earls of pembroke


history meme x wilton house,salisbury

Wilton House is an English country house situated at Wilton near Salisbury in Wiltshire. It has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years.

The first recorded building on the site of Wilton House was a priory founded by King Egbert circa 871. Later, this priory, due to the munificence of King Alfred, was granted lands and manors until it became wealthy and powerful. However, by the time Wilton Abbey was dissolved during the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII of England, its prosperity was already on the wane – following the seizure of the abbey, King Henry presented it and the estates to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (in the 1551 creation) in c.1544.


TODAY IN HISTORY - 1st September 1532,
Anne Boleyn is made Marquess of Pembroke in her own right

On this day in 1532, King Henry VIII elevated his love and soon-to-be-Queen, Anne Boleyn, to the title of Marquess of Pembroke - a brand new title of nobility for his love. Although he was still technically married to Queen Katherine of Aragon, he was already planning his future with Anne, and in order to prepare for marriage it was necessary to give a noble status. Along with this elevation, Anne Boleyn also received lands in Wales and an increase in wealth. This was a very significant event in Tudor history, and the title of “Pembroke” was significant for Henry anyway, because his great-uncle Jasper Tudor had held the title of Earl of Pembroke - Pembroke referring to the birthplace of Henry VII. 

The ceremony, held at Windsor Castle was performed by Henry himself. It was attended by some of the highest members of court, including Anne’s father Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, her uncle Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, and Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The French Ambassador, Bishop of Winchester, and others were also present, which shows that this was a very important event. The Bishop read the patent of creation while Anne knelt in front of the King and he presented her with the coronet, the robe of estate, and the charters of creation and the lands. 

To Henry, this was incredibly important, and probably a very exciting day for both him and Anne. This was not simply the elevation of a commoner to a noble - This was one step closer to marriage. In Henry’s mind, he was already a single man - though his marriage to Katherine of Aragon wouldn’t legally be annulled until 1533 - and he was completely devoted and besotted with Anne. Therefore, raising her to the title of Marquess of Pembroke showed everyone at court that he was completely serious and dedicated in his mission to make her his next wife and queen. This was a great honour and in less than five months, Anne would become Henry’s second wife.

After the ceremony, a sumptuous banquet was held in honour of Anne and her new position. Anne was, no doubt, excited and honoured, and looking forward to her trip with Henry to Calais to meet King Francis I of France - which was another reason for this elevation in title.

”Creacion of lady Anne, doughter to the erle of Wilteshier, marquesse of Penbroke.”

Sunday, 1 Sept. 1532, 24 Hen. VIII. The lady was conveyed by noblemen and the officers of arms at Windsor Castle to the King, who was accompanied by the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk and other noblemen, and the ambassador of France. Mr. Garter bore her patent of creation; and lady Mary, daughter to the duke of Norfolk, her mantle of crimson velvet, furred with ermines, and a coronet. The lady Marques, who was “in her hair,” and dressed in a surcoat of crimson velvet, furred with ermines, with strait sleeves, was led by Elizabeth countess of Rutland, and Dorothy countess of Sussex. While she kneeled before the King, Garter delivered her patent, which was read by the bishop of Winchester. The King invested her with the mantle and coronet, and gave her two patents, — one of her creation, the other of 1,000l. a year.”

24th of June 1314: The Battle of Bannockburn (Second Day)

(Cambuskenneth Abbey)

Part 1- Lead-up to the battle; Part 2- the first day of the battle

As it turned out, it was the Scots, and not the English, who should have worried about treachery in the night. Despite having fought against Bruce for much of the conflict, David of Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, had changed sides by late 1313, and was one of the three earls with the king at Bannockburn. Another of these, however, was the king’s brother, Edward Bruce, for whom Atholl had allegedly conceived a deep hatred on account of Edward’s desertion of his wife Isabel (Atholl’s sister) for a sister of Sir Walter Ross. It was claimed by John Barbour that, this issue came to a head on the night of the 23rd, when Atholl and his men headed towards the Scots supply depot at Cambuskenneth. There, they slew Sir William Airth along with many of his men, and raided the supplies in the Abbey before leaving the area completely. For this crime, Atholl’s lands were forfeited and he was banished to England, but his descendants continued to cause trouble for the Bruce kings long afterward. 

Several miles away in the New Park, the Scots rose at daybreak, and readied themselves for battle as the morning of the 24th of June dawned clear and sunny. Robert Bruce had been convinced not to withdraw the previous evening, while the victories of the previous day had been an auspicious beginning, but the task facing the Scots was still immense, and the king did his best to hearten his army. Probably on the evening of the 23rd (though some sources say the next morning), he addressed them, in a speech which has been variously recorded by different sources, but was plainly inspiring to the Scots whatever its form, and if the next morning they felt any trepidation about the battle ahead, they seem to have been no less determined to face the challenge. The English chronicler Geoffrey le Baker’s account was written sometime after Bannockburn, and is likely embellished, but his description is no less compelling,

“On the other side you might have seen the silent Scots keeping a holy watch by fasting, but with their blood boiling with a fervent love for the liberty of their country which, although unjust, made them ready to die on her behalf.”

The previous evening having been the eve of the feast of St John the Baptist, the army had fasted, but now they may have received bread and wine, and, then masses were said. Walter Bower claims that Maurice, the Abbot of Inchaffray, having taken King Robert’s confession, presided over this mass, before making his own speech to the host and then leading them onto the field, walking ahead of the army with cross in hand. The Scots quickly formed up in their divisions, almost all, including the king, being on foot, many carrying axes at their sides and spears in hand. As already mentioned, most sources state that there were three divisions, two in front, and a third in the rear commanded by the king, which may have included many men from Carrick and the west highlands and islands, as well as Lowlanders. The other two seem likely to have been commanded by the king’s brother Edward Bruce and Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, (John Barbour’s claim that there was a fourth division under the Steward and James Douglas being largely rejected by historians, though A.A.M. Duncan has raised the possibility that Douglas was serving under Edward Bruce, which would fit his movements later in the battle). Once in their divisions, the king likely created new knights, as was chivalric custom, though again Barbour’s claim that this was when Stewart and Douglas were knighted may have been poetic licence. This done, the army advanced, moving out of the New Park and down into the land near to where the English had made camp.

