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 Hugh and Hugh

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Alianore
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PostSubject: Hugh and Hugh   Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:18 pm

Hugh the Younger (born circa 1287/89) and his father Hugh the Elder (born 1261) dominated the last few years of Edward II's reign. The actions of Hugh the younger, especially, brought down Edward II.

Hugh was and is notorious for his greed and his terrible treatment of rich widows, by seizing their lands. What do you think of the Despensers? Do they have any redeeming features at all?
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Paul



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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:56 pm

I always feel a touch sorry for Hugh the Elder who had survived in public life for a long time until his avaricious son got a bit of power. Apart from the fact that he must have had some charm to get where he was Hugh the Younger comes off as a pretty despicable character who could be blamed from bringing down both his Dad and the King. I'm sure without him Edward II would have probably been pushed aside a touch maybe but may have lived to a ripe old age. I'd be interested to know how you feel about him, any redeeming features?
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:13 pm

Ummm....*thinks hard* *Scratches head*

He was a pretty competent administrator, even if this the main aim of this was to enrich himself. He didn't abandon Edward at the end, when he could probably have fled abroad. And I suppose Edward saw something likeable about him, even though it's not obvious what this was. Wink

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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Paul



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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:25 pm

I hadn't realised but apparently Princess Diana is a direct descendant of (obviously both) Hugh Despenser. So Despenser bloodlines joined Edward II's in the William who'll probably be king one day.
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:28 pm

Yes, I've been thinking about it too...
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:07 pm

Paul wrote:
I hadn't realised but apparently Princess Diana is a direct descendant of (obviously both) Hugh Despenser. So Despenser bloodlines joined Edward II's in the William who'll probably be king one day.

She is a descendant of the Hughs, Paul - but only in the same sense that you and I might be as well, being British. The Spencers are not the same family as the Despensers, though a long time ago they pretended they were, and used the Despenser arms. Claiming noble antecedents they didn't actually have, I suppose.

Prince William is descended from Hugh the Younger in 259 lines, apparently. A few of them come from Diana, via Hugh's daughter Elizabeth, Lady Berkeley. The nearest line is: he's Hugh's twenty greats grandson, through Hugh's eldest daughter Isabel and her husband Richard Fitzalan, down through the Cavendish-Bentincks and the Bowes-Lyons, to the Queen Mother.

William is a descendant of Edward II and Isabella in 2831 different lines, according to a website!! affraid

He's also descended from Roger Mortimer, Thomas de Berkeley, John Maltravers...Wink

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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Alianore
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:10 pm

Oops, forgot to add a link about the Spencers' spurious claims to be the Despensers: http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/GEN-MEDIEVAL/2001-01/0978813687

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:35 pm

I've always found it amusing that the Spencers would claim descent from the Despensers--I guess if you need a noble ancestor, a few severed heads won't stand in the way.

There's a very funny line in a novel by Joan Aiken called Jane Fairfax (a Jane Austen spinoff). One of the characters is very fond of parading her Despenser ancestry, much to the annoyance of another character, who reflects, "No doubt she had her reasons," when told the story of Isabella executing the Earl of Winchester.
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Paul



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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:54 pm

Oops, I blame wikipedia, I read Edward II's page today and happened to see it stated in the discussion section along with a bit about Edward surviving after the Dunheved raid.
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:02 pm

The Daily Telegraph of 18 February 2008 reported that the skeleton of Hugh Despenser II (aka the younger) had been identified in a burial at Hulton Abbey (Staffordshire) under the headline 'Abbey body identified as gay lover of Edward II'. Hulton was the patronal house of the Audley family and has been the site of a series of excavations, the results of some of which are published in The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series, 21 as Excavations at Hulton Abbey, Staffordshire 1987-1994 ed. W.D. Klemperer.
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:14 am

Hi Philip, and welcome! I've posted my thoughts on this discovery: http://edwardthesecond.blogspot.com/2008/02/remains-of-younger-despenser.html

