Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel

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Richard FitzAlan
Earl of Arundel
Earl of Surrey
The memorial effigy of Richard FitzAlan and his second wife Eleanor of Lancaster in Chichester Cathedral
Born 1306 or 1313
Died 24 January 1376(1376-01-24) (age 70 or 63)
Father Edmund FitzAlan, 9th Earl of Arundel
Mother Alice de Warenne heiress of her brother the Earl of Surrey
Arms of Richard FitzAlan (1306/13-1376), FitzAlan quartering de Warrenne

Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel and 8th Earl of Surrey (c. 1306/1313 – 24 January 1376) was an English nobleman and medieval military leader.

Family and early life[edit]

Richard was born in Sussex, England. His birth date was uncertain perhaps 1306 or 1313. FitzAlan was the eldest son of Edmund FitzAlan, 9th Earl of Arundel (8th Earl of Arundel per Ancestral Roots), and his wife Alice de Warenne.[1] His maternal grandparents were William de Warenne and Joan de Vere. William was the only son of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey (himself son of Maud Marshal by her second marriage), and his wife Alice de Lusignan (d. 1356), half-sister of Henry III of England.

Civil career[edit]

Around 1321, FitzAlan's father allied with King Edward II's favourites, Hugh le Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester and his namesake son, and Richard was married to Isabel le Despenser, daughter of Hugh the Younger. Fortune turned against the Despenser party, and on 17 November 1326, FitzAlan's father was executed, and he did not succeed to his father's estates or titles. However, political conditions had changed by 1330, and over the next few years Richard was gradually able to reacquire the Earldom of Arundel as well as the great estates his father had held in Sussex and in the Welsh Marches.

Beyond this, in 1334 he was made Justiciar of North Wales (later his term in this office was made for life), High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire for life and Governor of Caernarfon Castle. He was one of the most trusted supporters of Edward the Black Prince in Wales.

Military service[edit]

Despite his high offices in Wales, in the following decades Arundel spent much of his time fighting in Scotland (during the Second Wars of Scottish Independence) and France (during the Hundred Years' War). In 1337, Arundel was made Joint Commander of the English army in the north, and the next year he was made the sole Commander. In 1340 he fought at the Battle of Sluys, and then at the siege of Tournai. After a short term as Warden of the Scottish Marches, he returned to the continent, where he fought in a number of campaigns, and was appointed Joint Lieutenant of Aquitaine in 1340.

Arundel was one of the three principal English commanders at the Battle of Crécy. He spent much of the following years on various military campaigns and diplomatic missions.

In a campaign of 1375, at the end of his life, he destroyed the harbour of Roscoff.

Great wealth[edit]

In 1347, he succeeded to the Earldom of Surrey (or Warenne), which even further increased his great wealth. (He did not however use the additional title until after the death of the Dowager Countess of Surrey in 1361.) He made very large loans to King Edward III but even so on his death left behind a great sum in hard cash.

Marriages and children[edit]

He married firstly 9 February 1321 at Havering-atte-Bower, Isabel le Despenser (born 1312, living 1356, and may have died circa 1376-7). At that time, the future earl was either eight or fifteen, and his bride nine. He later repudiated this bride, and was granted an annulment by Pope Clement VI in December 1344 on the grounds that he had been underage and unwilling. [2][citation needed]

By this marriage, Richard and Isabel had one son (when Richard was either fourteen or twenty-one, and Isabel fifteen). This son was bastardized by the annulment.

