It was today in 1284, in the Welsh town of Rhuddlan that an act, known as the Statute of Rhuddlan, became law.
This meant that the people of Wales had to abide by the laws of England and that Edward I was able to place of his choice of officials in important positions. Seventeen years later in 1301, he would reinforce his claim to Wales by making his son, Edward of Caernarfon, Prince of Wales.
By 1535, under the Laws of Wales Act, Wales became part of England, a single state under English laws, since then its Englishness/Welshness has become a subject open to interpretation.
The 3rd February in 1276 is the reported date of the marriage of Edmund Crouchback to his second wife Blanche of Artois.
In the July of 1274, Blanche had been widowed when her husband Henry I of Navarre died following the death of the couples baby son the year before. That same year Edmund too had suffered the loss of his wife the fifteen-year-old wife Aveline de Forz, had died in November.
On Edmund and Blanche's marriage, Edmund became step-father to Blanche's one-year-old daughter Joan, whose daughter Isabella would become the wife of Edward II and lover of Roger Mortimer. Their marriage, it is said, was arranged but was thought to have been a happy one and resulted in three children, Thomas of Lancaster - executed on the order of the aforementioned Edward II. Henry, nicknamed Wryneck due to a condition we know now of as Torticollis, where the muscles of the neck cause the head to twist to one side, and John, who died in France in 1317.
The couples twenty-year marriage ended with Edmund's death in 1296 during the siege of Bordeaux and Blanche died in Paris in 1302.
Eleanor, the youngest daughter of King John, had been abandoned by her mother Isabella of Angouleme in 1216. She had been left in the care of a number of governesses, one of the first was Margaret Biset she left Eleanor to serve in the household of her brother King Henry III's queen Eleanor of Provence. Margaret's replacement was Cecily of Sandford who Matthew Paris described as "of noble blood, but with nobler manners" and who was " learned, eloquent and courteous."
When Eleanor was just nine she had married the twenty-five-year-old William Marshall the son of William the Marshall, the first Earl of Pembroke whose title he had received in 1219. In 1231 Marshall died, some thought he was poisoned. His death left Eleanor a widow at sixteen.
Following William Marshall's death, Eleanor under Cecily's guidance, some might say influence, was persuaded to take a vow of chastity but this vow was soon broken when she married, in the January of 1238, English noble Simon de Montfort. Henry III had approved the marriage, which took place in secret and all three chose to ignore condemnation by Edmund Rich, Archbishop of Canterbury, in whose presence, Eleanor had taken the holy oath.
It is easy to see why Eleanor broke her vow, Simon de Montfort was just eight years older, he was charismatic and plain spoken and he was also a great friend of the king. However, this friendship and Eleanor's marriage ended in tragedy when de Montfort chose to lead a rebellion against the king.
The aftermath of the Battle of Lewes in 1264 saw Henry and his son Edward, later Edward I captured and de Montfort rule in the king's name. Eleanor chose to side with her husband, she was an enthusiastic supporter of his cause right up to his death at the Battle of Evesham in 1265.
With Simon de Montfort Eleanor had seven children. She would survive him by ten years, dying in exile in France in the April of 1275.
Roger Mortimer was a member of a powerful Mortimer family whose established their great dynasty in the Welsh Marches. They were granted lands in Herefordshire and Shropshire at the conquest of England and by the fourteenth century, they were honoured with the title of Earls of March.
For eight months following the Battle of Lewes Edward, heir to the English throne, was being held captive as a hostage by rebel leader Simon de Montfort. It was Roger Mortimer, deploying a plan of action created by his wife Maud, who rescued Edward enabling him to retake the rebel-held towns of Worcester and Gloucester.
Roger Mortimer would go on to assist Henry III in the final victory over barons in 1265 at the Battle of Evesham, it would be Mortimer who would strike the blow that ended the life of the aforementioned Simon de Montfort.
Mortimer later sent this gruesome trophy and other parts of de Montfort's anatomy home to Wigmore Castle as a gift for his wife. Of this event, English chronicler Robert of Gloucester wrote:
"To dam Maud the Mortimer that wel foule it ssende."
It is alleged that Lady Mortimer held feast that evening to celebrate Henry's victory and that she had Simon de Montfort's head, still attached to the point of the lance, placed on show for all to see.
Roger Mortimer would survive the years that saw the Statute of Marlborough passed and the signing of the Dictum of Kenilworth. Mortimer would also witness Henry III passing many of Simon de Montfort's ideas and changes to government although what he thought of it all goe's unrecorded.
Roger Mortimer died on this day in 1282 at the age of fifty-one. His death, it has been said, was seen by many as a major setback in the early years of Edward I's reign.
