EDWARD I (1272 - 1307)


Born in 1239, Edward was the first son of Henry III. He was nicknamed “Edward Longshanks” (because of his height of 6’ 2”) and “The Hammer of the Scots”. In 1254 Edward, then aged 14, was married, for political reasons, to 12 year old Eleanor of Castile.  Edward was badly injured while on a crusade with his brother Edmund Crouchback. On his return home, he learnt of his father’s death when he landed in Sicily. He continued his journey to England overland and arrived on 2 August 1274. He was crowned on 19 August. Much of Edward’s reign was devoted to the subjugation of the Welsh and the Scots and to the building of sophisticated castles in Wales. All of this put a great financial demand on his subjects.

In 1293, Edward acquired land at Wyke (Scandinavian vik - creek) from the Abbott of Meaux Abbey. The monks had used the haven at the mouth of the River Hull for the export of wool and the king wished to develop the land, an outlying area of the hamlet of Myton, into a major port. In 1299 Edward granted a royal charter naming the port as King’s Town upon Hull.

Edmund Crouchback (contd)

Avelina de Forz died in 1273, aged 15, possibly during childbirth. This resulted in a prolonged battle over her inheritance. This had three main elements a) The Aumale estate, including Holderness. b) The Honour of Skipton and c) Cockermouth and other lands in Cumberland together with Radston in Northants. The outcome was that, following some rather dubious legal proceedings, Avelina’s estate was ceded to King Edward by escheat (the doctrine by which the property of a person who dies without heirs is transferred to the crown).

In 1276 Edmund married Blanche of Artois, widow of the King of Navarre.

Kirby’s  Inquest

This important document, attested in 1281, gives a detailed catalogue of the Aveline’s original landholdings in Holderness. Some entries particularly relevant to Ellerby are:

SIMON LE CONSTABLE holds in Hilston, Benningholm, Wassand, Etherwyke and Owbrough, ten carucates, where forty-eight carucates make a knight’s fee. The same SIMON holds in Marton, two carucates, where eight carucates make a knight’s fee.

HERBERT ST. QUINTIN holds in Brandesburton, Bristhill, the Moor, Mapleton, Thikleby, Elwardby, Austhorp, Lambthorpe, Rimswell, Risum, Oustwick, Bewholm and Ganstead, forty-five carucates and five oxgangs of land, where fifty-two carucates make a knight’s fee.

THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK holds thirty-two carucates of land, which makes four knights’ fees, viz: In Swyne, Wynestead, Colden, Burton Constable, Newbald Constable, West Halsham and Thralesthorp. Aveline, late Countess of Albemarle, held two knights’ fees of the said Archbishop, in Burton Constable, Newton Constable, West Halsham, East Halsham and Thralesthorp, which fees are now in the king’s hand as his demesne on account of the death of the said Aveline.

NB. A knight’s fee/fief was the area of land regarded as necessary to support a knight in the performance of  his feudal duties. The area largely depended on the quality of his land.

EDWARD II (1307 - 1327)


Edward, the fourth son of Edward I, was born at Caernarfon Castle in 1284 and for this reason was also known as Edward of Caernarfon. He had a very close relationship with Piers Gaveston, the son of a Gascon knight, who joined Edward’s circle in 1300. In January 1308, Edward married Isabella of France and in February their coronation took place in Westminster Palace.

Edward’s relationship with the barons, clergy and knights deteriorated to the extent that he was held in Kenilworth Castle and given an ultimatum. If he resigned as king, his son would succeed him, if he resisted then his son would be disinherited. Edward abdicated on 21 January 1327 and died (probably murdered) at Berkeley Castle in September.

Piers Gaveston

As mentioned above, Piers Gaveston was a very close friend of Edward (many suspected that they were lovers). The prince’s partiality for Gaveston caused Edward’s father to briefly send Gaveston into exile in Gascony.

When he became king, Edward recalled Gaveston and made him (among other titles) Earl of Cornwall and Lord of Holderness. Edward also arranged Gaveston’s marriage to Margaret de Clare, sister of the earl of Gloucester.

Gaveston’s access to the king, together with his arrogance and power as Edward’s favourite infuriated the barons and in 1308 Edward was forced to send Gaveston into exile again. He managed to return the following year but his behaviour became even more offensive and in 1311 Gaveston was sent into exile for a third time, to suffer outlawry if he returned. He did return in 1312 and met Edward, who declared the earlier judgement unlawful. This set the scene for conflict between Edward and the barons. Gaveston retreated to Scarborough Castle, which he began to fortify. The castle was besieged and Gaveston forced to surrender, the terms of the surrender being that Gaveston would be taken to York, where the King was quartered, for negotiations. After a brief meeting, it was agreed that Gaveston would be taken south to a place of safekeeping. Gaveston was subsequently hunted down, condemned to death and executed, by being run through with a sword and beheaded, on 19 June 1312.

Following the death of Gaveston his wife retained the Seignory of Holderness but it seems that this reverted to the crown on her death.

V 2.2

The Plantagenets (2)