MY EARL THOMAS OF LANCASTER ARTICLE IN CHAPTERS! READERS!
As I promised, I have divided my extended article ”Thomas of Lancaster, rebel cousin of king Edward II, from warlord to Saint”  in Chapters, easier for you to readHereby the whole overview:It was nice to travel with you to fourtheenth century England.Until next time……
And now it’s the END of our fascinating Historical Document aboutThomas of Lancaster, cousin of king Edward II! You have travelled with me to the first half of fourteenth century England,have watched with me, as Digital Eyewitnesses, how a big Feud rose betweenking Edward II and his cousin, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, initially loyalto his cousin the king, then fell out with him for personal and political reason,rose against him in an open rebellion and finally was executed for treason. You watched it all in here CHAPTERS ONE https://www.astridessed.nl/thomas-of-lancaster-rebel-cousin-of-king-edward-ii-from-warlord-to-saint-chapter-one/
For me and I don’t doubt for you Readers also, that was very fascinating.
THE END And now we are at the End of this Story and in the Epilogue it isquestioned: WHO REALLY WAS THOMAS OF LANCASTERWHAT WERE HIS GOALS/IDEALS?WHERE DID HE STAND FOR? Travel with me Readers, to the Life and Times of this interesting noblemanfor one last time……
EPILOGUE WHO WAS THOMAS OF LANCASTER?
In defence of Thomas of Lancaster TO SET THE RECORDS STRAIGHT……
Finally, I have come to the end of my travel to fourtheenth century England and the life and times of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, who was double royal and first cousin of King Edward II.
THOMAS OF LANCASTER/HIS JOURNEY
The facts are known and described by me in the earlier chapters:
First Edward II’s close ally , he later moved into opposition because of king’s favourite Piers Gaveston,, killing the poor man together with his baron allies in 1312  , which set, of course a deadly enmity between him and Edward II.  Simultaneously, Thomas and his allies pleaded for a set of reforms, limiting the king’s power, the so called Ordinances. Then, after the desastrous defeat against the Scots at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 , being the de facto ruler in England from 1314-1318, battling new favourites of the King  and finally droven into armed rebellion against the King because of his most dangerous, favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger , with the Ordinances as one of his playing cards [which gave Thomas rightly or wrongly, a sort of heroism], leading to his execution in 1322. 
And being a warlord during his later life, became a Saint after his death! 
And although his many faults and injustices [having Piers Gaveston executed and having summarily executed men who rebelled in Lancastershire against him in the Banastre rebellion in 1315]  , yet IT IS SOMETHING to be ten years in constant opposition against your king, trying to limit his powers, gathering allies ansd adherents….
Some of those adherents were that loyal to Lancaster, that years later they killed men, who had betrayed him….
Or, like die his hard Lancaster ally Sir William Trussell, who was seething with resentment against the Despensers, to read out the charges [and the verdict] against the captured Hugh Despenser the Younger at his mock trial in 1326….
That’s immediately debunking the often heard story, that Lancaster couldn’t keep friends and allies….. Of course Lancaster lost allies, since it was a time of continually switching alliances, but the loyalty of some of his adherents, as described above, was striking.
And let’s not forget in this story the ”mystery man”, Lancaster’s often underestimated brother Henry of Leicester
, who sided with the Isabella and Mortimer invasion in 1326, stabbing a dagger in the back of Edward II , which lead to a general desertion of Edward II’s cause , the execution of the Despensers and eventually, the deposition of Edward II himself……. Henry, who would do whatever was in his power to restore the honour of his brother by promoting him as a Saint  and did not forget or forgive the ones who did his brother harm [The Despensers and their enmity with Thomas of Lancaster, see the Chapters, six, seven, eight and ten], or committed treason against him, like Thomas’ close adherent and ally, Sir Robert Holland , who deserted him, when he needed him most. 
But when everything is said and done, I raise one major question
WHO WAS THOMAS OF LANCASTER? WHAT DROVE HIM?
THOMAS OF LANCASTER WHAT SOME SOURCES/HISTORIANS SAY ABOUT HIM:
There is much said about him:
I pick some examples:
Edwardthesecondblogspot [the great Blog of historian Kathryn Warner, writer of a book about Edward II and Isabella of France and Edward II expert] writes
”Whatever some of Thomas’s contemporaries may have thought of him – the extremely pro-Lancastrian Brut called him the ‘gentle earl’, for example – it’s hard to find a modern historian with a good word to say about him, and hard, for me at least, to find much sympathy for a man who did his utmost to thwart his cousin Edward II at every turn.” 