Mortimers epitaph reads:
"Here lies buried, glittering with praise, Roger the pure, Roger Mortimer the second, called Lord of Wigmore by those who held him dear. While he lived all Wales feared his power and given as a gift to him all Wales remained his. It knew his campaigns, he subjected it to torment."
4th August 1265
Following King John to the throne of England in 1216 was his son Henry III. Henry turned out to be an intelligent man who was quick to master the problems of administration and government, he was also seen as an
"uncomplicated, almost naive man, and a lover of peace."
It seems then that England would, at last, be a calm and peaceful country, however this was not to be.
In our tales of history, the events of 1258 to 1265, were played out through the actions of a man who would come to be known as "the father of the English parliament" - Simon de Montfort, who Chronicler Matthew Paris describes as dictatorial and a military strategist, stating he was charismatic, plain spoken and fair.
Many of Henry III's barons had become a law unto themselves and they were now seeing Henry as weak, David Carpenter writes that Henry “failed as a ruler due to his naivety and inability to produce realistic plans for reform” and Henry did not do himself any favours, his personal extravagances that had resulted in large taxes and a major fall out with de Montfort did not help matters either. In 1238, in a blatant piece of favouritism towards de Montfort (interestingly, one of the reasons de Montfort took a dislike Henry III was because of his favouritism towards foreign nobles - it seems he conveniently forgot that he was a favoured foreigner himself !) Henry had approved de Montfort’s marriage to his sister Eleanor, and both Henry and de Montfort chose to ignore the condemnation of the marriage by the Archbishop of Canterbury along with the protest made by Henry's brother, the greedy Richard of Cornwall, who made a song and dance of the whole episode, however he was eventually bought on side for a couple of bags of gold. Henry also appointed de Montfort as Governor of Gascony, a mistake that cost him dearly. In Gascony, Montfort was disliked, but he was powerful and he abused his position and this forced Henry to intervene. On Montfort's return to England, he too perceived Henry as weak and with the barons eager for a fight, Simon de Montfort stepped into take charge.
It was Simon de Monfort who lead the rebellion against his one time friend, and after the Battle of Lewes in 1264 both the king and his son Edward, later Edward I, were captured and it was de Montfort who ruled in his name. Eventually though,de Montfort lost the support of many of Henry's disaffected barons, this along with Edward's escape would be the beginning of the end of Simon de Montfort's rule.
Edward had raised an army that outnumbered de Montfort's forces and had pursued them through the Welsh Marches to the Worcestershire town of Evesham. Edward arrived there on the morning of the 4th of August 1265. This arrival had taken de Montfort by surprise, but he was quick to respond and taking the king along with him engaged Edward's army, however within hours the battle turned into what can only be described as a massacre, one historian writing that it was "an episode of noble bloodletting unprecedented since the Conquest." quickly followed by Simon de Montfort's grizzly end, a fact that bears witness to the slaughter.
Of de Montforts death there is a contemporary account that is attributed to a London chronicler name Arnald FitzThedmar.
"The head of the Earl of Leicester, it is said, was severed from his body, and his testicles cut off and hung on
either side of his nose. In this state, the head was sent to the wife of Roger de Mortimer, at Wigmore Castle.
Simon de Montfort’s hands and feet were also cut off, and sent to many of his enemies as a great mark of dishonour
to the deceased. The trunk of his body, however, and that alone, was given for burial in the church of Evesham."
Also losing their lives that day were Simon's son Henry, and Peter de Montfort who both died in the battle. Hugh Despencer, Chief Justiciar of England, grandfather of the more famous Hugh Despencer the younger, was slain at the hands of Roger Mortimer.
By 1267 the problems between Henry and his barons, that were based on the 1258/9 provisions, had still not settled down and a new set of laws were needed. On the 18th or 19th of November 1267, in a Parliament at Marlborough the twenty nine chapters that made up the Statute of Marlborough, was passed. The kings last few years saw his power restored and it was a relatively peaceful one following the signing of the Dictum of Kenilworth. Henry was sensible enough to pass many of Simon de Montfort's ideas and changes to government, and this act was brought into play by the end of October 1266.
20th May 1217
The Battle of Lincoln, the second of that name in a period known as the Baron's War, was one of the most influential battles fought on England's soil. The 20th May 1217, saw Louis VIII's French forces under the Count of Perche attack the garrison at Lincoln Castle that was held by soldiers who were loyal to Henry III. English forces, under the command of William Marshall, arrived in Lincoln from the north, eventually securing the castles north gate forcing the surrender of the French army.
The battle took place in the area around Lincoln's castle, it cathedral and what is now Steep Hill, and today marks eight hundred years since this battle took place.
My photograph below shows the Observatory Tower of Lincoln Castle where I have added a medieval illustrated text that tells the story of the battle.
As you can see they are both from the same view point, it is quite eerie to think that the illustrator of the medieval image may have stood on the exact same spot that I took the photo from 798 later. On the illustration you can see a bowman perched high in the observatory tower firing at the retreating army.
