Edward II

A forum to discuss the reign of Edward II and 14th century history
 
HomePortalFAQRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2  Next
AuthorMessage
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:19 pm

This is an account of my recent visit to Warwickshire to find the monument which marks the site of the murder of Piers Gaveston.


I first tried searching for this elusive cross when I visited Warwick Castle in the late 80’s with my parents. I managed to find out it was in Leek Wooten and foolishly assumed it would be a monument on view. How very wrong I was. In all, I made 3 attempts to find the cross in the 1980’s on 3 visits to Warwick, and had given up. It didn’t help that anyone at Warwick didn’t know anything about it. This year, I decided to have a short break in Stratford, and was determined to find the elusive cross. I felt hopeful, as it was even marked on local maps of Warwick.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:21 pm

First problem, I didn’t have my car. Then, in Stratford tourist office, no one had heard of the monument still. In Warwick, a lady there confirmed she had heard of it, but had no idea where it was – except it was near Leek Wooten and gave me a bus timetable. A friend of mine had decided to come to Stratford with me – and she had no interest in history at all. Her interest was stoked, (thank goodness!) because no one seemed to have heard of this monument.

We caught the bus to Leek Wooten, and the driver was amazed that we wanted to get off there. To say it’s a tiny hamlet is an understatement. I felt a little hopeful because we had passed street road signs with ‘Gaveston’ and ‘Piers’ in them. We walked the length of Leek Wooten in under 5 mins, and could not make head nor tail of the map. No signs for the monument, and no mention of Blacklow Hill. Then we came across a postman, and at last! – someone who knew what I was on about! Yes, he knew about ‘the old monument’, but his memory was a little rusty as to how to get to it. He gave us some directions, but warned us that a local farmer had fenced off his land, and we’d find it difficult to get to the cross. We had to trudge across a field, which he warned us would be muddy, and then we’d come to a ‘gate’ which sealed off the land. We followed his advice, and I was heartened to find a house with the name ‘Gaveston Lodge’. We got to the end of a row of newly built houses, and found a field! Gazing along the field, we couldn’t see anything that resembled a hill or a monument.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:21 pm

We then decided to knock on a local’s door. A young girl answered, and we made our quest known. She knew of ‘the old monument’! She’d last been there a year ago, and said the local kids hung around there. Only problem was, she couldn’t quite remember how to tell us to get there. We had to go across the field – not along it - and we’d come to a fence which the farmer had put up. I asked if we’d be able to see it from the field, to which she replied ‘not a chance’. We decided to try – and realised the difficulty as we set out across the field – the monument is hidden not high on a hill, but in a small wood! Why the 2 locals neglected to tell us this, I don’t know! No wonder it was so difficult to find. My heart sank – how on earth would we find it? There was a wire fence alongside of the field, with several parts of it damaged, so we could get into the wood – but where to start? I admit I felt really downhearted – but not ‘Katerina’, who was determined to find it. We walked alongside the field, and Katerina made a decision to enter the wood at one of the broken parts of the fence. ‘Come on, we might as well try this part’. We climbed over the broken fence – what made her choose that particular broken part, I don’t know. I envisaged us spending hours in the wood, Katerina getting fed up and giving up.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:22 pm

I cannot believe our luck! Within 30 seconds of entering that wood, I SAW the Gaveston Cross! Katerina didn’t see it, but then she didn’t know what she was looking for, but I spotted it straight away. No pathway led to it, it was dwarfed by the trees, but I could see it! We raced over to it, and on the far side, is the awful inscription, which leads to a sheer drop – this was ‘Blacklow Hill’ – and the direction Piers would have taken.

The monument was really tall, with a set of uneven steps which we managed to climb a little. It was covered in moss, and, unfortunately, kids had carved their names and initials into it. It was obviously a place kids hung out at in the evenings. It’s a fine monument, and would be easily spotted on a street – but tucked away in the middle of a wood, with no footpath, no sign even, it was neglected, with locals knowing it only as ‘the old monument’.

Must admit, I felt quite emotional seeing it, and even Katerina said she was disgusted that such a superb looking monument was hidden away.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:23 pm

If anyone reading this account would like to visit the monument, I wish you the best of luck finding it – because I, like the locals, just know it’s in the woods alongside of a local farmer’s field.

Legend has it that at certain times, bells can be heard – the bells belong to the horse on which Gaveston was placed to take him to Blacklow Hill. I don’t think Lancaster would have made him walk – it’s too far from the cowardly Warwick’s land to make him walk – it would have taken too long, and I have the feeling they wanted it over as soon as possible. Another legend says that on the far side of the monument, where the drop is, ie, at the foot of Blacklow Hill, voices are often heard – men’s and women’s – that formed part of the procession that Piers took.

I also visited Warwick Castle, and paid a visit to the dungeon. The dungeon is in Caesar’s tower, and I asked the guide if it was the ‘original’ dungeon. I was told it was – with the top part for the well off prisoners, and the below ground the dungeon for the peasants. I wonder, in which part of the dungeon Piers was kept? He should have been kept in the upper part, but with Warwick and Lancaster thirsting for his blood and seeking to humiliate him, maybe they kept him in the lower part?

