12 August, 2011

Friday Facts

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

- The Gascon sheriff of Edinburgh and constable of Linlithgow, Piers Lubaud, was a cousin of Piers Gaveston, according to the Vita Edwardi Secundi. Shortly before Christmas 1312, Edward II sent Lubaud's wife Nichola a palfrey horse worth six pounds and a saddle "with a lion of pearls, and covered with purple cloth" worth five pounds. (Whatever a 'lion of pearls' is.)

- Thomas Cobham, bishop of Worcester, told Pope John XXII that at the Westminster parliament of October 1320 "Holy Father, your devoted son, our lord the king, in the parliament summoned to London bore himself splendidly, with prudence and discretion, contrary to his former habit rising early and presenting a nobler and pleasant countenance to prelates and lords. Present almost every day in person, he arranged what business was to be dealt with, discussed and determined. Where amendment was necessary he ingeniously supplied what was lacking, thus giving joy to his people, ensuring their security, and providing reliable hope of an improvement in behaviour."

- Edward's efforts were rewarded in April 1320 when Thomas Cantilupe, bishop of Hereford, who had died in August 1282, was canonised: he had written to Popes Clement V and John XXII half a dozen times between December 1307 and January 1319, asking them to canonise Cantilupe. The two archbishops and all the bishops of England asked Edward to be present at the "translation of the holy body" in Hereford Cathedral on 14 June 1321, as this "would be greatly to the honour of God and Holy Church" and to Edward himself. He responded "it pleases the king to be there." As it turned out, Edward was unable to be present; thanks to the Despenser War, he had far more pressing matters to deal with.

- In England on the day of Cantilupe’s canonisation, according to the Sempringham annalist, "about midnight, there were frightful thunders heard, with lightning, and immoderately high wind."

- Edward wrote to his first cousin and greatest enemy Thomas of Lancaster's adherent and friend Sir Robert Holland (who was destined to be beheaded in a wood in Essex in 1328) on 20 November 1311: "we are very joyous and pleased about the good news we have heard concerning the improvement in our dear cousin and faithful subject Thomas, earl of Lancaster, and that he will soon be able to ride in comfort. And we send you word and dearly pray that, as soon as he is comfortable and able to ride without hurt to his body, you should ask him to be so good as to hasten to us at our parliament." I wonder if he gritted his teeth as he dictated that one.

- At Bannockburn, according to the Scalacronica of Sir Thomas Gray (whose father of the same name fought for Edward there), Edward "struck out so vigorously behind him with his mace there was none whom he touched that he did not fell to the ground." And according to the St Albans chronicler, he fought "like a lioness deprived of her cubs." Not exactly the coward he's been depicted as in some novels, then.

- Edward's nephew Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, killed at Bannockburn, was buried at Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire. His heart, however, was buried at Shelford near Nottingham: on 8 August 1317, Edward passed through the village on his way to York with Isabella, and attended masses and distributed five shillings and sixpence in oblations at the conventual church of Shelford in memory of the young earl, "whose heart lies there inhumed."

- Edward's name, in contemporary English documents, was always spelt the way it is today. In letters sent to him from France, however, it appeared as Edouwart, Eduart or Edduvart. Isabella's name was spelt in a variety of ways: Isabell, Isabele, Ysabel, Ysabell, Ysabelle, Yzabel. The name Hugh was often spelt Hughe, Hue, Hew, Hugg or Huge, while the foreign name of Edward II's elder brother Alfonso (November 1273-August 1284) baffled English scribes, who wrote it Anfuls, Aufos or Auffoms.


Gabriele Campbell said...

I never got it how some novels could portray Edward as coward. He probably prefered a clean fight to those political manoeuverings.

Argh, how could I have missed you Margaret post in your sidebar when I looked for info about Edward's betrothals and other stuff connected with Norway. Added a link to it in my post now. :)

Kathryn Warner said...

Agree, Gabriele! A lot of writers mistake (deliberately...?) the necessity of getting him off the field at the end of the battle so that he wouldn't be captured and assume he fled the field in terror almost as soon as the battle started going Robert's way.

Thanks for the link, that's great! Loved your post, and learned lots of stuff!

Anerje said...

Great way to start with a reference to a cousin of dear Piers - Edward as generous as ever. Had to laugh reading Edward's 'concern' regarding Thomas of Lancaster - must have stuck in his throat! And yes, why is it Edward is always portrayed as a coward in certain novels when the chroniclers say the opposite? totally unfair.

Satima Flavell said...

I had to laugh at your depiction of the English scribes faced with "Alfonso". Perhaps the one who plunked for Anful was a Yorkshireman - Ee, 'e's a right anful, is our Alf!

Kathryn Warner said...

I thought so too, Anerje! And yes, it is totally unfair, and really annoying.

Satima: hehehe, I can just hear that. :-)

Carla said...

Why Shelford, out of interest? Did the Clare family have connections there?

Kathryn Warner said...

Carla, I'm not sure - I was surprised when I read that entry as hadn't been aware of any de Clare connections to the church. Interesting - I must do a bit more digging. :)

Susan Higginbotham said...

Hugg Despenser! Love it.

Kate S said...

Got me thinking. Gilbert's body was returned to Edward, when he was, I suppose, still in Berwick, so it had to be transported through the whole country for burial. Usually the organs were removed for embalming and buried where it took place, but Nottingham sounds like a long road for that. Mysterious. I've been to Tewkesbury just this August, by the way, but never heard, to my shame, of any medieval churches in Shelford, so I shall wait for you to post more on the subject!

Kathryn Warner said...

Kate, I also find it rather mysterious, and would doubt the source if it weren't Edward II's own accounts (it seems unlikely that his clerks would make an error like that about his own nephew...hmmmm...). The account calls it "the conventual church of Sheleford."

Hope you had a good time in Tewkesbury - I love it there!

Kathryn Warner said...

Susan, I love Hugg too, and have also seen the men called Huge. :):)

Kate S said...

Yes, Tewkesbury was great, although the battlefield has an awful feeling about it. Not exactly the place to enjoy a picnic, I'd say. Like the air was still bloody there, for want of a better word. But the abbey is magnificent, and of course I spent a couple of nights at Gloucester to visit the cathedral and pay my respects to Ed.