  • Sir Edmund de Arundel, knt (b ca 1327; d 1376-1382), bastardized by the annulment. Edmund was nevertheless knighted, married at the age of twenty, in the summer of 1347 [2] Sybil de Montacute, a younger daughter of William Montacute, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Catherine Grandison, whose elder sister Elizabeth was married to his maternal uncle (the uncle may have arranged this marriage). Edmund protested his bastardization bitterly in 1347, but was apparently ignored. After his father's death in 1376, Edmund disputed his half-brother Richard's inheritance of the earldom and associated lands and titles in 1376 and apparently tried to claim the six manors allotted to his deceased mother. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1377, and finally freed through the intervention of two of his brothers-in-law (his wife's brother John de Montacute and the second husband of Elizabeth de Montacute, Lady Le Despencer).[2] They had three daughters who were his co-heiresses and who brought a failed suit in 1382 against their half-uncle the Earl:
    • Elizabeth de Arundel, who married Sir Leonard Carew and has descendants
    • Philippa de Arundel (died 18 May 1452), married (as his 2nd wife) Sir Richard Sergeaux, Knt, of Colquite, Cornwall.[3] A Victorian historical novel[citation needed] ascribes the following five children to her: a) Richard, born 21 December 1376, and died childless, 24 June 1396; b) Elizabeth, born 1379, wife of Sir William Marny; c) Philippa, born 1381, wife of Robert Passele; d) Alice, born at Kilquyt, 1 September 1384, wife of Guy de Saint Albino; e) Joan, born 1393, died 21 February 1400. "Philippa became a widow, 30 September 1393, and died 13 September 1399." (I.P.M., 17 Ric. II., 53; 21 Ric. II., 50; 1 H. IV., 14, 23, 24.)[citation needed]*** Alice Sergeaux later Countess of Oxford (c. 1386-18 May 1452), married 1stly Guy de St Aubyn of St. Erme, Cornwall, and 2ndly about 1406-7 as his 2nd wife, the 11th Earl of Oxford and widower of Alice de Holand (dsp. 1406, niece of Henry IV, and mother of two sons by him
  • Mary (died 29 Aug 1396), married John le Strange, 4th Lord Blackmere (from Genealogy of Fitzalans).

He married secondly, on 5 April 1345, a young widow Eleanor of Lancaster, the second youngest daughter and sixth child of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Maud Chaworth. By Papal dispensation he was allowed to marry his first wife's first cousin by their common grandmother Isabella de Beauchamp. [4] Eleanor was the widow of John de Beaumont, 2nd Lord Beaumont. The king, Edward III, himself a kinsman of both wives, attended this second marriage. By now, the Earl of Arundel had rebuilt the family wealth and was apparently a major financier of the Crown, and financial sweeteners may have been used to reconcile both the Church and the Crown.[5]

By this second marriage 5 February 1345, Richard and Eleanor had 3 sons and 3 surviving daughters:

The current Dukes of Norfolk descend from Lady Mary, Duchess of Norfolk, a daughter and co-heiress of Henry FitzAlan, 19th Earl of Arundel; the 19th Earl descended from John FitzAlan, 1st Baron Arundel.

Death and legacy[edit]

Richard died on 24 January 1376 in Sussex, England, aged either 70 or 63, and was buried in Lewes Priory. (Another source says he wrote his will on 5 December 1375, and died on 14 January 1376 at Arundel Castle). [2] In his will, he mentioned his three surviving sons by his second wife, his two surviving daughters Joan, Dowager Countess of Hereford and Alice, Countess of Kent, his grandchildren by his second son John, etc., but left out his bastardized eldest son Edmund.

Richard was responsible for the building of the FitzAlan Chapel, built posthumously according to his will.[1]

The memorial effigies attributed to Richard FitzAlan and his second wife Eleanor of Lancaster in Chichester Cathedral are the subject of the poem "An Arundel Tomb" by Philip Larkin.

FitzAlan died an incredibly wealthy man, despite his various loans to Edward III.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ His parents married in 1305, after his father had initially been fined for refusing to marry Alice in 1304; their betrothal had been arranged by Alice's grandfather the Earl of Surrey who was apparently the 9th Earl of Arundel's guardian. Arundel changed his mind after the Earl died, leaving Alice the heiress presumptive, and with her only brother married to a ten-year-old girl.[citation needed]
  2. ^ a b c d "Blog". Dec 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Douglas Richardson. Plantagenet Ancestry. Genealogical Publishing, 2004. pg 711.
  4. ^ This was necessary because his first wife and second wife were closely related.[citation needed]
  5. ^ Note: In addition, Isabel's family was politically weak, compared to Eleanor's family. The marriage may have been a love marriage (there is some evidence that the widowed Eleanor became the earl's mistress on a pilgrimage circa 1343), or Richard may have been waiting to obtain a suitable high-born wife with royal connections.[citation needed]
  • Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis, Lines: 8-31, 17-30, 21-30, 28-33, 60-32, 97-33
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Edmund FitzAlan
Earl of Arundel
Succeeded by
Richard FitzAlan
Preceded by
John de Warenne
Earl of Surrey
(1st creation)