Thursday, 6 December 2012
Stonecarver Lucy Churchill has superbly reconstructed it. This is the result -
To find out about Lucy's reconstruction, check out her web page here -
There are an awful lot of tacky 'souveneirs' available featuring Anne Boleyn. As an Anne supporter, I refuse to buy it - but this medal is absolutely stunning and well worth the price. It's not often I flag up anything for sale, but this is worth every penny. I ordered mine and am delighted with it.
Sunday, 18 November 2012
Sunday, 11 November 2012
Friday, 2 November 2012
Of course, the main reason for my visit was to see the 'cell' that Edward II was kept in when he was deposed and kept prisoner there. He was kept in some comfort and treated well. You can't go into the cell, but have to look through some grating in a wall to see how it might have looked.
Of course, someone on the guided tour just had to ask where was the famous red hot poker, which was used to murder Edward II. The guide was very sensible, and said it was most likely a myth, and that if Edward had been murdered in that cell, he would probably have been smothered or poisoned. She even said there are stories that Edward escaped and survived, although sadly, she then added she found it ridiculous that his body was returned and buried in Gloucester Cathedral 20 years later. She obviously needs to read the work of Ian Mortimer and check out Kathryn's website.
Despite the presence of a famous royal prisoner, apart from the cell, there's very little else to do with Edward II there. Having sold out of guidebooks as it was the end of the season, we had to rely on the guide to get any background to Edward's story, and it was the usual information - Edward was a bad husband, gave his favourite his wedding presents etc, etc. I could only shake my head. At least the red hot poker story seems to be on it's way out.
Sunday, 21 October 2012
Monday, 1 October 2012
Winchester also contains the shrine of St Swithun, whose remains were also dug up and discarded. All this makes me wonder how on earth Piers Gaveston's father's tomb remained intact!
Sunday, 23 September 2012
Friday, 14 September 2012
Sudeley castle is unique in that it is the only private castle in which a Queen of England has been buried. The story of Katherine's tomb is well known - how, after the castle fell into ruin during Oliver Cromwell's time, and the church was used to stable the horses belonging to the Roundheads, her tomb was discovered by a group of ladies on a walking tour in 1782, who had heard the former queen was buried there. A slab on top of the tomb had broken, and the coffin was exposed. Katherine's body had been wrapped in lead, and a small portion was removed to view her head and one of her arms. Her body was perfectly intact, her flesh being described as still 'moist and white'. A lock of her hair and one of her teeth were removed, as well as a piece of seer cloth. The body was then re-covered. However, word had got out about the discovery, and the coffin was continually re-opened, so that barely 6 months later, the body had began to seriously decay. When the Dent family took control of the castle in the 19th century, Katherine was given a proper burial with a fine marble effigy on top of the tomb. You can see the hair, tooth and portion of seer cloth on show at Sudeley.
One of the exhibits on show is a piece of lace that was woven by Anne Boleyn for her daughter Elizabeth, which Elizabeth gave to Katherine Parr. You can clearly see Anne's device of the falcon woven into it.
Above, the ruins of Sudeley castle, the church, and the tomb of Katherine Parr.
The cloth woven by Anne Boleyn and given to her daughter Elizabeth.
Sunday, 2 September 2012
As I'm writing this post, there's a programme on tv about......Berkeley castle! and yes, the story of the red hot poker is being told, with the added information that Edward II may have been strangled or suffocated. No mention of the possible survival of Edward II - most disappointing! BBC should check out Kathryn's blog and the writings of Ian Mortimer.
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
The latter picture if a close-up of the shield Arnaud is holding. For more on Arnaud de Gabaston and Piers' family, Kathryn has just posted her latest research on her blog.
Saturday, 11 August 2012
OK, first up, I'm not writing to ask you for advice - I never ask anyone for advice, but willingly give my advice to others, which is why I'm writing to you. I don't feel those who have written to you recently are telling you the whole truth, and while I appreciate your answers, I feel you need to be, well, more honest - blunt, as it were. Just so you know, I am 'P', 'Perrot', 'Peter' - though I won't hide behind a false name - I'm Piers.