And see also: http://susandhigginbotham.blogspot.com/2008/02/mr-despenser-collects-himself.html

http://despenser.blogspot.com/2008/02/remains-of-hugh-despenser-younger-or.html

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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Melisende

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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:03 pm

Paul wrote:
I always feel a touch sorry for Hugh the Elder who had survived in public life for a long time until his avaricious son got a bit of power. Apart from the fact that he must have had some charm to get where he was Hugh the Younger comes off as a pretty despicable character who could be blamed from bringing down both his Dad and the King. I'm sure without him Edward II would have probably been pushed aside a touch maybe but may have lived to a ripe old age. I'd be interested to know how you feel about him, any redeeming features?


Out of the pair of them, yes Hugh the Elder comes across as the more "likeable" of the two. If one had to choose!

And I agree, had the son learned from the lessons of Gaveston - well, maybe he might have stuck around a little longer - and poor Edward for that matter! But Hugh the Younger strikes me as being a man whose arrogance would have ignored the lesson - he would have been confident in his own assessment of the situation - and would not have stopped and viewed himself as others did - you know - I'm right and you're wrong.
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Anejre

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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:30 pm

Philip wrote:
The Daily Telegraph of 18 February 2008 reported that the skeleton of Hugh Despenser II (aka the younger) had been identified in a burial at Hulton Abbey (Staffordshire) under the headline 'Abbey body identified as gay lover of Edward II'. Hulton was the patronal house of the Audley family and has been the site of a series of excavations, the results of some of which are published in The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series, 21 as Excavations at Hulton Abbey, Staffordshire 1987-1994 ed. W.D. Klemperer.

How interesting! hadn't caught up with that story. Shame on the Daily Telegraph for that headline though - more of a Sun effort!
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:34 pm

Alianore wrote:
Ummm....*thinks hard* *Scratches head*

He was a pretty competent administrator, even if this the main aim of this was to enrich himself. He didn't abandon Edward at the end, when he could probably have fled abroad. And I suppose Edward saw something likeable about him, even though it's not obvious what this was. Wink

a difficult one - I did wonder if there were any Despencer 'fans' here - but it is difficult to find anything positive to say about him. Even if he'd fled abroad, who would have given him sanctuary anyway? And I'm always amazed how Edward could love someone like Piers - and then move onto Despencer! But that's the puzzling nature of Ed:)
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:50 am

Well, he was very rich, he was competent and he was extremely ruthless, so I'm sure someone would have appreciated his services. I can just see him ending up in Italy, maybe, acting as advisor to some aristocrat and helping him bump off his enemies. Wink He had enough money that he didn't need sanctuary, per se - had enough to establish himself abroad, certainly.

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:07 pm

Sounds like a banker or an accountant - he could have worked for the Church - maybe he was a secret Templar.
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:11 pm

Well, I have to hold up my hands to being a Hugh fan - probably in the minority hehe! I have set myself the task to trawl through every record there is of him and *try* to see if he was really as black as he was painted by the pro-Mortimer and Isabella chroniclers.

I cant deny that he was ruthless and arrogant and greedy - but so were many earls and barons at that point. Hugh was just lucky enough to have the means by which to acheive his aims (Edward!). As for good points - I would say it was definitely his loyalty to Edward - right up to the end. Also he and Eleanor seemed to have a good marriage and mutual respect for each other.

So, yes, while he could be seen as a bad man, I think he was also a very complex man who deserves to have much more research done on him.

By the way, Hugh the elder, while having a good rap in his younger days, also was involved in many of the land-snatching schemes of his son later on. I dont think he was probably as innocent as some think.
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PostSubject: Re: Hugh and Hugh   Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:12 pm

Whatever Hugh did, his execution was appalling. It's one of those that makes me feel physically sick when reading it. Thank goodness Piers escaped with a beheading!

I have more sympathy with the elder Despencer - yes, he was involved in many of the land-snatching schemes of Hugh the younger, but who gave him that opportuity? Had his son not been in the position he was, his father wouldn't have been able to scheme.
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