Dedicated to my blog buddy Anerje, who is, with me and Edward II, Piers Gaveston's Greatest Fan Ever. :-)
1) On 7 September 1310, Edward II pardoned Piers and six of his retainers for the death of one Thomas de Walkyngham of Yorkshire. What that was about - an unprovoked attack? Self-defence? An accident? - I have no idea. Piers was also pardoned "for all other felonies and trespasses with which he has been charged." What these were, and who charged Piers, I don't know either, as this was a year before the Ordainers ordered him to be banished from England for the third time. ("We, the Lords Ordainer, charge you, Piers Gaveston, with having a vicious tongue, a supercilious manner and an over-developed dress sense.") (This is a joke, by the way. Not a fact.)
2) An anonymous letter of 4 April 1311 said "A secret illness troubles him [Piers] much, compelling him to take short journeys." On 26 April 1312, Edward paid two men - physician William de Burntoft and Brother Robert de Bermingham - ten marks each for looking after him during another illness.
3) Piers' birthday might have been 18 July, as Edward II kept his anniversary on this date and on 19 June, the day of his death. The year of his birth is not known, but was sometime between 1281 and 1283. In my opinion, 1282 is the likeliest date, which would mean that Piers was a month short of his 30th birthday when he was killed, and twenty-one months older than Edward.
4) Piers went on campaign to Scotland with Edward in August 1310, and stayed at Roxburgh with his wife Margaret (Edward and Isabella were at Berwick) for the next few months. In January and February 1311, he paid £464 for provisions for his household, including 12,000 stockfish at £7 10s per 1000, 1000 cod, 12 'lasts' of red herring at £5 per last, 30 casks of wine at £5 6s and 8p per cask, and 12 casks of flour.
5) John of Canterbury, chaplain of John of Brittany, earl of Richmond, claimed in 1309 that Piers loved Richmond "beyond measure." He also said that Piers and Richmond called each other 'father' and 'son' in their correspondence. Richmond, grandson of Henry III and Edward II's first cousin, was born in 1266 and was therefore about 16 years older than Piers. In the only letter between the two men which survives, Piers addressed Richmond conventionally as 'very dear cousin' (trescher cosin).
6) In or about 1305, Piers and his elder brother Arnaud-Guillaume de Marsan* petitioned Edward I, asking - among other things - that four Gascon castles be taken into the king's hand and that the testament of their mother 'the lady de Marsan' might be carried out. Claramonde had died shortly before 4 February 1287 - and was certainly not burned as a witch, as some novels and older works of non-fiction say. The petition spells their names 'Arnaud Guilhem de Marsan and Perrot de Gavastun'.
* Piers' full brother, but used their mother's name.
7) Piers' name, in his own lifetime, was spelt Peres, Pieres or Pieris, and he was known by the pet name 'Perrot'. His last name was spelt Gavaston, Gavastun, Gavastone, Gavastoun, Gavastoune, Gaveieston, even Kavaston, Causton, etc, but never 'Gaveston'. The family took its name from the village of Gabaston in Béarn, near Pau in the modern Pyrénées-Atlantiques département, in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
8) One of Piers' sisters was with him in Scarborough Castle when he was besieged there, 10 to 19 May 1312. What became of her isn't recorded (that I know of).
9) On 17 August 1307, Piers, just returned from exile and the brand-new earl of Cornwall, gave a banquet for Edward II at Sanquhar in south-west Scotland. Edward gave a pound each to the Welsh trumpeters Yevan and Ythel who performed for them. Piers also entertained Edward at Knaresborough Castle from 9 to 12 September that year.
10) During his 1307 exile, Piers went to Edward's county of Ponthieu in northern France, rather than Gascony as ordered by Edward I. Edward (of Caernarfon) had been expecting to visit Ponthieu - in the end, he didn't - and plenty of food had been laid in there against his arrival. Piers received 13 swans and 22 herons from the supplies.
