Because I'm feeling too lazy at the moment to write a post with a proper narrative, here's another hotch-potchy listy one, with some details of Edward II's possessions, gifts and other things. Oh, and a bit of a rant in the middle. And RIP Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent, beheaded on this day in 1330 at the age of only twenty-eight for attempting to free his half-brother Edward II from Corfe Castle. A courageous man who absolutely does not deserve the accusations of stupidity, gullibility and instability thrown at him by various historians who can't make sense of his plot to free a supposedly dead man otherwise.
- Edward borrowed forty pounds from the rich Genoese merchant Antonio di Pessagno - who often lent the king money and enjoyed a lot of influence at court - sometime before 6 June 1312 (when it was recorded on the Close Roll), to buy pearls for Queen Isabella. On his twenty-eighth birthday, 25 April 1312, Edward paid his minstrel King Robert two pounds for "taking large, white pearls to the king," whether the same ones he gave Isabella or not I don't know. Given the timing, the gift to the queen may well have been Edward's reaction to hearing the news of her first pregnancy.
- The King's Bling, Part 1. Edward II owned: a gold cross with two balas rubies, three sapphires and four pearls; an amethyst in gold, a sapphire in gold and a gold bar with relics; seven mounted stones, "of which we don't know the names except jasper and amethyst" (dount nous ne savoms les nons forque jaspre & amatistre); a gold clasp with two emeralds, two rubies, four pearls and a sapphire in the middle; fifteen gold spoons and another twelve gold spoons of a different kind, kept in two silver boxes; a silver chaplet decorated with "diverse jewels"; a gold salt-cellar with a silver pot inside (un saler d'or od un forel d'argent dedentz); a silver ship for incense; and that fabulously tacky-sounding "gold dragon with enamelled wings" I think I've mentioned here before. WANT ONE.
- Edward owned a crystal, said to be "from the daughter of Llywelyn, prince of Wales" (par la fille Leulyn prince de Gales). Presumably this means Gwenllian (June 1282-June 1337), sent to the priory of Sempringham in Lincolnshire as a baby by Edward I, after the death of her father in December 1282.
- On 14 June 1315, Edward gave twenty shillings to the sailors Thomas Springet, Edmund of Greenwich and William Kempe "for their labour in taking a whale," caught near London Bridge. Possibly this was the same whale, supposedly eighty feet long, mentioned with great excitement by the London and Pauline annalists as having been caught in the Thames in mid-February 1309.
- On 1 July 1308, Edward wrote to the chancellor John Langton "As next Sunday, 7 July, will be the anniversary of the king's father*, and the king wishes that the service for his soul on that day shall be done so well and solemnly in all points that nothing shall fail and it shall be to the king's honour; the king prays the chancellor dearly to be at the said service at Westminster both on the Saturday before at placebo and dirige and on the Sunday at mass, and to take pains with the other bishops and the treasurer, who will be there, that the service be well ordered." For Edward I's funeral in Westminster Abbey in October 1307, Edward II paid two pounds to William Attefenne, sumpter-man, "for the great labour he sustained in providing torches and leather for the body of the deceased king."
* The first anniversary of Edward I's death.
- Edward paid thirty-five shillings to seventy Dominicans on 28 November 1315 "for performing divine service at the anniversary of the lady the queen, mother of the present lord the king." That was the twenty-fifth anniversary of Eleanor of Castile's death.
- Part of a letter from Edward I to Pope Clement V regarding Pedro, cardinal-bishop of Santa Sabina, on 3 January 1307: "We thank your holiness for sending such messengers, and especially the cardinal, who should love our son Edward who is of the blood of Spain, his own country."
- On 5 February 1308, Edward II returned £272, ten shillings and four pence to his clerk Richard de Lutheburgh, "for so much money as the same Richard lent to the lord the king at Boulogne, against the festivity of the nuptials of the same lord the king there."
- In Kent in mid-January 1308, before setting off for said wedding, Edward ordered the mayor and sheriffs of London to provide and deliver "a ship for the king's tents" for his retinue to sleep in once they reached France, sent his baker William Hathewy ahead to Boulogne "to make preparations for the reception of the king," and ordered William le Portour to find "300 boards of the longest to be found for making tables."
- Edward told "the very high, very excellent and very noble prince, our very dear lord and father" Philippe IV of France in a letter of 30 December 1307 that with God's help (alaide de DIEU), he would meet Philippe at Boulogne on Sunday 21 January 1308 to pay homage to him for Gascony and Ponthieu and, of course, to marry Philippe's daughter Isabella. The wedding, des esposailles, was scheduled for Wednesday 24 January. In the end, Edward left Dover on 22 January, sailed to Wissant, arrived at Boulogne three days late on the 24th and married Isabella on the 25th. I've seen it suggested, in the usual 'Let's interpret every single little thing that Edward II ever did in the most negative light possible!' way that lots of commentators have, that Edward deliberately arrived late in order to insult Philippe and/or Isabella. This is incredibly unlikely, and it's far more probable that inclement weather conditions and the roughness of the Channel were to blame. It was January, for pete's sake! Journeys by sea back then could take an inordinately long time, even at a warmer time of year: Piers Gaveston's cousin Bertrand Caillau told Hugh Despenser the Younger at the end of May 1325 that it had taken him eleven days to sail from Portsmouth to Bordeaux. I don't see how Isabella could possibly have been offended by the fact that her wedding took place a day later than she'd been expecting; what the heck difference did one day make in the fourteenth century?