Warwick suffered a fire, and a major part of the castle burned down, was knocked down, and rebuilt – but part of the great hall remains, and this is where Piers was probably put ‘on trial’ by the nobles.

A local pub in Southam is called ‘The Black Hound’, and for it’s sign, it has 2 knights, one be-headed – symbolising Guy, Earl of Warwick, and Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall. I think Piers would appreciate that jocolor
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Alianore
Admin
avatar

Number of posts : 168
Age : 45
Location : NRW, Germany
Registration date : 2007-09-30

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:57 pm

Thanks for sharing the story with us, Anerje! I really wish I'd been there with you and your friend. Crying or Very sad

I'm glad to hear that Piers is remembered in street, pub and house names. Actually, that makes me very happy... bounce But I can't believe how difficult the monument is to find! I'm so glad you persevered! It is pretty disgusting that it's so neglected. I really hope the local authorities decide to do something to take care of the cross, and to promote it - judging by the number of people who hit my blog and website searching for Piers, as far away as South America, he's very popular and well-known. I'm sure they'd get quite a few visitors.

I agree they probably put Piers on a horse to take him there from Warwick. Most likely a poor, mangy horse, like the one Ed II forced Lancaster to ride to his execution on - in fact, that's almost proof that Piers had to ride to his death - as Ed seems to have arranged Lancaster's execution as a parody of Piers'. Weird about the bells and voices - it would me probably freak me out if I heard them! What a Face

_________________
"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
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://edwardthesecond.com/
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:34 pm

Yes, the fact that Ed made Lancaster ride a mangy horse suggests Piers did ride one to his murder - and there is a mention of Warwick placing him on a mangy horse once they were outside Banbury, as the procession would be too slow with Piers on foot. I expect it was the same horse that took him to Blacklow Hill. It really is such a shame the monument is so neglected and hidden away. I think there is so much history around that area, the Gaveston Cross has slipped through their fingers.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Lady D

avatar

Number of posts : 21
Location : Gloucester
Registration date : 2008-04-05

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:25 pm

Well done for persevering! Do you have any pics of it? And would you be able to give directions as I shall be taking a trip Warwick way soon?

I wonder whether it would be worth getting people to write to the local council about this monument? Alianore - perhaps we could put it on our blogs and maybe also have it on my forum when it gets going too? We could have a campaign! Very Happy
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://despenser.blogspot.com
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:29 pm

Hi Lady D - I have plenty of pix of it - but don't know how to post personal pix. I did send a couple to Alianore, so maybe she will post them.

Am ahead of you writing to the local council - I'll post the reply below this message.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:30 pm

Thank you for your email regarding Gaveston's Cross.

I'm afraid i have to admit we've never heard of this monument before and do
not promote it on our tourism website Enjoywarwickshire.com. However upon
searching for it through Google it throws up the following webpage on the
Windows in Warwickshire site. This has an image of the Cross plus a link to
the location plotted on a map:
http://www.search.windowsonwarwickshire.org.uk/engine/resource/default.asp?resource=6435
.

I've checked with Countryside Recreation and you are correct there are no
public rights of way leading to the monument. As such there is no record of
the landowner. As far as they are aware the monument is on private land
with no permitted public access, so this would explain why it is not
signposted.

Further information on the cross can be found on the following website,
such as it's level of protection as a Grade 2 Listed Building:
http://timetrail.warwickshire.gov.uk/detail.aspx?monuid=WA2538.
Unfortunately its status as a listed building still has no effect on public
access to it, though it does ensure that the monument is not neglected and
is protected against vandalism as well as having restoration when needed.

We have to tread a fine line as we don't want to say to the public that
they cannot view the monument, but we have to respect the land owners
privacy and not promote it as a tourist attraction open to all.

Please see the following webpages for information on rights of way in
Warwickshire:
http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/Web/corporate/pages.nsf/Links/9EB300127DA3576280256B6E0039B0BC

I hope the above explains some your queries. Many thanks.

Regards
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:38 pm

Don't be put off though Very Happy Because the fence is broken in all sorts of places, and there's no-one around to tell you to clear off. Smile Not that I'm encouraging you to break the law, of course Wink Sent you a pm.


Last edited by Anejre on Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:41 pm

Maybe as many of us as possible should write to Warwick tourist board?
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Lady D

avatar

Number of posts : 21
Location : Gloucester
Registration date : 2008-04-05

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:07 am

Wow, thanks Anerje - I think I should be able to track it down from there. That pic looks good - I'm surprised that it's so impressive! Once I've been and had a look I'll definitely write to the tourist board - it's such a gem - a part of our historical heritage that really shouldn't remain hidden - landowner or no landowner!
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://despenser.blogspot.com
Lady D

avatar

Number of posts : 21
Location : Gloucester
Registration date : 2008-04-05

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:13 am

I shall pack my wellies as well as my camera! lol!
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://despenser.blogspot.com
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:50 pm

I'll keep my fingers 'crossed' (excuse pun!) that you find it!
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Alianore
Admin
avatar

Number of posts : 168
Age : 45
Location : NRW, Germany
Registration date : 2007-09-30

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:54 am

Anerje: for some reason, I'm having big probs trying to post your pics. In the preview, they came up perfectly, but when I hit 'send', it only showed lines and lines of code. Sad I think it's the forum's fault - it wouldn't let me log on at all yesterday!

