Happy New Year from Claire


I just wanted to wish Anne Boleyn Files followers a very Happy New Year! May 2019 bring you love, joy, peace and prosperity, and lots of Tudor history too.

New Year is when I reflect on what I did over the previous year and look forward to everything I have planned for the next. Well, 2018 was a very busy year. As always, there was plenty of research and writing, but I also co-led two wonderful Tudor history tours and got to stay in my very favourite place – Hever Castle. I get to stay at Hever twice this year (excited squeal!) on the Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 in May and the Executed Queens Tour in July. There are still a few places left if you want to joinme in Tudor heaven! See www.britishhistorytours.com/history-tours/.

Do I have anything special planned for the Anne Boleyn Files website?

Well, if you remember, I asked for your questions on Anne Boleyn so that I could answer them for you. I’m going to do a series of video talks answering these questions. The videos will be shared on the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube Channel. I will of course post them here on the Anne Boleyn Files too so that you don’t miss them.

Next month will be our 10 year anniversary! Wow! Thank you so much for your continued support.

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83 thoughts on “Happy New Year from Claire”
  1. My Lady,

    I hope all your subscribers have a Very Blessed, Happy, and a
    Safe New Year.

    As much as I hate what happened to Queen Anne, I hate the events
    of our Queen of Hearts, Princess Diana. She woud be 57. She’s
    was born two years after me.

    Diana can never be replaced. The Royal Family wanted to get
    rid of her. Prince Charles did her an injustice. The Old Cheater.

    He much like Henry VIII. He doesn’t never ever need to reign
    after his Mother.

    1. I wish you a Happy New Year too, Mark.
      I don’t think we can judge the Diana/Charles situation, nobody knows what happened except them and I expect there was fault on both sides, as is usual.
      Personally, I like Prince Charles and I hope he does become king after his mother. Everyone makes mistakes and he has moved on and it is clear that his sons love and respect him.

      1. I agree. I was really shocked when Princess Diana was killed but it was a tragedy. I think her sons are a credit to her but Charles is next in line, not that I really care, but he is the heir and the way it is, the heir succeeds. I believe Charles is painted bad in the media because he married his lover and divorced the people’s Queen. Sound familiar? He is unfortunately getting on a bit and will be as old, if not older than Edward Vii when he succeeded Queen Victoria and look how many women he had! Many people doubted his ability to rule but in his nine years on the throne he did fine. He actually became popular. He almost didn’t make it as his appendix burst and he had to postpone his coronation. It was a very dangerous operation with chloroform in 1901 on a man overweight and 59 but he survived and he was a decent King. Prince Charles is interested in people and moving the monarchy forward and has criticised various government policies over the years and has some interesting ideas of his own. He shouldn’t be judged too harshly. He was pressured into marriage with the wrong woman and has made mistakes, but look at the entire lot of our King and Queens. Not a very saintly lot any of them but they still succeeded. Yes of course William and Kate would be better and Princess Anne would push them all aside for hard work, but we have a system, we don’t have one to bar Kings, so we have to give him a chance. He may actually surprise everyone.

        1. I agree Iv often admired Charles for his talks on architecture and other topics, he feels a lot of things deeply he made a mistake in marrying a young woman with whom he had nothing in common, he had to marry and provide an heir such is the lot of kings, it’s very sad what happened with their marriage and Diana’s untimely death but that was 21 years ago and one cannot live in the past, Camilla has always been his true love and she is probably a very nice woman, she makes him happy and when he does ascend the throne I think he will have the support of a lot of
          people at home and abroad, people prefer William and Kate because their young and attractive which makes them more charismatic, but we cannot pick and choose who we want on the throne, by all accounts William isn’t that keen on wearing the crown when his time comes but he will have to accept it, abdication is not acceptable and his great uncle caused such a crisis when he did just that back in the thirties, that it took Britain and the royal family a long time to recover and it was something they never forgave him for, so many kings have fought to wear England’s ancient crown that it is steeped in blood, battles have been won and lost and it was even offered to a King of France as the inept King John failed to keep his country under control, when we read of most of the misdeeds of England’s monarchs, old Charles looks rather like mother Teresa, personally I think we could do a lot worse.

        2. Yes, Camilla loved Charles before he married Diana Spencer and she married his pal. The four of them were friends but he and Camilla were making eyes even as he honeymooned with his Princess of Wales. The entire marriage was for show while he got himself a couple of heirs. It was all a very long time ago, 21 years, goodness gracious me is it that long? It is sad that Diana could not have lived and been happy, but unfortunately, life sucks sometimes.

          Yes, there have been some real juicy monarchs and certainly Charles would qualify for some reward compared to most of them. Henry Viii could teach him a thing or two as could many of those who fought over the crown. We are lucky to live in an era were our leaders pass on their inheritance in peace. Prince Louis of France had a good deal of support from the nobles before John was able to turn things around. Charles is described as an active hands on Duke in Cornwall and is very well known among ordinary people for his good lordship and his personal interest in local society. His interest in alternative medicine is of interest to me as I use traditional therapies myself and whatever he called a carbuncle, he was probably correct. Some modern day architecture is way out and over the top. I have to smile when he comes out with some things, but then don’t we all put our big feet in stuff every now and then?

  2. Happy New Year, Claire! Thank you for enriching my life this year. Stunning on this site, followed by the Tudor Society, has given me happiness. Wishing you good health and happiness in the new year. Michelle t

  3. Happy 2019 Claire, Tim, cats dogs and family. Happy New Year to everyone here at the Anne Boleyn files. Enjoying your videos and actually revisiting some posts for my own interest from other years. Take care all. I have a beautiful new coat to wear in the cold tomorrow. Lots of new books. Thomas Cranmer by Diarmaid Macculloch in my Christmas stocking. Haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet, but it looks really good and should be if his Cranmer is anything to go by. Again many happy days wished to you all and good health.


    1. I always put books down on my Xmas pressie list, I love opening them on the day, most are historical biographies but one I did receive was a ghost story which makes a nice change, am looking forward to reading that.

  4. Regarding books I’m the same way at Christmas. I also got 2: The Greatest Knight by Thomas Asbridge about William Marshal that came out in 2015 and The House of Beaufort published this past November. Since I am currently reading two other books it’ll be a bit before I get to them. I’m really looking forward to the one about William Marshal as I know so little about him.

    1. William Marshall is my ancestor Michael and yes he certainly is an interesting character to read about, the title of the book you have aptly describes him because he was indeed, describes as the greatest knight in England and in fact I believe of all time, honest brave wise and loyal, he was a trusted friend to both Henry 11 and his queen Eleanor and helped safeguard the realm for King John when Richard died, he lies in a London church somewhere but I cannot recall its name, he has a fine effigy somewhat eroded due to its great age, but he really did embody all the qualities of what a true knight stood for in the medieval era and in the years since, valiant chivalric and loyal, I must refer you to an excellent book I am currently reading, ‘ The Hollow Crown’, but Dan Jones and which I received for Christmas, it really is a fascinating read and it ends in the reign of Henry V111, happy reading !

      1. How wonderful to have this great man as an ancestor. What little I do know he was a man of great honor and rose from very humble beginning.

        I’ve never read anything by Dan Jones but have seen a few documentaries that he has hosted. I enjoy him.

        1. He’s a journalist as well and writes for the ‘Evening Standard’, I’m thinking of getting ‘The Great Fire’ which of course is about the huge inferno which engulfed London in 1666, although much of the city was burnt to the ground including old St Pauls, I think there were only a few fatalities, and of course we have the marvellous Samuel Pepys who lived through it and who I think was alerted to the disaster by his wife’s maid.

      2. William Marshall was indeed the perfect and greatest knight and he stood by even the no good King John when the man almost lost the country in order to protect his son, nine years old Henry iii. The Marshall is one of those who enforced Magna Carta, but not one of those who took up arms against John, because of his dedication to chivalry. It must be a privilege, Christine, to be descended from one of the greatest names in English history.

