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 Edward II and the real world

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Paul



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PostSubject: Edward II and the real world   Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:49 pm

I wonder how Edward saw his reign developing as events headed toward 1327? Was he going to grow old while Hugh dealt with the boring Kingly duties while he was off thatching, rowing, building walls, etc? Was he concerned about the ill feeling towards him with both noble and commoner due to Hugh's grasping ways, did he realise he was becoming more unpopular but not care or was he shut off in an ivory tower unaware of quite how bad things had become? I know when Isa invaded he attempted to raise support but was unable to do so, I'd love to know if it came as a shock to him that nobody rallied behind his cause.

I imagine that he CAN'T have realised how bad things had got, that he was happy for Hugh to take the things he didn't enjoy doing off his hands, little realising (or caring) that the nobles were incensed, the common people didn't care about him and his wife had grown to despise him. The fact that he let Isa go to France then let his son follow strikes me as being either naive or arrogant that he never dreamed they would come back to challenge his crown. I suppose hindsight is a wonderful things and Kings had never before been deposed as he eventually was, at least not since the Norman Conquest.
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:31 pm

That's a fascinating question. I tend to think that Ed wasn't really that aware of how unpopular he was. As Hugh was his chamberlain and controlled access to him - in person and in writing - he could keep Ed from hearing anything he didn't want him to hear. I bet his lack of support in the autumn of 1326 came as something of a shock.

Ed's decision to send his son to France in Sept 1325 seems incredibly foolishwith hindsight, but he really had no other choice. He had to pay homage to Charles IV for Gascony, as otherwise it would be forfeit to the French king. He couldn't leave Hugh alone in England, as someone would have killed him in about 2 minutes, as happened to Gaveston in 1312 as soon as he was away from Edward. He couldn't take Hugh with him, as Hugh was hated in France (because of his piracy in 1321) and it was said that if he set foot in France, he'd be arrested and tortured. And he couldn't lose Gascony. So sending his son to pay homage on his behalf was his only real option. Of course he only had himself to blame for the fact that Hugh was so hated. But sending his son, even though I think he was aware of the danger, seemed the least of all evils.

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Paul



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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:15 pm

It does make you wonder that when it was a (too simply put I know) choice of putting Hugh at risk or putting his crown at risk he chose the latter.
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:47 pm

It is very interesting for us to see that is appears like a choice between Hugh and Edward's crown. I think he had no choice and had painted himself into a corner that he didn't know how to get out of. I don't imagine he saw the attack by Isa and Mortimer coming...do you? Or perhaps by the time it came it was too late to do anything about it. As we know hindsight is 20/20!
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:11 pm

No, I imagine he felt fairly secure and agree with Alianore that Hugh had probably sheltered him from the true feelings of the people.

I wonder if his feelings towards the man he had entrusted to run things changed when he found it impossible to drum up any support then eventually lost his crown (not to mention his life). I'm sure when he was told how Hugh was executed peoples attitudes must have started getting through to him.
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:48 pm

Hoped that all this new evidence piling up on king Edward's survival at least shaked (if not altered) your conviction, Paul!
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Sat Nov 03, 2007 2:47 am

I am very keen to read about the Earl of Kent's plot, there was always a little part of me that hoped he survived so I wouldn't say it was a conviction. I'm still leaning towards the thought that he died in 1327.

Still wish I could go back in time and give him a good shaking and say "GET RID OF HUGH HE'S GOING TO GET YOU KILLED MAN!". I'm sure Isabella and others had similar thoughts at some stage.
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:42 pm

"GET RID OF HUGH HE'S GOING TO GET YOU KILLED MAN!"

LOL, I've been giggling about that since I read it. Wink I wonder, even in the autumn of 1326 when it must have become blindingly obvious that most of his allies were deserting him, when he was wondering around South Wales with a handful of men, whether Edward ever thought "Hmmm, wonder if taking up with Hugh was a bad idea?"

Would love to know if he regretted it, or if he ever thought about sending Hugh away from him and trying to make peace with Isabella (before October/November 1326, that is - much too late then)

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Paul



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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:31 pm

I suppose it depends how keen the King of France and Isabella's other allies were on getting rid of Edward? I'm sure it was a costly move providing troops, supplies, etc and by no means assured of success. I would've thought had a contrite Edward got rid of Hugh, appealed to save his marriage then some of Isa's support may have disappeared.

