27 February, 2015

Guest Post by Author Darren Baker

Today I'm delighted to welcome Darren Baker, author of With All for All, a new book about Simon de Montfort, to the blog.  He's written a great post about Simon, Thomas of Lancaster and Edward II for us.  Scroll down to the end of the post for a chance to win a free copy of his book!

Some songs of the noble Simon, please

For Edward II, the summer of 1323 should have been like a victory tour. The year before he had put down a rebellion led by his cousin and leading magnate Thomas of Lancaster and made him pay for it with his head. Not stopping there, he had Thomas’ pet peeve, the Ordinances, repealed at the next Parliament. Finally, he could breathe again like a real king, and so he set off on a progress north, part of which included taking seisin of the manors left behind by his late cousin. At the end of August he came to Whorlton castle in Yorkshire, and after a day out on the hunt, the king was entertained by two local women, one named Alice and the other Alianore the Redhead, who were paid the respectable sum of three shillings for their work.

The future Edward II and his father
This entertainment has long confused the medieval world, and not because of the tiresome obsession over whether Edward preferred men or women. It was recorded that these women only came to sing to him, as in really sing, but it’s who the redhead and her friend sang about that seems oddly out of place:Simon de Montfort, the champion of the Provisions of Oxford, the reforms of the 1260s meant to rein in the king, much the way Lancaster had championed the Ordinances. It’s improbable that the king would want to hear cadences extolling a legendary rebellious subject so soon after putting down another one. But then Edward II was never an easy read.

Execution of Thomas, earl of Lancaster

How much he knew about the life and career of Simon de Montfort is a matter of conjecture. He was born twenty-one years to the date after Montfort returned to England in a campaign that forced his grandfather Henry III to submit to the Provisions of Oxford, the same campaign that saw his grandmother Eleanor of Provence humiliated by a horde on London Bridge and his father carry out what was the first big-time heist in English history. Even worse was in store after Montfort defeated the royal party at Lewes and made the family his captives as he went about ruling the country. Not the kind of recollections a proud man like Edward I was likely to dwell on in his old age, and he was already in his mid-forties when his son was born. Perhaps the most the younger Edward ever heard his father recall was his victory at Evesham and the disgraceful mutilation of Montfort’s body, an admonishment to the future king to be grim to anyone who challenged your authority.

Whether or not the younger Edward had his father’s innate cruelty in him, he loathed Lancaster like no other, ever since he had had the head of his dear friend Piers Gaveston chopped off in a kangaroo court action. The charges of treason and rebellion alone against his cousin entitled Edward to have him hanged, drawn and quartered, the same nasty fate his father meted out to William Wallace among others, and the one he served up to Lancaster’s men. [Note by Kathryn: actually the only Contrariant of 1321/22 given the full traitor's death was Bartholomew, Lord Badlesmere.] But by ordering only the loss of his head, he could look both magnanimous and pay him back for Piers by reenacting the execution of his friend, namely by having Thomas ridden out to the chopping block as what had happened to Piers. He may have even rubbed it in by making sure this richest noble in the country, the holder of five earldoms, was borne there on a ‘worthless mule’.

Family tree with Henry III at the top, his children, and Edward II at the bottom.

If upon his arrival north Edward heard there were songs to be heard of Simon, he may have wanted to cut his cousin down to size even more by having them publicly sung before the court. He knew comparisons were already being made between Lancaster and Montfort, two martyrs who gave their lives in the cause of justice no matter what the king might think. Of course, that was laughable. Simon won his battle and had enjoyed prestige and respect at home and abroad that Thomas could only have dreamt of. In the end it was treachery that did him in. Lancaster, on the other hand, was a study in ineptness in whatever he took in hand. While he could be praised for being the only baron with the backbone to make the hard decision, namely to rid the realm of Piers once and for all, all his actions from that point on are distinctly muddled and lacking in resolve. He was more like Gilbert de Clare, the betrayer of Montfort, than Montfort himself. 

Where the comparison was right on, and the most worrying for Edward, was the cult of personality already being cultivated for Thomas. It’s unclear how much he really knew about Simon’s cult,which drew pilgrims from all ranks of society to Evesham. It had been such a political nuisance for Edward’s grandfather and father that they banned even mere talk about it. In the end they had to make concessions and reabsorb the surviving Montfortians before it finally went away. One of these was Thomas de Cantilupe, Montfort’s former chancellor. He was made bishop of Hereford right around the time Montfort’s cult began to fade away and it was he who reportedly baptized Thomas of Lancaster after his birth in 1278. Cantilupe was canonized in 1320, two years before Lancaster’s execution, and the liturgies composed for the sainted Thomas were now being imparted to his supposed namesake. 

