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...