Advent Calendar of Castles: 21st of December: Trim Castle

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Trim castle is my second Irish castle and like Ferns it was built by an English baron on Irish soil. Unlike Ferns, Trim had no connection to the old Irish Kingdoms. In 1172 Hugh de Lacy was granted the Liberty of Meath by Henry II. It was an attempt by Henry to stop Strongbow taking all that he could of Ireland. Shortly after he was granted the land de Lacy erected a wood and timber motte and bailey castle at Trim. By 1176 this castle had been replaced, after it had been burnt down by one of de Lacy’s barons to keep it from Irish hands, with a stone keep.

While the rest of Trim is not that unusual by Anglo-Norman castle standards the keep very much is. It is built in a cruciform shape which was an experimental military design for the period.  The keep would have contained a public hall, great chambers for the lord and his family and a chapel, as well as quarters for castle officials and the garrison. Trim’s keep also has extensive cellars which were kept well stocked so that the keep could hold out in a long siege if necessary. In 1196 Walter de Lacy enlarged the keep adding new floors, and later a great hall was built at the third floor level. In the 13th century the side towers were extended and plinth at the base of the keep was added, which closed off one of the original doorways. While this made the keep more secure it did not make it especially accessible for large public gatherings and a great hall was built in the grounds outside the keep sometime after 1250.

Although the original wall around the keep would have been wooden, by 1180 a stone wall had been built, which would have contained stables and places for stores, there was also, eventually, a ditch added as well as a drawer bridge and three defensive towers and a stone gatehouse. In the 13th century weirs were put on the River Boyne which allowed for the moat/ditch to be flooded and a new gate was constructed to guard the south entrance to the castle.

Trim came into the Mortimer family in 1306 and they held it until 1425, parliaments were held at Trim in the 15th century but by the 16th the castle was in decline and eventually it was surrendered to Cromwell’s forces in 1649.

 

References:

Site visit 2015

OPW Trim visitor’s guide

http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/midlands-eastcoast/trimcastle/

The photos are all mine.

 

Peveril Castle

Peveril Castle perches dramatically on the edge of a craggy hill  looking over the town of Castleton and Hope Valley in the Peak District.img_0519

Peveril Castle

Castleton grew up around Peveril castle and and was first documented in royal accounts in 1196, but was probably there from around 1155 at least. By 1215 it had its own trade fair and it continued on through the centuries to survive as a local hub, even after the demise of the castle.

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The view over Castleton and Hope Valley.

Peveril castle itself was originally built, most likely of stone, by William Peveril shortly after 1066. However its most striking feature, the keep, was the work of Henry II. The castle came into Henry II’s hands in 1155 and is an excellent example of the common square keeps that he had built up and down the country.  Peveril came into royal hands after William Peveril’s son, also called William, firstly made an enemy of the powerful Earl of Chester and then of Henry FitzEmpress, who shortly became Henry II. In 1153 Henry had already promised to dispossess the younger William of his estates for treachery and plundering and give them to Chester. By 1155, when he carried out the threat, Chester was dead so Henry kept the castle for himself. The name however survived. Henry II used Peveril as a base to oversee the local area and keep the local barons, who had been used to more autonomy during the period of anarchy, in check. Even when he wasn’t there, and there were only a few guards left to man it, Peveril was a potent symbol of royal authority. It also served as an administration point for the Forest of the Peak.

Peveril was part of the Lordship of the Peak and it was given by Richard I to his brother John when Richard came to the throne in 1189. John however was forced to surrender it due to his rebellion. When John came to the throne himself in 1199 William Ferrers, the Earl of Derby, paid the huge sum of 2000 marks to claim much of the lordship for himself. John however refused to hand over the castles of Peveril and Bolsover, which he saw as the symbols of the authority in the area. He only conceded Ferrers’ right to them in 1216 when his authority was crumbling. However his castellan refused to hand them over and John told Ferrers he could take them by force, if he could. John died in 1216 and Ferrers managed to take Bolsover by force during the first year of the reign of Henry III, however he never attacked Peveril and the castellan moved out by negotiation. Ferrers, however had only been given lordship of Peveril until Henry III came of age. Initially, though, he refused to hand it over. He finally gave up and surrendered it to royal hands in 1223.

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Peveril Keep

Peveril stayed in royal hands until the 1372 when it was given to John of Gaunt, who was the Duke of Lancaster and the third son of Edward III. He was one of the most powerful lords of his time and he possessed many castles. As such he never saw Peveril as being a residential centre and began to strip lead from it to use in other castles. Slowly  the administrative functions of the castle began to drift elsewhere too and by the 16th century the castle was derelict.

The castle was never besieged, so the ruinous state you see it in now is due to decay through time and the stone being repurposed for Castleton below.

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looking down on Castleton from the keep.

Peveril stands on a steep natural hill with the precipice-like Cave Dale to the back and one side and Cavern Gorge to the right. It commands the main high ground over Hope valley and was a symbol of authority for all the lords who held it. img_0530

a model of what Peveril would have looked like in around 1300.

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The landscape around the outcrop on which Peveril stands.

The path that you take up to the castle now leads you through the remains of what would have been the east gate. It was most likely built under Henry II in the late 1100s. It would originally have been a simply decorated arch.

img_0539This path is most likely the route through which Peveril would have been accessed for the majority of its existence. It is very steep but it would have just about been accessible to horses.  Upon entrance to the castle precinct it is the keep which immediately dominates the view.

