29 May, 2011

Article, The Earl Of Kent's Plot

 It has now been confirmed that my article 'The Adherents of Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent, in March 1330' will be published in the August 2011 edition of the English Historical Review.  Kent was beheaded for treason against his nephew Edward III on 19 March 1330, aged twenty-eight, after he admitted plotting to free his half-brother Edward II from captivity - two and a half years after Edward's supposed death at Berkeley Castle on 21 September 1327.  It is often assumed that Kent had been tricked into trying to rescue a dead man to provide an excuse for Isabella of France and Roger Mortimer to execute him - which explanation either ignores altogether the men who supported Kent in his plot, or dismisses them as a few friars and a handful of others with grievances against Isabella and Mortimer's rule who did not truly believe in Edward II's survival.  (Although the archbishop of York, William Melton, certainly did, and told the mayor of London in January 1330 that "my liege lord Edward of Caernarfon is alive and in good health of body"; Donald, earl of Mar certainly believed that Edward was alive too.)  In fact, around seventy men can be demonstrated to have supported Kent in 1330, and in my article, I've provided backgrounds and allegiances for almost all of them, showing that the majority had been close to Edward II and had shown great loyalty to him before, during and after the revolution of 1326/27.  Kent's adherents in 1330 included two Scottish earls (Mar, Robert Bruce's nephew, and Buchan, Henry Beaumont), Welsh knights, a former chamberlain of North Wales and a former keeper of the peace in Berkshire, the earl of Warwick's stepfather, two sheriffs of Kent, a glover, a cellarer and a mercer, Edward II's tailor, the Dunheved brothers, and the notorious gang leader Malcolm Musard.  I hope the article goes some way to destroying the often-repeated myth that Kent only believed Edward was still alive in 1330 because he was 'stupid' and 'gullible'.  He wasn't, and in fact I believe that his many supporters, including men who had reason to dislike and distrust him (former adherents of Edward II and of the Despensers, whom Kent condemned to death in 1326) demonstrate that he was seen as a plausible and credible figure, a genuine leader.  The merciless speed with which Kent was condemned and executed for the 'crime' of trying to free a man who had officially been dead for two and a half years also indicates that Isabella and Roger Mortimer saw him (and his plot) as a real threat, not as a fool.

Anyway, more news about the publication of my article here as and when I know more!  :-) 

13 comments:

Gabriele C. said...

Congrats on the publication.

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Gabriele!

Clement of the Glen said...

Well done Kathryn, I am so pleased your hard work is getting recognised!

Kathryn Warner said...

Thank you for the kind words, Clement! :-)

Anerje said...

Congratulations Kathryn! So well-deserved after your meticulous research!

Carla said...

Congratulations!

Kathryn Warner said...

Thank you, Anerje and Carla!

Hannah Kilpatrick said...

Aaaand I just cited it in my thesis as upcoming. :)

Kathryn Warner said...

Wow, really? That's great! Thanks, Hannah!

elizabethashworth said...

I'm looking forward to reading this. Do you know if Eble le Strange, the husband of Alice de Lacy was one of Kent's adherents? I haven't come across any evidence, but given that he was so well rewarded in later years by Edward III I think he's a likely candidate.

Kathryn Warner said...

Not that I've ever seen, Elizabeth, but he was one of the men Edward III sent to collect Isabella to spend Christmas 1330 with him, so must have been high in the king's favour.

Hannah Kilpatrick said...

Well, as a side note to something else, saying 'the Earl of Kent wasn't being stupid re. trying to free Edward' is so much quicker and easier if I can just say 'see this article by Ian Mortimer an also this forthcoming one by Kathryn' rather than writing a paragraph-long footnote summarising the arguments you'd make better than me anyway. :)

Kathryn Warner said...

:-) Thanks! That sounds great and I heartily approve. :-))