Joan de Geneville, wife of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, died on 19th October 1356, at the age of 70 or 71.  All charges against Roger had been reversed by King Edward III so she died as Dowager Countess of March.  Her 28 yr old grandson Roger was by this time the 2nd Earl of March.


Joan was buried at Wigmore Abbey with a good number of other Mortimers.  Only 4 of the Mortimer  children outlived Joan: three daughters; Beatrice, Agnes, Katherine, and the son Geoffrey who had inherited the French lands.


The Mortimer descendents have figured in a number of my medievals, either lurking on the edge or as main protagonists.


It was Edmund Mortimer, Joan and Roger’s great grandson and the 3rd Earl  who made the most important marriage for the future Mortimers.  He wed Philippa of Clarence, granddaughter of King Edward III.  This gave the Mortimers one of their claims to the English throne, since Philippa was the daughter and only child of King Edward’s second son Lionel, Duke of Clarence.


Another interesting descendent of Joan and Roger was Elizabeth Mortimer, their great great granddaughter.  She married Sir Henry Percy, Hotspur, and so was drawn into the civil war between the Percys and her first cousin King Henry IV, with her brother Sir Edward Mortimer supporting the uprisings of Owain Glyn Dwr after marrying Catherine, one of his daughters.  A tense situation that I could not avoid writing about in Queen of the North.


There were also to be impressive royal connections for the Mortimer descendents.


The death of Roger Mortimer, the 4th Earl of March, from plague at Trim Castle  in 1398 left the title to his son Edmund, the 5th Earl, who was only a child.  He and his brother Roger were kept in captivity by Henry IV in Windsor Castle, but released by King Henry V.  Earl Edmund had no children, but on his early death his sister Anne inherited the Mortimer estates.


Anne Mortimer was married to Richard, Earl of Cambridge,  younger son of the Duke of York.  The famous son of Anne and Cambridge was Richard Duke of York who claimed the English throne through the royal line of both his father and mother.  Thus a major player in the Wars of the Roses with his sons Edward, Earl of March, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, ultimately becoming the Yorkist Kings of England as Edward IV and Richard III.  Through Edward IV’s daughter, Elizabeth of York, who became wife of Henry Tudor, the Mortimers also have a solid connection with the future Tudor monarchs.


Another interesting connection came through Joan and Roger’s daughter Katherine Mortimer who married Thomas de Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick.  Through this line Joan and Roger’s great great granddaughter was Anne Beauchamp, the Warwick heiress, who married Richard Neville who took the title Earl of Warwick in the name of his wife.  This was the King Maker of course.  Their daughter Anne became Queen of England as wife of King Richard III.


Wigmore Abbey

There are no remaining tombs of any of the Mortimers at Wigmore Abbey.  The whole of it  was destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries, including any evidence of the tombs.  The Abbey which is habitable today is the Abbot’s guesthouse.  The rest is gone.


Mortimers believed to have been buried in Wigmore Abbey

Ranulph de Mortimer

Stephen de Mortimer and his wife Hawise de Mortimer d’Aumale

Roger Mortimer of Wigmore

Maud de Braose, Baroness Mortimer

Roger Mortimer, 1st Baron Mortimer

Edmund Mortimer, 2nd Baron Mortimer and his wife Margaret

Joan de Geneville, 2nd Baroness Geneville

Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March

Edmund Mortimer 1302-1331

Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March

Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March

Hugh de Mortimer and Maud le Meschin his wife

Ralph de Mortimer


Was Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March buried at Wigmore? 

The jury is still out on this one.

Other possibilities are Coventry or Shrewsbury.

I like to think that King Edward III looked on Joan with some compassion in her fight for recognition of her inheritance and that of her family, and allowed her to bring Roger’s body back to Wigmore.

There is no true evidence one way or the other.


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