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It stands at approximately 15m high. It would originally have had a parapet. It is less than 12m square and as such is much smaller than other similar keeps that Henry II had built all over the country. It is said to have cost around 184 pounds and to have been built of stone quarried locally. The spiral stair you can see in the photo above is roughly in the same spot that the original medieval stair, built of either stone or wood, would have stood. The keep would have housed a main public space on the first floor entry, and a basement storage area below. You can see the entrance door in the photo below, it is taken roughly where the floor of the main hall would have been. img_0566

You can see the line of the original pitched roof of the main hall still visible in the outline of the stone in the photo below.img_0558

You can see the basement in the photo below. The stair down still survives.

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The keep at Peveril was not the only hall. In the photos below you can see the view down from the keep to the area where the new hall and the west gate would have stood.img_0556img_0563

It is not known exactly when the new hall was built, but it was probably in the mid 13th century. It would have had a fire place and a kitchen and been where important people dined. Henry III stayed at Peveril in 1235 and if this hall was complete in time it would have been here that he held court. This area is also the site of the west gate. It would have led to a bridge over the gorge outside, but there are sadly no remains to be seen today. This would have been the other main access point to the castle, apart from the east gate.

Below you can see the area where the old hall and the chapel probably stood.

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There was also a small circular tower in this section which was built partly of roman stone, repurposed from a nearby Roman site. This was probably a 13th century addition and may not have had much functional defensive use.  The hall itself was most likely in this area in one form or another since the beginning of the castle, the remains today date to roughly the same time as the keep because it was built using the same stone. While it is not certain where the chapel was, we know there was one because of a document from 1264 which mentions it. There is a structure next to the hall that has Norman masonry and is facing roughly east west and has no other known purpose, so it has been interpreted as being the chapel.

This does not cover all of Peveril castle and it is a site well worth a visit. Although it is not one of the largest castles in the country it is certainly one of the more atmospheric and the position it commands is extremely dominating.

References: English Heritage Peveril Castle book and a site visit in 2012.

The photos are all mine.

Who am I? Medieval edition

Simple rules:

  1. There are four clues
  2. To see the next clue scroll down
  3. If you guess on the first clue you get four points, second clue three points etc.
  4. The fourth clue is always pictorial
  5. Some are harder than others and there is no particular order. Each question is weighted the same
  6. There are ten questions.
  7. The answer is after the final pictorial clue
  8. If you see the next clue you don’t get the point.

 

1.

a) Married twice

 

 

b) A patron of Fontevraud

 

 

c) A great heiress and Duchess in her own right

 

 

 

 

 

d)eofa

Answer: Eleanor of Aquitaine

 

2.

a) Born to the daughter of the Earl of Salisbury

 

 

 

b) Once won a pike

 

 

c) Regent of England.

 

 

d) IMG_3421

Answer: William Marshal

 

3. 

a) Died in Rouen

 

 

 

b) Ordered what is known as an early census

 

 

 

 

c) Was a bastard in many senses of the word.

 

 

 

d) Bayeux Tapestry 7JPGAnswer: William I

 

4. 

a)  Known as a great writer and thinker of the early medieval period

 

 

 

b) Had a son called Astrolabe

 

 

c) Was castrated for his great passion for one of his students (it’s a little more complicated, but that’s the gist)

 

 

 

d)IMG_7444

Answer: Abelard 

 

5.  

a) The illegitimate daughter of a king of England

 

 

 

b) Married to a foreign Prince

 

 

c) Helped broker a peace between her husband a Prince of Wales and her father King John

 

 

 

 

d)joanna close

Answer: Joan of Wales

 

6. 

a) An Irish lord

 

 

 

b) Buried in Ferns

 

 

c) The reason the Normans came to Ireland

 

 

 

 

d) Diarmut grave

Answer: Diarmait mac murchada

 

7.

a) The second oldest son of a King.

 

 

 

 

b) Died in 1183

 

 

 

c) Known as reckless and crowned in his father’s life time.

 

 

 

 

d)IMG_7222Answer: Henry the Young King

 

8.

 

a) A medieval writer who liked to travel

 

 

 

 

b) Descended from Nest, a well known Welsh princess.

 

 

c) Known for his descriptions of Wales and Ireland

 

 

 

 

d)IMG_5579Answer: Gerald of Wales

 

9.

a) 12th child

 

 

 

 

b) Knight of the Garter

 

 

 

 

c) Arguably the last Plantagenet.

 

 

 

d)IMG_5855

Answer: Richard III

 

10.

a) Married at a very young age

 

 

 

b) Daughter of Alice de Courtenay

 

 

c) Remarried when her husband died and her children with her second husband reaped great benefits at the court of Henry III

 

 

d)Richard IAnswer: Isabel of Angouleme

 

 

So how did you do?

1-10: Not too bad, maybe read a little more

11-20: Absolutely getting there, excellent effort

21-30:  Brilliant, you really know your medieval figures!

31-40: Are you sure you didn’t check the next clue? No? Didn’t just have a pile of lucky guesses? No? Well then, exceptional effort!!

 

Medieval Quotes Advent Calendar 15th of December

A short one today, but with a fascinating back story.

It is a rare surviving example of a king demanding knight service from one of his retainers. In this case Henry II asking William Marshal to bring forces. He requested that Marshal come “to [him] fully equipped as soon as may be, with as many knights as [Marshal] can get, to support [Henry II] in [his] war.” It went on to add, “You have ever so often moaned to me that I have bestowed on you a small fee. Know that if you serve me faithfully I will give you in addition Châteauroux with all its lordship and whatever belongs to it.”