Whorlton Castle

Simon’s cult had been confined exclusively around Evesham. The cult for Thomas sprang up similarly around the place where his head rolled and in no time the whole area was awash with talk about miracles being performed at his makeshift shrine. If anything, the political element was even stronger in Lancaster’s case, for that very summer a plaque commemorating him was raised at St. Paul’s in London attesting to the cures to be had there. Edward had the plaque with its ‘diabolic deception’ removed, but he clearly had a big problem on his hands with his dead cousin. Passing close to the shrine on his way to Whorlton, he might have heard nothing but Thomas this and Thomas that from the local population. Perhaps he ordered his attendants to scour the countryside for minstrels who knew songs of Simon de Montfort in a bid to change the rebel-cum-saint of the moment. If the people were looking for one to glorify, let it be one from the past, one who was not connected to his rule, and who, at least, deserved it more.

Edward’s days, however, were already numbered, as he could never get over having favourites around him who alienated everybody, but where Piers was one, he had two in the Despensers, father and son, son and grandson respectively of the Hugh Despenser who fell with Simon. Lancaster’s cult grew ever stronger as the opposition to his reign intensified to the point where the judgement against Thomas was overturned by Parliament. But by then Edward had been deposed, and his son was in the clutches of his mother and her lover Roger Mortimer,the namesake grandson of the fiend who oversaw the dismemberment of Simon’s body. The new king lent his support to Lancaster’s cult, such that where the one for Simon lasted only a decade, Thomas’ continued to rake in the business until finally shut down by the Reformation, more than two hundred years later. 

From the modern perspective of dysfunctional families, there is one more possible explanation for Edward II enjoying an evening of songs about Simon de Montfort over a goblet of Gascon wine. He was six years old when his mother Eleanor of Castile died, the last of her 16 children and the only boy to survive to manhood. His father’s war years on the continent and in Scotland were about to begin. The expense and setbacks involved in those campaigns, combined with old age, made Edward I a harsher,more dangerous man to confront than usual. One can almost imagine him relentlessly bullying his son into cutting the same stern figure of a man that he was, culminating in a nasty scene a few months before senior’s death in 1307. He had heard rumours about Piers Gaveston’s hold over his son.When Edward asked his father if he might not grant Piers the county of Ponthieu, which came from his mother, the Hammer of the Scots exploded, heaping all sorts of abuse on him and threatening to disinherit him. Always one to resort to violence in the end, he then grabbed him by his hair and began yanking out as much as his strength allowed, before throwing him out and exiling his presumptuous friend. He commanded that Piers not be recalled upon his death, which is exactly what Edward did.Whatever the realm thought of Piers, he had meant more to Edward than anyone else and he had avenged himself on Lancaster for his execution. Perhaps the only way he could get back at his father was by reminding the world of the time when the great Edward was shackled and humbled at the hands of Simon de Montfort. By all means, ladies, another number.

Thank you, Simon!  With All for All is available from The Book Depository and Amberley Publishing.  Here are the details of Simon's blog tour:

Monday 23rd February: Launch at Medieval News featuring a video spot with Darren explaining how he came to write a book on the life of Simon de Montfort.

Tuesday 24th February: Darren will be interviewed by Kasia, the keeper of Lesser Realm – find out everything you want to know about Henry III the Young King.

Wednesday 25th February: Darren will be posting a guest article about how the Montfortian struggle was viewed by the chronicler ‘The Templar of Tyre’. Hosted by John Paul Davis, author of The Gothic King: A Biography of Henry III.

Thursday 26th February: Visit The History Vault where Darren will post a guest article explaining how Montfort’s contribution to the development of Parliament was more than just summoning the burgesses in 1265.

Friday 27th February: A guest article from Darren comparing Simon de Montfort and Thomas of Lancaster, together with a competition to win a copy of the book! Hosted by Kathryn Warner, author of Edward II: The Unconventional King.

Saturday 28th February: A guest post on Sara Cockerill’s website, the author of Eleanor of Castile: The Shadow Queen. Darren will post a guest article on whether there might have ever been a King Simon.

Sunday 1st March: Montfortian scholar Kathleen Neal at Thirteenth Century England will finish off the tour with a few questions for Darren.


