Eleanor de Montfort dies in France

Died on this day (before) of 13 April in 1275, Eleanor de Montfort, widow of Simon and sister of Henry III. She was the youngest of King John and Isabella’s children, married at age nine to William Marshal II, who was already in his thirties at the time. His unexpected death in 1231 left her a 16-year-old childless widow. She was entitled to one-third of his estate as her dower, but his brother and heir Richard Marshal made endless troubles for her. Wanting to keep Richard happy, Henry convinced Eleanor to take a settlement based on a much lower evaluation of the estate. It was a disastrous move, because Richard raised rebellion anyway and was killed in the process. To arrange peace between Henry and the Marshals, the archbishop of Canterbury convinced Eleanor to take a vow of chastity. That way, she wouldn’t show up one day with a new husband demanding that Gilbert Marshal, the new earl of Pembroke, pay up. Of course, that’s exactly what happened when the chaste widow suddenly married Simon. Henry arranged their marriage knowing it was going to leave a lot of people feeling peeved and aggrieved, namely Gilbert and the archbishop. What he didn’t count on was all the Marshal sons dying within a decade without male heirs. The whole question of Eleanor’s dower was tossed into his lap. When Henry went to make peace with France in 1259, Simon insinuated it into the negotiations, demanding arrears of nearly £25,000. Needless to say, the next rebellion was led by his brother-in-law. As for that dower, it wasn’t settled until 1286, 11 years after her death and 55 years after it began.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *