Endless List of Historical Figures:Ermengarde de Beaumont, Queen Consort of Scotland (c. 1170-1233)
Like most women of the time, not much solid information is known of my girl Ermengarde de Beaumont (flashback to the core of some deeply ingrained sexism) but I love her anyways. So here’s the downlow: she was the child of a lowly viscount with an important(ish) grandma - an illegitimate daughter of the first King Henry of England. On paper she didn’t amount to much, so no surprise when the oh-so-mighty William the Lion, aka King of Scots, wasn’t impressed and considered her a person beneath his status. But he had little choice in marrying her, for he fucked up in a battle over - what else - land lust and had been captured by King Henry’s troops. To regain his kingdom, William had to sign a treaty which not only made him acknowledge Henry as his feudal superior, among other things, but also let him choose out his own bride for William. As most men were (and are) sore losers, he was a bit of whiny baby about the whole thing so Henry gave him a bottle - the English king would pay for the entire wedding, give him valued land, and return all the castles he had acquired through his original capture of the proud scotsman. With a grumble (probably), William shut up and married my homegirl.
Some real cinderella-like shit happened, and the unlikely couple ended up being a love-match. The much older William had many lovers before this marriage (thus many illegitimate children) but he dropped them all like last weeks news after marrying Ermengarde. He was reportedly never unfaithful to her after their wedding. But she wasn’t an idle queen, not only did she have and raise four children, in Williams later years Ermengarde took over lots of his old duties - she had been recorded taking part in an incredibly complex court case and also wielded considerable influence in public affairs. They say behind every great man is an even greater woman. As the chronicler Walter Bower had described, she was ‘an extraordinary woman, gifted with a charming and witty eloquence.’
October 11th 1297 a letter from Wallace and Moray to the mayors of Lübeck and Hamburg was drawn up, saying that “The Kingdom of Scotland has, by God’s Grace, recovered by battle from the power of the English”.
This is a remarkable piece of history, and I am honoured to have seen it in person when it was on loan to Scotland a few years ago.
The Lübeck letter was first discovered preserved in the Lübeck archives in the 1820s. It was often mentioned in books thereafter. In 1942, Lübeck, on the Baltic coast of Germany, was attacked by Allied aircraft. As a result, the town’s archives, including the letter, were moved to a saltmine for safety. At the end of the war, the Soviet army took the papers east. The archives were later handed over to the archive administration of East Germany, but the medieval documents were not among the records. It was assumed that they had been lost.
In the 1970s Lübeck documents were found in the archives of the USSR. In 1990, after some negotiation, the town’s medieval records, including Wallace and Murray’s letter, were returned to Lübeck where they remain today.
There have been calls for the letter to be returned to Scotland, whereas it would be nice to have it to display in one of our museums I think it is as a piece of Lübeck’s history as ours, and also as recipients of the letter it is rightfully there property.
Originally, there were two letters; one to Lübeck and one to Hamburg. The contents were identical and the letters were scribed within a month of the Scots’ success at Stirling Bridge.
The translated letter reads……
“Andrew de Murray and William Wallace, leaders of the army of the kingdom of Scotland, and the community of the same kingdom, to their worthy, discreet and beloved friends the mayors and communes of Lübeck and Hamburg, greeting, and increase always of sincere friendship.
It has been intimated to us by trustworthy merchants of the said kingdom of Scotland that you by your own goodwill are giving counsel, help and favour in all causes and business concerning us and our merchants, although our merits had not deserved this, and therefore all the more are we bound to you to give you thanks and a worthy recompense, to do which we are willing to be obliged to you; and we ask you that you will make it be proclaimed amongst your merchants that they can have secure access to all ports of the kingdom of Scotland with their merchandise since the kingdom of Scotland, thanks be to God, has by arms been recovered from the power of the English. Farewell.
Given at Haddington in Scotland on the 11th day of October in the year of grace one thousand two hundred and ninety seven.
We request moreover that you will see fit to forward the business of John Burnet and John Frere, our merchants, just as you wish us to forward the business of your merchants. Farewell. Given as before.”
