08 March, 2010

The Prince Of Wales Goes Swimming And Buys A Collar For His Lion

A post about some interesting entries in Edward of Caernarfon's household accounts as prince of Wales in the early 1300s, before he succeeded as King Edward II.

- One of my absolute favourite Edward snippets ever is this one: on 25 February 1303, when Edward was eighteen years and ten months old, he had to pay four shillings compensation to his fool Robert Bussard. The reason? The two men went swimming together that day* at Windsor and Robert was injured in some way by "the trick the Prince played on him in the water." I love this for its demonstration of a) Edward's love of the water, b) his playfulness, and c) possibly, his underestimating his own great strength.

* In February! Makes me feel cold just thinking about it. Of course, this was Edward II, who went swimming and rowing for a month in the autumn of 1315 when it poured down every day, sat in a garden listening to people singing for him in York on 26 December 1322 and ate in the park of South Elmham on 14 January 1326, and who therefore seems to have been pretty immune to cold.

- Adam of Lichfield, "keeper of the Prince's lion," received two pence a day in wages, while the lion got four pence worth of food a day, in late 1302 and early 1303. During Edward's reign, Peter Fabre of Montpellier, "keeper of the king's lion and leopard" at the Tower of London, received one and a half pence a day for his wages while the lion and leopard were allowed six pence a day each for food. (Both animals got a quarter of mutton daily.) Adam of Lichfield spent two shillings and nine pence on a chain and collar for the lion in 1303. In 1312, one of Edward II's possessions seized at Tynemouth by Thomas of Lancaster was "a belt made of lion skin, decorated in gold with a cameo"; as Susan Higginbotham pointed out recently on Edward's Facebook page, let's hope it wasn't the same lion!

- Edward had a fowler with the unusual name of Papeiday (also spelt 'Papeiay' in another entry), who on 9 October 1303 paid four shillings and eight pence in London for a "net to catch partridges" on Edward's orders.

- William the bookbinder (le bokbyndere) of London made an illustrated Life of St Edward the Confessor in French for Edward in November 1302, which cost fifty-eight shillings.

- In early 1303, two leather coffers were purchased for two shillings each, to carry Edward's two urinals in Scotland. (In 1326, the possessions which Edward left behind at Caerphilly Castle included a "chest of hide" for two urinals.) Edward also spent thirty-two shillings, four and a half pence on "a pair of long coffers for his linen" and eight shillings on "a new pair of great trunks for his iron armour."

- On Sunday 6 November 1300, sixteen-year-old Edward dined at Carlisle with his stepmother Queen Marguerite, who had given birth to his half-brother Thomas of Brotherton five months before and must have fallen pregnant again at this time, as Edward's other half-brother Edmund of Woodstock was born on 5 August 1301. (No, I'm certainly not trying to suggest that Edmund was Edward's son, not his brother. That would be way too icky and weird. Talking of weirdness, a novel published recently claims that Simon de Montfort, married to Henry III's sister Eleanor, was the real father of Henry III's son Edward I. My first, instinctive reaction: WTF??!! My later, more considered reaction: WTF??!! Poor Eleanor of Provence, and poor Henry III. I have to say that I'm well and truly sick of the trend in historical fiction to sex up novels by claiming that real historical people were not the biological children of their fathers. Maybe you can't libel the dead, but it's so disrespectful.)

- Some nice details about fourteenth-century life: Edward of Caernarfon paid John le Haltrere of Doncaster thirty-six shillings on 16 May 1303 for, among other things, "new leather hoods for the cart and sumpter horses" and at the same time bought forty-two sickles "to cut forage for the horses"; Edward's clerk Hugh of Leominster bought a canvas tent for Edward's cart-horses; William Conrad, bowyer of the Tower of London, was paid for providing four pounds of "sinews of sea-dogs" to make bows and ballistas.

- On 18 April 1303 at York, Edward paid six shillings and three pence for three and a half ells of russet cloth and four ells of canvas "to make two housings for a ferrand charger given by the Prince to a Spanish archdeacon that day."

- On 12 June, the keeper of Edward's horses bought four and a half ells of bluet cloth at twenty-two pence an ell and eight and a half ells of russet at eighteen pence an ell to make housings for four of Edward's chargers. The keeper was Laurence of Chertsey; he and his page received six pence a day in wages (together, not each), and he spent more than eighty-five pounds looking after thirty-two of Edward's chargers and palfreys from November 1302 to May 1303.

