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From: "Chris Phillips" <>
Subject: Felton/Faucomberge: Part 3: Constance the wife of Thomas Faucomberge
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 12:48:04 +0100


The final part of the problem remains a puzzle as far as I'm concerned.

On the account in the Complete Peerage [vol.5, pp.276-281], Sir Thomas
Faucomberge, b. 20 July 1345, married before 17 November 1366 one Constance.
They had a son John before Constance's death in 1402, but he was executed in
1405 during his father's lifetime. Thomas's heir at his death in 1407 was
his baby daughter Joan ("a fool and idiot from birth"), by his second wife
Joan, who survived him.

A clue to Constance's identity is provided by the fact that she is referred
to in 1389/90 as of the kindred of the king (que de parentela nostra
existit) [Cal Pat R 1338-92, March 14 1389/90].

Complete Peerage identifies Constance, "most probably", as the known
daughter of that name of John de Felton, a younger brother of William de
Felton (d. 1358). In support of this, it says that it appears to be
"certain" from her will that she belonged to the family of the Feltons of
Edlingham, and points out that the Feltons were known to be cousins of the
king. It also mentions that Graves, in "Hist. of Cleveland", says she was
the sister of Sir William de Felton, "but this is impossible". (The
footnotes also show that Sir John de Felton was closely associated with
Thomas and Constance.)

Unfortunately, none of this really seems to stand up:

(1) There is a record of a Constance, daughter of John de Felton, a younger
brother of William (d. 1358), but she is named in an undated charter of
William de Felton (the father of William and John), who was dead by 1328
[Cal IPM vol.12, p.179]. This would make Constance de Felton some 20 years
older than Thomas Faucomberge. This would make things particularly
difficult, as it turns out that Thomas and Constance were married - or at
least betrothed - a lot earlier than CP suggests. The Lincolnshire
inquisition post mortem of Thomas's father Walter states that he had
alienated the manor of Whiten to Thomas his son and Constancia his son's
wife, and the heirs of their bodies, on Sunday the feast of St Matthew, 28
Edward III [21 Sept 1354] [Cal IPM vol.11, no 330]. Thomas would have been
only 9 at the time, and it seems inconceivable that he would have been
married to a woman of 26 or more.

(2) The John de Felton who was associated with Thomas and Constance up until
1390 is very unlikely to have been Constance's suggested father (on CP's
hypothesis), who would have been born probably in the 1290s. Instead, it
seems to be John de Felton (d. 1396), a son of William (d. 1358).

(3) The only apparent indication of a Felton link in Constance's will seems
to be the appearance as legatees and executors of Edmund Hastings and his
wife Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a daughter of John de Felton (d. 1296), John
being a first cousin of CP's candidate, Constance de Felton. [Surtees Soc
vol.4, p.292-4].

(4) The Feltons' cousinhood to the royal family came through the marriage of
William de Felton (d. 1358) to Isabel of Fife, so it could hardly explain
why a niece of this William (on CP's hypothesis) was described as the king's
kinswoman.

From nearly all points of view, the ideal solution would be to make
Constance a daughter of William de Felton and Isabel of Fife. This would fit
chronologically, it would give her royal blood, and it would make John de
Felton
(d. 1396) her brother and Elizabeth Hastings her niece. It would even make
her the half-sister of the younger Sir William de Felton (d. 1367) (cf
Graves' statement).

But the big difficulty is that, in that case, her son John should have been
named a coheir in the inquisition post mortem of John de Felton (d. 1403),
along with the other John de Faucomberge. Is it possible that the jury in
Northamptonshire was confused by the unusual circumstances of there being
two cousins and coheirs called John de Faucomberge, and returned only one of
them as heir? Unfortunately it may be hard to be sure about this, as
Constance's son John died without issue shortly afterwards, so the other
John de Faucomberge would soon become sole heir in any case.

Thanks again to Rosie Bevan for providing much helpful information on
Constance and the Faucomberges.

Chris Phillips





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