Joan de Munchensi

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Arms of the de Valence Earls of Pembroke

Joan de Munchensi or Munchensy (or Joanna), Lady of Swanscombe and Countess of Pembroke (c. 1230 – aft. 20 September 1307), was the daughter of Joan Marshal and granddaughter of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Isabel de Clare, 4th Countess of Pembroke suo jure.


William Marshal was the great Lord Marshal who served five successive Kings of England and died in 1219. William's five sons each in turn became Earl of Pembroke, but all died childless. His inheritance was thus divided among his daughters. Joan Marshal, the fourth daughter, married Warin de Munchensi (or Munchensy), Lord of Swanscombe. They were survived by one daughter, Joan de Munchensi, who (owing to Joan Marshal's death soon after her daughter's birth) was brought up by her stepmother, Warin's second wife, Dionisie de Munchensi.

Marriage and children[edit]

In 1247, three sons of Hugh X of Lusignan, in difficulties after the French annexation of their territories, accepted Henry III's invitation to come to England. The three were William of Valence, Guy of Lusignan and Aymer de Valence (bishop). The king found important positions for all of them and William was soon married to Joan. Her portion of the Marshal estates included the castle and lordship of Pembroke and the lordship of Wexford in Ireland. The custody of Joan's property was entrusted to her husband. She also, apparently, transmitted to him the title of Earl of Pembroke; he thus became the first of the de Valence holders of the earldom.

Like many women of property in the Middle Ages, Joan was prepared to assert her rights through litigation, especially after her husband's death left her without a male figure to act for her. In 1304 she was in Court over her right to the lordship of Wexford, and she appealed to King Edward I personally to intervene after she received an unfavourable judgement. The King upheld her appeal and ordered the Court of Common Pleas (Ireland) to put her in possession of the lordship.

William of Valence died in 1296. Accounts of the offspring of William and Joan vary, but all say that there were five children, others[citation needed] seven including the last two:


  • Linda E. Mitchell, Joan de Valence: The Life and Influence of a Thirteenth-Century Noblewoman. Springer, 2016.