I love fourteenth-century proofs of age (see here and here for my previous posts on them). They're so revealing of people's lives and how they remembered things. Here are some more, from Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem 1327-1336. Each proof of age required the testimony of twelve jurors, all male, though I've only included the more interesting entries. The first three are of particular interest to me, given the people involved: two of the de Verdon sisters and John, Lord Mowbray.
1) Stafford, 1 March 1327: Proof of age of Margery de Verdon, who was: third of the four daughters and co-heiresses of the justiciar of Ireland Theobald de Verdon (1278-1316); stepdaughter of Edward II's niece Elizabeth de Burgh née de Clare; and niece of Roger Mortimer, first earl of March (Margery's mother was Roger's sister Maud). Edward II's 'favourite' Sir Roger Damory, who married Margery's stepmother Elizabeth de Burgh in 1317, bought the rights to Margery and her half-sister Isabella's (Elizabeth de Burgh's daughter and thus Damory's stepdaughter) marriages in March 1318 for £200, and sold them to Thomas, earl of Lancaster's adherent Sir Robert Holland that November (Patent Rolls 1317-21, pp. 125, 237). By 1327 when her proof of age was taken, Margery was married to William le Blount, a Lancastrian knight and one of Henry, earl of Lancaster's attorneys. Her elder sisters were Joan, born 1303, who married firstly John Montacute and secondly Thomas Furnival, and Elizabeth, born c. 1306, who married Bartholomew Burghersh, maternal nephew of Bartholomew Badlesmere who suffered the traitor's death on the orders of Edward II in 1322.
John de Hodinet, aged 54 years, says that the said Margery was 16 years of age at the feast of St Laurence past, for she was born at Alveton [Alton, Staffordshire] on that day, 4 Edward II [10 August 1310] and baptised in the church there on the same day; and this he knows because he was there with the said Theobald [de Verdon, Margery's father] and announced the birth to him.
Henry de Athelaxton, aged 44 years, says the like, and knows it because he was at Croxdene by Alveton and heard how John de Hodinet announced the birth.
Richard de Farlegh, aged 50 years, says the like, and knows it because he buried William his first-born son on the same feast of St Laurence.
Richard de Dolverne, aged 47 years, says the like, and knows it because he hunted with the said Theobald at Wotton by Alveton and shot a buck on the same feast of St Laurence.
Peter de Daddesleye, aged 57 years, says the like, and knows it because he was with the said Theobald in Ireland at the feast of the Decollation of St John the Baptist [29 August] next following the said feast of St Laurence.
2) Wiltshire, 20 February 1332 [it states 5 Edward III which would be February 1331, but this seems to be an error]: Proof of age of Margery de Verdon's half-sister Isabella, posthumous daughter of Theobald and his second wife Elizabeth de Burgh. In 1332 Isabella was already married to Henry, Lord Ferrers of Groby, and despite her youth had borne a child in about February 1331, who unsurprisingly died young. Unlike her three older Verdon half-sisters, Isabella was the great-niece of Edward II, who sent a gift of a silver cup on hearing of her birth. She was also the goddaughter of Queen Isabella and named after her. When the inquisition was taken, Isabella de Verdon was a ward of the (then dowager) queen, and the writ to the escheator ordered him to inform the queen so that her bailiff could be present.
John de Duyn, knight, aged 60 years, says that the said Isabel was 14 years of age at the feast of St Benet last past, for she was born at Aunbresbury [Amesbury, Wiltshire] on that day, 10 Edward II [21 March 1317], and baptised in the church there; at that time he was staying in his manor of Tudeworth, four leagues from Aunbresbury, and saw Queen Isabella come from the manor of Clarendon to lift the said Isabel from the font, and he was present.
Henry Borry, aged 50 years and more, says the like, and he saw Roger [Martival], then bishop of Salisbury, come from his manor of Wodeford to baptise the same Isabel, and he came in the company of the said bishop, whose servant he was.
