13 May, 2012

Blog Searches And Stuff

Until the next proper post, here are some of today's blog searches and some other stuff.  (Am not feeling very articulate today.  Sorry.)

EDITED TO ADD: Wigmore Castle is up for sale!  Yes, the Wigmore Castle, that belonged to the Mortimers, including Edward II's nemesis Roger.  Yours for just under half a million; see here.

This one has popped up a few times lately: how did edward ii of england get the throne or did he steal it   Yup!  He stole it.  Nothing at all to do with being the eldest surviving son of Edward I.  Actually, on the off-chance that someone takes that seriously, it's not true.  He didn't steal the throne, honest.

did edward ii rule any where else other than england  Why yes!  He was lord of Ireland (nominally at least), duke of Aquitaine, prince of Wales and count of Ponthieu.  (He inherited Aquitaine from his father and Ponthieu from his mother.)

margaret of france married to edward ii Actually she was married to his father, though Edward may have been happier in the long run with his wife's aunt than he was with Isabella. Who knows...

edward 2 story simple I hope that means a simple version of Edward II's story, rather than an assumption that he himself was simple.

king edward ii importance Well, he was the father of King Edward III. That's pretty important.

parallel murder edward ii princes tower Whaaaat?? Edward II killed some princes in the Tower too?  That's news to me.

how can we prove knight is son of queen isabella of england  You can't.  Because he wasn't.  (A reference to this person, who some people are determined to believe was Isabella and Roger Mortimer's son for absolutely no reason that I can see.)

effigy edward ii Here it is!

Spotted on a forum: "It would appear that you have not read up on Edward II of England, who expelled the Jews during the 13th Century."  It would appear you haven't either, chum.  That was his father.  I know, I know, all these confusing Edwards, eh?  Still, best to try and get them sorted out if you want to act superior.

I'm a huge fan of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, but hadn't even thought of this comparison: "If GRRM was copying English history Renly Baratheon would have died by having a hot poker shoved up his bum!"

In the 'Well, It's Pretty Hard To Argue With That, Actually' category: "His son, a third Hugh, often referred to as the younger Despenser, was a rash, greedy and ruthless man who abused his power and his position of favour in the unsettled court of Edward II."  (In a very interesting post about Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire.)

In the 'I Wouldn't Read That If You Paid Me' category: a novel which, according to a review of it, portrays Edward II as a "spineless, sniveling creature" and Hugh Despenser the Younger as "devoid of humanity."  Well, that sounds just great.  And Piers Gaveston?  I await the deep and psychologically convincing portrayal with bated breath.

Has anyone been listening to Vivat Rex on Radio Four?  More info here; it features Christopher Marlowe's play about Edward II.  John Hurt stars as Edward, who apparently is "creepy, weak and roaringly gay."  But of course.  See also this page, which says "John Hurt played Edward, managing a note of affronted whingeing that made me sympathise with Mortimer and Queen Isabella for deposing him, then his simple and dignified suffering at the end had me pitying him."  That's a fair point, actually; I felt much the same way when watching Marlowe's play.

From a review in the Evening Standard of Dan Jones' new book about the Plantagenets: "We meet drivelling incompetents like Edward II. Tall, blond and athletic, he preferred rowing, boat building and Piers Gaveston to the more noble pursuits of warfare."  Whatever else Edward was, he sure as heck wasn't a 'drivelling incompetent'.

Blog visitors from the last week:

Am always so surprised and thrilled to see that Russia provides my fourth biggest readership.  Thank you for visiting, and I love knowing that you're there.  :):)

OK, proper blog post coming as soon as I can - am just waiting for something from the National Archives to finish off a biography!


Anerje said...

I always love the 'silly' blog searches - although not sure what to make of the claim that Isabella and Mortimer had a secret love child - silly? ridiculous? wishful thinking?

Had a peek at the Plantagenets book yesterday - wasn't impressed when Ed and Piers relationship was described as 'peculiar'. Doesn't bode well, does it?

Kathryn Warner said...

I haven't had much of a look lately, so hope I haven't missed too many good silly searches. ;-)

I think it's wishful thinking more than anything, hoping to claim a royal descent, and a Super-Sekrit Queen's Love-Child!!!! to boot.

Oh no, really??? *gag* :-( Lemme guess, Mortimer and Isabella's relationship isn't called 'peculiar', right? :(

Cherith said...

I'm wondering if the "parallel" search involving the Princes in the Tower is someone trying to find an answer to an essay question like this: "What are the parallels between the mystery behind Edward II's death and the deaths of the Princes in the Tower." I'm trying to give the searcher the benefit of the doubt!

