Happy New Year! Hope you all had a great festive season. I'll write a proper post as soon as I get my life organised, but in the meantime, here's a short one...
First of all, a belated "Thank You!" to Carla Nayland for giving me a 'Roar for Powerful Words' blog award. *Is very pleased and honoured*.
Here's an interesting article in The Times about Edward II's tomb.
Kevin Bradford has set up a great blog on the Plantagenet dynasty, which looks like a really helpful resource. Also, thanks to Kevin for his intelligent and thought-provoking comments here on the blog, and I'm looking forward to continuing our discussions.
I was very happy to receive an email from Tony Pratt, honorary historian of the Lackham Museum of Agriculture and Rural Life Trust, who's researching the medieval Bluet family and is also interested in the Gascelyn family, including Edmund Gascelyn, their home Sheldon Manor, and the town of Chippenham in Wiltshire. Edmund Gascelyn was a member of the Dunheved gang, and I'm delighted that someone else is taking an interest in him!
I've been reading Eleanor Herman's gossipy and extremely readable Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics. Who can resist a title like that? Great stuff, except for her comment that Queen Isabella "had known only the smooth girlish hands of Edward [II] on her..." Pffft! Would a man who dug ditches, built walls, thatched roofs and went rowing have smooth girlish hands? I think not. Should have done more research, Ms Herman.
I also giggled at her depiction of Isabella and Roger Mortimer's affair: "And now this heated warrior took her, roughly at first, then tenderly. And he never, ever, imagined she was a man." Unlike poor Edward II, who "must have fantasized that he was actually making love to Piers Gaveston." She does describe Mortimer, though, as the "heterosexual version of the Despensers. Greedy, arrogant, and ambitious, he too confiscated estates from their rightful owners." Ah well, these heated warriors with their rough and tender lovemaking, they can't help grabbing an estate or two dozen.
Despite the above comments, I do actually recommend the book! It's wildly entertaining and enormous fun.
EDIT: just noticed a bit where Herman says that Edward II "allowed her [Isabella] to rule England for him" and in 1321, Isabella "had ruled a nation for almost a decade". That's so, sooo not the case. Edward II didn't give Isabella any political power, and she certainly wasn't ruling the country!
I've also just started Nancy Goldstone's Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe, about Edward II's grandmother Eleanor of Provence, and his great-aunts Marguerite, queen of France, Sanchia, queen of the Romans (Germany), and Beatrice, queen of Sicily. A most enjoyable and informative read.
2008 will be a busy year on the blog, as we're hitting a lot of the 700th anniversaries of Edward II's life and reign: his wedding to Isabella, his coronation, Piers Gaveston's second exile, the start of Edward's deadly conflict with his cousin Thomas of Lancaster, and many more!