Agnes le Chaucer (de Copton)
|Birthplace:||London, Middlesex, England|
|Death:||Died in Vintry, London, England|
|Managed by:||Private User|
About Agnes le Chaucer
- 'Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer By Geoffrey Chaucer
- Pg. x.
- 2. Robert Le Chaucer. The earliest relative with whom we can certainly connect the poet is his grandfather Robert, who is first mentioned, together with Mary his wife, in 1307, when they sold ten acres of land in Edmonton to Ralph le Clerk, for 100?. On Aug. 2, 1310, Robert le Chauncer was appointed 'one of the collectors in the port of London of the new customs upon wines granted by the merchants of Aquitaine.' It is also recorded that he was possessed of one messuage, with its appurtenances, in Ipswich; and it was alleged, in the course of some law proceedings (of which I have more to say below), that the said estate was only worth 20 shillings a year. He is probably the Robert Chaucer who is mentioned under the date 1310, in the Early Letter-books of the City of London.
- Robert Chaucer was married, in or before 1307 (see above), to a widow named Maria or Mary Heyroun, whose maiden name was probably Stace; and the only child of whom we find any mention was his son and heir, named John, who was the poet's father. At the same time, it is necessary to observe that Maria had a son still living, named Thomas Heyroun, who died in 1349.
- John Chaucer was born, as will be shewn, in 1312; and his father Robert died before 1316 (Close Rolls, 9 Edw. II., p. 318).
- 3. Richard Le Chaucer. Some years after Robert's death, namely in 1323, his widow married for the third time. Her third husband was probably a relative (perhaps a cousin) of her second, his name being Richard le Chaucer, a vintner residing in the Ward of Cordwainer Street; respecting whom several particulars are known. ...............
- Pg. xiii
- From the above particulars I draw the following inferences.
- The fact that Mary le Chaucer claimed to be nearer in relationship to the heir (being, in fact, his mother) than the Staces, clearly shews that they also were very near relations. We can hardly doubt that the maiden name of Mary le Chaucer was Stace, and the she was sister to Thomas and Geoffrey Stace.
- In Dec. 1324, John le Chaucer was, according to his mother's statement, 'under age'; i.e. less than fourteen years old. According to the Staces, he had 'completed the age of twelve before the suing out, &c.' We may safely infer that John was still under twelve when the Staces carried him off, on Dec. 3, 1324. Hence he was born in 1312, and we have seen that his father Robert married the widow Maria Heyroun not later than 1307. She was married to Richard in 1323 (one year before 1324), and she died before 1349, as Richard was then a widower.
- The attempt to marry John to Joan de Westhale (probably his cousin) was unsuccessful. He was still unmarried in Nov. 1328, and still only sixteen years old. This disposes at once of an old tradition, for which no authority has ever been discovered, that the poet was born in 1328. The earliest date that can fairly be postulated for the birth of Geoffrey is 1330; and even then his father was only eighteen years old. .........
- 4. 'John Chaucer. Of John Chaucer, the poet's father, not many particulars are known. He was born, as we have seen about 1312, and was not married till 1329, or somewhat later. His wife's name was Agnes, described in 1369 as the kinswoman (consanguinea) and heiress of the city moneyer, Hamo de Copton, who is known to have owned property in Aldgate. He was a citizen and vintner of London, and owned a house in Thames Street, close to Walbrook, a stream now flowing underground beneath Walbrook Street; so that it must have been near the spot where the arrival platform of the South-Eastern railway (at Cannon Street) now crosses Thames Street. In this house, in all probability, Chaucer was born; at any rate, it became his own property, as he parted with it in 1380. It is further known that John and Agnes Chaucer were possessed of a certain annual quit-rent of 4cd. or 40d. sterling, arising out of a tenement in the parish of St. Botolph-without-Aldgate.
- 'In 1338 (on June 12), John Chaucer obtained letters of protection, being then on an expedition to Flanders, in attendance on the king. Ten years later, in the months of February and November, 1348, he is referred to as being deputy to the king's butler in the port of Southampton. In 1349, as we have seen, he was executor to the will of his half-brother, Thomas Heyroun. There is a mention of him in 1352. His name appears, together with that of his wife Agnes, in a conveyance of property dated Jan. 16, 1366; but he died shortly afterwards, aged about fifty-four. His widow married again in the course of a few months; for she is described in a deed dated May 6, 1367, as being then the wife of Bartholonew atte Chapel, citizen and vintner of London, and lately wife of John Chaucer, citizen and vintner. The date of her death is not known.
- 5. Chaucer's Early Years. The exact date of Geoffrey's birth is not known, and will probably always remain a subject of dispute. It cannot, as we have seen, have been earlier than 1330; and it can hardly have been later than 1340. That is was nearer to 1340 than 1330, is the solution which best suits all the circumstances of the case.