- Edward purchased various pieces of armour from 'Manekin the armourer of London' and 'Bernard of Devon armourer of London' in 1302/03, including three bascinets, an iron headpiece with crest, a helmet with visor and a pair of plate gloves. 4300 pieces of gold thread at eight shillings and four pence per 1000 were bought for two of his gambesons (padded jackets), and twenty-six shillings were spent to make four "pennoncels of beaten gold with the Prince's arms for his trumpeters."

- Clothes bought for Edward in London in early 1303 included eighteen pairs of gloves at three shillings, three pairs of boots which cost three shillings and eight pence each, and six pairs of leather breeches and four of samite at nineteen shillings. Cloth was bought for him and his household in June at the 'fair of St Ivo'.

- Other material bought for Edward and his household in 1302/03 included: sixteen 'mixed cloths of Ghent' for Edward and the earls and bannerets attending him, which cost ten marks each; twenty-four striped cloths for his squires which cost five and a half marks each, and six for 'the Welshmen of the household' which cost four marks each; three and a half cloths of 'Persian bluet' for Edward and his earls and bannerets for Easter, total cost nearly twenty pounds; sixteen 'cloths of clear green' for the prince, earls and bannerets which cost seven marks each; three cloths of the same colour for some new knights of his household which cost five and a half marks each, for Pentecost; four 'russet cloths of Douai' for Michaelmas; a cloth of striped scarlet, cost fifteen marks, for Edward and his cousin John of Brittany for the feasts of the Assumption and All Saints.

- During the thirty-first year of his father's reign, November 1302 to November 1303, Edward spent almost £570 on chargers, palfreys, hackneys and other horses for himself and his household. The most expensive horse, which cost 110 marks, was a "morel with white hind foot and white muzzle." In September 1303, Edward received a gift of a palfrey from "the wife of Sir Alexander Comyn," which I assume means Joan Latimer, wife of Alexander Comyn, sheriff of Aberdeen and brother of John Comyn, earl of Buchan. (Alexander and Joan's daughter Alice married Edward's kinsman Henry Beaumont.)

- Edward spent seven pounds, nineteen shillings and two pence on 'falcons gentil' in May 1303, bought for him in Flanders by his falconer, Gilet. That same month, Edward received a gift of two falcons from John, marquis of Namur, one of the sons of Guy de Dampierre, count of Flanders (the young Edward was betrothed to John's sister Philippa in the 1290s; another sister married his first cousin Alexander of Scotland, who died in 1284 and was the elder son of King Alexander III).

- In the summer of 1303 in Scotland, Edward had "a bodyguard of Spaniards, 7 crossbowmen and 2 with lances." His chamberlain in November 1301 was Roderick of Castile (Rotherik Despaigne), who had been a member of Edward's household since at least February 1290 (when the future king wasn't yet six), was knighted with him in May 1306 and was still serving him in October 1308. In April 1312, Edward asked his cousin King Fernando IV of Castile to show favour to Roderick's widow Mary and their children.

- Edward spent sixty pounds in March 1303 on a "choir cope embroidered with various work and white pearls" for Pedro, the Spanish cardinal-bishop of Santa Sabina. Pedro met Edward when he visited England in late 1306 (and supposedly offered Edward the throne of Castile if Fernando IV died without a son).

- Edward's personal physician was Master Robert de Cisterne, who was paid over nine pounds for taking along medicines, syrups, ointments, powders, herbs and apples to Scotland in 1303. Master Robert's last name in October 1301 was spelt 'Oydisterne', and Edward sent him to London that month for "certain matters required for his [Edward's] body."

- On 21 November 1301, Edward I ordered provisions for his son's household to last until the following Candlemas (2 February), which included 20,000 herrings, 4000 "great fish," 2000 quarters of wheat and 2000 quarters of oats.