11) When Piers was exiled for the second time in June 1308, Edward II granted lands worth £2000 annually to him and his wife Margaret in England, and another £2000 of lands to Piers alone in his homeland of Gascony. They included the island of Oléron, the city of Bayonne and the county of Gauré, near Toulouse and nowadays in the Haute-Garonne département. In later years, Edward appointed Piers' kinsman Arnaud Caillau - they were probably first cousins - as keeper of Oléron.
12) Edward II's demands for prayers for Piers' soul could prove onerous. In the spring of 1317, Edward asked Tupholme Abbey in Lincolnshire to take in his servant Robert de Crouland on his retirement, and the abbey replied "Although they would gladly obey him in all things, their very small income is already heavily burdened with the charge of finding a chaplain to say mass for the soul of Sir Pieres de Gavaston, formerly earl of Cornwall." They begged Edward to understand and forgive their "trespasses." Evidently Edward did, and sent Robert to Reading Abbey instead.
13) When Piers was killed in 1312, he was carrying:
- a great ruby, set in gold, worth £1000
- 3 large rubies in rings, an emerald and a diamond "of great value," all in an enamelled silver box
- 2 peridots, 1 in silver and 1 in gold
- a chalcedony, which Piers had put in his purse
- 1 large 'vessel'
- 1 small 'vessel', and "and from the small vessel a key hangs down, on a sterling cord."
Among the possessions of Edward II and Piers Gaveston seized by the earl of Lancaster in May 1312 were included "other diverse garments with the arms of the said Sir Piers, with the shoulders decorated and embroidered with pearls" and "a pair of gold-plated silver basins, with escutcheons with the arms of the said Sir Piers on them."
14) The Gascon sheriff of Edinburgh and constable of Linlithgow, Piers Lubaud, was a cousin of Piers, according to the Vita Edwardi Secundi. Shortly before Christmas 1312, Edward II sent Lubaud's wife Nichola a palfrey horse worth six pounds and a saddle "with a lion of pearls, and covered with purple cloth" worth five pounds. (Whatever a 'lion of pearls' is.)
15) Edward and Piers spent less time together after Edward's accession than you might think. From late June 1308 to late June 1309, Piers was in exile in Ireland. From August 1310 to August 1311, the men were on campaign in southern Scotland, living in castles 30 miles apart, though Piers did visit Edward (and Isabella) on occasion. Edward went south to parliament in August 1311, when the Ordainers forced him to banish Piers, and the men can't have seen each other for more than a few days before Piers departed the country. Even when they were both in England, they weren't always together: Edward didn't attend Piers' great jousting tournament at Wallingford in early December 1307, for example (he was at Kings Langley). They were together at Christmas 1309, at Langley, when the Vita says they spent the time "making up for former absence by their long wished-for sessions of daily and intimate conversation," and most probably at Christmas 1307, though at Westminster, not Wye in Kent, as stated by the Pauline annalist. Although several chronicles say they spent Christmas 1311 together after Piers' return from his third exile, this is almost certainly incorrect.
16) The Lanercost chronicler says that when the earl of Lancaster swore homage to Edward II in February 1311 for the lands he had just inherited from his father-in-law the earl of Lincoln, he "would neither kiss him [Piers], nor even salute him, whereat Piers was offended beyond measure." Piers' biographer Jeffrey Hamilton has pointed out that it is highly unlikely that Piers was even present when Lancaster met Edward, but hey, it's a great story. :-)
17) The Brut called Piers "the cursed Gascon," the Pauline annalist called him "an evil male sorcerer" and said that Edward did Piers great reverence and worshipped him as though his friend were a god, and the Vita also said that Piers "was accounted a sorcerer." These statements may be the origin of the much later invention that Piers' mother was burned as a witch.
18) Edward referred to his friend in speech as "my brother Piers" and addressed him in writing as "our dear and faithful brother" (nostre cher frere et foial) - exactly the same way as he addressed his real brothers Thomas and Edmund and his brother-in-law the earl of Hereford.
19) Not about Piers as such, but this amused me: in the Oxfordshire town of Deddington, where Piers was captured by the earl of Warwick in June 1312, there's a road called Gaveston Gardens. (I want to move there, right now. Though as houses are currently selling for half a million quid upwards, maybe not.) There are also Gaveston Roads in the towns of Didcot, Leamington Spa, Slough, Leatherhead and Coventry, and Gaveston Closes in Warwick and Byfleet.
