HUGH LE DESPENSER (d. 1265), chief justiciar of England, first plays an important part in 1258, when he was prominent on the baronial side in the Mad Parliament of Oxford. In 1260 the barons chose him to succeed Hugh Bigod as justiciar, and in 1263 the king was further compelled to put the Tower of London in his hands. On the outbreak of civil war he joined the party of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, and led the Londoners when they sacked the manor-house of Isleworth, belonging to Richard, earl of Cornwall, king of the Romans. Having fought at Lewes (1264) he was made governor of six castles after the battle, and was then appointed one of the four arbitrators to mediate between Simon de Montfort and Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester. He was summoned to Simon de Montfort's parliament in 1264, and acted as justiciar throughout the earl's dictatorship. Despenser was killed at Evesham in August 1265. See C. Bbmont, Simon de Montfort (Paris, 1884); T. F. Tout in Owens College Historical Essays, pp. 76 ff. (Manchester, 1902).
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