Southern Anthology

Families on the Frontiers of the Old South

Edmund "Crouchback" of Lancaster, 1st Earl of Lancaster and Leicester

Edmund "Crouchback" of Lancaster, 1st Earl of Lancaster and Leicester[1, 2]

Male 1245 - 1296  (51 years)

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  • Name Edmund "Crouchback" of Lancaster 
    Arms of Lancaster
    Arms of Lancaster
    Suffix 1st Earl of Lancaster and Leicester 
    Born 16 Jan 1245  London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Gender Male 
    Died 5 Jun 1296  Bayonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Aquitaine, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 5
    • Edmund died, fittingly, during the campaign to recover Gascony, the fief he had lost in 1294 due to the sharp dealing of the French. The Gascon campaign was delayed first by the rising of the Welsh and then the Scots. For his brother Edward, who only wanted to go on crusade, it had been "one damn thing after another."
    Buried 15 Jul 1296  Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Edmund, Earl of Lancaster
    Edmund, Earl of Lancaster
    Westminster Abbey
    Westminster Abbey
    Westminster Abbey
    • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 32 "Lancaster, Edmund" by William Hunt.

      LANCASTER, EDMUND, Earl of (1245-1296), called Crouchback, second son of Henry III [q. v.] and his queen Eleanor of Provence, was bom on 1ft Jan. 1245, and in May 1254 was taken by his mother into France, where he remained until December. Early in that year Henry accepted on his behalf the offer of Pope Innocent IV to invest him with the kingdom of Sicily and 'Apulia, and in May he was styled king of Sicily. Alexander IV confirmed the grant in April l2d-5 on certain burdensome conditions, Edmund declaring himself a vassal of the holy see, and Henry promising to pay the pope 135.540 marks expended on the war with the Hohenstaufen house. Cardinal Ubaldini was sent to England by the pope with a ring with which on 18 Oct. he invested Edmund with the kingdom. The scheme was unpopular in England, and the demands of the king and the pope for money to carry it out were the chief cause of the king's future troubles with the barons. In spite of the large sums sent over to Italy by Henry, and the strenuous efforts of the pope, the attempt to drive Manfred out of southern Italy was completely unsuccessful. Probably to stimulate English zeal, a letter was sent from Rome in 1257 warning the king that assassins had been commissioned by Manfred to slay him and his sons Edward and Edmund. In the Lent parliament, at which Henry made fresh demands for money, he exhibited Edmund in Apulian dress. It was evident that the pope's scheme was doomed to failure, and Henry instructed ambassadors to propose Innocent that the quarrel should be arranged by means of a marriage between Edmund and the daughter of Manfred. In the summer of 1258, when the government appointed in accordance with the provisions of Oxford was in power, the barons wrote to the pope repudiating the Sicilian scheme. However, in January 1360, Henry who had taken Edmund with him to Paris in the preceding November, informed the Archbishop of Messina that he was about to prosecute the with greater vigour than ever, and entered into negotiations with the pope on the subject. During the latter half of 1262 Edmund, who was in Paris with his brother, was known in England to be doing his best to overthrow the provisions of Oxford. He expressed great displeasure on hearing in 1263 that Urban IV was likely to annul the grant of the Sicilian kingdom, and on 29 July the pope wrote to him and his father pointing out that the conditions of the grant had not been fulfilled, and declaring that the matter was at an end. During his virtual captivity Henry sent on behalf of himself and his son an explicit renunciation of all claim to the kingdom. Edmund appears to have been in Paris during the civil war, and was engaged in 1264 in assisting his mother to raise an army for the invasion of England. After the battle of Evesham he returned home with his mother, and was among the number of the magnates who urged the king to adopt the sweeping measure of confiscation determined on in the parliament of Winchester, being moved, it was believed, by the desire of enriching himself. He had a large share of the spoils, being created Earl of Leicester, and receiving the stewardship of the kingdom in October, and in November the castles of Carmarthen and Cardigan. The next year he bad grants of all the goods of Robert Ferrers, earl of Derby, and of the honour of Derby, and on 30 July 1267 was created Earl of Lancaster, and received the honour of Monmouth. In June 1266 he commanded a division of the royal army at the siege of Kenilworth, and when the castle surrendered the king gave it to him. In 1267 he was appointed to treat with Llewelyn of Wales, and during the latter part of the year joined his brother in holding a number of tournaments [see under Edward I].

