. Indeed Alexander Falconar descends from King Edward I a total of 8 times, making us distant cousins through Edward I eight times over.
I wonder how many living descendants he has.
There are probably millions of descendants.
Does our DNA match? I’m F6656 at Gedmatch.
Hi Roberta, I just discovered your blog and it is really good! I’m just beginning to trace my ancestry on my mother’s side and it just keeps going and going and going lol. There are so many Lords and Knights that I haven’t been able to finish looking everyone up and adding them to my family tree. I have found one ancestor that lived in 200 AD.
I have a match with you and 2 with your mother (you gave her kit number below). With you it is a 5.0 segment, and with your mother I share two segments, one that is 5.2 and the other is 6.3. I don’t know how to do much DNA stuff right now. My kit is A772585. Most of my royal ancestors, but not all of them, come from the Throckmorton side of my mother’s family.
I’m M165424. We share two 1.3 cM segments, a 1.7 cM segment, a 2.8 cM segment, and a 4.9 cM segment.
Four segments, even though they are small, are unlikely to be circumstantial. Have I sent you my pedigree chart before? If not, I will. On Gedmatch, F9141 is my mother. If you also match her, then I’ll know to send that side. If not, then it’s via my Dad.
I match your mother but on a different segment,3.5 cM and 1025 SNPs. So the other segments, all > 700 SNPs, are probably from your father. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to send the pedigree chart. I can send you mine as well.
Hey there chuck i just ran our ged matches
Chr B37 Start Pos’n B37 End Pos’n Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
1 101,864,215 105,448,030 3 410
2 15,982,423 18,213,422 4 382
2 218,377,007 220,239,534 3.4 290
5 9,617,512 10,905,445 3.6 326
5 178,758,909 180,690,937 3.2 345
12 341,376 1,644,376 3.2 232
15 27,372,097 29,848,687 7.6 414
16 84,274,405 84,945,138 3.7 339
16 84,960,304 85,926,401 3.6 253
Largest segment = 7.6 cM
Total Half-Match segments (HIR) 35.2cM (0.981 Pct)
9 shared segments found for this comparison.
446747 SNPs used for this comparison.
Amy’s challenge also has me going through all the records I have on my ancestor of the week. I find myself waking up several times during the night and reminding myself to check this or that in the morning. I haven’t gotten to the point that I mutter unspeakable things of Amy. More like singing her praises as she got me started and sticking to it. I confess that at a certain point I only skimmed through this and it made me wonder if my readers do the same with mine as they are quite long as I try to get everything included.
Hi Cathy, My comment about unspeakable things of Amy was tongue in cheek. I’ve told her that I have a “love hate” relationship with her – but I am very grateful, most of the time, for her challenge. It’s just more challenging that I thought it would be. I share your concerns about the long posts. However, I also consider these “bait” and if someone in the future is googling these names, they will, hopefully find mind. I am also viewing this as a way of getting the information out there, not just for others, but for me and my own family. Were I to kick the proverbial bucket, at least it’s not all stuck in my filing cabinets and in my computer software that will die when the disc is reformatted. The one difference between my articles and some others is that each one utilizes DNA in some manner – of course, that’s because it’s a DNA blog:) I certainly enjoy reading the articles of others and I have found more than one of my relatives there.
I understood what you meant about your “love hate” relationship with Amy. 🙂
Challenging is the word for this challenge. I’ve always worked on descendants of one line for months on end hoping to find the one person who has already made a breakthrough on the oldest known ancestor. What I never realized was that putting it in written form gives me a different perspective of what the person’s life was like. I’m doing my 52 Ancestors for my Dad’s line working back (as opposed to forward) one generation at a time. I don’t know how many of my cousins are actually reading them but several want it in book form at the end of the year. But will they read it then?
I began following your blog because it’s a DNA blog. I haven’t been tested but want to learn more. I inheritated another researchers library (25+ lbs. shipped across the Atlantic) because she was “done.” Then she had her brother, her son, and herself tested. Her brother’s Y-DNA matched closest with John Sims who we have seen on paper as the son of James. She has always believed that this James may be the father of our oldest know Sims ancestor Jeremiah. It looks good but I have no idea how the results are interpreted. They says the match means they are brothers. I keep reading and hoping that one day I’ll “get it.” I think my major problem is that not being part of the project I don’t have access to the data on the site.