John de Harnham, aged 46 years, says the like, and knows it because at the time of her birth he was sub-sheriff of Wilts and was assigned to conduct Queen Isabella from Clarendon to Aunbresbury, as aforesaid.
Richard de Wycombe, aged 47 years, says the like, and knows it because when Elizabeth de Burgh, mother of the said Isabel, lay in childbed, King Edward the king's father [i.e. Edward II] came from his manor of Clarendon to the said Elizabeth [words missing] between the same Elizabeth and Roger Damory.*
* This is Edward II putting pressure on his niece, in the middle of giving birth to her late husband's child, to marry his current favourite. He'd written to try to persuade her to marry Roger Damory even before Theobald de Verdon's funeral, and in the letter called her his favourite niece in a transparent attempt to get her to do he wanted, which was a bare-faced lie. Nice work, Edward! Lie to your niece and harass her in writing and in person when she was most vulnerable. Spectacular. Elizabeth gave in, and married Roger a few weeks later; she really had no other choice. She had retired to Amesbury Priory during her pregnancy, presumably to try to find a bit of peace and to spend time with her aunt Mary, Edward II's sister, who was a nun there and with whom Elizabeth seems to have had a close and affectionate relationship.
3) York, 31 July 1329: Proof of age of John, son of John, Lord Mowbray, executed by Edward II in York on 23 March 1322 after he took part in the Contrariant rebellion. I like the younger John (who married Henry of Lancaster's daughter Joan in 1327). On 30 April 1326, an entry on the Close Roll declares that John, who was only fifteen at the time, had besieged and captured Tickhill Castle in Staffordshire "and perpetrated other felonies and misdeeds" in the company of the brother of Roger, Lord Clifford, also executed as a Contrariant in 1322. This was probably because the constable of Tickhill was William Aune, a friend and ally of Edward II, and John Mowbray and Robert Clifford were trying to make trouble for the king in any way they could.
William de Sproxton, aged 50 years, says that the said John was born at Hovyngham [Hovingham, North Yorkshire] on the eve of St Andrew, 4 Edward II [29 November 1310], and baptised in the church of All Saints there [here!], and was 18 years of age on the eve of St Andrew last past, which he knows because on the same day as the said John was born, he dined in the hall with the servants of the house of Hovyngham.
Ralph de Kirketon, aged 53 years, says the like, and knows it because he was at Hovyngham with Sir John de Moubray, deceased, father of the said John; which John the father had an illness at Hovyngham when the said John was born, on account of which Alina [de Braose] his mother was delivered of the said John five days ahead of her time.
John Dounyour, aged 38 years, says the like, and knows it because at the same time as the said John was born he was in the schools of Hovyngham.
Thomas de Colton, aged 40 years, says the like, and knows it because in the same week as the said John was born he had a brother named William drowned by accident.
William Stibbyng, aged 43 years, says the like, and knows it because in the same month as the said John was born, as he rode towards Maltone next Hovyngham, his horse fell and he broke his left shin bone.
Robert Scot, aged 54 years, says the like, and knows it because immediately after the said John's birth he hastened to [Thomas] the earl of Lancaster, deceased, and brought him the news of the said John's birth, for which the said earl gave him 20 shillings.
4) Dorset, 18 April 1327: Proof of age of Roger son of John de Husey, kinsman and heir of John de Berewyk, deceased.
The said Roger was 21 years of age on the feast of the Translation of St Thomas [Becket] the Martyr, for he was born at Mortone on the said feast, 33 Edward I [7 July 1305], and on the same day was baptised in the church of St Martin there by Robert, rector of the church, his godfather, who still survives and bears witness to his age.
John Peverel, aged fifty years, knows it because he married Isabel his wife about the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist [24 June] in the same year that the said Roger was born, and they were at the feast made for the purification of Maud mother of the said Roger rising from childbed of the same.
Henry Touere, aged 70 years, knows it because John his son was born on the feast of St Peter ad Vincula [1 August] in the same year, and will be 22 years of age on the same day this year.