      In common with his brother and other magnates, Lancaster look the cross at the parliament held at Northampton in June 1268. On 13 Oct. 1269 he assisted at the translation of Edward the Confessor at Westminster. His marriage in April 1270 with Aveline de Fortibus, daughter and heiress of William, earl of Albemarle (d. 1260), brought him great wealth, and the expectation of much more, for his bride's mother was Isabel, sister and heiress of Baldwin de Redvers, earl of Devon (d. 1262), but Aveline did not live to succeed to her mother's inheritance. In the spring of 1271 Lancaster went to Palestine with a body of crusaders; he joined his brother, and was with him at Acre. Returning home before Edward, he reached England in December 1272, shortly after his father's death, was received with rejoicing by the Londoners, and went to his mother at Windsor. His crusade, during which he is said to have accomplished little or nothing (Annales Winton. ii. 110), seems to have gained him the nickname of Crouchback (or crossed back). It is said, however, to have been asserted by John of Gaunt in 1385 that the name implied deformity, that Edmund was really the elder son of Henry III, but had been passed over by his father as unfit to reign (Eulogium, iii. 361, 370), and a desire of spreading this fable appears to have been entertained by Henry of Lancaster, Henry IV, and was perhaps implied in his challenge of the crown (Constitutional History, iii. 11, with references). For the expenses of his crusade the pope demanded a tenth from the clergy. In November 1273 Lancaster's wife died childless, and in 1275 he married Blanche, daughter of Robert I, count of Artois (d. 1270), a younger son of Louis VIII of France, and widow of Henry, count of Champagne and king of Navarre (d 1274), a beautiful woman, who brought him the county of Champagne, her dower on her former marriage, to be held until her daughter Jeanne, afterwards queen of Philip IV, married or attained her majority. He was accordingly styled Count of Champagne and Brie, and resided much at Provins (dept. Seine-et-Marne), whence he is said to have brought the roses, incorrectly called Provence roses, into England. When in London he lived in the Savoy Palace. His marriage displeased his wife's brother, Count Robert of Artois, who believed that he was unfriendly to France, and feared that he would endeavour to hinder the king's designs with regard to Jeanne's inheritance. In 1276 he brought his new wife to England.

      During the Welsh war of 1277 Lancaster commanded the king's forces in South Wales, and the following year acted as ambassador at the French court. Provins being at this time pledged to Philip III, the king laid an unwonted impost on the town, and the towns-people having risen and slain their mayor, Lancaster was sent to quell the insurrection. He disarmed the burghers, quashed the privileges of the town, and broke the common bell. A letter sent by him to King Edward in 1283, and described in the ?F?dera? (i. 631) as ?de negotio Provinciæ,? refers to his rights over Provins. He meditated undertaking another crusade, for in 1280 Archbishop Peckham wrote to Nicholas III, and in 1281 to Martin IV, recommending that the money raised in England for the expected crusade should be handed to Lancaster, as he was popular with soldiers, devout, and eager in the cause of the cross. Martin, however, refused to accept him as a substitute for the king. In 1282, in company with Roger Mortimer, he defeated Llewelyn and sent his head to London, and in that year, and again in 1292, he received grants of castles and lordships in the Welsh marches. In 1291 Lancaster was appointed lieutenant of Ponthieu during the minority of Edward, prince of Wales, and in this year and the next held commands at Jedburgh and Norham. He was sent as ambassador to France early in 1294, assisted in arranging terms of peace, and in accordance with Edward's commands put the officers of Philip IV in possession of the strong places and towns of Gascony. When the war broke out between England and France he received the French king's leave to go to England, and, as he took back his allegiance, lost Champagne. An English army having been sent into Gascony, Lancaster sailed with the Earl of Lincoln and reinforcements to take the command in January 1296. He sent messengers asking to be allowed to pass through Brittany in order to rest his forces and gather provisions. His messengers were hanged by the Bretons, and in revenge he plundered the country. On landing in Gascony he stayed for a while at Bourg and Blaye, where he was joined by many Gascons, so that his forces amounted to more than two thousand men-at-arms; he gained one or two small places, and being then appointed lieutenant of Gascony, advanced on 28 March to the neighbourhood of Bordeaux, and made an unsuccessful attempt on the town. Langon was surrendered to him, and the town of St. Machaire, and he was besieging the castle when five citizens of Bordeaux came to him offering to let him into their city. On their return their conspiracy was found out, and when Lancaster and his forces appeared before Bordeaux they found the gates shut. A French army under Robert of Artois was approaching, and Lancaster found that his money was exhausted, and that he no longer had the means to retain the army which he had gathered. Deeply mortified at his inability to make head against the French he retired to Bayonne, and died there on or about 6 June. By his second wife, who survived him until 1302, he had three sons, Thomas [q. v.], who succeeded him, Henry [q. v.], who succeeded Thomas, and John, and one daughter. He was religious, gay, and pleasant in disposition, open-handed, and a popular commander. He founded the Grey Friars priory at Preston, Lancashire, and a house of minoresses of the order of St. Clare outside Aldgate. When he was dying he ordered that his body was not to be buried until his debts were paid. He was obeyed; his body was carried over to England in 1297 and honourably buried by the king in Westminster Abbey, where his tomb remains on the north side of the chapel of the kings, next to the tomb of Edward I.

