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Joan FitzJohn (bef. 1189 - 1237)

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Joan "Lady of Wales, Lady of Snowdon" FitzJohn
Born before in London, Middlesex, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Daughter of and [mother unknown]
Wife of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Aberystwyth (Aber), Ceredigion, Dyfed, Walesmap
FitzJohn-120 created 22 Sep 2014 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 4,363 times.

Categories: House of Plantagenet.

The House of Plantagenet crest. This person is a member of the House of Plantagenet.
European Aristocracy
Joan FitzJohn is a member of royalty, nobility or aristocracy in the British Isles.
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NOTE: This Joan (died 2 Feb 1237) is NOT Joan of England who married Alexander II of Scotland. Instead, she's an illegitimate daughter of King John. Her mother is not known, but is believed to have been named Clemence (possibly Clementia Botelier). It has also be proposed that her mother might be Agatha Ferrers. See the profiles for Clementia Unknown and Agatha Ferrers.


Bef 1189 Birth

"Joan was declared legitimate by papal letters of 122#, which make it clear that Joan was born at a time when both John and Joan's mother were single, that is, before 1189 when John married Isabella of Gloucester."[1]
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.[citation needed]
Joan seems to have spent her childhood in France, since John brought her to England from Normandy for her wedding to Llywelyn ap Iorwerth 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.[2]

Disputed Parentage

Joan was the natural daughter of King John by an unknown mother. [3]

John "Lackland" — King John I of England — is Joan's father. Her mother is the subject of an ongoing historical dispute.
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."
Joan's mother could be Clemence unknown, or another Clemence or Clementia. She could also be Agatha de Ferrers.[4] Another suggestion is the wife of Henry Pinel.
Joan (Joanna) was an illegitimate daughter of King John of England. Her legitimate half-sister is Joan, Queen Consort of Scotland. Little is known about her early life. Research indicates that she was born before either of her parents were married (John married his first wife in 1189):

In 1823 William Warrington wrote, "About 1203, the English King, having lost a great part of his territories in France, returned into England. On his arrival, he gave Joan, a daughter, which he had by a lady of the house of Ferres, in marriage to Llewelyn; as a reward for the due observance of the late treaty, or as a means of securing those advantages, which he might think would naturally result from such an alliance. With this lady, was given as a dower, the lordship of Elesmere in Shropshire." This Warrington, unfortunately, made a number of errors, including his statement that LLywelyn had married Tangwystl, generally recognized as his mistress, early in life. [5]

Note: Joan's mother is the subject of an ongoing historical debate. The only contemporary evidence of the mother's name does not support her being Agatha Ferrers.[6] See Disputed Parentage on Joan's profile page.

Clemence: Possible Mother

It is suggested[7] 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[8] 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.[9] 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[10]. They had Nicholas[11]. She later married Theobald Butler in 1225.[12] When Nicholas de Verdun died in 1231, Clemence was still living in October of that year. So was Rohese.

1204 Betrothal to Llywelyn ap Iorwerth

Joan She was betrothed to Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (q.v.) in 1204 , and m. to him in 1205. [3]

1205 Marriage to Llywelyn the Great

Joan married Llywelyn the Great[13] Prince of Wales[14]at Ascensiontide 1206,[15] Joan and Llywelyn were married , probably around mid-May.[16][17]

1211-1232 Intermediary between Llywelyn and John

Her role as ambassadress and intermediary between her husband and the Crown in the period 1211-32 was an important one. [3]

1226 Legitmacy

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.

1230 Liaison with William de Breos and Incarceration

In spite of the tragic liaison with William de Breos (see Braose family ), which resulted in a short term of imprisonment for Joan , Llywelyn 's attachment to her appears to have been genuine. [3]

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.

1237 Death

When she d. at the palace of Aber on 2 Feb. 1237 her body was conveyed across the Menai and buried in a new cemetery near the manor of Llan-faes , where Llywelyn founded a Franciscan friary in her memory. She was the mother of Dafydd ap Llywelyn (q.v.) . [A stone coffin, removed from Llan-faes at the Dissolution, and now preserved in S. Mary's church at Beaumaris , is reputed to be hers.][3]


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.[18]

(Royal Ancestry) His (Llywelyn's) wife, Joan, died at Aber (colloquial name for Aberystwyth) 2 Feb.1237, and was buried in the new cemetery at Friars Minors, Llanfaes, Angelsey.