(One interpretation of where the second day of the battle may have taken place (Barrow’s), with the English camp in between the Pelstream and Bannock burns. Not my picture.)

The site of the fighting which took place on the second day of the Battle of Bannockburn has never been conclusively located, despite the best efforts of historians and archaeologists across the centuries, which have most recently included a huge archaeological dig to mark the seven hundredth anniversary. Some archaeological finds would seem to support Barrow’s hypothesis, which was also largely supported by Duncan. In this view, the English encampment is thought to have been on the fields which are currently sited just across the railway from Broomridge, surrounded by the Pelstream and Bannock burns, and it is even possible that the battle itself was fought down here, or perhaps at Broomridge itself (though there are now houses on the spot). It is also possible that the battle may have been fought up the hill from Broomridge, over the other side of Balquidderock wood, on the ground that Bannockburn high school now occupies. The position of the Bannockburn Heritage Centre near Borestone (to the west of the aforementioned sites) has, in recent years, is actually very unlikely to have been the spot of the battle, though local legend states that Borestone takes its name from a nearby stone (which survived until the mid-twentieth century) in which Bruce’s standard was planted. This legend can only be definitively dated to the eighteenth century, however, and, though there are arguments for spots slightly further afield, most theories seem to agree on a spot somewhere in the vicinity of Balquhidderock wood. I cannot comment on this with authority though, and so I recommend personally reading up on the subject further, as there are other opposing arguments (and it’s also really interesting- see the references below for the full titles of Barrow and Scott’s books). For now though, I’ll return to narrating the battle. 

The English army had not had a particularly restful night. Though some sources claim that the soldiers ‘spent the night in braggartry and revelry with Bacchus’, exulting in the rout of the Scots rabble they were sure would follow, other sources indicate that many within the army were anxious and restless. The cavalry had armed themselves and readied their horses in the night, and Thomas Gray states that when they saw the Scots march out of the woods, they mounted hurriedly in some alarm. The actions of their king and other leaders can hardly have been comforting- the English commanders were deeply divided, both on account of individual pride and on what course of action they should take. Seasoned veterans counselled against attacking that day, reasoning that the Scots would likely begin to melt away if the battle was postponed or become too tempted by the prospect of gaining spoils to maintain discipline. Gilbert de Clare, the Earl of Gloucester, though relatively young, is also supposed to have supported this argument, but according to the ‘Vita Edwardi Secundi’ many of the other younger nobles felt that delaying the battle was cowardly, while King Edward is said to have accused his nephew Gloucester of treachery. Gloucester did not take this at all well and, allegedly replying, ‘Today it will be clear that I am neither a traitor nor a liar’, he quit the king’s presence in anger and readied himself for battle. 

(Part of the possible location of the English camp between Broomridge and the A91).

To the Scots coming out of the wood the sheer size of the English army would have been immediately apparent, and according to some reports only the vanguard was distinguishable from the rest of the vast force assembled in front of the Bannockburn, armour glinting in the early morning sun. From the English point of view the much smaller Scottish army appeared like a ‘thick-set hedge’, the two foremost divisions bristling with spears as they advanced in their schiltroms. This type of tight-knit spear formation had its weak points, but the Scots were in a much narrower, and therefore advantageous, position than Randolph’s force had been in the skirmish by St Ninian’s the previous day, and the Scots had been drilled thoroughly in the weeks leading up to the battle, enabling them to use the schiltrom offensively as well as to simply stand their ground. They moved swiftly in the direction of the English, but at one point stopped briefly in the sight of the enemy, the whole Scottish army kneeling down to pray, both confusing and impressing many on the opposite side. Soon after they rose to their feet again, battle was joined. 

The Chronicle of Lanercost maintains that the main battle was preceded by a short duel between the two sides’ archers, but if so this likely stopped as soon as the main bodies of the two armies clashed. It is unclear just how this clash occurred, but, while the ‘Vita Edwardi Secundi’ implies the Scots advanced first, more sources suggest that the English vanguard, under the earls of Gloucester and Hereford, charged the Scots schiltroms, particularly those under Edward Bruce. As this Scottish division came under pressure, Thomas Randolph’s division pressed ahead to lend support, and the English vanguard began to feel the full repercussions of charging at thousands of spears head on, as the Scots held the line and did not falter under the weight of the heavy cavalry. Jammed together they found it difficult to fight effectively, and hadn’t the space to pull the schiltroms apart from the sides, and Sir Thomas Gray, whose father had been captured charging a schiltroms the previous day, wrote:

“They [the English] were not accustomed to fight on foot; whereas the Scots had taken a lesson from the Flemings, who before that had at Courtrai defeated on foot the power of France.”

The twenty-three year old Earl of Gloucester seems to have been an early casualty. Whether in a fit of pique over the accusations Edward II had levelled at him, or because he was still squabbling with his other uncle, the earl of Hereford, over who should take precedence in leading the charge, he had hurled himself at the schiltroms with much ferocity. When a phalanx that may have been under the command of James Douglas suddenly rushed forwards, however, the earl’s horse was killed on the Scottish spears and its rider hit the ground, where he was lost in the fray.

