07 November, 2012

November Anniversaries

1 November 1254: Probable date of the wedding of the future Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, Edward II's parents, a whopping thirty years before Edward was born.

1 November 1307: Wedding of Piers Gaveston, new earl of Cornwall, and Edward II's thirteen-year-old niece Margaret de Clare at Berkhamsted Castle, with the king, Margaret's brother Gilbert, earl of Gloucester and the teenagers' step-grandmother the dowager queen Marguerite present.  Edward gave jewels worth thirty pounds to the bride and groom, and a roan palfrey which cost twenty pounds to Margaret.  He provided the generous amount of seven pounds, ten shillings and sixpence to be thrown over the heads of the bridal pair and to be distributed afterwards to the poor, and spent an enormous twenty pounds on minstrels.  It must have been quite a celebration, and Edward later had to pay five shillings to a local resident as compensation for "damage done by the king's party" to his property.

1 November 1311: The deadline for Piers Gaveston, now stripped of his earldom of Cornwall and all his lands, to leave England and all Edward II's other territories, i.e. Ireland, Wales, Ponthieu and Piers' native Gascony.

1 November 1316: Edward II gave five pounds to a violist named Robert Daverouns, sent to him by his second cousin Philip, titular emperor of Constantinople, king of Albania, prince of Achaea, prince of Taranto, despot of Epirus and lord of Durazzo.

3 (or possibly 4) November 1311: The date on which Piers Gaveston actually left England, and from London, rather than Dover as ordered by the Lords Ordainer.  His around seven months pregnant wife Margaret de Clare remained in England, understandably.  Piers probably went to Flanders, though this is uncertain, and rumours that he had stayed in England were evidently so convincing that the Ordainers sent men to Devon and Cornwall to look for him.  Piers had certainly returned to England by mid-January 1312.

3 November 1317: Edward appointed his friend Antonio di Pessagno, a wealthy merchant of Genoa, as steward of Gascony; a grateful Antonio sent the king a gift of two camels in return.  Antonio enjoyed great influence over Edward: in 1313, Biagio Aldobrandini of the banking firm the Frescobaldi told his colleagues that "He [Antonio] is now in such a condition that he fears nobody, and what he wants is made in the court...and the court is led according to his judgement."

4 November 1311: Edward II spent fifty-two pounds on two war-horses for himself, one a bay and the other "white spotted."

6 November 1307: Edward appointed eight men, including his late father's good friend Othon Grandison, Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke and the bishops of Norwich and Durham, as envoys to France to conclude the negotiations and sort out any remaining details regarding his marriage to Isabella.  The wedding took place on 25 January 1308, ten years after it had first been proposed by Pope Boniface VIII.  As Edward's biographer Seymour Phillips points out, "[t]here is nothing to suggest that Edward II was for any reason unwilling to proceed with the marriage, whether through personal antipathy, the influence of Gaveston or the opinion of any of his advisers."  This is in response to Paul Doherty's odd theory, put forward in his sensationalist and supposedly non-fiction work Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II, that Edward "was in no hurry to honour treaty obligations or enter into connubial bliss...What profit, he argued, could be had from his marriage to Isabella?  Edward II even ignored members of his own council...Gaveston and Edward II were thoroughly enjoying the game they were playing..." i.e., pretending that Edward's marriage to Isabella would not go ahead.  Bizarre.

8 November 1246: Death at the age of sixty-six of Edward II's powerful and able great-grandmother Berenguela, queen of Castile in her own right, queen of Leon by marriage, eldest child of Alfonso VIII of Castile and his queen Eleanor of England, daughter of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Berenguela was the niece of Richard Lionheart, King John and Henry the Young King, and the elder sister of the more famous Blanche of Castile, queen of France.  She voluntarily abdicated the Castilian throne in favour of her son Fernando III in 1217, but remained as his chief counsellor for many years.

13 November 1312: Birth of Edward II and Isabella of France's eldest child the future Edward III at Windsor Castle, to the intense joy of Edward's subjects; in London, the inhabitants celebrated for an entire week by dancing in the streets and drinking the free wine provided.  (The previous heir to the throne had been Edward's half-brother Thomas of Brotherton, who was twelve in 1312.)  The author of the Vita Edwardi Secundi expressed a wish that the new royal baby would grow up to "follow the industry of King Henry II, the well-known valour of King Richard [Lionheart], may he reach the age of King Henry [III], revive the wisdom of King Edward [I], and remind us of the physical strength and comeliness of his father."  Note how Edward II's great-grandfather King John was tactfully not mentioned although his brother Richard was, and that Edward II's good looks and strength were the only positive attributes the writer could think of.

14 November 1307: Edward II gave seventy-three acres of land in his birthplace of Caernarfon rent-free for life to Mariota or Mary Maunsel, the woman who had been his wetnurse for the first few months of his life in 1284, until ill health forced her to leave his household.  Some years later he granted Mariota an income of five pounds a year, a very generous amount for a woman of her birth and status.