Luminarium Encyclopedia describes him as a ”coarse, selfish and violent man, without any attributes of a statesman” 
Encyclopedia Britannica writes
”His opposition to royal power derived more from personal ambition than from a desire for reform.” 
Website ”English monarchs” described Thomas of Lancaster as someone initially loyal, who was forced into opposition because of the King’s favourite policies 
Website the Lady Despenser’s Scribery writes
”Despite his seemingly high ideals about the poor and oppressed, fair patronage and justice, records show that Thomas was actually as vicious, ruthless and corrupt as those he opposed. He was well known for ignoring the matter of the law, especially when he wanted to take land and manors and his harshness as a landlord was also legendary.” 
Historian Stephen Spinks, wrote in a very interesting article about Thomas of Lancaster about his ”weakness” , describing him as following:
”In short, he had no aptitude for government and once he was in a position to enact reform, the earl quickly found he did not understand nor was capable of achieving what he had long since demanded. Shouting about the Ordinances was one thing, but once he had them, enacting change was too arduous for him.” 
In his dissertation ”Lancashire in the reign of Edward II, about the lordship of Thomas of Lancaster in relation to the gentry in his county [after which he and his family is named] Lancastrershire, historian Gunnar A. Welle writes about Thomas of Lancaster as ”avariciousness” and accuses him of ”bad lordship”, at least referring to Lancashire [the county Lancaster]  FUNNY Not one of the mentioned sources or writers was very pleased with the Earl, therefore it was interesting to read a less aphrehensive comment on the website ”Lady Despenser’s Scribery, which is very fair, given her less complimentary comments above
” To be fair, Lancaster did his best to implement the Ordinances in full, purging the royal household and local government of men thought to be bad for the running of the country (in other words hostile to Lancaster), and he also attempted to get the country’s finances back into shape by limiting spending. ” 
”Edward II certainly had his faults as a king and many of Lancaster’s Ordinances were indeed worthy suggestions for much needed reform.” 
And now the following, very
complimentary comment on the New World Encyclopedia:
”…… His instinct, however, was to uphold the law and, notwithstanding his faults, he can not be accused of pure self-interest. He saw himself as answerable to Parliament, which, unlike Edward, he did not ignore or manipulate.”
……. ……. ”As an admirer of De Montford, Thomas would have subscribed to the principles that had developed subsequent to his Parliament of 1265, that all classes should be represented there, that all taxes except “those sanctioned by custom” must be approved by Parliament and that the “common man” was also entitled to protection, security and justice………. …… ….. ”Edward had vowed to “maintain the laws and rightful customs which the community of the realm shall have chosen,” as well as to “maintain peace and do justice” and Thomas had heard this promise. This development of the law was a shared responsibility—through their representatives, the “community of the realm” would have a say in framing these laws for the common good. Thomas Plantagenet did his best to hold the king accountable to his oath. He can be said to have made a valuable contribution to the development of constraints on kingly power. In time, these constraints would result in full-blown democratic government.” 
READERS, DID YOU LET THOSE COMMENTS ABOVE
SINK IN? GOOD. I will come to that later
SOME THOMAS OF LANCASTER’S ACTIONS UNDER THE LOUPE ”NO INTEREST IN GOVERNMENT”/NOT ATTENDING PARLIAMENT
Now people are complex natures, as in their relations to others, as in their ”playing the game of thrones”, the highest level power play of the Middle Ages. Sometimes their actions are easy to understand, but in most cases more complicated than expected af first sight.
Often there is written, that Thomas regularly didn’t attend parliament and generally didn’t took part in government at all, as if done to undermine the King’s orders and position  and that may true to some extent: On the other hand it may be possible, that illness played a major part too. In two letters of Edward II, the first to Lancaster himself in 1305 [when they were still on very good terms] and the second, in 1311 [when they already were in conflict because of Piers Gaveston and the Ordinances], directed to Lancaster’s close ally Sir Robert Holland, there was a reference to an unknown] illness of Lancaster. Historian Gunnar A Welles wrote in his dissertation that the reason Lancaster preferred his Castle Pontefract in his later years was perhaps due to ill health. 
But why not Lancaster sent a message to his king like:
”To my Lord Edward, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland and Duke of Aquitaine….. Your Grace, I can’t attend parliament, due to illness ……” Your faithful subject and cousin, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster” [”faithful”? HMMMMM……] Well, of course Lancaster couldn’t and wouldn’t do that because of the growing enmity and power struggle between him and Edward II, thus undermining his own position by referring to some illness.