You can’t tell is men are brothers by a Y DNA test. What you can tell is if they share a common ancestor, and to some extent, how close they were to that ancestor based on the number of mutations difference between the testers.
I fully understand your working on a line for a long time. But this challenge makes us put it on paper….now. Something I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I’ve got back to update a couple of them already when a new tidbit comes in.
Roberta: about “bait” and DNA matches
I am not sure how scientifically valuable such small matches would be. You probably just want to have fun evaluating cousins. This being said, many Quebecers descend from Edward I. I descend from Edward III through Rose Stoughton.
The thing about DNA matches, if you want to find an ancestor that is so far removed, is that you can share ancestry in many different ways with your fellow Americans. In order to be sure that you don’t share this DNA because of some other immigrant line, you would both have to have a complete tree, all the way to the original immigrants (or the natives), and make sure that you only share that line.
In the case of Quebecers, it’s much less difficult since we typically don’t have many English lines in our tree. In my case, there is only one because I descend from a victim of the Cochecho massacre. I have another “American” line, but it’s from New York, and they are not English.
Interestingly, an academic once probed me for my genetic memory. I had no idea what he was doing at the time. It turned out that I had (have) genetic memory from the She-Wolf, so I definitely have some DNA left from the Plantagenêt line. I came up spontaneously with information about the She-Wolf drama, and he looked surprised and said: “That’s too long ago!” I had not learned about the events through books because I didn’t know much about English history. The conversation concluded with him telling me that I had English ancestry and needed to build my family tree. LOL! As it turns out, he was right.
It’s mind-blowing, really! That’s one of the things that I love about genealogy. I found out that I have genetic memory from several people, a couple of whom lived in the Renaissance. Those small segments of DNA really mean something.
Fascinating! The article captured my attention and would not let go. Thanks for sharing.
I enjoy the history and photos you incorporate into your DNA research. I’m a reader, not a doer, so I envy all your “doing.” I saved an article by Matt Crenson of AP (about Brooke Shields being a direct descendent of Muhammad) from a few years ago (I forgot to date it) whose subtitle reads “Genealogists discover royal roots on all family trees.” He adds, “Some experts estimate that 80 percent of England’s present population descends from Edward III.” And therefore Edward I! And since so many Americans have descent from English colonists, I assume we/they are also descended from that line (and its antecedents).
The rest of us just don’t have the documentation!!
Since Henry I had 20 illegitimate sons that he recognized (and who knows how many others, and daughters, that he didn’t), I would bet that 80% if not more of the English population has some royal ancestry. My own is through an illegitimate son of Henry II, Walter Longspear (if I remember the name correctly), by a ward named Ida de Tosny. I’ve already met two other descendants of Henry II, entirely by accident. Now I look at all my friends and wonder if they too….
Love the blog, by the way.
Edward was my 21 x Great Grandfather. I too descend from his daughter Elizabeth through her union with Humphrey de Bohun! Great article! Thanks for writing it.
Great, we’re about 19th cousins, a few times removed:)
Same here, 23 times, through the same relative, Elizabeth. My ‘gateway’ was much later. Mary Jane MCCOY. It was through the McCoy line that I was able to trace it back. Loving it!
Hey, Cuz!!! 😀
Edward I was my my 21st ggf. I’m also descended from Elizabeth and Henry de Bohun, thru their son William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton and Elizabeth de Badelsmere. Another one of Edward I’s sons, Edward II, was my 20th ggf. Since you can trace your ancestry back to Edward I, you can also go back to Charlemagne. There’s a group on Facebook that I belong to, MAGNA CARTA SURIETIES AND KING JOHN DESCENDANTS 1215-2015 (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DescendantsoftheMagnaCartaSureties1215/) that has a family tree on Ancestry.com (Charlemagne to the Magna Carta). Many of us are adding our lines from King John, his 5 Supporters, and the 25 Magna Carta Surety Barons. I’ve been able to establish my line directly to King John, his 5 Supporters, and 12 of the 25 MCS Barons. My husband’s line includes King John, 2 of his Supporters, and 6/25 MCS Barons. My niece’s husband is also descended from 2 of John’s Supporters.