The Second Battle of Lincoln can be viewed through my photographs taken at a reenactment in 2014.
Lincoln Castle garrison stand to defend this important fortification from forces loyal to Prince Louis, led by the Count of Perche.
Meanwhile, William Marshal proceeded to the section of the city walls nearest the castle, at the north gate. The entire force of Marshal's crossbowmen led by the nobleman Falkes de Breaute assaulted and won the gate. Perche's forces did not respond, but continued the castle siege. The north gate was secured by Marshal's main force, while Breaute's crossbowmen took up high positions on the rooftops of houses. Volleys of bolts from this high ground caused rapid death, damage and confusion among Perche's forces. Then, in the final blow, Marshal committed his knights and foot soldiers in a charge against Perche's siege
After six hours Perche was offered a surrender, but instead fought to the death as the siege collapsed into a scattered rout. Those of Louis' army who were not captured fled Lincoln out the south city gate, to London.
On the 14th May 1264, Henry III forces were defeated by the armies of Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Lewes in Sussex. This battle was one of two main battles in the conflict known as the Second Barons War and at this point Montfort was riding high.
King Henry III is said to have been intelligent and quick to master the problems of administration and government, he was also seen a "uncomplicated, almost naive man, and a lover of peace," yet all this is hardly mentioned, historians preferring to write about Simon de Montfort who not only stole Henry's crown but also his limelight.
The dissatisfaction of Henry's barons culminated in the Second Barons War in 1263. It was Simon de Montfort who lead the rebellion against Henry, and after the Battle of Lewes both the king and his son Edward, later Edward I, were captured and it was de Montfort who ruled in his name.
Eventually, de Montfort lost the support of many of Henry's disaffected barons, this along with Edward escaping his captors and raising an army was the beginning of the end for de Montfort. After the Battle of Evesham, Montfort met a grizzly end and Henry regained his throne.
Image Credit Lewes Town Council
Edmund Crouchback, son of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence, 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, we can only wonder if he suffered from the same and passed it to his son, Henry's condition being more noticeable.
There seems to be a bit of a disagreement among historians as to the reasons King John married his second wife Isabella of Angouleme, some say it was born out of lust, others out of the need to control the areas that neighboured Angouleme.
John, it has been said, took an immediate fancy to Isabella, the daughter of Audemar the Count of Angouleme, and was
quick to make a play for her. John certainly loved women, he was unfaithful to both his wives and kept numerous mistresses, some of them married women, so it is easy to believe that he was determined to have her and was not going
to take no for an answer.
There was a big difference in their ages, John was twenty-two and Isabella, just a child of twelve when they married on the 24th of August 1200. The birth of their first born suggests that the king may have respected her tender age and stayed out of the marriage bed till at least the end of 1206.
Following their marriage the couple arrived back in England, where on the 8th October 1200, Isabella was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
The view that most historians put forward, that King John was a tyrant and a thoroughly bad chap with absolutely no
redeeming features, makes it difficult to find anything positive to say about his twelve year marriage to Isabella, but from
what I have read it looks to be an exact copy of that of John's parents Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. John was a philanderer, so was Henry, Isabella a been a strong and forceful woman, so was Eleanor.
Soon after John's death in 1216, 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.
On the 11th September 1297 William Wallace led his troops to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
The Scottish troops gathered on Abbey Craig, which is now the site of the Wallace Monument, they quickly realised that
they were greatly outnumbered by English forces under the Earl of Surrey, John de Warenne and Hugh Cressingham, an English administrator based in Scotland. The Scots advantage, although they probably didn't know it, was Stirling Bridge
which was narrow, which the English forces had trouble crossing.
The infantry crossed in small groups of men which the Scots quickly disposed of, the remaining foot soldiers they were
able to force back into the advancing cavalry and under the overwhelming weight on the wooden bridge it collapsed and
many English soldiers drowned.
Warrane escaped death, but Cressingham was not so lucky. It is said that his body was
flayed by the Scots and that Wallace made a sword belt out of his skin. How true story is I don't know, it may well have
been a bit of chest beating on the part of the Scottish rebels but it is mentioned by three different English chroniclers. After this, Wallace was seen as a legitimate leader of Scottish resistance and he went on to recapture Berwick and raid Northumberland and Cumberland.
He was eventually captured on the 5th August 1305 and executed eighteen days later.
After ten years in the workplace I became a mother to three very beautiful daughters, I was fortunate enough to have been able to stay at home and spend my time with them as they grew into the young women they are now. I am still in the position of being able to be at home and pursue all the interests I have previously mentioned. We live in a beautiful Victorian spa town with wooded walks for the dog, lovely shops and a host of lovely people, what more could I ask for.
All works © Andrea Povey 2014. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Andrea Povey.
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