No, better to seem ”defiant” [and for a great part he was, of course], than weakening his position by admitting an ”ill health”……
Except for [possible] illness there was an other plausible explanation for Lancaster not to attend parliament. Since his unlawful execution of Edward II’s favourite Piers Gaveston  there was an obvious enmity between him and his cousin Edward II. Doubtless Edward II would have taken revenge on Lancaster, were it not because that was quite impossible, since the great power of Lancaster [you remember, readers, due to Lancaster’s five Earldoms]  The king more or less uttered his desire to revenge, during the siege of Berwick [to which Lancaster for once took part], when anncouncing: ”When this wretched business is over, we will turn our hands to other matters. For I have not forgotten the wrong that was done to my brother Piers.”  Perhaps understandable from Edward II’s point of view, but likewise understandable, that Thomas of Lancaster not only left the battlefield in Berwick , but did not trust the king anymore. [not that he trusted him before, but things grew worse] What if he attended parliament and was arrested?
To make matters worse, the 1315-1318 three favourites of Edward II, Roger Damory, Hugh Audley and William Montacute did their utmost best to undermine any reconciliation between Edward II and his cousin Thomas and even threatened him by openly calling him a traitor [974 and see also chapter V] It is even possible that Damory had persuaded the king to attack Lancaster at his castle of Pontefract in october 1317, which was prevented by the Earl of Pembroke at the last moment.  Of course it was understandable then, that Thomas refused to come to parliament, or to meet the king [who summoned him to come], as long as those three favourites were at Court….. A very tense political situation.
So there some possible reasons why Lancaster didn’t attend parliament or took much participation in governmental affairs.
On the other hand he seemed to have done his best to implement the Ordinances  which led to a serious row between him and Edward II. 
So summarized: Lancaster’s reluctance to attend to parliament or to participate in the government is not only simply explained as obstructing the king or indifference and incompetence in governmental affairs, but could also stem from illness and Lancaster’s not imaginary fear of the malicious intentions from Edward II’s 1315-1318 favourites, who intrigued against him [Thomas]. Add to that the [likely understandable] enmity of Edward II because of Thomas’ involvement in the murder of his great favourite Piers Gaveston and you have a good explanation for Thomas’ ”reluctance” It is a pity that that’s often overseen by some sources.
THOMAS OF LANCASTER’S CHARACTER
”VIOLENCE”, ”ARROGANCE”/”DIFFICULTY TO KEEP FRIENDS AND ALLIES”
Thomas of Lancaster is called ”coarse, selfish and violent”  , ”arrogant”, , having a ”seeming desire for power”  and a ”bad lord” in the sense of not meeting the needs and wishes of his retainers , as some sources state [here limited to his retainers in Lancashire] 
That may be true and I found it confirmed in what I read about him, but so were the other nobles, who
were no peaches either, without of course justifying Lancaster’s behaviour and attitudes.
Let’s be honest:
During the Edward II reign, there was a constant dance for power and switching of alliances and but few nobles, among who was Hugh Despenser the Elder [to be fair!] stayed where they were: In this case: Loyal to the King. 
There has also been stated, that Thomas of Lancaster ”found it difficult to keep friends and allies” . However, he managed to bind men to him, who stayed diehard allies, even though they could not benefit from him anymore.
A man like Sir William Trussell, his loyal adherent since the beginning of the Lancaster/Edward II conflict, stayed loyal to him, fought at his side at the battle of Bouroughbridge ,was imprisoned, later escaped and fled to France, joining the Isabella and Mortimer invasion and reading out the charges against Hugh Despenser.  Lancaster had allies who were prepared to kill those, who had betrayed him, years after his execution. 
And he WAS capable of true friendship, for example to his close adherent, Sir Robert Holland, whom he favoured that much, that an uprising in Lancashire took place against Lancaster and Holland, the Banastre rebellion….
Yes, that same Sir Robert Holland, who deserted Lancaster in his hour of need , something his brother Henry, the later Earl of Lancaster, would never forgive or forget….
THOMAS OF LANCASTER/”DESIRE FOR PERSONAL POWER AND STRUGGLE WITH THE KING PERSONAL AND BROADER HISTORICAL VIEW
Describing Thomas of Lancaster only as the one
”who did his utmost to thwart his cousin Edward II at every turn” , a ”coarse, selfish and violent man”  , ”that his opposition to royal power derived more from personal ambition than from a desire for reform , is too one-sided.