Did you see last year’s WDYTYA episode on Cindy Crawford? She’s also a descendant of Charlemagne. I loved Valerie Bertinelli’s reaction when she found out about her Royal grandfather!
Love your articles! “See” you on the Cumberland Gap Group!
Joy Logan Burkhart
Hi Joy. You know, yesterday I was wondering if I could connect to Charlemagne. Thank you for answering that for me and for the FB link. Gosh, this is fun.
No problem, Roberta! The line goes back thru William the Conqueror, which also goes back to Rollo the Viking, otherwise known as Robert I of Normandy.
Your descent mirrors mine, since I also descend thru William De Bohun and Elizabeth de Badelsmere. Thanks for the link. I’ll have to check it out.,
Hey Cuz Scott! I failed to mention the admins (especially Chuck Poley) will be compiling a book from the entries on the Charlemagne to Magna Carta family tree. The deadline is the end of this year (31 Dec 2014) in which to enter your line(s). A year from now would be better, tho’!
I’ll be submitting my lines to the Facebook group as well.
I also show a dozen of the MC Sureties as direct ancestors..
I think with enough digging, we will be able to link to all of those English lines either as direct ancestors or as cousins.
I have found something over 50 Knights of the Garter among these links as well.
Eventually I’d like to figure out if I can prove any of this with DNA evidence.
I do not have sufficient grasp of the techniques yet, but maybe someday.
Hello Cuz Del! Thanks for the links! Joy
Cindy Crawford descends from Charlemagne through Stephen, Count of Treguier in Brittany, who opened the first English Parliament in 1089 at York. Count Stephen is an ancestor in very many genealogies that go back that far.
The FitzRandolphs with Y-DNA R-FGC41936 claim to be descended from the same patriline as Stephen, either from a brother or at least from his grandfather, Duke Geoffrey I of Brittany. Their particular haplogroup descends from an ancient Italic one, so they might actually be, as they claim, descended in the male line from ancient Romans.
According to legend, this would imply a kinship with Ambrosius Aurelianus and other Aurelii – perhaps going back to the father of Aurelia, mother of Caesar, for the epitaph of Stephen’s brother Alan Rufus hints at descent from Rutilia of gens Rutilius Rufus. She was Aurelia’s mother. The fatehr was either Lucius Aurelius Cotta or his brother Marcus. Both the Rutilii and the Aurelii belonged to the Equestrian order.
Cousins we may well be but a long way back. My tracking says King Edward and Eleanor are my 21st Great Grandparents. We also match on GEDmatch, you and I and your mother on Chr 5, start location 97821762, end location 103060766 on yours and start location 97821762 and end location 102961573 on your mother’s line. My Kit is A856355. We match on others, more on your mother, but that is the only common match. So hello Cousin.
Thank you for a wonderful and very interesting article. I sent it to my sister, who is LDS and has access to many records. She tells me that Edward I or Longshanks is our 18th g-grandfather if she counted right. We descend down through the Brewster connection then down to the Helms connection. Many names in between. I am printing out this article so I can show it to my children.
We have communicated in the past as we had my husband’s DNA done at FTDNA, and he is part of the East Carolina Roots. Thanks again, Diane Searles Fulcher
Diane, This is exactly why I wrote this and the other articles. To share, hopefully with the next generation, and to pass the love of our ancestors on to them. Thank you.
This is all very intetesting to me. I have always been the only one in my family (including cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) interested in genealogy.
One line I was able to trace was to Frederick I (Friedrich) King of Prussia.
I would love to get DNA tested. I have much to learn.
Thanks for a great site!
Roberta I always enjoy your posts but this has to be among your best. Loved the intro! And I was wondering how you did all these but not that I realize you don’t sleep I won’t be so hard on myself. LOL I suspect we match up somewhere but I haven’t spent much time on the royals as many had a reputation as promiscuous so hard to know whose DNA we really carry You go girl– the crown is you!
