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of Earl Richard, King of the Romans, by his second wife, Sanchia of Provence.
Shortly after Milles appears to have entered a protest, and it may be assumed
that the subject came under the review of the College. Anyhow, Milles stated
plainly that the Richard, father of Sir Geoffrey and of Sir Edmund, was not the
legitimate Richard, son of Sanchia, but the illegitimate Richard, alleged in the
Harl. MSS. to have died at Berkhamstead Castle in 1272, and to have been
buried at Hayles.* Not unnaturally, Sir Thomas, who apparently had never
heard of Brooke, or of any doubt having been cast on his direct and legitimate
descent from the King of the Romans, felt aggrieved, the more so because
Vincent had been converted to MiUes' view, and as a matter of fact — at the
instance doubtless of the Heralds — the descent of Sir Geoffrey was marked
with a wavy line in the Visitation of Salop, f The consequence was a very
indignant letter from Sir Thomas addressed to Vincent as to a friend. This,
as it states the case from his point of view, we give in extenso. It is by no
means strictly accurate in every detail, but the Baron brings out some of the
sahent points in favour of a legitimate descent, if not with force at all events
with the force of conviction. No doubt he and his fathers before him, had
asserted their descent in true blood from the Royal House of England, and
the rejection of a claim until, as it were yesterday, never disputed, placed him
in a false position ahke with his friends and neighbours, and with the Court,
to which he had been attached. It is necessary to state all this as a prehminary
in order to account for a display of temper on his part, which under less provoca-
tion would have been inexcusable in regard to what after all was no more than
a question of fact. He writes to this effect, as appears from a copy preserved
in the Heralds' CoUege, the object being to persuade Vincent to confirm, by
citing the deeds produced, the pedigree he had already drawn :

" It is sett down in my pedigree that Sir Richard Cornewall, brother to
Edmund Earl of Cornwall, took the Duke of Brittanie prisoner in service, J

* Richard the ancestor of the Comewalls had the grant of Thonock 12S0 from his brother
Edmund. He could not, therefore, have been dead at the date.

t The Visitation of Salop 1623, printed by the Harleian Society, vol. xsviii., pp. 145-3. But
the Cornewall pedigree is omitted in the original Visitation at the Heralds College.

j This appears to amount to confusion between Sir Richcird and Sir Geoffrey.


for which he had given him in reward the field of his coat of armes ermyne,
whereas before it was argent, which field without the lyon and border was the
Duke of Brittanie's coat. There being a chamber at my house in Burford,
and one of the fairest in the house, which to this day retaynes the name of
Montfort's Chamber, which hath continued to us by tradition ever since that
time, where, it is supposed, he kept him as a prisoner. And it appeareth by
record that one Mountford was Duke of Britanie about that time, which I
would be glad to see warranted by some Record. And whereas it appeareth
by record that Johan was wife to the said Sir Richard Cornewall and mother of
the first Geoffrey, I should be glad to know whose daughter the said Johan
was ; and that there was such a woman called Johan, the wife of the said
Richard, it appeareth by two several records, the one being a license of alienation
dated the gth of Edward the Second unto Geoffrey Cornewall and Margaret
his wife to enfeoffe the said Johan, which was wife to the said Richard Cornewall,
of their Manors at Amberdon, Stepleton, and Burford, with the appurtenances,
and by the said license it was granted to the said Johan, that she might reinfeoffe
the said Geoffrey and Margaret of the said Lordships and Mannors, and by an
inquisition taken at Amberdon in the Co. of Essex 2d. die Octobris anno regni
regis Edw. 3 nono, after the death of the said Geoffrey Cornewall, that the said
Geoffrey and Margaret his wife did jointly hold the Mannor of Amberdon,
in the Co. of Essex by the gift of feoffment of Johan Cornwall. Now I would
therefore know of Milles what record he hath to prove that there was any such
base Sonne ? If he have any such records, then further to know of him, who
was his mother, and with whom he matched, and when he lived, which if he
cannot produce I must needs think and aUedge, that he hath laid a very scanda-
alous imputation upon my house and family, of which I require to be satisfied
at his hands, and to be righted of these things he hath done me, if he fail in
the said proofe ; for which purpose I would entreate you, Mr. Vincent, being
one of the officers of armes yourselfe, to deal with him accordingly, or else
I meane to seek remedie otherwise.