1) Calendar of Patent Rolls 1307-1313, p. 277.
2) Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland 1307-1357, p. 40; J. S. Hamilton, Piers Gaveston, earl of Cornwall 1307-1312, p. 95.
3) Wardrobe Accounts bundle 376, no. 7, folio 5.
4) Cal Docs Scotland, p. 39.
5) Pierre Chaplais, Piers Gaveston: Edward II's Adoptive Brother, pp. 56, 67, 123. (dominus Petrus de C. ultra modem diligit dominum suum Johannem antedictum et in litteris suis vocat eum patrem et ipse econverso filium).
6) The National Archives SC 8/291/14546.
7) Too many sources to mention.
8) Vita Edwardi Secundi, ed. N. Denholm-Young, p. 24.
9) Richard Rastall, 'Secular Musicians in Late Medieval England' (PhD thesis, Univ. of Manchester, 1968), vol. 2, p. 57.
10) Hilda Johnstone, Edward of Carnarvon 1284-1307, p. 124.
11) Cal Pat Rolls 1307-1313, pp. 74, 78-79; Calendar of Close Rolls 1318-1323, p. 466 (Caillau).
12) TNA SC 8/197/9804.
13) Hamilton, Gaveston, pp. 122- 125; Foedera, II, i, pp. 202-204.
14) Cal Docs Scotland, pp. 58-9; Vita, p. 48.
15) Vita, p. 8; Hamilton, Gaveston, p. 93, that Edward and Piers were apart at Christmas 1311. It is apparent from numerous sources that Edward was not at Wallingford in early December 1307, or at Wye that Christmas.
16) Chronicle of Lanercost, p. 192; Hamilton, Gaveston, p. 159.
17) The Brut, ed. F. W. D. Brie, p. 222; Annales Paulini, ed. W. Stubbs, pp. 259, 262; Vita, p. 15.
18) Lanercost, p.184; Annales Paulini, pp. 259, 273; Vita, pp. 7, 17, 28, 104; other chroniclers say much the same thing.
Great post! Really interesting as I didn't know many of those things.
Piers seems to have been a great character - I wish I could have met him ;-)
We, the Lords Ordainer, charge you, Piers Gaveston, with having a vicious tongue, a supercilious manner and an over-developed dress sense.
I suppose that's not the official verdict, though. ;)
But Piers loved his sparklies.
Fascinating! Never heard the bit about the secret illness.
Say what you like about Piers, he lived a colourful life :-)
A million thankyous Alianore! Delighted with the dedication! I'm in lofty company - Edward II and yourself:) Been so looking forward to this post! Thankfully, my credibility is intact, as I knew quite a lot of the items on the list - but am thrilled at you finding a possible birthday for Piers, the details on Piers' name, the Welsh trumpeters! - and the details on the prayers said for Piers' soul - so touching! Your research, as ever, is outstandimg! And wasn't Ed generous to Piers' relatives? I think the remarks about Richmond were probably dressed up in the 'chivalry' of the time. And yes, you are right to mention the actual amount of time Ed and Piers spent together once Ed was crowned - not as much as many fictionalised accounts make out.
We, the Lords Ordainer, charge you, Piers Gaveston, with having a vicious tongue, a supercilious manner and an over-developed dress sense.
that seems to be the crux of it, sadly. Plus those forks:) On the hunt for 'Gaveston's cross', we passed a Gaveston Lodge! Almost fainted as I knew I was so near!
And I thought I was the greatest Piers-Gaveston-fan ever. ;)
Lady D: me too! *Sighs yearningly*. Wish I knew what he looked like (I'm sure he was devastatingly handsome, though. ;)
Gabriele: hehe, not the official one, but I bet that was what was going on in their minds. ;)
Susan: it's interesting that it's called a 'secret' illness, isn't it?
