Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 39.djvu/149

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Mortimer
Mortimer
143

next to that of the queen, and heard him conferring with the chancellor and other ministers within. The doors were broken open. Two knights who sought to bar the passage were struck down, and after a sharp tussle, during which Mortimer slew one of his assailants (Knighton, c. 2556), the favourite was arrested, despite the intervention of Isabella, who burst into the room crying, 'Fair son, have pity on the gentle Mortimer.' (Murimuth, p. 61, says Mortimer was captured 'in camera reginæ matris,' Ann. Paul. p. 352, cf. Knighton, c. 2555, and ib. c. 2553, 'semper simul in uno hospitio hospitati sunt, unde multa obloquia et murmura de eis suspectuosa oriuntur.') It was all to no purpose. The Earl of March, with his close friends, Sir Oliver Ingham and Sir Simon Bereford, were removed amidst popular rejoicings and under strict guard, by way of Loughborough and Leicester, to the Tower of London, which was reached on 27 Oct. (Ann. Paul. p. 352). Edward issued next day a proclamation to his people that henceforth he had taken the government into his own hands. The parliament was prorogued to Westminster, where it met on 26 Nov. Its first business was to deal with the charges brought against Mortimer. The chief accusations against him were the following. He had stirred up dissension between Edward II and his queen ; he had usurped the powers of the council of regency ; he had procured the murder of Edward II ; he had taught the young king to regard Henry of Lancaster as his enemy ; he had deluded Edmund, earl of Kent, into the belief that his brother was still alive, and had procured his execution, though he was guiltless of crime ; he had appropriated to his own use 20,00(V. paid by the Scots as the price of the peace of Northampton : he had acted as if he were king ; and had done great cruelties in Ireland (Rot. Parl. 11. 52-3 ; cf. 255-6 ; summarised in Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 373 ; cf. Knighton, cc. 2556-8). The peers, following Mortimer's own examples in the time of his power, at once condemned him to death without so much as giving him an opportunity of appearing before them, or answering the charges brought against him. He confessed, however, privately, that the Earl of Kent had been guilty of no crime (Rot. Parl. ii. 33). On 29 Nov. Mortimer, clad in black, was conveyed through the city from the Tower to Tyburn Elms, and there hanged, drawn, and quartered, like a common malefactor ('tractus et suspensus,' G. le Baker, p. 47 ; 'super communi furca latrdnum,' Murimuth, p. 62). It was believed that the details of the execution were based on Mortimer's own orders in the case of the younger Despenser. His body remained two days exposed, but the king's clemency soon allowed it honourable burial. The exact place of its deposit does not seem certain. It was buried at some Franciscan church (Canon of Bridlington, p. 102), either at Newgate in London (Barnes, p. 51), at Shrewsbury (Monasticon, vi. 352), or, as seems most probable from an official record, at Coventry (Fœdera, ii. 828 ; cf. Wright, Hist. of Ludlow, p. 225). In any case, however, the remains were transferred in November 1331 to the family burial place in the Austin priory at Wigmore.

Mortimer's wife, Joan, survived him, dying in 1356. In 1347 she had the liberty of Trim restored to her (Rot. Parl. ii. 223 a). By her Mortimer had a numerous family. Their firstborn son, Edmund, married Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Badlesmere, and died when still young at Stanton Lacy in 1331. The family annalist maintains that he was Earl of March, but this was not the case. This Edmund's son Roger, who is separately noticed, was restored to the earldom of March in 1355, and is known as second earl.

Mortimer's younger sons were Roger, a knight ; Geoffrey 'comes Jubmensis et dominus de Cowyth;' and John, slain in a tournament at Shrewsbury. His seven daughters were all married into powerful families. They were : Catharine, who married her father's ward, Thomas de Beauchamp, and was mother of Thomas de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick (d. 1401) [q. v.] ; Joan, married to James of Audley ; Agnes (d. 1368), married to another of Mortimer's wards, Laurence, son of John Hastings, and afterwards first earl of Pembroke [q. v.] ; Margaret, married to Thomas, the son of Maurice of Berkeley [see Berkeley, family of] ; Matilda or Maud, married to John, son and heir of John Charlton, first lord Charlton of Powys [q. v.] ; Blanche, married to Peter of Grandison ; and Beatrice, married firstly to Edward, son and heir of Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk and elder son of Edward I (by his second wife Margaret), and after his death to Thomas deBraose (Dugdale, Monasticon, vi. 352, corrected by Doyle and Eyton).

[Rymer's Fœdera, vol. ii. Record ed.; Parl. Writs ; Rot. Parl. vols. i. ii. ; Annales Monastici, ed. Luard ; Chronicles Edward I and II, ed. Stubbs ; Murimuth and Avesbury, ed. Thompson ; Flores Historiarum and Trokelowe (all in Rolls Series) ; Chronicon Galfridi le Baker, with E. M. Thompson's valuable notes and extracts from other Chronicles; Knighton apud Twysden, Decem Scriptores; Dugdale's Monasticon, vi. 351-352, ed. Caley, Ellis, and Bandinel; Dugdale's