David Crouch, The English Aristocracy 1072-1272, A Social Transformation, Yale: Yale University Press, 2011, p. 29.

Châteauroux was a pivotal fortress in the disputed region of Berry, south-east of Tours in France, and was in the hands of the French at the time so Henry II was offering Marshal a castle he would have had to fight to take possession of. In normal circumstances Henry could not have offered it at all, however its lady was the underage Denise of Châteauroux who was probably not more than 15 and who was most likely under Henry’s guardianship at the time. This meant that Henry could offer Châteauroux to Marshal by offering marriage to Denise. This marriage never came about because Henry II died in 1189 and in that year Richard I, Henry’s son and heir, gave Marshal the even wealthier heiress Isabel de Clare.

The document dates to 1188 and it’s remarkable survival is discussed in the excellent article below.

http://deremilitari.org/2014/08/william-marshal-king-henry-ii-and-the-honour-of-chateauroux/

Advent Calendar of Medieval Quotes 3rd of December

3rd of December

From Roger of Wendover. A description of happenings immediately after the death of Henry II.

I would like to point out that I am not including these quotes as examples of definitive facts. All medieval chroniclers need to be taken with a large grain of salt.

“He died on the octaves of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, after a reign of thirty-four years,seven months,and five days. On the morrow,as they were carrying him to be buried, arrayed in his royal robes, his crown, gloves, shoes, ring, sceptre, and sword, he lay with his face uncovered; and when Richard, hearing the news of his death, came to meet the convoy, blood flowed from the nostrils of the deceased, as if he was indignant at the presence of one who was believed to have caused his death.”

From Roger of Wendover Flowers of History Volume II. Pg 76

https://ia800503.us.archive.org/35/items/rogerofwendovers02roge/rogerofwendovers02roge_bw.pdf

 

Pembroke Castle

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Pembroke Castle in South West Wales is one of the most impressive castles on Welsh soil. I hesitate to say Welsh castle, because it wasn’t built by the Welsh. The building of Pembroke Castle was begun by Arnulph de Montgomery in c. 1093 as a key part of the Norman subjugation of this portion of Wales.

This first castle was nothing like the imposing fortress we see today jutting out into the Cleddau Estuary.

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Gerald of Wales, albeit writing in the late 1100s, described Pembroke as originally being “a slender fortress of stakes and turf.” But it was in an immensely strategic position and as such soon became an important fortress.

Pembroke was besieged by the Welsh is 1094 and in 1096, but both times it was held by the Normans led by Gerald de Windsor who was the custodian of the castle for Arnulph de Montgomery.  However by 1102 Arnulph had been implicated in a revolt against Henry I and was forced to flee and Pembroke castle and the lands around it were escheated to the crown. By 1105 Gerald de Windsor was custodian again, this time in the name of the crown, and he married the Welsh princess Nest. Nest is one of the most fascinating women of the period and much has been written about her. But in brief she was the daughter of the Welsh Prince Rhys ap Tewdwr, thus an important marriage prize as Rhys’ former kingdom made up much of what was now the lands of Pembroke. Nest was most likely the mistress of Henry I before she married Gerald and probably bore him illegitimate offspring. She was said to have been a great beauty and would have been very young, in her teens, when she was the king’s mistress. She was then married off to Gerald at least partly to lend credence to Gerald’s position as a royal officer and person in charge of Pembroke. She was then abducted, there is debate over whether it was willing or not, from  either Cilgerran Castle or Carew Castle both of which Gerald had begun to build

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Cilgerran Castle

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Carew Castle

She was abducted by Owen son of Cadwgan, another Welsh Prince. Owen came into Nest and Gerald’s chamber and Gerald hid or escaped, depending on which version you read, down the privy shoot and Owen abducted Nest, two of Nest’s children and possibly some castle treasure.  After much unrest Nest was eventually returned to Gerald and Owen ultimately died in rebellion against Gerald. Nest married again after Gerald died in the 1120s and had children from that marriage as well. Nest ended up with some important descendants including Gerald of Wales, who was descended from her and Gerald de Windsor. Gerald of Wales is one of the more prolific writers of the late 1100s and is responsible for works on both the people of Ireland and the people of Wales. He was born at the nearby Manorbier Castle.

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Manorbier Castle

Leaving Nest aside. After Gerald de Windsor died the castle remained in crown hands until the reign of King Stephen. The Earldom of Pembroke was officially created in 1138 and the de Clare family were the beneficiaries of its creation with Gilbert de Clare appointed as the ruler of the territory. There was also a small town growing up around the castle and we know that it had liberties and freedoms from fairly early on because there is a surviving charter from Henry II which discusses them. It reads, in one translation.

“Henry by the Grace of God, King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and Count of Anjou to the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Earls of Justices, Barons and Sheriffs, and to all his faithful people of all England, Wales, Ireland, Normandy, Brittany, Anjou, Poitou, Gascony, and to all his men, whether dwelling on this side or beyond the seas greetings. Know that I have given and granted, and by this my present Charter, have confirmed in my burgesses of Pembroke all their liberties, immunities and free customs as freely and fully as they had them in the time of King Henry, my grandfather.”