To win a totally FREE gorgeous hardback copy of Darren Baker's With All For All, just send an email to me at edwardofcaernarfon@yahoo.com by Friday 6 March at the latest.  (I'll reply briefly to all emails so that you can be sure I received yours safely and that you're in the draw.)  I'll announce the winner on my Edward II Facebook page during the weekend of 7/8 March, and also inform you by email.  Good luck!

20 February, 2015

Following in Edward II's Footsteps in Italy

I'm delighted to announce that in September this year, I'll be travelling to northern Italy at the kind invitation of two Italian cultural associations, Associazione Chesterton in Vercelli and The World of Tels in Pavia.  The latter organisation also run the fantastic Auramala Project - brilliant and extremely important work researching Edward II's afterlife in Italy (please do read their About page for more info).  As many of you will know, Manuele Fieschi, an Italian nobleman by birth, papal notary and and appointed bishop of Vercelli in the early 1340s, wrote a letter to Edward III in the 1330s explaining how Edward II had escaped from Berkeley Castle in 1327, and made his way to Corfe Castle, Ireland, Avignon to see the pope and finally to Italy, where "he changed himself to the castle of Cecima in another hermitage of the diocese of Pavia in Lombardy, and he was in this last hermitage for two years or thereabouts, always the recluse, doing penance and praying to God for you and other sinners."  (Full text of the famous Fieschi Letter is here.)

This hermitage of Cecima in Lombardy can only mean the remote Sant'Alberto di Butrio, which still exists today and is still a hermitage.  Their website, in Italian and English, contains much information about Edward II.  When I looked at the site a few months ago while writing the chapter of my book about Edward and his murder/survival, I squeaked with surprise and pleasure to see my own name there several times!  They very kindly call me 'today's leading scholar of Edward II', which of course flatters me unpardonably and is clearly not true, but it's still thrilling to see it. :)

It has long been believed in Italy that Edward II died in that country, and indeed an empty tomb at Sant'Alberto is claimed to have been his.  Just a few weeks ago, the information board at the monastery was updated (in Italian and English) to include information about Edward II's life, survival and his 'other' tomb in Gloucester Cathedral.  A pic of the new board can be seen here (scroll down to the bottom) on the Auramala Project's website.  Local residents of Lombardy often remember that in childhood they were told about an English king who sought refuge at the hermitage and who died there, and this story has a long history: in 1958, researchers found an eighty-eight-year-old local man who had been told about the English king at Sant'Alberto as a child by his grandfather.

Ian Mortimer's chapter 'Edward III, his father and the Fieschi' in his Medieval Intrigue: Decoding Royal Conspiracies (2010) contains a great deal of information about the Fieschi family and their prominence in the region of Cecima and Sant'Alberto di Butrio.  A castle named Oramala, just across the valley from the monastery and in sight of it, in the 1330s was in the hands of one Niccolo Malaspina, who was a nephew of Luca Fieschi and who was called il Marchesotto of Oramala.  Luca, a cardinal who died in 1336, was a cousin of both Manuele Fieschi (later bishop of Vercelli, who wrote the Fieschi Letter) and Edward II himself: he was Edward's third or fourth cousin.  Both Edward and his father Edward I always acknowledged Luca and his brothers and nephews as 'kinsman', and they were related through Luca's mother Leonora or Lionetta, though the precise connection remains unclear.  (Contrary to what some modern historians have asserted, Manuele Fieschi and Edward II were not themselves related.)  Luca and Edward II were in occasional correspondence, and met in person when Luca visited England in 1317.  The Fieschis were an extremely influential noble family who provided two thirteenth-century popes (Innocent IV, born Sinibaldo Fieschi, died 1254, and Adrian V, born Ottobuono Fieschi and nephew of Sinibaldo, died 1276), seventy-two cardinals and countless bishops.  In 1315 and 1317, Edward II appointed two of Cardinal Luca's nephews, Francesco and Carlo Fieschi, "to be of the king's household and to wear his livery forever," acknowledging them as his kinsmen.  (Patent Rolls 1313-1317, p. 340; Ibid. 1317-1321, p. 10.)  And a member of the Fieschi family claims that in the 1330s a non-dead Edward of Caernarfon lived in an area of Italy dominated by the Fieschi family.

The town of Cecima, the hermitage of Sant'Alberto and the Fieschi/Malaspina-controlled castle of Oramala. The area is in Lombardy, not far from the border with Piedmont. (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Sant'Alberto on the map of Italy, between Milan and Genoa, with the towns of Pavia and Vercelli marked.

