Thank you to Carla Nayland for giving me a blog award! Much appreciated, Carla.
I always find it amusing - though also depressing - to read the crap about Edward II that some people put online, and believe me, there's a lot of stupid inaccurate crap about him out there (not only online, either). The 682nd anniversary a couple of days ago of his alleged death at Berkeley Castle on 21 September 1327 has brought up the usual oh-so-tediously-predictable rash of blog posts about the red-hot poker, some rather more misinformed than others: one claimed that Edward was, and I quote, "ignobly killed, some say by his wife and/or his gay lover. Death was adminstered by a red hot poker up the bum while he was on the toilet." Oh, the boundless confusion in that one! Love the idea of Isabella and Edward's gay lover, which presumably means Hugh Despenser, conspiring to have him murdered, and the fact that Hugh had been dead for ten months at the time of Edward's supposed death be damned. (Given that there are novels which have Roger Mortimer fathering Edward III even though he was in a different country to Isabella at the time of Edward's conception, and online articles postulating that Edward I fathered Edward III, that shouldn't pose a problem if anyone feels like writing a crappy novel about it.) Or maybe it was Isabella and her gay lover? Maybe Roger Mortimer was secretly a woman! Hey, I definitely feel a crappy sensationalist novel coming on here. And if readers complain that turning Mortimer into a woman or having Despenser alive ten months after his death is stupid and disrespectful, not to mention completely impossible, I can always shriek "But it's FICTION!!!! If you want historical accuracy, read a biography!" in the shouty and also tediously predictable manner of some commentators on Amazon.
That phrase 'Death was administered...' makes me giggle: "If you could just lie on your stomach, Mr Caernarfon, and please make sure you remain absolutely still while we administer death up your back passage by red-hot poker." The bit about the toilet, by the way, actually comes from stories circulating in the late thirteenth century about the death of Edmund Ironside in 1016, and is not and never has been part of the red-hot poker myth about Edward II.
I love this particular paragraph from a blog post, which is wonderfully chock-full of wrongness: "Queen Isabella, wife of King Edward II, entertained her lover Mortimer at Nottingham Castle. Romantics believe that Isabella, who had been made a virtual prisoner by the King, received Mortimer at the castle after he had gained entry by climbing the inn’s 20 metre long chimney, which was reputed to lead to a secret passageway into the castle. Isabella eventually escaped with her lover to France from where in 1326 she overthrew her husband and subsequently caused his murder at Berkeley Castle." I can only stand back and admire as the writer manages to turn Edward III's arrest of Roger Mortimer at Nottingham Castle in 1330 into a dashingly romantic tale of Mortimer himself secretly entering the castle to see his One Twu Wuv. And as a bonus, there's the inclusion of the tired old myths that Isabella 'escaped' from England to France in 1325, and that Edward III imprisoned her in 1330 for the rest of her life - I assume the 'virtual prisoner' bit is a reference to that, unless the writer erroneously believes that Edward II imprisoned her. Actually, given the wrongness of all the rest, s/he probably did believe that. This whole thing shows that if you're going to get things wrong, you might as well get them magnificently wrong, I suppose.
Blog post regarding Isabella's death in 1358: "When she died, she asked to be entombed with Mortimer's heart placed in her casket." Nope; Isabella was buried with Edward II's heart, not Mortimer's, and with the gown she wore for her and Edward's wedding. She wasn't buried next to Mortimer at the Greyfriars church in London either, a myth still often repeated as fact.
Spotted on two so-called 'history' sites: Edward "turned over to Gaveston all of the wedding gifts Isabella brought to the marriage - including the marriage bed" and "King Philip IV of France had given Edward some fancy jewelry which was found to be hanging on Gaveston's neck the very next day." Giving Piers Gaveston the marriage bed?? Where on earth do people get this stuff, and why do they post it as 'fact'? Piers wearing Isabella's jewellery the day after her wedding - what, did Edward send it to him back in England via UPS? For pity's sake, isn't Edward II's story fascinating enough without inventing such lurid fiction? Apparently not; it seems that history has to be sexed up, dumbed down and made as scandalous as possible these days. Even the Telegraph, yes, the Telegraph of all newspapers, feels the need to write sensational articles about Edward II's GAY LOVER!!!
Extract from another recent blog post: Edward "was later deposed by Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer, disappearing behind the walls of Pontefract Castle." A confusion between Edward and his great-grandson Richard II, imprisoned at Pontefract in 1399 after his deposition. Berkeley, Pontefract, what's the difference? Well, OK, about 180 miles for a start. And it was hardly Isabella and Mortimer themselves who deposed Edward.
