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Joan (FitzJohn) of Wales

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Joan "Lady of Snowdon" of Wales formerly FitzJohn
Born in London, Middlesex, England
Daughter of and [mother unknown]
Wife of — married in England
Died in Arllechwedd Isaf, Caernarvonshire, Wales
This page has been accessed 987 times.

Categories: House of Plantagenet.

NOTE: This Joan (c. 1191 – 2 Feb 1237) is NOT Joan of England who married Alexander II of Scotland. Instead, she's an illegitimate daughter of King John and an Unknown mistress.

It's been proposed (on WikiTree) that she might be the daughter of Agatha Ferrers or Clementia UNKNOWN.

The House of Plantagenet crest. This person is a member of the House of Plantagenet.
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Disputed Parentage

John "Lackland" is Joan's father, but her mother is Unknown.[1], the wife of Henry Pinel. All that is confirmed is that she was the king's mistress at some point.

Joan (Joanna) was an illegitimate daughter of King John of England and a woman named Clemence Pinel or "Regina Clementina" (Queen Clemence).[2] Her legitimate half-sister is Joan, Queen Consort of Scotland. Little is known about her early life. She was possibly born before her John married his first wife in 1189.

The only hint to Joan's age is the papal decree of Honorius III legitimizing her, which claims that King John was unmarried when he begot her. John married his cousin Isabel of Gloucester in 1189, then annulled their marriage in 1199. If the papal decree is correct, then Joan was probably born in the mid-to-late 1180s, before John's marriage to Isabel.

Joan seems to have spent her childhood in France, since John brought her England from Normandy for her wedding in December 1203. At the time, she was about 15. That same year, John's expenses for her were recorded in Normandy. While it almost certainly refers to the illegitimate Joan, G.R. Stephens thinks it's her legitimate half-sister.[3]

Clemence: Possible Mother

It is suggested[4] that the only Queen Clemence in Europe at that time was Clemence of Toulouse, wife of Sancho VII of Navarre. But it seems doubtful that John could have had an affair with such a prominent woman without mention.

A much more likely candidate is Clemence, wife of Nicholas de Verdun. From the Patent Rolls of the Reign of Henry III comes this entry from 1228, from King Henry III (son of King John and thusly Joan's half-brother):

Rex dilecto et fideli suo Nicholao de Verdun et Clementie uxori sue, salutem. Sciatis quod nos vobis benigne concedimus quod fidelis noster et dilectus frater L. princeps Norwallie et Johanna uxor sua et dilecta soror nostra Susannam filiam suam, neptem nostram, vobis committere duxerit [sic] nutriendam, eam salvo et secure et sine omni dampno et occasione suscipiatis et penes vos retineatis. In cujus rei testimonium etc. vobis mittimus. Teste me, apud Westmonasterium, xxiiij die Novembris, anno etc.

The entry notes that Henry III put his niece Susanna[5] in the care of Nicholas de Verdun and his wife Clemence. This entry is worth a second look since it's possible that Joan's mother was also named Clemence. If true, she would've had an obvious interest in her granddaughter Susanna.

Clemence was the daughter of Philip le Boteler.[6] She inherited lands in Steeple Lavington, Wiltshire that she later gave to another granddaughter. She and Nicholas de Verdun had one known daughter and heiress, Rohese.

Rohese de Verdun first married William Perceval de Somery[7]. They had Nicholas[8]. She later married Theobald Butler in 1225.[9] When Nicholas de Verdun died in 1231, Clemence was still living in October of that year. So was Rohese.