I could get so much more done if I didn’t have to sleep, or eat….:)
Yes what the heck are all these “have to’s” doing messing with our research time?
My family line includes the Boon/e (de Bohun) individuals – also descending from King Edward I, and farther back, King Alfred the Great, all the way back to Charlemagne, too. Many 4th, 5th, and sixth cousins already had this information in their trees and shared it with me. I got very interested in trying to find the connection to the current Queen Elizabeth II; I went onto the British Royals Website and traced her ancestry back to a common ancestor we share – Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt. Queen Elizabeth is one of their great-granddaughters, too, so if I’m not mistaken, it turns out that I am an 18th cousin 1x removed from our current Queen Elizabeth! Very distant, to be sure, but it is still fascinating and quite a conversation starter! Your blog explains DNA in laymen’s terms and is invaluable in helping us all understand our connections to historical events. I certainly have a different perspective now on all the stories from my childhood. I especially like that I descend from Prince John (then King John) Lackland of the Robin Hood story infamy. It’s likely that many of us who descend from this line of royals will find many interesting connections to British History. Another interesting connection is to the movie of Bravehart. One of the characters in that story is Robert the Bruce. At the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, a young knight, a nephew of Sir Humphrey de Bohun, charged at Robert the Bruce at the very start of the battle. Robert the Bruce spun his small pony around as the young de Bohun was almost upon him, and buried his battleaxe in the young knight’s skull, killing him dead. When I read that, I became determined to find a given name for that 23-year old knight. It took a while, but I believe his name was Henry de Bohun, son of John de Bohun who was a brother to Sir Humphrey de Bohun.
After that Battle, the de Bohuns who were loyal to England split from the de Bohuns who were loyal to Scotland. Once in Scotland, the de Bohun name became le Bon (meaning The Good) for several generations – then they stopped using the “le” before their surname, to become the Bon family – that later became the Bone surname.
I descend from the de Bohun line in England – however, my three daughters also descend from the Bone family line of Scotland, through their father.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someday DNA would help all the world’s people realize that we are, indeed, all related to one another. Maybe then we will decide to stop killing each other! Keep getting the information out there, Roberta, and helping us all to understand our global familial connections. Kudos to you!
How interesting about the De Bphun Knight. History is so much more real when we realize it is “ours.” Thank you so much for sharing.
I just found your blog this week and am really enjoying it, particularly as I have also recently started exploring on Gedmatch. After reading this post, I decided to play around to see if we have any matches, as I also descend from King Edward I. After lowering the thresholds, I saw that we do have matches on eight chromosomes, the longest of which is 4.4 cm with 529 SNPs shared. Your mother and I had four matches, the longest of which was 6.6 cm with 720 SNPs shared. I would have to go back and check, but I believe I descend from that line a couple of different ways.
I’m related to Edward I, too
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King Edward is also my 19th grandfather. I am not from that line, I am from the Ratliff line. Apparently I have a lot of royal ancestors from France, to Scotland and all the way bk in 800s a Jerusalem King and so on.
Great article, I just recently found out I was related, my line break of a earl Ralph I De Neville who married Countess Joan de Beufort daughter of John le Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. Am now trying to find DNA ties, no straight y DNA lines, lot of maternal lines in there.
Love the article. I just Found out that King Edward I is my 22nd greatgrandfather through his daughter Elizabeth. I found several family lines that connect back to her.
brilliant read. Edward & Eleanor of Castile were my 22nd, 23rd & 24th grandparents. Edward & Margarite of France 22nd and 23rd. anyone out there share Edward’s inherited rare blood disorder porphyria–AIP?
Porphyria attack killed Edward at age 68. 100 million americans are descended from Edward I.
I shall love to connect with all of you. And share DNA on
My DNA testing has linked me to GEDcom ‘pedigree charts’ with my saliva linking me to all these royal ancestral names. I am a female of haplogroup U4b1a1a1 and bloodgroup O+.
I know I was at the Sandringham estate when I was a baby in 1968.
A certain royal told me that apparently I had been swapped between families as part of some bad doing by a certain politician and a fake midwife, so that my mother does not know I am missing 🙁
She was tricked to thinking she had a baby boy (my then adult informant) who then stayed in that family. Thing is, I look exactly like HIS ‘mum’, and he looks like he is the child of my adoptive mum.