(In this recent imagining of the battle, Gloucester may be identified by his arms- yellow (or) with red chevrons. The knight to his right is possibly intended to be Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke while elsewhere in the background can be seen the arms of James Douglas, Edward Bruce Earl of Carrick, and Hugh Despenser the Younger. Not my picture) 

***Gloucester’s death may have been a blow, and others in the vanguard likely met similar fates, but the Scots were not out of trouble yet, and, according to John Barbour, at some point the English archers began causing real problems forto the spearmen in the schiltroms. From his position behind the main battle, holding his troops in the rear, King Robert sent out a small cavalry force under the command of the marischal, Sir Robert Keith, numbering about five hundred and mounted on relatively light horses. Keith’s horsemen got in among the archers and scattered them, but as the archers fled they ran into their own troops coming up from behind and worsened the crush. It may have been then that King Robert committed his men to the battle and the Scots steadily pushed their foes back in the direction of the Bannock burn, the English beginning to give ground as their line collapsed and men fell backwards over each other under the weight of the Scottish onslaught. Not long afterwards, if Barbour is to be believed, an even worse omen appeared out of the wood as what looked like thousands of Scottish reinforcements headed in the direction of the battle. In fact, this was no second army at all, but the camp followers and carters and other members of the supply train who had been left behind in the New Park (tradition has it they were stationed near the appropriately named Gillies’ Hill but this is more folklore than evidence). Seeing the fight from afar, they had allegedly chosen leaders among themselves, made banners from sheets, and marched down to the battlefield in time to join the struggle. Their arrival though, appearing like a second army, was a terrible blow to the English army’s morale, and many now attempted to flee. 

From where the men in charge of Edward II’s rein were standing, the situation was beginning to look rather perilous, and now the Earl of Pembroke and Sir Giles d’Argentan made the decision to remove their king from the battle. Edward was less than happy about being made to leave the field, but went, ‘much against the grain’, striking out at the Scots behind him with a mace. Once the king was clear, however, the famous knight Sir Giles d’Argentan took his leave of the party, claiming that he had never been accustomed to fleeing from a fight, and rode back into the fray, where he was killed. Pembroke and Edward, with the rest of their party, thus continued on towards Stirling castle as fast as their heels would carry them. Arriving at the gates of the castle, however, they were refused entry. Some sources imply that the garrison had switched their allegiance to the Scots, others that Philip de Mowbray, quite sensibly, pointed out to the king that once inside Stirling he would never be able to escape again. Whatever the case, the king’s party was forced to gallop hell-for-leather back the way they’d come, tearing past the King’s Knot and the battlefield in the direction of Lothian. 

(Not my picture.)

The rest of the English army had not been so lucky. When the king’s standard was seen to leave the field, this signalled the complete collapse of the English defence, and men began fleeing in earnest, the Scots pursuing them with triumphant shouts, cutting down any they could reach and snatching up spoils as they went. In their haste to get away from the enemy, many of the retreating soldiers fell into the ditch behind them, through which flowed the dark waters of the Bannockburn, and this stream now became their graveyard as it filled with the bodies of the drowned and the wounded. Others fled in the direction of the castle, and Barbour describes the castle rock as visibly crawling with men as they scaled the crag any way they could. King Robert was apparently still anxious about the English deciding to turn and fight again, however- not at all an unlikely occurence, given the number of apparent victories that have been turned to defeat when it seems as if the enemy is retreating- and attempted to prevent his men from chasing them too far, especially avoiding any attack on those in the park under the castle, where the hundreds of fleeing soldiers might yet regroup. However, if we are to believe John Barbour, the king still granted James Douglas permission to pursue the party containing the English king- if captured, Edward II would have been too large a prize to pass up the opportunity completely.

In all the confusion, and despite the area swarming with men, both friend and foe, King Edward made it safely to the Torwood and from there his party, numbering around five hundred, headed south-east. James Douglas and his men swiftly gave chase, and by the time they reached Linlithgow, the Scots were nipping at the heels of the English party. According to Barbour however, Douglas’ force, numbering only around sixty, was far too small to engage them, even when they met up with another force that had defected from the English, and the Scots settled for picking off stragglers in the rear. When the English paused at Winchburgh to rest their horses, the Scots paused too, lurking some distance away and keeping a careful watch, until the English remounted and the chase began again. Eventually though, their headlong flight was successful, and Edward made it safely to Dunbar, the coastal fortress belonging to Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, who was quick to demonstrate to the English king that he was still loyal, evacuating many of his own people to make room for the royal party. From Dunbar, a small, open boat was procured, and Edward with only a few attendants, escaped by sea to Berwick, the rest of his party travelling by land as best they could, though constantly attacked by the Scots of the borders. Many of their horses were left running wild, and were seized eagerly by the Scots. A force of Welshmen, heading towards the border under the command of Maurice de Berkley, were also much harried by the Scots, with many being taken or killed. In the south-west, Bothwell Castle received a large number of men seeking refuge, under the command of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford. Unfortunately for them, the keeper of Bothwell, Sir Walter Gilbertson, was not so reliable as the Earl of Dunbar, and, having ensured that Hereford’s force was subdued, he soon brokered a deal with the Scots, and handed over his prisoners, including the earl. 

By late afternoon, the battle was very much over. The Scots busied themselves clearing up the rich pickings left behind by the magnificent English army- their fastidiousness when it came to spoils may be partially why so little archaeological evidence has survived. As well as horses, treasure, and armour, they may also have found Edward II’s seal, as he lost his in his haste to escape and had to borrow Queen Isabella’s when he finally arrived in Berwick. It was equally important to count the dead, and while it is difficult to gauge the number of Scottish losses, most accounts only give two notable names- Sir William de Vieuxpont and Sir Walter Ross, the latter allegedly a close comrade of Edward Bruce, being the brother of his mistress Isabel of Ross. The English death toll was far higher. As well as Giles d’Argentan, among the dead were that hardy veteran of so many Scottish campaigns Robert Clifford, Lord William Marshall, Edmund Mauley the steward of Edward II’s household, and Payne de Tibetot, whose young son and heir had been born not even a year before. The earl of Gloucester’s body was also identified among the carnage, which is said to have saddened King Robert, the two being close kin, and a guard was appointed to wake the corpse that night. Gloucester’s body was later returned to England and buried in Tewkesbury Abbey, while several of the other English nobles were given honourable burials. The rest of the army, meanwhile, was interred in large pits.

