TAG Vol. 35, pp. 100-102
PIERS DE GAVASTON
ANCESTOR OF BULKELEY AND OTHER AMERICAN FAMILIES?
John G. Hunt², of Arlington, Virginia
On page 13 of Mr. Donald L. Jacobus Bulkeley Genealogy (1933) is traced the descent of Rev. Peter Bulkeley from Mary, daughter of Robert Corbet of Morton, Shropshire. Her descent from Piers de Gavaston, who is not generally known to have left descendants, is believed to be as follows. Further evidence, either for or against, will be welcomed¹. Many of the historical details here given are not found in the new Complete Peerage or other British sources.
I. Piers de Gavaaton was patently son of Sir Ernaud de Gavaston, a knight of Edward I, whose wife was the lady Clarmunda de Marsan et de Louvigny, known in her lifetime as the lady Marcia [Walter Phelps Dodge, Piers Gavaston). Sir Ernaud evidently descended from "Ernald Gast" whom King John in 1200 granted certain lands near Bordeaux [Charter Rolls for that year]. Also see C. F. Tout, The Place of Edward II in English History (2nd .d., 1936, p. 12, note, which adds corroborative details touching Gavaston's Gascon kinsfolk. Piers became a favorite with Edward II, who created him Earl of Cornwall, and his sad story is well known.
He married, 1 Nov. 1307, Margaret, daughter of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, by his wife Joan de Acre, the king's sister (Dodge, op. cit.; Complete Peerage, new ed., sub Clare and Cornwal] His rise was rapid and his career was brief. He was executed 19 June 1312. In spite of the assertion in Dugdale's Baronage, in the 11th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 11, p. 539, and in the new edition of the Complete Peerage, that Piers left an only daughter, he and his wife had the following issue:
1. Joan, b. Ca. 1309, d. Jan. 1325 aged 15 years [Calendar of Inquisitions, Misc., vol. II, p. 326, No. 1329; cf. VCH, Wiltshire, vol. V]. "Joan, daughter of Piers de Gavaston, late earl of Cornwall, died in the priory of Amesbury on the feast of St. Hilary, 18 Edward II, she was of age of 15 years and died of illness. Thomas de Multon, lord of Egremont, alienated none of her lands before or after her death."
2. Another daughter (Amy, we hope to show), born soon after the feast of Epiphany (6 Jan.) 1312. Attention is called to the following in Rerum Britannicum Medii Aevi Scriptores (1883), Chronicles of Edward I and II, vol. II, Gesta Edwardi de Caernarvon auctore
Bridlingtoniensi, pp. 41-42:
"petrus rediit in Angliain
Item, secundum vim et virtutem ordlnaticmun praedlctarius Petrus de Gavastone saepedictus exilium admisit et modicum exulavit qula ante Nativitatem Domnini in Angliam est reversus, domino regis sicut prius adhaesit, ipsiusque secretarius est effectus; nec multum post Epiphaniam Domini in comitiva regis venit Eboracuxn [York], ubi coruitissa conjux sua filiam peperit; ob quam causam ibidem per tempus aliquot morabatur." The Monk of Malmesbury whose Vita Edwardi Secundi was published in 1957 writes (p. 21): "As Christmas  approached the lord king and Piers set out for York and celebrated the feast at York," but a note states that the king was at York 18 Jan. to 8 April (1312], but not for Christmas.
II. Amy de Gavaston is believed to be this second daughter of Piers to whom his countess gave birth not long after Epiphany (6 Jan.) 1312. The first recorded of the dozen or so damsels of the chamber of Queen Philippa [wife of Edward III], Amy de Gavaston, was on 16 June 1332 granted for life the manor of Woghfield, Berks [Patent Rolls]. Lands in Essex were released to her 25 Feb. 1333, when she will have attained her 21st year [ibid.].
By 18 June 1338 she had married John de Driby [ibid.] and on 13 June 1340 is styled Anne, wife of John de Driby, when their manor of Wokefield, Berks, is named [ibid.]. The manor identifies her, and we suggest that her name, written Amie, was (as we shall later see in the will of her daughter Alice) misread as Anne, a very easy mistake to make.
There are several factors to support the thesis that Amy de Gavaston, wife of John de Driby, was daughter to Sir Piers:
(1) Her age corresponds with that of the unknown daughter of Piers born early in 1312.
(2) It is most improbable that a niece or other relative of Piers (or for that matter, an illegitimate daughter of his) would have had the influential connections, after his fall, to have the standing at Court which Amy de Gavaston enjoyed.