Mind you he had banished favourites and brought them back shortly afterwards all through his reign so how would he have ever been believed?
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:48 pm

Interesting point! I wonder what would have happened to Isa and Mort's support if Ed had sent Hugh away. Certainly, Isa and Mort themselves had gone far too far to back out - for example, Isa betrothing the future Ed III to Philippa of Hainault without Ed's consent or permission, which she had no right to do. But honestly, I don't think it would have made much difference AFTER the invasion, and everyone knew by then that Ed II would always have favourites and that they'd always have an enormous influence on him. Even with Hugh gone (presumably dead, as he'd never have gone away into exile of his own accord) Ed's enemies could only assume that within a year or two, he'd have another favourite.

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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Paul



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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:59 pm

I just think that the religious conventions of the day would make it difficult to stage an invasion supporting a Queen and her lover against a King making moves towards reconciliation. Didn't you usually look to get some sort of papal backing before invading and ousting the ruler "annointed by God"?
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:12 am

Some of the English bishops were uneasy about Isabella's relationship with Mortimer, and around Christmas 1326, when Ed II was being held at Kenilworth, suggested that Isabella should go back to her husband. However, Isabella and Mortimer's ally the bishop of Hereford claimed publicly that Isabella's life was in danger from Ed II - almost certainly a lie. If Isabella's life was in danger from anyone, it was Mortimer, who threatened to kill her 'with a knife or in some other way' when she suggested that she might go back to Edward, sometime in the spring or early summer of 1326.

Pope John XXII spent much of 1326 trying to effect a reconciliation between Ed and Isa, and sent nuncios into England.

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:30 pm

I'm not a huge fan of Mortimer but can imagine he had cause to worry, if Isabella went back to Edward it would have been the end for him. Her life probably wasn't in danger from Edward but I'm sure there would've been a small damp room in a Nunnery with her name on the door.

Where was Edward III for most of the time between 1327 and 1330?
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Wed Nov 07, 2007 7:43 pm

Yes, his invasion would never have come to anything without her, or more importantly, her son.

Edward III was all over the country in those years - as with all kings, he travelled a heck of a lot. So always at court, always visible, just powerless!

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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Paul



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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:29 pm

....no doubt standing in the background looking maliciously at the back of Mortimer's head whispering "you'll get yours pal" under his breath....

It is odd that people of that reign in particular seem so short sighted and sure of their power that they never imagined that things would all end so badly.

* Edward, amongst other things, during the coronation and marriage went out of his way to insult Isabella and her family showering Piers with gifts and affection. Not the best start to a marriage that would end about as badly as it ever possibly could for a King.

* Piers insulted and showed contempt towards the Earls who would later kill him.

* the Earl of Lancaster forever alienated Edward after having Piers killed and would end up executed.

* Hugh, say no more.

* Mortimer, had Hugh killed then made every mistake Hugh had already made, disrespecting the rightful King in the process = executed also.

Edward III must have had a great deal going for him as it is a common theme with those listed above that no matter how much they despised whoever was ruling at the time they could all manage to do a worse job themselves when they took control. Edward III's successor didn't fare too well either!
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Sat Nov 10, 2007 4:18 pm

LOL, yeah, staring at Mortimer and muttering 'just you wait, pal...' Wink

It's notable that everyone who took power in this period was every bit as incompetent and/or greedy as the ones they replaced - the earl of Lancaster (who was the de facto ruler of England after Bannockburn to 1316), Hugh Despenser, and Isabella and Mortimer. The whole country must have breathed a sigh of relief when Ed III took over the government and proved to be very competent!

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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Melisende

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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:17 pm

"It's notable that everyone who took power in this period was every bit as incompetent and/or greedy as the ones they replaced - the earl of Lancaster (who was the de facto ruler of England after Bannockburn to 1316), Hugh Despenser, and Isabella and Mortimer. The whole country must have breathed a sigh of relief when Ed III took over the government and proved to be very competent!"


That is a very accurate observation - but surely with hindsight - even back then - that someone would have undoubtedly learned from the mistakes of their predecessor. Or does ego figure quite too blatantly. A definite case of too much power going straight to the head.
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Alianore
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:30 pm

Good point, Melisende. You'd think people would have had the sense to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors, but that doesn't seem to have been the case - with the notable exception of Edward III.

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:53 pm

Paul wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of Mortimer but can imagine he had cause to worry, if Isabella went back to Edward it would have been the end for him. Her life probably wasn't in danger from Edward but I'm sure there would've been a small damp room in a Nunnery with her name on the door.

Yep, pretty much. Roger Mortimer had nothing to lose -- his lands were forfeit, his life was forfeit, his wife and children were prisoners -- but Isabella had EVERYTHING to lose. She was his last big chance to get revenge on everyone who'd ever wronged him, and when she got cold feet it's no surprise Mortimer did everything possible, up to and including threatening her life, to keep her with him. It disturbed me when Ian Mortimer exalted that threat as proof of Mortimer's love for Isabella in Greatest Traitor; threatening to kill Isabella isn't evidence of passionate love, it's the words of a desperate and angry man!

