Although not a name widely recognised, Joan de Geneville was a significant heiress in the late 13th century.


She was born in 1285 or 1286 at Ludlow Castle, one of the family properties.  When her father Piers de Geneville died in 1292, the Geneville estates remained in the hands of Joan’s grandfather Geoffrey de Geneville.


Joan was the eldest daughter, with no brothers to stand between her and the inheritance, but she had two younger sisters Beatrice and Maud.  On Geoffrey’s death the estates would be inherited equally between the three sisters.  But Geoffrey was planning a marriage alliance for Joan, and thus wanted no division of the de Geneville land and wealth.  The two younger girls were thus sent off to the convent at Aconbury Priory.  They would inherit none of the land.  Nor would they be available for any interested lord who might consider marriage with a de Geneville younger daughter to make a claim on the estates.


We hear no more about them.  Did they take their vows and remain at Aconbury until their deaths?  Not an easy life for some medieval women!  Did Joan feel the guilt of what was done in her name?


Thus Joan inherited the whole of the de Geneville property on the death of her grandfather, becoming de jure Baroness Geneville.  This comprised estates in England, Wales, and in Ireland, including the massive fortress of Trim Castle.  In England Ludlow Castle was also a Geneville fortress.  Geoffrey’s wife, Maud de Lacy, and thus Joan’s paternal grandmother, was descended from the Earl of Norfolk and was co-heiress of Walter de Lacy.


Joan’s mother, the well-connected Jeanne de Lusignan, was the daughter of Hugh de Lusignan, Count of La Marche and Lusignan, grandson of Isabelle of Angouleme, widow of King John.


Thus Joan had a remarkable pedigree to bring to any marriage. The perfect wife for a Mortimer marcher lord with ambition, such as Edmund Mortimer, Baron Wigmore, who needed a bride for his eldest son, Roger.


Joan married Roger Mortimer on 20th September 1301 at the door of the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Pembridge.

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