John DE WARENNE, Earl of Surrey
(Abt 1224-1256)
Robert DE VERE, 5th Earl of Oxford
Alice DE SANFORD, Countess of Oxford
William DE WARENNE, Earl of Surrey
(Abt 1264-1293)
John DE WARENNE, 8th & last Earl of Surrey


Family Links

0. Maud DE NERFORD, Mistress

1. Jeanne DE BAR

John DE WARENNE, 8th & last Earl of Surrey 1

  • Born: 30 Jun 1286, Warren, Sussex, England
  • Christened: 7 Nov 1286
  • Married (1): 25 May 1306, King's Chapel, Westminster, England
  • Died: 29 Jun 1347, Conisbrough, Yorkshire, England
  • Buried: Lewes Priory, Sussex, England

  Research Notes:

Inquisitions following a writ dated 15 Dec "15 Edw I" following the death of "William de Warenna...he died on Sunday before St Lucy in the said year...Sunday after St Lucy” name “Joan his wife...Robert de Veer earl of Oxford father of the said Joan...John his son born at the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist 14 Edw I is his next heir...aged 38 weeks on Tuesday before St Gregory in the said year”.

Her succeeded his grandfather in 1304 as Earl of Surrey. He unsuccessfully attempted to divorce his wife to marry his mistress Matilda de Nerford.

The testament of "Johan Counte de Warenne de Surrey et de Strathorne Seigneur de Bromfeld et de Yal" is dated 24 Jun 1347, requests burial "en l’esgise Saint Pancratz de Lewes", makes bequests to "…Monsieur William de Warenne mon filz…ma fille sa compaigne…Edward de Warenne mon filz…Johanne de Basyngg ma fille…Katerine ma fille…Isabell ma fille Noneyn de Sempyngham…William de Warenne mon fil…Isabelle de Holand ma compaigne". 2


Of Lewes, Sussex, Reigate, Surrey, Grantham and Stamford, Lincolnshire, Betchworth and Dorking, Surrey, Conisbrough and Fishlake, Yorkshire, Bromfield, Yale and Dinas Bran, Denbighshire, etc.

Captain General of the Army in Aquitaine, 1325, Councillor of Regency, 1345, son and heir.

In 1307 he with his party opposed Peter de Gavaston and his party at a tournament at Wallingford. Sometime in the period, 1307-1311, Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, and other earls and barons, while assembled in the Parliament in London, wrote to the Pope praying for the canonization of Thomas de Cantelowe, late Bishop of Hereford. In 1308 he was going with the king to France. By writ dated 18 Jan 1307/8, he was ordered to attend the coronation of Edward II. The same year he was conspicuous in procuring the banishment of Peter de Gavaston. In 1309 he was ordered not to tourney or seek adventures in England. In 1310 he was granted the castle, honour and forest of the High Peak. In Aug 1310 he went with the king to Scotland. Before 1311, he had dismissed his wife and was living in adultery with his mistress, Maud de Nerford...

In 1312 he and his kinsman, Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, besieged Peter de Gavaston at Scarborough Castle. Gavaston surrendered 19 May 1312, on condition his life should be spared. However, Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, subsequently seized and beheaded Gavaston in defiance of their pledge. He was pardoned in 1313 for his share in Gavaston's death. In 1314 he refused to serve in the Bannockburn campaign. In the same year he complained to William Greenfield, Archbishop of York, that "he was forced by certain nobles and magnates of the realm" to marry Joan, daughter of the late Count of Bar, who was related to him in the 3rd and 4th degrees, which was "forbidden by law." Earl John wanted to have his marriage annulled but the Archbishop refused to consider the case without the consent of his fellow bishops.

In 1315, for the good of his soul, and that of Maud de Nerford, and their children, he confirmed to the canons of Thetford all the grants made to the house by any of his predecessors. In 1315 he and his mistress, Maud de Nerford, were granted letters of fraternity by the Prior and Convent of Durham. The same year Maud de Nerford began proceedings in a cause of pre-contract of matrimony, and, in Feb 1316, he began divorce proceedings against his wife, Joan. There is no record, however, that any divorce was completed between Earl John and his wife, Joan. To make provision for his illegitimate children by Maud de Nerford, in July 1316, he he surrendered his Surrey and Sussex estates to the king, and received them again in August, to hold for life, with remainder to successively to his sons, John and Thomas, sons of Maud de Nerford.

In 1317 a private war in Yorkshire and in the north march of Wales broke out between him and Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. Lancaster captured Sandal and Conisbrough, Warenne saved Grantham and Stamford from Lancaster by surrendering them to the king. In June 1318 Lancaster likewise attacked Bromfield and Yale, and despite royal prohibitions, conquered them with their castles. In 1318 Warenne reconciled with Lancaster on condition of an exchange of lands altogether in Lancaster's favour. Lancaster's conquests both in Yorkshire and Wales remained his possessions for life. In 1322 Warenne took part in the condemnation of Lancaster at Pontrefact. He also attended the York parliament which revoked the ordinances.

In 1325 he was sent with 100 men-at-arms as captain of the king's forces in Aquitaine. He was appointed Captain of arrays in the north in 1326. In 1326 his previous settlement of his Surrey and Sussex estates was replaced with a new settlement on himself and his wife, Joan, and their heirs male, with remainder to his sister, Alice, and her husband Edmond de Arundel. In the quarrel between Edward II and Isabel, he and Arundel were the last two earls to remain faithful to Edward II.

In Jan 1327 he was one of the deputation of estates to urge abdication on Edward II. He was present at the Coronation of Edward III 26 Jan 1326/7. In Feb 1326/7 he was going abroad on the king's service. He was appointed joint commissioner to treat with France in 1331. In 1332 his cousin, Edward de Balliol, King of Scots, granted him the palatine earldom of Strathearn, after which he styled himself Earl of Surrey and Strathearn. In 1333 he was associated with Geoffrey le Scrope and the justices of the King's Bench to hear complaints. In 1335 he was at the Newcastle muster and invaded the Lothians with Edward de Balliol. In 1344 he obtained a plenary indulgence at the hour of death for himself, Joan his wife, his son William de Warenne, Knt., and Margaret his wife; and for Robert de Lynne, his chaplain, monk of Castle Acre....

He left a will dated 24 Jun 1347, proved 26 Jul 1347.... Following his death, Joan, his lawful wife, was granted his Surrey and Sussex estates by the terms of the 1326 settlement. 3

  Marriage Information:

John married Jeanne DE BAR, daughter of Cte Henri III DE BAR and Eleanor PLANTAGENET, on 25 May 1306 in King's Chapel, Westminster, England. (Jeanne DE BAR died on 31 Aug 1361.)


1 The Magna Charta Sureties, 1215..., Frederick Lewis Weis, William Ryland Beall, 1999, Line 122, no. 5.

2 Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, Medlands, John de Warenne.

3 Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011, Douglas Richardson, pp. 287-289.

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