Another Spreading Misinformation About Edward II Award for stating something as fact that patently isn't: "One member of the British royalty caught having homosexual relations suffered an even more grisly fate: Edward II’s penalty was being held down while a red hot poker was jammed through his rectum and intestines." I wonder who it was who was meant to have 'caught' Edward having sexual relations with men? Number of blog posts and articles online which repeat as certain fact that Edward was gay and murdered in this fashion because of his sexual preferences: far, far too many to count.
An interesting and astonishingly farfetched notion of the consequences of Isabella and Mortimer's invasion of 1326: "In fact, with out Isabella doing what she did, most of the democratic freedoms that the world enjoys today may never have come about." And there was me thinking her sole or at least her overwhelming priority was to get herself into a position where she could grant herself staggeringly enormous amounts of money - if not, she certainly did a very realistic impression from 1327 to 1330 of a person who cared about little else but granting herself staggeringly enormous amounts of money - but nooooo, she was Isabella Of France, Bringing Democratic Freedom To The Whole World. Who knew?
I sometimes see my blog posts reposted online having been run through an automated translator and then put back into English, with hilariously awful results. Here's a typically bad translation of this post, which translates "life went on as normal for Edward to a great extent" as "life-force went on as unextravagant in guy of Edward to a Brobdingnagian expanse," "he still found time to have a bit of fun and take some outdoor exercise" as "he soothe base spell to essential a measure out of making whoopee and consume some out of doors anguish," and "bright blue English cloth" as "bright smutty English constitution." So there you go; in 1326, Edward II was making whoopee and consuming anguish with bright smutty cloth. You read it here first.
And finally, some recent blog searches. On the topic of searches and red-hot pokers, a recent episode of the TV show The Tudors had someone being tortured by having a red-hot poker inserted inside him, which increased my blog hits noticeably as people went online to search for it. Cheers for that, writers! If I had a pound for every time someone hit this blog searching for 'red-hot poker' in the last few years, I'd be a very rich woman.
Hot pocker deaths in the Tower of London
queen isabell sexual escapeds Don't know what they are, but they sound like fun.
if edward II were alive today he'd be presenting a TV show about keeping fit? A builder? A plumber? Answers on a postcard.
Edward II Spanish Warrior Now that's how Edward should have branded himself at the start of his reign, before everyone realised that he had no ability as a general whatsoever.
edward I bought cabbages off peasants Edward I would have died a thousand deaths before doing something like that. Edward II did, though.
what happened 700 years ago
who lived 700 years ago I do love vague searches.
murder caese involving the name Gurney
queens of england admitting adultery -diana -tudors
EDWARD THE ii TORTURED
john di warenne The earl of Surrey turns Italian.
who was john warenne The earl of Surrey who couldn't keep it in his pants.
most gruesome and terrible execution methods and deaths in history Remember, we're looking for gruesome and terrible deaths. Merely gruesome just won't cut it.
edward 11 good or bad Duh, good, obviously. Oh, you mean objectively? Well...
extreme lashes neartest to rochester ny I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that my blog didn't prove terribly helpful in answering that question.was isabella of castille cursed for the reconquista Ditto.
what problems did edward the confessor's death cause? And ditto.
ow did eleanor of aquitaine endure imprisonment for such a long time
nigel brotherton fair maid norway Ah yes, Edward II's well-known half-brother Nigel of Brotherton.
would a red hot poker up the bottom kill you Let's hope none of us ever have to find out.
perverted girl isabel translations
edward II wicked men blogspot
names for early people
Edward V1- bizarre fact
photos of 1306 era
1312 husband poisoned wife for not have male baby
king of england with the nickname nan an gang Ummm, huh?
See you in a couple of weeks! Posts to come include pics of North Wales, the next part (finally!) of my biography of the wonderful Henry of Grosmont, and another joint piece by my friend Rachel and myself on the Support Group For Historical People Unfairly Maligned In Crap Novels. And of course lots more posts about Edward II, who might have been a disastrous king, completely out of step with contemporary expectations of a ruler and lacking in regal dignity, but at least he was a person you can imagine having a right good laugh with, the life and soul of the party. Or, as an online translator insists on putting it, "Edward muscle essential been a catastrophic regent, unambiguously gone away from of not in harmony with newfangled expectations of a ruler and lacking in paramount repute, but at least he was a herself you can devise having a fair and square movables money on the floor with, the life-force and chain of the ball."