Peter II, Count of Savoy

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Peter II (1203 – May 15, 1268), called the Little Charlemagne, was the 1st Earl of Richmond from 1241 until his death and the Count of Savoy from 1263 until his death. He built the Savoy Palace in London.

Peter was the seventh of nine sons of Thomas I of Savoy and Marguerite of Geneva, and the uncle of Eleanor of Provence, queen-consort of Henry III of England. He was born in Suze in the French County of Albon.

Biography[edit]

Peter travelled first with Eleanor to London. King Henry made him Earl of Richmond in 1241 and gave him the land between the Strand and the Thames, where Peter built the Savoy Palace in 1263, on the site of the present Savoy Hotel. It was destroyed during the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. Though Peter was referred to by contemporary chroniclers as the earl of Richmond, the title seems not to appear in any official documents. By his will, Richmond was left to his niece the queen, Eleanor, who transferred it to the crown.

Boston (a borough by 1279), on the river Witham, had over many years become an important port for Lincoln. The town was held by the Dukes of Brittany until about 1200. In 1241, Peter obtained the manor of Boston at the same time as he had Richmond. It was restored to John I, Duke of Brittany, on Peter's death. Donington manor is also thought to have been passed from John de la Rye to Peter of Savoy about 1255, when a charter was granted for a market to be held at the manor on Saturdays. In the same year, a similar grant was made for the holding of a fair on 15 August, also to be held at the manor. A separate charter was granted to Peter on 8 April 1255 by the king to hold a market on Mondays.

In 1246, the king granted Peter the castle of Pevensey. Peter sided with Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, in the Second Barons' War; but he eventually left England for France with the queen.

When Peter's nephew Boniface, Count of Savoy, died without heirs in 1263, the question of the succession to Savoy lay unanswered. Besides Peter, there was another possible claimant, the fifteen-year-old Thomas III of Piedmont (1248–82), the eldest son of Peter's elder brother Thomas, Count of Flanders. Peter returned to Savoy and was recognised as count over his nephew. This led to a dispute between Savoy and Piedmont that was to outlast Peter and Thomas.

Peter came into conflict with Rudolf of Habsburg, and Rudolf occupied Peter's lands in the canton of Vaud, including the Château of Chillon. Peter returned from Piedmont in time to lead his troops in retaking the chateau and his lands in 1266.

Already elderly, Peter died without a male heir. Sources differ on the place of his death, some stating that he died in the Château de Chillon so closely associated with him, and others in Pierre-Châtel[1] in the present department of Isère. He was succeeded by his remaining brother, Philip, former Archbishop of Lyon.

Family[edit]

Peter's first marriage was to Agnes of Faucigny in 1236. Agnes bore him a daughter, Beatrice (c. 1237 – 21 November 1310). [a]

Peter had an illegitimate daughter, Isabelle, who married his cousin Pierre of Salinento, the illegitimate son of Amadeus IV, Count of Savoy.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Beatrice would marry firstly Count Guigues VII of Viennois and secondly Viscount Gaston VII of Béarn.

References[edit]

Succession[edit]

Peter II
Born: 1203 Died: 15 May 1268
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Boniface
Count of Savoy
1263–1268
Succeeded by
Philip I
Preceded by
The Lord de Segrove
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
1241–1255
Succeeded by
The Lord Cobham
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Pierre Mauclerc
Forfeited under Henry III
Earl of Richmond
1241–1268
Succeeded by
John I