Project Pilgrim: Behind the Scenes & Heavenly Heights at Gloucester Cathedral

In my career in heritage, I sometimes get very special access to off limits or behind the scene spaces in magnificent medieval buildings. Recently, in my capacity as a lay member, I was given access to Gloucester Cathedral. This magnificent building is currently undergoing a major multi-million pound HLF funded programme of restoration, not to … More Project Pilgrim: Behind the Scenes & Heavenly Heights at Gloucester Cathedral

A Leopard in Winter: The Death of Edward I, 7 July 1307

On this day 710 years ago, Edward I, that irascible and mighty king who had ruled England with an iron fist since 1272, died at Burgh-by-Sands, west of Carlisle. His death had been long in the coming, his health ailing steadily over the previous three years. The exact nature of his illness is unknown, but it … More A Leopard in Winter: The Death of Edward I, 7 July 1307

Principe Wallie: The First English Prince of Wales, 1301

For nearly six hundred years, the title of Prince of Wales has in the main been bestowed upon the eldest surviving son of the ruling English, and later British, monarch. It has become something of a convention. Yet prior to 1282, the lands in Wales were in the north and west of the modern geographical principality, … More Principe Wallie: The First English Prince of Wales, 1301

Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part Three)

Isabella’s protestations at the French court in Paris in 1325 sent out a wave of sympathy across Europe. Those that had been increasingly alienated by the Despensers and their control over the king, who seemed to protect his favourites at all costs, suddenly made Isabella a figurehead for the discontented. Within weeks, disgruntled members of the … More Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part Three)

Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part Two)

Until 1321 Isabella’s marriage to Edward II had proved successful. They had been married for thirteen years, produced four children and worked in a mutual partnership which appeared affectionate and productive. Isabella’s powers of queenly intercession were used in a conventional way and she had the support of her husband in influencing policy where she … More Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part Two)

Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part One)

Isabella of France has gone down in legend as one of the femme-fatales of medieval history. According to the traditional and widely told story, the queen, scorned by her husband whilst he pursued his male favourites, was left bereft and alone and thereby inevitably fell into the arms of her lover, Roger Mortimer. Their passionate and illicit … More Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part One)