I'll be giving a lecture about Edward II in the Seminary of the town of Vercelli on Saturday 19 September.  This is the town Manuele Fieschi was bishop of, so I can't wait to see it.  On the Sunday, I'm being taken on a visit to Sant'Alberto di Butrio, and a couple of days after that, I'll be speaking at the University of Pavia (founded 1361).  So, so exciting!

My book Edward II: The Unconventional King is reviewed by Professor Nicholas Vincent in this month's BBC History Magazine.  You can read the review here; scroll down to the second page, 'Bad King Edward?'  I'm mostly thrilled with it; 'entertaining and informative'. :)  Professor Vincent does say, however, that my take on Edward's survival after 1327 is 'entirely speculative' and 'neither proved nor probable'.  This despite the wealth of evidence which points to Edward living past 1327, including the Fieschi Letter, the Melton Letter and the plot of the earl of Kent and countless others.  Should we think that the archbishop of York stating that 'Edward of Caernarfon is alive and in good bodily health' in 1330 is entirely speculative?  There's lots more I could say about that, but will leave it for today, and look forward to a fab week-long trip to Italy in a few months!

13 February, 2015

Children of Charles of Valois and Louis of Evreux

A continuation of my last post about Edward II's second cousins and uncles-in-law, Charles of Valois and Louis of Evreux.  Here, I'm looking at their children (the ones who survived into adulthood), who were Isabella of France's first cousins.

Children of Louis, count of Evreux (1276-1319) and Marguerite of Artois (c. 1285-1311):

1) Philip of Evreux, king of Navarre and count of Evreux, c. 1306-1343

Elder son and heir of Louis and Marguerite; married his first cousin once removed Joan II, queen of Navarre in her own right (1312-1349), the only child of Queen Isabella's eldest brother Louis X of France and Navarre (d. 1316) and his first wife Marguerite (d. 1315), daughter of Duke Robert II of Normandy.  Joan II inherited Navarre on the death of her uncle Charles IV in 1328.  Among the many children of Philip of Evreux and Joan of Navarre were Charles 'the Bad', king of Navarre (whose daughter Joan, duchess of Brittany, married Henry IV of England as his second wife), and Blanche, queen of France, who married Philip VI of France as his second wife (he was about forty years her senior).

2) Marie of Evreux, duchess of Brabant, c. 1303-1335

Marie married Duke John III of Brabant (1300-1355), who was Edward II's nephew, only child of Edward's sister Margaret and Duke John II.  Marie and John III had three sons who all died before their father, and three daughters; the eldest, Johanna, who was born in 1322 and died at a ripe old age in 1406, succeeded her father as duchess of Brabant in her own right.  Johanna married firstly William, count of Hainault and Holland, brother of Edward III's queen Philippa, who died childless in 1345, and secondly Wenceslas, son of John the Blind, king of Bohemia.

3) Charles of Evreux, count of Etampes, died 1336

Charles married Marie de la Cerda, granddaughter of Alfonso X of Castile's eldest son Fernando de la Cerda, which means 'of the bristle' (1255-1275).  Fernando died before his father, and his two sons Alfonso and Fernando (Marie's father) were disinherited by their uncle Sancho IV and later settled in France.

4) Joan of Evreux, queen of France, c. 1310-1371

When she was only about fourteen, Joan married her widowed first cousin Charles IV of France (son of her father's older half-brother Philip IV) at Annet-sur-Marne on Thursday 5 July 1324, only some months after the death of his second wife Marie of Luxembourg in childbirth.  Joan was crowned queen on 11 May 1326, the ceremony attended by her sister-in-law Isabella, queen of England and nephew Edward of Windsor, the future Edward III.  (Roger Mortimer was not invited but attended anyway, and carried Edward of Windsor's train, to his father Edward II's fury.)  Joan and Charles had two daughters Joan, who died as a baby, and Marie, who died in 1341 aged fourteen.  When Charles died on 1 March 1328, he left Queen Joan pregnant; she gave birth exactly two months later to another daughter, Blanche, and thus the throne passed to Charles' Valois cousin Philip VI.  Blanche later married Philip VI's son Philip, duke of Orleans.  Queen Joan outlived her husband by more than forty years, and died in March 1371.

