Isabella of Gloucester

Isabella of Glouscester

Isabella of Gloucester,

1st wife of King John



bef. 1176, daughter of William FitzRobert, Earl of Gloucester, and Hawise de Beaumont


  1. 29 August 1189 John Plantagenet, at Marlborough Castle, Wiltshire (divorced 1199)
  2. 20 January 1213 Geoffrey de Mandeville, 5th Earl of Essex (who died 1216)
  3. September 1217 Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent


Not crowned


14 October 1217 Keynsham Abbey, Somerset


Canterbury Cathedral

ohn, youngest son of Henry II of England, married Isabella of Gloucester for her lands in 1189. He was 22 and she 13. The two were not close. It was known even before their marriage that they were related within a canonically-unacceptable degree. Isabella and John shared a great-grandfather in Henry I of England.

When John inherited the crown from his older brother Richard, his marriage to Isabella no longer served a useful purpose. A “divorce” (actually, an annulment) was easily obtained on the grounds of consanguinity. John then deprived Isabella of the Gloucester title and property, bestowing them on her nephew. She was only reinstated after her nephew’s death in 1213.

John kept very close tabs on Isabella during those years. He maintained her under his control, but with her own household, first in Winchester, and then in Sherborne. Isabella did not remarry for another fourteen years.

In 1213, she was, in effect, sold to Geoffrey de Mandeville. He paid John the enormous sum of 20,000 marks for Isabella, her property and title (the sum was payable in four installments over nine months).

John, then preparing for a massive (and unsuccessful) invasion of France, was enriching his coffers by invoking his regal feudal privilege of assessing a fee for the marriage of an heiress. When Geoffrey did not make the payments, John confiscated the estates. He later restored them, but Geoffrey and Isabella joined the other barons in revolt against John nevertheless. Geoffrey died in 1216, only three years after the marriage, mortally wounded at a tournament.

Isabella was then put into the keeping of Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent. He married her a month before her death. Isabella had no children and, seemingly, no happiness from any of her three marriages.

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