On the 10th June 1215, King John met rebel barons at Runnymede a water meadow that sits on the south bank of the River Thames. Five days later what had been agreed at the meeting was set to paper text and by the 19th June, the barons had renewed their oaths of loyalty to the king and copies of the charter, later known as Magna Carta, were formally issued.
On the 4th May in 1246 occurred the death of Isabel of Angouleme at the Abbey of Fontevrault, where she was veiled as a nun on her deathbed.
Isabel was the wife of Hugh X of Lusignan and one-time Queen of England.
After the death of King John, who she had married in 1200, Isabella left her children, the youngest just a year old in the care of the English court, and made a new life for herself with a new husband in her home of Angouleme.
You can read more about this on my website at
Today in 1296, after setting up camp at the Priory at the village of Coldstream just a few days before Edward I captured Berwick upon Tweed. The control of this Northumbian town ping-ponged between the English and the Scots for years however the Scottish army would retake the town following the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, but it would be back in English hands by 1298.
In an article on the taking of Berwick in 1296 the author wrote:
"The numbers of people slaughtered vary from 7,000 to 25,000. These figures are greatly exaggerated. Berwick had been the most important town in Scotland, with more money entering the Scots exchequer than that from all the other Scottish towns combined, but that was from exports. It has been estimated that the other important towns at the time - Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Perth would have had populations of only 2,000. It may be that Berwick had a higher population, perhaps 5,000, but then, it is unlikely everyone was killed.
Edward stayed in Berwick for a month. He ordered a stone wall to be built encircling the town with a ditch 80’ wide and 40’ deep on the north and east sides of the town. This was to have an embankment surmounted by a quickly erected wooden palisade which would be replaced in time by a stone wall encircling the town. However, it was many years before this was completed, ironically, by Robert Bruce."
On this day in 1248 the death of Maud, the eldest daughter and co-heir of William Marshall.
Maud had outlived both her husbands, her first husband Hugh Bigod, 3rd Earl of Norfolk had died in 1225, he was, along with his father Roger, listed as being the first two men (among twenty-five) to enforce Magna Carta. Maud's second husband was William de Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey who died in 1240. Warenne was one of the few barons who remained loyal to King John.
This must have put Maud in a bit of a position.
For part of her life, Maud lived at Framlingham Castle in Norfolk, the castle had been granted to Roger Bigod (Hugh's great-grandfather) by Henry I in 1101, however, there is little information about her life there.
Maud Marshall was in her late fifties when she died, she is buried at Tintern Abbey in Monmouthshire.
My photographs were taken two weekends ago at Framlingham Castle (there was no sign of Maud)
On October 3rd 1283, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, became the first person to be tried for what later would become high treason against a king, poor Dafydd was also the first nobleman executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered.
Matthew Paris's Chronica Majora, show William de Marisco being drawn to his execution tied to the back of a horse.
Ranulf Flambard is one of those men you're never quite sure about, he has been labeled greedy and cruel, but he was also said to be generous and loyal to his supporters, those who were poor were fond of him too.
Flambard played a major role in the building of the rather wonderful Durham Castle and the city's beautiful cathedral. He also built Flamwell Bridge, the first crossing of the River Wear that runs through the city. He was also rather a good escapologist, escaping from the Tower of London in 1100.
Here you can see Gruffydd of Wales, doing the same thing, however he wasn't quite as successful, he fell to his death in 1244.
Ranulf Flambard died on 5th September in 1128.
You can read of Flambard's daring escape in my blog on my website.
25th June 1218: The death of Simon de Montfort at the Siege of Toulouse after stopping to help his brother Guy who had been hit by a crossbow bolt. Guy would be killed in battle in France two years later.
Simon met his death after being struck on the head by a stone from the enemy siege engines. His son, also Simon, would come to a horrific end in Evesham in 1265.
Family History Travels
The next chapter in the story of my Devon ancestors is coming along nicely, and deals with the family during the reign of King John. It is interesting that I have reached this point now, as it is this year that marks the 800th anniversary of the first issue of the Charter of the Forest that dealt with some of the abuses of the Forest Law.
Here is an extract from my work so far
Documents from William Meavy's time are littered with court cases regarding the ownership of land, land that men like William considered theirs by right, such as the 1202 grant of land of Walter Meavy by Robert de Nonant to the Priory of Plympton. However, this was not the only problem landowners were facing. Affecting land up and down the country was the new Forest Laws that had been implemented by King John, which directly affected Walter’s grandson William. The Norman system - the aim to repopulate and cultivate the moors and heaths of Devon, that saw farming families like the Meavy’s granted extra land, was undermined by John’s new law. It prohibited the right of landowners to enclose land and pasture their stock, it reduced families access to food and fuel and restricted the growth of the manor, putting a stranglehold on the opportunity to climb the feudal ladder.
This continued to cause problem for landowners well into the reign of Henry III, however by 1242 landowner were granted permission (on a payment of 5000 marks paid into the royal treasury) to continue with deforestation.
The 1217 the Charter of the Forest worked along side Magna Carta, the document that King John was forced to put his seal to this day two years earlier.
While I continue my research here is my Meavy ancestors story so far:
The West Country : 1216
I cannot believe how lovely it is outside my window today (it's rained and rained here for two days solid!) - the very day I have set aside for family history research. Anyway, a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do!
Before I headed downstairs to collect together all my books on the reign of King John and Henry III, I had a quick look on the internet for any interesting facts on these two king's activities in the County of Devon.
The first thing to pop up was a number of articles on an eight hundred year old tree named the King John's Oak. This oak is said to be the
"largest and probably the oldest oak tree in the West Country."
This tree grew in what was a medieval deer park at Shute near Axminster in Devon and was one of the king's many hunting parks.
You can see it in the above image, you never know, King John may have ridden past it when it was a tiny sapling while he considered his options on how best to deal with his rebellious barons.
In Axbridge in Somerset (not Devon I know) there is a mid 15th century wool-merchant's house that is known as King John's Hunting Lodge. Inside this rather lovely building there are parts of another building that was known as The King's Head Inn. Also inside there is a fine wooden bust of a king and a replica outside the building. This bust is considered to be King John on the basis that the original building was built in 1216. However it is unlikely that John had much time for the pleasures of the hunt that year, or stop off for a pint or two at a local tavern as he was campaigning in the north and east of the country from January to March. In the May he was sorting out King Louis of France in Kent and by September he was in the Cotswold's. By the October he had passed by my mother in laws house on his way to Newark where he died.
Of course I might be totally wrong, and my books may tell me otherwise, they may mention the fact that he did pop down to the West Country for a stag hunt and a glass of cider.
I'll let you know.
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.
History is so interesting isn't it? Do you love the story of King Alfred's unsuccessful afternoon in the kitchen or King Cnut unsuccessful attempt not to get his feet wet? Maybe you're interested in when the Normans landing on our shores or the stories of an era closer to our time?
- The Ancestors
- Bustaine of Braunton: Introduction
- Hunt of Barnstaple Introduction >
- Meavy Introduction >
- Mitchell of Crantock: An Introduction >
- Mohun of Dunster: Introduction >
- Scoboryo of St Columb Major >
Thomas Vaughan: An Introduction
- Smith of Barkby Introduction >
- Taylor of Yorkshire
- Tosny of Normandy
- Toon of Leicestershire: Introduction >
- Underwood of Coleorton Introduction
- History Blog
- Wars of the Roses Blog
- History Bites
- Just Jottings
- Alice Povey Illustration
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- P to T
- U to Z