- Edward and Isabella arrived back at Dover on 7 February 1308; Piers Gaveston, regent of England in Edward II's absence, had ordered various noblemen and women to be waiting for them there on 4 February (the Sunday after the Purification, as the writs had it), three days before the king and queen actually arrived. It has also been suggested that "Gaveston must have taken great pleasure in issuing the summons himself, deliberately bringing them to Dover at least four days [sic] before the new bride arrived, an uncomfortable sojourn in a bleak channel port..." Yeah, because in those days of instantaneous communication via phone and internet and super-fast reliable transport, obviously Piers knew exactly to the minute when Edward and Isabella would arrive in England but just thought it would be fun to force people to hang around in the depths of winter waiting for them. I suppose Edward just forgot to text his sister and cousin and the others to tell them his real arrival time and all the internet cafes in Boulogne and Wissant were closed because of the wedding festivities. And from the description, I take it we're supposed to assume that the noblemen and women had to huddle together on the docks, even at night, because it's not as though the "bleak channel port" of Dover had an enormous and luxurious royal castle where they could have stayed, is it? Sheesh, some writers really go out of their way to find fault with Edward II and Piers Gaveston.
- The King's Bling, Part 2. Edward II owned: a "small belt of pearls"; a belt of white-silver thread; a belt with bands of silver and gold; two belts of silk covered with pearls, worth ten pounds each; a silver belt with enamelled silver escutcheons; a belt made of lion skin, decorated in gold with a cameo; a belt "decorated with ivory, engraved with a purse hanging from it, with a Saracen face" (une ceynture hernisse d'ivoir entaille od un aloer pendaunt od visage de Saracyn).
- Talking of Saracens, just before he and Isabella left England to visit France on 23 May 1313, Edward II ordered Robert Kendale, constable of Dover Castle, "to pay to six Saracens, whom the king is sending to him to stay in Dover castle, 6d each daily for their expenses." Unfortunately, I haven't (yet) found any more references to them.
- Edward gave his niece Margaret de Clare a roan-coloured palfrey as a present - among others - when she married Piers Gaveston on 1 November 1307. The horse cost twenty pounds. At the same time, Edward bought himself two destriers, "the one a bay and the other white spotted," at fifty-two pounds for both.
- The horses which the earl of Lancaster seized from the king when Edward and Piers Gaveston hurriedly left (OK, 'fled from') Tynemouth in May 1312 included a bay and a black rouncy with stars on their foreheads, an iron-grey destrier, twelve cart-horses and nine pack-horses.
- On 19 March 1320, Edward gave two pounds to John de Brabancia (Brabant, I suppose), "minstrel of the count of Esshe and Doring, coming to the king with news of his son." I haven't been able to figure out who the count of 'Esshe and Doring' was.
- Edward II tried for several years, ultimately unsuccessfully, to found a house of Dominican nuns at Langley in Hertfordshire, where he had founded a priory in 1308 and buried Piers Gaveston in January 1315. On 9 March 1323, Edward wrote to Hervey, master of the Dominican order, asking him to find four devout women from the monasteries of Montargis, Poissy or Rouen who were "prepared to come to this realm at the king’s pleasure." Presumably Hervey was unable to find any, as nothing came of it.
- On 29 July 1326 Edward gave a gift of a pound, by his own hands, to Wille, one of his household purveyors, who had brought crabs and prawns to him. Edward "said that for a long time, nothing had been so much to his liking" (qil dit q' long temps ne vient chose tant au gre).
- The King's Bling, Part 3. Edward II owned: a jewelled gold buckle with a white cameo; a gold buckle with four emeralds, five rubies and four pearls; a piece of gold jewellery with nine emeralds and nine garnets, with a white cameo in the middle, enamelled on the other part; an ivory box decorated with silver, with four feet; a pair of gilded silver basins, another pair of silver basins enamelled inside with escutcheons, six silver basins with escutcheons of the arms of Piers Gaveston on the base (sis bacins d'argent od eschocons des armes le dit Pieres en le fonce), and two silver hand-basins; other silver pots, saucers and dishes far too numerous to count; gold cups far too numerous to count; "a box of gilded silver, for carrying within it a ring around the neck of a man" (une boiste d'argent en d'orre pur porter eynz un anel entour le col de un homme); a large silver pot with three feet for heating water; a silver ship with four gold oars, enamelled on the sides.
- In about February 1311, Edward ordered lots of fish for himself and his household to consume during Lent. Payments made to merchants included four shillings and sixpence to Elye Botoun for cod, two shillings and sixpence to Elye Belle also for cod, seventy-six shillings to Fermin of Pounfreyt (Pontefract) for unspecified piscine provisions, and eleven shillings to Clement the butcher for "lard and grease."
- The King's Bling, Part 4. Among the items which passed from Earl Edmund of Cornwall (died 1300) to his first cousin and heir Edward I, and thereafter presumably to Edward II, were: a thorn from the Crown of Thorns; "the Red Book called 'Textus' on which magnates are wont to swear," and the intriguing-sounding "dragon's blood in dust with a cluttellus," whatever that is. One of the presents Queen Marguerite gave Edward I as his New Year 1302 gift was "two silver platters called 'Lechefrithe'."
Society of Antiquaries MS 122; Calendar of Close Rolls 1307-1313; Calendar of Patent Rolls 1307-1313; Calendar of Chancery Warrants 1244-1326; Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland 1272-1307; Ibid., 1308-1348; Foedera, II, i; J. S. Hamilton, Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall 1307-1312: Politics and Patronage in the Reign of Edward II; Frederick Devon, Issues of the Exchequer: Being A Collection of Payments Made Out of His Majesty’s Revenue from King Henry III to King Henry VI Inclusive; Richard Rastall, 'Secular Musicians in Late Medieval England' (PhD thesis).