Carla: oh, that's for sure. ;)
Anerje: you're very welcome, and glad you enjoyed them! At about the same time as the Tupholme Abbey petition was presented, on 29 June 1317, Edward ordered the convent of Thame to take on 6 additional monks to "celebrate divine service daily in the abbey for the souls of the king's ancestors, and of Pieres de Gavaston, earl of Cornwall."
Hi Ashmodai! Hmmm, I think you might have a fight on your hands from Anerje and me for that particular title. ;) Seriously, I'm delighted to hear that you're a Piers fan!
Piers - ever the favourite hehehe!
Ed's devotion is so touching - I expect the day of his murder was always a dreaded anniversary. Although the naked dancers probably took his mind off the day the first year.
-helpfully adds to your list of spellings-
Murimuth (or his scribes) prefers to insert "r" in there - a quick search of what I've transcribed so far (up to 1314) gives 4 occurrences of Gaveston(e) and 11 of Gaverston(e). There's also one "Vasconem", but I suspect that was a scribe substituting "Piers of Gascony" rather than an attempt at the surname.
Personally I prefer Gavaston, because it preserves the right vowel from the namesake town, but it's not a terribly important question!
Oh, and - most of all he just uses "dictus Petrus" rather than including his surname. Certainly doesn't refer to him as "comes Cornubiae" or anything so formal.
Research I did many, many years ago, regarding the tournament at Wallingford stated that Edward 11 awarded Piers Gaveston the laurel crown when in fact the final bout [the decider - so to speak]. was won by John de Warenne! I can't remember where this info was gleaned from but I did have Dugdale's baronage and many books written by various professors of history at the time. Through many house moves my bibliography has been lost!
My question is - Is it undisputed that Edwards was not at Wallingford?
Well, it's pretty well impossible to be absolutely 100% certain 700 years later where Edward II was on any given day, but his itinerary puts him at Langley from 10 November to 8 December 1307, except for 3 to 5 December, when he was at Reading and Bisham. Reading is only about 15 miles from Wallingford, but Ed was still at Langley on the 2nd, the day of the tournament. I don't know what the primary source is for the laurel crown and it being Warenne who actually won the final bout (I've never heard that before, and the chroniclers say it was Piers and his 'team' who won the tournament). A few novelists have put Ed at the tournament, probably on the assumption that he must or should have been there.
Re:Wallingford - The Gascons did win the most points at the tournament but as I recall it was very close and normally the final bout decided the whole outcome of a contest.
The 'crown', which was unfairly awarded to Gaveston,was the cause of a bitter rift between Gaveston and Warenne. Or that is how I recalled the events in my research - which as Kathryn so rightly states no-one can be absolutely certain of dates etc from so many centuries ago! But so good
to have other views on the topic
Please let me know if you remember the primary source for all this, because in all the 14th-century chronicles and other sources I've read, I've never seen it!
The rift between Warenne and Gaveston, according to the Vita Edwardi Secundi, was caused by the Wallingford tournament, but didn't last very long - the same chronicler says that after Gaveston's return from Ireland in 1309, Warenne became his close ally (which is borne out by government records).
I think Warenne was a pragmatist and although Gaveston was not a popular character he did possess qualities which I think outweighed the Earl of Surrey's personal feelings.
Also, I personally believe had Gaveston lived the outcome of Bannockburn could have been very different as he was both courageous with an astute military mind.
I notice among the books you listed on the reign of Edward 11 one which was in circulation some 20/years ago- 'The Three Edwards' it was by a University professor whose name I have forgotten but I did write to him on an error contained in his book - regarding Mortimer's execution. In the book he stated he was beheaded when he was the first nobleman ever to be hanged which was counted as an insult.
It's by Michael Prestwich, and yes, it seems pretty clear that Mortimer was dragged to Tyburn on a hurdle wearing the black tunic he'd worn to Edward II's funeral, hanged naked rather than beheaded, and his body left on the gallows for days - all of which was terribly insulting to a nobleman. I've read a theory that Edward III was trying to spare his mother Isabella's feelings with this execution, but he can't have been trying very hard as he seems to have gone out of his way to make Mortimer's execution as humiliating as possible.
Kathryn, have you studied Dugdale's Baronage? I now know there are many errors but still think it is an interesting document.
Love to know your comments!
No, not yet, I'm afraid! I hope to some day, but there are sooooo many books and primary sources to read...;)
Do you have any info on Sir John Bek? I have come across his name as opening the talks at Sherburn in Elnet.
Hi! John Bek was an adherent of Thomas of Lancaster who, oddly enough, was one of the few men who remained loyal to Ed II at the end of his reign and was captured with the king in S Wales in Nov 1326 (but soon released). That's an interesting career trajectory, isn't it?? Yes, in 1321 Bek read out the list of the grievances Lancaster and his allies had against the Despensers.
Thanks Kathryn your a super star!!!
Haha, thanks! ;) You're very welcome. Let me know if you need any more info about Bek - I'm sure I can dig more stuff out of my notes.
Was he any relation to Anthony Bek, the Bishop of Durham who died in 1311?
Hmmm, I've just checked my notes and books, including Maddicott, Holmes, Davies and McFarlane, and they don't say anything about a connection between JB and the patriarch of Jerusalem. ;) I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were cousins somewhere down the line though.
I did find a brother of Anthony Bek who had a son John, but the dates would have made him a bit too old to be the JB at Sherburn.
Also, just a bit of info which might interest you - The National Archives are holding a one day conference on the 17th July entitled 'Where there is no ruler the country falls' England's road to regicide, 1317-27.
Ooooh, great! Just checking out the programme...
The Chetwynd Medieval History Society
are trying to find out if the visit to the Antelope Inn, in Newport, Shropshire by Edward 11, is linked to Roger Mortimer's surrender. As Chetwynd was far more important than Newport during that period it seems quite feasible.
The Edward II, Conference at the National Archive centre at Kew, had a number of prestigious speakers,one none other than Seymour Phillips, author of the recently published Edward II.
Although I found it a most informative day none of the speakers would be drawn on their own personal opinions and shied away from debating some of the contentious issues which have dogged this reign for centuries.
They rigidly stick to the written word which again in so many instances is subject to interpretation and translation and is not beyond question.
I know your views on many authors [mushy] writings on characters of this age but I am of the opinion if it prompts just one person to seek further knowledge for themselves then their efforts must be deemed a success.
Your have come down on the side of Edward II [for all his short comings], whereas others take another stand point and for me it all adds to the the unending quest for knowledge and views.
Dusty manuscripts hold verbal accounts of bye gone ages but it was all the emotions embroiled within the human scope which created events. Passion, greed, avarice, revenge, selfishness, kindness, compassion, determination, courage, valour and last but by no means least, love in all its forms.
Regarding the "secret illness" of Piers - I wonder if he actually had a serious chronic illness during the last months of his life. He seemed to become excessively weary on the trip to Deddington - a healthy young Knight should have recovered from whatever had ailed him in April.
In defence of historical novelists -the clue is in the word novel, which in my dictionary states 'fictitious
prose written as a book'. The licence to write exactly what they like about historical figures. I REST MY CASE.
You may not like what is written under that guise, however, they do not pose as historians who often get their facts wrong - which in my view is far more unforgiveable.
Do you know the dates of Alice de Lacey's brothers deaths? And was Alice there at the time of either death?
Apart from the brief period of her marriage to Eubolo Le Strange, she appears to have had an extremely unhappy life. Are there any descriptions of her and do you have any thoughts on her?
Have you seen my post about Alice? http://edwardthesecond.blogspot.com/2007/01/abandonment-and-abduction-eventful-life.html
I don't know the dates of her brothers' deaths, unfortunately, though they definitely died in childhood or perhaps even infancy. I feel sorry for Alice; she does seem to have had a rotten life, mostly - unhappy marriage to Lancaster who cheated on her with numerous women, abducted, raped and forcibly married again in her mid-50s. Her marriage to Eubolo does seem to have been a genuine love match and very happy, though, which is sweet.
Yes, I am working my way through all your characters - with so much information to absorb I find them all truly fascinating and your blog is great!