It never occurred to me that Martin's character Renly was based on Ed II. Although it does make a little sense, as Loras is as attractive as Piers!

Kathryn Warner said...

Oh, that's a good idea, Cherith! Hadn't thought of that!

Yes, I'd never considered that comparison either. Loras is so gorgeous, so maybe the person is right! :)

Simon Cartlidge said...

I love the William Knight story, it's almost funny that most of his apparent 72,000 descendants believe it and even include it on their family trees, completely ignoring the obvious errors not least that William was between 5 and 10 years old at the time of his "mum's" pregnancy. The trouble is it's obvious errors like this creeping in to the records that cause problems for those that take genealogy seriously and want to be as accurate as possible. All it takes is one moment's lapse in concentration and you've got 72,000 erroneous descendants breathing down your neck! But then again, like the post says, why ruin a good story with fact? ;-)

I especially like the part;
"It is accepted by most scholars that at the time of Roger De Mortimer’s execution, Isabella was pregnant with his child. The official record states that she lost the baby in childbirth, but others are not so sure. There are reports that the baby was smuggled out of the castle by Isabella’s friend and supporter Adam Orleton, the Bishop of Worcester, and given to a sympathetic family. It would make sense, since a male child of this union would have almost certainly been seen as a threat to the throne and would not have been allowed to live."

Erm ... how and why? Any child of Isabella and Mortimer would've had no more claim to the throne than I do, it wasn't Isabella's family who were English kings, it was Edward's. She wouldn't have been the only consort to have had children after the death of her husband and I don't remember any of them having to be smuggled out to a sympathetic family because they posed a threat that meant they shouldn't be allowed to live. Almost makes you feel a little sorry for the folks believing it doesn't it? :-)

Simon Cartlidge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kathryn Warner said...

Oops, that comment posted twice, Simon, so I deleted the second one. :)

There are several novels which use this 'an illegitimate son of Isabella and Mortimer would have been a threat to Edward III' theme. I can't for the life of me see why. It would have been obvious to everyone that the boy couldn't have been Ed II' son, so what on earth was the problem? As you say, a child of Isabella's who wasn't also Ed II's would never have been in line for the throne! :) It would have been scandalous for the dowager queen to have had a child out of wedlock to a married man, and hugely embarrassing for Ed III, but not dangerous to him in the slightest.

It's such a shame that some genealogy sites repeat these errors and myths - they end up being perpetuated forever. :(

Kathryn Warner said...

Oh, and thanks for the email, by the way. Will reply asap. :):)

Kathryn Warner said...

Oh, and one last comment - Adam Orleton, a staunch supporter of Isabella and Mortimer in 1326/27, had long been persona non grata with them by 1330, and sure as heck wouldn't have smuggled their child anywhere!

Simon Cartlidge said...

Thanks Kathryn, I was trying to post from my phone this morning and all sorts of things were happening with the Internet popping in and out too. I promise I only posted once! :-)

David said...

Kathryn, agree about the 'driveling' bit, but would you deny that Edward II was incompetent??

Kathryn Warner said...

No, but is there really any need to refer to someone as 'drivelling'? What is the purpose of this word? What does it add to scholarship and to our historical understanding?

If you haven't seen the many times I've talked about Edward II's inability and incompetence as king, you can't have been reading the blog very carefully. Maybe check what I actually write about Edward here before talking on Facebook about 'Edward II apologists'.

Simon, I believe you...thousands wouldn't! :) :)

Paula Lofting said...

Kathryn, as ever an amusing post about the strange ideas people have about Ed and history in general. I am guessing that some of these searches might come from people who are reading a pretty dire novel about Ed (there are many after all) that spout nonsense about him and they're checking out the facts maybe. I really don't know how anyone can have such inside proof to describe Edward as 'drivelling' and someone who is able to do all those robust activities can hardly have been drivelling. So is the biography you're working on the ED one?

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Paula! It's always funny to see what people think about Edward - and disturbing sometimes, too. :) A lot of it comes from Braveheart, and crap fiction, as you say. And it's so annoying when childish nonsense like 'drivelling' is published in supposedly serious works of non-fiction. I've seen the bibliography of that book and it cites the magnificent biog of Ed II by Seymour Phillips. I wonder if the author actually read it.

The biography I meant is just a blog post actually, about one of Ed's cousins ;).

David said...

