Birth: 1262, England;
Death: Oct. 27, 1326; Bristol, Gloucestershire, England; Hanged on the order of King Edward II
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- 1st Earl of Winchester, 2nd creation - Dates: 1322-1326
- 2nd Baron le Despenser, 1st creation - Dates: 1265-1326
- Chief Advisor to King Edward II of England
- Justice in the Eyre - Dates: various from 1296-1326
- Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports - Dates: 1320
- 1st/2nd Baron le Despenser, 1st creation - Dates: 1295
Hugh le Despenser (1262 – October 27, 1326), son of Hugh le Despenser II, sometimes referred to as "the elder Despenser", was for a time the chief adviser to King Edward II of England.
He was created a baron by writ of summons to Parliament in 1295. He was one of the few barons to remain loyal to Edward during the controversy regarding Piers Gaveston. Despenser became Edward's loyal servant and chief administrator after Gaveston was executed in 1312, but the jealousy of other barons - and, more importantly, his own corruption and unjust behaviour - led to his being exiled along with his son Hugh the younger Despenser in 1321, when Edmund de Woodstoke replaced him as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
Edward found it difficult to manage without them, and recalled them to England a year later, an action which enraged the queen, Isabella, the more so when Despenser was created Earl of Winchester. When Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer, led a rebellion against the king, both Despensers were captured and executed. The elder Despenser was hanged at Bristol on October 27, 1326. Beforehand, he was brutally tortured; he genitals were cut off "because of his unnatural practices with the king," though evidence of homosexuality between Edward II and the Despensers is not proven.
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