zaterdag 11 augustus 2018 06:01 | Astrid Essed | 658 keer bekeken | 0 reacties | 0 x aanbevolen

9 AUGUST 1318- 9 AUGUST 2018
Dear Readers,
Here is your Companion at the travelling to Medieval Times
and this time she is EXTRA thrilled!
Because she is writing this TODAY, 9 AUGUST 2018,
when it is exactly 700 YEARS AGO, when  King Edward II and his royal cousin
and enemy rival to  Power, Thomas of Lancaster 
 [about whom I wrote a sort of mini book 
[HAHAHA] [1] signed the Treaty of Leake [2], at Leake, a village
in Nottinghamshire with the meaning
of ending up  their enmities.
Within four years this whole thing would blow up, one of them
would meet a tragic end and the other....well, it 
did not work out for him nicely, as well.....
Read this fascinating story also in my ''mini book'', [3]
So in underlying I write something about this Treaty, exactly 700 years later [how many times you have such a great
opportunity!.], but very interesting is the talk of the historian 
and writer Kathryn Warner, in the village
of East Leake [yes the Place of ''Reconciliation''!] to mark the 700th anniversary,
together with an other historian,  Keith Hodgkinson. [4]
Kathryn Warner is a very skilled historian and a great expert
about the reign of Edward II and wrote a number of interesting
books about that period [including
one about king Richard II, greatgrandson of
Edward II] [5], soon followed by more! [6]
Very worth reading for people who are interested
in English fourteentyh century history.
Well Readers, here I come
Travel with me to those fascinating times.......
To try to understand the background of the Treaty
of Leake, one must start a search through 
personal and political ambitions, favouritism of Kings
and how dangerous that can be and the choices people make....
Come with me
King Edward II, before his reign known as ''Edward of
Caernarfon'' [called after the Castle of
Caernarfon, in North Wales, where he was born
in 1284] was the son of King Edward I and succeded
his father to the throne in 1307. [7]
Thomas of Lancaster was his first cousin [Thomas'
father, Edmund Crouchback, was the younger brother
of King Edward I] [8] and was born around
1278 or 1279. [9]
A man of royal importance, not only from his father's
side, but his mother was Blanche of Artois, a French
noblewoman, related to the French royal House.
She was the granddaughter of the French King Louis
VIII and the niece of the better known king Louis IX
[''Saint Louis'', because of his obsession with the Crusades
he joined twice. ''Saint Louis''''  younger brother, Robert I, Count of Artois,
was Blanche of Artois' father] [10]
No wonder, with such a glorious Family Tree, it went
to Thomas' head and he ultimately wanted the throne for himself!
Back to Thomas' career
The beginning was well, given Medieval standards.
He did a qualified job in fighting in the Scottish wars of
his uncle, Edward I [11], and his uncle arranged a very
profitable marriage with a rich heiress [only child, her brothers
died an untimely death], Alice de Lacy [12], daughter of
Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln [13], who was very
loyal to Edward I. 
As I said, the marriage was very profitable to Thomas:
Alice de Lacy was a rich heiress, who 
inherited the earldom of Lincoln from her father Henry and the earldom of Salisbury from her mother Margaret Longespee [14],
which gave Thomas [who controlled her lands, as was Medieval 
English custom], an annual income of about  10,000 marks (£6666) 
[much, much money in that time!] [15]
After his cousin Edward II [later King] he was the richest man in
the land and the greatest landowner, because besides the
Earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury, he had inherited from his
father Edmund Crouchback, the Earldoms  Lancaster, Leicester and Derby! [16]
So it is not hard to imagine, that this royal cousin could pose
a great threath, when he was against you!
That being said, unfortunately the marriage became disastrous [17]
and there were no children, although Kathryn Warner discovered,
that Alice de Lacy at least must have been pregnant one time,
to no avail, alas. [18]
Thomas on the other hand had at least two illegitimate sons. [19]
And contrary to what you Readers will think, 
following this story, they were no enemies from the start,
but on very good terms [20], which makes the story the more
For example:
Edward of Caernarfon, then still heir to the throne, wrote
in 1305 the following letter to his cousin Thomas:
'' "To the earl of Lancaster, greetings and dear affection. Very dear cousin, we hold you well excused that you have not come to us, and your illness weighs heavily on us, and if we can come to you we will do it gladly, to see and to comfort you. Very dear cousin, may our lord etc [have you in his keeping]. Given as above [in Windsor park, 22 September 1305] [21]
I think it is a touching letter of real concern about Thomas' illness.
This closeness continued after Edward became king of England in July 1307.
At the coronation of Edward II, Thomas carried the sword Curtana. [22]
In the first sixteen months of Edward's reign, Thomas was
 in almost constant attendance on Edward and he was one of only a handful of men , who remained loyal to Edward II in the spring of 1308 when the majority of the barons were pressing for King's favourite, close friend and possible lover, Piers Gaveston's exile. [23]
That's remarkable, given the fact, that later,  Thomas would 
become one of the worst enemies of King's favourite
Piers Gaveston, with deadly consequences.
However, something went terribly wrong between the two
powerful cousins:
In November 1308, Thomas appears to have abruptly left court; he witnessed no more charters after this date until March 1310, and the constant flow of grants and favours to him from Edward also ceased.
Historian Kathryn Warner informs us, that there is 
no evidence of an argument between Edward II and cousin
in any chronicle [24], but for some reason  Thomas, who had previously been on amicable terms with Piers Gaveston
and supported the King, when others demanded the exile
of Piers Gaveston, became implacably opposed to Piers' return from Ireland, where Piers was sent in 1308 under pressure of his enemies
under the nobility. [25]
And then the relations between Edward and his powerful cousin
detoriated more and more....