        He was only a boy of six when King Stephen threatened to hang him if his father didn’t comply to his demands. With the country divided between Matilda and Stephen you sooner or later ended up on the wrong side. I love the story of his rise, gaining fortunes in the tournament, going from one to the other, before being recognised by Henry ii as valuable. His de Clare marriage brought him even more wealth and he was trusted by Henry to do his duty. When the Marshall first met Duke Richard of Aquitaine, the future Richard the Lionheart, he was a rebel trying to fell his father from power. Richard challenged him and the Marshall unseated him, killing his horse. He missed the Prince on purpose. When Richard became King, the Marshall was one of three men who swore him fealty at once. Richard remembrance of their encounter was an awkward moment but he knew that this honest man had spared his life. He rewarded the Marshall and sent him to England to free his mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, trusting him to protect her. His life was one of honour and justice. He was brave and loyal and in his 80s when he finally died. He is described as both the Greatest Knight and the Man Who Saved England because he was a great warrior and probably the reason Louis didn’t end up on the English throne. He was in the service of the Young King, Henry, eldest son of Henry ii who pre deceased him, became Earl of Pembroke and his tomb is in the Templar Church the Temple in London. He has connections with Cartmel Priory in Cumbria and was a flowering of true chivalrous traditions.

        1. Hi Bq, you know my family tree is absolutely amazing, I have a legitimate line of descent to Edward 1st, through his daughter Joan of Acre by her first marriage to Gilbert de Clare, an illegitimate one to King John, possibly two and twice over to his father Henry 11, and two more via different lines of descent to Henry 1st all illegitimate, William Longespee the natural born son of Henry 11 was thought for many years to be the child of his mistress Rosamunde de Clifford but now it is known his mother was a noblewoman called Ida de Tosny, I am descended from him, Anne Boleyn is a cousin twice over and I forget how many other illustrious people I can count as my relations, there are a few prime ministers in the woodwork somewhere but not thank the Lord, Jack the Ripper ha!

        2. Wow, that’s a fantastic family tree! How did you find out, many years of research, DNA or Ancestry.com?

          I know I am some kind of descendant of the King of Ireland, Brian Boro, or rather his brother, Mahon, and Red Hugh O’Neill but the information we have is patchy, but our cousins in South Africa were very keen and did a lot of research. It must be really great to have quite a knowledge of your very regal family tree. Do we call you Your Majesty or Royal Highness? Only joking. I remember Professor John Gillingham reconstructing the children of Henry ii and their mothers in a paper he presented to a conference I was at many years ago. There is a rancher in Australia who is directly descended from Ursula Pole, the last of the Plantagenet relatives of Henry Viii, which was in a documentary by Tony Robinson, who died in 2012, but he does have children and officially he was known as Lord Hastings. The last English Lord Hastings moved out there in the nineteenth century to get away from gambling debts on the horses. He had a very beautiful family tree back to George Duke of Clarence and thus Richard, Duke of York and Edward iii. On the programme Who Do You Think You Are a couple of years ago there was one of the stars of East Enders and his line went back to Lionel, Duke of Clarence, son of Edward iii. He was flabbergasted. His family had been noble down to the seventeenth century when they backed the wrong side in the Civil Wars and lost everything. Now his family actually live in the East End of London. I noticed quite a few illegitimate lines there, Christine. Your ancestors sound like naughty boys.

          The connection to the Clare family is interesting, because there is a family connection to Cecily Neville and therefore to the House of York. The Clare Cross was made for her family and she wore it all of her life. It is actually part of a medieval rosary. It was passed on to Richard iii and he gave it to his wife. After Anne Neville died Richard returned the original Cross and Rosary to the Clare estate. When he was buried again in Leicester Cathedral in 2015 John Ashdown Hill who had researched the Clare Cross had an exact copy made and placed in the coffin with Richard. As you know his own collateral descendent from his sister, Anne of York, Michael Isben who gave his DNA, made his coffin. I just find all these connections really fascinating.

          I loved reading the story of Rosamund Clifford, so romantic, even if she probably wasn’t real. Henry ii, though really couldn’t keep everything were it belonged, as if all of his legitimate sons and daughters weren’t trouble enough. Three healthy sons rebelled, one betrayed him at the end (John) and his wife led an army against him and joined them, dressed as a man to boot.

          Oh dear, all these none Anne Boleyn tangents we have gone off on. When Claire comes back she’ll be wondering what mischief we have all been up to, turning her site into a chat line. Never mind, as Anne and the wives were loosely related to most of these people, through the Howards, we are still sort of staying relevant.

          Anyway, enjoy the rest of the weekend. Again Happy 2019.

        3. Hi Bq, yes I was doing my own family research then hit a brick well and then on ancestry I found a very distant American cousin who had been researching the family for years, he had made several visits here, looked through old documents parish records etc, and was in touch with one of the local historians, through him I was able to see my family tree stretch years back into the past and was aghast at what I discovered, I got in touch with him and he was very helpful and am and always will be very grateful to him for assisting me in what has been a fascinating hobby, Rosamund de Clifford was the daughter of Walter de Clifford and through one line she is my aunt, so yes she did in fact exist but had no children at least none of what we know of, but she was it appears Henry 11’s true love, even though he had married the captivating feisty Eleanor from Aquataine, William Marshall did marry into the De Clare family which as you know was one of the most powerful families in medieval England, however that is interesting about the Clare cross, had not heard about its history and did not realise there was a connection to the Neville family, my ancestor is Elizabeth de Clare and she was always called Lady of Clare as she is said to have been the eldest of the three daughters of Princess Joan and Gilbert de Clare, I did in fact look through my tree when you mentioned the Neville link and you are correct there is a line of descent going down to Cecily Neville, your own tree sounds equally fascinating, I have heard of the King Brian Bora I’m sure he’s another ancestor also so that would make us cousins then? Wow! Happy new year to you as well.

  5. I didn’t know he was also a journalist. I watched a documentary on the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire a couple of years ago hosted by he and Suzannah Lipscomb. Very well done. I’ll look for the book. They mentioned Samuel Pepys. My favorite story about him during the fire was his hiding of parmesan cheese under the floor boards to come back for later. That cheese must’ve cost a fortune at that time.

    1. Oh yes I recall you and Bq were discussing the cheese in one of the advent posts, it’s comical to think of Pepys hiding his precious hunk of Parmesan but then it was imported from Italy and possibly could have cost him a small fortune, it could have been taxed, Pepys was a bit of a old dog and was having an affair with his wife’s maid, no doubt he wasn’t too bothered about saving the two ladies in his life as much as his cheese! when tea was introduced it was also very expensive and was also taxed, it was only the very wealthy who could afford to drink it, we British are known as a nation of tea drinkers but we havnt been drinking it as long as the Chinese for example, I think that’s where the art of tea drinking originated from, well you have a nice weekend Michael!

        1. Tea and parmesan cheese, with sausages sounds good for tea tomorrow. At least now we can afford them. Ha!

          Nice catching up.

          Enjoy the rest of 12th Night and the weekend.

  6. Hello Christine, BQ and anyone else interested in this. We were talking about the affordability of parmesan cheese today compared to a few hundred years ago. I was just at the local market and 1lb was $5.18 US which using handy Google converted to £6.59. Our ancestors would be very envious.

    1. It is interesting comparing the price of groceries from olden days to now, I no gin was very cheap and so the poor drunk it, hence the rise in drunkeness in London, it was a very real problem for parliament and thus it became known as ‘Mothers Ruin’, house wives and the prostitutes would be lying in the gutter, Hogarth depicted every misery the evils of drink could do to the human soul in his painting ‘Gin Alley’, it showed a baby falling from its mothers arms as she dropped the poor mite due to her inebriated state, the wealthy of course were drinking clarets and other fine wines,but the poor had only gin to cheer their depressed souls from the drudgery of their wretched lives,

      1. Hi, Christine, yes, you are right about Rosumunda Clifford, it’s just as usual these days there is debate about her real name, but she possibly is referred to by more than one. Rose of the world, her name means. She was the straw who broke the camels back as far as Eleanor was concerned with Henry, possibly being his lover for six years until her mysterious death in 1170. It was about this time Eleanor had given birth to their final child. You probably know the legendary story which is immortalised in Jean Plaidy and folk lore. Eleanor was walking through her gardens at Woodstock when she came across a maze. Wandering through the maze she discovered a cottage with a small garden and a wall to hide it. Eleanor explored the mysterious cottage and saw gifts for a lady. Soon Rosamund returned and amazed found the jealous Queen. Henry had been hiding his beloved for a long time. Eleanor demanded the truth and who could blame her, so Rosamund told her everything. Eleanor returned a few days later and left her a vile suggesting she drink it. When King Henry returned from hunting, where he had been for two weeks in the Oxfordshire countryside, he went to look for his beloved but he only found her body. Had she been poisoned? The novel has an inflamed encounter between the King and Queen who is very haughty, boasting she left the poison for Rosamund. Now whether this story is what actually happened it is believed she died around this time and this year marks the point were Eleanor and Henry’s marriage, already under strain because of her power while ruling the Aquitaine on his behalf, which caused some fuss as she wouldn’t come home and some political fall out resulted, fell apart. In the next four years his sons will rebel, then there will be war with Scotland and trouble in France and his wife will rebel and end up in prison. 1170 is also the year of the murder of Saint Thomas Becket for which Henry did public penance. If his wife had anything to do with murder and he was constantly unfaithful, it is no wonder the family became so dysfunctional.

