26 August, 2012

News And Links

Apologies for the short post today, but I've had a very busy week teaching and haven't had time to prepare a proper one.  ;)

I was delighted recently to see that a new edition of the mid-fourteenth century chronicle of Geoffrey le Baker has been published, edited by Richard Barber and translated by David Preest.  I was even more delighted to see that a footnote on page 40 cites my 2011 English Historical Review article about the earl of Kent's plot of 1330!  Baker invented the tales of Edward of Caernarfon's torments at Berkeley Castle in 1327 and wrote a ludicrously over-the-top account of the red-hot poker story which is still often repeated as fact, but of course there's a lot more to his chronicle than that, and it's great to see a new edition of it.

I'm so looking forward to reading this book: Three Medieval Queens: Queenship and the Crown in Fourteenth-Century England by Lisa Benz St John.  The three queens are Marguerite of France, Isabella of France and Philippa of Hainault, the stepmother, wife and daughter-in-law of Edward II.  A few weeks ago I picked up a new book which shall remain nameless about the queens of England, saw three mistakes on one page in the Isabella of France chapter, and put it down again.  I'm afraid I don't quite see the point of all these glossy purportedly non-fiction books where writers who rarely have any qualifications in history merely repeat and perpetuate the errors of previous writers and barely even bother looking at any primary sources.  It's so good to see a proper academic study of these women by a properly-qualified writer appear. 

A Polish lady named Kasia runs a great site about Henry II's son Henry the Young King (1155-1183): well worth a look!  Henry died childless, so was succeeded by his brothers Richard Lionheart and John, Edward II's great-grandfather.  He was married to Louis VII of France and Constanza of Castile's daughter Marguerite; Louis had of course formerly been married to young Henry's mother Eleanor of Aquitaine, which meant that Henry and his wife had half-sisters in common.  Pretty odd when you think about it!  Marguerite's younger sister Alais, who was betrothed for many years to Richard Lionheart but never married him, was the great-great-grandmother of Edward II (Alais and Guillaume Talvas, count of Ponthieu - Marie, countess of Ponthieu - Jeanne, countess of Ponthieu and queen of Castile - Eleanor of Castile - Edward II).

In case you missed it ;), my blog was linked in this Guardian article about Derek Jarman's 1991 film about Edward II.

My friend Anerje recently visited Winchester Cathedral and took pics of the tomb of Piers Gaveston's father Sir Arnaud de Gabaston, who died in 1302.  Great to see him!

Another good friend of mine, historical novelist Paula Lofting, now has a website, so please take a look if you're at all interested in eleventh-century history.  See also here, here and here for her blogs.

Finally, in the Things That Are Annoying Me This Week category, I'd like to give a dishonourable mention to all the people in online forums, on Facebook and so on who refer to Edward II as a 'queen' rather than a king and are evidently deeply and madly impressed with their own hilarious wittiness and cleverness.  ('Was any queen of England killed before Anne Boleyn?'  'Does Edward II count?'  Ba-doom tish!).  You know what, peeps, it's not funny, it's lame and pathetic.  Give it a rest.  Oh, and all the fans of the Victim!Isabella school of thought who whine in reviews of books about Edward and Isabella that Edward 'didn't consummate the marriage for four years, waaaah, what a horrid neglectful so-called husband he was' and that 'he only did his duty' and nothing more.  Yeah, because evidently these people were present in Edward and Isabella's bedchamber to be able to state with such certainty that he didn't enjoy it, and of course it would have been far better for a man in his twenties to consummate his marriage with a girl of recently turned twelve and force her to go through pregnancy and childbirth as soon as possible rather than doing the humane thing and waiting until she was older.  Sheesh, do people actually think at all before coming out with this crap?  I feel a blog post coming on...

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kathryn, I do not know how to express my gratitude. You are most kind. I am sitting in front of my computer screen with tears gathering in my eyes, and handkerchief at hand. Truly, I am. I am certain Henry is equally happy and grateful.

Thank you,

Kasia Ogrodnik

Kathryn Warner said...

You're very welcome, Kasia! I love the site, and wish you (and Henry, of course..;) all the best with it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kathryn. There is still so much to do. Presently I'm working on Henry's second coronation. Using the occasion, I intend to write about his Queen, Marguerite, who has been as neglected as her husband. I admire your meticulous work, especially the articles concerning ancestry. I would like to do for Marguerite what you have done for Isabella. Unfortunately, Henry's Queen has proved to be pretty elusive so far, but I'm not going to give up.
Thank you again, Kasia Ogrodnik

Kathryn Warner said...

Oh, that sounds fascinating - I love coronations, and will read the post with great interest! Do let me know any time if I can help at all with Marguerite and her ancestry - I might have some of her lines in my notes, having gone quite a way back in the French and Castilian royal families for Edward and Isabella.

Anonymous said...