Marriage to Llywelyn the Great

Joan married Llywelyn the Great[10] Prince of Wales[11]at Ascensiontide 1206,[12] Joan and Llywelyn were married , probably around mid-May.[13]


  1. Elen ferch Llywelyn (Helen or Ellen) (1207-1253) m.1 John le Scot, Earl of Chester; m.2 Robert II de Quincy[14]
  2. Dafydd ap Llywelyn (c. 1215-1246) m. Isabella de Braose[15]
  3. Gwladus Ddu (1206-1251) m.1 Reginald de Braose; m.2 Ralph de Mortimer
  4. Susanna[16][17][18]

Llywelyn's Illegitimate Children

The mother of most of Llywelyn's illegitimate children is assumed to be his mistress, Tangwystl Goch (c.1168-1198).

  1. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (c.1196-1244)[19] m. Senena[20] Issue.[21]
  2. Tegwared ap Llywelyn[22]
  3. Marared ferch Llywelyn (c.1198-after 1263) m.1 John de Braose of Gower[23]; m.2 Walter Clifford of Bronllys and Clifford.
  4. Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn m. William de Lacey
  5. Angharad ferch Llywelyn m. Maelgwn Fychan


In April 1226 Joan obtained a papal decree from Pope Honorius III, declaring her legitimate on the basis that her parents had been unmarried at the time of her birth, but without giving her a claim to the English throne.


In 1230, Llywelyn discovered Joan in adultery with William de Braose in their bedchamber. William de Braose was hanged, and Joan herself was imprisoned for some time before Llywelyn accepted her back as his wife.

At Easter 1230, William de Braose, 10th Baron Abergavenny, who was Llywelyn's nominal prisoner at the time, was discovered together with Joan in Llywelyn's bedchamber. William de Braose was hanged in the marshland at the foot of Garth Celyn, the place known since as Gwern y Grog.

Joan herself was placed out of public view, under virtual house arrest, at Garth Celyn, for twelve months after the incident. She was then (apparently) forgiven by Llywelyn, and restored as wife and princess. She may have given birth to a daughter early in 1231.


Joan was never called Princess of Wales, but, in Welsh, "Lady of Wales." She died at the royal home, Garth Celyn, Aber Garth Celyn, on the north coast of Gwynedd in 1237. Llywelyn's great grief at her death is recorded; he founded a Franciscan friary on the seashore at Llanfaes, opposite the royal home, in her honour. The friary was consecrated in 1240, shortly before Llywelyn died.

Joan was buried at the priory of Llanfaes near Beaumaris. Her sarcophogus is at Beaumaris parish church, Anglesey.[24]


  1. She could be Agatha de Ferrers or Clemence. See footnotes in Llewellyn the Great's profile
  2. The only source that explicitly names Joan's mother is her obit in the Tewkesbury Annals: Obiit domina Johanna domina Walliae, uxor Lewelini filia regis Johannis et regina Clemencie, iii. kal. Aprilis."
  3. G.R. Stephens, The Early Life of Joan Makepeace, Speculum 20, 1945
  5. daughter of Llywelyn and Joan
  6. Curia Regis Roll, 1243 [17:281-2 (no. 1462)
  7. d. by Jun 1222
  8. d. Young before 04 Ju 1229; his heir was his uncle Roger de Somery
  9. Issue.
  10. Richardson, p. 563-564, retrieved 2014-08-02, amb
  11. son of Iorwerth Drwyndwn ap Owain Gwynedd Prince of North Wales and Marared ferch Madog ap Maredudd.
  12. Worcester Annals
  13. According to May 1206 at Chester.
  14. son of Saher IV de Quincy 1st Earl of Winchester and Margaret de Beaumont.
  15. died at Garth Celyn, Aber Garth Celyn.
  16. sent to England as a hostage in 1228
  17. named in the 1228 patent roll.
  18. Melrose Chronicle states that Malcolm, Earl of Fife, married a daughter of Llywelyn Fawr circa 1230. Malcolm was a supporter of Henry III. The most likely candidate for his wife is Susanna, who we know was in England in 1228, and could easily have been given to Malcolm by her uncle Henry III.
  19. Llywelyn's eldest son. Mother: Tangwystl.
  20. Dau. Caradoc ap Thomas of Anglesey.
  21. 4 sons include Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, who for a period occupied a position in Wales comparable to that of his grandfather, and Dafydd ap Gruffydd who ruled Gwynedd briefly after his brother's death.
  22. by Crysten
  23. nephew of Reginald de Braose
  24. Above the empty coffin is a slate panel inscribed: This plain sarcophagus, (once dignified as having contained the remains of Joan, daughter of King John, and consort of Llewelyn ap Iowerth, Prince of North Wales, who died in the year 1237), having been conveyed from the Friary of Llanfaes, and alas, used for many years as a horse watering trough, was rescued from such an indignity and placed here for preservation as well as to excite serious meditation on the transitory nature of all sublunary distinctions. By Thomas James Warren Bulkeley, Viscount Bulkeley, Oct 1808.

