Query 266: Margaret Courtenay, wife of Theobald Grenville
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Sent: Friday, January 17, 2003 3:02 AM Subject: Courtenay Research
Attached is a document I put together as the result of a discussion about Margaret Courtenay, wife of Theobald Grenville, on the newsgroup soc.genealogy.medieval. It discusses who cannot be the parents of Margaret Courtenay and as a result directly contradicts the Devon Visitation and most of the unsourced pedigrees of the Grenville families.
I am a member of the Courtenay Society and I have also sent this to Powderham however I thought you might like to post it on your website as the Grenville/Courtenay marriage is one of the most quoted gateway marriages for people trying to find royal descent.
A summary of who cannot be the parents of
Margaret Courtenay, wife of Theobald Grenville.
Theobald Grenville is said to have married a Margaret Courtenay. Various pedigrees,
notably the Devon Visitation and the Grenville History by Granville show this Margaret
Courtenay to be the daughter of Hugh Courtenay of Haccombe and his wife Maud
Beaumont. She is also described in Roskell™s History of Parliament as a sister of Edward
Courtenay, iothe blindln earl of Devon and his wife Maud Camoys. This would also
make her the sister of Hugh Courtenay of Haccombe.
This paper discusses all the known Hugh & Margaret Courtenays of the period and
comes to the conclusion that the Margaret Courtenay who married Theobald
Grenville could not be the daughter of any of them.
On 26 July 1381 John Grenville presented Robert Braybroke to Bideford and Thomas
Cary to Kilkhampton on 8th September of the same year "being then described as
son and heir of Sir Theobald de Grenvile, deceased." (Granville p54) On the basis that
he presented to Bideford and that was the gift of the lord of the manor, it appears he
was an adult, therefore born in or before 1360. Therefore John's father Theobald
would have been born prior to 1343 and his mother prior to 1344 (making him at least
17 and her 16 at the time of his birth). This fits with Theobald's father, also named
Theobald who was born in 1322 (Cal. Fine Rolls 1 Edw III).
1. Hugh of Haccombe Courtenay and his fourth wife Maud Beaumont. Hugh was
born after 1358 as he was the younger son of Sir Edward Courtenay and Emeline
Dauney and their eldest son, Edward "The Blind Earl" was born 3 May 1357. Hugh
married Maud Beaumont after 16 October 1417 (Faris). This Hugh was born too late
to be Margaret Courtenay, wife of Theobald Grenville's father.
2. Hugh, 2nd earl of Devon Courtenay and his wife Margaret Bohun. Hugh and
Margaret had 17 known children of which one was named Margaret who was their
eldest daughter and probably born about 1326. This Margaret married John, Lord
Cobham in 1332/33 and pre-deceased her husband, dying 2 Aug 1385. (C.P. III:344)
So this Margaret cannot have also married Theobald Grenville or been the mother of
John Grenville in about 1360.
3. Hugh Courtenay who married Elizabeth de Vere. This Hugh died in 1349 and
Elizabeth died in 1375, they were the parents of another Hugh Courtenay (of more
presently). However the following Close Rolls entry, shows they had no other living
issue in 1375, by which time John Grenville was certainly alive and would have
inherited had he been the grandson of this Hugh Courtenay.
From the Calendar of Close Rolls. Dated 1375 Nov. 27 at Westminster: "To Thomas
Sewale escheator in Buckinghamshire. Order to remove the king's hand, and not to
meddle further with the manor of Wavyngdon taken into the king's hand by the
death of Elizabeth who was wife of Hugh de Courtenay the younger, delivering to
Hugh de Courtenay earl of Devon any issues thereof taken; as the king has learned
by inquisition, taken by the escheator, that the said Elizabeth at her death held no
lands in that bailiwick in her demesne as of fee nor in service, but held the same
manor in fee tail by grant of the said earl made by fine levied in the king's court with
his licence to the said Hugh the younger and Elizabeth and to the heirs of their
bodies, with reversion for lack of such an heir to the earl and his heirs, that Hugh the
younger and Elizabeth are dead without issue, wherefore the said manor ought by
the form of that fine to revert to the earl and his heirs, and that it is held in chief by
4. Hugh Courtenay who married Margaret de Brian then Maud Holand. This Hugh
Courtenay was the son of Hugh number 3. above, he died s.p. 20 February 1373/74
(C.P. IV:325) which fits with the entry above that shows his parents were "dead
without issue" in 1375. Additionally, this Hugh's father was not born until 1327, so could
not have had a great-grandson born in or before 1360. Lastly, another Close Rolls
entry dated December 6 1374 shows he had no issue by Maud Holand.
"To Oliver de Harnham escheator in Berkshire. Order to remove the king's hand, and
not to meddle further with the manor of Sutton Courtenay taken into the king's hand
by the death of Hugh son of Hugh de Courtenay knight, delivering to Maud late his
wife any issues thereof taken; as the king has learned by inquisition, taken by the
escheator, that Hugh de Courtenay knight at his death held no lands in that county in
chief in his demesne as of fee, but held the said manor in chief by knight service in
right of said Maud by gift and feoffment of Hugh de Courtenay earl of Devon made
with the king's licence to her and the heirs of her body by her said husband begotten,
with reversion for lack of such issue to the said earl and his heirs, and that the said
Hugh son of Hugh died without issue by her; and the king has taken the fealty of the
5. Thomas Courtenay who married Muriel Moels on 21 August 1337 (Weis 214-33).
Thomas was the son of Hugh Courtenay, 1st earl of Devon and his wife Agnes St.
John. Thomas and Muriel had a daughter Margaret who was born about 1352 (IPM of
her brother Hugh Courtenay 20 September 43 Edw III). This Margaret married Thomas
Peverell between 1369 (her brother's death when she was named as an heir) and
1374 when she is mentioned as having land assigned to "Thomas Peverell and
Margaret his wife." She is too young to have had an earlier marriage to Theobald and
produce a son before 1360 (i.e. before she was 8) and also Theobald lived later than
1374 when she was married to Thomas Peverell.
6. Sir Edward Courtenay of Godlington who married Emeline Dauney. Edward was
born in or after 1328 but more likely 1331 (Weis & Visitation). He married Emeline in
about 1348, too late for them to be the parents of Margaret Courtenay, born before
1344. Even if this Edward was born in 1328, he would have only been 16 when he
fathered Margaret, even for the period this is unlikely.
As far as is known that accounts for all the Hughs and all the Margarets from the
period. If Theobald Grenville did marry a Courtenay, which despite the above and
the lack of grants from the Courtenays to the Grenvilles, is possible, she would need
to be of the same generation as the children of Hugh 2nd Earl of Devon Courtenay
and his wife Margaret Bohun, that is, born in the late 1330's or 1340's.
If Margaret, wife of Theobald Grenville, was a Courtenay, she is most likely to be
found as a granddaughter of Sir Hugh Courtenay, 1 st Earl of Devon (d 1340) and his
wife Agnes St John by one of their children other than Hugh Courtenay and Margaret
Bohun. A less appealing alternative is that Margaret was not a Courtenay at all, but
the widow of one of the Courtenay men.