My personal hunch, which I admit is based on no real evidence, is that Isabella and Roger didn't sit down and plan out all this craziness right away. After his escape from England, I think Roger was hunting around for an opportunity to get his position reinstated and get revenge on his enemies, and Isabella wanted pretty much the same. They were both frustrated, lonely, self-righteous and had the same goals. And then with every success their confidence grew, until it seemed perfectly natural to invade England and gruesomely kill anyone who'd ever looked at them funny, and rule the country as "king" and queen.
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:42 pm

Isabella was a means to an end for Mortimer - and vice versa.

He hoped to regain his lands with the removal of Edward II (and the Hugh's) and Isabella hoped to regain her lost status with the assistance of Mortimer.

Mayhap Isabella was vulnerable - having been frustrated and neglected by her husband, the attentions of a "manly man" must have made for a change and would not have been wholly unwelcome - how far it went is speculative.
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elflady

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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:42 pm

Personally, I do believe that there was real passion between the two of them, apart from the "let's fight together" thing.

Revenge? In several years of government there were no more than 4 or 5 executions (and people who really were guilty), which is semnifcative for the period! Kill anyone who looked funny at them??? Remember that after the barons' revolt in 1322, the retaliation included more than one hundred dead! So where does this leave them by comparison in terms of revenge? Besides, if they hated the king so much, they would've actually killed him, no matter the risk involved, but they didn't!
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:07 am

elflady wrote:
Personally, I do believe that there was real passion between the two of them, apart from the "let's fight together" thing.

Revenge? In several years of government there were no more than 4 or 5 executions (and people who really were guilty), which is semnifcative for the period! Kill anyone who looked funny at them??? Remember that after the barons' revolt in 1322, the retaliation included more than one hundred dead! So where does this leave them by comparison in terms of revenge? Besides, if they hated the king so much, they would've actually killed him, no matter the risk involved, but they didn't!

Ah, the old 'Edward escaped and lived' argument. Look, you cannot convince me that Roger Mortimer let him live. Simply can't be done. Edward alive and free was far too dangerous. Mortimer was an intelligent and cunning individual and he knew Edward well. He threw Edward in that cell and had him whacked as soon as possible.

All the "evidence" pointing to Edward surviving seems to me to be your usual conspiracy theories. People don't want to think about him dying horribly. They prefer to imagine that he escaped and got to live out his life somewhere.
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:20 am

There weren't over 100 executions in 1322! A couple of dozen men were executed. Counting men killed at the battle of Boroughbridge, then yes, there were over a hundred.

I wonder what Simon of Reading, Thomas de Micheldever and John Daniel were guilty of? Isabella and Roger Mortimer 'executed' them without a trial. I doubt many people at the time even knew who they were! And the earl of Arundel? What precisely was he guilty of that required execution without a trial, other than being an ally of Edward II and the Despensers?

Mipp: have you read Ian Mortimer's work on this? I've written a few posts about it all on the blog. It's more than a conspiracy theory. If you strongly believe Ed II died in 1327, fair enough - most people do - but there's too much evidence to be dismissed out of hand. By late 1329, England was awash with rumours that Edward was alive (that's stated in 2 contemp chronicles) and people were being prosecuted for saying that he was alive. The archbishop of York wrote in a letter of 1329 or 1330 that Edward was "alive, and in good health of body".

Edward's possible survival isn't just something people have plucked out of the air because they like conspiracy theories or because they don't like the thought of him being murdered. Many of his contemps believed it too. OK, maybe they were all wrong. Maybe anyone who believes it now is wrong. But there are reasons why his alleged survival is put forth as a possibility.

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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:25 pm

OK, I suppose the others were 'collateral losses', as they say in the army. But even so, four more compared to a couple of dozens and York looking like a cemetery or a city of ghosts!

The argument about Edward's survival is not a mere conspiracy theory, since it is based on facts. There is written evidence and even more circumstantial proof to sustain it. People usually say Kent was a fool for believing the ex-king still alive, but was Melton a fool too, or the Pope himself?
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PostSubject: Re: Edward II and the real world   Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:32 pm

But the men executed in 1322 took up arms against the king. They weren't executed for fun. And 10 men were executed in York, so that's hardly a cemetery. Yes, it was Edward's 'retaliation' for the Despensers' exile, but the Marcher lords had a choice as to whether they took up arms against him or not.

And Elflady's right - there is written evidence that Ed was alive after 1327, that many people including the archbishop of York believed he was, so it's far more than a conspiracy theory.

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