Clearly the Children of Joan

  1. Elen ferch Llywelyn (Helen or Ellen) (1207-1253) m.1 John le Scot, Earl of Chester; m.2 Robert II de Quincy[19]
  2. Dafydd ap Llywelyn (c. 1215-1246) m. Isabella de Braose[20]
  1. Susanna[21][22][23]

Possibly the Children of Joan

  1. Gwladus Ddu (1206-1251) m.1 Reginald de Braose; m.2 Ralph de Mortimer

Children of Llywelyn's Mistresses

Llywelyn had several mistresses; only one is known: Tangwystl Goch (c.1168-1198[citation needed]). Sources do not agree on the mothers of Llywelyn's children.[24]

  1. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (c.1196-1244)[25] m. Senena[26] Issue.[27]
  2. Tegwared ap Llywelyn[28]
  3. Marared ferch Llywelyn (c.1198-after 1263) m.1 John de Braose of Gower[29]; m.2 Walter Clifford of Bronllys and Clifford.[30]
  4. Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn m. William de Lacey
  5. Angharad ferch Llywelyn m. Maelgwn Fychan


  1. from soc.genealogy.medieval, 1999 post by John Parsons
  2. G.R. Stephens, The Early Life of Joan Makepeace, Speculum 20, 1945
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Professor Thomas Jones Pierce, M.A., F.S.A., (1905-1964), Aberystwyth. Dictionary of Welsh Biography. Sources: A History of Wales ; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Accessed February 29, 2016
  4. See their profiles (Clemence & Agatha) for more information; see also the Marriage and Issue section on her husband's profile
  5. William Warrington, W., (1823). The History of Wales in Nine Books with an Appendix, 4ed., Vol.2, Book VII, Llewelyn ap Iorwerth. Brecon: 1823. Google Books, pp 16-17. Accessed February 16, 2016
  6. 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." See p 825, Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. X, Sir Leslie Stephen, Sir Sidney Lee Smith (Elder & Company, 1908)
  8. daughter of Llywelyn and Joan
  9. Curia Regis Roll, 1243 [17:281-2 (no. 1462)
  10. d. by Jun 1222
  11. d. Young before 04 Ju 1229; his heir was his uncle Roger de Somery
  12. Issue.
  13. Richardson, p. 563-564, retrieved 2014-08-02, amb
  14. son of Iorwerth Drwyndwn ap Owain Gwynedd Prince of North Wales and Marared ferch Madog ap Maredudd.
  15. Worcester Annals
  16. According to May 1206 at Chester.
  17. married 1205, according to Foundation for Medieval Genealogy (FMG)
  18. 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.
  19. son of Saher IV de Quincy 1st Earl of Winchester and Margaret de Beaumont.
  20. died at Garth Celyn, Aber Garth Celyn.
  21. sent to England as a hostage in 1228
  22. named in the 1228 patent roll.
  23. 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.
  24. Richardson's Royal Ancestry, Vol V, p 298, notes Joan as mother of Dafydd and "several daughters, including Gwaladus Ddu, Ellen, Susanna, and possibly _____ (wife of Malcolm, 7th Earl of Fife), and allegedly Angharad." Richardson says his illegitimate children were "by various mistresses" (he does not name Tangwystl). Llywelyn's entry in the Rootsweb database for Celtic Royal Genealogy shows four illegimate children by Tangwystl and four by other mistresses; Llywelyn's information in the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy (FMG) shows only Gruffydd as a child of Tangwystl.
  25. Llywelyn's eldest son. Mother: Tangwystl.
  26. Dau. Caradoc ap Thomas of Anglesey.
  27. 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.
  28. by Crysten
  29. nephew of Reginald de Braose
  30. see this section of Margaret's profile for a discussion of who her mother was.

