Joan of the Tower, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Joan was born at the Tower of London, hence her name, on July 5, 1321. She was the youngest daughter and the youngest of the four children of King Edward II of England and Isabella of France.

Joan had three older siblings:

In 1328, England and Scotland signed the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton. The treaty formally ended the First War of Scottish Independence, which had begun with King Edward I of England’s invasion of Scotland in 1296. The treaty was signed in Edinburgh by Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots and then the English Parliament ratified the treaty in Northampton. One of the terms of the treaty was that six-year-old Joan would marry Robert the Bruce’s heir, four-year-old David, and because of this Joan was known as “Joan Makepeace”. The very young couple married on July 17, 1328 at Berwick-upon-Tweed, the northernmost town in England, 2 ½ miles from the border with Scotland. Although the couple was married for 34 years, they had no children.

Less than a year after the wedding, Robert the Bruce died, and Joan’s husband became King David II of Scots. Joan and David were crowned and anointed on November 24, 1331 at Scone, the traditional coronation site of the Kings of Scots. Unfortunately, the peace of the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton did not last long. The Second War of Scottish Independence started in 1332. After the 1333 Battle of Halidon Hill in which the Scots were soundly defeated by Joan’s brother King Edward III of England, Joan and David were sent to France for their safety. Very little is known about their life in France. King Philippe VI of France, the cousin of Joan’s mother, granted the couple the use of Château Gaillard, built by King Richard I of England to defend his Duchy of Normandy.

Joan and David with Philippe VI of France in a miniature from Froissart’s Chronicles; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1341, the situation improved in Scotland and David and Joan returned. Five years later, under the terms of an alliance between Scotland and France, David invaded England which was involved in a war with France in Normandy. During the Battle of Neville’s Cross in October of 1346, the Scots were routed and David was captured by the English.

David was imprisoned from 1346 – 1357, first at the Tower of London and then at Odiham Castle in Hampshire. King Edward III offered to release David three times for a ransom if the childless David accepted one of Edward III’s sons as his heir to the throne of Scotland. David rejected all three offers. In 1357, David was released in return for a ransom of 100,000 marks, approximately £15 million today.

Joan was allowed to see her husband while he was imprisoned, but after his release, she decided to remain in England. Joan’s mother Isabella of France had been under house arrest since 1330 because of her part in deposing her husband King Edward II with her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. Joan nursed her mother during her final illness in 1358.

Joan, aged 41, died of the plague at Hertford Castle in England on September 7, 1362. She was buried at Christ Church Greyfriars in London where her mother had been buried. The church suffered much damage during King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries and many of the tombs were destroyed. During the Great Fire of London in 1666, the medieval church was completely destroyed.

Wikipedia: Joan of the Tower

Works Cited
“Christ church Greyfriars.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Nov. 2016. Web. 17 Dec. 2016.
“David II of Scotland.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Nov. 2016. Web. 17 Dec. 2016.
“Joan of the tower.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 17 Dec. 2016.
queens. “Jeanne d’Angleterre (1321-1362).” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 13 July 1321.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.