        Now here is where history contradicts this traditional story. Rosamund is recorded as dying in 1176 in a convent at the age of 30. Even if Eleanor had discovered her, it is highly unlikely that she poisoned her or had access to her at that time. It is possible that Henry took her as his mistress any time between 1166 and her death but the dates can’t be fixed. Rosamund is then, as with Jane Shore, the famous long term mistress of Edward iv, immortalised in poems and songs and a chronicle from the 14th century, the origins of the story above. She died young but unfortunately the cause is unknown so of course the poison story wins the day. As Fair Rosamund as she is known in popular literature our heroine has many guises and is represented as a romantic and tragic but noble figure, the rejected, once loved companion of a King and the victim of a Queen trying to regain power.

        I have been to the Clifford Castle and Storkley Castle in Shropshire and the borders or Welsh Marches and read about the Clare Relics or Cross which is now in the British Museum. JAH had a copy made and blessed at Clare Priory next to the ruins of Clare Castle where it was found and a rosary he owned added. Originally some relics were meant to be buried but Leicester would only accept a rosary as a symbol of prayer. The original Clare Relics included a piece of the True Cross but this disappeared and only the Cross remained. Cecily lived at Clare for a time, she had the Cross around her neck for many years and was buried with a plenary indulgence from the Pope around her neck. The fate of the Cross is a bit of a mystery before it turned up, but it was most certainly kept in the family. It’s a very interesting piece with a plain side and a drawing of the crucifixion on the other in a simplified form.

        Elizabeth de Clare was a feisty woman from what I remember reading about her. Isabella would have made William one hell of a wife. Talk about marriage for fortune and love at the same time. Well that’s how you consolidated power in Medieval times. The Norman nobles became so rich and powerful that they ended up with more to say about politics than the King. When you think about how far and wide the estates were of families like the Clares, across Herefordshire, Wales and Suffolk, its incredible. There are many memorial markers for them at Tewkesbury Abbey, in front of the High Alter, put there in the nineteenth century but probably replacing older ones placed to commemorate those fallen in war by their families. Come to think about it the Abbey is close to Neville and Clare lands as well as their other partners in owning everything the Despensers, who have extremely large tombs and enormous chapels in the Abbey. The Despenser wives also tended to be Clares.

        We may well be related. The Clares also took the Norman colonies to Ireland so they have huge lands there as well. They married the descendants of the High Kings of Ulster so we are probably both from various off shoots of their line. I wish we had more information. Our relatives did a good job but we only have detailed information for the last 250 years or so that we can verify and the odd documents in our record office which give us links much further back. And then there is the usual problem when people migrated abroad, names getting changed and written down wrong. We have another branch in Tasmania of all places and then there is a woman from France, my Hugeneot great great grandmother, who married in Scotland but very few people actually knew who she was. The marriage was important enough to warrant an entire page in the society pages. That’s on the maternal side. They were all very very odd.

        My husband has Welsh blood and they all went over to Patagonia in South America to live but his dad was very mysterious. Some of his grandparents were very secretive and his ethnic origin was also a mystery. We think he had some Romany blood because of his very dark complexion and hair passed down to his daughter. We are all dolly mixtures.

        1. Yes it’s very interesting and your husbands ancestry sounds like there is a skeleton in the family cupboard, maybe there are Romany’s lurking somewhere and your grt grt gran was French Hugeneot also, so you have French ancestry – exciting to have that continental link, yes I read Jean Plaidy’s novel where Eleanor confronted Rosamund but I think that was just a tale added later on, she did after all always note in her novels that she did try to stick as near to the truth as possible but for a bit of drama I believe she did embroider a bit, I read Weirs book on Eleanor and I possess Meade’s book on her also, a much earlier biography they both state a lot of myths arose about these two ladies, Rosamund did retire to Godstow Priory maybe in penance for her ‘sinful’ life and she was buried by the nuns inside, she died quite young and was said to be suffering from an illness, not caused by poison administered by the servants of a vengeful queen but a natural death by all accounts, she was later moved outside as it was thought she would corrupt the nuns by the Abbot or some such person, later Victorian Raphaelite artists would paint enchanting pictures of this legendary woman whom the King had housed in a bower at Woodstock, the same site where Blenheim Palace now stands, there were high kings of Munster and Leinster I believe and I think Brian Bora was king of the former, I will check my tree again but I think it was Marshalls wife Isabel who was descended from him, I think all three of the daughters of Joan of Acre were quite fascinating, Eleanor was said to be the more beautiful and was her uncle Edward 11’s favourite neice, and Margaret the other sister was married to his favourite Piers Gaveston, some say to quell the rumours about the Kings unnatural relationship with him, Edward too was accused of harbouring an incestous love for Eleanor, this unlucky King was another weak ruler like Henry V1 and he was probably murdured in Berkely castle after he was deposed, the Clare sisters were all three wealthy heiresses but their lives were certainly turbulent, one wonders how they coped with all the plotting and skulduggery back then, how much more simple our lives are now !

        2. We are indeed, and how fascinating to have Romany blood does your husband often read the tea leaves ha! There maybe some Romany blood there as his father and grandparents were very secretive, maybe his father’s mother was the illegitimate offspring of a Romany and back in the day they found it shameful, but it does sounds romantic, your French gran sounds very exotic her ancestry must be interesting also, however getting back to our mutual ancestor King Brian Bora, he was I think King of Munster or Leinster and he is the ancestor of William Marshalls wife Isabel, I had never heard of most of these people till I researched the family tree, I have seen a picture of a stone carving of his face which is likely in an ancient Irish stronghold, I had heard of many of the ancient monarchs of England but not Ireland or Wales, the fable about the unfortunate Rosamund being done to death by a vengeful queen is probably just that- a fable, she did die young and possibly in penance for her ‘sinful’ life she had retired to Godstow Priory where she became ill and the nuns cared for her, she was said to be very beautiful but her beauty could well be over dramatised to fit in with the romance of her story, many novelists hold the belief that she was Henrys true love but his promiscuity was legendary, and I think he loved many women in his lifetime, there was a long held belief she had given Henry 11 two sons but now it is known that was just a myth, there is some beautiful paintings of Rosamund being confronted by Eleanor done by one of the Pre raephalite artists and then, Rosamund in her bower, I read the story in Plaidys novel about how the queen found a skein of silk and followed its trail to the unfortunate Rosamund, it sounds daft and Plaidy must have known there was no basis in the tale, she always noted in her novels she did sometimes digress from the truth but she did try to stick to the facts as much as possible, here again we have the myth interwoven with the basic truth which is quite possibly that Eleanor knew nothing of Rosamunds existence till much later, I think she was angered more by the young Princess Alys who was betrothed to her favourite son Richard, and was found to be carrying on a liason with the King, indeed she was rumoured to have had a baby who later died or a still birth, after he became King Richard broke of the engagement which angered her brother the King of France, the tale of the three Clare sisters iv always found intriguing, they were all incredibly wealthy as they were their fathers joint heirs, even though their stepmother had tried to rob them of their inheritance by pretending she was pregnant, rather laughable as she was still claiming it nearly two years later, though rich they all had such turbulent lives having through the tumultuous reign of their uncle Edward 11, Elizabeth my many times gran lost most of her inheritance due to Edwards alleged lover Hugh Le Despencer but it was later returned to her after he was executed, she was I think the eldest of the sisters as she was styled Lady of Clare, and was the one who identified her mothers body and made the plans for her burial, she was also the benefactress of Clare college Cambridge which is named after her, her sister Eleanor was the Kings favourite neice and so close were they rumours abounded that he had an incestous passion for her, his wife disliked her as at one time she was her gaoler, Margaret was married to his favourite Piers Gaveston and it is thought this was to quell the rumours about him and Edward, she had a daughter and how she coped when he was murdured we can only guess, they were violent times and I think to die in ones bed was rather an achievement, the times we live in today are much more tolerant thank god.