Eighteen-year-old Edward spent Christmas 1302 at Odiham in Hampshire, and as was his wont all his life from early adolescence onwards, spent five pounds playing dice on Christmas Eve; the money was delivered to him by the hands of a certain squire of his called 'Perott de Gavastone'. Hmmm, wonder what became of this mysterious Perott? I don't recognise the name, so he can't have been very important to Edward. (Joke.) Edward spent another five pounds gambling on 10 January 1303, the money again delivered to him by Perott. After spending a few days at Windsor in February, where he injured Robert Bussard while swimming, Edward made his way north to join his father and arrived at Tickhill in Yorkshire on 28 March, where he gave two shillings and sixpence each to "John of Horpol and his fellow clerks, wrestling before the prince." He was in Kelso in May 1303, shortly after his nineteenth birthday, where an unfortunate accident occurred: his hounds killed a horse belonging to one Richard Grandyn of Roxburgh, and Edward had to pay Grandyn a mark in compensation. The prince spent a day with the Dominicans of Roxburgh, who received three shillings and four pence for the costs involved, and the following day gave four shillings and eight pence in oblations at the Mass celebrated in his chapel at Kelso. On Trinity Sunday, he gave a very generous gift of twelve shillings each to his minstrels Thomasin le Vilour, John Garsie, John of Cateloyne (Catalonia) and Janin le Nakarer, for their performance.

Edward spent Christmas 1303 at Perth in Scotland, and on Christmas Day dined with Thomas, earl of Lancaster and John of Brittany, earl of Richmond, two of his first cousins (and later, enemies); the earls of Warwick (Guy Beauchamp), Ulster (Richard de Burgh), Atholl (John de Strathbogie, hanged by Edward I three years later) and Strathearn (Malise); Hugh Despenser the Elder, Richard Siward, Alexander Abernethy and other English, Scottish and Irish magnates, not named. Among much else, they consumed forty lambs, twelve swans and two cranes. The future king's accounts reveal his enthusiasm for playing dice, on which he spent over thirty-two pounds in the regnal year November 1302 to November 1303. This included two pounds playing with "diverse knights" on the feast of John the Baptist, 24 June, six shillings on an unknown date playing with 'Lord Louis of France' (Philippe IV's half-brother Louis d'Evreux) and two pounds with his brother-in-law Ralph de Monthermer on the feast of St Laurence, 10 August. Edward lost a pound to another of his brothers-in-law (and yet another future enemy) the earl of Hereford on 16 November 1303. His chamber journal reveals that he was still enthusiastically playing dice (and cross and pile) in the summer of 1326.

Sources

Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland 1272-1307; Calendar of Patent Rolls 1281-1292, 1307-1313; Calendar of Close Rolls 1307-1313, 1313-1318; Constance Bullock-Davies, Menestrellorum Multitudo: Minstrels at a Royal Feast.

37 comments:

Ceirseach said...

(Both animals got a quarter of mutton daily.)

Poor animals. For a start, it should be a half 2-3 times a week, rather than a quarter daily. For that is how their digestion works. And also, I hope they knew they had to give them smaller white meat as well, preferably with bones still in it, or sprinkle calcium powder on their red meat, or they would very quickly develop serious calcium deficiency.

Premodern zoos make me sad. By which I mean, most zoos before about 1980. And many that still exist.

Gabriele C. said...

Swimming in February - wow. I'm not a whimp and I can be found in the water still in October and as early as late March, but I haven't tried to swim in the Baltic Sea in Feburary - this year, there's still ice along the shores. :)

Ceirseach said...

Well, the Gilbert and Sullivan opera 'the Pirates of Penzance' has the girls taking off their shoes and socks to go paddling during a brisk cheerful walk along a beach, in Penzance, Cornwall, on what we know (through later pedantic play on the tenor's technical vs actual birthday) is the 28th of February.

Perhaps they just breed them hardier over there!

Ashmodai said...

Awesome!
Poor fool. :-D
Well, Ned seemed to like fish a lot.
Thanks so much for that, I wouldn't even know how to get my hands on those calendars.

Daphne said...

Swimming in February would be cold indeed!! I find these accounts so interesting as it gives a glimpse into their lives - you can tell a lot about a person by what they spend their money on!

I'm curious as to which book you are referring to - so I can stay away from it!!

Gabriele C. said...

Oh, walks along the beach can be fun all year - provided the water is still liquid. :)

Ceirseach said...

And that would be why they put salt in it!

Louis X said...

Oh, I should like to have a lion and a leopard! Our dear brother always has the most interesting things. :D

I remember this Fleming girl, Philippa. She came to live with us, after our father found out about that sneaky betrothal. Those silly Flemings. Tsk! Nothing but trouble. ;)

Kathryn said...