On the other hand: To pose him as ”having made a valuable contribution to the development of constraints on kingly power, which constraints would, in time ” result in full-blown democratic government”  thus making from the Earl a sort of pioneer of later democratic developments, as the New World Encyclopedia does , is, to my opinion, unbalanced either and a little anachronistic, because it is somewhat dangerous to compare the thoughts and opinions of a medieval royal Earl with views about democracy that would emerge much, much later.
Life and history are more complicated then that.
The sources, which gave Lancaster a bad press, calling him ”coarse and selfish”, ”a bad lord”, ”arrogant” and ”having a desire for personal ambition”, etc fail to see, that be as it may. looking this game of power only at the personal level is denying one of the important historical developments, which rippled through Middle Ages, namely the struggle between centralization and decentralization.
In Chapter one I pointed out, that, apart from the personal matters, the Edward II/Thomas of Lancaster conflict stood in a tradition of the struggle between centralization [absolute royal power] amd decentralization [king’s liegemen/ nobles who tried to take as personal power for themselves as possible] See it not only as a power struggle, but also as a fight for more equality: Not all power concentrated in the hands of one man, but influence for other groups too.
In this centralization-decentralizatio n game Edward II’s great grandfather king John Lackland got trouble with his barons, resulting in the Magna Charta  John Lackland’s son King Henry III [father of Edward I and grandfather of Edward II], got troubles with his brother in law, the French noble Simon de Montfort with English roots [6th Earl of Leicester by inheritance, officially invested in the Earldom in 1239, after coming to England and initially in the favour of Henry III, marrying his siter Eleanor of England with Henry’s approval] a man of substance, who rose into open rebellion against Henry and had far reached ideas about more freedom for other groups. In fact, he was the de facto ruler of England for about a year and is known to have established a Parliament [some refer to it as the first English parliament] which stripped the king of unlimited authority and a second, included not only barons and knights, but also the burgesses of the major towns. .
So in that light, the struggle between Edward II and Thomas of Lancaster must be seen and in that light I find it interesting to answer my final question:
WHO WAS THOMAS OF LANCASTER/ A TROUBLEMAKING AND POWERSEEKING REBEL OR A SECOND SIMON DE MONTFORT
”Coarse”, ”selfish”, ”arrogant”, a troublemaker, a rebel, ”contributor to later democratic developments”, ”droven by personal ambitions” Was he merely a troublemaking rebel or a second Simon de Montfort, as the New World Encyclopedia seems to think. 
There are many connections between Lancaster and England’s first great ”parliamentary” rebel, Simon de Montfort and o irony, one connection between Lancaster and de Montfort is often overlooked. They possessed the same Earldom:
After Simon de Montfort was killed in the battle of Evesham in 1265, fighting against the royalist troops under the command of Prince Edward [eldest son and heir of Henry III, the latter Edward I]. his lands and title were forfeited, being a traitor [rebel against his king]  Then Henry III created the Earldom of Leicester for his second son Edmund Crouchback , father of Thomas of Lancaster and his brother Henry. SO THAT’S THE WAY THE EARLDOM OF LEICESTER CAME INTO THOMAS’ FAMILY!
New World Encyclopedia writes, that Thomas of Lancaster”based his policies on a strict adherence to the ordinances and an appeal to the work of Simon de Montfort”  In each case, with his implementing the Ordinances, limiting royal power, he was building upon a tradition of baronial opposition, for which de Montfort has given his life. 
In their histories and lives, both men had many parallels.
Starting with royal favour, they fell out with their kings, developed reform ideas, eventuallty rose in open rebellion and died fighting their Kings, de Montfort in battle in 1265 and Lancaster, executed in 1322. And, amazingly: After their death both men were venerated as martyrs and attempts were made to canonize them. 
One of them, de Montfort, is now honoured as one of the founders of modern parliament , while Lancaster has got a bad press, being a rebel, troublemaker etc I don’t think that’ s completely fair and both men had more in common then modern historians seem or are prepared to admit.
Because who was Simon de Montfort?
Reading about his life and times, he seems to me an adventurer, who firstly enjoyed royal
favour, then fell out with his king, sided with the already existing baronial opposition [inheritence from king Henry III’s father John Lackland] and in the process developed radical reform ideas [for that time] and at the end gave his life defending them.. And in contrary to Thomas of Lancaster, he had the chance to form two parliaments to implement his ideas , since he defeated the king in battle and ruled England more than a year.  That’s why de Montfort did make a great impression and Lancaster was merely seen as a troublemaking rebel.