(The earliest known artistic portrayal of the Battle of Bannockburn, from a manuscript of the fifteenth century Scotichronicon. Obviously not my picture.)

While Bruce may well have lamented Gloucester, his death also meant the loss of a hefty ransom for the Scots, but in that department at least they were generally richly rewarded, not least with the capture of the Earl of Hereford. Humphrey de Bohun was later to be exchanged, with others, for the aged yet formidable bishop of Glasgow, Robert Wishart, and several of Robert Bruce’s kinswomen, including his queen, Elizabeth de Burgh, his sister Mary, and his daughter Marjorie Bruce, all of whom had been in captivity in England since 1306. Other captives were not of such high rank, but still had their uses- for example, Robert Baston, a Carmelite friar who had apparently been brought along with Edward II’s army to compose poetry commemorating his victory over the Scots. In the event, he was captured by the Scots and in return for his release was commissioned to write poetry for them, though Baston’s poetry is less partisan than either side might have liked, and more grief-stricken than triumphant. I agree with Walter Bower in that Baston’s poem makes for interesting reading, particularly from the point of view of someone who was near the field at the time of the battle itself, so here are a few verses:

“Weeping in my tent, I lament the battles joined,
not knowing (God be my witness!) which king is to blame for them.

This is a twofold realm, where either half seeks to be master;
neither wishes to be a supplicant subjected to the other.
England and Scotland are two Pharisaic kingdoms.
This one is at the top and so is the other, lest one or the other fall.
Hence spring gaping flanks, spattered with rose-red gore,
embattled ranks, mown down with bitter anguish;
hence wasted strength, overwhelmed by Mars,
hosts engulfed while hammering out mutual conflict;
hence pallid faces, one drowned, another buried;
hence manifold mourning, a noise that mounts to the stars;
hence wars that arise and waste the resources of the land.
I cannot recount the particulars of a massacre that transcends all reckoning


All round the scene are places heaped high with spoils.
Words charged with menace are hurled back and reinforced with acts.
I know not what to say. I am reaping a harvest I did not sow. 
I renounce the trickery of guile; I cultivate the peace that is a friend of right.
Let him who cares for more assume the care of writing it.
My mind is dulled, my voice is harsh, my work totally blurred.

I am a Carmelite, surnamed Baston.   
I grieve that I am left to outlive such a carnage.”

Sixty years later, John Barbour took a rather different view of the battle in his poem ‘the Brus’, written in the days of Robert I’s grandson. His work is a romance more than history, though it provides many details for events that we cannot find elsewhere and is therefore an invaluable source, if often problematic. Thus Bannockburn is presented in triumphant terms, but is not without its chivalric episodes, as in the story Barbour tells of the Yorkshire knight Sir Marmaduke Tweng. The survivor of Stirling Bridge had similarly managed to weather Bannockburn and, by hiding his armour under a bush, somehow managed to avoid coming across any of the thousands of Scots roaming the field for much of the day. When he happened to come across the Scottish king however, he spurred his horse in Bruce’s direction and yielded to him personally. Apparently impressed by this, King Robert ensured that he was treated well, chivalrously waived Tweng’s ransom, and sent him home to England laden with gifts. 

Eventually, Stirling Castle, the source of all the troubles, surrendered to the King of Scots. It was then razed, like Edinburgh and Roxburgh, so it could not be held by the English again, but it was of course rebuilt later on, and survived to continue causing trouble across the centuries.

The Battle of Bannockburn did not end the First War of Independence. It didn’t even prevent Robert I from being faced by threats from other Scottish magnates, though it certainly did do much to bolster his position in his kingdom and rendered his rule a great deal more acceptable to many of his subjects. Even some English commentators seem to have reluctantly conceded his primacy, and Bannockburn certainly played a huge role in this- Sir Thomas Gray, for example, refers to Bruce as the king of Scotland for the first time in the paragraph immediately following his account of the battle. Edward II’s ambitions in Scotland were also massively affected, and though the English king did mount other campaigns against the Scots they were largely unsuccessful and were often less confident than even the Bannockburn campaign. Bannockburn was also a triumph for a new way of fighting, and some of the tactics used therein found their way into the style of warfare practised so expertly by the English on their French campaigns during the Hundred Years’ War, and other instances of late mediaeval warfare. Its importance in popular culture from the fourteenth century to the present day, should also not be overlooked, even if some examples are rather cringeworthy. All in all, whilst it is important to recognise that Bannockburn was not the pivotal, conflict-ending event it is often claimed to be, it is still a fascinating battle, associated with many compelling stories, and is of great historical significance, both for Scotland and Britain as a whole, which makes it well worth studying.

(Not my picture. References and notes below)

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The She Wolf of Naboo

An Anidala Queen Isabella the She Wolf AU: Mistreated by her tyrannical husband, Queen Amidala of Naboo flees to her homeland and falls in love with an exiled knight. Written for Padme Defence Squad Week Day 3: Queenhood.

Read it on AO3 here.

Author’s Note: Huge thanks to @kylorenvevo for the original prompt suggestion, and @lariren-shadow, @reylotrashcompactor, and @bruceclarkd for beta editing! I love all you ladies so much. The historical parallels are not 100%, but I tried to make them accurate and interesting. I used Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England as my reference text.

“The Queen is young and naive, my lord. She would not dare to oppose you.”

Nute Gunray, Earl of Lancaster, hoped that his words would be true. Surely a fourteen year old queen could not dare to oppose her husband, who had armies at his disposal.

