Friday, 10 January 2014
January 1312 - birth of Joan Gaveston
During the second week of January, Margaret de Clare, wife of Piers Gaveston, gave birth to their first and only child, a daughter named Joan. She was named Joan after Edward II’s sister, Joan of Acre, who was the mother of Margaret de Clare. At the time of her birth, Piers was enduring his third banishment from England, imposed by the nobility on Edward II in the Ordinances of the previous year. Joan was born in York, and doubtless Piers desperately wanted to see his wife and newborn daughter. Ignoring the Ordinances, Piers returned to England (although there is speculation that he had actually never left, and that he merely laid low somewhere in England). It seems Piers saw his wife and child on January 13th. This visit set in motion the chain of events that would end in the murder of Piers.
It’s unknown how long Piers intended to stay. The choice of Edward II bringing Margaret de Clare to York from Piers' residence in Wallingford, may have been to keep Piers and his wife and child as far away as possible from his enemies, and give them as much time together as possible. Piers could have taken his wife and child with him back into exile. However, Edward II thought differently. Less than a week later, on January 18th, Edward declared that Piers was a loyal friend and restored his title Earl of Cornwall.
It’s intriguing to think about what Edward and Piers discussed during that period. Indeed, did they make plans for a more permanent return from exile before Piers even began his exile, and arrange his return when his wife gave birth? Did he actually ever leave England? Or did Edward persuade Piers to stay only when he met him in January 1312? Or maybe it was Piers who asked Edward to allow him to stay? It’s something we’ll never know, and I have to wonder if both Edward and Piers knew how serious the situation was. Giving Piers his title of earl of Cornwall back was highly inflammatory. Whatever their plans and thoughts, Piers was surely delighted to be re-united with his wife and see his baby daughter, as no doubt Margaret de Clare was pleased to see him.