Kathryn, I would be most grateful for any clues concerning Constanza's lineage. It's sad that both, the mother and daughter have been so neglected. Alice has been mentioned more often thanks to, or rather because of her unfortunate , and probably the longest in history betrothal period.
And Kathryn, as I have mentioned, I have learned about your kind gesture from Ken on Sharon's blog. Now Sharon warns me that, in her own words 'interacting on Kathryn's blog is the next best thing to getting you (me) onto Facebook':-) I do hope it's a huge exaggeration! My fear of FB has become proverbial, even for myself. Kasia

Kathryn Warner said...

I'd be delighted, Kasia! I'll have a look as soon as I can to see what I can turn up, and will let you know. I hope that in the next couple of weeks I should have some time... ;-)

Oh, I must take a look at Sharon's blog! ;-) I did some translation for her recently (German to English), so we had a lot of contact. It's a shame that you're not on Facebook, but I do understand your fear - I didn't like it for a long time!

Anonymous said...

Kathryn,I didn't mean to cause trouble. And overuse your precious time. I know what it means to be busy. I'm a teacher myself, with two samll children, husband-musician, and head full of Henry the Young King. Not to mention plans concerning my Polish novel. I will understand if you are too busy. I will compensate the lack of info concerning Marguerite's maternal grandparents by writing more about her second husband, king Bela III of Hungary (our medieval neighbour:-))I know pretty much about him. Now, back to my four-year-old son, Franek (Frank) and castle buliding. Young Henry is going to learn patience with me:-).Thank you again for your support, Kasia

Kathryn Warner said...

Nooo, it's absolutely no trouble at all, I promise you! I'd love to do it - genealogical research is one of my passions. :)

I meant to tell you that I once lived in Poland for a few months, working as an English teacher - it was a fantastic experience, though sadly the Polish I learnt has mostly disappeared now. :-( Have a lovely evening with your family, and talk soon!

Rowan Lewgalon said...

Thanks a whole BUNCH for the link to Henry the Young King!
I already know I'll spend some hours there.
And to see the tomb of Piers' father is just wonderful!
No words though for the extremely funny joke about Queen Edward...Seems I ran out of laughter.

Kathryn Warner said...

Enjoy the great site, Rowan! :)

Absolutely agree - I find it about as funny as cholera. :/

Anerje said...

Will check out the links - thanks! Oh, and thanks for including mine as well:> I know what you mean about 'large, glossy, coffee table' books which seem to be much in evidence lately, and are more about the pictures than the text.

Oh dear, the 'joke' about Edward being a 'Queen' has been done to death, and yet there are still people who think it's original, and worse, still funny - sad.

As for Edward and Isabella consummating their marriage - it was refreshing to read in a book that her father may have considered her too young for consummation and demanded Edward wait - just think, Edward may have been considerate!:>

Anonymous said...

Great post. Any idea if (or when) the new edition of the Le Baker chronicle will be available in the US? Also, Edward seems to have been more considerate Isabella than Edmund Tudor was of Margaret Beaufort -- maybe, the three younger children that Edward had was his reward (on the theory that Margaret's failure to have more was connected to problems occurring with her first pregnancy and childbirth)?

Esther

Kathryn Warner said...

You're most welcome, Anerje! Yes, so true that the pictures are more important than the text!

Amazing, isn't it, that people still think they're terribly witty and original. Lame. :/ And exactly, I can hardly think that Philip IV would have wanted his beloved daughter going through pregnancy and childbirth at such a young age.

Thanks, Esther! Glad you liked the post. As far as I can tell, the new le Baker should be available in the US already - it's on Amazon ($90, ouch). Absolutely, I've often wondered if Margaret's subsequent childlessness was the sad result of giving birth so young. Poor woman. :-(

Anonymous said...

Kathryn, it's so nice to hear you spent some time in Poland.Polish is pretty difficult to learn. Even, we, I mean, the native speakers, have problems with some quite 'nasty' exceptions:-)I admire all the foreigners who are not afraid to take up the challenge.

Anerje, I've just dropped in on your blog and have to admit that the last time I almost laughed my head off was, as far as I can recall, when I was reading Lady Moppet adventures at King John's court. Your, pardon, Ed's, Isa's, Tom's and Piers's letters to Auntie Flo are brilliantly written and simply hillarious. Thanks.

Kasia Ogrodnik

Gabriele C. said...

Anerje, so Isa needs to write another letter to Auntie Flo about why her daddy says she's too young to have a sleepover with Edward. :)

Gabriele C. said...

And a new blog for my blogroll. That one's getting as bad as my TBR pile. :)

karacherith said...

Congrats on getting so many acknowledgments recently! Your site, your writing, and your research deserve notice.

