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Hugh de Courtenay, 2nd/10th Earl of Devon

Sir Hugh de Courtenay, 2nd/10th Earl of Devon[1] (12 July 1303 – 2 May 1377),[2] 2nd Baron Courtenay, feudal baron of Okehampton[3] and feudal baron of Plympton,[4] played an important role in the Hundred Years War in the service of King Edward III. His chief seats were Tiverton Castle and Okehampton Castle in Devon. The ordinal number given to the early Courtenay Earls of Devon depends on whether the earldom is deemed a new creation by the letters patent granted 22 February 1334/5 or whether it is deemed a restitution of the old dignity of the de Redvers family. Authorities differ in their opinions,[5] and thus alternative ordinal numbers exist, given here.

Hugh de Courtenay
2nd/10th Earl of Devon
Effigy (restored) of Hugh de Courtenay, 2nd/10th Earl of Devon, south transept, Exeter Cathedral
Born12 July 1303
Died2 May 1377(1377-05-02) (aged 73)
Noble familyCourtenay
Spouse(s)Margaret de Bohun
Sir Hugh Courtenay, KG
Thomas Courtenay
Sir Edward Courtenay
Robert Courtenay
William Courtenay, Archbishop of Canterbury
Sir Philip Courtenay
Sir Peter Courtenay, KG
Humphrey Courtenay
Margaret Courtenay (the elder)
Elizabeth Courtenay
Katherine Courtenay
Anne Courtenay
Joan Courtenay
Margaret Courtenay (the younger)
______ Courtenay (7th daughter)
______ Courtenay (8th daughter)
______ Courtenay (9th daughter)
FatherHugh de Courtenay, 1st/9th Earl of Devon
MotherAgnes de Saint John
Arms of early Courtenay Earls of Devon: Or, three torteaux a label azure. These are the ancient arms of the House of Courtenay adopted c.1200 at the start of the age of heraldry with a label for difference. These arms are among several depicted (or re-created) on the heavily restored tomb of the 10th (2nd) Earl in Exeter Cathedral, but they are shown (without tinctures) on the monumental brass also at Exeter of his son, Sir Peter Courtenay, where they are impaled with Bohun
Effigies of Hugh de Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon, and his wife, Margaret de Bohun, south transept, Exeter Cathedral.



Hugh de Courtenay was born on 12 July 1303, the second son of Hugh de Courtenay, 1st/9th Earl of Devon (1276–1340), by his wife Agnes de Saint John, a daughter of Sir John de Saint John of Basing, Hampshire. He succeeded to the earldom on the death of his father in 1340.[6] His elder brother, John de Courtenay (c.1296-11 July 1349), Abbot of Tavistock, as a cleric was unmarried and although he succeeded his father as feudal baron of Okehampton,[7] did not succeed to the earldom. [8][9]


By his marriage to Margaret de Bohun in 1325, Courtenay acquired the manor of Powderham;[8] it was later granted by Margaret de Bohun to one of her younger sons, Sir Philip Courtenay (died 1406), whose family has occupied it until the present day, and who were recognised in 1831 as having been de jure Earls of Devon from 1556.[citation needed]

On 20 January 1327 Courtenay was made a knight banneret.[10] In 1333 both he and his father were at the Battle of Halidon Hill.[11] He was summoned to Parliament on 23 April 1337 by writ directed to Hugoni de Courteney juniori, by which he is held to have become Baron Courtenay during the lifetime of his father.[12] In 1339 he and his father were with the forces which repulsed a French invasion of Cornwall, driving the French back to their ships.[13] The 9th Earl died 23 December 1340 at the age of 64. Courtenay succeeded to the earldom, and was granted livery of his lands on 11 January 1341.[14]

In 1342 the Earl was with King Edward III's expedition to Brittany.[15] Richardson states that the Earl took part on 9 April 1347 in a tournament at Lichfield.[16] However, in 1347 he was excused on grounds of infirmity from accompanying the King on an expedition beyond the seas, and about that time was also excused from attending Parliament,[17] suggesting the possibility that it was the Earl's eldest son and heir, Hugh Courtenay, who had fought at the Battle of Crecy on 26 August 1346, who took part in the tournament at Lichfield.