And further to prove what a gracious respect King Ed. I. did beare unto
the said Sir Geoffrey Cornewall, being second brother unto Edmund, and both
being sonnes unto Richard, which MiUes pretends to be a bastard, but being
sufficiently by the records before recited to be the legitimate sonne of Richard,
Earle of Cornwall, and second brother to Edmund, Earle of Cornwall — first it
appeareth that the said King Ed. I. did grante a pardon dated at Strivelin the


2oth of May, anno 32d of his reigne, unto this Geoffrey Cornewall for the death
of one William de Hoo, in consideration of the great service the said Geoffrey
had done him in Scotland. And not long after the said King Ed. I. did grant
unto the said Geoffrey the wardship of Margaret, the second daughter and
co-heyre of Hugh Mortimer, Lord of Burford and Richard's Castle and Stepleton
and divers other lands, which Hugh Mortimer died about the 32d yeare of
Ed. I. , as it appeareth by an Inspeximus of an Inquisition taken att Stepleton,
in the County of Hereford, dated the 32d yeare of Ed. I., which Margaret the
said Geoffrey shortly after took to wife, as appeareth by writt of partition
for the said Sir Geoffrey and Margarett being then his wife, of all the Manors
that the said Hugh Mortimer died seized of, as also of the Knights' fees holden
of the said Hugh Mortimer as of his Barronage of Burford, which writt of
partition beareth the date at Langley deciino octavo die Septem : anno regni
regis Ed. Seaindi tertio.

Also it appeareth that Ed. II. did grante unto Sir Geoffrey Cornewall by
his patents dated at Yorke Vicessimo Secundo die Nov. anno regni siii decimo
free warren in all his demesne lands of Stepleton, in the County of Hereford
and Salop, and of Burford in the said County of Salop, and of Norton in the
County of Northampton, and of Amberdon in the County of Essex, and of
Nimington Regis in in the County of Devon.

And further the said King Ed. II. gave to Sir Geoffrey Cornewall, being
his cozen jerman but once removed both by fathers and mothers, and to his
heyres, the moyety of the Hundred of Overs in the Co. of Salop, by his letters
patents dated at Windsor decimo Maij anno Ed. II. decimo in kcec verba :

' Edwardus Dei gra : Rex Angl : etc. omnibus ad qiios presentes venirint
saltern sciatis qd. pro bono qd. dilectus consanguineus et fidelis noster Galfridus
de Cornitbia nobis hacienus impendit concessimus pro nob. et heredibus nostris
eidem Galfrido qd. ipse medietaem nostrum hundredi de Overs cum p'tns. in Com.
Salop teneat sibi et heredibus suis de nobis et heredibus nostris ad feodi ffermam
in perpetuam.'

By this deed it plainly appeareth that this Geoffrey was not sonne of any
bastard, as MiUes untruly doth allege, for if he had soe beene King Ed. II.
would never have called him Consangtiineum nostrum, being but an Esqre. at
that time, and soe did Ed. I., in his Patente anno tricessimo tertio of his reigne
which is here before sett doune, call Edmund, the elder brother of this Geoffrey


likewise Consangumeum nostrum, which could not have been, had they been
sonnes of a bastard ; and to prove that the said Geoffrey was Consanguinens
unto King Ed. II., vidt. his cozen jerman but once removed both by fathers
and mothers, and that the said Edmund was Consangtdneus, that is to say
cozen jerman to Ed. I., removed but on one side, it appeareth in the Petigree
in this manner :

King John had issue two sonnes, King Henry III. and Richard Earle of
Cornewall, which two sonnes maiTied with Elinor and Xanthia, two daughters
and coheyres of Raymond, Earle of Provence. King Henry III. had issue by
EHnor his saide wife, King Ed. I., who had issue King Edward II. Richard,
Earle of CornewaU had issue by Xanthia his wife, Edmund, Earle of CornewaU
and Richard de Cornewall, slain at Berwick as aforesaid, and this Sir Richard
had issue Edmund Cornewall and Geoffrey CornewaU now last-mentioned,
wliich Pedigre appeareth by MUles' own booke, folio 134, 145, 553, and divers
other ancient records.