“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen,” the King said, nodding at his viceroy, one of the few noble lords who remained by his side and would support him in the coming war. Even though he supported the King publicly, in private Lancaster scorned the King and wished to build his own power base. He hated the favoritism the King showed to Lord Maul, an upjumped foreigner who did whatever the King asked and flaunted his powers and wealth before the far more noble, distinguished lords who had come before him.

The Earl of Hereford was siding with the opposing lords, as were the Earls of Warwick and Surrey. Bail Organa, Earl of Pembroke, was perhaps the most dangerous of the opposition, for he had served the Crown loyally all his life and had proven himself as capable on the battlefield as abroad as a diplomat.

Pembroke also became a dear friend to the Queen, an ally and mentor.

He would have to watch them all closely, Viceroy Gunray decided. King Palpatine and Lord Maul were the future, and the lords owed their king their allegiance. Besides, the king held the treasury–and the armies.

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The Wilton House “Double Cube Room” was designed by Inigo Jones and Isaac de Caus to display a number of Van Dyck portraits. The room is 60 feet long, 30 feet wide and 30 feet high!

Wilton House is an English country house situated at Wilton near Salisbury in Wiltshire. Begun in 1632, it has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years.

pros of identifying william herbert third earl of pembroke as the fair youth and “onlie begetter” of the sonnets

  • the dedication to w.h. makes sense, more sense than if it was to say one henry wriothesley because why would they swap the initials for no reason

cons of identifying william herbert third earl of pembroke as the fair youth over henry wriothesley third earl of southampton

  • southampton is objectively hotter than herbert

Queens consort of England: Catherine of Valois

Catherine of Valois was the daughter of King Charles VI of France and Isabelle of Bavaria, daughter of Duke Stephen III of Bavaria-Ingolstadt. Catherine was born at the royal palace of the Hôtel Saint-Pol in Paris on 27 October 1401, one of eight children born of the marriage. An older sister, Isabella of Valois, had previously been married to King Richard II.

Catherine’s father, Charles VI was mentally ill, he is believed to have suffered from schizophrenia, Charles experienced delusions, believing he was made of glass or denying he had a wife and children. He ran from room to room until he collapsed from exhaustion, declaring that his enemies were upon him. Charles’ illness is believed to have been later inherited by his grandson, Henry VI of England. Charles’ ancestors were closely related. His mother, the French Princess, Joan of Bourbon (1338-1377) was slightly unstable, as were her brother, Louis, Duke of Bourbon, her father and grandfather, she suffered a complete nervous breakdown in 1373 after the birth of her seventh child.

By the time Catherine had reached the age of three, the decision was reached that for the sake of his health and dignity Charles VI should retire from public life. Catherine’s mother, Queen Isabeau, an arrogant and ruthless woman, was openly unfaithful to her father. Acquiring the assistance of her brother Louis, Duke of Bavaria and her brother-in-law Louis, Duke of Orleans, she seized control of the government of France from the rival forces of the King’s cousin John, Duke of Burgundy. Catherine and her sisters, Marie and Michelle and her brother the Dauphin Louis, were at one point carried off by the Duke of Bavaria during power struggles at the French court. Catherine’s early years were dismal and impoverished, her only education was obtained in a convent at Poissy.

King Henry V of England renewed the English claim to the French throne and invaded France. Agreement was finally reached in 1420 by the Treaty of Troyes. By its terms King Charles VI of France recognised Henry as his heir, disinheriting his own son, the Dauphin Charles and the English King married Charles’ youngest daughter, Catherine on 2nd June 1420.

Catherine travelled to England with her husband and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 23 February 1421. Henry’s brother, Thomas, Duke of Clarence was killed fighting in France at the field of Baugy. Determined to avenge his death, Henry returned to France in June 1421. Queen Catherine gave birth to a son, Henry, on 6 December 1421 at Windsor. Leaving her son in the care of his uncle, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, she joined Henry in France in May 1422, the child and his father were never to meet, Henry V contracted dysentery during the siege of Meaux and died on 31 August 1422, at the age of 34, leaving Catherine a widow. Her father King Charles VI died a few months later, leaving the infant Henry VI king of England and France.

In 1428, Henry V’s younger brother, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, concerned that a step-father of the infant king could wield too much influence, secured the passing of an act to prevent Catherine from marrying without the consent of the king and council. Now Dowager Queen, Catherine sometimes took part in state processions, contemporaries describe how often on such occasions, ‘the infant king was seated on her lap’.

Owen ap Maredudd ap Tudor, a Welshman of relatively modest background, who had entered the service of Henry V and distinguished himself at Agincourt, was appointed as keeper of the wardrobe to the twenty year old widow. By all accounts Owen was a handsome young man, the chroniclers dwell upon the beauty, at some point he became the Dowager Queen’s lover. Legend relates that Owen caught the Queen’s eye when she saw him swimming, or that he tripped and fell into her lap when dancing. The affair is thought to have started at Leeds Castle in Kent.

No documentation has survived of Catherine’s marriage to Owen Tudor in 1429. The discovery of at least three of the queen’s illegitimate children had caused scandal at the time, and was seen as an insult to the memory of the great Henry V. Owen and Catherine produced at least five children in all. Edmund, Jasper and Owen Tudor were all born away from court. Owen later became a monk. They also had two daughters, Tacinda, who married Reginald Grey, 7th Baron Grey de Wilton and Margaret who later became a nun.

In 1436, when Catherine was pregnant with her fifth child by Tudor, rumours of the Queen’s secret marriage reached the ear of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Owen Tudor was imprisoned and Catherine retired to Bermondsey Abbey, shortly after giving birth to their daughter Margaret, on 3 January 1437. Distressed and traumatised at the forced separation from her husband and children, Catherine fell gravely ill. Her son Henry VI sent her a 'tablet of gold, weighing thirteen ounces on which was a crucifix set with pearls and sapphires’ as a token of his love. Catherine died in disgrace on 3rd January 1437 and was buried in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey. Henry VI provided an altar tomb and included an inscription describing her as his father’s widow, with no reference to her second marriage.