See also:

  • Royal Ancestry 2013 Vol. V p. 298-302
  • Costain, T.B. (1958). The Three Edwards. ISBN 0-445-08513-4
  • Cussans, T. (n.d.). The Times Kings & Queens of The British Isles, (pp. 84, 86, 87). ISBN 0-0071-4195-5
  • Richardson, D. (2011). Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, (2ed). Google Books.
  • N.a. (n.d.). Pedigrees of some of the Emperor Charlemagne's Descendants. N.p.[citation needed]
  • N.a. (n.d.). Queens of England. N.p.[citation needed]
  • N.a. (n.d.). Four Gothic Kings. N.p.[citation needed]
  • N.a. (n.d.). The Oxford History of the British Monarchy. N.p.[citation needed]
  • N.a. (n.d.). Now I Remember. N.p.[citation needed]
  • N.a. (n.d.). They Came with the Conqueror. N.p.[citation needed]
  • Prestwich, M. (1998). Edward I. Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-07209-0 )
European Aristocrats Source
Our main source for medieval genealogy in the European Aristocrats Project is the FMG database MEDIEVAL LANDS: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families by Charles Cawley,© Foundation for Medieval Genealogy & Charles Cawley, 2000-2016.

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On 26 Feb 2016 at 14:45 GMT Jack Day wrote:

Cawley (FMG) only shows three of Llywelyn's children --Dafydd, Helen and Susanna, as having his wife Joan as their mother. The mother of his eldest son Gruffudd was Llywelyn's mistress Tangwystl, and all of Llywelyn's other children were by unknown mistresses -- according to Cawley. So it would seem like Gwladys should be in the disputed category, and Llywelyn's other children, identified in the text, should be delinked from Joan, though not from Llywelyn!

On 15 Feb 2016 at 05:55 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

ah - perhaps of use (google group post:

Elen/Ellen/Helen, legitimate daughter of Llywelyn by his wife Joan [see CCR Henry III, 3:538-9, and Andrew B. W. MacEwen, "Elen, Countess of Chester: a daughter of Joan, Princess of North Wales, _The Genealogist 4:137-8], married John 'le Scot', Earl of Huntingdon, Cambridge and Chester, son of David, Earl of Huntingdon and his wife Maud [of Chester]. Helen is suspected of poisoning her first husband (she afterwards married Robert de Quincy, who died s.p.). At John 'le Scots death, his heirs were the two daughters of his eldest sister and his three surviving other sisters.

On 15 Feb 2016 at 05:44 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

Hi again! Could y'all look at the profiles for the Elens/Helens? I think there are too many of them. Also, Bartrum, Richardson, & Turner-Thomas list two Angharads for him (see list of children on Lywelyn's profile). The profile for Agatha shows she died young (1214-1217), but needs a better source. An Agatha isn't mentioned anywhere in his tree that I can see (well, distantly - Unknown-59030)

On 10 Feb 2016 at 16:50 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

Update: I've done some editing, but I didn't change the section that presents her children by John. For the attached profiles, Margaret's profile is done. Erin Cole is tackling the two profiles for Gwladus (see his G2G post). That just leaves the Elens/Helens.

Hi! I know my "to-do" category to review the attached profiles has been on this profile for a while. Recent discussion about "daughter" Margaret has prompted bumping her up to my "To Do Today or Tomorrow" list. See

Cheers, Liz

On 20 Jul 2015 at 17:21 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

update: merge completed

Plantangenet-2 and FitzJohn-120 appear to represent the same person because: dates are off between the two, but these profiles are both intended to represent the same person. Please merge. Thanks!

On 9 Jul 2015 at 10:51 GMT Gene Adkins JR wrote:

FitzJohn-120 and England-852 appear to represent the same person because: same name, same birth date, same birth and death place, same time frame, same locations, not sure about marriage to Ogle, but she was notorious.

On 27 Mar 2015 at 21:00 GMT Vic Watt wrote:

John had two daughters named Joan, one legitimate and the other not. It was the other Joan who married Llewellyn, so I removed him as husband. i will also remove the Llewellyn children

On 27 Mar 2015 at 20:42 GMT Tim Perry wrote:

FitzJohn-120 and Plantagenet-1713 do not represent the same person because: Big difference in birth dates.

On 23 Sep 2014 at 07:37 GMT 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 2 Aug 2014 at 14:55 GMT Tim Perry wrote:

Sounds like a logical plan, Michelle, but as only those on the 'trusted list' can make changes, we have to wait for them it seems. Same thing with her spouse, but if they don't respond, this could be hanging about for months.

more comments

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