You're welcome! :-) Really glad you enjoy it!
Thos. Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, was obviously a very lusty man - were any of his mistresses of note?
Just wondered if Alice minded or was relieved he had so many diverse dalliances leaving her to lead her own life. Could this be the reason for Alice's loathing of him or was it something deeper do you think?
Well, the interesting thing is that one of Thomas's mistresses must have been a relative of his, as his son John was described as the 'son of a married man and a spinster related in the third degree of kindred', so second cousins. I'd speculate that the woman in question was illegitimate or descended from an illegitimate line, as Thomas's legitimate second cousins were surely too high-born to have been his mistress without anyone noticing.
It's impossible to tell, unfortunately, why Alice and Thomas were so unhappy together - maybe Alice resented her husband's, ahem, outside interests and found them humiliating, or maybe she expected infidelity and didn't care? I wish we knew...:-(
Note that Eubolo Le Strange was one of Edward III trusted adherents and held a position within Isabella's household after Mortimer's execution, therefore, was Alice one of her ladies in waiting? If so, where would they have been living at that time?
Was there ever any evidence that Roger Mortimer [of Chirk] had a happy marriage with Lucy le Wafre or as I suspect was this another loveless marriage of convenience?
Was Eubolo in Isabella's household after 1330? Really? I've never heard that. I know he was one of the men Ed III sent to bring Isa to him at Windsor at Xmas 1330 (Patent Rolls 1330-34, p. 36). I'm pretty sure Isa didn't have any attendants as high-ranking as Alice in the years after her downfall.
As for Mortimer of Chirk and Lucy, there's basically no way of telling what kind of relationship they had - as with pretty well every couple of the era. It's very hard to say what kind of relationship Mortimer of Wigmore had with Joan de Geneville, either. How many marriages in this era weren't 'marriages of convenience', at least at the beginning? Alice and Eubolo are maybe an exception.
Would like to verify exactly where Alice de Lacy was married. Have looked on many websites and found nothing! One stated Thomas Lancaster was Edward III son!! Another that he was Edward I son!
Know that Edmund Crouchback was his father therefore after marriage did Alice live at Grosmont?
Hope you can clarify these facts for me - Thank you!
Hi - I've just checked the biog of Thomas by J.R. Maddicott, and he doesn't give a location for the wedding or even an exact date - just says "by 1292 Thomas was betrothed to Alice de Lacy...and by the autumn of 1294 he had married her." If Prof Maddicott doesn't know where or exactly when they married, it probably isn't recorded anywhere, unfortunately. Ditto where the couple lived for the first few years of marriage, or even when they began living together (as Alice wasn't yet 13 at marriage). It's very rare that such things were recorded and usually only by chance that we get a glimpse of people's personal lives. Grosmont passed to Thomas's brother Henry after their father's death. It's best not to use online genealogy sites, perhaps with the exception of Genealogics (which isn't perfect but is by far the most accurate I've found), as they're often so hopelessly wrong - as you've found.
Thank you so much for that info. Kathryn I will try and borrow Prof Maddicott's book from the library and keep delving into Alice's life.
Could you please clarify whether Henry de Lacy's second wide, Joan Martin, was any relation to the Richard de St Martin who abducted Alice?
I don't think they were related, no (possibly very distantly...). Joan Martin was the daughter of William Martin, one of the men sent to search for Piers Gaveston in the west country in late 1311 when he was thought to have returned from his third exile.
All information tells us that Gaveston was beheaded 1st July, 1312, but was not buried until 19th June 1314, Acording to the words on his cross, Where did the body lie in state for nearly 2 years ?
No, he was beheaded on 19 June 1312 and buried on 2 January 1315 (the dates on the cross are wrong, and Edward II was on his way to Bannockburn on 19 June 1314). According to various chroniclers, Edward had sworn to get revenge on Piers' killers before burying him.
Eu ainda continuo a crer que o Rei EduardoII e Piers eram amantes
I have a BA in History and Political Science from Albion College. I am pretty sure Piers was bi or gay. I am descended from him and I am gay and my grandfather may have been bisexual.
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