John le Moygne, aged 60 years, knows it because John le Moygne his father died on the same feast of the Translation of St Thomas.
William Whyteclyve, aged 70 years, knows it because he was steward of the house of the said John Husey at the time the said Roger was born, and by the date of the rolls of expenses made on the day of the purification of Maud mother of the said Roger, and by other evidences he well remembers the date.
5) Devon, 8 September 1328: Proof of age of William, son and heir of Nicholas de Cheigny.
Philip de Cranlysworthy, aged 48 years and more, says that the said William was 22 years of age on the feast of the Assumption last [15 August], and this he knows because the said William was born at Upotery [Upottery], and baptised in the church there on the morrow by Robert, vicar of the said church, 1 Edward II . Asked how he remembers, he says that he was at that time beyond the sea at Montpellier, and on the morrow of the said Assumption he returned home to Upotery.
Robert de Greneweie, aged 60 years, agrees, and recollects it because he had a son named John, who was ordained chaplain at Exeter on Sunday next before the said feast, 1 Edward II.
Robert de Okebeare, aged 60 years, William de Batteshorne, aged 50 years and more, John Fisshacre, aged 60 years, William Beffyn, aged 60 years, Roger Caperoun, aged 50 years, and John Mone, aged 60 years, say the like, and recollect it because at Michaelmas [29 September] next after the feast of the Assumption, 1 Edward II, there came by night divers robbers to the priory of Otritoune [Otterton], and there spoiled and slew the prior, whose anniversary is written in the missal of the church of Upotery.
6) Essex, 12 April 1328: Proof of age of Margaret de Bovill or Bovile, daughter and heir of John de Bovill.
John de Lysyton, knight, aged 60 years, says that the said Margaret was 16 years of age on Monday the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary last, for she was born on the said feast, 5 Edward II [8 September 1311] at Lyes [?], and was baptised in the church there. Asked how he knows this, he says that he was steward at that time of the household of the said John de Bovile, who then held the aforesaid manor of Lyes, and by the dates of the rolls of the aforesaid household he can verify the same.
Thomas Baynard, knight, aged 60 years, agrees, adding that he was then of the household of Sir Hugh de Nevile, who at that time was making a pilgrimage to St Thomas [Cantilupe] of Hereford, and was in his suite.
John de Polhey, aged 50 years, agrees, adding that, on the Monday when the said Margaret was born, he was in the hall of Lyes, and when Petronilla, mother of the said Margaret, was delivered, her midwives came into the hall, and announced the birth to him and others.
Ralph Doreward, aged 60 years, agrees, adding that on Monday next after the birth of the said Margaret, in the year aforesaid, he married Decima, his wife, and so the birth of the said Margaret often recurs to his memory.
Henry de Naylinghurst, aged 50 years, says that the said Margaret was 16 years of age on Monday, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary last, for she was born at Lyes, in the large chamber in the upper part of the hall; and this he knows because he was staying for a long time in the realm of France, and at Michaelmas before the birth of the said Margaret, he returned into England, and came to Leys on the Saturday before her birth.
7) York, 15 June 1328: Proof of age of William son and heir of William de Stoppeham.
Richard le Saucer, aged 40 years, says that the said William was born in York, in Conyngestrete, on the eve of the Invention of the Holy Cross, 35 Edward I [2 May 1307], and was baptised in the church of St Martin in Conyngestrete in the said city [here!]; and this he knows because the same King Edward died on the feast of St Thomas of Canterbury [7 July] next after the birth of the said William.
Roger le Mareschal, aged 60 years, says the like, and knows it because he was then in the retinue of Walter de Langeton, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and had a certain palfrey in his charge in the same week in which the said William was born.
John le Lumynour, aged 64 years, says the like, and knows it because within fifteen days of the birth of the said William he went on pilgrimage to Canterbury.
John son of Denis, aged 40 years, says the like, and knows it because, in the year in which the said William was born, the said John was apprenticed to shear cloth in the city of York.
I'm sure I'll post more of these sometime soon as they're so fab!