(3) Margaret de dare, widow of Piers de Gavaston, took as her second husband Hugh de Audley, cousin german to Roger de Mortimer of Wigrnore, whose forfeited lands of Woghfield (Wokefield) were granted for life in 1332 to Amy de Gavaston.
(4) As Margaret was cousin german to Edward III, he woula quite naturally make her daughter Amy a damsel in the chamber of his queen and would, without difficulty,
102 THE AMERICAN GENEALOGIST
have granted Wokefield to Amy for life at the supplication of Margaret. All the lands of Piers de Gavaston had escheated to the Crown on his demise, by reason of forfeiture, at the insistence of the barons who put Piers to death.
(5) Amy's daughter Alice (née de Driby) by her will in 1412 appointed as supervisor William, lord Ros [d. 1414], whose grandmother, Margaret, lady Stafford, was daughter of Margaret de Clara by her second husband, Hugh de Audley. Hence, if Amy was daughter of Margaret de Clara, the supervisor appointed by her daughter Alice was son of Alice's first cousin of the half blood. Often the person named as supervisor in mediaeval wills was the most influential kinsman.
(6) Margaret de clare's daughter and heiress by her second husband, Hugh de Audley, Margaret (b. ca. 1317), married ca. 1335 Half, lord Stafford (1299-1372), and had daughters named Elizabeth, Margaret and Beatrix (the last married Thomas, lord Ros, and was mother of the William, lord Ros, above mentioned). These Stafford ladies would be first cousins of the half blood of Alice de Driby, and we shall note that she named her three daughters Elizabeth, Margery, and Beatrix.
(7) Margaret de Clare was lady for life of Oakham and Egelton, Rutland. Feudal Aids, vol. 4, p. 207, gives "A D 1316, Ocham, Rutlands., held by Margreta de Gavaston, corn. Cornwall, lady of Okham & Egelton." When Amy's daughter Alice (née de Driby) lost her first husband, Sir Half Basset, in 1378, she as his widow obtained possession of lands he had held in her right: of Bredon, co. Leicester, of a carucate of land in West Keal, cc. Lincs., and of a rent of 3 shillings in Oak-ham, Rutland [C-. W. Watson in Misc. Gen. et Her., 5th series, vol. 8, pp. 202-6]. Bredon had come from the Driby family. Did the small Oakham right come in some way from her grandmother, Margaret de Gavaston? The daughter of Alice, Elizabeth Basset, was grandmother of Henry, Lord Grey of Codnor (1434-1495), who in 1 Rich. III had a grant of Oakharn and Egelton for his "good service against the rebels"did the ancestral connection play a part in the grant of these specific places? If not, it is a strange coincidence.
The following is from "TAG Vol 40, pp. 95-96"
¹ THE EULKELEY DESCENT FROM PIERS DE GAVASTON
By John G. Hunt, B.S.C., of Arlington, Va.
In this magazine for 1959 (35:100-106) and for 1961 (37:45-51) we presented reasons for supposing that Piers de Gavaston has living descendants, although the New Complete Peerage claims that his "only daughter" Joan died young. That he had another daughter, Amy or Anne, married to John de Driby (or Dryby), we Suspected but could not prove by direct positive evidence. We aie indebted to the research of Mr. Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., for actual proof (the fine dated 1334. quoted under V below) that Amy (Anne) was indeed a daughter of Piers (Peter) ae Gavaston.
V. John de Dryby, born probably about 1268; he "appears to have had a black mark against him, for it is his next brother, Simon, when their uncle Hugh Dryby dies, who gets Dryby manor, and when Simon dies in 1323 he leaves it for life to his widow Margery and then to his younger brother, Robert" [Curzon and Tipping, Tattershall Castle, pp. 25 et seq.].
This John ae Dryby was legitimate, and a parson, as proved by a fine (recently noted by Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr.] quoted at page 18, Farnham's Leicestershire Medieval Pedigrees, 1925: "Fine, Trinity, 1334, between John de Dryby, of Tateshale, parson of a rnediety of,the church of Hedersete, pltf., and Roger de Estbriggeford, chaplain, and John Cleymond of Kirketon, dfdts., of the manor of Breedon, etc.; the manor is declared to be the right of Roger who granted it to John de Dryby for life with reversion to John son of Thomas de Dryby and Anne, daughter of Peter de Gavaston and the heirs of John."
