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Roger Mortimer
(1329-1360)

Lord Mortimer
Earl of March
Born: 1329, possibly at Wigmore Castle, Herefordshire
Died: 26th February 1360 at Roveray, Burgundy

 

The grandfather of this knight, Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, remarkable in history for his ambitious and guilty career, and for his ignominious end in November 1330, had several sons. Edmund Mortimer, the eldest, died in 1331, leaving, by Elizabeth, his wife (one of the daughters of Bartholomew "Le Riche," and sister and co-heiress of Giles, successively Lords Badlesmere), Roger Mortimer, his only surviving son, then in his third year.

The family estates having been forfeited by the attainder of the first Earl, Roger Junior obtained, during his minority and through the influence of his step-father, William De Bohun, Earl of Northampton, grants from the crown of a part of the inheritance of his ancestors, and particularly the Castle of Wigmore, the most ancient of their possessions. His probable adroitness and courage in the jousts at Windsor, which shortly preceded the institution of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (for he had had no opportunity of otherwise distinguishing himself) appear to have acquired for him, at the early age of seventeen, the enviable honour of being one of its founders. Having, two years afterwards, in 1346, attended King Edward III and the Prince of Wales on their brilliant expedition into France, he is said to have received knighthood upon their landing at La Hogue, either from the hands of the sovereign, or those of the young prince immediately after his own investiture with that dignity.

It may be presumed that our knight justified, at the Battle of Crécy, the high opinion which had been formed of him. For, towards the close of the same year, the King thought fit, in consideration of his laudable services, to receive his homage, although still within age, and to grant him livery of the remainder of his lands, with the exception of those held in dower by his mother, the Countess of Northampton.

In 1352, Roger was again employed in France and obtained, in two years later, a reversal, in parliament, of the judgment against his grandfather, upon the ground of the illegality of that sentence, which had been given without oyer of his defence; and he thereupon assumed the style of Earl of March. An inquisition having been taken of the lands of which his ancestor had died seized, they were fully restored to him. In 1355, he was appointed Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle, and then attended the King on his expedition into France; and, again, in that of 1359 which terminated in a peace. 

Before, however, the peace had been fully concluded, the young Earl died at Roveray, in Burgundy, on the 26th February 1360, whilst in command of the forces on that station; and his remains, having been brought to England, were interred at Wigmore Priory.

By Philippa, his wife (daughter of William Montacute, the 1st Earl of Salisbury), who died in 1381, he left an only son, Edmund, who became the 3rd Earl of March, and intermarried with the Lady Philippa Plantagenet, daughter and sole heiress of Prince Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence. Their son and heir, Roger Mortimer, the 4th Earl, was, in right of his mother, Philippa, declared, in parliament, heir-presumptive to the Crown, failing issue of King Richard II. The pretensions of his descendants to the English throne were eventually asserted by his great-grandson, Edward Plantagenet, as King Edward IV

Edited from George Frederick Beltz's
"Memorials of the Most Noble Order of the Garter" (1861).

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