Catherine’s will addressed to her son the King, refers in a guarded manner to an intent known only to him, 'in tender and favourable fulfilling of mine intent’ is thought to refer to her wishes regarding her children by Owen Tudor, which may have been revealed to him before her confinement in Bermondsey.

Owen Tudor was arrested soon after her death, he appeared before the Council, acquitted himself of all charges and was released. On his return journey to Wales, he was arrested again. He attempted to escape from Newgate Jail in early 1438 and was eventually moved to Windsor Castle in July of that year. Henry VI, when he came of age, 'never forgave his uncle Gloucester the harsh usage his mother had experienced’. He knighted his stepfather Owen, made him Warden of Forestries, and appointed him a Deputy Lord Lieutenant.

Owen lived on until 1461, on 2nd February 1461 he led the Lancastrian forces at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross for his step-son against Edward, Earl of March, the Yorkist claimant to the throne. The Lancastrian’s were defeated in battle and Owen was subsequently beheaded at Hereford. He was reported not to have been convinced of his impending death until the collar was ripped off his doublet by the executioner. At this point he is alleged to have said that “the head which used to lie in Queen Catherine’s lap would now lie in the executioner’s basket”. His head was set on the market cross, where a mad woman combed his hair and washed his face, setting lighted wax torches round about it.

The two eldest sons of Owen and Catherine, Edmund and Jasper, went to live with Katherine de la Pole, Abbess of Barking and sister of the Duke of Suffolk. Sometime after 1442, the king, their half-brother, took on a role in their upbringing and they were given Earldoms by Henry VI, Edmund became Earl of Richmond and married Lady Margaret Beaufort, he was to become the father of Henry VII, the founder of England’s Tudor dynasty. Jasper Tudor became Earl of Pembroke .

The wooden effigy which was carried at Catherine’s funeral still survives at Westminster Abbey and is on display in the Undercroft Museum. Her tomb was originally surmounted by an alabaster memorial, but this was destroyed during extensions to the abbey in the reign of her grandson, Henry VII. It has been said that King Henry ordered her memorial to be removed to distance himself from his illegitimate ancestry. At this time, the lid of Catherine’s coffin was accidentally raised, revealing her corpse, which for generations became a tourist attraction. In 1669 the diarist Samuel Pepys kissed the long-deceased queen on his birthday- 'On Shrove Tuesday 1669, I to the Abbey went, and by favour did see the body of Queen Catherine of Valois, and had the upper part of the body in my hands, and I did kiss her mouth, reflecting upon it I did kiss a Queen: and this my birthday and I thirty-six years old and I did kiss a Queen.'Catherine’s remains were not properly re-interred until the reign of Queen Victoria, when in 1878 her body was re-buried in Henry V’s chantry.


Highclere Castle is a country house in Hampshire, England. Highclere Castle is the country seat of the Earl of Carnarvon, the Herbert family. In 1692 Robert Swayer bequeathed a mansion at Highclere to his only daughter Margaret, the first wife of the 8th Earl of Pembroke. Their second son Robert Sawyer Herbert inherited Highclere, began its picture collection en created the garden temples. His nephew (and heir) Henry Herbert was created Baron Porchester and 1st Earl of Carnarvon by George III. Between 1839 and 1842 the house was remodeled and largely rebuilt for the 3rd Earl by Sir Charles Barry. The house is in the Jacobethan style reflecting the Victorian revival of English architecture of the late 16th and early 17th century, when Tudor architecture was being challenged by newly arrived Renaissance influences. In 1878 the interiors of Highclere Castle were complete. In 2009 the castle needed major repairs, with only the ground and first floors remaining usable. As of late 2012 the Earl and Lady Carnarvon have stated that a dramatic increase in the number of paying visitors has allowed them to begin major repairs. This increase in visitors is obviously a reaction to the major success of Downton Abbey. Highclere Castle is used as the Grantham Estate in this period drama.   

Henry Tudor, England’s new king, had led an austere life, mostly in exhile in France, where he had been brought up by his soldier uncle, Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke. Henry married Elizabeth [of York] to strenghten his own claim to the throne. The marriage was approved [and] arranged by the contracting parties’ mothers, Edward IV’s widow, Elizabeth Woodville, and Lady Margaret Beaufort, the redoubtable Countess of Richmond. Such marriages do not always turn into idylls of domestic happiness, but this one did.
—  The Sisters of Henry VIII, by Maria Perry

♔  T H E  W A R S  O F  T H E  R O S E S  ♔

1478 - 1487: THE END

England hath long been mad, and scarr’d herself;
The brother blindly shed the brother’s blood,
The father rashly slaughter’d his own son,
The son, compell’d, been butcher to the sire:
All this divided York and Lancaster,
Divided in their dire division

Richard III (5.8.3)