Children of Charles, count of Valois (1270-1325) and his first wife Marguerite of Anjou-Naples, countess of Anjou, sister of the kings of Hungary, Naples and Albania (1273-1299):

1) Isabella of Valois, 1292-1309

Isabella married John, son and heir of Duke Arthur II of Brittany and a great-grandson of Henry III of England.  She never became duchess of Brittany, as she died in the lifetime of her father-in-law, aged only seventeen, before her husband succeeded as Duke John III in 1312.  John later married Isabel of Castile, daughter of Sancho IV, and thirdly Joan of Savoy, but had no children with any of his wives.  This led to the War of the Breton Succession in which John's younger half-brother, also John, and his full brother Guy's daughter Joan of Penthièvre, both claimed the duchy.

2) Philip VI, king of France, 1293-1250

Philip succeeded his first cousin Charles IV as king of France in 1328 and became the first of the long line of Valois kings, after enduring an anxious two-month wait to see if Charles' widow Joan of Evreux would give birth to a boy (who would have immediately become king of France).  Philip married Joan 'the Lame' of Burgundy, one of the daughters of Duke Robert II of Burgundy and sister of Marguerite, first wife of Louis X of France; another of their sisters married Edward II's nephew Edouard I, count of Bar.  Philip and Joan were the parents of Philip's successor King John II 'the Good' and of Philip, duke of Orleans, who married Charles IV's posthumous daughter Blanche of France.  Philip married secondly Blanche of Navarre and Evreux, his first cousin once removed and forty years his junior.

3) Joan of Valois, countess of Hainault and Holland, c. 1294-1352

Joan married William III, count of Hainault and Holland; their second daughter Philippa married her second cousin Edward III of England in January 1328.  Their eldest daughter Margaret married Louis or Ludwig of Bavaria, Holy Roman Emperor.

4) Marguerite of Valois, countess of Blois, c. 1295-1342

Marguerite married Guy de Châtillon, count of Blois, first cousin of her father's third wife Mahaut de Châtillon.  Their elder son Louis, count of Blois, was killed at the battle of Crécy in 1346; their second son Charles married Joan of Penthièvre, above, and claimed the duchy of Brittany in her right.

5) Charles of Valois, count of Alençon, c. 1297-1346

Also killed at the battle of Crécy, like his nephew Louis of Blois.  He married firstly Joan, countess of Joigny, and secondly Marie de la Cerda, above, the widow of his cousin Charles of Evreux.  Charles and Marie had four sons: two archbishops, of Lyon and Rouen, and two counts, of Alençon and Perche.

Children of Charles of Valois and his second wife Catherine de Courtenay (1274-1307), titular empress of Constantinople, daughter of Philip de Courtenay and Beatrice of Anjou; first cousin of Charles of Valois's first wife:

1) Catherine of Valois, titular empress of Constantinople, c. 1303-1346

Catherine de Courtenay left no surviving sons, and so her eldest daughter Catherine was her heir to Constantinople.  Betrothed as a child to Duke Hugh V of Burgundy, brother of Marguerite (first wife of Louis X) and Joan (first wife of Philip VI), but in 1313 when she was barely twelve, Catherine of Valois married Philip of Taranto, king of Albania, prince of Achaea and Taranto, despot of Epirus, the brother of her father's first wife Marguerite of Anjou-Naples and the uncle of her older Valois half-siblings.  They had three sons and a daughter.

2) Joan of Valois, c. 1304-1363

Joan married Robert of Artois (1287-1342), younger brother of Louis of Evreux's wife Marguerite of Artois.  Robert was famously involved in a long struggle with his aunt Mahaut over control of the county of Artois, which he felt should have come to him.  He never gained it, however, and when Mahaut died in 1329 the county passed briefly to her daughter Joan of Burgundy, dowager queen of France (widow of Philip V) and then to Joan's eldest daughter Joan II, duchess of Burgundy by marriage, countess of Burgundy and Artois in her own right.  Robert moved to England and supported Edward III in the Hundred Years War.  He and Joan of Valois had five children, including John, count of Eu.

3) Elisabeth of Valois, abbess of Fontevrault, c. 1305-1349

Children of Charles of Valois and his third wife Mahaut of Châtillon (1293-1358), daughter of the count of St Pol and sister of Marie, countess of Pembroke

1) Louis of Valois, count of Chartres, ? - 1328

Charles of Valois offered his youngest son Louis in marriage to one of Edward II's daughters in 1324, when he asked his nephew Charles IV for permission to send Amaury de Craon to England to meet Edward, "to discuss and negotiate the marriages of my ladies your two daughters, that is, one for the son of the said Sir Charles who is of the issue of his last wife, and the other for one of the sons of his son from his first marriage."  That means Louis and his nephew John (born 1319), the future John II of France, son of Philip of Valois and Joan of Burgundy.  The marriage never went ahead, and Louis of Valois died in 1328, still a child.