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On May 22, 2015 at 03:17GMT Bree Ogle wrote:

Ready to merge.

On September 23, 2014 at 07:37GMT Tim Perry wrote:

Plantagenet-1713 and FitzJohn-120 are not ready to be merged because: There needsto be more clarity re parents,spouse, and issue. Also conflict over birth dates to be resolved.

On August 2, 2014 at 02:13GMT Michelle Brooks wrote:

Plantagenet-1713 and Plantagenet-202 appear to represent the same person because: Since there is an ongoing historical dispute on the mother of Joane that doesn't look like it will be resolved anytime soon - it would be best to merge these two profiles with a Note about the dispute so the duplicate children and other descendants may be merged .

On January 8, 2014 at 12:29GMT Jean Maunder wrote:

Who was Joan's mother? suggest that Sharon Kay Penman's novel, 'Here Be Dragons', invents a character named Clemence d'Arcy, a well-born Norman girl impregnated by John and then cast off, who dies in alcoholic misery.

The only source that explicitly names Joan's mother as a Clemence is her obit in the Tewkesbury Annals: Obiit domina Johanna domina Walliae, uxor Lewelini filia regis Johannis et regina Clemencie, iii. kal. Aprilis."According to the Worcester Annals, Joan and Llywelyn were married at Ascensiontide 1206, so they would've married in mid-May 1206, according to the helpful Medieval Calendar. The only hint we have to Joan's age is the papal decree of Honorius III legitimizing her.

On January 8, 2014 at 11:30GMT Jean Maunder wrote:

Botelier- Verdun - Pinel could all be the maiden name of Clementia,

As the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy states: the second mistress of John Lackland: CLEMENTIA, daughter of ---. The Annals of Tewkesbury names “reginæ Clemenciæ” as the mother of “domina Johanna Walliæ, uxor Lewelini, filia regis Johannis” when recording her daughter´s death[589]. Weir names “Henry Pinel” as Clementia´s husband[590]. The primary source which confirms this information has not been identified.

Also below

It is suggested in that one could debate 'Who was this Queen Clemence?' The only Queen Clemence in Europe at that time was Clemence of Toulouse, wife of Sancho VII of Navarre, and it seems doubtful that John had a liaison with such a prominant woman without

On January 7, 2014 at 07:29GMT John Schmeeckle wrote:

I changed Joan's mother to D'Arcy-102, per The and Joan's wikipedia page. That profile correctly shows Clementina's name (no "Agatha"), and it correctly shows no known parents, although "D'Arcy" should be changed to UNKNOWN. There's no need to create a completely new profile.

On December 4, 2013 at 08:44GMT Philip Hotlen wrote:

My mtDNA is U5b2b2. My tree is built around entries at There is a fair chance that I am a direct maternal line descendant from Joan Plantagenet. This should be provable or disprovable when females along that line have their mtDNA tested.

On May 15, 2012 at 23:29GMT Lindsay Coleman wrote:

On May 3, 2012 at 15:22GMT Lindsay Coleman wrote:

Joan was a natural daughter of King John of England. She should not be confused with her half-sister Joan, Queen Consort of Scotland

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