In 1350 the King granted the Earl permission to travel for a year, and during that year he built the monastery of the White Friars in London.[18] In 1352 he was appointed Joint Warden of Devon and Cornwall,[19] and returned to Devon.[citation needed] In 1361 he and his wife were legatees in the will of her brother, Humphrey de Bohun, 6th Earl of Hereford,[20] which greatly increased his wealth and land holdings.[citation needed]

Later yearsEdit

Courtenay made an important contribution to the result of the Battle of Poitiers[citation needed] in 1356.[21] The Black Prince had sent the baggage train under Courtenay to the rear, which proved to be a wise manoeuvre as the long trail of wagons and carts blocked the narrow bridge and the escape route for the French. Courtenay played little part in the battle as a result of his defensive role. Courtenay retired with a full pension from the king.[citation needed] In 1373 he was appointed Chief Warden of the Royal Forests of Devon,[22] the income of which in 1374 was assessed by Parliament at £1,500 per annum.[citation needed] He was one of the least wealthy of the English earls, and was surpassed in wealth by his fellow noble warriors the Earl of Arundel, Earl of Suffolk and Earl of Warwick.[23] Nevertheless he had a retinue of 40 knights, esquires and lawyers in Devon.[citation needed] He also held property by entail, including five manors in Somerset, two in Cornwall, two in Hampshire, one in Dorset and one in Buckinghamshire.[24] He had stood as patron in the career of John Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter.[citation needed] He supported the taking-on[clarification needed] of debt to build churches in the diocese of Exeter.[citation needed]

He died at Exeter on 2 May 1377 and was buried in Exeter Cathedral[25] on the same day.[citation needed] His will was dated 28 Jan 13--.[8][26]

Marriage and issueEdit

Arms of Bohun: Azure, a bend argent cotised or between six lions rampant of the last, as visible on the monumental brass of Sir Peter Courtenay (d.1405), KG, in Exeter Cathedral[27]

On 11 August 1325, in accordance with a marriage settlement dated 27 September 1314, Courtenay married Margaret de Bohun (b. 3 April 1311 - d. 16 December 1391), eldest surviving daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford (by his wife Princess Elizabeth, a daughter of King Edward I), by whom he had eight sons and nine daughters:[8][2][28][29]