I found a page online today where Y-haplogroups and snp for lot of male royals are posted. As I am female I can only check my origins by looking at the matches of one of my close male DNA cousins. Yet as I was taken away and HIDDEN soon after my birth I currently have ZERO family.
You should be able to test and close relative in your family to prove you are or are not biologically related. Contact dnaadoption for techniques to prove your birth family.
bravo. i am descended from 5 of Edward’s children via 2 marriages. thus inherited porphyria gene from the family. no tiara for moi, please. do you realize 100 million americans are descended from Edward. ?? ahhh, we are soooo special
You wouldn’t happen to know where Edward I Longshanks lived between 1283 and 1290 ? Can’t find this info anywhere.
Hello ! This is a very exhaustive article. You wouldn’t happen to know where King Edward I Longshanks lived between 1283 and 1290? I can’t find this information anywhere. (Need this info for a novel.)
Everyone of European decent comes from. Royalty. Even me I have proof in my line that im distantly related to King Henry III but so is thousands of people maybe millions…
Great enthusiasm. I recently traced my heritage via online tree matching and wiki to several kings and emperors. I was surprised at first to find I descended from at least 3 children of Charlemagne, William the Conqueror etc. It inspired me to keep looking and I found other English kings including all the kings of Wessex, Rollo the founder of Normandy, Attila the Hun and several Roman Emperors, Saxon Kings, Visigoth, Ostrogoth, and Vandal kings, ancient Greek royalty, and Russian royalty and Chinese Emperors of the Han dynasty. I am trying to find my link to Edward now as one of my ancestors was descended allegedly from Edward and John. I also found out this doesn’t make me royal and I didn’t inherit or have any rights to any titles or property so this doesn’t buy a ride on the 3rd avenue bus. They spent all the money too by the time my parents were living hand to mouth. I would think some of this would have been passed along at least as information but all was forgotten, maybe intentionally? I had to find out on the internet. I think it is fun to know that I have some royal DNA even though I’m not sure it’s all good (considering all the bastards, and concubines, and murders and incest that used to be so rampant and royals seemed to have a free pass above the law). I understand the author’s excitement though. It isn’t as much that it makes you feel special as It makes you feel that you aren’t as unspecial as you thought, also have some family background, that you aren’t necessarily just some J.B. Smudge on the paper. But in reality, specialness by birth is all a fiction as we are all people and should be treated as equals. Be glad you were born a human and not a worm. I was fine before I knew all this and am no different or better off after finding out really. I agree once you go back 10 generations you have 2 to the 10th power of ancestors to mull though so we are all descended from all the leaders of those warring tribes and states that ruled the world up to 1000 years ago. The royals kept track of their families on official records going back to roman times. If you find a connection to one you are probably related to all of them.
Right on, Jon
100 million + Americans are descended from Edward’s lineage
5 of his children were my greats
We are all cousins on this crazy planet
A portion of those 100+ millions are also black descendants. My ancestor was the child of a slaveholder born in 1855 who was a direct descendant. King Edward I is my 23 ggf.
I have been tracing my genealogy and found King Edward 1 is my 25th or so great grandfather, I am carefully researching the line to confirm. Researching this really shows one is related to everyone, but it’s facinating to find a king and queen in your line.
It’s fun, isn’t it!!!
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I have just recently found out that I have ancestry through the same daughter!
Thank you so much for this fascinating article. Henry I was my 25th great grandfather from his sixth daughter, Joan Acre, who was born in Palestine, and her husband Gilbert De Clare. Henry’s brother, Edmund Crouchback, is also a great grandfather. Looking forward to learning more from your much appreciated blog!
Great Read. I have recently become interested in genealogy. Do you have any thoughts on the website Family Search? I was just wondering how accurate these records might be.
I use FamilySearch for recorded. Their trees, like elsewhere are subject to error. Do your own research to verify. Welcome to genealogy!!!
Greetings from City Island, NY! Edward I is/was my 19th great grandfather. Hi to all of my cousins near and far.
Edmond “Ted” Pryor