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

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)

A Solemn Affair: The Funeral of Piers Gaveston, 2 January 1315

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

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

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)

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)

A Royal Traitor: The Life & Execution of Thomas of Lancaster

Thomas of Lancaster, a man of royal birth and immense wealth, power and position, met a grisly end on this day, 22 March 1322; 695 years ago. He was not killed in battle, died of plague or old age, but rather on the order of his cousin King Edward II, Thomas was executed outside the … More A Royal Traitor: The Life & Execution of Thomas of Lancaster

All the King’s Men: The Forgotten Royal Favourites (Part One)

Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser the Younger are two names that are synonymous with Edward II. The first, the royal favourite and lover who was brutally murdered for his control of royal patronage and in consequence of his dramatic elevation to the highest ranks of medieval fourteenth century English society, still dominates the popular imagination. … More All the King’s Men: The Forgotten Royal Favourites (Part One)