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.
Edmund, Earl of Lancaster was the second son of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence, he was born on the 16th January 1245.
Edmund's nickname Crouchback, is thought to be derived from the black cross he wore on his back during his time in the Crusades. However, his second son Henry of Lancaster, also went by a nick name that of Wryneck (the same name as a bird who can turn its head almost 180 degrees.) This condition we know now of as Torticollis, where the muscles of the neck cause the head to twist to one side.
Although there seems to be no evidence of Edmund having any physical deformity, I wonder if there was a history of spinal problems within the family, maybe Edmund did have a problem, but it was less noticeable than Henry's.
In the autumn of 1295, Edmund became ill and did not recover fully until the end of the year, this and the humiliation of a failed siege in the south of France was enough to trigger a decline in his health and he died in Bayonne on the 5th June 1296.
Edmund's remains were brought back to England and interred alongside his first wife in Westminster Abbey where his tomb features an effigy in armour with crossed legs and a series of weepers holding shields of arms are shown around the base.
As a Cornish earl, a crusader, a negotiator, and a very wealthy man, its not hard to see Richard of Cornwall as good guy, you may even go so far as to consider him a bit of a hero, and maybe he was, but as far as his connections with Cornwall are concerned he was also manipulative and greedy.
Richard of Cornwall was born the second son of King John and Isabella of Angouleme on the 5th January 1209, he was just fifteen months younger than his more famous brother, King Henry III.
My blog on Richard, continues on my website at
Married today in 1254 King Edward I to Eleanor of Castile.
It is thought that their marriage was a happy one. Eleanor travelled with Edward continually from the time of their marriage, even through the troubled times of war.
Edward is said to have had no extramarital affairs or illegitimate children during his time with Eleanor and in return she gave him sixteen children, their youngest Edward would rule England after his father.
Edward's thirty-six year marriage to Eleanor ended with her death in Nottinghamshire in 1290. It seems, that the man who history has named Hammer of the Scots, was at home at least, a big softy. In her memory, Edward erected twelve elaborate monuments in the places where her body rested on its journey to Westminster Abbey.
There are a number of areas in the country that lays claim to being the place where King John put his seal to the Magna Carta in the June of 1215. One of them lies in the Thames in Berkshire and is known as Magna Carta Island.
Magna Carta was supposed to have been spread out on an octagonal stone, which still remains, in what is known as the Charter Room of a small house that stands on the island. Interestingly, just across the water is Runnymede, the traditional area associated with this famous document.
The island is also where Henry III and the future Louis VIII of France met in 1217.
Map illustration credit: Cassini Maps
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
- Hendley of Coursehorne Kent >
- Hunt of Barnstaple Introduction >
- Lakeman of Mevagissey >
- 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 Introduction >
- Tosny of Normandy >
- Toon of Leicestershire: Introduction >
- Underwood of Coleorton Introduction
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- Wars of the Roses Blog
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