The Info List - Joan Of Acre

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Joan of Acre
Joan of Acre
(April 1272 – 23 April 1307) was an English princess, a daughter of King Edward I of England
Edward I of England
and Queen Eleanor of Castile.[2] The name "Acre" derives from her birthplace in the Holy Land
Holy Land
while her parents were on a crusade. She was married twice; her first husband was Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester, one of the most powerful nobles in her father's kingdom; her second husband was Ralph de Monthermer, a squire in her household whom she married in secret. Joan is most notable for the claim that miracles have allegedly taken place at her grave, and for the multiple references to her in literature.


1 Birth and childhood 2 First marriage 3 Secret second marriage 4 Relationship with family 5 Death 6 Joan in fiction 7 Ancestry 8 Footnotes 9 References

Birth and childhood[edit] Joan (or Joanna, as she is sometimes called) of Acre was born in the spring of 1272 in the Kingdom of Acre, Outremer, now in modern Israel, while her parents, Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, were on crusade.[3] At the time of Joan's birth, her grandfather, Henry III, was still alive and thus her father was not yet king of England. Her parents departed from Acre shortly after her birth, traveling to Sicily and Spain[4] before leaving Joan with Eleanor's mother, Joan, Countess of Ponthieu, in France.[5] Joan lived for several years in France where she spent her time being educated by a bishop and “being thoroughly spoiled by an indulgent grandmother.”[6] Joan was free to play among the “vine clad hills and sunny vales”[7] surrounding her grandmother’s home, although she required “judicious surveillance.”[8] As Joan was growing up with her grandmother, her father was back in England, already arranging marriages for his daughter. He hoped to gain both political power and more wealth with his daughter's marriage, so he conducted the arrangement in a very “business like style”.[9] He finally found a man suitable to marry Joan (aged 5 at the time), Hartman, son of King Rudolph I of Germany. Edward then brought her home from France for the first time to meet him.[10] As she had spent her entire life away from Edward and Eleanor, when she returned she “stood in no awe of her parents”[6] and had a fairly distanced relationship with them. Unfortunately for King Edward, his daughter’s suitor died before he was able to meet or marry Joan. The news reported that Hartman had fallen through a patch of shallow ice while “amusing himself in skating” while a letter sent to the King himself stated that Hartman had set out on a boat to visit his father amidst a terrible fog and the boat had smashed into a rock, drowning him.[11] First marriage[edit] Edward arranged a second marriage almost immediately after the death of Hartman.[12] Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, who was almost thirty years older than Joan and newly divorced, was his first choice.[13] The earl resigned his lands to Edward upon agreeing to get them back when he married Joan, as well as agreed on a dower of two thousand silver marks.[14] By the time all of these negotiations were finished, Joan was twelve years old.[14] Gilbert de Clare became very enamored with Joan, and even though she had to marry him regardless of how she felt, he still tried to woo her.[15] He bought her expensive gifts and clothing to try to win favor with her.[16] The couple were married on 30 April 1290 at Westminster Abbey, and had four children together.[17] They were:

Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Hertford Eleanor de Clare Margaret de Clare Elizabeth de Clare

Joan's first husband, Gilbert de Clare died on 7 December 1295.[18] Secret second marriage[edit] Joan had been a widow for only a little over a year when she caught the eye of Ralph de Monthermer, a squire in Joan’s father’s household.[19] Joan fell in love and convinced her father to have Monthermer knighted. It was unheard of in European royalty for a noble lady to even converse with a man who had not won or acquired importance in the household. However, in January 1297 Joan secretly married [20] Ralph. Joan's father was already planning another marriage for Joan to Amadeus V, Count of Savoy,[20] to occur 16 March 1297. Joan was in a dangerous predicament, as she was already married, unbeknownst to her father. Joan sent her four young children to their grandfather, in hopes that their sweetness would win Edward's favor, but her plan did not work.[21] The king soon discovered his daughter's intentions, but not yet aware that she had already committed to them,[18] he seized Joan’s lands and continued to arrange her marriage to Amadeus of Savoy.[17] Soon after the seizure of her lands, Joan told her father that she had married Ralph. The king was enraged and retaliated by immediately imprisoning Monthermer at Bristol Castle.[17] The people of the land had differing opinions on the princess’ matter. It has been argued that the ones who were most upset were those who wanted Joan’s hand in marriage.[22] With regard to the matter, Joan famously said, “It is not considered ignominious, nor disgraceful for a great earl to take a poor and mean woman to wife; neither, on the other hand, is it worthy of blame, or too difficult a thing for a countess to promote to honor a gallant youth.”[23] Joan's statement in addition to a possibly obvious pregnancy seemed to soften Edward’s attitude towards the situation.[22] Joan's first child by Monthermer was born in October 1297; by the summer of 1297, when the marriage was revealed to Edward I, Joan's condition would certainly have been apparent, and would have convinced Edward that he had no choice but to recognize his daughter's marriage. Edward I eventually relented for the sake of his daughter and released Monthermer from prison in August 1297.[17] Monthermer paid homage 2 August, and being granted the titles of Earl of Gloucester and Earl of Hertford, he rose to favour with the King during Joan's lifetime.[24] Monthermer and Joan had four children:

Mary de Monthermer, born October 1297. In 1306 her grandfather King Edward I arranged for her to wed Duncan Macduff, 8th Earl of Fife. Joan de Monthermer, born 1299, became a nun at Amesbury. Thomas de Monthermer, 2nd Baron Monthermer, born 1301. Edward de Monthermer, born 1304 and died 1339.

Relationship with family[edit] Joan of Acre
Joan of Acre
was the seventh of Edward I and Eleanor’s fourteen children. Most of her older siblings died before the age of seven, and many of her younger siblings died before adulthood.[25] Those who survived to adulthood were Joan, her younger brother, Edward of Caernarfon (later Edward II), and four of her sisters: Eleanor, Margaret, Mary, and Elizabeth.[26] Joan, like her siblings, was raised outside her parents' household. She lived with her grandmother in Ponthieu for four years, and was then entrusted to the same caregivers who looked after her siblings.[27] Edward I did not have a close relationship with most of his children while they were growing up, yet “he seemed fonder of his daughters than his sons.”[26] However, Joan of Acre’s independent nature caused numerous conflicts with her father. Her father disapproved of her leaving court after her marriage to the Earl of Gloucester, and in turn “seized seven robes that had been made for her.”[28] He also strongly disapproved of her second marriage to Ralph de Monthermer, a squire in her household, even to the point of attempting to force her to marry someone else.[28][29] While Edward ultimately developed a cordial relationship with Monthermer, even giving him the title of Earl,[28] there appears to have been a notable difference in the Edward’s treatment of Joan as compared to the treatment of the rest of her siblings. For instance, her father famously paid messengers substantially when they brought news of the birth of grandchildren, but did not do this upon birth of Joan’s daughter.[30] In terms of her siblings, Joan kept a fairly tight bond. She and Monthermer both maintained a close relationship with her brother, Edward, which was maintained through letters. After Edward became estranged from his father and lost his royal seal, “Joan offered to lend him her seal” .[31] Death[edit] Joan died on 23 April 1307, at the manor of Clare in Suffolk.[24] The cause of her death remains unclear, though one popular theory is that she died during childbirth, a common cause of death at the time. While Joan's age in 1307 (about 35) and the chronology of her earlier pregnancies with Ralph de Monthermer suggest that this could well be the case, historians have not confirmed the cause of her death.[32] Less than four months after her death, Joan’s father died. Joan's widower, Ralph de Monthermer, lost the title of Earl of Gloucester soon after the deaths of his wife and father-in-law. The earldom of Gloucester was given to Joan’s son from her first marriage, Gilbert, who was its rightful holder. Monthermer continued to hold a nominal earldom in Scotland, which had been conferred on him by Edward I, until his death. Joan’s burial place has been the cause of some interest and debate. She is interred in the Augustinian priory at Clare, which had been founded by her first husband's ancestors and where many of them were also buried. Allegedly, in 1357, Joan’s daughter, Elizabeth De Burgh, claimed to have “inspected her mother's body and found the corpse to be intact,”,[32] which in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church is an indication of sanctity. This claim was only recorded in a fifteenth-century chronicle, however, and its details are uncertain, especially the statement that her corpse was in such a state of preservation that "when her paps [breasts] were pressed with hands, they rose up again." Some sources further claim that miracles took place at Joan's tomb,[32] but no cause for her beatification or canonization has ever been introduced. Joan in fiction[edit] Joan of Acre
Joan of Acre
makes an appearance in Virginia Henley's historical romance, entitled Infamous. In the book, Joan, known as Joanna, is described as a promiscuous young princess, vain, shallow and spoiled. In the novel she is only given one daughter, when she historically has eight children. There is no evidence that supports this picture of Joan.[33] In The Love Knot by Vanessa Alexander, Edward the II’s sister, Joan of Acre is an important heroine. The author portrays a completely different view of the princess than the one in Henley’s novel. The Love Knot tells the story of the love affair between Ralph de Monthermer and Joan of Acre
Joan of Acre
through the discovery of a series of letters the two had written to each other.[34] Between historians and novelists, Joan has appeared in various texts as either an independent and spirited woman or a spoiled brat. In Lives of the Princesses of England by Mary Anne Everett Green, Joan is portrayed as a “giddy princess” and neglectful mother.[35] Many have agreed to this characterization; however, some authors think there is little evidence to support the assumption that Joan of Acre was a neglectful or uncaring mother.[36] Ancestry[edit]