96 THE AMERICAN GENEALOGIST
From the DeLisle and Dudley MSS, vol. I, p. 171, we note a charter of John de Dryby, lord of Tateshale, granting to Roger de Estbriggeford the chapel of St. Nicholas within the castle of Tattershall; witnesses: John de Kirketon, Humphrey de Littilberie, Robert de Littilberie, knights, and others: Monday, 13 Dec. 1333.
The said John de Dryby had the Breedon (or Bredon), Leics., estates settled upon him for life by his mother in 1323, when an inq. ad quod damnum shows that she wished, however, to ensure that the reversion of the estates would be to her right heirs. Moreover, in the same year she sought to prevent him from getting her other lands, granting Tatteshale, etc., to Gilbert de Bernake, parson of Tatter shall, in order to receive them back to her for life with remainder to Robert her son, "on whose death they shall remain to Wm. Bernake and Alice his wife" (her only daughter) and their issue [vol. 17, Great Britain, Record Office, Lists and Indexes; and Curzon and Tipping, op. cit.].
She must, however, have had a change of heart before she died. The inquisition following Joan's death in Oct. 1329 shows that eleven days before she died she had settled Breedon upon John (who then was aged ‘xl years and more according to the jurors). This was a gift without any strings; thus he had the free disposition of Breedon, even though he was a parson, and thus not likely to beget (or to have begotten) any lawful issue. This may well indicate that she was aware of his having illegitimate issue to whom he wished to pass a landed estate. From Curzon and Tipping's cited work we learn that parson John in 1334, shortly before his death. passed Tattershal to Sir John do Kirketon who (in spite of ouster attempts by the de Bernakes) held Tattershall until he died in 1367, when it reverted to lady Bernake's descendant. It appears that de Kirketon was a cousin of parson John (see under IV, above).
A word now as to the age of the parson. As Robert de Dryby, the father, was dead in 1279, the son John had to be at least fifty years old in 1329 when the jurors styled him "xl years of age and more," and being the eldest of three surviving sons, he was probably more nearly "lx" years of age in 1329. Possibly "xl" was a clerical transposition for "lx" in the record. However, the ages stated for adults in inquisitions of that period are often far from exact, and round figures such as "30 and more" may be used for a mature man, and "40 and more" for a man of or above middle age.
² Editor's Note. Quite aside from the Bulkeley connection, for which evidence has been presented, we feel that Mr. Hunt, with an assist from Mr. Sheppard, has made an important historical discovery in proving that the unfortunate Piers de Gavaston left descendants by his near-royal wife, Margaret de Clare, granddaughter of Edward I, especially in view of the unanimity of English historians and peerage writers in asserting that their only daughter was Joan who died at the age of fifteen. Since the evidences and proofs have been split between three articles over the course of more than four years, I feel that they should briefly be summed up here for the benefit of all who may be interested. Mr. Hunt origina1ly was able to present only circumstantial evidence for his conclusion that Amy (or Anne) de Gavaston, wife of John de Dryby, was daughter of Piers de Gavaston and Margaret de Clare. The chief items of evidence were:
PIERS DE GAVASTON 99
(1) An early chronicle in Latin states that Piers do Gavaston had a daughter born soon after the feast of the Epiphany (6 Jan.] 1312 [supra, 33:100-1].
(2) The Patent Rolls show that Amy or Anne do Gavastori (the name is variously read], a damsel of the chamber of Edward III's queen, was granted a manor for life in 1332, and had lands in Essex released to her 25 Feb. 1333 when she will have attained her 21st year, and by 1338 was wife of John do Driby. The age perfectly fits the nameless daughter of Piers.
(3) Her proved daughter Alice, lady Basset, made William, lord Ros, supervisor of her will. He was a first cousin once. removed of Alice if Amy (or Anne) was daughter of Piers and Margaret. To this circumstantial evidence, the present article adds one item of direct proof:
(4) Amy (or Anne) was defiriitely called daughter of Peter [i.e. Piers] de Gavaston in the Dryby Fine of 1334.
The conclusion therefore seems to be unassailable. Her date of birth makes it certain that Margaret de Clare must have been her mother. If it be objected that she might have been illegitimate, that is easily answered. She is not called a "base" daughter in the Dryby Fine. The downfall of Piers do Gavaston was so catastrophic, and the hatred of the leading barons for him so great, that no tenderness would have been shown towards an illegitimate child. Only the fact that her mother was own cousin of King Edward III can explain her position in court, the grant of a manor to her for life, and her marriage into a gentry family of standing. I feel that future writers on the peerage and of thIs period in English history will have to give due consideration to the facts presented in Mr. Hunt's articles.