        3. Bah! I sent two posts the second by mistake as the first one didn’t appear to go through, I sent that last night, so just posted another one, there both similar so apologies there to anyone whose a bit confused.

  7. And breathe! Wow that was a lot of Clare history to absorb in one go. Henry was definitely a lecherous guy, even when he was in his fifties he was picking on Princess Alys, King Philip Augustus sister, even though as you say she was meant to marry Duke Richard. Professor Gillingham believes that she did have one child by Henry, but I can’t recall if he or she lived or not, but his most famous illegitimate children are from much earlier on in the marriage and none are currently linked to Rosamund Clifford. The 14th century saw many Medieval Guesta or Romance and songs being transcribed from earlier or written for popular performance and a number of them were dedicated to Fair Rosamund. The story of Eleanor and her originated around this time and there are some beautiful Manuscripts, but the pre Raphaelites definitely did the best romantic and tragic paintings. We have a local Victorian/Edwardian house which is a museum and gallery in private hands but free for the public which has some beautiful pre Raphaelite paintings and the legendary Fair Rosemund is among them. They really are beautiful, even if they are idealistic. She was a young woman though if she was only 30, even in a time of low life expectancy.

    The Clare/Marshall alliance was one of the most prestigious of the Middle Ages partly because of the lands that Isabella inherited from her father, Strongbow and the extension of his power into Ireland and Wales. William Marshall certainly knew what he was doing because of cause he obtained the inheritance in her name, that being the law at the time, everything came to the husband. Their grandchildren made a name through their marriages to Edward 11 various favourites, although of course the marriage of Hugh le Despenser and Eleanor Clare was actually arranged by Edward i in 1306.
    Margaret married Piers Gaviston of course and Elizabeth Sir Hugh Audley another favourite, but they all married two or three times with many children and many more prestigious unions. Poor Hugh the Younger and Piers of course suffered terrible fates as the revenge of disgruntled nobles and Queen Isabella took hold. Edward ii was a terrible King, even by Middle Age standards, his two boyfriends were as corrupt as they come and took over everything but their fate was not deserved, especially after what amounts to kangaroo courts and in the case of Piers, a brutal murder which left his body on the road and he was only buried by the charity of local friars on the way to Mass who did so as part of their religious obligations. Hugh D the Younger was tried and trussed up at Kenilworth in Warwickshire and taken up a high ladder, his private parts cut off and burned, his chest cut open, his heart and innards cut out, and so on, his head cut off and his body dismembered. His head was paraded in London and at some point what bits of him that could be gathered were brought to his waiting tomb in Tewkesbury Abbey. Karen Warner the biographer of both Edward ii and Hugh Despencer has a fantastic Blog edwardthesecond.blog.com with lots of information on everything and the Clares and their marriages and so on. Her book also points out that the traditional site of Hugh the Younger being executed may not be the case and Hereford is another potential site. Isabella the Fair of course was taking revenge for what she saw as interference in her marriage and this trial was a farce. The children also suffered. At least most of his younger daughters were taken and veiled by force which means that they were taken to a convent for life. Spiteful to say the least. Isabella is a woman I find it very hard to find any sympathy for even though she was forced into taking matters into her own hands to save her marriage and status for her son from an increasingly unstable and unpopular King. It was the violence she used to go about that aim which sets her apart as cruel and vindictive. Whether she had anything to do with the death of King Edward in Berkley Castle or not is not entirely conclusive but her lover, Roger Mortimer certainly did and paid the price, being hung as a common criminal.

    I reckon I have several skeletons in the family cubboard. The Scottish side of the family is certainly very mixed up and we have a smuggling connection, my nan ran the local black market through the pub in World War ii and the clan were one of the most brutal in their history in the past. My grandad wasn’t like that of course but his father has a memorial to him because he was killed saving his crew and cabin boy at sea. Yes, my French ancestry is interesting but we have never been able to pin it down fully. Isabella Boucher was a corruption of her actual name and we think it was Bouchier who have considerable ancestors here, but none of them have any links to her, we have explored this so her name must be rarer and we are still looking. She may well have come from a distant branch who remained in France until she and her family had to move. Being a Hugeneot, although it wasn’t a problem in the nineteenth century, her family may have changed their name at some point. There are many similar names but we have so little to go on. She had a fancy wedding but didn’t observe the usual published bans outside of the Church, but only had them read which was odd. She had a carriage with a crest and the invitation which we have is very posh and so was the grand venue. It must have cost a fortune. My maternal grandmother caused a scandal as well by running off to Scotland to get married to a Scottish Freemason from Aberdeen and she stayed for seven years. She had to marry again when she came back as her father refused to acknowledge her marriage. My grandad must have really loved her because he converted for her and gave up his Free Masonry but kept his apron and badge and rule book. We found it a few years ago and returned it to the Order. James Young was gassed in WWI and died in 1946. My nan, also called Christine, never remarried and was 92. when she died in 1987.

    I guess the Gypsy mystery will have to remain a mystery. I will probably take up the family research soon and look into it further. More mysterious Romany and French ladies to be found.

    1. Sounds very colourful, I have heard of the black market, my aunt spoke of how she used to get chocolate from it, it would be great if you could trace your grans ancestry but are French records available like English ones, before the 1830’s births deaths and marriages were written in parish records and, as you say names change over the years it can be most rewarding as well as frustrating trying to trace our ancestors, I’m not sure about Queen Isabella, Weir has some sympathy for her, she notes how she tried to be a loyal and supportive wife but was betrayed by her useless husband, I think circumstances changed her into the woman she later became, and we will never know if she did conspire with her lover in her husband’s death, but yes her actions were those of a vindictive woman and not for nothing was she known as the she wolf, a name which she still holds to this day, her ghost is said to be a mournful one, sometimes seen holding her husband’s heart to her breast as she constantly walks the walk of the restless, it was a pity Edward 11 was so unlike his father, a thought which the old warrior King must have been haunted by in his later years.

  8. Hello Christine and BQ. I just started the book on William Marshal and the intro is the story of a French scholar named Paul Meyer who in the second half of the 19th century discovered a manuscript written soon after William’s death recounting his life in old French rhyming verse. Are either of you familiar with him?

      1. Isn’t his life one of the primary sources for authors now because it was originally written very soon after is death?

        Sidney Pinter also reprinted the life in the last century. It was a lovely find as it was commissioned by his son.

        1. That’s the impression I get from the few pages I’ve read so far. Mr. Meyer spotted this at an auction at Sotheby’s in 1861. It was bought by Sir Thomas Phillips. It disappeared into Mr.Phillipps collection of 60,000 manuscripts until his death in 1872. Phillipps’ heirs contested his will but finally in 1880 Meyer was granted access to the collection and searched until he found what he had spotted 20 years earlier at the auction. It was difficult for Meyer to find. At the auction it was only referred to as Lot 51 and phillipps’ catalogued it as 25155. It was listed at the auction only as A Norman French Chronicle on English Affairs. All Meyer knew was he did not recognize it. Thr book I’m reading says Meyer was probably the first person to read it 600yrs. It seems phillipps’ didn’t read his aquisitions, he just hoarded them and wouldn’t let anyone near them. This manuscript is one of 5 copies of the original. The original and 4 of the copies have disappeared over the centuries.

