Loyalty & Ambition: The Heritage of Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick and seventh Lord of Annandale, is best known to history as Robert I, King of the Scots (r.1306-1329).  His dramatic rise to fame, a consequence of war, murder and political astuteness, against the backdrop of the First Scottish Wars of Independence, is well known. Once he had the crown, … More Loyalty & Ambition: The Heritage of Robert the Bruce

‘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 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 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)

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

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