Edward I

Woe, the unloved wife – of Joan of Bar and her not-so-loving hubby, John de Warenne

In a previous post, I wrote about Eleanor, eldest surviving daughter of Edward I and his wife, Eleanor of Castile. That poor lady was destined for a short life, but she lived long enough to marry and have two children, one born in 1295 or so, the second born a year later. When Eleanor died, …

Woe, the unloved wife – of Joan of Bar and her not-so-loving hubby, John de Warenne Read More »

My new book! Welcome Robert and his fiery Castilian hawk!

If I were to collect all the tears I’ve shed as I’ve read one more tragic depiction after the other of the sad fate of the last Welsh princes and their families, I’d likely have a bath tub full. Welsh princes? some of you query. After all, there were many Welsh princes back then, not …

My new book! Welcome Robert and his fiery Castilian hawk! Read More »

The queen that never was

In 1269, Eleanor of Castile gave birth to a little girl, named after her mother. At the time, Eleanor was some years shy of thirty years, had been married to Edward of England for fifteen years and had, so far, been brought to bed of six children that we know of. Three of those were …

The queen that never was Read More »

The mouse that squeaked – or the story of a VERY short siege

There’s something about sieges, isn’t there? An encircled fortress—or city—and it is all one long waiting game as the cat outside wonders just how long the mouse will stay in its hole before lack of food and water forces it to venture beyond the safety of its walled haven. Mind you, I don’t think the …

The mouse that squeaked – or the story of a VERY short siege Read More »

When the Welsh underdog bites

In 1283, the last true Prince of Wales, Dafydd ap Gruffud, was hauled up the gallows in Shrewsbury and subjected to the horrifying ordeal of being hanged, drawn and quartered. Whether he died bravely or not we do not know. Personally, I think it is unlikely any human being can be subjected to such cruelty …

When the Welsh underdog bites Read More »

He had it all – and lost it

Some weeks ago I wrote about the very tragic life of Elisabeth de Ferrers who lost husband and all her children in the aftermath of Edward I’s conquest of Wales. In passing, I mentioned that Elizabeth had a rather unsavoury brother, and today’s post is about him, the brother. Should one write a short epitaph …

He had it all – and lost it Read More »

Elizabeth who? A reflection on the life of a medieval woman

Most of us are destined to pass through this life and be quickly forgotten, buried in the huge drifts of human life that border history. Only those that truly stick out—whether for good or bad—get a moment or two of air-time, and for obvious reasons most of these highlighted people tend to be rulers. And …

Elizabeth who? A reflection on the life of a medieval woman Read More »

From underage groom to powerful magnate

Today I thought we’d spend some time with a man named Richard. Okay, so very many men in medieval England were named Richard, including three Plantagenet kings, but nope, we won’t be talking about them today. Instead, we’re going to spend time with a baron so powerful, so wealthy, he probably could (and now and …

From underage groom to powerful magnate Read More »

The king's sister – the life of a medieval princess

In a previous post I have discussed the challenges facing Eleanor of Castile – specifically that of presenting her husband, Edward I, with a male heir. It took some time for that eagerly awaited heir to make his appearance. Not until 1284, after almost thirty years of marriage, did the boy who would one day …

The king's sister – the life of a medieval princess Read More »

Brought to bed of a daughter? Try again!

One of the things a medieval queen was expected to provide her husband with was a male heir – and preferably a spare. For a medieval king to have only female heirs caused a number of problems, primarily that of convincing the male barons to swear allegiance to a woman. Plus, from a purely dynastic …

Brought to bed of a daughter? Try again! Read More »