  1. ^ Ordinal number 2nd or 10th uncertain, depending on whether Courtenay earldom deemed a continuation of Redvers earldom or a new earldom
  2. ^ a b Richardson I 2011, p. 540.
  3. ^ Sanders, I.J. English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086-1327, Oxford, 1960, p.70
  4. ^ Sanders, p.138
  5. ^ Watson, GEC Peerage, IV, p.324 & footnote (c): "This would appear more like a restitution of the old dignity than the creation of a new earldom"; Debrett's Peerage however gives the ordinal numbers as if a new earldom had been created. (Montague-Smith, P.W. (ed.), Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, Kelly's Directories Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, 1968, p.353)
  6. ^ GEC Complete Peerage, vol. IV, p.324
  7. ^ Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.244, pedigree of Courtenay
  8. ^ a b c d Cokayne 1916, p. 324.
  9. ^ Richardson I 2011, pp. 538–40.
  10. ^ Cokayne 1916, p. 324; Richardson I 2011, pp. 538–40.
  11. ^ Cleaveland 1735, p. 151.
  12. ^ Cokayne 1916, p. 324; Richardson I 2011, pp. 540.
  13. ^ Cleaveland 1735, p. 151; Cokayne 1916, p. 324; Richardson I 2011, pp. 540.
  14. ^ Cokayne 1916, p. 324.
  15. ^ Cleaveland 1735, p. 151.
  16. ^ Richardson I 2011, p. 540.
  17. ^ Cleaveland 1735, p. 151.
  18. ^ Cleaveland 1735, p. 152.
  19. ^ Cokayne 1916, p. 324.
  20. ^ Richardson I 2011, pp. 540.
  21. ^ Sumption, vol.2, for Sir Edward's presence at the battle, Rymer's Foedera, III, i, 325, as cited by Hewitt, The Black Prince's Expedition 1355-7 (1958)
  22. ^ Cokayne 1916, p. 324; Richardson I 2011, pp. 538–40.
  23. ^ BL Add Mss ch. 13906
  24. ^ Devon Livery Roll BL Add Mss.64320
  25. ^ Richardson I 2011, p. 541.
  26. ^ Will cannot have been dated 1391, he died in 1377
  27. ^ See imageFile:Sir PeterCourtenayBrassEscutcheonExeter.JPG
  28. ^ According to Cokayne, he had nine daughters.
  29. ^ Cleaveland, E. A Genealogical History of the Noble and Illustrious Family of Courtenay. (1735): pp. 151-153. (author states, "Hugh Courtenay, third Baron of Okehampton and second Earl of Devonshire ... he had by his Countess six sons and five daughters, saith Sir William Dugdale; but Sir Peter Ball, Sir William Pole, and Mr. Westcot do say, he had eight sons and nine daughters.") [It appears that the majority of British Antiquaries concurred that Sir Hugh Courtenay, 2nd Earl of Devon and Margaret de Bohun had 17 known children.].
  30. ^ Richardson I 2011, pp. 542–3.
  31. ^ a b Richardson I 2011, p. 543.
  32. ^ Richardson I 2011, pp. 546–7; Lodge 1789, pp. 72–3.
  33. ^ Richardson I 2011, pp. 546–7; Richardson IV 2011, p. 41.
  34. ^ Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, vol. 2, (2013), p. 326. (author states, “HUGH DE COURTENAY, Knt., 10th Earl of Devon, 2nd Lord Courtenay . . . . He married 11 August 1325 (by marriage agreement dated 27 Sept. 1314) MARGARET DE BOHUN . . . . They had eight sons, Hugh, K.G., Thomas [Canon of Crediton and Exeter], Edward, Knt., Robert, [Master] William [Bishop of Hereford and London, Archbishop of Canterbury, Chancellor of England], Philip, Knt., Peter, K.G., and Humprey . . .”)
  35. ^ Richardson I 2011, p. 544.
  36. ^ Richardson II 2011, p. 28.
  37. ^ Richardson I 2011, pp. 544–5.
  38. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p.381
  39. ^ a b c d e Richardson I 2011, p. 545.
  40. ^ Richardson IV 2011, p. 268.
  41. ^ Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, vol. 2, (2013), p. 326.
  42. ^ Vivian, J. L. The Visitations of Cornwall of 1530, 1573, & 1620. (1887): p. 190 (Grenvile ped.), (author states, "Sr. Theobald Grenvile, Kt., temp. Rich II. = Margaret, da. of Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon.").
  43. ^ Roskell, The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1386–1421 v. 2 (1992): (biog. of Sir John Grenville (d. 1412), of Stow in Kilkhampton, Cornw. and Bideford, Devon): "s. and h. of Sir Theobald Grenville of Stow and Bideford by Margaret, da. of Hugh Courtenay, earl of Devon, and Margaret de Bohun …" [Roskell identifies Margaret Courtenay, wife of Sir Theobald Grenville, as the daughter of Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon and Margaret de Bohun)].
  44. ^ Duffy, Eamon. The voices of Morebath: Reformation and rebellion in an English village, (New Haven, 2001), p. 14. [Duffy states that name-sharing was more likely to have occurred in large families or where the pool of available names was restricted. Duffy’s study of the Devon parish of Morebath showed that it was common practice to give the same name to living siblings, citing examples as late as the early 16th century.].
  45. ^ Burls, Robin J., Society, economy and lordship in Devon in the age of the first two Courtenay earls, c. 1297-1377. Dphil. (University of Oxford, 2002): p. 133 (author states, "Sir Edward Courtenay (d. c. 1371) married Emmeline Dauney, daughter and sole heiress of a Cornish knight, while his sister, Margaret (d. 1385), took as a husband Sir Theobald Grenville, the head of a north Devon family whose members were already well entrenched in the Courtenay affinity.").


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Further readingEdit

  • Lepine, David N (1992). The Courtenays and Exeter Cathedral in the Later Middle Ages. 124. Trans. Devon. Assoc. pp. 41–58.

External linksEdit

  • For the entry for Hugh Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon, in The, see [1]
  • For the tomb of Hugh Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon, see entry