Margaret de Bohun, Countess of Devon (3 April 1311 – 16 December 1391), was the granddaughter of King Edward I of England and Eleanor of Castile, and the wife of Hugh Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon. Her thirteen children included an Archbishop of Canterbury and six knights. Unlike most women of her day, she received a classical education and was a lifelong scholar and collector of books.
Lady Margaret de Bohun was born on 3 April 1311 at Caldecote, Northamptonshire, the third daughter and seventh child of Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford, Lord Constable of England and Elizabeth of Rhuddlan, the youngest daughter of King Edward I and Eleanor of Castile. Her paternal grandparents were Humphrey de Bohun, 3rd Earl of Hereford and Maud de Fiennes. She was named for her maternal step-grandmother, Margaret of France, the second queen consort of Edward I.
Margaret was left an orphan shortly before her tenth birthday. On 16 March 1321 at Battle of Boroughbridge, her father was slain in an ambush by the Welsh. Her mother had died five years previously in childbirth.
Together with her siblings she received a classical education under a Sicilian Greek, Master Diogenes. As a result, Margaret became a lifelong scholar and avid book collector.
On 11 August 1325, at the age of fourteen, Lady Margaret married Hugh de Courtenay, the future 10th Earl of Devon, to whom she had been betrothed since 27 September 1314. Her dowry included the manors of Powderham near Exeter and Heanton Satchville, Petrockstowe. The marriage agreement was formally made on 28 February 1315, when she was not quite four years old. The first Earl of Devon promised that upon the marriage he would enfeoff his son and Margaret jointly with 400 marks worth of land, assessed at its true value, and in a suitable place.
Margaret assumed the title of Countess of Devon on 23 December 1340.
Her eldest brother John de Bohun (23 November 1306 – 20 January 1336) succeeded as 5th Earl of Hereford in 1326, having married Alice Fitzalan, daughter of the 9th Earl of Arundel in 1325. She had a younger brother William de Bohun (1312–1360), who was created 1st Earl of Northampton in 1337 by King Edward III. He married Elizabeth de Badlesmere, by whom he had two children. Margaret's elder sister Lady Eleanor de Bohun (17 October 1304 – 7 October 1363), married in 1327, her first husband, James Butler, 1st Earl of Ormonde. They were the ancestors of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr.
Hugh and Margaret had a total of thirteen children, most of whom reached adulthood. Their descendants include members of the British royal family and former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.
Their family chantry was expanded at Naish Priory in the family's manor of Coker in Somerset, at the end of the 14th century when it was owned by her most notable son, William Courtenay, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Sir Hugh Courtenay (1327–1349), KG, who predeceased his father. He married Elizabeth de Vere, daughter of John de Vere, 7th Earl of Oxford and Maud de Badlesmere. They had a son, Hugh Courtenay (d.1373/4), who predeceased both his father and grandfather.
Thomas Courtenay, born about 1329, cleric, canon of Crediton and Exeter. Died in the Church of Austin Friars, London.
Sir Edward Courtenay, who was born about 1331 at Haccombe, Devon, and died between 2 February 1368 and 1 April 1371, predeceasing his father. He married Emeline Dauney, daughter and heiress of Sir John Dauney of Mudford Terry, Somerset, and had issue:
Edward Courtenay, 11th Earl of Devon (d.1419), who married Maud Camoys, and in whose descendants the earldom remained until the death of his great-grandson John Courtenay, 7th Earl of Devon (d.1471), after which the earldom passed in 1485, by a new creation, to Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon (d.1509), the grandson of his brother Sir Hugh Courtenay of Haccombe and Bampton (1358-1425).
Sir Hugh Courtenay of Haccombe and Bampton (1358-1425), whose grandson was Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon (d.1509).
Robert Courtenay of Moreton.
William Courtenay, Archbishop of Canterbury, (c.1342 – 31 July 1396.
Sir Philip Courtenay (c.1342 – 29 July 1406) of Powderham, who married Ann Wake, daughter of Sir Thomas Wake by Alice Pateshull.
Sir Peter Courtenay (c. 1346 – 2 February 1405) of Hardington Mandeville, Somerset, who married Margaret Clyvedon, daughter and heiress of John de Clyvedon. His monumental brass, much worn, but still showing the arms of Courtenay impaling Bohun, may be seen in the south aisle, Exeter Cathedral.
Humphrey Courtenay, who died young without issue.
Margaret Courtenay married John de Cobham, 3rd Baron Cobham.
Elizabeth Courtenay, who married firstly, Sir John de Vere of Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire, and secondly Sir Andrew Luttrell of Chilton, in Thorverton, Devon. She had a child with Sir Andrew, Sir Hugh Luttrell, who became Henry V's Seneschal in Normandy. She died 7 August 1395.
Katherine Courtenay, who married Sir Thomas Engaine, 2nd Lord Engaine. She died 31 December 1399.
Joan Courtenay, who married Sir John Cheverston (died c. 1375).
Margaret died on 16 December 1391 at the age of eighty. She is buried in Exeter Cathedral.