Born today in 1430 Margaret of Anjou, a pawn in her father's grand scheme, married at the age of fifteen to the ineffectual Henry VI, added fuel to the fire that was the Wars of the Roses. She was one scary lady
Robert Count of Mortain was one of the few men who fought alongside William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, for this he was rewarded with the whole of Cornwall, what little he was not granted was divided between between minor nobles and the church.
Mortain controlled his West Country holdings from his mighty castle at Launceston. He also built Trematon Castle, but most of his time was spent in Normandy or fighting the Danes in Lincolnshire.
In his absence Cornwall came under the control of men like Reginald de Valletort, who held Trematon and Richard, Fitz Turold, Mortain's steward, who held Cardinham.
Here we can see Mortain himself sitting on the right of his half brother William the Conqueror, his castle of Launceston and what remains of the Fitz Turold's Cardinham manor of Penhallam.
"In the year 1666 he retired again from Cambridge to his mother in Lincolnshire and while he was musing in a garden it came into his thought that the power of gravity (which brought an apple from a tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from earth, but that this power must extend much further than was usually thought. Why not as high as the Moon thought he to himself & that if so, that must influence her motion & perhaps retain her in her orbit, whereupon he fell a-calculating what would be the effect of that superposition..."
( Keesing, R.G., The History of Newton's apple tree, Contemporary Physics, 39, 377-91, 1998)
Today in 1727, Lincolnshire born Sir Isaac Newton, most famous for his theories on gravitation, died in London.
On 20th March 1549, Thomas Seymour was executed on Tower Hill. Seymour did not clear his way to heaven by confessing to his sins - a power grab and the unlawful entry into the young kings chambers, with, it was thought, malice aforethought.
Bishop Hugh Latimer stated at Seymour's execution:
"Whether he be saved or no, I leave it to God, but surely he was a wicked man, and the realm is well rid of him."
King Richard III, the last English monarch to die in battle and the last to bear the name of Plantagenet was laid to rest this day in 2015.
Richard's moral remains now rest in Leicester Cathedral under a newly carved tomb that is a far cry from the grave he spent the previous five hundred and thirty years.
The choice of cathedral had caused much controversy, many people of the opinion that Richard should be re interred in a much grander cathedral, and most favoured York Minster. This resulted in the City of Leicester and the cathedral itself being subjected to name calling and abuse, which I found disgraceful.
To my mind, disregarding the facts that Richard died on a battlefield in Leicestershire and was buried in Leicester itself, it did not matter if Leicester Cathedral was not as grand as York, it is a house of God, and that should have been respected.
Leicester Cathedral should be proud of what they achieved, not only of the service which was respectful to all, but of the effort they made to mark the occasion. Flowers were in abundance, there were white roses, and yellow planta genista from which the Plantagenet dynasty gets its name. There were military and royal guests, historians, celebrities and members of the public, not me though, my name was not pulled from the hat. I watched it on the television in the comfort of my front room.
No matter that, for my husband and I spent three days during the week long re interment celebrations in Leicester. We started with a drive along the route the cortege would take, visiting Stoke Golding and Crown Hill, the place at which Henry VII received Richard's crown, at Dadlington where many of those killed at Bosworth were buried and Sutton Cheney church where Richard is said to prayed the night before the battle. We attended the Bosworth Field ceremony where the kings coffin passed directly in front of me. Finally, we queued among thousands of friendly people all waiting patiently to view Richards coffin in repose.
It is wonderful to think that I was part of history in the making.
In the March of 1199 King Richard I had arrived at Chalus Chabrol Castle. It was on this day, while Richard was walking the castle's perimeter that he was struck by a crossbow bolt in the left shoulder just below his neck.
An attempt was made to remove the bolt but the doctor -
"extracted the wood only, while the iron remained in the flesh, but after this butcher had carelessly mangled the
king's arm in every part, he at last extracted the arrow."
Richard's wound soon became gangrenous and he died on at the beginning of the following month.
Most of us will know that Mont Saint Michel is a medieval village that becomes an island at high tide. Meandering through its streets, reaching its summit and strolling around the Abbey is a delight and worth the walk. We did just this in 2007 as you can see from my photograph.
At the time, as I gazed out over the abbey's walls and down onto the lands that surround it, I did not realise what I was looking at was, in fact, salt meadows.
These salt marshes are grassy pastures that are used as grazing areas for sheep. The lush green grasses are halophyte grasses that have a high salinity and iodine content.
Sheep have been reared in the bay of Mont Saint Michel since the 11th century, and during that time the abbey monks had the right to pick the best ewe from every farm. The meat from the sheep, or Agneau de pre-sale (Salt Meadow Lamb) have a distinct taste that is considered a delicacy, that is mainly served at Easter time.
King Alexander III of Scotland was found dead on the beach of Pettycur Bay on the 19th March in 1286. It is thought that he had fallen from his horse on his journey home with new bride to his castle in Kinghorn in Scotland. He was succeeded by his baby granddaughter Margaret.
This accident would create a succession crisis that would later lead to Scottish Independence.
On the 25th July 1137 Eleanor of Aquitaine married the son of Louis VI of France, and on Christmas Day 1137 she was queen of France. An intelligent and feisty woman, Eleanor is said to have to have arrived at the cathedral town of Vezelay dressed like an Amazon galloping through the crowds on a white horse, urging men to join the crusades. She also had every intention to go herself, accompanied by three hundred of her ladies dressed in armor and carrying lances.
Louis found Eleanor overpowering and demanding, he was exceptionally devout and preferred a evening of prayer in his chapel rather than a night in his wifes bed, on many levels Eleanor was too much like hard work. However, he suffered her for twenty-five years until their marriage was annulled on the 21st March 1152.
Despite being adverse to Eleanor's charms, he managed to father two daughters, however the birth of their second child was a blow for Louis personally and for his dynasty. What Louis needed was a heir and that meant a son, not a daughter.
Louis VII would marry twice after the end of his marriage to Eleanor fathering three more daughters and a son.
Eleanor's vast estates, from River Loire to the Pyrenees came under her control and within three months she would marry Henry, son of Matilda of England and Geoffrey of Anjou and she would later become queen of England.
"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown"
states a sick Henry IV in Shakespeare's King Henry IV, Part II.
Henry is tired of rebellion, he is guilty for having usurped the throne from Richard II. Shakespeare has him dying burdened with much responsibility and that maybe so, but in reality he is thought to have died from whatever it was that caused a number of recurring illnesses that affected him nearly every year since 1405. This may have been syphilis, but most favour some skin disease such as psoriasis or leprosy. However, looking at is funeral effigy, it maybe he died from some kind of heart disease linked with weight or inactivity.
The alabaster Henry IV is nothing like the famous 16th century image of him, he looks more like Jeremy Irons in the television series The Hollow Crown. If he looks like anyone, its Henry VIII.
King Henry IV collapsed in Westminster Abbey and died this day in 1413 in the Jerusalem Chamber. He was was buried, as was his wish, at Canterbury Cathedral.
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