Gilbert de Clare died in 1148 and was succeeded by his son Richard de Clare, known as Strongbow. I’ve written more about Strongbow and especially the role he played in the Norman conquest of Ireland earlier and it can be found here.  Strongbow died in 1176 and King Henry II retained all his lands and the wardship of his daughter Isabel de Clare. Isabel became the heir to all of Strongbow’s lands including Pembroke when her brother Gilbert died as a minor in 1185. Isabel married William Marshal at the behest of Richard I in 1189 thus making Marshal one of the most powerful men in the country as Isabel held other lands in England, Ireland and France as well as those in Wales. Marshal wasn’t actually invested with the title of Earl of Pembroke until 1199 when King John came to the throne.  Marshal had the iconic Great Keep at Pembroke Castle built.
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Great Keep Pembroke Castle

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Inside the Great Keep of Pembroke Castle.

The Great Keep was built in c. 1200 in a time when square keeps were much more common. It stands at 75 feet high with walls approximately 20 feet thick at its base.  When William Marshal died the castle was inherited by his son William Marshal II. Marshal had five sons each of whom died childless. So when the last Marshal son, Anselm, died in 1145 all of Marshal’s extensive lands were divided up amongst the descendants of his five daughters. Pembroke Castle went to his daughter Joan’s descendants, she was married to Warine de Munchery. It was their son in law William de Valance who retook some of the surrounding lands that had been lost to the Welsh over the years. De Valance died in 1296 and the Earldom of Pembroke and thus the castle entered into a fairly quiet period. Until the death of Earl John Hastings in 1389 when the castle returned to the hands of the King in this case Richard II. Henry IV declared his son John to be Earl of Pembroke in c.1399 and later the castle bounced back and forth between sides in the War of the Roses. Its greatest claim to fame in this period is that Henry Tudor, later Henry VII was born there in 1456. 

IMG_5427You can see the tower he was most likely born in on the far right of the photo.

The physical buildings that can now be seen in Pembroke are products of various stages of its history. I’m not going discuss all of them, but I will mention a few.

The oldest part is the Norman Hall which was built probably under the rule of Richard Strongbow c. 1150-1170 when the defences would still have been made of timber.

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Norman Hall.

For me the most fascinating part of Pembroke Castle, apart from the Great Keep, was actually not built by any of the castle’s inhabitants. Wogan’s Cavern beneath the Norman Hall is a naturally occurring cavern. There have been tools dating back to the middle stone age found in it along with Roman coins. This suggests that the Cavern has been used for shelter for thousands of years. When the castle was built the cavern was used for storage and the entrance was protected as part of the defensive plan. It is one of the most surprising things I’ve ever seen in a castle. Largely because of its sheer immensity.

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Wogan’s Cavern

Pembroke Castle is very much a stronghold. It has played a part in most important eras of British History and is in and of itself a dramatic and imposing castle. I went there originally because of its connection to William Marshal. But I went back because it is a spectacular castle, a testament to the strength of its builders. It commands the Cleddau Estuary and you can see why it has been so formidable for so many years.

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References.

Pembroke for King and Country: Phil Carradice. ISBN: 09521092

and

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/dec/21/britishidentity.uk

and

Two visits to Pembroke Castle.

All the photos are my own.

An Easy to Evil Medieval British Quiz.

The way this quiz works.

It’s pretty simple. You see the question with a photo underneath and underneath the photo you’ll find the answer. There’s twenty five questions so keep track of how many you get right and how many you get wrong and see how you do at the end. There’s also a poll at the end so you can see how you compare to everyone else if you’re interested.

As the title suggests, it starts off easy and gets much more complicated. There are five sections: Easy, Medium, Hard, Difficult and Evil.

Enjoy.

Easy

1. What year was the Magna Carta sealed?

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Answer: 1215.

Photo: Part of Runnymede the water meadow where Magna Carta was signed.

2. What year was the Battle of Hastings?

Bayeux Tapestry 35

Answer: 1066

Photo: The Battle of Hasting in the Bayeux Tapestry.

3. Henry II fought with which Archbishop of Canterbury?

henry close

Answer: Thomas Becket.

Photo: Henry II at Fontevraud Abbey.

4.  Eleanor of Aquitaine was the mother of which Kings of England?

eofa

Answer: Richard I and John I. You get a bonus point if you said Henry the Young King as well.

Photo: Eleanor of Aquitaine Fontevraud Abbey.

5. William the Conquerer commissioned which survey in 1086?

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Answer: Domesday Book

Photo: A recreation of the Domesday Book from in the National Archives.

Medium

 6. Which crusade did Richard the Lionheart fight in?

Richard I

Answer: Third Crusade

Photo: Richard the Lionheart and Isabel of Angouleme. 

7. King John married his daughter Joan to which Welsh Prince?

llew coffin 1

Answer: Llywelyn Fawr or Llywelyn ap Iorwerth. Either is correct

And I wouldn’t be deducting points if you spelt either wrong.

Photo: Llywelyn’s coffin.

8. William Marshal married which heiress, the daughter of Richard Strongbow?

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Answer: Isabel de Clare.

Photo: William Marshal’s effigy.

9. King John lost his baggage train in which inlet?

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Answer: The Wash

Photo: Part of The Wash as it looks now.

10. Empress Maud purportedly escaped through King Stephen’s army and the snow from which Castle?

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Answer: Oxford Castle.

Photo: 1800s drawing from Cardiff Castle of the escape.

Hard

11. William the Conquerer is buried in which town?

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Answer: Caen.