_________________
"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
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://edwardthesecond.com/
chazza



Number of posts : 1
Registration date : 2008-08-30

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:50 pm

I visited Gaveston's Cross today. I have lived in the Warwick area for about 8 years, and had never heard of it until I was chatting to two Warwick born and bred friends a few days ago. It is quite an impressive monument, and it is a shame that it is hidden away, in a wood, without proper access. What is also a bit of a shame is that it is beginning to fall into disrepair, and has been a little vandalised by people carving their names into the stone. To find it look on the 1:25000 OS map of Warwick on which it is marked. It lies in a small wood just to the South of Leek Wootton and adjacent to the A46. I walked through the field at the end of the lane towards the wood, crossing the broken fence into the wood. It is true that it is a bit hidden, but the wood is not very big and I found it after about 5 minutes in the wood.

I have seen elsewhere that the monument was built in the 1860's. However, I would be interested to know who built the monument and why it was suddenly put up such a long time after Gaveston's death. It must have cost a considerable amount of money to build, and I wondered who payed for it. Was a political point trying to be made by the wording on it? I also wonder how it is known that this is the exact spot. Was this spot a regular location for beheading people?

Here is a picture of the Gaveston's Cross and the inscription on it.






http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=1&u=12918853

http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=2&u=12918853
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Alianore
Admin
avatar

Number of posts : 168
Age : 45
Location : NRW, Germany
Registration date : 2007-09-30

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:28 am

Welcome to the forum, Chazza, and thanks for the pics! I do wonder why the cross was erected in the first place, and how they knew the exact spot. As far as I know, Piers was the only person executed there.

_________________
"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
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://edwardthesecond.com/
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:35 pm

Welcome Chazza - glad you found the monument.

As Alianore says, Piers is the only person reorded as being executed there. I assume this is because it was the start of Lancaster's lands - Guy of Warwick didn't want Piers executed on his lands, so I guess Blacklow Hill was the first 'decent' part of Lancaster's lands.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:37 pm

And I seriously doubt it is the 'exact' spot of the execution. It was put up 600 years later - and as Blacklow Hill doesn't seem to have been a palce of execution, I doubt anyone would know the exact spot. But I'm sure it's near enough.

Check out this site for more info -


http://www.leekwoottonandguyscliffe.org.uk/HistoryBlacklow.htm


In 1821 on Blacklow Hill Bertie Greatheed completed a project that he had been proposing for some time. He erected a stone cross to mark the execution of Piers Gaveston. His friend Dr Samuel Parr (the 'Perpetual Curate' at Hatton) composed the inscription, which reads:

'In the Hollow of this Rock, Was beheaded, On the 1st Day of July, 1312, By Barons lawless as himself, PIERS GAVESTON, Earl of Cornwall; The Minion of a hateful King: In Life and Death, A memorable Instance of Misrule.'
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:49 pm

According to that site, the monument is as old as 1821 - and I guess one would need to research Berie Greatheed to find ot why he wanted it put up. And am not surprised that it was a Victorian churchman who wrote that awful inscripton. Have to wonder as well - why go to all the trouble of putting up a monument and get the date wrong?
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Lady D

avatar

Number of posts : 21
Location : Gloucester
Registration date : 2008-04-05

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:21 pm

That's the Victorians for you - great inventors of 'Medieval History as we see it'! I wonder whether Mr Greatheed (love that name) had some kind of obsession thing going on about Piers (not that there's anything wrong in that of course ;-) )
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://despenser.blogspot.com
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:39 pm

lol! Yes, lady D, some deep, dark, hidden obsession that he couldn't admit to in Victorian times......and who could blame him? jocolor
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Lady D

avatar

Number of posts : 21
Location : Gloucester
Registration date : 2008-04-05

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:05 pm

Well, I wouldn't! It's bad enough loving history today - people look at you weirdly - like you've somehow escaped from the library and shouldn't be roaming the streets at large!
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://despenser.blogspot.com
Anejre

avatar

Number of posts : 187
Registration date : 2008-03-29

PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:55 pm

and yet in the 'celeb obsessed' UK, it's acceptable to want to know everything about the likes of 'celebs' like Jade Goody and Coleen Rooney (still can't work out how they are celebs!) - people don't know what they're missing out on in history!
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'   

Back to top Go down
 
The Search for the elusive 'Gaveston's Cross'
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 2Go to page : 1, 2  Next
 Similar topics
-
» Search for moons of Venus
» East-Asian Planet Search Network expands
» Pan-Pacific Planet Search for planets orbiting evolved massive stars
» Search for Potassium in XO-2 b and HD 80606 b
» Imaging search for planets at HD 115892, HD 172555

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Edward II :: Reign of Edward II :: Personalities :: Others :: Piers Gaveston-
Jump to: