Maud de Chaworth (2 February 1282 – 3 December 1322) was an English noblewoman and wealthy heiress. She was the only child of Patrick de Chaworth. Sometime before 2 March 1297, she married Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster, by whom she had seven children.
Maud was the daughter of Sir Patrick de Chaworth, Baron of Kidwelly, in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, and Isabella de Beauchamp. Her maternal grandfather was William de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick. Her father, Patrick de Chaworth died on 7 July 1283. He was thought to be 30 years old. Three years later, in 1286, Isabella de Beauchamp married Hugh Despenser the Elder and had two sons and four daughters by him. This made Maud the half-sister of Hugh the younger Despenser. Her mother, Isabella de Beauchamp, died in 1306.
Maud was only a year old when her father died, and his death left her a wealthy heiress. However, because she was an infant, she became a ward of Eleanor of Castile, Queen consort of King Edward I of England. Upon Queen Eleanor's death in 1290, her husband, King Edward I, granted Maud's marriage to his brother Edmund, Earl of Lancaster on 30 December 1292.
Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster, Earl of Leicester was the son of Eleanor of Provence and Henry III of England. He first married Aveline de Forz, Countess of Albemarle, in 1269. Later, in Paris on 3 February 1276, he married Blanche of Artois, who was a niece of Louis IX of France and Queen of Navarre by her first marriage. Blanche and Edmund had four children together, one of whom was Henry, who would later become 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Maud Chaworth’s husband.
Marriage and issue
Edmund Crouchback betrothed Maud to his son Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster. Henry and Maud were married sometime before 2 March 1297. Henry was probably born between the years 1280 and 1281, making him somewhat older than Maud, but not by much since they were either fourteen or fifteen-years-old.
Since Maud inherited her father’s property, Henry also acquired this property through the rights of marriage. Some of that property was of the following: Hampshire, Glamorgan, Wiltshire, and Carmarthenshire. Henry was the nephew of the King of England, as well as being closely related to the French royal family line. Henry's half-sister Jeanne (or Juana) was Queen of Navarre in her own right and married Philip IV of France. Henry was the uncle of King Edward II's Queen Isabella and of three Kings of France. He was also the younger brother of Thomas (Earl of Lancaster) and first cousin of Edward II.
Maud is often described as the "Countess of Leicester" or "Countess of Lancaster", but she never bore the titles as she died in 1322, before her husband received them. Henry was named "Earl of Leicester" in 1324 and "Earl of Lancaster" in 1327. Henry never remarried and died on 22 September 1345, when he would have been in his mid-sixties. All but one of his seven children with Maud outlived him.
Maud and Henry had seven children:
- Blanche of Lancaster, (about 1302/05–1380); Maud’s eldest daughter was probably born between 1302 and 1305, and was named after her father’s mother Blanche of Artois. Around 9 October 1316, she married Thomas Wake, 2nd Baron Wake of Liddell. Blanch was about forty-five when Thomas died, and she lived as a widow for more than thirty years. She was one of the executers of her brother Henry’s will when he died in 1361. Blanche outlived all her siblings, dying shortly before 12 July 1380 in her seventies. Born in the reign of Edward I, she survived all the way into the reign of his great-grandson Richard II.
- Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster, (about 1310–1361); Maud’s only son Henry was usually called Henry of Grosmont to distinguish him from his father. He was one of the great magnates of the fourteenth century, well known and highly respected. He took after his father and was well-educated, literate, and pious; he was a soldier and a diplomat. Henry produced his own memoir "Le Livre de Seyntz Medicines", which was completed in 1354. At one point, Henry of Grosmont was considered to be the richest man in England aside from the Prince of Wales. He emerged as a political figure in his own right within England: he was knighted and represented his father in Parliament. He married Isabella, daughter of Henry, Lord Beaumont. His daughter Blanche was betrothed and eventually married to the son of Edward III, John of Gaunt. In 1361, Henry was killed by a new outbreak of the Black Death, leaving John of Gaunt his inheritance and eventually his title through his daughter Blanche.
- Maud of Lancaster, Countess of Ulster, (c. 1310 – 5 May 1377). There is some discrepancy as to when Maud died. She married William de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster in 1327. They had one child, Elizabeth de Burgh, who was born 6 July 1332. Eleven months after the birth of their child, Earl William was murdered at “Le Ford” in Belfast, apparently by some of his own men. The countess Maud fled to England with her baby and stayed with the royal family. In 1337, Maud of Lancaster managed to ensure that the Justiciar of Ireland was forbidden to pardon her husband’s killers. She fought for her dower rights and exerted some influence there. She remarried in 1344 to Ralph Ufford and returned to Ireland, where she had another daughter, Maud. After her second husband fell ill in 1346, she again returned to England. Maud of Lancaster died on 5 May 1377.
- Joan of Lancaster, (about 1312–1345); married between 28 February and 4 June 1327 to John de Mowbray, 3rd Baron Mowbray. John’s father was executed for reasons unknown, and young John was imprisoned in the Tower of London along with his mother Alice de Braose until late 1326. A large part of his inheritance was granted to Hugh Despenser the Younger, who was his future wife’s uncle; however, he was set free in 1327 before the marriage. Joan of Lancaster probably died 7 July 1349. Joan and John, 3rd Lord Mowbray had six children.
- Isabel of Lancaster, Prioress of Amesbury, (about 1317–after 1347); One of the youngest daughters of Maud and Henry, she lived quietly, going on pilgrimages and spending a lot of time alone. She also spent a great deal of time outside the cloister on non-spiritual matters. Her father had given her quite a bit of property, which she administered herself. She owned hunting dogs and had personal servants. She used her family connections to secure privileges and concessions.
- Eleanor of Lancaster, (1318- Sept. 1372); married John Beaumont between September and November 1330. Eleanor bore John a son, Henry, who married Margaret de Vere, a sister of Elizabeth and Thomas de Vere, Earl of Oxford. John Beaumont was killed in a jousting tournament in Northampton on 14 April 1342. Eleanor then became the mistress of Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel, who was married to her first cousin Isabel, daughter of Hugh Despenser the Younger. Richard obtained a divorce from the Pope and married Eleanor on 5 February 1345 in the presence of Edward III. They had five children together, three sons and two daughters. Eleanor died on 11 January 1372.
- Mary of Lancaster, (about 1320–1362); married Henry, Lord Percy before 4 September 1334; he fought at the battle of Crecy in 1346, and served in Gascony under the command of his brother-in-law Henry of Grosmont. Their son was Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland. Mary of Lancaster died on 1 September 1362, the year after her brother Henry.
|Ancestors of Maud Chaworth|
- Commire, Anne, and Deborah Klezmer, eds. "Maud Chaworth." Women in the World History. 1999.
- Hallam, Elizabeth, ed. Four Gothic Kings. New York, NY: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987. 133, 117, 126
- Cantor, Norman F. The Last Knight : The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era. New York: Free P, 2004.
- Binski, Paul. Westminster Abbey and the Plantagenets : Kingship and the Representation of Power, 1200-1400. New York: Yale UP, 1995.