A King Under Heel: The Ordinances, 1311

In early March 1310, another highly volatile parliament was underway in England in which the king, Edward II, clashed vehemently with the majority of his magnates. His cousin, Thomas of Lancaster, six years his senior and now the figurehead of noble opposition to the crown’s perceived overindulgences, began proceedings by reading out a barbed petition, … More A King Under Heel: The Ordinances, 1311

Ancient Customs & Conflict: Edward II & the Contrariant Rebels (Part Two)

[Following on from ‘Ancient Customs & Conflict: Edward II & the Contrariant Rebels (Part One)‘, below is the concluding part to what happened next]. ~ As the Christmas court broke up in early January 1321, the Marcher lords, which now included Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, recently returned from Ireland, retired to their estates and began … More Ancient Customs & Conflict: Edward II & the Contrariant Rebels (Part Two)

Ancient Customs & Conflict: Edward II & the Contrariant Rebels (Part One)

Hugh Despenser the Younger had risen in both position and power since his marriage to Edward II’s niece, Eleanor de Clare, in 1306. Although the marriage arranged by Edward I was a great match and an acknowledgement of his father’s loyalty to the late king, it did not come with great tranches of land or … More Ancient Customs & Conflict: Edward II & the Contrariant Rebels (Part One)

The Birth of a King: War, Politics & Lifelong Symbolism

On St Mark’s Day, 25 April 1284, the day on which the people of medieval England would parade through their villages carrying veiled black crosses while praying for good harvests, good weather and good health, a forty-three year old woman was in labour.[1] For hours, surrounded by some of the women of her household, headed … More The Birth of a King: War, Politics & Lifelong Symbolism

An Errant Son: Edward II & the first exile of Piers Gaveston

‘You base-born whoreson! Do you want to give away lands now, you who never gained any? As the Lord lives, if it were not for fear of breaking up the kingdom, you should never enjoy your inheritance’.(1) These are the colourful words reported by the chronicler Walter of Guisborough. As this fearsome attack was made, … More An Errant Son: Edward II & the first exile of Piers Gaveston

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 Murder of Piers Gaveston: A Fourteenth Century Account

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

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

A King & His People: The Controversial Coronation of Edward II, 1308

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

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

A Lesson in Loyalty: The Life of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke (Part Two)

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)

The End of All Things: The Deposition of Edward II, 20 January 1327

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