‘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
‘They seek him here, they seek him there’…so things have been a little hectic of late…ok for the last three months especially. So much so, I know many of you are wondering whether I’m still alive judging by your friendly emails and very kind posts. Well, I must first report in dispatches that as far … More The Scarlet Pimpernel – Well Almost!
The murder of Piers Gaveston, lover and confidant of Edward II on 19 June 1312 is well known to many. The story of his rise to the earldom of Cornwall, and subsequent clash with the mainstay of England’s nobility is also well documented.[Click here for:- Piers Gaveston: Life, Love & Death (An Overview)] But one of … More The Murder of Piers Gaveston: A Fourteenth Century Account
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
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
The Coronation, marks an important moment in kingship. For in that ancient service, the monarch is set above his people spiritually through the act of unction – the application of Holy Oil imbuing the sovereign with quasi-spiritual power. In the medieval mind, the coronation confirmed the king’s status as ruler: it bequeathed him the right … More A King & His People: The Controversial Coronation of Edward II, 1308
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
Aymer de Valence, by the close of 1312, had regained the king’s confidence. The murder of Piers Gaveston at the hands of the Blacklow earls as they became known had shocked contemporaries. The earl of Pembroke would from this moment do everything in his power to serve Edward II, but in doing so, provided a … More A Lesson in Loyalty: The Life of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke (Part Two)
On the 20 January 1327 Edward II, a prisoner at Kenilworth Castle, faced a delegation. Initially he had been offered the courtesy of a quiet conversation with the bishops of Winchester and Lincoln in his private chamber. The news was most likely expected. Edward, they declared, was by the will of parliament and the community … More The End of All Things: The Deposition of Edward II, 20 January 1327
On this day, 2 January 1315, Edward II, most likely highly emotional, finally buried his longtime favourite and lover Piers Gaveston, earl of Cornwall, who had been murdered some two-and-a-half years earlier in June 1312. Gaveston, his boon companion since 1300, had risen sharply in status since Edward’s accession in July 1307 and had remained … More A Solemn Affair: The Funeral of Piers Gaveston, 2 January 1315
So like all good adventures, there eventually comes journey’s end. After many years of planning, researching and then a good two years of writing, the book is now, well, a book having been published on 15th November 2017. For those of you who have been following ‘A Writer’s Journey’ series, I last wrote an update … More A Writer’s Journey #8 Adventure’s End…well, kind of!
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
STOP PRESS FOLKS!! At 7.30pm on Thursday 23rd November, my book ‘Edward II the Man: A Doomed Inheritance‘ will be launched at the magnificent Gloucester Cathedral, the burial place of Edward II, and you are invited. Join me for an evening talk as I re-examine Edward II both as a man and a monarch, set against the … More STOP PRESS: Edward II Book Launch & You Are Invited (7.30pm, 23rd November 2017, Gloucester Cathedral)
Aymer de Valence is not a name that leaps out of the annals of history. Many would be hard pressed to place him, let alone have a sense of his many achievements. But his achievements were great, and he had an impressive pedigree; his great-grandfather being William Marshall, one of Christendom’s greatest knights. His career … More A Lesson in Loyalty: The Life of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke (Part One)
There have been many medieval kings who have produced a string of illegitimate children. Henry I is perhaps the most infamous of them all. He was so prolific in exercising his sexual appetites, that the number of bastard children is almost impossible to know for certain. At best guess, the suggested numbers are as high … More Medieval Bastardy: Adam, Son of Edward II