Mortimer in History
As a member of the prestigious Mortimer family of the Welsh marches, Roger Mortimer was destined to be a prominent military leader and politician in said region. Little is known about Mortimer's early activities but, after their father's death (1282), both Roger and his elder brother Edmund played large roles in the subduing of the rebellion of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in Wales. The principality was soon brought under English control and the Mortimer family proved to be invaluable marcher lords to King Edward I. Throughout the reign of Edward I Roger played a major role in Welsh politics, putting down sporadic rebellions in the region, and accumulated a vast amount of wealth and estates. In addition, he also participated in military expeditions to France and Scotland, gaining the king's disfavor in the latter region when he was one of several lords to withdraw his troops (1307). However, the following year, Edward I died and was succeeded by his son, Edward II, who returned Mortimer to favor. Mortimer and his nephew, another Roger, did not appear to play any part in the downfall and death of the king's favorite Piers Gaveston and seem to have been more than preoccupied with their duties in Wales and the marches.
The Mortimer family did not openly rebel against the king until the early 1320s when a majority of the nobility was up in arms, led by Edward II's cousin, the powerful Earl of Lancaster. It is most likely the rising power of to men named Hugh Despencer (father and son) within the king's government that drove the Mortimers into open rebellion. Apparently, the Despencers were putting a number of policies into effect that interfered with the Mortimer power-base in the Welsh marches and the fact that their influence with the king was so dominant, left Roger and his nephew between a rock and a hard place. The Mortimers quickly mustered an army but were not fast enough for the king, who showed uncharacteristically brave behavior when...
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