Admittedly, Lancaster was the de facto ruler in England between 1314-1318, but he had much against him, what made it difficult to implement the Ordinances, although he surely tried. He had to deal with the Scottish raids in North England, with the Great famine , and with the fact, that after his execution of Piers Gaveston, he was politically isolated, especially after the death of his main ally, the 10th Earl of Warwick in 1315.  And admittedly:: De Montfort was a better soldier and statesman
The nature of the reforms of de Montfort and Lancaster differed, but had in common, curbing royal power: De Montfort focused on the installation of a parliament, to which not only the barons had access, but also the knights and even the burgesses. . But the whole thing got further and was quite radical: Because [according to Simon de Montfort’s ideas] although Henry III retained the title and authority of King, all decisions and approval now rested with his council, led by Montfort and subject to consultation with parliament. 
The Ordinances, promoted by Lancaster and allies, focused on curbing the royal power to raise armies and go to war, collecting taxation and going abroad. The Lords Ordainers had to give their consent for those royal plans.  However, contrary to the Simon de Montfort reforms, the Lord Ordainers were especially involved in giving more power to their own social class, not to the ”lower classes” as the commoners. But curbing the royal power like that was quite radical too and in fact building on the ideas of Simon de Montfort.
But was it all ”noble”?
De Montfort’s end was tragic, dying for his ideals, but it was also a struggle for power between him and king Henry III, no different from the fight between Lancaster and Edward II.
For let’s be frank: Would de Montfort really have grown out to a reform rebel, when not falling out with Henry III, due to political circumstances?
Or would Thomas of Lancaster have developed his love for the Ordinances, when he did not fall out with his king and cousin? I doubt it.
Because neither de Montfort, neither Lancaster, seemed to have manifested those high ideals when still in royal favour.
Both men suddenly ”discovered” those ideals, when falling out with their kings….
Both men developed ideals, but loved power likewise.
And stripped off the personal elements: There we go again:
The Simon de Montfort/Henry III fight and the Thomas of Lancaster/. Edward II fight is part of the greater struggle between centralization and decentralization.
And without forgetting the injustices they committed , they both were reformers and at the end prepared and compelled [there was no way back!] to pay the highest price.
It’s important, that de Montfort’s contribution is appreciated and honoured.
But it is also important, to see Lancaster in a more positive light and acknowledge, that he made an important contribution to curbing absolute monarchy and implementing the parliamentary rights.
It is high time for someone to write this down, giving Lancaster, with all his faults [but so had Simon de Montfort] a far better press than he got untill now.
He held to the Ordinances  against all odds and fought a king, who, although certainly generous  and sometimes unexpectedly forgiving , was a tool in the hands of ambitious and ruthless favourites and therefore turned into a bad and even desastrous ruler. And although rising against his king WAS treason and he had his own selfish motives, Lancaster also fought to implement those Ordinances. That deserves appreciation, which I want to give him posthumously, 695 years after his execution, not closing my eyes for his faults and injustices.
Readers, when you really read all those chapters out, KUDOS!
Hereby a bottle of champaign, out of appreciation.
Readers!Only yesterday I sent to you Chapter Nine of my ”Book” articleabout Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin of king EdwardYou know the drama story of course, situated in the first half of14th century England:It is all about the fight for Power between king Edward II and his not sodear cousin, Thomas, the 2nd Earl of Lancaster, initially loyal to his royalcousin king Edward, then fell out with him for various personal and politicalreasons, engaged him in open battle and finally was executed.AND…..what was extraordinary bizarre, since the man wasn’t ”Holy” at all,was declared a Saint in the twenties of the 14th century, although not officiallyby Holy Church. SEE HERE THE FORMER CHAPTERS I SENT TO YOU: ONE
AND NOW CHAPTER TEN!
For interesting Question:
The King had won the Fight for Power, but did he really win?
How did it really end?