Photo: William the Conquerer’s tomb.

12. Which King was born in Winchester Castle?

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Answer: Henry III.

Photo: Great Hall of Winchester Castle.

13. How did the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle famously describe the Period of Anarchy 1136-1154?

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Answer: It was a time “that Christ and His saints slept.”

Michael Swanton, (ed) & trans, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, London: Phoenix Press, 2000, p. 265. You get the point if you got a variant of this, there’s different translations.

Photo: The current tomb of Empress Maud, one of the antagonists of the Period of Anarchy.

14. Name the children of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

henry and eleanor

Answer: William, Henry, Matilda, Richard, Geoffrey, Eleanor, Joanna, John.

If you got all of them but not in order have a point, but you get a bonus point if you got them in order.

Photo: Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

15. What year did Henry the Young King die?

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Answer: 1183.

Photo: Henry’s non contemporary tomb at Rouen Cathedral.

Difficult

16. Name the three places which hold the only four existing copies of the original Magna Carta.
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Answer: Lincoln, Salisbury Cathedral and The British Library (the British Library has 2).

Photo: Part of Lincoln Castle.

17. Ida de Tosny, the wife of Roger Earl of Norfolk, had a son out of wedlock before she married the Earl who was he?

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Answer: William Longsword Earl of Salisbury and bastard son of Henry II.

Photo: His tomb.

18. Which castle did William Marshal, according to the Brut y Tywysogion, subdue with a “vast army” in 1204?

The Rev. John Williams, (ed), Brut y Tywysogion, London: Longman, Green, Longman & Roberts, 1860, p. 261

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Answer: Cilgerran Castle.

Photo: Recent wicker statue of Marshal at Cilgerran

19. How much was King Richard’s ransom?

riveaux

Answer: 100,000 silver marks and 200 hostages. You get the point if you got the monetary amount.

Photo: Riveaux Abbey, a Cistercian foundation. Cistercian foundations had to contribute part of their wool clips to the ransom.

20. Canterbury Cathedral was begun in which decade?

Canterbury Cathedral

Answer: 1070s

Photo: Canterbury Cathedral

Evil

21. Which illustrious figure ‘processed’ through the Temple Church in London for its consecration in 1185.

temple church

Answer: Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem.

Photo: Temple Church in London.

22. According to the History of William Marshal what three things did King Stephen threaten to do to the young William Marshal while he was the King’s hostage?

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Answer: Hang him, catapult him at the walls of his father’s castle and crush him with a millstone.

A.J Holden & David Crouch (eds) S. Gregory, trans, History of William Marshal, Volume I, London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 2002, p. 31.

You can have the point if you got these in any order but you have to have all three to get the point.

Photo: William Marshal

23. The Bayeux Tapestry is how many metres long?

Bayeux Tapestry 16

Answer: 70.34m, but you can have the point if you said 70.

Photo: My favourite scene in the Bayeux Tapestry with the Hand of God coming out of the sky.

24. Which papal legate played a significant role in the Magna Carta negotiations and in the Regency of Henry III?

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Answer: Guala Bicchieri. You can have the point if you only got Guala, or said Gualo. It is a variation of the spelling and often only Guala or Gualo is written.

Photo: Facsimile of Salisbury’s Magna Carta in the Temple Church.

25. Who did Geoffrey of Monmouth describe as “an accomplished scholar and philosopher, as well as a brave soldier and expert commander”?

.

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Answer: Robert Earl of Gloucester and oldest illegitimate son of Henry I. The passage is from Geoffrey’s dedication of his work History of the Kings of Britain.

http://www.yorku.ca/inpar/geoffrey_thompson.pdf pg 2.

Photo: Monmouth Castle. Geoffrey was born somewhere in the region of Monmouth

The End

So that’s it. How did you do?

1-5: Well you’ve got some basics down pat. Good start.

6-10: You know more than basics, well on your way.

11-15: Good work, beginning to build a wealth of obscure facts.

16-20: Impressive. You know you stuff.

21-25: Incredible effort. You may know more about this period than is sensible 🙂

26-27  remember the two bonus points: Speechless. Incredible. You definitely know more than you need to about this specific period and area.

27: If you got them all… Sure you didn’t write the quiz?

Now if you feel like it put your results in the poll below.

The photos are all mine.

The Burial Places of England’s Kings and Queens

This post began as an attempt to visit as many of the burial places of the kings and queens of England as I could. I was intending to photograph each of the burial places and put them into this post. I have now made it to the vast majority as you can see from this list that I’ve been ticking off. There is one typo, George II is Westminster not Windsor. IMG_1113   The only ones I’m missing are: Henry I, Stephen, John, Edward II, James II and George I. With Henry I, I have been to Reading but not to the Abbey as I was just going through the train station and didn’t have time for the detour. Unfortunately significant numbers of the burials are in St George’s Chapel Windsor and Westminster Abbey neither of which would let me take photographs. So this post has become somewhat denuded. Nevertheless I thought it was still worth posting because at worst it is a list of the burial places of the kings and queens and there are some nice photos of the ones that let me take photographs. This list begins with William I and go through to George VI.  I hope you find it interesting.

1. William I

b. c. 1028 d. 1087 Reigned: 1066-187 Buried Caen

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2. William II

b. c. 1056 d. 1100. Reigned 1187-1100 Buried Winchester Cathedral. William’s bones are said to be part of the mortuary chests seen on top of the screen, King Canute is also supposed to be entombed there.