And further to prove the great trust and confidence that King Ed. II.
reposed in the said Geoffrey CornewaU, he by his letters patents dated at Yorke
the xvith. day of October, in the 13th yeare of his reigne, granted the Mannors
of Maklesfield and Overton in Com. Cestrs. unto the said Geoffrey for the main-
tenance of the two sisters* of the saide King.

Mr. Vincent, I have sent you this coUection (sc. of archives), being an exact
compendium of the prooffes I have to prove the legitimacy of Richard, the
father of Geoffrey ComwaU my ancestor, being aU drawn and compiled out of
evidences and records which we have sent under their severaU seales, the
copies whereof you have in your custody, and alsoe the which I conceive, and
soe aU other men of judgement that have seen the same doe not see how it can
be contradicted ; and therefore I desire you to proceed in my Pedigree accord-
ingly ; so doe rest

Your true loveing friend,


This 25th of October, 1623.

* It should be " brother and sister."

t The Cornewall pedigree which appears in some copies of the Visitation in 1623, was omitted,
or possibly removed, as a result of the above correspondence, from the original MS. of this Visitation,
and no pedigree of the family is to be found in the College.


Here follows : " a note of such letters, Patents, and evidences as are sent
up to London for Mr. Vincent to peruse for confirmation of my pedigree the
27th April, 1621.

I. — Deed of Hugh de Saye, Lord of Burford.

2. — Proof that Robert Mortimer, Lord of Richard's Castle was Lord
of Burford, and to confirm Mr. Vincent's opinion that the
coat of armes set upon the monument of Lady . . .
supposed to be the coat of Engellram, Lord of Cousley
(de Couci) was the true coat of Mortimer of Burford. Seal
of Robert Mortimer to a deed leaving Spertrey, still in Sir
Thomas Comewall's possession.

3. — Grant of Hugh Mortimer to the free Burgesses of Burford, and of
land in Deane. Seal differing from the former seal.

4. — Deed of Release by Johane wife of Richard Talbot to Margaret
her sister, wife of Geoffrey Comewall, as to the Manor of
Carkedon.* Deed of said Margaret. In the former an
inescutchan with the Mortimer anns.

5. — Grant of Thonock by Earl Edmund to his brother Richard.

6. — A Confirmation granted 33 Edw. HL to Edmund his Cousin of the
liberties of Thonock, etc.

7. — Deed of Earl Edmund to Geoffrey, his Nephew, sonne of Richard,
his brother, of the Manor of Cornewall Ever — 26 Ed. L

8. — License of aUenation granted 9 Edw. H. to Geoffrey Cornewall and
Margaret his wife to enfeof Johan wife of Richard of Cornewall
— ' which Richard was slain at Barwick ' — being brother to
Earle Edmund, and father to Edmund and Geoffrey. Item,
the said Johane enfeof ed Geoffrey and Margaret with the
Manor of Amberton, Essex ; Inq : 9 Edw. III. proved that
Geoffrey held that JIanor.

N.B. — Mr. Rowland Hall hath my exemphfication after
the death of Hugh Mortimer. And in the latter and thereof
this ofi5ce {i.e., inquisition) concerning the death of said
Geoffrey is still extant.

* i.e. Carton, a sub-manor of Mamble in Worcestershire.


9. — Deed of free warren granted to Geoffrey, 10 Ed. II.

10. — Exemplification of the grant of the moiety of the Hundred of

II. — Pardon to Sir Geoffrey Cornewall for kiUing of Hoo, 32 Ed. II.

12. — Pardon to Sir Bryan Cornewall, 7 Rich. II.