        2. I wonder how much it fetched. 60,000 manuscripts! Goodness me! The manuscript is now in New York but was kept in Paris until 1901. The full edition is

          “Histore de Guillaume le Mareshal, Comte de Striguil el de Pembroke, Regente de Angleterre Paris 1891_1901

          George Duby apparently used the manuscript for his work on William Marshall. It’s very interesting when something turns up after 600 years. Thanks for sharing the information. This source gives a lot of insight into the life of this great man and the reigns of Henry ii and Richard and his guardianship of the young King Henry iii.

          It must be worth it’s weight in gold.

  9. Not sure if this is true but I was told by a woman that after Anne was killed the family had lts of problems and came to America changing their name to Bolling and most of them where killed because they married Native Americans and allowed them to live in their town. Anne and I shared grandparents. I have to go find my notes and look it up.

    Also it was said that a Terrell (last name and many different spellings) took Anne’s heart and entombed it in his private chapel

    1. I don’t know what family history you have been told but the immediate family of Anne Boleyn didn’t go to America.

      Her mother died in 1537/8 and is buried in Lambeth the Howard Chapel and her father died in 1539 and is buried in the Church at Hever. Nobody knows where Mary Boleyn is buried but she died in 1541. George and Anne are buried in the Chapel of Saint Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London. There is no evidence that their hearts were removed, but all kinds of stories survive. George Boleyn had no legitimate children, although there is a tentative link to illegitimate children in Ireland, which has never been proven. I dare say if there was, one or two may well have been transformed to America down the generations but there has never been anything proved.

      Anne’s only living child was Queen Elizabeth I who had no children, at least none anyone knows about and it really is doubtful that she had any alleged children either.

      Mary Boleyn is the only sibling who had children and both went on to have very large families and to marry into many of the families in England. Most of them remained in England, but if anyone went to America it can only have come from an offshoot of one of these numerous descendants. The only other potential line may be from an offshoot of one of the other numerous cousins, aunts and uncles or brothers and sisters of Thomas and James Boleyn and the Howards. There are numerous collateral relations to the Boleyn family, but the immediate family didn’t go to America and there is no record in the discovery of Anne Boleyn in the 1800s of her heart being removed. Nice story, however.

  10. Annes sister Mary Boleyn had children who had some descendants who emigrated to America, Baron de la Warre for one and she has quite colourful descendants over this side of the pond as well, however a lot of myths did originate around the Boleyns moving to America and changing their name, it seems to have originated in America but it is just a myth as Annes parents died in England the place of their birth and her daughter became Elizabeth 1st, she had numerous cousins who had families the Shelton’s for eg, who could have had descendants who went to live in America, but as for marrying native Americans you are talking about the Indians I presume? its highly unlikely a member of the gentry classes would have even been allowed to associate with, let alone marry some one who would have been considered so far below them in race and breeding, the name Bolling sounds like Boleyn so I can see where stories arose as we do know names have altered down the centuries, but really it’s all just a myth, like the myth about Annes heart being entombed in a chapel, as soon as she was dead her ladies carried her to the chapel of St.Peter. Ad. Vincula and she was buried inside hopefully with a priest who would have conducted a service for her, there she lay till Victorian times till what was presumably her skeleton was found during renovation work, there would have been no chance whatsoever of anyone stealing her heart away as the Tower was heavily guarded.

    1. I think it probably is, Michael. It’s the oldest none royal biography in the original text that still exists and we are lucky to have such an insight into the reigns of Henry ii, Richard i and King John.

      The story of William when he is about to be hung by King Stephen when he was about five or six is the first story I remember about him from school and it’s the first thing I recall every time I think of him. It’s both horrible that a child was threatened in this way, even a hostage for his father’s behaviour, because it would be terrifying and he is so innocent. It was highly unusual for children this young to be put to death even in these extreme circumstances, although there are examples of some young people being executed from fourteen years old, because bizarrely that was the age of adulthood and responsible behaviour. It was still very rare, so rare that such cases still horrified those who witnessed them. In the reign of Henry Viii there was a case of a fourteenth year old boy being executed and again in Mary I reign that were criticised. The traditional thing with a hostage was to indoctrinate them, not execute or harm them. This was a different scenario.

      Stephen took the Castle as an angry response to the resistance of John Marshal his vassal and Williams’s father only to find that the boy has been abandoned by his father. So he says he will make an example of the boy and ordered his execution. The boy faces either being hung or catapulted over the wall. Then, almost as if he never intended to do such a terrible thing, Stephen stopped the execution and William is saved but held for future manipulations. Stephen was a harsh man and had William been an adult he most probably would have killed him. He was well known for hanging enemy garrisons or his prisoners. We don’t know what William thought but he survived to thrive as one of our greatest military and political giants of history.

      I first encountered William Marshall in school of course and he was fascinating from the outset. We had to do a project on a historic figure from the period and he was mine. He has been a hero ever since.

      1. I don’t know who was worse, Stephen for considering doing such an awful thing or William’s father John for daring him to by saying he still had a hammer and forge and could make even better sons.

        My first encounter with William Marshal was probably about 10 years ago when I was reading about English knights in the early medieval period and then within the last few years I found an excellent documentary on him on YouTube. It was only an hour long so not too detailed but it was enough for me to want to learn more

        1. I think John Marshall was an unnaturally cold man, I know they were less tolerant in those days but surely to say that he could father better sons is downright callous, Stephen it appears was shocked by his remarks and it just goes to show how little Williams father thought of him, he was to grow into as Bq says, one of our foremost figures in history, his name is legendary where his fathers is but dust compared to him, I read that William never forgot the day when his father was prepared to throw him to the wolves and that it had a profound effect him all his life, he was it seems destined for greatness and he aptly deserves the title of the greatest knight.

        2. John Fitzgilbert, Marshal of Henry I, father of William Marshall, was probably a cold fish with too many sons. Obviously, I don’t think you wanted the entire Gesta Stephani but there is a lot more to the tale. John le Marshall was of course sworn to support Stephen but things changed after Stephen was taken prisoner, Matilda was chased out of London and Stephen escaped. His alliance with the Earl of Gloucester bound him to Matilda and that is essentially, to cut a rather long story short, what happened. Stephen eventually took back the castles he had lost and he marched on Newbury. He came to an agreement with John who asked for a truce while he sounded out Matilda. He promised not to provision the garrison or take his army into the Castle and Stephen agreed, more fool him, so he fell for the trick and also the hostages. John now marched his men in, provisioned the Castle and broke the truce. Under the law of arms the lives of hostages were forfeit if the Castle fell. Stephen wrote to John Marshal as he was now known and warned him, to which the cold response came that he had plenty of sons and more or less his younger son was expendable. He then abandoned him and the rest is history.

          Stephen was probably the lesser culpable because it was the father who had broken faith, but still even doing such a thing as a warning was pretty dire, even for King Stephen, whose reputation has suffered, but in a civil war situation that is no surprise. Both him and Matilda seem to have deserved each other. The legend around why he spared his very young hostage as the boy now was when Newbury opened its gates to the King, is shrouded in mystery, but basically he was taken by the bravery and cheerful demeanour of little William and changed his mind. It is unlikely he would have carried out the execution of such a young charge, but a boy of fourteen may have been a different thing. He may also have been trying to just give a message, without any interest in killing William, we don’t know after so many hundreds of years. But I agree, his father did a very cold thing, one which would have traumatised most boys of that age and it’s only down to his own inner resources that William Marshall grew up into the rounded and stable individual he became.

          His ability in the tournament was extraordinary and as a younger son, unlikely to inherit anything, he could only make his own fortune, which he did, across Europe, unseating as many knights as he could, winning their armour, which he could then sell, gaining ransom and prizes and literally making his fortune. He was also a man of learning and hit a lucky break when Queen Eleanor appointed him as trainer and tutor to her eldest son, Henry the Young King, to whose household he was appointed and to whom he was bound for many years. In William Marshall we see a man whose life spread from the last years of King Stephen to the first three years of King Henry iii, through three reigns, Henry ii, (1154-1189) Richard the Lionheart (1189-99) and John (1199 to 1216) in between. He was one of those who challenged John as a signature on Magna Carta and who saw of Prince Louis in 1217. He was Regent of England until his death three years later and his tomb effigy is in the Temple Church in London. Although no remains have as yet been found of the Marshal and the Templars around him, little actual archaeology beyond scans has been done. The Church is still holy ground so it is unlikely permission will be granted and that’s how it should be. Let’s face it if we dug up every famous person there would be utter chaos and piles of earth everywhere and it would take forever. The technology does exist to map our tombs and vaults but it is under patent and the Egyptian authorities would never let us use it, even though it was British archaeology which invented it and mapped the Valley of the Kings in 3D with it to begin with. A second system exists in Norway but is in current use on hundreds of Viking graves all over Russia, Siberia and Estonia. One day perhaps.