      [Matt. Paris, vols. iv. v. vi. passim (Rolls Ser.); Annals of Tewk., Burton, Winton, Dunstable, Worc., T. Wykes ap. Ann. Monast. vols. i-v. passim (Rolls Ser.); Royal Letters, Hen. III. ii. 197 (Rolls Ser.); Reg. Epp. Jo. Peckham, i. 141, 191 (Rolls Ser.); Annales. London. ap. Chron. Edw. I. i. 53. 80, 83, 90 (Rolls Ser.): Rymer's F?dera, vol. i. pts. i. ii. passim (Record ed.); Eulogium, iii. 119, 361, 370 (Rolls Ser.); Cat. of Docs., Scotland. i. 2542, ii. 64; Chron. de Lanercost, p. 170 (Bannatyne Club); G. de Collon, La Branche des royaus lignages, Chron. de Flandre ap. Recueil in Histor. xxii. 10, 211, 355, 356; G. de Nangis. i. 286. 294 (Société de l'Hist.); Bourquelet's Hist. de Provins, i. 235, ii. 427, 430; Trivet, pp. 328, 340, 341, 358 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Walter of Hemingburgh, ii. 72-4 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Doyle's Official Baronetage, ii, 309; Dugdale's Baronage, p. 773; Monasticon, vi. 1513, 1553; Stubb's const. Hist. iii. ii; Stanley's Memorials of Westminster, p. 117.]
    Person ID I11000  Dickinson
    Last Modified 16 May 2015 

    Father Henry III of England, King of England,   b. 1 Oct 1207, Winchester Castle, Winchester, Hampshire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Nov 1272, Westminster Palace, Westminster, London Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Eleonore de Provence, Queen Consort of England,   b. 1223, Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Jun 1291, Amesbury Abbey, Amesbury, Wiltshire Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Married 20 Jan 1236  Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 9, 10, 11
    • Nine children were produced by this union. Richard, John, William, Katherine and Henry all died young. [7]
    Family ID F2959  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Blanche d'Artois, Queen consort of Navarre, Countess Lancaster,   b. 1248,   d. 2 May 1302, Paris, Île-de-France, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years) 
    Married 1276  [3, 11
     1. Thomas of Lancaster, Earl of Lancaster, Leicester and Derby,   b. ca. 1277,   d. 22 Mar 1322, Pontefract Castle, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 45 years)  [Birth]
    +2. Henry of Lancaster, 3rd Earl of Lancaster,   b. ca. 1281, Grosmont Castle, Monmouthshire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Sep 1345, Leicester, Leicestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 64 years)  [Birth]
    Last Modified 29 Apr 2015 
    Family ID F3072  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S336463] Medieval Lands: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families, Charles Cawley, (Online: The Foundation for Medieval Genealogy at, 20XX),,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm#Edmunddied1296B.

    2. [S336429] Britain's Royal Families: A Complete Genealogy, Alison Weir, (London: Vintage Books, 2008), 74 (iBook, 110).

    3. [S336429] Britain's Royal Families: A Complete Genealogy, Alison Weir, (London: Vintage Books, 2008), 118.

    4. [S157] A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain, Marc Morris, (New York: Pegasus Books, 2015), 6.

    5. [S157] A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain, Marc Morris, (New York: Pegasus Books, 2015), 291.

    6. [S336351] Dictionary of National Biography, 63 volumes, Sir Sidney Lee, ed., (New York: McMillan and Company, 1885-1900), Public Domain., vol 32, 33-35.

    7. [S336429] Britain's Royal Families: A Complete Genealogy, Alison Weir, (London: Vintage Books, 2008).

    8. [S23] The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England, Dan Jones, (New York: Viking, 2012), 202.

    9. [S157] A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain, Marc Morris, (New York: Pegasus Books, 2015), 2, 5.

    10. [S154] The Demon's Brood: A History of the Plantagenet Dynasty, Desmond Seward, (New York: Pegasus Books, 2014), 72.

    11. [S34] The History of the Noble House of Stourton, Charles Boltoph Joseph, (Chicago: The Institute of American Genealogy, 1899), vol. 1, 77.