2) Marie of Valois, duchess of Calabria, c. 1309-1332

Marie married Charles, duke of Calabria, eldest son and heir of Robert 'the Wise', king of Naples, titular king of Sicily and Jerusalem, count of Provence and Forcalquier.  Robert was the brother of Marguerite of Anjou-Naples (the first wife of Charles of Valois) and of Philip of Taranto, who married Marie of Valois's older half-sister Catherine of Valois.  Charles of Calabria died in 1328, fifteen years before his father, leaving his teenaged widow Marie with their young daughter Joan or Joanna and a posthumous daughter, also Marie, later countess of Alba and duchess of Durazzo.  Charles and Marie's elder daughter Joan (1326-1382) was the heir of her paternal grandfather King Robert, and is notorious as the queen of Naples who married four times and who was accused of the murder of her first husband and many years later was herself murdered.

3) Isabella of Valois, duchess of Bourbon, c. 1313-1383

The last surviving of Charles of Valois's many children.  Isabella married Pierre or Peter I, duke of Bourbon, a great-grandson of Louis IX of France and her second cousin.  Peter was killed at the battle of Poitiers in 1356.  He and Isabella were the direct male-line ancestors of Henry of Bourbon, king of Navarre, who became the first Bourbon king of France in 1589.  They also had seven daughters.  One was Blanche, who had the misfortune to marry King Pedro the Cruel of Castile in 1353 and be imprisoned by him for eight years until her death in 1361.  Another was Jeanne or Joan, who married Charles V of France (son of John II, grandson of Philip VI) and was the mother of Charles VI and Louis, duke of Orleans, assassinated in 1407.

4) Blanche or Marguerite of Valois, Holy Roman Empress, queen of Germany and Bohemia, c. 1316/17-1348

Probably the youngest of Charles of Valois's many children, unless her brother Louis of Chartres was born in 1318.  In 1329, Blanche married Charles of Bohemia, eldest son and heir of the blind King John of Bohemia, who was killed at the battle of Crécy in 1346.  In 1346, Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor, and was also king of Bohemia, Germany, Italy and Burgundy.  Blanche of Valois was the first of his four wives, and they had two daughters, Margaret, queen of Hungary and Croatia, and Katherine, duchess of Bavaria.  Blanche died in 1348, only in her early thirties; her widower Charles married three more times and had numerous more children, including Anne of Bohemia, queen of Richard II of England, and Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor and king of Hungary and Bohemia.

08 February, 2015

Charles, Count of Valois and Louis, Count of Evreux

I feel like writing a genealogy post today, so here's one about Charles of Valois, count of Valois, Anjou, Maine, Alençon, Chartres and Perche, and Louis, count of Evreux, the uncles of Edward II's queen Isabella.  Charles (12 March 1270 - 16 December 1325) was the second surviving son of Philip III of France and his first queen Isabel of Aragon, and the younger brother of Philip IV.  Louis, count of Evreux (3 May 1276 - 19 May 1319) was the eldest of the three children of Philip III and his second queen Marie of Brabant (1254-1321), and thus Philip IV and Charles of Valois's half-brother.  Charles of Valois was the ancestor of the Valois dynasty which ruled France from 1328 to 1589, being the father of Philip VI, who became the first Valois king of France in 1328 after the death of his first cousin Charles IV, the youngest of Queen Isabella's three brothers and the last Capetian king of France.  Louis of Evreux's younger full sister Blanche was betrothed to Edward of Caernarfon in the early 1290s and ended up marrying Rudolf, duke of Austria, and his other younger sister Marguerite, queen of England (born 1278/79) married the widowed Edward I in 1299 and was the mother of Edward II's half-brothers Thomas and Edmund.  Louis travelled to England in 1312 to negotiate between Edward II and the barons who had killed Piers Gaveston, and was made one of the seven godfathers of his newborn great-nephew the future Edward III on 16 November 1312.  Before Edward II's accession, he and Louis had been good friends and frequent correspondents, but Charles of Valois had long followed an anti-English line and was generally hostile to England, though this didn't stop him seeking marriage alliances in the 1320s between his children/grandchildren and Edward II's.