Ancestors of Joan of Acre[37]

16. Henry II of England

8. John of England

17. Eleanor of Aquitaine

4. Henry III of England

18. Aymer, Count of Angoulême

9. Isabella of Angoulême

19. Alice of Courtenay

2. Edward I of England

20. Alfonso II, Count of Provence

10. Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence

21. Garsenda, Countess of Forcalquier

5. Eleanor of Provence

22. Thomas I, Count of Savoy

11. Beatrice of Savoy

23. Marguerite of Geneva

1. Joan of Acre

24. Ferdinand II of León

12. Alfonso IX of León

25. Urraca of Portugal

6. Ferdinand III of Castile

26. Alfonso VIII of Castile

13. Berenguela of Castile

27. Eleanor of England

3. Eleanor of Castile

28. Alberic III, Count of Dammartin

14. Simon de Dammartin

29. Mathilde of Clermont

7. Joan, Countess of Ponthieu

30. William IV, Count of Ponthieu

15. Marie, Countess of Ponthieu

31. Adèle of France


^ called Earl of Hertford, jure uxoris; later 1st Baron Monthermer ^ Weir (2008), pp. 83-84 ^ Green (1850), p.318 ^ Green 1850, p. 319 ^ Parsons (1995), p.39 ^ a b Parsons (1995), p.40 ^ Green (1850), p 319 ^ Green (1850), p.320 ^ Green (1850), p.321 ^ Green (1850), p321. ^ Green (1850), p.323 ^ Oxford, p. 626. ^ Green (1850), p.327 ^ a b Green (1850), p.328 ^ Green (1850), p329. ^ Green 1850, p329 ^ a b c d Oxford, p. 626 ^ a b "Joan or Joanna of Acre, Countess." Oxford, p. 626 ^ Green (1850), p.342 ^ a b Green (1850), p.343 ^ Green (1850) p.345 ^ a b Higginbotham (2009), p.3 ^ Green (1850), p347. ^ a b Oxford, p.627 ^ Prestwich (1988), p.51 ^ a b Prestwich (1988), p.52 ^ Higginbotham (2009), p.1 ^ a b c Higginbotham (2009), p.2 ^ Prestwich (1988), p.54 ^ Prestwich (1988), p.55 ^ Prestwich (1988), p.53 ^ a b c Higginbotham (2009), p.4 ^ Higginbotham (2009) p.4 ^ Higginbotham, (2009) p.5 ^ Green (1850), p. 342 ^ Higginbotham (2009), p.5 ^ Hamilton 2010, p. viii; Carpenter 2004, pp. 532–536; Prestwich 1988, p. 574; O'Callaghan 1975, p. 681; Durand, Clémencet & Dantine 1818, p. 435; Howell 2004; Parsons 2004


