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Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster

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Title: Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster  
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Language: English
Subject: 1245, 1266, Savoy Palace, Eleanor of Provence, Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, Earl of Lancaster, Red Rose of Lancaster, Blanche of Artois, Tutbury Castle, List of the titled nobility of England and Ireland 1300–1309
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Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster

Edmund Crouchback
Seal of Edmund
Earl of Lancaster and Leicester
Successor Thomas, 2nd Earl
Spouse Lady Aveline de Forz
m. 1269; dec. 1273
Blanche of Artois
m. 1276; wid. 1296
Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster
Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster
John, Lord of Beaufort
House House of Plantagenet
Father Henry III of Winchester, King of England
Mother Eleanor of Provence
Born (1245-01-16)16 January 1245
London, England
Died 5 June 1296(1296-06-05) (aged 51)
Bayonne, Duchy of Aquitaine
Burial 15 July 1296
Westminster Abbey, London

Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster and Leicester (16 January 1245 – 5 June 1296), was the second surviving son of King Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence. In his childhood he had a claim on the Kingdom of Sicily. His nickname "Crouchback" (meaning "Crossback") refers to his participation in the Ninth Crusade indicating that he was entitled to wear a cross stitched into the back of his garments.


Edmund was born in London, being named Edmund of London. He was a younger brother of Edward I of England, Margaret of England, and Beatrice of England, and an older brother of Katherine of England.

In 1253 he was invested by Pope Innocent IV as the ruler of the Kingdom of Sicily and Apulia. At about this time he was also made Earl of Chester. These were of little value as Conrad IV of Germany, the real King of Sicily, was still living and the Earldom of Chester was transferred to his elder brother Edward.

Political career

Edmund soon obtained, however, important possessions and dignities, for soon after the forfeiture of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester in 1265, Edmund received the Earldom of Leicester and of Lancaster and also the honour of the Stewardship of England and the lands of Nicolas de Segrave. In 1267 he was granted the lordship of Builth Wells in opposition to the then holder, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (the last prince of an independent Wales). To help him conquer the land he was also granted his elder brother's lordships of the Trilateral of Skenfrith, Grosmont and White Castle together with Monmouth. In 1267 he was High Sheriff of Lancashire.

In 1271 he accompanied his elder brother Edward on the Ninth Crusade to Palestine. Some historians, including the authors of the Encyclopædia Britannica article on him, state that it was because of this that he received the nickname Crouchback (which means "cross back") indicating that he was entitled to wear a cross stitched into the back of his garments.

On his return from the Crusade he seems to have made Grosmont Castle his favoured home and undertook much rebuilding there. His son Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster was apparently born there in 1281. He died while besieging Bordeaux for his brother on 5 June 1296 in Bayonne, and was interred on 15 July 1296 at Westminster Abbey, London.


Edmund married (1st) 8 April 1269 to Aveline de Forz, the daughter of William de Forz, 4th Earl of Albemarle and Isabella de Fortibus, Countess of Devon. She died just 4 years after the marriage, at the age of 15, and was buried at Westminster Abbey. The couple had no children, though some sources believe she may have died in childbirth or shortly after a miscarriage.

He married (2nd) in Paris, on 3 February 1276 to Blanche of Artois, widow of Enrique (or Henri) I, King of Navarre, Count of Champagne and Brie, and daughter of Robert I of Artois and Matilda of Brabant. With Blanche he had three children:

  • Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, (born 1278, executed 22 March 1322)
  • Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster (born 1281, died 22 September 1345)
  • John of Lancaster, seigneur of Beaufort (present day Montmorency, Aube, arrond. d’Arcis-sur-Aube, canton de Chavanges) and Nogent-l’Artaud (Aisne, arrond. de Château-Thierry, canton de Charly), France. He married before July 1312 Alix de Joinville, widow of Jean d’Arcis, seigneur of Arcis-sur-Aube and Chacenay (died in or before 1307), and daughter of Jean de Joinville, seigneur de Joinville (Haute-Marne, arrond. Vassy, ch.-I. canton), Seneschal of Champagne, by his 2nd wife, Alix, daughter and heiress of Gautier, seigneur of Reynel. They had no issue. He died in France shortly before 13 June 1317. See Foundations 1(3) (2004): 198–199.



  • Remfry, P.M., Grosmont Castle and the families of Fitz Osbern, Ballon, Fitz Count, Burgh, Braose and Plantagenet of Grosmont. SCS Publishing, Worchester, 2003 (ISBN 1-899376-56-9)
  • Edmund Crouchback's Grave in Westminster Abbey
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Humphrey de Bohun
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
Succeeded by
Henry de Sandwich
Preceded by
The Earl of Leicester
Lord High Steward
Succeeded by
The Earl of Leicester and Lancaster
Peerage of England
Preceded by
New Creation
Earl of Lancaster and Leicester Succeeded by

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