16 November 1272: Death of Edward II's grandfather Henry III; accession of his father, then in Sicily on his return from crusade in the Holy Land.  Edward I is meant to have expressed more sorrow for the death of his father than for that of his five-year-old son John the previous year, explaining that he could always have more sons but would never have another father - a comment that came back to bite him on the behind in later years when he had lost three sons and had to deal with the possibility that only his daughters would outlive him.

16 November 1321: Edward sent eight men to Scotland to extend his truce with Robert Bruce, which was due to expire at Christmas, for another two years.

16 November 1326: Capture of Edward II and Hugh Despenser the Younger at the 'Vale of Treachery' in South Wales.  Edward was taken to Llantrisant and then given into the custody of his first cousin Henry of Lancaster, while the unfortunate Hugh, refusing to take food and water, was taken to his hideous execution in Hereford.  (See Lady D's post for more info on his journey.)  The St Paul's annalist dramatically claims that the men were captured during a terrific storm, while the author of the Anonimalle chronicle reveals his ignorance of Welsh geography by stating that they were caught "near Snowdon."

17 November 1326: The beheading without trial in Hereford of Edward's ally Edmund Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, and of John Daniel and Robert de Micheldever, on the orders of Roger Mortimer, who "hated them with a perfect hatred," and Isabella of France.  Arundel was supposedly beheaded by a "worthless wretch" (villissimi ribaldi), who required twenty-two strokes of the axe to sever the unfortunate earl's head.

20 November 1311: Edward sent a polite letter to Sir Robert Holland, adherent and friend of the king's first cousin and enemy Thomas, earl of Lancaster: "...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."

20 November 1316: Accession of Edward's brother-in-law Philippe V as king of France, on the death of Philippe's nephew the five-day-old King Jean I 'the Posthumous', son of Louis X and Clemence of Hungary.

20 November 1322: Edward gave two shillings each to ten fishermen of Thorne, near Doncaster, "who fished in the king's presence and took great pike, great eels, and a large number of other fish...".  I find it hard to think of any other medieval king of England who would willingly have stood by a river in winter watching men fish.

23 November 1221: Birth of Edward II's uncle Alfonso X, eldest child of King Fernando III of Castile and Leon and his first queen Elisabeth or Beatriz of Swabia.  I'm intending to write a blog post sometime about this fascinating man.

24 November 1317: Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, and Bartholomew, Lord Badlesmere, signed an indenture with Sir Roger Damory, then the supreme favourite at Edward II's court, in an attempt to lessen his malign influence over the king.

24 November 1326: Execution of Hugh Despenser the Younger, lord of Glamorgan, chamberlain and beloved of Edward II.  Also the execution, without trial, of the sergeant-at-arms Simon of Reading, for obscure reasons.

28 November 1290: Death of Edward II's mother Eleanor of Castile, queen of England, at the age of forty-nine.  Her body was taken in solemn procession to Westminster Abbey, where she was buried with her son Alfonso's heart; the queen's own heart was given to the Dominicans of London, and her viscera were buried at Lincoln Cathedral.  Six-year-old Edward of Caernarfon can barely have known his mother: she had spent more than three years of his childhood outside England, and in the fifteen months since her return had spent little time with her son.

29 November 1314: Death at Fontainebleau of Edward II's father-in-law and second cousin Philippe IV of France, at the age of forty-six, following a hunting accident.  Edward heard the news on or before 15 December, when he ordered both archbishops, all the bishops of England and twenty-eight abbots to "celebrate exequies" for the late king.  Philippe left Isabella, "our dearest daughter, the queen of England," two rings, one of which she had previously given to him, and gave to the nuns of Poissy a valuable cup which Isabella had also once given to him.  His original will of May 1311 did not mention Isabella; he added a codicil to it the day before his death.

29 November 1321: Edward II and the Despensers' enemies, led by the earl of Lancaster, met at (probably) Pontefract in Yorkshire, despite the king's orders of 12 November forbidding them to do so.  A petition, the Doncaster Petition (this was where Lancaster had originally called for the meeting to be held), was drawn up, which among other things accused Edward of maintaining the younger Despenser in his piracy in the English Channel and in his (Despenser's) attempts to persuade the king to attack the peers of the realm, and asked the king to respond by 20 December.  Edward's response to the petition was surprisingly mild; he told Lancaster that giving him a deadline to reform the affairs of his realm gave the impression that he was the earl's subject, rather than vice versa.

29 November 1330: Execution of Roger Mortimer, earl of March and lord of Wigmore, at Tyburn in London.

30 November 1321: Edward began preparations for his campaign against the Contrariants, and sent out writs to all his sheriffs to order knights and squires of their county to muster at Cirencester on 13 December.


Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Kathryn, I will read about the anniversaries first thing in the morning. For the time being I do thank you for mentioning Henry :-) From now on you can pay us a visit on our new blog:-) My friend's security system proved to be impregnable (no comments at all) :-) and I'm so talkative by nature :-) Hope it will get better now.

