21 October, 2006
Novels, names and Nottingham (and a tomb)
This is the tomb of Hugh le Despenser the younger, buried in Tewkesbury Abbey in late 1330 or early 1331, after the five parts of his body had been on public display around England for four years. The tomb was much mutilated in the sixteenth century, and used to contain forty statues. The coffin actually belongs to Abbot John Cotes, who died in 1347 - and who was probably the man who presided over Hugh's funeral. For some reason, his coffin was placed in the tomb in the seventeenth century. Despenser's remains are presumably underneath.
Barbara Green of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society has left a long and fascinating comment on an old post, here. Many thanks for that, Barbara! She points out that, contrary to popular belief, the real Robin Hood most likely did not live in Richard I's reign, but in Edward II's. This has inspired me to follow up her references and read more about this. (Anyone watching the BBC's Robin Hood, by the way? I caught the first one during my holiday. One episode was more than enough, I think.)
Remember the romance novel Infamous, that I reviewed a while back? The sequel Notorious is due out next May, starring Jory de Warenne's daughter Brianna. According to this message board, the hero is Roger Mortimer's son....Wolf.
Words fail me.
A novel far superior to this one, I'm sure, is currently being written - one that takes place in 1330 and has the hero playing a role in Edward III's coup against Isabella and Roger Mortimer (yes, the one who fathered a son named Wolf. Allegedly.) I don't know the identity of the author, but you can see an extract of her work in progress here. She was also kind enough to leave some comments on the post below this one. Isabella, according to the author, is very much the 'She-Wolf' here - in my view, a welcome antidote to the fawning dissertations, biographies and novels featuring Isabella that are currently fashionable.
And finally, on the subject of Edward III's 1330 coup, Susan Higginbotham has written an excellent post on the subject. The 676th anniversary fell a couple of days ago (assuming my maths is correct; it's been a long week). Susan draws attention to Isabella and Mortimer's foolish behaviour during their regency. They'd invaded England supposedly to liberate the people from the tyranny of the Despenser regime, but proved themselves to be even greedier and less able to command the loyalty of their followers - something all too often conveniently ignored in recent works on Isabella.