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3. Henry I

b. 1086 d. 1136

Reigned 1100-1134

Buried Reading Abbey, there are no remains of his tomb.

4. King Stephen/ Empress Matilda.

King Stephen: b. c. 1092 d. 1154

Reigned 1135-1154

Buried Faversham Abbey, there are no remains of his tomb.

Empress Matilda: b. c. 1102 d. 1167

Reigned: For various parts of Stephen’s reign she was ruling significant proportions of the country, she controlled most of it for a time after King Stephen was captured at the battle of Lincoln in 1141. However she was never actually crowned.

Buried at Bec abbey but she was reburied in Notre Dame Cathedral in Rouen. The inscription reads: “Here lies Henry’s daughter, wife and mother; great by birth, greater by marriage, but greatest in motherhood.”

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5. Henry II

b. 1133 d. 1189. Reigned 1154-1189 Buried Fontevraud Abbey. His wife Eleanor of Aquitaine,  c.1124- 1204, lies beside him. henry and eleanor

5.1 Henry the Young King.

b. 1155 d. 1183

Reigned 1170-1183. A note on this. He was crowned during his father’s lifetime and died before he could ever rule in his own right. For more information see Henry the Young King blogspot

Buried Rouen Cathedral. The effigy is not contemporary.

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6. Richard I

b. 1157 d. 1199

Reigned 1189-1199.

Buried Fontevraud Abbey. He lies with his parents and next to Isabelle of Angouleme the wife of his younger brother King John.

Richard I

7. John

b. 1166 d. 1216

Reigned 1199-1216

Buried Worcester Cathedral. Unfortunately I haven’t been there. This is a copy of his effigy which is currently on display at the Temple church in London.

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8. Henry III

b. 1207 d. 1272

Reigned 1216-1272

Buried Westminster Abbey

9. Edward I

b. 1239 d. 1307

Reigned 1272-1307

Buried Westminster Abbey

10. Edward II

b. 1284 d. 1327

Reigned 1307-1327 with interruptions for more information

Buried  Gloucester Cathedral.

11. Edward III

b. 1312 d. 1377

Reigned 1327-1377

Buried Westminster Abbey

12. Richard II

b. 1367 d. c. 1400

Reigned 1377-1399, he was deposed before he died more information

Buried originally at King’s Langley, but moved to Westminster Abbey by Henry V.

13. Henry IV

  b. 1367 d. 1413 Reigned 1399-1413 Buried Canterbury Cathedral. Henry is buried with his wife Joan of Navarre c. 1370-1437. IMG_3952

14. Henry V

b. 1387  d. 1422

Reigned 1413-1422

Buried Westminster Abbey

15. Henry VI

b. 1421 d. 1471

Reigned 1421-1471 there were significant proportions of this time where he wasn’t actually king. For more information.

Buried originally in Chertsey Abbey but moved to St George’s Chapel Windsor by Richard III

16. Edward IV

b. 1442 d. 1483

Reigned 1460-1483, again there was a disruption in his reign for more information

Buried St George’s Chapel Windsor

17. Edward V

b. 1470 d. c. 1483, possibly.

Reigned April 1483 to June 1483 c. One of the ‘Princes in the Tower’ no one is sure what happened to him and his younger brother. For more information

Buried. Unknown but skeletons, at the time thought to be his and his brother’s, were found in 1674 and buried in Westminster Abbey. This is spurious.

18. Richard III

b. 1452 d. 1485

Reigned 1483-1485

Buried originally in Greyfriars in Leicester reinterred in March 2015 in Leicester Cathedral after his bones were found.

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19. Henry VII

b. 1457 d. 1509

Reigned 1485-1509

Buried Westminster Abbey.

20. Henry VIII

b. 1491 d. 1547

Reigned 1509-1547

Buried St George’s Chapel Windsor

21. Edward VI

b. 1537 d. 1553.

Reigned 1547-1553

Buried Westminster Abbey.

21.1 Lady Jane Grey

b. 1537 d. 1554

Reigned 10th of July 1553-19th of July 1553

Buried Church of St Peter ad Vincula Tower of London. I unfortunately don’t have a photo of the Church of St Peter ad Vincula, I’m not sure why I didn’t take one, but the photo below is of the monument that stands roughly in the place where Lady Jane, along with Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard and others, was executed.

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22. Mary I

b. 1516 d. 1588

Reigned 1553-1558

Buried Westminster Abbey

23. Elizabeth I

b. 1533 d. 1603

Reigned 1558-1603

Buried Westminster Abbey

24. James I

b. 1566 d. 1625

Reigned 1602-1625

Buried Westminster Abbey

25. Charles I

b. 1600 d. 1649

Reigned 1625-1649

Buried: St George’s Chapel Windsor

25.5 Oliver Cromwell

b. 1599 d. 1658

Lord Protector 1653-1658

Buried Westminster Abbey

26. Charles II

b. 1630 d. 1685

Reigned 1660-1685

Buried Westminster Abbey

27. James II

b. 1633 d. 1701

Reigned 1685-1688

Buried Church of the English Benedictines Paris, his tomb was looted during the French Revolution.