  11. Thank you BQ for that information. There are photos in the book of the church William is buried in and of his tomb. It does mention that since his tomb effigy had been moved the location of his remains as you said are lost. After 800 years there may be nothing to find but I think it is quite exciting that the location of his interment is known and still exists and that you can still see his effigy. So many times much more recent burials are lost so this is a treat. He’s not just a name in a book.

  12. David Crowther on his The History of England podcast today 1/13 has an interview with author Elizabeth Chadwick about William Marshal.

  13. It’s a wonderful church, Michael. The tomb effigies look quite real, as if they are just having a little sleep. I will have to look at that documentary and the podcast. Is the podcast on the net?

    1. If you didn’t see I put the website below.

      When reading history books, whether ancient or modern I love seeing the graves, tombs, effigies etc as it brings you so much closer to that person than mere words. Also, effigies give you a glimpse of the clothing of the time. This book on William Marshal also has a color photo of the effigy on Richard I’s tomb. Beautiful. I had never seen this before.

      1. I love the tombs of Richard and his parents at Fontevraud also that of Isabella of Angouleme, Richard in penance asked to be buried at his father’s feet, Eleanor lies beside her warring husband a book in her slender hands, the colors now are faded but we can imagine how rich they looked when newly built, on you tube I saw a reconstruction of Eleanor’s face and what emerged was a more softer version of her stone effigy, her beauty was legendary along with her courage and erudition, a most remarkable queen indeed.

        1. I’ve seen pics of the tombs Eleanor and Henry II and I knew where Richard’s was located but uad never seen it. I’m sure pictures are no substitute for seeing these beautiful relics in person.

        2. The colours are marvellous on Richard the Lionheart’s tomb. They are very bright for their age, 820 years old. Richard, I know was not the King from Robin Hood, you know the man who speaks perfect English, or rather Anglo Saxon, was for the common people and so on, but he is still my favourite English King. I guess the heroes of youth stay with you. The warrior of fierce reputation is spot on as was the leader of men but he was also capricious, ruthless and only interest in England was to finance his Crusade. His main lands of course were in the English controlled Empire in what we now call France. With the Aquitaine, Anjou and Poitiers, Ireland and parts of Wales as well as England, Richard inherited lands twice the size of Medieval France. John had nothing. Even as Lord of Ireland, he owned nothing. The Clares were carving the territory of Leinster and Munster out for themselves. Normandy also belonged to the crown. The Norman knights were off taking over Sicily in the South of Italy, Sardinia, various Greek territories and now the Holy Land. Richard spent most of his reign in the Holy Land, a prisoner in Germany or getting his stolen lands back from Phillip ii. With Dynastic marriage we,might as well have had Champagne and Brittany as well as Gascony.

          His taxation was hardly popular and his personal life was constantly under scrutiny. He hated his father and made no secret about it, siding with Henry and Geoffrey against him. Because the quarrel with his father had escalated to war and the pair had been forced to make peace, King Henry being in bad health, Richard did penance on his death. Yes, I can well imagine his request to be laid at his father’s feet as a penance and he is also meant to have wept at his father’s grave when he visited it on the way to meet Phillip to go on Crusade. His father had also taken his promised wife, Alys as his mistress and Richard rejected her. Not very chivalrous, but she really was damaged goods now and he wanted out of his alliance with Phillip on those grounds. She was Philip’s sister, so he was vexed. They came to an arrangement and he wed Berengaria of Navarre in Cyprus. Richard also took control of Cyprus and put their Emperor in chains, golden ones.

          Yes, I love tombs. Eleanor has a book in her hands to signify her education and wisdom. Her daughter by her first marriage, ironically to King Louis xii of France, Henry’s overlord, Marie of Champagne was also known for her intelligence and wisdom and published her words. King John is in Worcester Cathedral where we went a few years ago to see Magna Carta, or at least a copy and his hand written will. We also visited the huge housed tomb of Prince Arthur, husband of Katherine if Aragon. Modern technology showed he wasn’t in the tomb but was in a vault to the side of the chapel and that it has a space originally meant for his wife. I think she is better in Peterborough and enjoyed my visit there as well.

  14. It’s a wonderful church, Michael and the effigies are so life like and the knights look as if they are relaxed, feet crossed, having a nice rest. William Marshall took the Order of the Temple of Solomon or Templars on his deathbed as he had fought in the Holy Land for two years. He was very much a man of honour and it seems fitting that he should lay in the Church of the greatest fighting order in history. I must keep an eye out for podcast. I love the books by Elizabeth Chadwick. She is a great writer.

    1. Thanks, will listen tomorrow. Forgive me, what is a podcast? Do you listen and download? I have heard of them, just don’t know what they are.

      1. Podcasts ate just audio programs done on the internet. Some are long, some short. THoE runs about 30mins on average. You can download them if you choose or stream and listen. I’m guessing there are thousands of podcasts produced all around the world on everything under the sun. There are about 8 I listen to on history and true crime. Two Tudor related ones I listen to are ‘Renaissance English Podcast’ by Heather Teysco and ‘Talking Tudors’ by Natalie Grueninger. You don’t need the addresses. Just type in the titles in your search engine and they will come up. Once you start you’ll most likely run across other subjects your interested in. I sure did

  15. Is not Richards statue the one opposite Westminster which they showed at the end of the ‘World At War’ series about the ‘Battle of Britain’? I believe it is but yes Richard was very much Eleanor’s son, he preferred Aquataine and it’s sunny lands to chilly England, he saw his kingdom only as a means of usefulness, really he may have been a fearless fighter and said to be handsome but I think his golden image is tarnished somewhat, he spoke no English only his mothers native tongue no doubt having learnt it at her knee, he hardly ever spent time in England his passion were the crusades, when he was taken hostage England was taxed heavily to pay for his release, whilst abroad the country was left in the reliable care of his mother but it was in a bit of a shambles due to John’s and the barons plotting, he was known for his ruthlessness and in the word of one chronicler, his yea meant yea and his nay meant nay, he scorned lies, and minced no words in telling his father what he thought of Henrys treatment of his queen, his relationship with Philip of France was said to have bordered on the unnatural but he is also said to have fathered a child on an unknown woman, who was the real Richard? He epitomises a golden warrior King, fierce and brave in battle blessed with striking good looks yet he appears somewhat cold, no womaniser unlike his father there were rumours of his homosexuality, in battle he and his soldiers burnt and pillaged villages and raped the women, his devotion to his mother is admirably as soon as he was King he ordered her release, he was undoubtedly her favourite child and a rather complex figure, John was his father’s, too young to be caught up in his siblings battles with their father when he grew older, ever the opportunist he nevertheless sided with his father’s rebels which it was said, on hearing the news of his deceit, hastened his death, a pitiful way for such a King to die, in the medieval era England under the Plantaganets was a mighty empire but by the time John died most of her lands were under French control, Richards tomb is beautiful and he looks majestic with his crown atop his wavy golden head and and finely chiselled features, a turbulent family indeed and a very successful dynasty which ruled for nearly three hundred years.

    1. You’re right about that statue. I just checked online.i remember The World at War. One of the best series ever on WWII.

      Is it possible that Richard I is so well thought of today because his brother John was so terrible? Do you think Richard’s reputation would be so high if the succeeding monarch had been decent?