13. — ^To prove that Sir Bryan Cornewall had Richard a brother and
heir and Ellen his sister, appeareth by annuity of £10 made
by him to them, 14 Rich. II. Richard had to wife Cicely,
daughter of Sir Jo. Morbury, as appeareth by license of
aUenation, 9 Hen. IV., where Richard enfeofed one Mr.
Whitton and others of the Castle of Stepleton to the use of
Cicely and her Children.

14. — Exemplification of the restitution of Thomas CornewaD, 12 Ed.
IV., and his bond of 1000 marks to save the bailiff of Ludlow
harmless from the Duke of York.

15. — To prove that Edmund, father of Thomas Cornewall that was
attainted, had Alice a former wdfe, before Ehzabeth, daughter
of Sir Thomas Barre. It appeareth by a deed dated 4 Hen. V.
of the Manor of Norton, Horn Castle, and Carendoun* to the
said Edmund and Alice his wife, that this Thomas who
was attainted, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Rowland
LeynthaU as appeareth by the office taken after the death
of Richard Cornewall, his grandfather, 21 Hen. VI. Further
an old deed of release from Robert Constance to .
Stuterville, as also another of John de Burgoe, son of Hubert,
some t5nne Earl of Kent. And the Sale of Cornewall Ever
by Sir Thomas Cornewall, i Hen. VIII.

Lastly. — The deed of Edward II., committing to the charge of Sir
Geoffrey the Prince John and Princess Elinor, for which
service and for their maintenance he assigns the Manors
of Macclesfield and Overton, in Cheshire, during wardship,
with the full assent of Queen Isabella. [Prince John was
known subsequently as John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall,


and the Princess Elinor married the Duke of Guelders.] This
deed is lengthy and written in mediaeval characters with
contractions somewhat difficult to decipher. The Trustees
named were Richard Damory, Robert de Mauley, the
Seneschal, and Nicholas de Hengate.

Other evidence was overlooked by Sir Thomas, e.g., a fine of Edw. II.
whereby Johanna, mother of Geoffrey, enfeoffed him and his wife with the
Manors of Burford and Stepleton. And another, 14 Edw. II., where the same
Johanna pays two marks for license to grant a fee in AsthaU and in Asthall
Langley, Oxon., to the Prior of the Hospital of St. John de Bereford, i.e.,
Burford in Oxon.

But for Sir Thomas' case by far the most telling record is that of 26
Edw. I., 1297-8, wherein Edmund, Count of CornwaO, grants " omnia — terras
ei terrementa — in villa de Ever — Galfrido de Cornubia, filio quondam Domini
Ricardo de Cornubia nepoti nostra, i.e., just after Sir Richard was slain at

Obviously, as we have already learnt from Sandford, writing some fifty
years after Vincent, the main reason why the Heralds of 1623 decided against
the legitimate descent was because in more than one Inq. p. mortem held after
the decease of Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, King Edward I. was served as his
Consanguineus et hares propinquior, i.e., nearest heir. This has been endorsed
by others than Sandford, indeed quite recently by the late Judge Bayley, who
brought to bear, in addition to research and the highest judicial acumen, a desire
to sift the problem thoroughly. In his MS. Cornewall pedigree he wrote, that,
if the elder son of the above Richard had been legitimate, he would have suc-
ceeded to the Earldom of CornewaU. Pace tanti viri, we may plead, that his
inference is by no means as necessary as he would have us believe. That
Earldom had — vide Introduction — been granted by Investiture, i.e., by the
gift of the reigning sovereign, and at his pleasure, not by any right of succession,
indeed it may be questioned whether the Inquisitions referred to dealt at aU
with the Earldom. They seem to have been held to determine generally the
estates of the deceased EarL It may be added that under Edward I.
the Crown was autocratic, and, inasmuch as he was impecunious, the
vast estates of Earl Edmund may have proved a temptation to override


the rights of blood. Earl Edmund may have anticipated what would happen
when he bestowed on his brother Richard — assuming this Richard to have
been his brother in blood and not in base-blood — the Manor of Thonock, and
after Richard's death the Manor of Ever, or Iver, on Sir Geoffrey.* Be that
as it may, King Edward I. never filled up the Earldom of CornwaU, appro-
priating its revenues to his own purposes, while it was not until Edward II.
mounted the Throne that it was bestowed on his favourite. Piers de Gaveston.