Thank you again,


Kathryn Warner said...

Morning, Kasia! You're most welcome for the mention, and yay, you have a blog now, great! :)

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

Kathryn, thank you for paying a visit to our blog! I'm honoured (and I'm sure Henry is honoured, too) to receive the first comment from you. I take it as a good omen: the first comment from the very brave woman, who has faithfully run Edward II's blog for seven years:-)
Now, back to reading about Edward's November Anniversaries:-)

Anerje said...

Not a great month for Edward whatever the year. Good to hear that Piers' wedding bash must have been one hell of a party, judging by the compensation he paid the locals.

I think Doherty's book should just be re-named 'The strange interpretation of the life of Edward II, ' .

Kathryn Warner said...

You're most welcome, Kasia - delighted to be your first commenter, the first of many, I'm sure! :)

Anerje, I think it must have been a fab celebration. :) And totally agree about the book title, and it should be reissued as fiction! :/

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

Kathryn, I love the precious little nuggets of info like the one concerning the wedding celebrations and Edward watching the fishermen in winter:-)
And I'm truly grateful to the author of the Vita for "industry of Henry II". The Young King's father is too often underestimated. I do not understand why, for he was one of the greatest- if not the greatest- medieval rulers.

Thank you for yet another fascinating post.

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

As for Berenguela, I once wrote a short post concerning her father, Alfonso VIII's great victory over the Muslims at Las Navas de Tolosa. The victory that ended once and for all the Almohad threat to Christian Spain. A poignant letter of Berenguela survived. In it she communicated news of the victory to her younger sister Blanca [renamed Blanche], at the time already a wife of Prince Louis of France, in the following words:
“Our father, the king and lord, conquered Miramamolin in a pitched battle; we believe this to be a signal honour, because until now it was unheard of that the king of Morocco should be overcome on the battlefield”.
Berenguela’s husband, Alfonso IX of Leon was an exceptional man in his own right. In April 1188 [!!!] he called an extraordinary meeting of his curia at Leon. ‘For the first time in the history of Christian Spain and indeed in the history of western Christendom, representatives of the towns were summoned to attend the king’s court together with the bishops and magnates’. Alfonso’s innovative move made medieval Spain the cradle of democratic parliament in Europe.

Forgive me for overusing your precious space, but I've found it so fascinating that I had to share it with you:-)

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks so much for that great info, Kasia! I must read that post - would love to know more about Las Navas. :) Have to dash off now, sorry, but will try to write more soon. ;)

Kathryn Warner said...

OK, back again. ;-) I'm really pleased too that the author of the Vita mentioned Henry II, a great ruler who is so often under-estimated, as you say, Kasia. And I'm really longing to read this book about Berenguela and her family: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Berenguela-Castile-1180-1246-Political-Middle/dp/0312234732/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352458929&sr=8-1

I love the way Alfonso and Eleanor were such a well-matched couple, and I love their children.

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Kathryn, thank you for the link! The book about Berenguela looks really promising:-) and may turn out to be a treasure chest full of info indispensable in the future research.

As for political skills, Eleanor/Leonora must have been very like her mother,Eleanor of Aquitaine. I'm happy for her, for she enjoyed much freedom in her marriage and it seems that she found true happiness with Alfonso:-)

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

And back to Edward, I've been delighted to learn that he had an artistic streak, spending so lavishly on minstrels. I'm an amateur painter and writer, and I have a soft spot for anyone sharing my interests:-)

Gabriele Campbell said...

Definitely, Kasia. Edward was a generous man overall, judging from those many tidbits where he gave money to people. And I'm sure those sums ruined his fianances a lot less than his dad's whopping castles (though they are cool places to visit).

So did Edward spend really big on something?

Kathryn Warner said...

I'm so keen to read the book about Berenguela, if I ever find it in a library - it's so expensive to buy, unfortunately. I love Eleanor and Alfonso. ;) And I love Edward II too for spending so much on minstrels - one year before he became king it was some crazy amount like 1200 pounds. :) He wasn't a huge builder like his grandfather, father and son, though.

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

Kathryn, my eyes don't like my computer any more:-( which makes me inconsolable. So much writing, so many ideas...
As for the research books, you are right! The prices happen to be truly staggering! I know something about it! My husband threatened to divorce me once. And for what? For a few innocent-looking books...

Kathryn Warner said...

Some books are just insanely expensive. :-( And I have to get rid of some on occasion, donate them to my library or charity shops, which I really hate, but otherwise I'd never be able to get in my front door because of all the piles of books! :)

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

Well, I know something about it, too :-) Sometimes my children trip over my books collected in piles near my desk.
I try to keep them in order (the books not the children, although after second thoughts... :-)), but usually I need them close at hand and cannot afford to keep them on bookshelves, where they belong...

Wish you a beautiful day:-)

Kathryn Warner said...

My Edward II books are mostly in a big heap near my desk, heh ;)

Have a lovely day too! :)