❁ Henry VII of England - Fled to Brittany in 1471 due to Edward IV’s restoration to the throne; was then actively promoted as the Lancastrian alternative to Richard III in 1483; defeated the Yorkists and Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485; then married Elizabeth of York, Edward IV’s daughter to add weight to his claim to the throne; defeated some of the last Yorkist resistance to Tudor rule in 1487 at the Battle of Stoke Field
❁ Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford - Uncle to Henry VII of England; fled to Brittany with other Lancastrians following the restoration of Edward IV in 1471; attainder lifted after victory at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and restored to his title as Earl of Pembroke as well as being created Duke of Bedford; married Catherine Woodville, sister to dowager queen Elizabeth Woodville and widow of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham in 1485
❁ Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset - son of Queen Elizabeth Woodville from her first marriage to John Grey of Groby; joined Buckingham’s rebellion following the usurpation of Richard III in 1483; subsequently fled to Brittany to join Henry Tudor and the Lancastrians; was then persuaded to attempt to return to England by his mother prior to Bosworth; did not take part in the overthrow of the Yorkist regime as he remained surety to the French for their loan to the Lancastrians; was then kept on a tight leash by Henry VII and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1487 during the Lambert Simnel rebellion and the Battle of Stoke Field to ensure he did not commit treason against the Tudors
❁ Edward Woodville, Lord Scales - joined Richard of Gloucester in his invasion of Scotland and was subsequently made a knight banneret by him on the 24th of July 1482; appointed admiral to a fleet of ships under the guise of repelling the French during the power struggle between Richard III and the Woodvilles; he then escaped with some of his fleet and money allegedly belonging to Richard III in 1483 and joined Henry Tudor in exile in Brittany; fought at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485; then went to Spain and fought for Ferdinand and Isabella at the siege of Loja in their crusade against the Moors; commanded light cavalry against the Lambert Simnel rebellion and played a key role at the Battle of Stoke Field 
❁ Rhys ap Thomas - refused to support Buckingham’s rebellion in 1483 and was made principal lieutenant in south west Wales by Richard III; did not surrender his son, Gruffydd ap Rhys ap Thomas, as a hostage to Richard III at Nottingham as ordered; he joined the Tudors at the Battle of Bosworth; is rumoured to have killed Richard III himself with his pollaxe; subsequently proved loyal to the Tudors by quashing several Yorkist rebellions including one at Brecon in 1486 as well as the Lambert Simnel rebellion and the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487
❁ Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby - married to Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII of England’s mother; was wounded and imprisoned following the council meeting after which William Hastings was summarily executed in 1483; flourished under Richard’s rule and was given all of his wife’s titles and possessions following her suspicion of treason and compliance in Buckingham’s rebellion; conspired with the Lancastrians prior to the Battle of Bosworth and manoeuvred himself so as to be successful and valuable for either side regardless of the outcome; decided the battle by choosing Tudor over York and subsequently crowned Henry VII on the field of battle
❁ John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford - escaped to the continent after the Battle of Barnet in an attempt to join the Lancastrians in exile in Brittany; was imprisoned before this could be so and scaled the walls of Hammes and leapt into the moat in an attempt to escape or suicide; was ordered transferred to England on 28 October 1484, but escaped before the transfer could be effected, having persuaded the captain of Hammes, Sir James Blount, to go with him to join the Lancastrians; was principal commander at the Battle of Bosworth where he commanded the archers and held the vanguard; following the beginning of the Tudor dynasty his attainder was removed and he gained several important offices in the new government; he also commanded the vanguard at the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487
❁ Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham - was married to Queen Elizabeth Woodville’s sister, Catherine; he was instrumental in Richard III’s rise to power and took possession of Edward V at Stony Stratford in April 1483; through his loyalty to Richard he gained the Bohun estates and much more power than had he chosen the Woodvilles; rebelled against Richard III in 1483 with John Morton, Bishop of Ely and proposed that Henry Tudor return from exile and take the throne; the rebellion was thwarted by poor weather and he attempted to escape in disguise following his failure; publicly beheaded at Salisbury on the 2nd of November 1483 on the orders of Richard III


♔ Buckingham’s rebellion - 24th of September 1483
♔ Battle of Bosworth Field - 22nd of August 1485
♔ Battle of Stoke Field - 16th of June 1487


Queens consort of England - Margaret of France

Margaret of France (1157 – aft. 10 September 1197) was, by her two marriages, queen of England, Hungary and Croatia.She was the eldest daughter of Louis VII of France by his second wife Constance of Castile. Her older half-sisters, Marie and Alix, were also older half-sisters of her future husband.

She was betrothed to Henry the Young King on 2 November 1160. Henry was the second of five sons born to King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was five years old at the time of this agreement while Margaret was three. Margaret’s dowrywas the vital and much disputed territory of the Vexin.

Her husband became co-ruler with his father in 1170. Because Archbishop Thomas Becket was in exile, Margaret was not crowned along with her husband on 14 July 1170. This omission and the coronation being handled by a surrogate greatly angered her father. To please the French King, Henry II had his son and Margaret crowned together in Winchester Cathedral on 27 August 1172.When Margaret became pregnant, she did her confinement period in Paris, where she gave birth prematurely to their only son William on 19 June 1177, who died three days later on 22 June.

She was accused in 1182 of having a love affair with William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, although contemporary chroniclers doubted the truth of these accusations. Henry may have started the process to have their marriage annulled, ostensibly due to her adultery but in reality because she could not conceive an heir. Margaret was sent back to France, according to E. Hallam (The Plantagenets) and Amy Kelly (Eleonore of Aquitaine and the Four Kings), to ensure her safety during the civil war with Young Henry’s brother Richard. Her husband died in 1183 while on campaign in the Dordogne region of France. By virtue of her marriage to Young King Henry, duke of Anjou, she was installed as the duchess. The coronet he and she would have worn was chronicled in about 1218 as “the traditional ring-of-roses coronet of the house of Anjou”.Margaret may have taken her coronet to Hungary in 1186 on becoming Queen Consort to King Bela III. A “ring-of-roses coronet was discovered in a convent grave in Budapest in 1838, which may be the same one.

After receiving a substantial pension in exchange for surrendering her dowry of Gisors and the Vexin, she became the second wife of Béla III of Hungary in 1186. The difficult delivery of her only known child in 1177 seems to have rendered her sterile, as she had no further children.

She was widowed for a second time in 1196 and died on pilgrimage to the Holy Land at St John of Acre in 1197, having only arrived eight days prior to her death.She was buried at the Cathedral of Tyre, according to Ernoul, the chronicler who continued the chronicles of William of Tyre.

The Battle of Bannockburn (24 June 1314) was a significant Scottish victory in the First War of Scottish Independence, and a landmark in Scottish history.

Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress, occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. The English king, Edward II, assembled a formidable force to relieve it. This attempt failed, and his army was defeated in a pitched battle by a smaller army commanded by the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce.