OK, first of all, the 'child bride' is nothing more than a spoilt brat - totally indulged by her father. She arrogantly expects every man to fall in love with her. At the moment she is hanging around her 'arranged' husband like a puppy dog, which is so irritating. Everyone knows it's an 'arranged' marriage - why pretend otherwise? She constantly demands he tell her how beautiful she is - but let me tell you, it's hard for him when she has a serious break-out of teenage acne, and worse, squeezes her spots in front of him - bleuch! As for considering wearing this bra garment - she has nothing to put in it! She's only 12, which I think explains her naivety. You are not naive, and you know perfectly well that 'E Rex' and I don't have 'sleepovers'. We are in fact 'together' - not in 'brotherhood', as Ed likes to kid himself and others, but in the fullest sense - lovers - there, said it. I've had to put up with all this marriage business, then the elevation of that little madam taking my place at Ed's side. It hasn't been easy for me, you know. But have I written a whinging letter asking for advice? Of course not, I've just been helping Ed exactly as before - even minding the 'family silver', as it were and organising ceremonies and feasts for them.
I'm afraid Ed lacks confidence, which I can give him by the bucketful! Why be worried about digging ditches and getting drunk with sailors? People do far worse things than that! And digging ditches and rowing have given him a marvellous physique! You should see him, stripped to the waist, glistening with perspiration in the midday sun! A splendid sight! And if he wants to offer me a few perks to make up for having to give him time with that spoilt brat, who am I to refuse? It would be churlish of me to refuse.
Now for that awful Tom! You are so right about him being jealous - of Ed, me, and, erm, me! I should point out that I am known for my grace and good-manners, whereas he is most ill-mannered - a complete churl, in fact. No social graces, swaggers around and tries to boss poor Ed around. It quite upsets Ed at times, and I do my best to defuse the situation and make light of Tom's arrogance - I do a very good impression of him, which makes Ed laugh so much!
So there you have the full story Flo - just tell Isa Ed is NEVER going to be in love with her but will give her a brilliant lifestyle, tell Ed to assert himself and be true to himself, and tell Tom to curb his jealousy - Ed's in charge no matter what he thinks. And Flo, I've enclosed my portrait, so you can see that yes, I am extremely handsome - pin it above your bed and dream - that's all I can promise you as my heart belongs to Ed. And I really do think you should get out and live life instead of listening to the likes of Isa and Tom droning on about their so-called problems.
Blowing you a big kiss, Piers
Saturday, 4 August 2012
Sincerely, Auntie Flo (and can you send me a portrait of this Peter? I want to see if he has the looks to match the personality!)
Sunday, 29 July 2012
Oh dear, where do I start? I would describe myself as the head of a big, family business - yes, that's it. I'll call myself E Rex. I have been a bit of a disappointment to my family in the past - I'm afraid I haven't always behaved like the son of the head of the family firm. Now that I am the head, I was hoping things would improve. But I have heard people whispering about me, and complaining that I spend too much time on my hobbies, such a ditch-digging and swimming - and my chief hobby in particular - my best friend 'P'. I call him that because we spend all our time together. Our friendship is a bit difficult to explain - we call it a sort of brotherhood, really, and this involves doing most things together - even sleepovers! He's not into ditch-digging best, but gives me plenty encouragement when I do. He always watches me toiling away in the sunshine. It's always great fun, and of course, as my best friend, he's been, er, promoted. Obviously, there are many who are jealous of him, and who can blame them? He's just so wonderful - handsome, witty and confident. As head of the family, I realise it's my duty to marry for it's sake - and have done so. This is my real problem - my bride is 12 years-old, and despite her youth, is very keen to be my wife. I'm in my 20s - she's far too young to interest me. I'd rather wait until she was, oh, 20! But she is being very demanding and has even complained that I allowed my best friend to keep her jewels safe - ok, he did wear some to an important banquet - and very handsome he looked as well - but who better to look after things for me? She's now hinting that she wants to come to one of our sleepovers, and has even asked her uncles to 'have a word' about my husbandly duties. What can I do?
yours hopefully, E Rex
Dear E Rex,
hmm, I think there are a number of issues here that need addressing. First, who cares what your father thought of you? You're in charge now, right? As for your bride - yes, a 12 year-old is too young for you to spend time with. Can't you make sure she has extra lessons, plenty of exercise and is in bed by 7pm, where either you or your friend could read her a goodnight story? Maybe get her a pet dog as well? I'm sure she'll be much happier.