Significantly, the letter carries the only known impression of William Wallace’s personal seal, which shows the Scottish Lion Rampant on the front and on the reverse, a strung bow with a protruding arrow. The inscription appears to read ‘William, son of Alan Wallace’, which is interesting in relation to determining just who Wallace was exactly. An Aleyn Waleys – described as ‘tenant le Roi du counte de Are’ – signed the 1296 ‘Ragman Roll’ and he is quite possibly William Wallace’s father.
Another thing about the letter is the fact that Moray is involved with it, Andrew de Moray was, in the North of Scotland every bit as important as Wallace, history tells us that he was wounded at Stirling Bridge and died of his wounds in November so how involved in this was he?, if I had a time machine I would use it to learn more about Wallace and Moray.
Extremely rare gold Unicorn of James III, struck in Edinburgh, Scotland c. 1484-88
The gold Unicorn was introduced during the latter part of his reign, although the king’s titles and name are absent from the coins of this issue, their place held by a repeated Latin legend, EXURGAT DEUS ET DISSIPENTUR INIMICI EIUS, translating to mean “Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered” (Psalm 68:1). Both the legend and the absence of the royal name may be explained, in part, because of the political rivalries of the day, for James as a young king (age 9 when coronated) exhibited immaturities which caused his alienation from the nobility who surrounded him. He was born during May of 1452. His mother, Mary of Gueldes, commanded his kingdom until she died in 1463. He was never popular among his subjects, and most of his nobles despised him as weak and disaffected. He was much alone. At age 18, he married Margaret of Denmark, through whose dowry Denmark ceded the Orkney and Shetland islands to Scotland.
Despite this marriage, he was effete and preferred his boyfriend, John Ramsey, to his wife, which enraged his nobles. He treated his brothers poorly and was incessantly threatened by Edward IV of England, who had allied himself with one of James’s brothers and invaded his land twice. At age 36, he was either murdered or died at the end of a battle of rebellion led by his nobles, who had championed and then selected as monarch his eldest son, Prince James.
Impure as these players upon the royal stage may have been, James’s Unicorn was nearly pure gold (22.5 ct) and in the next two reigns the coin became the principal gold issue, trusted and valued as being of high gold content. This piece was struck at Edinburgh, depicts the mythical beast supporting the royal shield showing a lion rampant on it, and a large annulet appears before the unicorn’s rear hooves. James Stewart may have been less than regal in real life but his golden Unicorn has continued to be one of the most prized of all Scottish coins.
Brass Book Stamp from Scotland dated to the Early 17th Century on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh
The stamp bears the motto In Defence, Iacobus Rex with the chained Unicorns and Lion rampant, the symbols of the Scottish monarchy. The English court was more formal than the Scottish, and after 1603 King James VI/I also adopted the French and Latin mottoes used by the English Monarchy.
So we had 3 shows this weekend and these stupid kids in the ensemble decided to say the m-word at least 50 times per show. During the first show we had:
•a girl crack her phone
•a girl lose part of her costume
•and a guy lost his voice
•the mics were not working
•guy’s voice is still gone
•another girl can’t find her pants
•main character can’t find one of her costumes
•I forgot my hat
•a main character went on stage without pants
•the tech people didn’t open the mid-stage-traveler on time for 3 scenes
I think that, after seeing the stinger at the end and episode 10′s promo, we can safely assume that Hydra wants Fitz.
Now, while I’m terrified for my little Scottish Lion, this presents a very interesting situation in terms of Fitzsimmons.
Throughout this entire season, I’ve seen so many people begging to see Jemma fight for Fitz. To have to struggle to be with him. To throw herself in front of him like he’s been doing every damn episode since season 1. And I think that this plot might open the way for that to happen.
Think about it, in the promo we see a shot of Ward followed quickly by a shot of Fitzsimmons. I think it’s more than plausible that Fitz would willingly give himself up to Hydra in exchange for Jemma going free.
So, he goes with them, leaving Jemma behind.
And then what.
Jemma is left alone at best freaking out because Fitz once again threw himself in harms way to save her. Faced with the fact that he could very well die by Hydra’s hands, I want to see Jemma rise up and fight to get him back. Fight not only for her best friend, but because she’s in love with him.