Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 39.djvu/152

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Mortimer
Mortimer
146

earldom of Ulster. On 28 April 1395, just before his return to England, Richard appointed March lieutenant of Ulster, Connaught, and Meath, thus adding the weight of the royal commission to the authority which, as lord of these three liberties, March already possessed over those districts. He remained some time in Ireland, waging vigorous war against the native septs, but without any notable results. On 24 April 1397 he was further nominated lieutenant of Ireland.

The young earl was rapidly winning a great reputation. He was conspicuously rave, brilliant in the tournament, sumptuous in his hospitality, liberal in his gifts, of a ready wit, affable and jocose in conversation. He was of remarkable personal beauty and extremely popular. But his panegyrists admit that his morals were loose, and that he was too negligent of divine things (Monasticon, vi. 354 ; Adam of Usk, p. 19 ; Monk of Evesham, p. 127). He was prudent enough not to connect himself too closely with Richard II's great attempt at despotism in 1397. In the great parliament of 1397 the Earl of Salisbury brought a suit against him on 25 Sept. for the possession of Denbigh (Adam of Usk, pp. 15, 16). His uncle, Sir Thomas Mortimer (his grandfather's illegitimate son), was in fact closely associated with the lords appellant, and on 22 Sept. 1397 was summoned to appear for trial within six months under pain of banishment (ib. pp. 41, 120 ; Monk of Evesham, pp. 139-40 ; Rot. Parl.) Richard's remarks on this occasion suggest that he was already suspicious of the Earl of March (Monk of Evesham, p. 138), whom he accused of remissness in apprehending his uncle. A little later Sir Thomas, who had fled to Scotland, appeared in Ireland under the protection of his nephew the viceroy (Adam of Usk, p. 19), though on 24 Sept. he had been ordered to proclaim throughout Ireland that Thomas must appear within three months to answer the charges against him (Fœdera, viii. 16). As Richard's suspicions grew, March's favour with the populace increased. He was specially summoned, despite his absence beyond sea, to attend the parliament at Shrewsbury (ib. viii. 21). On 28 Jan. 1398 March arrived from Ireland. The people went out to meet him in vast crowds, receiving him with joy and delight, and wearing hoods of his colours, red and white. Such a reception increased Richard's suspicions, but March behaved with great caution or duplicity, and, by professing his approval of those acts which finally gave Richard despotic power, deprived Richard of any opportunity of attacking him (Adam of Usk, pp. 18-19). But secret plots were formed against him, and his reception of his uncle was made an excuse for them. The earl therefore returned to Ireland, and soon became plunged into petty campaigns against the native chieftains. Such desire did he show to identify himself with his Irish subjects that, in gross violation of his grandfather's statute of Kilkenny, he assumed the Irish dress and horse trappings. His brother-in-law, Thomas Holland [q. v.], duke of Surrey, who hated him bitterly, was now ordered to go to Ireland to carry out the designs of the courtiers against him. But there was no need for Surrey's intervention. On 15 Aug. 1398 (20 July, according to Monasticon, vi. 355, and Adam of Usk, p. 19), March was slain at Kells while he was engaged in a rash attack on some of the Leinster clans. In the fight he rushed on the foe far in advance of his followers, and, unrecognised by them in his Irish dress, was immediately slain. His body was torn in pieces (Monk of Evesham, p. 127), but the fragments were ultimately recovered and conveyed to England for burial in the family place of sepulture, Wigmore Abbey. The death of the heir to the throne at the hands of the Irish induced Richard II to undertake his last fatal expedition to Ireland (Annales Ricardi II, p. 229).

His widow Eleanor married, very soon after her husband's death, Edward Charlton, fifth lord Charlton of Powys [q.v.] The sons of Roger and Eleanor were : (1) Edmund (IV) de Mortimer, fifth earl of March [q. v.], who was born on 6 Nov. 1391 ; (2) Roger, born at Netherwood on 23 April 1393, who died young about 1409. Of Roger's two daughters, Anne, the elder, born on 27 Dec. 1388, was wife of Richard, earl of Cambridge [q. v.], mother of Richard, duke of York, and grandmother of Edward IV, to whom, after the death of her two brothers without issue, she transmitted the estates of the Mortimers and the representation of Lionel of Clarence, the eldest surviving son of Edward III. The second daughter, Eleanor, married Edward Courtenay, eleventh earl of Devonshire, and died without issue in 1418.

[Adam of Usk, ed. Thompson; Annales Ricardi II apud Trokelowe (Rolls Ser.); Monk of Evesham, ed. Hearne; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 150-1; Dugdale's Monasticon, vi. 354-5; Rymer's Fœdera, vol. viii. (original edition); Doyle's Official Baronage, ii. 469; Gilbert's Viceroys of Ireland, pp. 248-51, 273-8; Wallon's Richard II; Sandford's Genealogical History of the Kings of England, pp. 224-6.]

T. F. T.


MORTIMER, THOMAS (1730–1810), author, son of Thomas Mortimer (1706–1741), principal secretary to Sir Joseph Jekyll,