19 July, 2013

July Anniversaries

1 July 1308: Edward II remembered that in six days it would be the first anniversary of his father Edward I's death, and wrote to his chancellor John Langton, bishop of Chichester: "As next Sunday, 7 July, will be the anniversary of the king's father, and the king wishes that the service for his soul on that day shall be done so well and solemnly on all points that nothing shall fail and it shall be to the king's honour; the king prays the chancellor dearly to be at the said service at Westminster, both at the Saturday before at placebo and dirige and on the Sunday at mass, and to take pains with the other bishops and the treasurer, who will be there, that the service be well ordered."

1 July 1324: Day originally arranged for Edward II to pay homage for his French lands to his brother-in-law Charles IV of France. Edward made excuses, didn't go, and soon found himself at war with Charles.

5 July 1321: Birth of Edward and Isabella's youngest child Joan of the Tower, future queen of Scotland.  Edward was thirty-seven at the time of his daughter's birth, Isabella twenty-five or twenty-six.

5 July 1321: Edward authorised the foundation of several houses for teaching logic and theology at Cambridge University, at the request of his clerk Roger Northburgh, shortly to become bishop of Coventry and Lichfield on the death of Walter Langton.

5 July 1321: Wedding of Edward's kinsman Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, who was then about fifty, and the much younger Marie de St Pol.

5 July 1324: Wedding of Edward's brother-in-law Charles IV of France and Jeanne of Evreux, who was the daughter of Philip IV's half-brother Louis, count of Evreux and thus Charles' first cousin. Although lots of people nowadays claim that their wedding date is unknown or that Charles and Jeanne married in July 1325, the date is in fact known for certain from a letter sent to Edward II by his envoys to France on 10 July 1324: "..we found him [Charles IV] at Annet on the Thursday next before the feast of the Translation of St Thomas, where he had married on the same day the sister of the present count of Dreux [sic]." (...lui trovasmes a Annet' le joedy prochein devant la feste de la Translacion de Seint Thomas, ou il avoit espouses mesmes le jour le soer le conte de Drews [sic] qore est.)  The Translation of St Thomas Becket is 7 July, a Saturday in 1324.

5 July 1325: On Joan of the Tower's fourth birthday, Edward sent envoys to negotiate a marriage between her and one of the sons of Charles, count of Valois, Queen Isabella's uncle, although he was also negotiating a marriage for her in Aragon (with Jaime II's grandson the future Pedro IV) at the same time. The boy in question was not named, but can only have been Valois' youngest son Louis, count of Chartres, born in 1318, whose mother was Marie de St Pol's sister Mahaut.

6 July 1332: Birth of Elizabeth de Burgh, only child of William Donn de Burgh, earl of Ulster and Maud of Lancaster (one of the six daughters of Edward II's first cousin Henry, earl of Lancaster). Elizabeth was sole heir to her father's earldom and to the third of the vast de Clare inheritance of her paternal grandmother, Edward II's niece Elizabeth de Clare. She married Edward III's second son Lionel of Antwerp, who was a few years her junior, and had one daughter, Philippa, who married Edmund Mortimer, earl of March.

7 July 1307: Death of Edward I, aged sixty-eight, at Burgh-by-Sands near Carlisle; accession of twenty-three-year-old Edward II, duke of Aquitaine, prince of Wales, earl of Chester and count of Ponthieu as king of England and lord of Ireland.

7 July 1317: Edward II founded the King's Hall (Aula Regis) at Cambridge University as a place to educate the children of his chapel; the Hall maintained thirty-two scholars from 1319.  In 1546, Edward's descendant Henry VIII incorporated King's Hall and Michaelhouse – founded in 1324 by the chief justice Hervey Staunton, a staunch supporter of Edward II – into his new foundation of Trinity College.  Edward II was the first king of England to found colleges at Cambridge and Oxford (he also founded Oriel College at Oxford in 1326), and is one of only a handful of people throughout the centuries to establish colleges at both universities.

7 and 8 July 1312: Travelling to London from York after Piers Gaveston's murder, Edward gave a pound to Janin the Conjuror for performing tricks in his private chamber at Swineshead Priory, and three shillings to a group of acrobats for "making their vaults" before him at Surfleet.

8 July every year: The first day of Edward II's regnal year.

8 July 1313: Edward hosted a great banquet in Amiens, France, and gave the enormous sum of twenty pounds to Robert, 'King of Heralds' and other unnamed minstrels who performed there.

11 July 1307: The date on which Edward II, in or near London, heard that he had acceded as king of England.  His first act as king, almost certainly, was to recall Piers Gaveston from exile.

12 July 1380 (or shortly before): Death of Blanche, Lady Wake, eldest and last surviving child of Edward II's first cousin and Isabella of France's uncle Henry, earl of Lancaster (and sister of Maud of Lancaster, above).  Blanche was born in about 1302 in the reign of Edward I, and lived into the reign of his great-great-grandson Richard II.

