20 June, 2006

Almost the Anniversary of Piers Gaveston's Death

Piers was executed/murdered on 19 June 1312. Guy Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, seized him from the custody of the earl of Pembroke and imprisoned him in Warwick Castle for a few days. The earls of Lancaster, Hereford and Arundel arrived at the castle and sentenced him to death. He was led a couple of miles away to Blacklow Hill, which was on the earl of Lancaster's lands, and beheaded. This was a great favour, a nobleman's death, granted to him because he was the brother-in-law of the earl of Gloucester. His body was taken to Oxford, where the friars couldn't bury him as he had died excommunicate. Eventually, the Pope lifted the excommunication, but Edward II still refused to bury the embalmed body of his beloved favourite until January 1315.

In memoriam: Piers Gaveston, c. 1283 - 19 June 1312.

13 comments:

Susan Higginbotham said...

A sad day. Have you ever been to Blacklow Hill?

Gabriele C. said...

And here I thought Isabella tried to cut his head off with her sewing scissors. :p

Alianore said...

Gabriele: LOL!!
Susan: No, unfortunately not. The name seems to have changed since the Middle Ages - if you google 'Blacklow Hill', you only get references to Gaveston's death. I think there's some memorial to him in the area, though.

Susan Higginbotham said...

There is a memorial, with a rather mean-spirited inscription:

'In the Hollow of this Rock, Was beheaded, On the 1st Day of July, 1312, By Barons lawless as himself, PIERS GAVESTON, Earl of Cornwall; The Minion of a hateful King: In Life and Death, A memorable Instance of Misrule.'

The memorial itself looks impressive, though.

Anonymous said...

Have been there. It's cool if a little tricky to get there!

Anonymous said...

What a horrible inscription!

I hope to make it to Blacklow Hill this summer - so for those who have been there - is it easy to find? I remember looking for it around Wooten Basset (excuse spelling). How far is it from Warwick castle?

thanks, Anerje

Anerje said...

Phew! I can post as myself now:)

Alianore said...

Hi Anerje! It is a really horrible inscription, isn't it? Why was Edward 'hateful'? All I can find out is that the memorial is at Leek Wootton, which is a couple of miles from Warwick castle - though another site says the memorial is between Warwick and Leek Wootton.

Anerje said...

That inscription was made at the end of the Victorian era - enough said, eh? And how wold hey know for certain that the stone was the exact same stone? I shall make it my mission to find it this summer!:)

Anonymous said...

Blacklow Hill is now enveloped in aninpenetrable circle barbed wire!!! Clearly the land is privately owned. The last time I went to view the location of his beheading, the area was riddled with lager cans, syringes, excrement etc.So in a way you can understand why it's been fenced off. But nevertheless it was very moving.

Alianore said...

Thanks for the info! What a shame to hear that the area is full of rubbish and...excrement?? I hope that means from dogs, not people - but still, ewww, what is wrong with people? Glad to hear you found your visit moving, though.

Bald Rick said...

A bit late but.........The Gaveston Cross and 'the hollow in the rock' are pretty easily accessible and not littered or dirty at all, although the monument is starting to show signs of serious erosion. The easiest way to get there is to follow the Coventry Rd north out of Warwick, turn left at the roundabout for Leek Wootton, and take the first left which is signposted 'North Woodloes'. Drive down this lane to the dead end, and you will see a farm gate. Climb over that, and head towards the woods in front of you. Once in the woods keep to the high ground, with the fence at the bottom of the hill on your left, the monument is about 200 yds inside the trees.

Kathryn Warner said...

Hi Rick, those are very helpful directions, thank you!