Mortimer, Edmund de, 3d earl of March and 1st earl of Ulster, 1351-81, English nobleman. He succeeded (1360) his father, Roger, 2d earl of March, married (1368) Philippa, daughter of Edward III's son Lionel, duke of Clarence, and on Lionel's death (1368) inherited his estates and the title of earl of Ulster. Later the house of York (see York, house of) traced part of its claim to the throne to this union. Mortimer held the office of marshal of England from 1369 to 1377 and supported the party that opposed John of Gaunt. After the accession of Richard II (1377) he was elected to the boy king's first council. In 1379 he was sent as lieutenant of Ireland to subdue Irish unrest. His daughter Elizabeth married Sir Henry Percy, known as Hotspur.
Mortimer, Edmund de, 5th earl of March and 3d earl of Ulster, 1391-1425, English nobleman, son of Roger de Mortimer, 4th earl of March. He succeeded (1398) his father not only as earl of March and Ulster but as heir presumptive to the childless Richard II. However, after the usurpation (1399) of the throne by the Lancastrian Henry IV, Mortimer was imprisoned, although allowed to inherit his estates. On the accession of Henry V (1413), he was released and served Henry in the French wars. He refused to countenance plots of partisans to raise him to the throne and even denounced a body of these conspirators to the king. After Henry V's death, Mortimer became (1422) a member of the regency council for the young Henry VI. In 1424 he took the post of lieutenant of Ireland, where his death by plague ended the male line of the Mortimers. His heiress was his sister Anne, whose son by Richard, earl of Cambridge, was Richard, duke of York, father of Edward IV and Richard III.
Mortimer, Sir Edmund de, 1376-1409, English nobleman; youngest son of Edmund de Mortimer, 3d earl of March. In 1398 when young Edmund, the 5th earl, nephew of Sir Edmund, succeeded to the title while still a minor, Sir Edmund became the most powerful representative of his family. He supported the usurpation of the throne by the Lancastrian Henry IV in 1399. In 1402, however, Mortimer was captured by the rebellious Welshman Owen Glendower, and when the suspicious king forbade his ransom, Edmund entered an alliance with Glendower and married his daughter. Supporting the claim of his young nephew to the throne, he and Glendower continued to fight even after the defeat of their allies, the Percy family (see Percy, Sir Henry and Northumberland, Henry Percy, 1st earl of). However, Glendower began to suffer defeats, Mortimer's own effectiveness declined, and he died when besieged by royal forces at Harlech.
Mortimer, Roger de, 1st earl of March, 1287?-1330, English nobleman. He inherited (c.1304) the vast estates and the title of his father, Edmund, 7th baron of Wigmore. Appointed lieutenant of Ireland in 1316, he was instrumental in securing the defeat of Edward Bruce and thus was able to consolidate his own holdings in Ireland. His principal estates, however, were in the Welsh Marches, and he joined (1321) the other Marcher lords in opposition to Edward II and the Despensers (see Despenser, Hugh le). He submitted to the king in 1322 and was imprisoned, but in 1323 he escaped to France. When Edward II's queen, Isabella, came to France in 1325, Mortimer became her lover. Together they invaded England in 1326 and routed Edward, whom they forced to abdicate (1327) and later had murdered. Having secured the crown for young Edward III, Mortimer, with Isabella, virtually ruled England and acquired great wealth. He became earl of March in 1328. Finally in 1330 he was seized by Edward III, tried and convicted by Parliament, and executed as a traitor.

See biography by I. Mortimer (2006).

Mortimer, Roger de, 4th earl of March and 2d earl of Ulster, 1374-98, English nobleman. He succeeded (1381) his father, Edmund de Mortimer, 3d earl of March, and was brought up as a royal ward. In 1385 the childless Richard II proclaimed him heir presumptive to the throne. He came into possession of his estates in 1393, and in 1394 he went to Ireland with Richard to subdue the rebel Irish chiefs. Remaining there as lieutenant of Ireland he won some popularity with the people because of his bravery and liberality. His death in a battle with the clans of Leinster precipitated Richard II's fateful expedition to Ireland in 1399.
For Mortimer in Berkshire, see Stratfield Mortimer. For the town in Shropshire, see Cleobury Mortimer.
Mortimer is a popular English name, used both as a surname and a given name.

Noble family

Norman origins

The origin of the name is almost certainly Norman, but the details are disputed.

One version is that it derives from "Mortemer", site of the Cistercian Abbaye de Mortemer at Lisors between Les Andelys and Évreux in Normandy. The land was gifted to the Cistercians by Henry II in the 1180s. Finding the land to be marsh-land (in old french, 'dead water' or "Morte Mer"), the monks dug out a large drainage lake and built the Abbaye de Mortemer. The ruins and lake can still be visited, and the later XVIth century Abbey hosts tours.

The village of Mortemer-sur-Eaulne further north in the Seine-Maritime area bears the same name, but it is unclear if the name predates the Abbey at Lisors.

Another version, allegedly dating from the Victorian era, attributes the name to a Norman Knight who fought in the crusades and was distinguished in battle by the shores of the Dead Sea, but this is unsubstantiated and almost certainly a romanticised myth.

Medieval magnates

In the Middle Ages, the Mortimers were a powerful magnate family or dynasty of Marcher Lords in the Welsh Marches, centered around Wigmore Castle in Herefordshire, and from the 14th century holding the title of Earl of March.

Close to the throne of England

Through marriage, the Mortimers came during the reign of Richard II to be close to the English throne, but when Richard II was deposed in 1399, the claims of the Mortimers were ignored and the throne vested in the usurper Henry of Lancaster instead. The Mortimer claims were later (1425) transmitted to the House of York, which ultimately claimed them in the Wars of the Roses.

Successive Mortimers

Members of the noble Mortimer family included:

Other persons

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