I don't recall describing you as an 'Edward II apologist' - which doesn't mean I didn't. Faulty memory. You certainly seem to be a fan of his. Fair enough.

In my view Edward was simply one of life's losers, I'm afraid, and not a terribly interesting one. *Shrug*

Kathryn Warner said...

You certainly did.

This blog about a 'not terribly interesting' loser gets between 150 and 250 visitors every day. That would have been a lot of potential readers for your novels set in this time period, no? Ah well, never mind.

David said...

I find your blog very interesting, and I find the era very interesting. I just don't find Edward terribly interesting as a man or a King - perhaps I haven't researched him enough, but to me his reign lacks any sort of achievement, or the ambition to achieve. I'm not the sort to muzzle my opinions, however unwelcome they may be, for the sake of book sales.

David said...

I should clarify about the 'drivelling' remark - what I meant was that I agreed with your dismissal of Edward as a driveller.

Kathryn Warner said...

From what I've seen on Facebook, you're pretty keen to promote your books (as any author would be, of course), and this blog would have been an excellent site for you to reach out to lots of potential readers. No-one's asking you to muzzle your opinions, and actually I enjoy and agree with most of what you write about medieval history on FB; it's just that telling me that the person I spend a large part of my life researching is an uninteresting loser, and on my own website to boot, isn't terribly polite or tactful.

Christy K Robinson said...

I'm very interested in the source of these conspiracy legends, as cited by Simon Cartlidge in the comment above.

"It is accepted by most scholars that at the time of Roger De Mortimer’s execution, Isabella was pregnant with his child. The official record states that she lost the baby in childbirth, but others are not so sure. There are reports that the baby was smuggled out of the castle by Isabella’s friend and supporter Adam Orleton, the Bishop of Worcester, and given to a sympathetic family. It would make sense, since a male child of this union would have almost certainly been seen as a threat to the throne and would not have been allowed to live."

I'm researching Mary Barrett Dyer, 1611-1660, who has a similar legend attached to her unknown parentage. Because she was considered (by her enemies, even) "comely," educated, with a penetrating wit, etc., the romantic notion is that a commoner from Westminster could never have risen without a royal background. Her 19th-century legend is that she was the child of Arabella Stuart and William Seymour, and as a newborn, was spirited out of the Tower and raised by her nurse, the original Mary Dyer, and hidden from James I while he searched (like Herod the Great) for the child who had a closer claim to the throne.

I'm going to write about it soon on Mary's blog, but wonder if you know where other tinfoil-hat stories have originated? And why? Just for the snob appeal? Is that the reason Shakespeare can't be intelligent enough to have written his body of work without being the cleverly-disguised Earl of Whatever?

David said...

Well alright, it was a glib remark - let's say he was a 'generally unsuccesful monarch in the fields of effective government and prosecution of warfare' then! I'll keep it zipped in future. As I said, I like your blog and am very impressed by the level of information on here.

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, David - appreciate that.

Christy, that's a really interesting question. I'm not sure what was so special about this William Alfred character to make people think he might have been a queen's son, but it's not the first time someone's got in touch with me over this issue. Some years ago, I received an email insisting that the wife of a Norfolk knight of the mid-14th century - and, inevitably, the ancestor of my correspondent - was the legitimate youngest child of Edward II and Isabella. I pointed out there was no way on God's green earth a legitimate daughter of Edward and Isabella would have made such a lowly marriage, and that the existence of a royal child cannot have gone unnoticed in the records. But noooo, they were totally sure and wouldn't be told otherwise. Whatever! In this case, it's people desperate to manufacture a royal heritage, or so it seems to me. The Mary case is really interesting though. Love the Shakespeare analogy, and it also reminds me of the Perkin Warbeck story, the supposed survival of Louis XVII, etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm the one who did the search on parallels between Edward II and the Princes in the Tower. Ross (a biographer of Richard III) cites both Isabella and Mortimer approving of Edward's murder as indicating that a high level murder, such as the Princes, couldn't have been killed without Richard's knowledge; with two other historians (Alison Weir and Derek Wilson) saying that Mortimer ordered Edward's execution on his own made me want to do some additional research on the theory that Richard didn't know.


Kathryn Warner said...

Ah, I see! That makes sense! Thanks for letting me know, Esther, and hope your research is going well. I recommend Ian Mortimer's biographies of Roger Mortimer and Edward III, which go into this matter in great detail.

Anonymous said...

No escaping the Princes in the Tower *sigh* That man pops up everywhere!

Kathryn Warner said...

Heh, true! :)