We now approach the question of arms, which may have influenced
Vincent and Milles. Undoubtedly in quarterings the Cornewall arms are
found with the baton or bend. The arms of Sir Edmund on his wife's
tomb in Burford Church bear no baton, neither do those of his son,
Sir Edmund, in Gainsborough Church (vide Holies' notes taken A.D. 1640).
On the other hand in a Roll of arms, reprinted by Sir Harris Nicholas from a
document in the possession of Mr. Harvy of Leicestershire, 1580, we find
this : Monsire Jeffrey de Cornwale, d' argent, une lyon de Gules, coronne d'or ;
une baston de sable, charge de trois mullets d'or. And Monsire Symon (query
Esmon ?) de Cornwale pert d' argent, une lyon de Gules, coronne d'or ; a une
baston de sable charge de trois besants. These entries are dated Edward III.
{i.e., 1327-1377). And again, under the heading Oxon., we have Sire Edmon
de Cornewaille {i.e., in right of Asthall) de argent a une lion de goules corone d'or
odla bende sable besatmte de or ; while in the Harl. MSS (No. 1386, foho 32),
the bend is broadened so as to cover the major part of the hon, and
also engrailed ; again, the seal of Sir Edmund de Cornewall, elder
brother of Sir Geoffrey jure uxoris Baron of Burford, displays a bend,
albeit the coat on his wife's monument in Burford is devoid of any such mark.f
Here, perhaps, in order to clear the air, it may be well to quote from Boutell's
last edition of his able work on English Heraldry, premising that his view
respecting the bend or baton at that early date is shared by all modern Heralds.
On page igo^chapter on " Cadency " — he writes : " Differences of illegitimacy,
which rightly and indeed necessarily are included under the head of Cadency, do
not appear at any time to have assumed a definite or decided character, and yet

* We remark further that Sir Edmund was granted the custody of the De Brampton heiresses,
who were themselves heiresses of the Corbels, who again claimed the Valletort estates as joint-heirs
with the Pomeroys. This may have been no more than accidental, but it indirectly links the Salop
Cornewalls with the Cornish Valletorts.

t The bend — whatever its significence — was soon discarded; e.g., the seal of Sir John
Cornewall of Kinlet, attached to a deed at Burwarton in the possession of Viscount Boyne, has no


they bring before the student of Heraldry much curious matter for enquiry
and investigation. Early in the true heraldic era illegitimate sons are found
to have differenced their paternal arms as other sons lawfully-born may have
done, and it does not appear that any peculiar methods of differencing were
adopted palpably for the purpose of denoting illegitimacy before the XlVth
Century had drawn near to its close. . . . Towards the beginning of the
XVth Century a pecuhar kind of differencing for illegitimacy gradually pre-
vailed tliroughout Europe — thus, illegitimate children either altered the position
of the charges in their paternal shield, or they marshalled the entire arms upon
a bend or fesse, or they composed for themselves a fresh shield, either using
their father's badges, the actual charges of their shield, or adopting devices
e\'idently derived from the paternal bearings, or they bore the paternal shield
differenced in a peculiarly suspicious manner with certain marks by which
they might be readily and certainly distinguished. ... In the more
recent Heraldry of our own country the bendlet or baton sinister is generally
regarded as the most appropriate and decided difference of illegitimacy."

On these lines the bend hi the coat of Sir Edmund de Comewall at that date
meant no more than to denote descent from a second son. On the whole the
evidence of arms tells in favour of the legitimate theory, although it has been
assumed to be proof against it.