Ceirseach: thanks for the info about food - good to know. I wince at the thought of all those poor animals in premodern zoos and menageries, and I wouldn't bet on the fact that they knew to give them smaller white meat too.

Gabriele: I know, swimming outside in February, what a thought! Brrrr. I wonder if the very hardy Ned had to break the ice to jump in - I certainly wouldn't put it past him. :)

Thanks, Ashmodai! Ned certainly did love his fish, didn't he - especially when he bought it himself fresh from the fishermen. ;) Some of the calendars are available online, and others can be bought for not too much money. (I couldn't do without them any more! :)

Daphne: I feel frozen just at the thought of swimming in February. :) The accounts are great, aren't they - so many lovely insights into people.
I've emailed you about the book!

Louis: you should have said! I'm sure Edward could have arranged something for you. ;)
I wondered if you would remember the poor Flanders girl, as your father, ahem, showed her such kind hospitality. In a manner of speaking. :)

Louis X said...

True, I am certain my dear brother would have been pleased to help me find such exotic pets, but I am loathe to ask for such things. If I must be indebted for something, let it be for ships or soldiers or large sums of money, and not for pets. ;)

It is also true that our father did not like for things to be outside his control. Still, I cannot help but wonder how things would have turned out, had Edward married Philippa instead of my sister. She might have been more submissive and less likely to take a stand against her husband than Isabella (who is, in all ways, her father's daughter). But without doubt, it would have meant more terrible wars for us all, and sooner than they came, otherwise.

Gabriele C. said...

Ceirseach, the Baltic Sea freezes in cold winters. Sometimes the entire sea, in less severe winters only the northern part between Finland and Russia, the Bodden and other flater areas. This year the coastal waters are totally frozen.

Clement of the Glen said...

This is why I enjoy reading your blog so much Katheryn-you give such fascinating details that would never be found in an ordinary history book.

Medieval time travel at its best!

Susan Higginbotham said...

Love all these details! (Maybe the lion collar was made after the lion died of lion old age?)

Brad Verity said...

Great post, Kathryn. I love all the details. Edward's household was quite a company: knights, trumpeters, minstrels, esquires, horses, hounds, falcons, a leopard, and a lion.

Did John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, become an enemy of Edward? I remember he was the one English earl that Gaveston loved.

So great to have you bring out the details from the household accounts - they offer such insights. For example, it's nice to know that Edward kept Welshmen in his household. No wonder he was beloved there.

Kathryn said...

Louis: aha, I understand. :) I often wonder what would have happened if Ed II had married one of the fiancées he had before Isabella (did you know he was betrothed from 1291 to 1294 to your aunt Blanche, who later married the duke of Austria, Sire?). The most fascinating 'what if' to my mind is Margaret of Norway, the little queen of Scotland who died aged 7 in 1290 - if Ed had married her it might have spared centuries of English-Scots conflict, but for sure Ed would have had far more conflict with France instead.

Kathryn said...

Clement: awwww, thank you! What a lovely comment, and I'm really glad you like my blog!

Susan: hehe, maybe! ;)

Brad: thank you! I love Ed's accounts for these fascinating insights into him, his personality and the people around him.

Richmond was loyal to Ed for most of his reign (captured at the battle of Byland in Oct 1322, for instance, and Ed paid a ransom of 14,000 marks) but accompanied his son to France in Sept 1325 and subsequently joined Isabella and Mortimer. Ed seized his lands in March 1326; Richmond wrote to Ed explaining why he couldn't return, “which excuses the king deems wholly frivolous.”

Ashmodai said...

Thanks very much, I'll see where I can get them.
(Imagine me droolinmg now with a mad sparkle in my eyes... "Must! Have!")

Kathryn said...

Happy reading, Ashmodai! :) Let me know if you need any help finding stuff!

Louis X said...

Ma chère Kathryn, I do recall someone speaking of Blanche being betrothed to Edward, but at that time I was very young, and thus do not remember anything about it directly.

Indeed, it seemed pre-determined that, no matter who married whom, France and England should be at odds over something and no real lasting peace could be had.

Carla said...

How amazing to have all these details available!

Kathryn said...

Carla: yes, it's really amazing how much stuff is there when you start digging! I love it.