      1. Thankyou Michael, yes that series was highly acclaimed as it was the most authentic documentary on the war, they had interviews with the military the soldiers and even Hitlers secretary, narrated by Laurence Olivier they still repeat it on the freeview channels over here, whenever I can I watch it, I think the legends about Richard possibly have woven out of John’s disastrous rule, just as Elizabeth has in a sense eclipsed her sister Marys, Hollywood also in Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, (a movie I loved when I was young), shows Richard as good and valiant and John as treacherous which was true really, but he was shown as having usurped his brothers throne whilst Richard was on the crusades and there was the dramatic moment at the end when Richard threw of his disguise and everyone sank to their knees, the slippery John started babbling and he was henc forth banished from the land, in reality when Richard was released I doubt there was little cheering, the country was bitter about the taxes imposed on it especially the poor who survived on little enough as it was, as I previously said, he cared little for England yet this myth had arisen around him as if he were another Henry V, John really was a failure as a King there are not many historians who can say much good about him, he was good at administration like his father Henry 11 but was said to have murdured or had someone murder his young nephew Arthur of Brittany, certainly Arthur was a pain, he led a seige against the castle his grandmother Eleanor was residing in who by then was in her eightieth year, he was said to have had the superior claim to the throne as his father was older than John, but Richard did not want Arthur to inherit the crown as his mother Constance of Brittany would do her best to control him and therefore England, Arthur mysteriously disappeared and there were awful tales of his demise, John was said to have had the lad blinded and castrated, possibly he was strangled and dug deep in a ditch somewhere or thrown into the sea, but John’s reputation was growing very bad and he was also said to be very lustful and was so besotted with his bride who he had stolen from Hugh de Lusignan that he would spend most of the day in bed with her instead of seeing to important state matters, he incurred the enmity of the Lusignans for this one act, he still managed to seduce other women as well and it was said he took delight in stealing the wives of the nobles from under their very noses, whilst his empire crumbled around him the barons rebelled and he was forced to sign the Magna Carta, the crown was even offered to Philip of France at some stage, an act of very real humiliation for the English and John himself, he even lost the Crown Jewels in the Wash, his reign is seen as a failure like Richard 11 and Mary 1st but Mary had qualities which neither Richard because of his young age, or John because of his very character possessed, when I was young I thought Richard ‘Coer de Leon’ was a romantic figure and he is immortalised in the tales of the crusades and of course the Errol Flynn film, his statue of him astride his horse is that of a valiant warrior ready to defend his kingdom, a memory of an age long dead, like the statue of Boudicea which I admit I love, but the reality is sadly very different, however he still comes across as a fascinating imposing figure, which being the son of Henry 11 and Eleanor of Aquitaine he could not fail to be.

        1. With a title like ‘The Lionheart’ there is no choice, he had to be a historical hero.

          Do you know if he got that name while he was alive or was it after his death?

        2. I’m not sure about that Michael it could have been added by poets or romantics in a later century, Mary 1st is said to have been called ‘Bloody Mary’ by her people but it was in fact another century who referred to her as such.

    1. Yes that was placed there by the order of Queen Mary the queens grandmother, it was a lovely thing to do because she was the rightful Queen of England whatever Henry V111 may have said, and she surely deserves that title.

      1. No wonder they were called the Devil’s Brood and stealing anything from the Lusignan clan was like stealing from the Mafia, you didn’t do it, let alone take their wives. They were Medieval thugs. Henry iii used his step brothers the Lusignans in order to cause mayhem in England against his rebellious knights. Simon de Montfort marched into the King’s presence, fully armed with his supporters, to demand, among other things, that Henry get rid of them. The King also owed him money from the dowry of his wife, the King’s sister, Eleanor. Matthew Lewis believes that Henry iii was autistic. His father was a control freak and a loose canon. He could raise and collect taxation and he was good at administration but his decisions and orders were simply those of a dictator. The wife of William de Broase who upset John and refused to hand her children over to him paid a very sad price. With her eldest son, an adult, she was starved to death. Her other three younger children were locked up in horrible conditions.

        John’s own demise reflects the hatred in which he was held. He had Magna Carta rebuked by appealing to the Pope who declared it illegal. Actually he used much more inclement words calling it unnatural and evil. The nobles were having none of that and the battle lines were drawn up. At first the barons forced John to accept and reissue Magna Carta but it was again broken and a fight broke out between those who invited Prince Louis on behalf of King Philip to take the crown and John’s reluctant loyal knights. For almost two years the rebels and loyal old guard fought it out.

        In November 1215 the famous sieges of Rochester Castle and Dover Castle came about. Hugh de Bugh sent Louis and his army packing at Dover and John surrounded the rebels at Rochester. Unable to penetrate a reinforced Rochester, which he himself had fortified, John smoked the last 100 barons and the garrison out by undermining and burning pig fat to cause the towers to collapse. The men were starving after months of siege and surrendered. John wanted to hang the lot up from the walls, against the rules of combat but was persuaded to imprison them instead. The war dwindled out more or less as John fell ill the following year and died in Newark. He moved from London to the Midlands and all his train went with him. There is speculation about just what was lost in the Wash in the Midlands which is Marshland, quicksand and very dangerous pathways. Several carts actually got through, but 14 didn’t. His inventory is very detailed and much of his tapestries, jewellery, cloth and certain items from the crown jewels are certainly among them. What was on which wagon is less clear. How much tonnes is unclear as is if it was actually treasures or just rich items of bedding, furniture or hangings, which in themselves would be worth a fortune. I suspect the crown may also have been lost as replicas were later used. He arrived at Newark four days ahead of his wagons. Some must have made it as he had some comfortable furnishings in his last days. John died a few days later.

        Officially John died of dysentery but a poem says he was poisoned by one of the monks at an Abbey he had stayed at 14 days earlier. Monks ran dispensaries and had free access to poison. They would know how many drops to give him mixed with medical herbs to make his illness look natural and to prolong his life accordingly so as he died far enough away as to deflect suspicions. His son Henry was rapidly crowned and declared King. The forces of Louis and the rebels were defeated in 1217 by William Marshall and Henry iii reissued and strengthened Magna Carta, signed by the Marshall as his Regent. The Earl himself died later that same year aged 71. Thus ended the saga of England’s Greatest Knight.

  16. Hello Michael and Christine, nice to see you are both still here. Richard the Lionheart is indeed outside Westminster, although just what the connection is escapes most people. At least Cromwell was an MP and did do something for the path to democracy. Even Simon de Montfort would be more appropriate, even if his Parliamentary revamp was more to do with the barons controlling the King, than the rights of the people.

    Richard was the romantic hero probably because he was a military man, a Crusader and because he became linked to the legend of Robin Hood. John is the boring austere anti hero, the administrator, the one who steals his brother’s inheritance, the one who imprisoned women and their families in revenge for their husbands alleged plots, the paper pusher, the one linked to taxing everyone, the baddie we all want to boo, the brother who plotted with his brothers enemies when he was taken hostage and the brother who has to ask mummy to get him out of trouble with his gallant, beautiful heroic brother, Richard, the theme of minstrels and the leader of men in the Holy Land. This is mostly how the legend goes and unfortunately, there is much truth in the dark legend of John. While there is some truth in the legend of Richard, he too has a black legend as the historical record reveals.

    Richard was a warrior, a great one, a fantastic leader of his men, that much is true, but he was no gallant knight. John probably taxed England more but Richard did his fair share. Richard was ruthless and no romantic hero. He was more likely to hang Robin Hood on the spot than set out through Sherwood Forest to find him. Richard as King spent no more than six to ten months in England. Richard was English in that he was born in Oxford in September 1157. However, he was as Norman as his ancestors. He didn’t speak what passed for English, but why would he? He was Norman French and so was everyone around him. This wasn’t Tudor England, it was a strict feudal system. Very few people found their way up that hierarchical patriarchy in the way Thomas Becket did and he only needed two languages, Norman French and Latin. If his subjects wanted to converse with their Lord they did so through clerics who spoke the common tongue and through interpretation. Access to the King was limited. It was Henry iii who would change that through his travelling justice system and his Royal Courts. The Saxon nobles were not entirely eaten up after Hastings and a number of them had daughters who married with Norman nobility. By the end of the twelfth century the higher ranks of both communities were well and truly integrated. Richard would have communicated everything without any difficulties via the various levels of feudal society without needing to speak English or rather, Saxon. Today English is a mix of Norman French, Saxon, Norse, Danish, Celtic and Latin and just about anything else. It originated in the Germanic tribes, back to the East and Russia and to the Hittite nation. Like all Indu European languages it spread West and North with the many peoples of those nations but broke off to form Linear B or a very distinct form only found in the Middle East and Germany and Denmark. It also has a second root in Iran and the mountain nations around there, in other words Persia. So if you ever meet any White Supremacist Anglo Saxons you can tell them their ancestors had dark skin, dark hair and dark eyes. It was only through intermarriage and emigration that they became light haired light skinned and had lighter colouring as they moved North. English was an evolving language as well as a developing concept in the Middle Ages and wouldn’t really exist in a form we would recognise for another century or longer.