What concerns me is your 'friendship' with 'P'. You have real blood brothers - why do you want a 'brotherhood' pact with someone else? And please - you are too old for sleepovers. You don't fool me - even if you can fool a 12 year-old girl. You are of course in love with 'P', and providing you are discreet, I don't see why you shouldn't enjoy your 'sleepovers' and 'brotherhood':) You should be cautious, and perhaps not give your friend so many promotions and favours, no matter how handsome he is. It may also be worth having a word with your child bride's uncles, and ask them to put her in the picture. Enjoy your ditch-digging and your friend!
good luck, Auntie Flo
Monday, 23 July 2012
Dear Auntie Flo,
Please can you help me? I am 12 years old, and apparently the most beautiful woman in Europe, if not the world. That's what my family and father's courtiers tell me. Any man who sees me will fall madly in love with me. I am just so beautiful! I may be only 12, but could pass for at least 14. So why am I so unhappy? Well, I have just got married to a man chosen by my father. He is very handsome, and considerably older than me - but as I am so beautiful, this shouldn't be a problem. However, my husband has been rather reluctant to spend any time with me. He has unusual hobbies such as thatching roofs and digging ditches. Bizarre, isn't it? Although I know nothing about these hobbies, I'm willing to put up with them. What I cannot put up with is the amount of time he spends with his best friend - a certain Gascon who I will call 'Perrot'. My husband spends most of his time with his best friend - they are always together and even have sleep-overs, to which I am never invited. My husband even allowed him to try on our wedding jewellery - even if I confess it did look much better on him. He is very handsome. I've asked my friends their advice. Some have suggested taking up my husband's hobbies - but I've no idea how to dig a ditch, and when one has servants, why would you even want to? Another friend suggests I have a sleep-over in my bedroom and invite them both. Yet another has told me about a new invention called a bra with matching knickers, and that my husband may find me irresistible in them. What do you think?
Isa, aged 12.
I have a sneaking suspicion I may know who you are on about, so here is my advice. First, no matter how beautiful you are, I'm afraid there are some men who just won't fancy you - simple as that. I might add you sound very conceited about your looks, and this can be unattractive to many - including your husband. You are also only 12 years old - what on earth can you possibly have in common with your husband? You say he likes thatching and digging ditches - he sounds an outdoor type and I'm sure he looks very handsome, stripped to the waist and gleaming with sweat. So what are your interests? Playing with dolls? riding your pony? Hardly likely to entice your husband away from a ditch, eh? As for your husband's friend - you say he is very handsome and looks better in your jewellery than you - are you sure you are not a little in love with him yourself, and that's why you resent your husband spending time with him? I must say you sound very immature to want to have a sleep-over with your husband and his friend, and I feel it my duty to have to break the news to you that grown men do not have sleep-overs, and that I strongly suspect this friend offers your husband something you cannot. Perhaps you should ask an older male relative to have a little chat to you about this. Oh, and as for the bra and knickers - after the chat with your male relative, you will see that they are useless, and I'd pack them away and forget about them. Your husband will want children at some point, and when you grow up, you may find you enjoy spending such little time with your husband and enjoy splurging on bling and clothes for yourself, and being waited on like a Queen, and caring for your children.
best wishes, Auntie Flo
Sunday, 22 July 2012
Monday, 18 June 2012
On the 1st Day of July, 1312,
By Barons lawless as himself,
PIERS GAVESTON, Earl of Cornwall;
The Minion of a hateful King:
In Life and Death,
A memorable Instance of Misrule.
The date is incorrect and it hardly honours Piers, Edward II or those who set out to kill him, so maybe it was purely the local history of the place, that inspired him. So for the 700th anniversary, I shall write what I would like to see inscribed.