Mon cher Louis, indeed, you cannot have been more than five - maybe only four, now I come to think of it - when your lord father went to war with Edward I over Gascony and Blanche and young Ned's betrothal was broken off, and Ned betrothed to Philippa of Flanders instead. Sadly, it does seem that any alliance between England and France was not destined to last long, doesn't it? :(

Gabriele C. said...

And of course, the chronicler doesn't specify Richmond's 'frivolous' excuses.

"Sorry, Ned, but Isa is sexier than you." ? ;)

Kathryn said...

LOL!! :)

Gabriele C. said...

Did Edward acquire his very own troll that you had to put comment moderation on as well?

Damn critters.

Kathryn said...

I picked up a nasty little spammer, unfortunately. :(

Gabriele C. said...

No fun. I had a real troll, complete with muddy boots and half gnawed bones. I'm all for freedom of speech but I don't think I need to tolerate comments on my blog that use the c-word and tell me not to post photos of myself because I'm too ugly. :(

Anerje said...

OMG Kathryn - the detail of your research never ceases to amaze me! What wonderful details. I'd love to know what he did to the fool - gave him a good ducking? I would say being February, maybe the poor guy had flu afterwards - but then there's a mention of a trick hmmm. And if the lion had a collar, I hope Piers insisted on a diamond one :> Bit worrying that Ed ended up with a lionskin coat - I just have the feeling it was the same lion!

Anerje said...

oops, that should be belt. I do hope Edward didn't start a fashion for wearing leapardskin! hehehe! like a forerunner of Bet Lynch! (I do hope Kathryn you remember Bet Lynch!)

Kathryn said...

Gabriele: oh my God!! That's so awful! What a horrible person. Luckily, I've just been getting lots of silly spam, but nothing offensive.

Anerje: thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. (Yes, I do remember Bet! :)

Gabriele C. said...

Yeah, the ugly comment got me a bit. I knew it was a troll and I shouldn't care, but it must be in the female genes to react to such things and wonder for a moment if I really should not post pictures of myself.

Kathryn said...

Calling someone - especially a woman - 'ugly' is hateful and horrible, and it really makes me angry to think that some nasty little moron has done that to you. It would really bother me too, and I think it's natural if it gets to you, but please, if you can, don't give it another second's thought and please don't ever stop posting pics of yourself. For one thing, what the nasty little moron said is completely and totally untrue!!! I can only pity people like him, sad little people with no life and nothing better to do but post horrible remarks about someone to try to feel better about himself.

Louis X said...

I agree with Lady Kathryn. What manner of man says such unkind things to a lady?! He should be flayed alive and cast into a salt pit. All the men of the land should visit him, insult him in the worst ways, and relieve themselves upon him. And then, he should have a nice pack of hungry wild dogs set loose upon him, after which his disgusting remains should be hung from the city gates with a sign upon him to tell all the world of his meanness. When he has properly rotted away, his memory should then be erased from history and utterly forgotten for all time.

Ma très chèrie Gabriele, you are beautiful! A pox upon any who dares to say otherwise. I have seen but this small portrait of you, but even it shows what a fine face you have. If I may be so bold as to point out such fineness, I should remark upon your voluptuous lips, so ripe for a gentle kiss; your soft pale skin, which beckons to be gently stroked; your flowing golden hair, shining brightly to catch the eye of all who love beauty; your finely made cheekbones, which bespeak your fair nobility; your perfect nose, longing to be nibbled by one who adores you; your lovely high forehead, which betrays great intelligence and wisdom; and your eyes, though I cannot see them full well in the portrait to know their color, seem ablaze with light and wonder, and entice other eyes to gaze deeply into them.

Only the basest of loathesome fools could not see such beauty. Only a wretched villain could speak ill of it. This malotru shames the very name of man with his intolerable meanness, and I wish him much dishonor. >:(

Gabriele C. said...

Aww, Louis, now you make me blush.

I like the suggested treatment of that jerk. Kings are so creative in that respect. :)

Kathryn said...

Bravo, Louis! Extremely well said. Thank you.

Kate Plantagenet said...

Just wanted to say the blog post was awesome; but the blog comments even more so. Gabriele, I can say nothing that our wonderful sire Louis has not already mentioned.

*note to self* - do not annoy a king

Ceirseach said...

And how delightfully... French. :)

Louis X said...

I have said nothing that was not truth! And it is also true that I have grown up with good examples around me for what to do with such chiens métis who try to pass themselves off as men. I believe this talent for punishments must run in our blood. ;)