28. William III Mary II

William

b. 1650 d. 1702

Reigned, as King of England, 1689-1702

Buried Westminster Abbey

Mary

b. 1662 d. 1694

Reigned 1689-1694

Buried Westmister Abbey

29. Anne

b. 1665 d. 1714

Reigned 1702-1714

Buried Westminster Abbey

30. George I

b. 1660 d. 1727

Reigned 1714-1727

Buried Hanover Germany

31. George II

b. 1683 d. 1760

Reigned 1727-1760

Buried Westminster Abbey

32. George III

b. 1738 d. 1820

Reigned 1760-1820

Buried St George’s Chapel Windsor

33. George IV

b. 1762 d. 1830

Reigned 1820-1830

Buried St George’s Chapel Windsor

34. William IV

b. 1765 d. 1837

Reigned 1830-1837

Buried St George’s Chapel Windsor

35. Victoria

b. 1819 d. 1901

Reigned 1837-1901

Buried Frogmore Windsor

36. Edward VII

b. 1841 d. 1910

Reigned 1901-1910

Buried St George’s Chapel Windsor

37. George V

b. 1865 d. 1936

Reigned 1910-1936

Buried St George’s Chapel Windsor

38. Edward VIII

b. 1894 d. 1972

Reigned Jan 1936 to Dec 1936

Buried Frogmore Berkshire

39. George VI

b. 1895 d. 1952

Reigned 1936-1952

Buried St George’s Chapel Windsor

Fontevraud, Robert d’Arbrissel and Monasticism.

Fontevraud has appeared in some of my other posts because Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard I and Isabelle of Angouleme are buried there.

richard and is

Isabelle of Angouleme and Richard I

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Henry II and Eleanor

It is, however, an absolutely fascinating place in its own right and one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen.

Fontevraud was founded in c. 1101 by Robert d’Arbrissel. The remains of his tomb can be seen below.

robert of A

Robert d’ Arbrissel was an enigma even in his own time. Fulke V of Anjou described him as a thunderclap of holy exhortation which lit up the whole church with its eloquence. Peter Abelard, a fascinating figure in his own right, called him “That outstanding herald of Christ.” But many contemporary churchmen viewed Robert as a danger to his own soul and the souls of his female followers. Robert was everything from a parish priest, to a student, to a hermit, but he has been remembered as the founder of Fontevraud.

Fontevraud was an atypical abbey even for its time because it was founded as a mixed community of men and women and the Abbess ruled over the whole community, male and female. This was exceptionally unusual. The fact that many of Robert’s followers were women was part of the reason he was distrusted, but was also in a way a product of his times. With older men marrying much younger women widowhood was common, but it is clear at Robert’s message and personality attracted not only widows but unhappy wives. Some of his followers were also former clerical wives cast aside in the newer push for chastity amongst the clergy. This was also a time where clerical celibacy was seen to imply a strict separation of men and women in religious life. An ideal that Robert definitively did not share. (Venarde, xi-xxix).

In fact it is quite possible that the majority of Robert’s followers were women. The only piece of surviving spiritual writing from Robert himself is directed to Countess Ermengarde of Brittany who was the sister of Robert’s main patron Count Fulke V of Anjou.

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The walls of Chateau d’Angers the home of the Counts of Anjou, though these were built after the time of Count Fulke V.

Ermengarde herself was fascinating. She was the daughter of Fulke the IV of Anjou, engaged but never married to Duke William IX of Aquitaine, the grandfather of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and then the wife of Count Alan IV of Brittany. She was her husband’s regent while he was on crusade from 1096 till 1101. She became dissatisfied with her marriage and attempted to end it through flight and an appeal to an ecclesiastical court, but she failed to get the annulment. It was shortly after this in 1109 that Robert wrote to her. She was described by poet-bishop Marbode of Rennes, who hated Robert, as powerfully eloquent, extremely astute and the glory of Brittany. In later life, after her husband retired to a monastery in 1112, she played an important role in the court of her son before following Bernard of Clairvaux to Burgundy. Bernard himself was an interesting figure, if very strange and in my opinion quite annoying, and I will write more on him in a later post. In Burgundy she became a nun before going with some fellow nuns to the Holy Land where her brother Fulke was King of Jerusalem. She returned to Brittany where she remained active at the court until she died in 1147. The extent of her relationship with Robert is unknown, it is possible that she visited Fontevraud but it can’t be proven. The letter he wrote to her just after she attempted to have her marriage annulled is very interesting.(Venarde, 68-69).

It is too long to go into great detail here, but a basic breakdown is possible.

1. The spirit of pride is bad

2. Do not trust or yield to every spirit

3. Take heart and be strong.

4. Do not regret too much that you are bound to an infidel husband. You can still benefit God’s people.

5. Don’t be too anxious about changes of place and appearance.

6. Fear not enemies of Christ for they will not harm you unless God allows it.

7/8. Do not get puffed up by good fortune or shattered by adversity, for those who fear God want for nothing.

9. Believe, love, hope in God, do good, settle in the land of your heart and feed on its riches.

10. Flee the wicked words of savage men in your heart.

11. Alms and prayer are good if done for God but profit nothing if done for the praise of mankind.

12. Many clerics are hypocrites

13. You can not get out of your own marriage but you should do what you can to get your daughter out her her’s as it consanguineous.

14. Don’t disclose all your plans to all your household and friends, many are self serving.

15. Exercise caution and discretion in all things.

(Venarde, 68-79).