I look forward to a future post about Ed's decision to postpone consummation of his marriage. Would that have had any legal repercussions in that age? An unconsummated marriage in modern times could lead to an annulment. Was it common for decent men to abstain while their wives were young? By which I mean, those men who weren't Tudors!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rowan and Gabrielle. Of course if a new blog for your blogroll means Henry the Young King's website, Gabrielle. I hope it does :-)

Kasia Ogrodnik

Anonymous said...

Kathryn, congratulations on your Guardian link. As for Sharon, she mentioned your input in her German research. It must be wonderful to take part in the project called A King's Ransom.

As for Constanza, let's leave her for a while. I will focus on the coronation itself, and write separate article about Marguerite and her ancestry later. No pressure. I know you are very busy. Good luck with your teaching. I will have to focus on mine, too:-)

Kasia Ogrodnik

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments and kind wishes! ;-)

About the legal implications, I'm not sure - I have wondered if they did consummate their marriage just once soon after the wedding to make it legal and binding, then left it for several years. Having said that, I can think of children getting married when they couldn't possibly have consummated it for a good few years (just one example, Maurice, future Lord Berkeley, who was only 7 or 8 when he married Elizabeth Despenser in August 1338) and it didn't lead to an annulment. Edward and Isabella's marriage was so important politically that I can't see any pope (and several popes were involved in arranging it) annulling it on the grounds of non-consummation.

Kasia, yes, it was great to have some input in King's Ransom - I'm so looking forward to reading it! I wish I'd learnt more Polish, but it's really difficult. I do still have a few Polish students, here in Germany. Re Constanza, she was descended from counts of Barcelona via her mother, and I think also from counts of Provence and dukes of Burgundy. :-) looking forward to your coronation post!

Anerje said...

Gabrielle, Auntie Flo has run off in search of Piers so she to can worship him:). Isa in search of Clearasil!

Gabriele C. said...

Karia, yes I mean your blog. :)

Kathryn, did you translate the Richard Löwenherz chapter in Peter Czendes' biography of Heinrich (Henry) IV for Sharon? I recently (well, it was a bit before last Christmas) got that one and a biographyo of Richard. Since they're both from the WBG and have the same design, the two men are now peacefully standing side by side on my bookshelves. :)

Kathryn Warner said...

I don't blame her, Anerje, haha! :) :)

Gabriele, it was a chapter of Ulrike Kessler's biog of Richard - the chapter where he's imprisoned in Germany. ;-) Hope you enjoy both your lovely new books! :)

Gabriele C. said...

Ah, I got a different one, by Dieter Berg, 2007.

Kate S said...

Dearest Kathryn.
I'm deeply sorry to intrude with my off-topic question, but you are, undoubtedly, the most medieval person I know... Could you please recommend me some truly reliable source on the internet, on the subject of middle english pronounciation? I need to tell my friend how to sing Britten's Ceremony of Carols, but I'm not at all sure I know myself.

Kathryn Warner said...

Dear Kate,

No problem! :) Harvard does a good guide to Chaucerian English, though you need some plug-in that I don't have on my laptop to listen to the sounds: http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/pronunciation/

There are also these sites, which as far as I can tell are pretty good: http://faculty.goucher.edu/eng211/middle_english_phonology.htm

http://www.nativlang.com/middle-english/middle-english-pronunciation.php

Kate S said...

Thanks Kathryn! That's quite a food for thought!

Anerje said...

As for the question of consummation in marriage, from my understanding, any marriage not consummated could be annulled - the crux of Henry VIII's argument, basically. I wonder if that's why Philip allowed isabella to live in England after her marriage? so if she was too young for consummation, by allowing his daughter to live in Edward's court, he was basically saying this was a marriage and there was no backing out. By old English law,the promise of marriage followed by sex was enough to legitimise any union. It seems it was the act itself which signified a legitimate marriage.

Anonymous said...

chiiworKathryn, if you and your readers are interested in Henry the Young King's both coronations, feel free to drop in on

http://www.henrytheyoungking.com/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1346411423&archive=&start_from=&ucat=&

I apologize for minor grammar or syntax mistakes you may come across while reading. As you know English is not my native language.

Kasia Ogrodnik

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks for the info, Anerje - that's good to know!

Thanks for the link, Kasia - really looking forward to reading it!

Kathryn Warner said...

Kasia, I tried to register and log in to your site so I could leave a comment, but it wouldn't let me. :-( It wasn't a really thrilling comment anyway, haha. :) Just wanted to say that I had no idea before that Henry had had two coronations in his father's lifetime!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kathryn! I can see that there's something wrong with the link:-)and the word I was supposed to write only in the space required (chiiwor) has most miraculously appeared in front of your name. Sorry for the mess:-)I have to discuss the registering problem with my friend who has created the website for me and Henry.

Kasia Ogrodnik

Kathryn Warner said...

Ah, I wondered where that had come from! :) I've turned off word verif sometimes as I find it irritating on other blogs, but I get inundated with spam when it's not there, unfortunately.