1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Perrers, Alice

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

PERRERS (or De Windsor), ALICE (d. 1400), mistress of the English king Edward III., belonged probably to the Hertfordshire family of Perrers, although it is also stated that she was of more humble birth. Before 1366 she had entered the service of Edward's queen, Philippa, and she appears later as the wife of Sir William de Windsor, deputy of Ireland (d. 1384). Her intimacy with the king began about 1366, and during the next few years she received from him several grants of land and gifts of jewels. Not content with the great influence which she obtained over Edward, Alice interfered in the proceedings of the courts of law to secure sentences in favour of her friends, or of those who had purchased her favour; actions which induced the parliament of 1376 to forbid all women from practising in the law courts. Alice was banished, but John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, allowed her to return to court after the death of Edward the Black Prince in June 1376, and the parliament of 1377 reversed the sentence against her. Again attempting to pervert the course of justice, she was tried by the peers and banished after the death of Edward III. in June 1377; but this sentence was annulled two years later, and Alice regained some influence at court. Her time, however, was mainly spent in lawsuits, one being with William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, and another with her dead husband's nephew and heir, John de Windsor.