To Hugh le Despenser the younger and Eleanor de Clare (heroine of my favorite historical novel), married on May 26, 1306. Edward I, Eleanor’s grandfather, paid for the minstrels for the wedding, which took place at the king’s chapel at Westminster. (This information comes from a thesis by Richard Rastall, available online here.) According to Michael Prestwich in “Royal Patronage under Edward I” in Thirteenth Century England I, Edward I also gave Eleanor nearly 29 pounds to buy jewels for the wedding, plus an additional 10 pounds for robes for her maidservants. Thirteen-year-old Eleanor’s wedding dress must have been quite the thing; according to Mary Anne Everett Green in Lives of the Princesses of England, 100 pounds was paid to redeem it from the friar minors of London, who owned it as their prerequisite.
Whether the young couple consummated their marriage on their wedding night is unknown, but their eldest son was born around 1308. Needless to say, the couple, with the usual blatant lack of consideration for future historical novelists shown by medieval folk, named him Hugh.
Despite the abundant evidence for the 1306 wedding (it’s also mentioned in Pierre Langtoft’s chronicle), a distressing number of historians and novelists persist in having the couple’s marriage take place sometime after the Battle of Bannockburn at the instigation of Edward II, presumably on the assumption that since Edward II arranged the marriages of Eleanor’s sisters to his favorites, he had to have arranged Eleanor’s too. It could be worse, however–at least no novelist has had Eleanor succumb to the charms of a dashing Scotsman before settling down to married life with Hugh.
Not yet, anyway.
And in any case, Hugh was a pirate, for a short time at least. Who wants a man in a kilt when you can have a man with an eyepatch?