On 23 June 1314 two of the English cavalry formations advanced, the first commanded by the Earl of Gloucester and the Earl of Hereford.They encountered a body of Scots, among them Robert the Bruce himself. A celebrated single combat then took place between Bruce and Henry de Bohun who was the nephew of the Earl of Hereford. Bohun charged at Bruce and when the two passed side by side, Bruce split Bohun’s head with his axe. The Scots then rushed upon the English under Gloucester and Hereford who struggled back over the Bannockburn.

The second English cavalry force was commanded by Robert Clifford and Henry de Beaumont and included Sir Thomas de Grey of Heaton, father of the chronicler Thomas Grey whose account of events follows;

Robert Lord de Clifford and Henry de Beaumont, with three hundred men-at-arms, made a circuit upon the other side of the wood towards the castle, keeping the open ground. Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, Robert de Brus’s nephew, who was leader of the Scottish advanced guard, hearing that his uncle had repulsed the advanced guard of the English on the other side of the wood, thought that he must have his share, and issuing from the wood with his division marched across the open ground towards the two afore-named lords.

Sir Henry de Beaumont called to his men: "Let us wait a little; let them come on; give them room”
“Sir,” said Sir Thomas Gray, “I doubt that whatever you give them now, they will have all too soon”
“Very well” exclaimed the said Henry, if you are afraid, be off"
“Sir,” answered the said Thomas, “it is not from fear that I shall fly this day.”

So saying he spurred in between Beaumont and Sir William Deyncourt, and charged into the thick of the enemy. William was killed, Thomas was taken prisoner, his horse being killed on the pikes, and he himself carried off with the Scots on foot when they marched off, having utterly routed the squadron of the said two lords. Some of the English fled to the castle, others to the king’s army, which having already left the road through the wood had debouched upon a plain near the water of Forth beyond Bannockburn, an evil, deep, wet marsh, where the said English army unharnessed and remained all night, having sadly lost confidence and being too much disaffected by the events of the day.

Under nightfall the English forces crossed the stream that is known as the Bannock Burn, establishing their position on the plain beyond it.  A Scottish knight, Alexander Seton, who was fighting in the service of Edward II of England, deserted the English camp and told Bruce of the low English morale, encouraging Bruce to attack them. In the morning the Scots then advanced from New Park.

Not long after daybreak, the Scots spearmen began to move towards the English. Edward was surprised to see Robert’s army emerge from the cover of the woods. As Bruce’s army drew nearer, they paused and knelt in prayer. Edward is supposed to have said in surprise "They pray for mercy!” “For mercy, yes,” one of his attendants replied, “But from God, not you. These men will conquer or die." The English responded to the Scots advance with a charge of their own, led by the Earl of Gloucester. Gloucester had argued with the Earl of Hereford over who should lead the vanguard into battle, and argued with the king that the battle should be postponed. This led the king to accuse him of cowardice, which perhaps goaded Gloucester into the charge. Few accompanied Gloucester in his charge and when he reached the Scottish lines he was quickly surrounded and killed. Gradually the English were pushed back and ground down by the Scots’ schiltrons. The English longbowmen attempted to support the advance of the knights but were ordered to stop shooting, as they were causing casualties among their own. An attempt to employ the English and Welsh longbowmen to shoot at the advancing Scots from their flank failed when they were dispersed by 500 Scottish cavalry under the Marischal Sir Robert Keith. Although sometimes described as light cavalry, this appears to be a misinterpretation of Barbour’s statement that these were men-at arms on lighter horses than their English counterparts. The English cavalry was hemmed in making it difficult for them to manoeuvre. As a result, the English were unable to hold their formations and broke ranks. It soon became clear to Aymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke and Giles d'Argentan (reputedly the third best knight in Europe) that the English had lost and Edward II needed to be led to safety at all costs, so, seizing his horse’s reins, dragged him away, and were closely followed by five hundred knights of the royal bodyguard. Once they were clear of the battle d'Argentan turned to the king, said ”Sire, your protection was committed to me, but since you are safely on your way, I will bid you farewell for never yet have I fled from a battle, nor will I now.“ and turned his horse to charge back into the ranks of Scottish where he was overborne and slain.  Edward fled with his personal bodyguard, ending the remaining order in the army; panic spread and defeat turned into a rout. He arrived eventually at Dunbar Castle, from which he took ship to Berwick. From the carnage of Bannockburn, the rest of the army tried to escape to the safety of the English border, ninety miles to the south. Many were killed by the pursuing Scottish army or by the inhabitants of the countryside that they passed through. Historian Peter Reese says that, "only one sizeable group of men—all footsoldiers—made good their escape to England." These were a force of Welsh spearmen who were kept together by their commander, Sir Maurice de Berkeley, and the majority of them reached Carlisle. Weighing up the available evidence, Reese concludes that "it seems doubtful if even a third of the footsoldiers returned to England." Out of 16,000 infantrymen, this would give a total of about 11,000 killed. The English chronicler Thomas Walsingham gave the number of English men-at-arms who were killed as 700, while 500 more men-at-arms were spared for ransom. The Scottish losses appear to have been comparatively light, with only two knights among those killed.

The defeat of the English opened up the north of England to Scottish raids and allowed the Scottish invasion of Ireland. These finally led, after the failure of the Declaration of Arbroath to reach this end by diplomatic means, to the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton. Under the treaty the English Crown recognise the full independence of the Kingdom of Scotland, and acknowledge Robert the Bruce, and his heirs and successors, as the rightful rulers.

It was not until 1332 that the Second War of Scottish Independence began with the Battle of Dupplin Moor, followed by the Battle of Halidon Hill (1333) which were won by the English.

Princess Sophia of Bohemia (1630-1714), mother of George I as a shepherdess, Honthorst, Gerrit van (1590-1656) / Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wilts. / The Bridgeman Art Library