05 August, 2011

Friday Facts

A post with some fairly random facts about Edward II and his reign.  :-)

- Sometime before October 1311, Edward's first cousin once removed Fernando IV of Castile asked him "for a loan of money in aid of his war against the enemies of Christ."  Edward politely declined that month, on the grounds that he "had been so engaged since his accession with the war in Scotland and other matters that he is unable to accede to this request."  The 'other matters' presumably meant Piers Gaveston, in large part; Edward was at that time batting against the Lords Ordainer, who were determined to send Piers into exile for the third time.  I'm a very long way from being knowledgeable about Spanish history, but I imagine Fernando's war had something to do with his and Jaime II of Aragon's crusade against the king of Granada.
(Close Rolls)

- Edward sent letters on 2 and 12 June 1319 to Haakon V of Norway regarding debts which the Norwegian king owed to eight English merchants - evidently unaware that Haakon had died on 6 May.  Edward had as a child been betrothed to Haakon's niece Margaret the 'Maid of Norway', queen of Scotland.  (Close Rolls).

- On 16 October 1325, Edward asked Pope John XXII to grant dispensations for his children Eleanor of Woodstock and Edward of Windsor (the future Edward III) to marry Alfonso XI and his sister Leonor of Castile, they being second cousins once removed, and sent letters to Jaime II of Aragon's son Alfonso and the regents of Castile two days later, thanking them for their affection for him and "the gracious and benevolent way” they had handled his affairs.  (Close Rolls).

- On the same day, at Cippenham in Berkshire, Edward gave twenty-five shillings to his porter Will Shene and his new wife Isode as a wedding present.  (SAL MS 122).

- Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke and also Edward's first cousin once removed, died on his way to Paris (the precise location is uncertain, but his biographer Seymour Phillips thinks probably Saint-Riquier near Amiens) on 23 June 1324; the news took only three days to reach the king at Tonbridge in Kent. (Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke 1307-1324: Baronial Politics in the Reign of Edward II by J.R.S. Phillips)

- During the war of Saint-Sardos (with Charles IV of France, over Gascony) in 1324, an atmosphere of fevered suspicion pervaded England: two letters were sent to Hugh Despenser the Younger, telling him that a fleet of foreign vessels with a hundred armed men aboard each ship had been seen in Falmouth and mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night.  This turned out to be a group of Genoese merchants making their annual trip to the Netherlands, with armed men to guard their valuable cargo.  (Pierre Chaplais, The War of Saint-Sardos (1323-1325): Gascon Correspondence and Diplomatic DocumentsNatalie Fryde, The Tyranny and Fall of Edward II 1321-1326).

- Edward's brother-in-law Philip V of France sent him a gift of a box of rose-coloured sugar in September 1317.  Edward gave Philip's messenger William de Opere two and a half pounds for bringing it.  (Thomas Stapleton, 'A Brief Summary of the Wardrobe Accounts of the 10th, 11th, and 14th years of Edward II',Archaeologia, 1836)

- Edward's huntsman William Twyt or Twici wrote a French treatise called Le Art de Venerie around 1320; the earliest text on hunting written in England, it opens "Here begins the art of hunting, which Master William Twici, huntsman of the king of England, made in his time to instruct others."  

- "...we command you to watch our affairs that we may be rich and may attain our ends, of which you have good cognisance; and this cannot be attained without pain and diligence on your part."  Hugh Despenser the Younger to Sir John Inge, sheriff of Glamorgan, on 18 January 1321; entirely open about his aims and ambitions.  (J. Goronwy Edwards, Calendar of Ancient Correspondence Concerning Wales)

- From 8 July 1315 to 7 July 1316, Edward spent £627 on clothes for his household.  He received in April 1316 two tunics for himself, comprising six ells of scarlet – expensive woollen cloth, not the colour – two ells of yellow cloth for sewing leopards, his heraldic arms, on them, and more scarlet for making bags or purses.   He also received sixteen ells of green medley (dyed in the wool cloth) to make two sleeved tunics and two tabards, while three household knights had twelve ells of the same for their tunics.  Green cloth lined with miniver was also given to Isabella, their son Edward of Windsor, the king's sister the countess of Hereford, his nieces Margaret Gaveston and Eleanor Despenser, and the dowager countess of Warwick.  (Malcolm Vale, The Princely Court: Medieval Courts and Culture in North-West Europe).

- In November 1319, Edward wrote to William, count of Hainault, to raise the possibility of a marriage between his son Edward and William's eldest daughter Margaret (who later married the Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV; her sister Philippa ultimately married Edward III).  His careless scribe addressed the letter to 'Robert, count of Hainault'.  Names could prove a problem for inattentive scribes: Louis X's queen Clemence was called Elizabeth in a letter sent to her by Edward II in May 1316, and Edward's niece Jeanne de Bar, countess of Surrey, was called Isabella in a writ of 1313.  (Foedera)


Clement Glen said...

What exactly did a 'Royal Huntsman' do, Kathryn. Was his role simply to organise Edward's hunting trips in the Royal Forests ?

Kathryn Warner said...

Not entirely sure, Clement, sorry :(, but I think organising the provision of meat for the king's household had a lot to do with it - Edward often sent men to hunt for him.

Gabriele Campbell said...

Heh, had those people be named Lnyx and Brianna, those mis-addresses would not have happened. Too many of the same names around. *grin*

Kathryn Warner said...

Heee, exactly. :) I was just reading the comments on Susan's post. :-)

Susan Higginbotham said...

I would love to see what rose-colored sugar looked like. Fascinating, as always!

Kathryn Warner said...

Me too, Susan! Thanks!

Anerje said...

Enjoyed the random facts! I expect Edward didn't have anything to loan as Piers no doubt had spent it all;>

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Anerje! I'm sure you're right. :-)

Carla said...

Why rose-coloured sugar? Was it flavoured with something, or what?

I wonder if William Twici was the origin of Master Twyti in TH White's The Sword in the Stone, who is sent by Uther Pendragon to hunt boar for the king in Sir Ector's local forest?

Kathryn Warner said...

I'm not sure, Carla, sorry - maybe the colour, or the taste?

Oh, I wonder! That would be interesting!

Anonymous said...

I love random facts! These were so interesting. Perhaps the sugar was dyed with rose petals? Wonder what it did to their cups of tea?!