The absolute breaking point between the two men was
the hunting down of the fleeing Edward II and his favourite Piers
Gaveston [26] [after his return from his third exile, while
the by most nobles supported Ordinances, except three, [27] demanded,
that he never set foot in England again [28].
This hunting down was organised by Thomas
of Lancaster and Guy Beachamp, 10th Earl of Warwick,
but to be fair, most nobles were involved in this [29].
To cut a long story short:
The whole thing ended eventually in  
in the summary execution of poor Piers Gaveston
by Thomas of Lancaster, together with Guy Beauchamp, 10th
Earl of Warwick, Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford
[and brother in law of King Edward II, married to his sister
Elizabeth Plantagenet] and Edmund FitzAlan, 9th Earl of
Arundel. [30]
Who wants to read the whole Piers Gaveston tragedy,
see Chapter Four of my mini-book ''Thomas of
Lancaster, rebel cousin of King Edward II/From warlord to
Saint. [31]
Probably Piers Gaveston didn't return from his third exile
to provoke the nobiliy, ad he had done before [32],
but for the birth of his daughter! [Edward had married him
off to his niece Margaret de Clare, daughter of his sister,
Joan of Acre] [33]
Before going through with this tragedy, this:
Thomas also had a younger brother, Henry [the later Earl Henry,
3rd Earl of Lancaster] [34], who was, in my eyes,
an honourable man:
Far less ambitious and bloodthirsty than most of his
collegue noblemen, he was also a Family man, who rather was
with his Family [wife and children, here], than mingle himself
in the adventures and ambitions of his brother, although
he was certainly loyal and  attached to him, as later events showed,[35]
But not only he was honourable, less warlike then his brother
and yet attached to him, he was, most of his life, loyal
to his cousin King Edward, although he never betrayed
his brother. [36]
AND he was a man, who could wait untill the time was ripe,
to act. [37]
In that he also differed from his impulsive and hot headed brother.
A compex nature, worth studying.
Readers, read the coming Book of Kathryn Warner, ''Blood Roses'',
which gives more details about this Henry of Lancaster! [38]
In due time I write an article about him.
Worth reading about this man, whose importance  is
often underestimated in history, seen the fact he is one of
the ancestors of Edward IV of Englanf and through his daughter
[married with Henry VII] of all subsequent English Kings! [39]
I don't have to tell you, readers, that the death, in fact murder'
of the so by Edward beloved Piers Gaveston, was the bitter
seed for an impacable feud with his murderers, first of
all his powerful cousin, Thomas of Lancaster.
Although Edward was, due to political circumstances,
the great power of Thomas of Lancaster and
the threat to civil war [all those rebellious
nobles had their private armies and when a King
is pursued by his own nobles, you have an idea,
where the power lies....],
was compelled to pardon Thomas and the others, involved in
murder on Piers Gaveston [40], he would
never forgive, nor forget.
Years later he said:
'' "When this wretched business is over, we will turn our hands to other matters. For I have not forgotten the wrong that was done to my brother Piers."  [41]
Anyway, wishful thinking [from Edward] is not always 
achievable, at least not at the very moment.
England faced the threat of the Scots in the North and
in an effort to regain his prestige, he confronted the Scots
But since Lancaster [and other Lords] didn't intend
to strengten Edward''s power they had tried to diminish
by the Ordinances [42], many of them, of course Thomas
included, refused to accompany the King to the Scottish
campaign at Bannockburn and to fulfill the minimum of
his feudal obligations, sent only  four knights and four men-at-arms!
A humiliating defeat at Bannockburn [44], which put
Edward II to Lancaster''s mercy......[45]
This was the beginning of a long period, in which
Lancaster was the de facto ruler in England and he and his
cousin Edward II played with each other like a Cat
with a Mouse. [46]
Edward couldn't military confront Lancaster, because he
was too powerful and Lancaster couldn't defeat
Edward either, yet apart from the fact, that it was the Big Question,
if the English nobility would accept Thomas of Lancaster
as a King instead of anointed King Edward.
In the meantime, there were so many problems in England
to be faced:
A serious plague of Famine [47], raids of the conquering
Scots in the North, a strong and good ruling in the country.
And the only thing Edward II and Thomas did, was to
to thwart each other instead of working together 
to face the problems!
In fact:
Thomas of Lancaster, who was [with reason] very critical to
the reign of Edward II, did not show himself a better leader.
He seldom visited the Parliament [48], although, to be fair, a bad health
may have played a role, and even wasted his time by
jeering at Edward Ii, when passing his territory! [49] and
even blocked the road! [50]
While the Famine was killing England and the Scottish raided freely
in the North!
If this was not worse enough, Edward, not having learned from
the tragic experience with Piers Gaveston, had three favourites
again [although not that close and intimate as with Gaveston], who
did their best to hinder every reconciliation between Edward II
and his powerful cousin Thomas! [51]
But happily, some wise nobles  had been negotiating with the earl of Lancaster, and trying to persuade Edward and his cousin to overcome their hostility to each other. On 8 June, they came to a preliminary agreement: Edward would uphold the  Ordinances, govern by the counsel of his magnates, and conciliate Thomas, who was threatened with sanctions if he continued to hold armed assemblies. 
And  on 7 August 1318 the two men exchanged the kiss of peace in a field between Loughborough and Leicester. Edward gave his cousin a fine palfrey "in recognition of his great love" of Thomas. [YEAH,
Anyway,  A formal agreement, the Treaty of Leake, was signed in the town of Leake near Loughborough two days later. [52]
You want to read, how the story continues and who wins
or looses, Edward II or his cousin, see my mini book or
the articles of Kathryn Warner. [53]
Nice you travelled with me to the past, again
I have appreciated it!
Astrid Essed

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