Mary de Monthermer
|Mary de Monthermer|
|Countess of Fife|
|Spouse(s)||Duncan IV, Earl of Fife|
IssueIsabella, Countess of Fife
|Father||Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer|
|Mother||Joan of Acre|
Mary de Monthermer, Countess of Fife (October 1297 – circa 1371) was an English noblewoman. She was a daughter of Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer and his wife Joan of Acre. Other sources have her being born in 1298.
Family and early life
Mary's mother Joan was a daughter of Edward I of England. In January 1297, her mother faced the intense disapproval of King Edward when she decided in early 1297 to secretly marry Ralph de Monthermer, a lowly knight in her household. For her second marriage, the King had hoped to marry Joan to Amadeus V, Count of Savoy. Ralph was subsequently imprisoned at Bristol Castle. His release later that year occurred only when Joan made various attempts to persuade her father. She first tried to sway Edward by sending her three young daughters by her first marriage; when this failed to soften his mood, she was allowed to come plead to him in person, according to chroniclers. This she did in July 1297, and is said to have told him that it was no disgrace for an earl to marry a poor woman, it was not blameworthy for a countess to advance a capable young man. He gave his permission; rather than her remarks however, a more probable reason for his acquiesce is due to the fact that Joan was visibly pregnant with Mary at this time. The king restored most of her lands and pardoned Ralph, making him Earl of Gloucester.
He and Joan would come to have five children together. Mary was the eldest of them. Mary and her full-siblings most likely lived in her mother's quarters in Windsor Castle and Marlborough Castle until her marriage. Because of the obscurity of her father's birth, Mary's paternal ancestors are not known.
Mary also had four half-siblings from her mother's first marriage to Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford. They were Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Hertford, Eleanor de Clare, (wife of Hugh le Despenser the Younger), Margaret de Clare, and Elizabeth de Clare.
Marriage and issue
In 1306-07, her grandfather Edward I and uncle Edward, Prince of Wales arranged for her to wed Duncan Macduff, 8th Earl of Fife (1289–1353). A papal dispensation was granted in 4 November 1307.[original research?] A posthumous child, Duncan had spent his minority in England. As was common for the time, she was very young - only nine years old. They had one surviving daughter, who was born fourteen years after they married. She would come to inherit Duncan's lands:
- Isabella, Countess of Fife (sometimes called Elizabeth) (1320–1389); married four times with no issue.
In April 1307, Mary's mother died. Ralph ceased to be referred to as Earl of Gloucester shortly after her death, passing the title onto Joan's only son from her first marriage. On 6 November 1314, Duncan freed himself from English control and left for Scotland, leaving his wife behind (Mary would not join him in Scotland until January 1320).
In 1332, Mary and her daughter were captured at Perth by supporters of King David II of Scotland. Isabella was sent as a ward to Northumberland, where she married her guardian Sir William Felton. Felton was styled "Lord of Fife" in right of his wife, as Isabella had no brothers.
In 1346, Mary's husband was tried for treason and sentenced to a traitor's death by Edward III of England. He was able to obtain mercy however and was allowed to return to Scotland to raise money for his ransom, which he did in 1350. Duncan died three years later. Mary would die eighteen years later (sometime after 1371); their daughter succeeded as Countess of Fife, but resigned the earldom to Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany the same year her mother died.
|Ancestors of Mary de Monthermer|
- Lundy 2003 cites: Weir 1999, p. 83.
- Underhill 1999, p. 6.
- Higginbotham, Susan. "Joan of Acre and Ralph de Monthermer: A Medieval Love Story". Retrieved 1 March 2010.[dead link]
- Underhill 1999, p. 7.
- McDonald, Andrew. ‘Macduff family, earls of Fife (per. c.1095–1371)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 14 March 2010
- Cawley 2012
- Lundy 2003 cites: Weir 1999, p. 215
- Cawley, Charles (10 April 2012), EARL of GLOUCESTER 1297-1307 (MONTHERMER), Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved October 2010,[better source needed]
- Lundy, Darryl (10 May 2003). "Mary de Monthermer". The Peerage. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Weir, Alison (1999). Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy. London: The Bodley Head. pp. 83, 215.
- Underhill, Frances Ann (1999). For Her Good Estate: The Life of Elizabeth de Burgh. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 6. ISBN 0-312-21355-7.