The Enemies Within: Robert the Bruce & the Soules Conspiracy, 1320

‘Robert the Bruce’, King of Scots is best remembered to history for overcoming the might of English imperial aggression, beating back Edward II, most memorably as the victor of the Battle of Bannockburn. In war and diplomacy too, with tact and unbending determination, Robert won his victories against the greatest of odds. He was, in … More The Enemies Within: Robert the Bruce & the Soules Conspiracy, 1320

The Maid of Norway: The Child Queen of Scots, 1286-1290

‘The Maid of Norway’ is a name or title that echoes out of the mists of history. Yet, ask anyone to embellish, and few can place her or better still begin to tell her story. It’s unsurprising, given that Margaret, the last of the Scottish royal house of Dunkeld, lived, ruled and died all by … More The Maid of Norway: The Child Queen of Scots, 1286-1290

Thou art a Villain: The Changing Nature of Treason in the Middle Ages

The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries have many defining features, yet one in particular stands out for its political significance. Unlike the preceding centuries, politics in England became increasingly violent, especially among the nobility – the earls and baronial class. While rebellions had occurred at key times during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries – notably with … More Thou art a Villain: The Changing Nature of Treason in the Middle Ages

‘Risen from the Dust’? – The Real Heritage of Piers Gaveston

It was Walter of Guisborough who first poured scorn on the supposed heritage of Piers Gaveston, favourite and lover of Edward II, declaring that the then earl of Cornwall was ‘raised up as if from nothing’.(1) Historians for the best part of the last 700 years have run away with this assertion, until academics like … More ‘Risen from the Dust’? – The Real Heritage of Piers Gaveston

My Podcast Interview with Medieval Archives, 30 January 2018

Last week I was interviewed by Gary Ekborg, who runs the internationally renowned blog and website Medival Archives. It was good fun and filled with many great questions. Please click on the link to hear the recorded interview: Podcast Interview MAP#78: Edward II The Man with author Stephen Spinks To accompany the podcast interview, Medieval Archives … More My Podcast Interview with Medieval Archives, 30 January 2018

Chepstow Castle: A Bastion of Medieval Craftsmanship

Located on a limestone promontory overlooking the River Wye, Chepstow Castle, even today, dominates the landscape and takes the breath away. It’s both magnificent in its medieval might as it is in its beauty and attention to medieval craftsmanship. Built initially by William fitz Osborn and later William the Conqueror himself, Chepstow saw a succession … More Chepstow Castle: A Bastion of Medieval Craftsmanship

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 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)

The Siege of Caerlaverock Castle: A Herald’s Eye-Witness Account

Whilst out on my castle hunting road trip a few weeks ago through southern Scotland and northern England, I took the time to visit many historic sites relating to the fourteenth century, and Edward I and II in particular. Caerlaverock is just one of them with a particularly exciting story. Caerlaverock castle sits in a strategic … More The Siege of Caerlaverock Castle: A Herald’s Eye-Witness Account

How to hold a Medieval Parliament: By those who were there (Part Two)

Following on from part one, those called to parliament still have much to do and many rules to abide by. The studious clerk who started penning his treatise must have been either very keen, on a good commission or had underestimated the enormity of his task. There are still nine ‘rules’ left to discuss. He … More How to hold a Medieval Parliament: By those who were there (Part Two)

How to hold a Medieval Parliament: By those who were there (Part One)

At some point during the reign of Edward II a studious clerk, most likely between 1316-1324, sat down to work one evening and took his pen to parchment and wrote a treatise. This treatise set out, rather helpfully for us seven hundred years later, the ‘dos’ and ‘dont’s’ of holding a medieval parliament as dictated … More How to hold a Medieval Parliament: By those who were there (Part One)