Louis of Evreux was married once, to Marguerite of Artois, a great-granddaughter of Henry III of England via her mother Blanche of Brittany and Blanche's mother Beatrice, who was the second daughter of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence.  Marguerite's father Philip would have succeeded their father Robert (younger brother of Blanche of Artois, queen of Navarre, Queen Isabella's maternal grandmother) as count of Artois, but he died in 1298 before his father, and Artois passed to Philip's sister Mahaut (mother of Joan and Blanche of Burgundy who married Queen Isabella's brothers Philip V and Charles IV) rather than his son, Marguerite's younger brother Robert (1287-1342).  This Robert was the son-in-law of Charles of Valois, and the brother-in-law of Charles of Valois's half-brother Louis of Evreux.  Louis's wife Marguerite of Artois was the first cousin of Joan and Blanche of Burgundy, who were Louis's nieces by marriage, wives of Queen Isabella's brothers Philip (V) and Charles (IV).  The French royal family in the early fourteenth century was extremely, madly and confusingly inter-related; if I've worked it out correctly, Marguerite of Artois was the first cousin once removed of Edward II and the second cousin of Queen Isabella.

Charles of Valois was married three times.  His first wife was Marguerite of Anjou-Naples (1273-1299), countess of Anjou in her own right, one of the children of Charles of Salerno, king of Naples and Marie of Hungary; her many siblings included Charles Martel, titular king of Hungary, Robert, king of Naples and titular king of Sicily and Jerusalem, Philip, king of Albania, Saint Louis, bishop of Toulouse, and Blanche, queen of Jaime II of Aragon.  Charles of Valois married secondly Catherine de Courtenay (1274-1307), titular empress of Constantinople in her own right and a first cousin of Charles' first wife Marguerite, and thirdly Mahaut de Châtillon (1293-1358), daughter of the count of St Pol and older sister of Marie, countess of Pembroke.  Mahaut was, like her first cousin Marguerite of Artois above, a great-granddaughter of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence.  Charles of Valois and Marguerite of Anjou-Naples were the maternal grandparents of Edward III's queen Philippa of Hainault, and the parents of Philip VI of France.

In the second part of this post, I'll be looking at the children of Charles of Valois and Louis of Evreux.  Coming soon!

01 February, 2015

December 1312/October 1313: Edward II Makes Peace With Piers Gaveston's Killers

In the aftermath of Piers Gaveston's murder on 19 June 1312, England teetered on the brink of civil war.  Edward II left York on 28 June, two days after he heard the news, and travelled to London, where he stayed at the house of the Dominican friars and met his trusted advisers.  The king made an impassioned speech condemning the way some of his barons were behaving and asked the Londoners to close the gates of the city to Piers' killers, the earls of Lancaster, Warwick and Hereford, which they did, though the three earls raised an army and took it to Hertfordshire, near the city.

Edward II's nephew Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, though he had refused to help his brother-in-law Piers when the latter was imprisoned at Warwick Castle, offered to mediate between Edward and the earls.  Gloucester, according to the Vita Edwardi Secundi (ed. Denholm-Young, pp. 33-4), told Edward that contrary to what he believed, the men who had had Piers killed were not his enemies but his friends, and that everything they did was for his own benefit.  Edward - I feel like typing here 'Edward LOLed and went 'yeah riiiiight, pull the other one, mate, it's got bells on'' - was having none of it, and told his nephew "I protest that they are not my friends who strive to attack my property and my rights...it is very likely that they do not wish to have any consideration for me, but to seize the crown and set up for themselves another king." (For more of this conversation, see my Edward II: The Unconventional King, p. 77)

Other mediators on the king's side were his friend and ally Hugh Despenser the Elder (brother-in-law of the earl of Warwick but firmly on Edward's side, as always) and Robert, Lord Clifford, one of the men who had besieged Piers Gaveston at Scarborough Castle in May 1312 but who was otherwise loyal to Edward II.  Edward's father-in-law Philip IV sent his half-brother Louis, count of Evreux, who at least before Edward's accession had been his good friend and frequent correspondent (and was his second cousin).  Pope Clement V, real name Bertrand de Got, who like Piers Gaveston came from Gascony and had previously been archbishop of Bordeaux - Piers' uncle Piers or Pierre Caillau had been mayor of that city - also sent two envoys to negotiate between Edward and the earls.  They were his chamberlain Arnaud d'Aux, bishop of Poitiers, and Cardinal Arnaud Nouvel, priest of Santa Prisca in Rome.  Another negotiator was Edward II's first cousin John of Brittany, earl of Richmond, grandson of Henry III and brother of Duke Arthur II of Brittany (who died in August this year).