13 July 1389: Death of Elizabeth, Lady Berkeley, youngest and last surviving child of Hugh Despenser the Younger and Eleanor de Clare, and thus Edward II's great-niece.  Elizabeth was fortunate to escape Isabella of France's vindictive forced veiling of three of her older sisters at the beginning of 1327, as she was either a baby or perhaps still in utero (the eldest sister, Isabel, also escaped the forced veiling because she was already married).  Elizabeth's eldest son Thomas, Lord Berkeley, also died on 13 July, in 1417.

14 July 1322: Five men – the mayor of London, three justices of the court of Common Pleas and the chief baron of the exchequer – condemned Roger Mortimer of Wigmore and his uncle Mortimer of Chirk to death.  Eight days later, Edward commuted the two men's sentence to life imprisonment, surely the biggest mistake he ever made given what happened in 1326.

15 July 1313: Around sunset, Edward and Isabella returned from their long visit to France, during which Edward saved his wife's life when a fire broke out in their lodgings and consoled himself on the first anniversary of Piers Gaveston's murder by watching 54 naked dancers perform for him.

15 July 1319: Edward knighted his half-brother Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk, who was then nineteen, born on 1 June 1300 (sixteen years the king's junior).

16 July 1212: Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, a resounding victory for the Christian kings Alfonso VIII of Castile, Pedro II of Aragon, Sancho VII of Navarre and Afonso II of Portugal over the forces of the Almohad caliphate, rulers of Al-Andalus, led by Muhammad al-Nasir. The battle fatally weakened Almohad rule in Spain and would prove to be a decisive moment in the Spanish Reconquista. In the 1230s and 1240s, towns and cities across Al-Andalus were recaptured by Alfonso VIII's grandson Fernando III of Castile (Edward II's grandfather!), with the greatest prize of all, Seville, falling to the king on 23 November 1248. The death toll among the Almohad forces during the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa is estimated at over 100,000; the defeated al-Nasir died in Marrakech a few months later.  Many thanks to my friend Kasia for informing me of a letter sent by Edward II's great-grandmother Berenguela, daughter of Alfonso VIII and mother of Fernando III, to her sister Blanca or Blanche, future queen of France: "Our father, the king and lord, conquered Miramamolin [Muhammad al-Nasir] 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."

17 July 1328: Wedding of seven-year-old Joan of the Tower and Robert Bruce's four-year-old son David, who succeeded his father as king of Scotland the following year.  The marriage would prove to be unhappy and childless.  Joan died in England in 1362 at the age of forty-one, and David - who had no children with his second queen either - died in 1371 to be succeeded by his half-nephew Robert II (grandson of Robert Bruce and his first wife Isabella of Mar), who rather oddly was eight years his senior.

18 July 1290: Edward's father Edward I expelled the entire Jewish population from England.

18 July 1317: Beginning of a meeting of the king's great council at Nottingham, which Edward's cousin and greatest enemy Thomas, earl of Lancaster, failed to attend.  On the 21st, Edward sent Lancaster a letter, repeating the summons and remonstrating with him for holding private assemblies and for employing an unusual number of armed retainers, "whence the people are considerably frightened." 

20 July 1307: Edward II was proclaimed king of England and lord of Ireland "by descent and heritage" at Carlisle Castle.

20 July 1319: Edward asked the two archbishops and all the bishops of England to pray for him on his way to Berwick-on-Tweed, taken by Robert Bruce the previous year, but then didn't arrive in Berwick until 7 September.  (Predictably, Edward's siege and attempt to recapture the vital port ended in utter failure.)

Sometime between 20 and 24 July 1318: Execution of John of Powderham, royal impostor, who claimed to be the rightful son of Edward I.

21 July 1324: Now at war with France and with his French lands confiscated, Edward did the only thing he could to retaliate and ordered all French subjects in England to be arrested and their goods seized.

25 July 1317: Edward granted Queen Isabella the county of Cornwall.

25 July 1326: Edward gave two shillings to John de Walton, who "sang before the king [chaunta deuant le Roi] every time he passed by water through these parts," and also gave Edward a present of loach.

26 July 1316: End of the rebellion in Bristol.

26 July 1316: Edward left a very pregnant Queen Isabella - their son John was born on 15 August - at Eltham Palace in Kent to travel north for a campaign in Scotland which he then cancelled.  

27 July 1309: Opening of parliament at Stamford in Lincolnshire; Piers Gaveston, who had recently returned from his year in exile as lord lieutenant of Ireland, appeared at Edward II's side and was re-granted his earldom of Cornwall during the parliament.

28 July 1321: Edward created Edmund of Woodstock, the younger of his two half-brothers, earl of Kent.  Edmund was then almost twenty, born on 5 August 1301.

29 July 1304: Edward I granted the wardship of seventeen-year-old Roger Mortimer, whose father Edmund had recently died, to Piers Gaveston (who must have been at least twenty-one at the time and was probably quite a bit older than that).

