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Richard PlantagenÍt Earl of Cornwall


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ē Background Information: E-Book The House of Cornwall. 1244
"Before entering more fully into the moot problem of Earl Richard's descendants, it may be well to quote the various accounts given. First, Gilbert : " Of this family (i.e., of Brannel), which descended from a natural son of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, by Joan de Valletort, was Walter de Cornewall, who served the County in Parliament in 131 1 ; John de Cornewll, served as Member for Tniro in 1332. The elder line of this noble family became extinct in the latter part of the fourteenth century, when an heiress carried the estate in marriage to Hendover, whose heiress married Tregarthian."

"Next, Lysons : ' The Manor of Brannel was granted by King John to Richard, Earl of Cornwall and Rex Romanorum, who gave it to Richard de Cornubia, his natural son by Joan de Valletort (widow of Sir Alexander de Okeston). From the Cornwalls it passed to the Hendowers,etc." Further, Carew : " Court in this Parish appertained to the Earls of Cornewall. King John settled them (query, why plural ?) to his second son, Richard, in 1209, who had issue by his concubine, Jone de Valletorta, widow of Sir Alexander Okestin, a base son named Richard de Cornewall, and a daughter Joan married to Champernonne.'

"More to the same purport might be added, but we now turn to Sandford (1677), who has this to say, differing toto ccelo from the others as regards the parentage of Walter : " Natural children of Richard, King of the Romans ; Richard de Cornewall, one of his natural sons. Walter de Cornewall, another base son of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to whom his natural brother, Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, granted 18 Libratas Terrcs in his Manor of Brannel, by the name of Waltero de Cornubia jratri srio. These two brethren (Richard and Walter) nothi erant saith my authority (Vincent apparently) and (you will know his reason) Quia Rex fuit consanguineus et hares propinquior dicti Comitis (sc. Earl Edmund) which, if they had been lawfully begotten, they had had a right of succession in the Earldom of Cornwall. But it seemeth the King was by an Inquisition found to be his heir.

"Thirdly, Isabel de Cornwall, a natmral daughter of Richard, King of the Romans, whom the King Henry III. called niece - she was wife to Maurice, Lord Berkeley, and said King, by warrant dated St. Paul's, loth August, in the 48th year of his reign, commanded the Sheriff of Kent to deliver the Jlanors of Harrietsham and Horcliffe, Isabella uxori Mauritii de Berkeli nupti ad siistentionem stiam liberorum suorum.

" Concerning the fourth, Joan, there is a Uttle discrepancy, but in certain deeds relating to Meodbury I find as follows : - ' Meodbury was the ancient lands of the Valletorts, Barons of Harberton, Roger de Valletort conveying it amongst other lands unto Sir Alexander de Oakston which had married Joan, a woman which was concubine of Richard Erie of Cornwall and King of Almayne, which Sir Alexander left Sir James de Okeston, which died without issue. With command of King Edward he conveyed Meodbury and other lands formerly granted unto his father by R. de Valletort, unto Sir Richard Champernonne (De Campo Armdphi) and Joan, daughter of Joan above mentioned, whom Edmund Earl of Cornwall caUeth by the name of sister in a grant made by him unto the said Richard and Jone (the Assize of Bread and Ale, dated 12th of King Edward). The said Richard the father was younger sonne of Sir Henry Champernon of Clyst Champernon.' "

Passing over for the moment the question of Sir Walter's paternity, we turn to the statements concerning the alleged two daughters of Joan de Valletort, viz. : Isabel and Joan.

