19 October, 2015

19 October 1330

On 19 October 1330, 685 years ago today, Edward III arrested Roger Mortimer, earl of March, at Nottingham Castle.  The young king was not quite eighteen years old (born 13 November 1312) and ready to take over the governance of his own kingdom.  In a proclamation issued shortly afterwards, Edward showed how unimpressed he was with those who had been ruling England since the forced abdication of his father Edward II in January 1327, presumably Roger, Edward III's mother Isabella and various of their allies: "the king understands that diverse oppressions and hardships have been inflicted upon many men of his realm by certain persons who have been his ministers..." and that the affairs of the kingdom "have been directed until now to the damage and dishonour of him [Edward III] and his realm."

Incidentally, Edward arresting Roger in Isabella's bedchamber is not nearly as intimate as it might sound to modern ears; the two weren't alone in bed together but using the chamber as a venue for a meeting with their few remaining allies, including the bishop of Lincoln Henry Burghersh (who tried to escape from the king down a latrine shaft), Sir Hugh Turplington (who was killed), and Sir Simon Bereford, Sir Oliver Ingham and Roger's son Geoffrey (who were all arrested).  Roger was executed on 29 November 1330, Isabella's pleas to her son to have pity on him falling on deaf ears.

I'd like to thank Kathleen Guler for writing this fab review of my book Edward II: The Unconventional King!  There's also a thoughtful and most interesting review of it by Professor Jeff Hamilton, Piers Gaveston's biographer, here.  I was delighted to read that.

Finally, there's a great blog post by Ivan Fowler and the Auramala Project about my recent trip to Pavia to talk about Edward II, with pics!


Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

What a lovely account of your visit to Italy, Kathryn! It was great to learn more about it :-)

I will read the reviews in the evening. Thank you for sharing.

chris y said...

In re 19 October 1330, do we then infer that by this point there was not a single magnate in the kingdom apart from Burghersh who remained aligned with Mortimer? That's pretty good going in three years!

Anerje said...

Arresting Mortimer in Isabella's bedchamber does sound intimate - not many 'romantic' novelists mention the others present. Isabella and Mortimer proved as greedy and grasping as those they ousted in less time - what an achievement 😀

Sami Parkkonen said...

It was not very romantic in an intimate sense but very cinematic perhaps. Edward III knew that Mortimer was going after his men, or assumed men of his and he had an inkling that he would dealt the same way as his father had been pretty soon. At least so it was in his mind.

So he gathered very few closest friends and supporters and attacked. They went into the Nottingham castle trough the underground tunnels below the castle itself. They were let in by a co-conspirator, went ti the chambers of Isabella where Mortimer and his cohorts felt safe.
The sudeen arrival of young Edward III caused a panic as all the mortimerians realised what was happening. Only few put up resistance, not Roger Mortimer (so much so about his prowess as a warrior stud) who surrendered in Isabellas room where he went to hide.

Actually Isabella pleaded that his son would kill the mortimerians on the spot but did not do anything to stop them being arrested. Obviously she realised that the game was up and her show time was over. And Roger would play no more games at all.

At least that is the scene from the various sources I have read about this event.

Sami Parkkonen said...

Isabella pleaded them not be killed, of course. Sorry about typos above.

Anonymous said...

Great post ... from heroes to hatred in three years is a pretty quick turn around (although "Roger of the Thousand Days" or "Isabella of the Thousand Days" doesn't scan very well, IMO)