29 July 1321: Edward and the Despensers' enemies the Marcher lords, who had recently despoiled the Despensers' lands in England and Wales and whom Edward soon took to calling the 'Contrariants', arrived in London, two weeks late for parliament.  The Londoners refused to admit them, and Edward also refused to meet them or even to listen to their demands that the Despensers be perpetually exiled from England, and they and their heirs disinherited "as false and traitorous criminals and spies." The Marchers placed themselves and their armies around the city walls, at strategic locations, to prevent the king leaving the city. Two days earlier, the Marchers had sent two knights as envoys to Edward, to tell him that they held both Hugh Despensers "enemies and traitors to you and to the kingdom, and for this they wish them to be removed from here [i.e. England]."  Edward refused to meet the envoys, offering the rather feeble excuse that they had no letters of credence.


chris y said...

The death toll among the Almohad forces during the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa is estimated at over 100,000; the defeated al-Nasir died in Marrakech a few months later.

Is it realistic to imagine an army of over 100,000 in the 13th century? I'd have thought the logistics would have been impossible.

Kathryn Warner said...

It does seem remarkably high in the usual manner of medieval battle death estimates, doesn't it? The Medieval Fortress: Castles, Forts and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages, ed. J.E. and H.W. Kaufmann (2004), pp. 101, 145, estimates however that the Almohad forces may have been as large as 300,000, and cites an Arab chronicle which gives the number as 160,000. Alfonso VIII himself stated "On their side there fell in the battle 100,000 men, perhaps more...", cited in Jill N. Claster, Sacred Violence: The European Crusades to the Middle East (2009), p. 275.

Anerje said...

Mixed fortunes for Edward in July. And lots of familiar names to me now thanks to this blog:>

Gabriele C. said...

Indeed, Anerje.

I don't even want to reread Druon's Rois Maudits because of the unjust portrayal of Edward II in those books. It already struck me as overtly homophobic on my first read in the 80ies, but now I would probably scream at the book. ;-)

Kathryn Warner said...

I find it somewhat baffling that those novels are still so popular. The English history in them is very dodgy and the dialogue and characterisation are execrable. Really not a fan :/

Gabriele C. said...

But they get a new English translation. :(

Kathryn Warner said...

Crap, lots more people will read a wildly inaccurate version of history wherein Edward II flounces around and dies by red-hot poker :/

Kathryn Warner said...

Crap, lots more people will read a wildly inaccurate version of history wherein Edward II flounces around and dies by red-hot poker :/

Sami Parkkonen said...

Perhaps we can assume that a round figure of 100 000 was meant be a presentation of a huge army by medieval writers and not an exact figure? That was, after all, usuall by ancient writers when no one knew the real numbers of the armies. For instance, during the 30 years war the actual armies were seldom bigger than 25 000 men, BUT it is estimated than roughly five times larger numer of people followed them around as service personel, merchants, prostitutes, musicians, thieves etc.

Sami Parkkonen said...

" 25 July 1326: Edward gave two shillings to John de Walton, who "sang before the king [chaunta deuant le Roi] every time he passed by water through these parts," and also gave Edward a present of loach."

Thats my Eddie! I wonder did John have a good voice, great songs or was he hilarious?

Kathryn Warner said...

I soooo love that entry. As you say, Sami, it's just so Edward ;-) I also wonder if John was a talented singer or so bad he was funny, and amused Edward :)

Carla said...

'to be succeeded by his half-nephew Robert II (grandson of Robert Bruce and his first wife Isabella of Mar), who rather oddly was eight years his senior'
A good example of how generations can easily get mixed up! There was a long gap between Robert Bruce's children by his first marriage and his second, on account of the Wars of Independence.

Kathryn Warner said...

Exactly, Carla - Bruce's daughter Marjorie, whose mother was his first wife Isabella of Mar, was born as early as 1294 or so, while his son David II, with his second wife Elizabeth de Burgh, wasn't born till 1324, eight years after Marjorie gave birth to her son Robert II. Elizabeth de Burgh's captivity in England from 1306 to 1314 of course seriously disrupted her marital relationship, though it's notable that the Bruces still had to wait ten years after her release for their son.

Anerje said...

I have a question - I must plead ignorance - what/who is Druon's Rois Maudits?

Kathryn Warner said...

Anerje, it's a series of novels called The Accursed Kings in English, written by Maurice Druon in the 1950s/60s, about Philip IV and his children. I wrote a review a few years ago of his She-Wolf of France, which I loathed.

Carla said...

Yes, I don't suppose that escaped Edward I's notice. Denying Bruce an heir was an opportunity he would not have missed.
Ten years after Elizabeth's release is a long time to wait (although wasn't there a daughter who might have been born before David?). Perhaps they were just unlucky, or Robert Bruce was still too busy with battles even after Bannockburn.

Kathryn Warner said...

Yes, I think there was a daughter born before David. Possibly Elizabeth just wasn't very fertile; she and Robert had no children in the first four years of marriage, from 1302 until her capture in 1306.

Anerje said...

Thanks Kathryn! Best avoided then:>

Kathryn Warner said...

The series has loads of fans, to be fair, but yeah, if you like Edward II I think the She-Wolf of France one is best avoided, at least :/

Tiara said...