We now come to Joan, the other alleged illegitimate daughter of Earl Richard - for we may fairly dismiss the allegation that Earl Edmund had a daughter born out of wedlock, as suggested in the Mount Edgcumbe pedigi'ee and elsewhere. The following extract from Prince's Worthies, entitled, "Survey of Devon in Modbury " may throw some light on this Joan. The writer deals with the Champernonnne family : -

' The occasion of the settlement of the family of Cliamperon at Modbury, County Devon, I find was thus : these lands were anciently the Valletorts', Barons of Harberton near Totnes, from whom they came to Sir Alexander de Okeston, who married Joan, widow of Ralph Valletort, who, as is probable, had been concubine unto Richard Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans, younger son to John, King of England, by which Earl she had a natural daughter called Joan, married unto Richard, the younger son of Sir Henry Chambernon of Clyst Chambernon, as is aforementioned. Sir Alexander de Okeston and Joan aforesaid left issue Sir James de Okeston, who, dying without issue, by com- rrmndment of K. Edw. I., conveyed Modbiry (sic.) and all other lands formerly granted unto his father by Roger de Valletort, unto Sir Richard Champernon, the son of Richard Champernon and Joan, the natural daughter of the King of the Romans aforementioned. This, we may suppose, was the ground upon which Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, son of Richard, King of the Romans, in a grant made by him to the said Richard and Joan, Anno 12 Edw. I., 1248, calleth her sister. Where by the way we may observe, that this family hath flourished in this place upwards of 400 years, and from the match with Valletort's daughter proceeded the occasion of those royal attributes which Richard Champernon took unto himself in a certain deed, which my author (query Vincent ?) says he saw running in this style :

" Ego Richardus de Campo Arntdphi, Rex Romanorum, semper Augustus."

The remarkable feature in this account is the statement that Joan was not born de Valletort, but married as her first husband Ralph de Valletort, becoming after that mistress to Earl Richard, and finally wife to Sir Alexander Okeston. Truly an inexphcable tangle ! Moreover, we note according to the pedigree cited above that Ralph de Valletort died 43 Hen. IH. If the writer in Prince's Worthies be accurate as regards this detail, then Earl Richard's liaison with Joan de Valletort must be dated cirxa 1261, i.e., immediately after the decease of Sanchia of Provence. This sounds impossible, for in the first place the writer offers no proofs - merely bold assertion - and next, if the Harl. MSS. entry be correct, how, on such an hypothesis, could Richard, the base son of Joan de Valletort, born not earlier than 1261, have been married and had issue on his death in 1272 ? The entire problem seems to be hopelesssly insoluble.

We have focussed our attention on Sir Walter and his sister or sisters, with Sir Lawrence, his probable brother, because their illegitimacy seems to need no proof. He bore a coat of arms totally distinct from that of his father, Earl Richard, and his uncle Earl Edmund, or if you date him a generation later, of his grandfather and great uncle. There is no evidence to show his proper place in the pedigree, except that of the devolution of the Manor of Brannel. This, if Lysons be correct, was given by Earl Richard to a Richard, i.e., either a legitimate or an illegitimate son, and by Edmund confirmed to Sir Walter. It may be argued that he must have been granted the Manor by his father, presumably the illegitimate Richard, but, as we have seen, Sandford, ill the main a sound authority, makes him son of Earl Richard, and brother of the base born Richard by Joan de Valletort. So far as the Cornewalls, of Burford and Berrington, are concerned, this scarcely comes into the calculation. He was at best a collateral, and apparently illegitimate by birth or by origin. His being styled Earl Edmund's brother, which confirms Sandford's view, does not establish legitimacy. According to Norman law, or custom, the sons of Princes when base born, were always accorded blood-relationship. Judge Bayley - " MS. Cornwall pedigree " - has this valuable note : In Normandy there was no distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children of Princes and Nobles until 1660 - Us partageaient cgalement la succession du Pcre. [" Nobili- aire de Normandie. National Library. Paris, Cabinet des Titrees. No. 753]. "

Taken from The House of Cornwall, by Cecil. G.S., the earl of Liverpool , pp. 36-42

Joan had a relationship with Richard PlantagenÍt Earl of Cornwall, son of John Lackland PlantagenÍt King Of England and Isabel díAngoulÍme Queen of England. (Richard PlantagenÍt Earl of Cornwall was born on 5 Jan 1209 in Winchester Castle, Hampshire, England, died on 2 Apr 1272 in Berkhamstead Castle, Behamstead, England 144 and was buried on 13 Apr 1271 in Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire, England 144.)

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