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Big Time Bigamy
Love & Loyalty get the Princess Joan Locked Up

The earl of Salisbury keeps his wife imprisoned -  Nash Ford Publishing


  • In 1340, Princess Joan 'the Fair Maid of Kent' fell in love with a young knight from Lancashire. His name was Sir Thomas Holland.

  • They secretly got married. He was about 20. She was only 12.

  • Sir Thomas then left England to fight the French with her cousin, King Edward III.

  • When he came home, a year later, he found that Joan's family had forced her to marry the son of the Earl of Salisbury from Bisham Manor. They were the same age.

  • Joan had said nothing to them about already being married. She might have thought Thomas was dead.

  • Thomas said nothing either, but he got a job as her husband's steward, looking after his lands.

  • The old Earl of Salisbury died in 1344 from wounds received in a joust at Windsor Castle. His son became the new Earl. Joan became Countess of Salisbury.

  • Sir Thomas still kept going off to war. In 1346, he captured the Count of Eu at the Battle of Crecy. He sold him to the King for 8,000 (that's 3.5 million today!)

  • Thomas now felt he had enough money to claim his wife. He complained to the Pope in Avignon (in France) who sent judges to look into things.

  • The Earl of Salisbury did not turn up at court. Sir Thomas said he had locked Joan up, probably in Bisham Manor.

  • Eventually, Joan was able to confirm that her marriage to Thomas had taken place. After 2 years in court, the Pope told the Earl of Salisbury that their marriage was invalid.

  • Joan went to live with Thomas and they were happy together.

  • The Earl of Salisbury went on to be a commander for the Black Prince at the Battle of Poitiers and became a Knight of  the Garter. He married someone else and had a son; but he accidentally killed him in another joust at Windsor Castle. He died all alone.


    Nash Ford Publishing 2010. All Rights Reserved.