For all the best efforts of the negotiators, war threatened to break out throughout the summer and early autumn of 1312.  In late September, Edward raised 1000 footmen in Kent and Sussex, and a few days later forbade the barons' envoys from entering London. (Patent Rolls 1307-1313, p. 498; Close Rolls 1307-1313, p. 481)  Edward himself almost certainly wanted to fight, and some of his advisers, including his kinsman Henry, Lord Beaumont and his steward Sir Edmund Mauley, told him he should.  (Seymour Phillips, Edward II, p. 193)  Despite the threatening presence of their army at Ware in Hertfordshire, however, the earls did not enter London, though on 3 September Edward sent his brother-in-law Ralph Monthermer, the earl of Richmond, the bishop of Norwich and Sir Edmund Deincourt to prohibit them "from repairing to the king, as he understands they are doing, with horses and arms and a great body of armed men." (Patent Rolls 1307-1313, p. 490)  Curiously, Edmund Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, is not mentioned in any of this, though appears to have been present at Warwick Castle and at Piers' murder.  On 20 August, Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, was given permission to pass through London "with the horses of his household and his retinue with their horses, arms and armour" on Wednesday 23 August (Close Rolls, p. 475).  Presumably this had something to do with him meeting the papal envoys, or the earls and their negotiators.

As Edward's academic biographer Professor Seymour Phillips points out (Edward II, p. 197), little is known about the negotiations themselves.  Louis, count of Evreux arrived in London on 13 September, and dined with his niece Queen Isabella on the 15th; she was then seven months pregnant and had recently arrived in the south after a very slow journey from York, where Edward had left her at the end of June (presumably feeling that she would be safer there).  On 17 September, Edward and Isabella retired to Windsor Castle, where they remained until the end of November and where their son the future Edward III was born on 13 November.

Finally, a treaty was made and sealed in London on 20 December 1312, in the presence of Cardinal Arnaud Nouvel, Arnaud d'Aux, bishop of Poitiers, Louis, count of Evreux, and the earls of Gloucester and Richmond.*  Edward II was at Windsor at the time, with his queen and their baby son.  It was agreed that the three earls and various barons would make obeisance to Edward II in his great hall at Westminster, "with great humility, on their knees" (oue graunte humilite as genuz/cum magna humilitate flexis genibus) and "humbly beg him to release them from his resentment and rancour, and receive them into his good will."  The many precious goods belonging to Edward and Piers Gaveston which Thomas, earl of Lancaster had seized at Newcastle the previous May would be returned to Edward on 13 January 1313 (though in fact he didn't receive them until 23 February).  On 16 December, four days before the treaty, Edward had granted Lancaster a safe-conduct and permission to use an escort of forty men-at-arms to bring him his possessions. (Patent Rolls, p. 517)  It was specified that if any of Edward's many dozens of horses which Lancaster had taken were dead (si ascuns des chivaux soit mort), Lancaster would reimburse him with the price and value of the dead horses instead.  No action would be taken against Piers' followers, and the three earls and all their own followers would be pardoned for anything they had done to Piers.

On 16 October 1313 at Westminster, Edward II pardoned the three earls, and more than 350 of their adherents, "of all causes of rancour, anger, distress, actions, obligations, quarrels and accusations, arisen in any manner on account of Piers Gaveston, from the time of our marriage with our dear companion, our very dear lady, Lady Isabella queen of England." The king had all his sheriffs proclaim the news throughout their counties. (Patent Rolls 1313-1317, pp. 21-26, 35-36; Foedera 1307-1327, pp. 230-233)  Edward told the earls of Lancaster, Warwick and Hereford to "lay aside all suspicion, and...to come to his presence, and freely obtain the goodwill that they had so often sought."  He watched them kneel to him, raised them and kissed them one by one, and absolved them; to mark their reconciliation, he also invited them to a banquet, and the following day they reciprocated.  (Vita, pp. 43-44; Chronicle of Lanercost 1272-1346, ed. Herbert Maxwell, p. 203)

And this may have seemed the end of it, but of course it wasn't.  Edward's hatred for his cousin Thomas of Lancaster endured and his desire for revenge never left him; on 22 March 1322, he finally had Lancaster executed in a parody of Piers Gaveston's own execution.

* The text is printed in French in Foedera 1307-1327, pp. 191-192 and Annales Londonienses 1195-1330, in W. Stubbs, ed.,Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II, vol. 1, pp. 221-225.  A text in Latin appears in R. A. Roberts, Edward II, the Lords Ordainers and Piers Gaveston's Jewels and Horses (1312-1313) (London: Camden Miscellany, xv, 1929), pp. 17-21.