Friday, 8 June 2012
Sunday, 20 May 2012
Friday, 18 May 2012
We get the usual tales of Edward wanting to give away his lands and being assaulted by his father, Edward giving Piers a 'royal' title that was promised to his younger half brothers, Piers taking all the wedding presents for himself, blah, blah, etc. Oh, and Isabella is the 'much-maligned Queen'. But Jones seems to go a step further. Piers was credited as being graceful, good-mannered, chivalrous etc - a good role model for Prince Edward - but Jones says this was all a 'facade' - and that Piers introduced Edward to the unaristocratic pursuits of swimming, rowing, thatching - yes, Piers, who is never mentioned as enjoying these pursuits himself or introducing them to Edward. The real Piers Jones tells us, was 'was arrogant, haughty, grasping and immature'. He may well have been over-confident and displayed arrogance - but does that mean he couldn't be graceful? well-mannered? Looking like the god Mars at the coronation? active in tournaments? What surely could Edward have seen in someone so awful? Jones seems to think it could have possibly be lust.
Other things that irked me were when Jones admits the wars with Scotland were inherited and expensive - and then slams Edward for not pursuing them. The must ridiculous statement, in my opinion, is this one -
The French king was a cruel persecutor of heresy who would not have allowed his little girl to marry a sodomite.
Erm, Philip was a medieval monarch, and as such would have wed his 'little girl' (a rather emotive way to describe Isabella) to whoever it suited him to. And following this theory, if Edward and Piers were lovers, that it can only have been so after Edward was married, unless they were terribly discreet - but surely Philip would have had an inkling when Piers was left as regent, and the fact Edward Ist had banished him. And talking of banishment, Jones says Piers ' had repeatedly breached orders exiling him from England.' Not true. Edward ist banished him, the new King Edward II recalled him. After he was banished a second time, Edward did all he could to get the barons to allow Piers back - which they did. It was only after the third banishment Piers returned illegally from exile.
The only good thing about the article is that it refutes the claim that Edward was murdered with a red hot poker. That's the only 'good' thing I can say about it. I ordered the book on Amazon and it arrived yesterday. I am not looking forward to reading it.
Saturday, 14 April 2012
Monday, 9 April 2012
Friday, 2 March 2012
Thursday, 23 February 2012
The title 'Braveheart' comes from a poem written by 'Blind Harry' in 1470 - 165 years after Wallace's death. The purpose for the poem? Propaganda. The Scots were worried James III was becoming too friendly with the English, and so looked back in history to find a hero for an independent Scotland - and Blind Harry - who wasn't blind - chose Wallace. The Bailey family sponsored 'Blind Harry', and he wrote one of their ancestors into the poem as Wallace's wife. It seems no-one knows who Wallace was married to.
The blue woad and kilts worn by Gibson's army were easily dismissed, as was the alleged 'Wallace sword' which turned out to be made of 3 separate weapons moulded together. The weapons were also dissected. Particularly interesting was the testing of the warbows from Edward Ist's army. Wallace's army would never have been able to withstand the onslaught from the English army. The battle of Stirling bridge was an opportunistic victory, the result of an ambush by Wallace and his fellow leader Robert of Lundy, who later died of his wounds - hence he wasn't chosen as the hero of the poem by 'Blind Harry'. Wallace was not an 'ordinary' man, but a younger son of a knight, who first appears in a document in an act of theft.
As for Wallace being the father of Edward III, this was scoffed at for obvious reasons - Isabella was a child, still living in France. This easy dismissal meant there was no mention of Edward II or Piers/Phillip being thrown out of the window. Oh well......
Wallace did his best to evade capture - and you can hardly blame him as he knew what fate would await him. He fled to France to try and persuade Philip IV to help him and involve the Pope, which failed.
The only shock for me was that this film won 5 Oscars - yes, really! Including one for best film.
Friday, 17 February 2012
Here's a link to Kathryn's brilliant and well-researched article on the slander of Edward II and his children -
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
So here is Edward II's valentine greeting for Piers!
To my Scrumptious Gascon Piers,
You are the jewel of my crown. I want to joust with you more than any other lance in the whole court.
The first time we thatched, I felt in my splendid fingers, and I was so overwhelmed that I could barely thatch. I knew that we would throb together for years.
Whenever you tease, it makes me swoon gracefully and spend like a parliament .
I will toast with you provocatively until the treasury empties and the country revolts.
Splendid Valentine's Day!
Love, your devoted King