Fontevraud also rose out of a period of change for monasticism in general. There was the beginnings of a shift in the way monasticism was practiced. The Cistercians rose out of a reaction against the interpretation of benedictine monasticism which created great wealth and power for the institutions, not the monks themselves necessarily. The best example of this was the monastery of Cluny which was founded  in 910 and financed by Duke William I of Aquitaine. Cluny created a number of brother and sister houses which answered directly to Cluny. By Robert’s time it had gained exceptional wealth.

musee de moyen age

The Exterior of the Musee du Moyen Age in Paris. Which was originally the Paris townhouse of the Abbots of Cluny.

The Cistercians were a reaction against the opulence and focus on wealth that Cluny represented. They favoured a strict adherence to the rule of Benedict and Bernard of Clairvaux was one of the leading lights. The Cistercians wanted to go back to the basics and their monasteries were heavily focused on self sufficiency, simplicity and were often remote and agrarian.

riveauxRiveaux Abbey, a Cistercian abbey in England.

Robert’s Fontevraud was different again. In c. 1101 Robert settled his followers at what would become Fontevraud. Until that point he had been an itinerant preacher, albeit with a significant number of followers including a number of noble women. In fact he departed to continue preaching by c. 1103 having seen the beginning of permanent monastic settlement and appointed two female superiors. However it was not until October 1115 that an Abbess of Fontevraud was appointed after Fontevraud has been recognised by papal authority. Robert’s intentions for this mixed community were never exactly clear, except for working towards spiritual excellence. Despite this when he died on February 25th 1116 and was buried at Fontevraud, Fontevraud and the daughter houses it had established were, as described by Venarde, “Well on the way to becoming the wealthiest order of monasteries for women in Roman Catholic Europe.” (Venarde, xxii).

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The statutes of Fontrevraud are reasonably clear but they don’t conform exactly to specific monastic orders. Sisters and brothers lived and worshipped together. The women were guided by the rule of St Benedict, but the statutes don’t make clear whether the male members are to follow Benedictine or Augustine rule. So they are neither monks nor cannons, they are simply called brothers and Robert makes clear they are in the service of and obedient to the women of Fontevraud. (Venarde, 84-87).

There were a number of interesting women who became Abbesses of Fontevraud, Petronilla the first Abbess being one of them. She was a noble widow who became a follower of Robert’s and he personally appointed her the first Abbess of Fontevraud. Another was Matilda of Anjou. She was abbess from c. 1150 -1158. She is remarkable because if not for one of the most interesting accidents in the medieval period she would have been Queen of England. She was the daughter of Fulke the V of Anjou, the brother of Ermengarde and patron of Robert, but she was married to William the only legitimate son of Henry I. William drowned on the White Ship in 1120 along with much of the young nobility of England and France. Matilda could have remained at court and she did for a time. Henry I was more than happy to have her and he would have married her off again. In the end though she took vows at Fontevraud in c. 1128 and became Abbess there in c. 1150.

Many of the early Plantagenets were patrons of Fontevraud, as evidenced by the fact that four of the them are buried there. Indeed Eleanor of Aquitaine spent her last years there and died there in the 1204. She was a great patron of Fontevraud throughout her life. One of her surviving charters is evidence of her patronage. In this charter she gives the abbey and the “nuns serving God there” the “rent of one hundred pounds, in perpetual alms, from the provosture of Poitiers and the vineyard of Benon, particularly what is received from Marcilly.” (Epistolae).

Fontevraud as a complex of buildings has gone through many changes since it was built. The church was begun to hold the body of Robert and is Romanesque in style with a Byzantine influence. It dates from successive periods in the 1100s. You can see the interior below.

roof font main hallside chapel

You can see the spectacular grandeur of Fontevraud’s exterior built in the beautiful creamy local tuffeau stone in the photos below.

IMGFont church est_8136 Font long

When it was built much of the interior would have been painted.  Some of the early paint remains in fragmented sections.

Font paint

Some of the later paintings can be seen in more detail. As can be seen in the  chapter house photo below, which was painted and remodelled in the 16th century to show the wealth and prestige of King Francis I.

font side chapel painting

 Probably my favourite of all the buildings is the kitchen. It  dates to the early 1100s though it has been remodelled. It is built of the more heat resistant charente stone. It is also built in the Byzantine Romanesque style brought back from the crusades.

font kitchen from back

font kitchen

The interior is constructed so one embrasure was used to make hot coals and the meals were cooked in the embrasures away from the prevailing wind to prevent the blowback of smoke. The central chimney got rid of both smoke and vapours.

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The fact that anything of Fontevraud survives at all is really saying something because it was deconsecrated in the revolution and  Napoleon decided to use it as a prison in 1804 and it remained one for a long time. In fact the last prisoners left in 1985.  The abbey was completely restored in the 20th century and now is also used for a variety of art installations such as the two that can be seen below. The first was in the dormitories and the second was in the cloister and could be walked on, giving you different perspectives of an ancient building.

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The gardens are also absolutely worth visiting.

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Font garden

It is a truly beautiful place with a fascinating history. A place where the calm seems to have seeped into the stone.font cloisterI went to Fontevraud so I could see Eleanor of Aquitaine’s tomb but it is much more than that. It is truly one of the most incredible places I have ever been.

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Bruce L. Venarde. Robert of Arbrissel. ISBN: 9780813213545.

Eleanor of Aquitaine Charter to Fontevrault, 1185 at http://epistolae.ccnmtl.columbia.edu/letter/885.html, accessed 26/9/2010.

Other sources include the signs at Fontevraud, and my university course notes on monasticism.

The photos are all mine.