Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer
Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer, Earl of Hertford, Earl of Gloucester, Earl of Atholl (under Edward I's occupation of Scotland) (c. 1270 - 5 April 1325)
Ralph was a knight in the household of Joan of Acre, daughter of King Edward I of England. After the death of Joan's husband Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford, in 1295, Ralph and Joan fell in love. They were secretly married in January 1297. King Edward was enraged by his daughter's marriage to a commoner. He had Monthermer thrown in prison, and Joan had to plead for the release of her husband. According to the St. Albans chronicler, she told her father, "No one sees anything wrong if a great earl marries a poor and lowly woman. Why should there be anything wrong if a countess marries a young and promising man?" With the intervention of Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, the King relented, and released Monthermer from prison in August 1297. The king even allowed Monthermer to hold the titles of Earl of Gloucester and Earl of Hertford, during Joan's lifetime. The titles had been taken from Joan's six-year-old son Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Hertford, and were returned to the boy upon Joan's death (1307).
In 1306 Ralph warned Robert the Bruce, then at the English court, of the danger posed by King Edward. During a convivial evening Edward had let slip that he intended to arrest Robert the next morning. Ralph warned Robert by sending him the sum of twelve pence and a pair of spurs. Robert took the hint and he and his squire quickly departed the English court for Scotland. After the Battle of Bannockburn (1314), at which Ralph fought and was captured, Robert, now the victorious King of Scots, discharged the debt by releasing Ralph without ransom, but not before first entertaining him at table. Sir Marmaduke Tweng, also captured, joined them and was also then released without ransom.
Ralph and Joan had four children;
- Mary de Monthermer, (October 1297 - about 1371). In 1306 her grandfather King Edward I of England arranged for her to wed Duncan Macduff, 8th Earl of Fife.
- Thomas de Monthermer, 2nd Baron Monthermer, (1301–1340).
- Edward de Monthermer, (1304–1340). He fought in the Scottish campaign in 1335, but spent much of his life in service to his half-sister Elizabeth, who provided for him during his last illness and buried him next to their mother.
- Stillborn child (7 April 1307).
- Earl of Gloucester (2 August 1297 - 7 April 1307)
- Earl of Hertford (2 August 1297 - 7 April 1307)
- Earl of Atholl (12 October 1306 - bet. 21 August 1307 and 20 May 1308); abdicated, for the price of 5,000 marks, in favour of David II Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl
- 1st Baron Monthermer (4 March 1309 - 5 April 1325); succeeded by his son Thomas de Monthermer, 2nd Baron Monthermer
- Cokayne, G.E. (2000). The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant. Alan Sutton. page 306
- Ronald McNair Scott (1988). Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. Canongate. pages 72 and 163