The illegitimate theory would seem to have originated with Brooke, the
Elizabethan Herald of doubtful fame, to have been endorsed positively by
Milles and adopted by Vincent, who nevertheless left no record of his opinion
in the Heralds College. It may be that he was influenced by the menace of
Sir Thomas Cornewall, or he may have felt some uncertainty owing to the very
positive terms of the grants of Thonock and Cornewall Ever. Sandford did
but echo the judgment of these eminent officers of the College, his plea being —
as doubtless theirs also — that King Edward I. was served heir of Earl Edmund.
We may remark passim that on this hypothesis the Sir Richard, slain at Ber-
wick, must have been illegitimate, inasmuch as the Heralds themselves regarded
him as father of Sir Edmund* and Sir Geoffrey (vide the Harl. Soc. Visitation of
Salop, 1623, where the wavy line denotes his illegitimacy).

* As an argumeniiim ab sileniio it may fairly be urged that the fact of Richard, the own brother
of Earl Edmund, son of Sanchia, never having been accorded a position adequate to that of a Prince
of the blood and first cousin of the reigning Sovereign, remains to be explained. We might go further
and surmise, that the absence of any such provision by Earl Richard argues that the legitimate
Richard died in his father's lifetime. He may have been the Richard who is said to have died at
Berkhampstead in 1272, and to have been buried at Hayles.


After considerable search we have been unable to discover Earl Edmund's
will.* He had enjoyed the friendship of his cousin King Edward I., and the
allegation that he left his entire possessions to him may be correct. Sandford,
however — as had been already shewn — affirms that the King took Earl Edmund's
estates — except such as were settled on Margaret de Clare, for life — after a
series of Inquisitions, as Consanguineus et hcsres propinqtiior. Whatever may
have been the nature of the King's claim, the fact itself is of the greatest weight,
and for this reason :

In vol. I. of the Calendar of Charter Rolls, there are Charters of dates
25th Dec, 1243, nth Nov., 1244, and 31st May, 1252, granting several manors
to Richard Earl of Cornewall and to his heirs by Sanchia, his wife, such manors
on the failure of such heirs to revert to the King. These manors were : —

Bradninch, Devon. This was in the King's hands in 1303, on account of
the decease of the Earl of Cornewall ; i.e., in manu Domini Regis per
mortem Comitis Cornubiae.

Lechlade, Glouc. Assigned in 1309 to Piers Gaveston (Close Rolls).

Oakham, Rutland. June 19, 1308. Held by the Countess of Cornewall.

Princes Risborough, Bucks. This in 1303 was the King's demesne.

Glatton, Hunts. This in 1303 was held by the Countess of Cornewall, and
in 1316 had reverted to the King.

An entry in The Close Rolls, Aug. 5, 1309, shows that Piers Gaveston had
been granted much of Earl Edmund's lands.

Other estates, mentioned as belonging to Earl Richard, are stated to have
been settled upon the heirs of Sanchia, e.g., Newport, Essex ; Fordington, Dorset;
Corsham, Wilts ; Mere, Wilts. Perhaps the most important of all, as con-
firming Sandford's statement, is an entry of May 29, 1309, being a memorandum
which vouched the late King (Edw. I.) to warranty as next heir of Earl Edmund.

Again, while in the grant of Thonock Sir Edmund is described as nephew
of Earl Edmund, and son of Earl Edmund's brother, this according to the

*The Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1292-1301, p. 603, shows that Earl Edmund loft a will, e.g..

Date of Patent, Assignment to Thomas, Bishop of Exeter, Hugh Abbot of llayles,

Aug. 2, 1301, William De Bereford, and Walter De Aylesbury, Exors. of the will of

29 Edward I., Edmund Earl of Cornewall, the King's kinsman, in part payment of the

dated at Peebles. King's indebtedness to the Earl of 9840J marks lojd. ; of the custody

Online LibraryCecil George Savile Foljambe LiverpoolThe house of Cornewall → online text (page 6 of 33)