Sunday, May 15, 2011
Sir Walter Blount and Sancha de Ayala
Having just returned from Spain, I can only remember one ancestor of Spanish descent. Both my husband and I derive almost exclusively from the British Isles; there’s just a little Dutch from New Amsterdam, a couple of Palantine Germans, and a few sprinklings of Italian blood , until you get to the Norman French and the Vikings who married into the native British. But Allan’s mother, Connie, is descended, thru her father’s Howe line, from Sir Walter Blount. He was called "the Heroic" and was celebrated for his martial prowess in the war-like times of Edward III, Richard II, and Henry IV and he was immortalized by Shakespeare for his devotion even unto death to King Henry IV. Sir Walter Blount fell at the battle of Shrewsbury on the 22nd day of June, 1403, wherein being standard bearer, he was arrayed in the same armour as his royal master, and was slain, according to the poet, by the Earl of Douglass, who had supposed he was contending with the King himself.
except from Shakespeare:
Blunt: What is the name, that in the battle thus thou crossest me? What
honour does thy seek upon my head?
Douglass: Know then my name is Douglass; and I do haunt thee in battle
thus, because some tell me thou art king.
Blunt: They tell thee true.
Douglass: The Lord Stafford, dear today hath bought thy likeness; for
instead of thee, King Harry. The sword hath ended him; so shall it thee,
unless thou yieldest thee as my prisoner.
(They fight and Blunt is slain) Enter Lord Percy, called Hotspur.
Hotspur: O Douglass, hadst thou fought at Holderness thus I never had
triumphed on Scot.
Douglass: All's don. All's won. Here breathless lies the King.
Hotspur: This Douglass? No, I know full well: A gallant knight was he, his
name was Blunt. Semblably furnished like the King himself.
Hotspur was also killed at Shrewsbury. John of Gaunt, at his decease, appointed Sir Walter Blount one of his executors and bequeathed him a legacy of 100 marks (abt 66-6s-8d). He was buried at St Mary Magdalene Church, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England. He was born circa 1350. Sir Walter Blount accompanied the Black Prince and John of Gaunt upon the expedition into Spain to aid Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile in 1367. He He assisted in the battle of Najara, which restored Pedro the Cruel to his throne on 3 Apr 1367. He married Sancha de Ayala, daughter of Diego Gomez Toledo and Inez Alfon Ayala, in 1372. Sir Walter's half brother, Sir John Blount of Sodington, conveyed to him numerous manors which he had inherited from his mother, Isolde, heiress of the Mountjoy family, in counties Derby, Stafford, Leicester and Hertford in 1374. He obtained a charter for a fair and free warren in his demesne lands at Barton, and other manors in Derbyshire in 1385. John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, granted one hundred markes a year to Sir Walter for the good services which had been rendered to him by the knight and his wife, the Lady Sancia in 1398. He was ranger of Needwood forest, and knight of the shire for the county of Derby in 1399. He left a will in 1401.
In the year 1371 Doña Constanza, daughter of the deceased (and dethroned) King of Castile, Don Pedro I (The Cruel) went to England to become the bride of King Edward III's son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Among the young Castilian ladies of aristocratic birth who accompanied her was Doña Sancha de Ayala, daughter of Don Diego (or Día-) Gómez de Guzmán (or de Toledo) and his wife, Doña Inés de Ayala. She met and married Sir Walter Blount during this period. Records reveal payments to Sancha at various times; once (2 January 1380) her name was associated with that of "Phelippe Chaucy", i.e., Philippa Chaucer, wife of the author of the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer. On this occasion she was described by the Duke of Lancaster as "our very dear attendant" (nostre treschere compaigne) "dame Senche Blount".
Three years after her husband's death, Dame Sancha founded a chantry in the Hospital of St. Leonard, Alkmonton, county Derbyshire. Her son-in-law, John Sutton, (husband of Constance Bount) died on August 29, 1406. On November 23 following, Dame Sancha was granted commission of the keeping of all the lands late of John Sutton, tenant in chief, during the minority of his six- year-old son and heir, John Sutton; her duties included "finding a competent maintenace for the heir, maintaining the houses and buildings and supporting the charges." In the same month the escheator in Worcestershire was ordered "to take of Constance who was the wife of John Sutton an oath etc. and in the presence of Sancha who was the wife of Walter Blount knight, to whom the king has committed the ward thereof, or of her attorneys, to assign the said Constance dower of the said John's lands."
Dame Sancha Blount made her will (still in existence) in 1415, and died in 1418. Sancha de Ayala, Lady Bount, the ancestress of several English settlers in America, was descended from some of the most illustrious Castilian families. Through her father she belonged to the House of Guzmán (also called Toledo) which produced many noble families in Spain and a series of wives and mistresses for Spanish and Portuguese kings. Her mother, Inés de Ayala (by whose surname Sancha was known), was sprung from the great House of Ayala of Toledo, which traced its pedigree in the male line to the House of Haro, Lords of Biscay. The proof of Sancha's parentage is contained in a family genealogy begun about 1385 by her materal uncle, Pedro López de Ayala, Grand Chancellor of Castile. He stated that Doña Sancha "married a Knight of England, who was called Sir Walter Blount." She was buried beside her husband at St Mary Magdalene Church, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England.