    Richard was romanticized because he was absent fighting the Infidels as Muslims in the Holy Land were called, freeing the downtrodden local Christians in Syria and Israel and Palestine from their oppression and war, so the propaganda message went, killing the equivalent of ISIS, risking his life in a Holy Cause and he had been taken hostage on his way home from that holy cause. John was sitting at home, taxing and oppressing the people and he had plotted to stop the hero King from returning to justly rule his people by refusing to pay his ransom and trying to take his crown. Of course ordinary heros of the ordinary people were going to be associated with him, rising up as a champion of the people and to end John’s tyranny. Robin Hood rescued the money meant to free Richard which in reality really was a crippling sum and the good hero King comes home to free his people. John is left to pick up the chaos and to run the country while Richard is running around the Holy Land and of course the money was raised through high taxation. John would run England as King in much the same way.

    Richard of course was busy doing a lot of fighting yes, but also the usual stuff of brutal warfare and he even ordered just over 2000 to 3000 Muslim hostages to be executed because Saladin didn’t pay their ransom in time. He upset a number of his fellow knights and leaders and came home through the territory of one that he had upset in Austria. Leopold served the Holy Roman Emperor and Richard became his prisoner for two or three years. He made peace with Saladin but his Crusade cost a fortune. He levied a heavy tax to fund it. Once he returned he was off again, mostly to fight for his lands in France which John had given away and then after he defeated and made peace with King Philip, again he pursued private wars and quarrels, which is how he got killed by a cross bow bolt less than ten years after coming to the throne, dying in 1199 aged 41.

    Richard reluctantly left the crown to his incompetent brother, because his preferred heir was his nephew, Prince Arthur, the son of his brother, Geoffrey and Constance of Brittany. The laws of succession at this time favoured a son of an older brother over the rights of a younger brother succeeding. Arthur technically should have been King but he was only a minor. John was experienced as a ruler, he was an adult and he was preferred by a number of the nobility. Richard was persuaded to make him King and took what he saw as the right decision, if it was ine which would lead to Arthur vanishing, assumed murdered.

    1. Incidentally Dan Jones book Magna Carta The Road to Liberty 2016 has a useful mini biography list of the 25 enforcers of Magna Carta in an Appendix and a chronological list of useful dates and events as well as a modern translation. Enforcer is right as the barons more or less had a defeated, excommunicated King John over a barrel at sword point, ensuring he stuck to it or they could rebel. He didn’t of course, which resulted in the First Barons War and most of those 25 supporting Prince Louis, then returning to their allegiance on the restoration of King Henry in 1217. The Great Charter was reissued without the rebellion clause but with a Forestry Charter several times during Henry’s reign and by Edward I and so on.

      The present Monarch is in Breach of Magna Carta and has been since 1997 when she signed a foreign agreement without the consent of Parliament and didn’t appear before 25 peers of the realm to explain herself. This means that no government or crown official can give you orders to pay anything, local or national taxation. You can claim to be allowed not to have to pay council tax for example as the official party cannot administrate it and the official letter is unlawful under Magna Carta and the Court cannot issue any orders to fine you either. I am not advancing this of course but maybe try it if the council tries to add a levy which hasn’t been approved by Parliament. Henry Viii and Thomas Wolsey did only to find this was impossible and in the face of local opposition in 1524 they backed down. Useful after all.

    2. Thank you for that BQ. I didn’t know most of that. Interesting how history plays with the reputations of people for better or worse, truth or myth.

  17. Hi Bq yes still here, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if John wasn’t slipped some poison from a well meaning monk, it was much easier to administer poison in those days than today, I hadn’t heard that theory about Henry 111 being possibly autistic by one historian I will have to look that up, certainly he was almost monk like compared to his father and mother to, he could well have had Aspergers, his son Edward 1st was in complete contrast to him, a true warrior king thanks for that info about Magna Carta and John trying to renage on it, typical of his treacherous character.

  18. Hello BQ and Christine. Just finished listening to the Elizabeth Chadwick interview on THoE podcast about Eleanor of Aquataine and learned something I had not heard before- That Eleanor probably designed the family effigies. Has anyone else read/ heard about this? If she did it is a bit of insight into her character.

    1. No I haven’t heard that. I wouldn’t be surprised. Eleanor had tremendous influence, power and wealth, personal as well as heritage and she did outlive most of them. Richard was cut down prematurely, with a crossbow bolt from a castle he was either besieging over some treasure or as part of a wider mission, depending on whom you read, Henry also pre deceased her, by some years and she lived well into John’s reign. She was eleven years older than Henry and married to his overlord for seven years. It would make reasonable sense to design the effigies herself. The Abbey was raided in the French revolution and the bones scattered. What bones survived were gathered and reburied and the effigies reconstructed as they are now, probably in their original places. It’s unknown if the tomb vaults are empty or if any remains are there. Again one historian says yes, another no. The heart of Richard I was identified in 2013 as it was buried in Normandy. There is another relic of the King in Syria but under the circumstances it cannot presently be investigated. Having finished Matthew Lewis Richard iii, I am now reading N Bartlett Richard I and the above information is from his early chapters and appendices.

      The article on Henry iii is on mattlewisauthor.com under Matt’s Blogg and then either scroll down past a few more recent articles or search Henry iii Autistic?

      Yes, I admit I was surprised as well but it’s amazing what you can find out on obscure sites like Lawful Rebellion at 4 in the morning. I did look it up further and there have been cases of this working in Court, so if you miss Council Tax payments, you can always give it a try. Magna Carta has been used as a starting point even in America by people making a stand even if it has little standing there. In fact in the States it is given even more reverence than here. The memorial at Runnymede was put up by Americans. Parts of it are obscure but there are others which have been made part of English law and the Constitution over the years. One clause in particular is now universally demanded. We all have the right to a fair and speedy trial and we cannot be held without a proper legal process or without charge. There are strict limitations against siezure and search and the taking of goods. It might have begun as a Barons attempt to curb the excesses of a true failure of an English King, that is, John, against their own rights, but some of its more general parts are as valid now as they have ever been. Even if it does get mostly ignored, a lawful appeal to it has to be heard. That is your right as a citizen and no magistrates have the power to deny such a request.

      1. Something else that Elizabeth Chadwick mentioned is that Henry II is portrayed without a beard though Richard is. She was wondering if that was a true likeness of her husband or if she was slighting him in death.

        Your right about the importance we put on Magna Carta over here. It’s taught in school ( when I went anyway) that it was one of many documents used by our founders when drawing up the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

        I looked on Google to find out how many places called Runnymede there are here in the US. Quite a few. They seem to be in the states that were the original 13 English colonies. I can’t think of any other centuries old document that has such worldwide respect.

        1. Henry 11 has been called the greatest of the Plantagenet kings but Edward 111 commands great respect to, you are quite right Michael Magna Carta is a unique and wonderful document, it is ancient and like the Mona Lisa priceless, I have never seen it except in photographs but it is the very foundation of what English justice has stood for throughout the centuries and of course, those intrepid English travellers who left their homeland for the New World took those words with them in their hearts, and they are laid down in your Bill of Rights and The Constitution, it was not so very long ago that someone tried to steal Magna Carta but thankfully it is now in its rightful place, I have past Runnymede but not stayed there as I was on my way to a hotel in Egham, maybe one day.

        2. I can well imagine the indomitable Eleanor trying to get one over her husband, they had battled for years, once passionate lovers they became passionate enemies, still she chose to lie beside him for all eternity as was her right being Queen of England and Countess of Anjou and Normandy, as well as her own title of Duchess of Aquitaine, I believe she was 82 when she died a great age and she has passed into legend as one of the greatest femme fatales in history, as well as being possessed of great courage and intelligence she was also said to be somewhat immoral, but then there is always gossip about beautiful women!

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