Carpenter, David (2004). The Struggle for Mastery: The Penguin History of Britain 1066–1284. London, UK: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-014824-4.  Costain, Thomas. A History of the Plantagenets, Vol III. Durand, Ursin; Clémencet, Charles; Dantine, Maur-François (1818). L'art de verifier les dates des faits historiques, des chartes, des chroniques et autres anciens monuments depuis la naissance de notre-seigneur (in French). 12. Paris, France: n.p. OCLC 221519473.  Green, Mary Anna Everett. Lives of the Princesses of England. London: Henry Colburn, 1850. Hamilton, J. S. (2010). The Plantagenets: History of a Dynasty. London, UK: Continuum. ISBN 978-1-4411-5712-6.  Howell, Margaret (2004). "Eleanor [Eleanor of Provence] (c.1223–1291), queen of England, consort of Henry III". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography
(online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8620.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Joan of Acre". Dictionary of National Biography. 29. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 390.  O'Callaghan, Joseph F. (1975). A History of Medieval Spain. Ithaca, US: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-0880-9.  Parsons, John Carmi. Eleanor of Castile. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995. Parsons, John Carmi (2004). "Eleanor [Eleanor of Castile] (1241–1290), queen of England, consort of Edward I". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography
(online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8619.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) Prestwich, Michael (1988). Edward I. Berkeley, US and Los Angeles, US: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-06266-5.  Underhill, Frances Ann (1999). For Her Good Estate: The Life of Elizabeth de Burgh. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-21355-7.  Weir, Alison (2008). Britain's Royal Families, The Complete Genealogy. London: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-09-953973-5. 

v t e

House of Plantagenet

Henry II of England

Wife: Eleanor of Aquitaine

William IX, Count of Poitiers Henry the Young King Richard I of England Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany Matilda of England, Duchess of Saxony Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile Joan of England, Queen of Sicily John, King of England

Illegitimate: William de Longespée, Earl of Salisbury Geoffrey (archbishop of York)

Henry the Young King

Wife: Margaret of France, Queen of England
Margaret of France, Queen of England
and Hungary

William Plantagenet
William Plantagenet
(died in infancy)

Richard I of England

Wife: Berengaria of Navarre

Illegitimate: Philip of Cognac

John, King of England

Wife: Isabella of Angoulême

Henry III of England Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall Joan of England, Queen of Scotland Isabella of England Eleanor of Leicester

Illegitimate: Joan, Lady of Wales Richard FitzRoy Oliver FitzRoy Geoffrey FitzRoy John FitzRoy Henry FitzRoy

Osbert Gifford Eudes FitzRoy Bartholomew FitzRoy Maud FitzRoy Isabel FitzRoy Philip FitzRoy William de Forz

Henry III of England

Wife: Eleanor of Provence

Edward I of England Margaret of England Beatrice of England Edmund Crouchback Katherine of England

Edward I of England

Wives: Eleanor of Castile Margaret of France, Queen of England

Eleanor of England, Countess of Bar Joan, Countess of Hertford and Gloucester Alphonso, Earl of Chester Margaret of England, Duchess of Brabant Mary of Woodstock Elizabeth of Rhuddlan Edward II
Edward II
of England Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent

Edward II
Edward II
of England

Wife: Isabella of France

Edward III of England John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall Eleanor of Woodstock Joan of the Tower

Edward III of England

Wife: Philippa of Hainault

Edward the Black Prince Isabella de Coucy Joan of England (1335–1348) Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York Mary of Waltham Margaret, Countess of Pembroke Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester

Richard II of England

Wives: Anne of Bohemia Isabella of Valois

Henry IV of England

Wives: Mary de Bohun Joan of Navarre, Queen of England

Henry V of England Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford Humphrey of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Gloucester Blanche of England Philippa of England

Henry V of England

Wife: Catherine of Valois

Henry VI of England

Henry VI of England

Wife: Margaret of Anjou

Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales

Edward IV of England

Wife: Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth of York Mary of York Cecily of York Edward V of England Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York Anne of York, Lady Howard Catherine of York Bridget of York

Illegitimate: Elizabeth Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle Grace Mary John Tuchet, 6th Baron Audley unnamed

Edward V of England

no consort or issue

Richard III of England

Wife: Anne Neville

Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales

Illegitimate: John of Gloucester Katherine, Countess of Pembroke Richard of Eastw