Today I introduce Five Persons, who played a major role in
the later, destructive, Events:
THE COUSIN [KING EDWARD II]
THE KING’S SPOUSE [QUEEN ISABELLA OF FRANCE]
THE ARCH ENEMIES [THE FAVOURITES OF THE KING [THE DESPENSERS, FATHER AND SON, WHO PARTLY CAUSED THE TROUBLE IN THE DESPENSER WARS AND ONE OF THE MOTORS BEHIND EARL THOMAS’ EXECUTION]
THE ALLY [ROGER MORTIMER, LATER THE 1ST EARL OF MARCH,
ALLY OF THOMAS IN THE DESPENSER WARS, WHO WOULD PLAY A
PARTICULAR IMPORTANT ROLE]
THE BROTHER [EARL THOMAS’ YOUNGER BROTHER HENRY,
WHO KEPT HIMSELF LOW PROFILE, BUT NEVER FORGOT OR
FORGAVE THE EXECUTION OF HIS BROTHER THOMAS]
READ FURTHER IN THIS AMAZING STORY AND SEE FOR YOURSELF,
WHO REALLY WON…….
CHAPTER TEN AFTERMATH
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MAJOR PLAYERS IN THIS DRAMA
King Edward II
Henry of Lancaster
The unfair trial and execution of Thomas of Lancaster was not the end of the story: On the contrary: It would cast its shadows over the years to come.
With the champion of the Ordinances  dead, the way was paved for a new and horrific Era in English history:: The tyranny…… In may 1322, two months after the execution of Thomas of Lancaster, the Ordinances were revoked , which gave King Edward II and his favourites the Despensers all the space they needed, without considering law and justice.
This had started with the execution and unfair trial of Thomas of Lancaster, who was the first Earl to be executed since Waltheof [1076!], , following more Contrariants, also after unfair trials or simply executed, twenty or 22 in total , in one case even the horrible traitor’s death. Prisons were filled with Contrariants, others were exiled and some even being forced to ”acknowledge” that they owed large debts to the king in return for a pardon.  Pure maffialike extortion…..
Even their wives and children were imprisoned, although they had nothing to to with the Despenser war rebellion, often suffering harsh prison.  But to be fair: In case of Lady Badlesmere, who had refused Queen Isabella admittance to Leeds Castle , while on pilgrimage and whose castle was besieged by the King in retaliation : She was imprisoned ”only” for a year and released seven months after the brutal execution [traitor’s death] of her husband in april 1322. 
Hell broke loose in those years of total arbitrariness and injustice in which the Despensers did as they pleased, always backed by a consenting King, as though they had hypnotised him…..
But as this dramatic story will reveal, soon those, who imposed death penalty on Thomas of Lancaster,
pursued his and the Marcher Lord’s followers without mercy, bringing injustice and terror in the land, would learn, that the very lawliness business they had created, would blow up in their faces……. 
Let’s have a close look at how fared the mayor players in this drama:
KING EDWARD II
If the King had thought that he ”had it all”, by executing his cousin Thomas of Lancaster and crushing his opposition and that of the Marcher Lords, he would be tragically mistaken. Because now Lancaster gone and the opposition against Edward II’s destructive reign [remember, those favourites!] destroyed, there was no one from restraining him [Edward II], to run fast in the direction of his own downfall. And holding the Despensers at his side, would prove desastrous for both the King and the Despensers, although it must have seemed otherwise in 1322.
Opposition not dead and buried:
At first not all opposition was dead and buried: From 1323, Edward II had to deal with the veneration cult of Saint Thomas [Edward II’s executed cousin Thomas of Lancaster] , which was not only disconcerting for him and the Despensers, but also an utterance of protest against his reign, that grew to be more unpopular day by day. Who were behind the ”reports” about the miracles at the tomb [or place of execution] of Thomas of Lancaster, was unclear: Perhaps just popular tales, but perhaps Thomas’ brother, Henry of Lancaster , who, harmless as he looked [not participating in his brother’s rebellions] would prove to be a very danger for Edward II and the Despensers……
Another blow to Edward II was the spectacular escape from the Tower of London, of leader Marcher Lord, Roger Mortimer in august 1323 [one of the few successful escapes from the Tower] . Mortimer fled to France, what would prove desastrous for Edward II…..
Also, other Contrariants fled to France , where they formed a circle of resistance against the Edward II/Despenser regime…
1 Growing opposition against the regime Edward II/Despensers:
But the remaining Contrariant’s opposition [later led from France] is one thing. More dangerous, at the moment, was the growing resistance against the avariciousness and maffia like practices of the Despensers , with the blessing of the King. People,not only his magnates, but also lower born, got more and more fed up with the bad rule, the injustice and King’s favouritism towards the Despensers, who ruled in Edward’s name as if they were the King. But that was not enough: King Edward, champion in making enemies in those days [which proved to be tragic], even managed to estrange a part of the higher clergy from him, driving some of them right in the arms of the Contrariants inspired resistance.  I mention the Bishops Adam Orleton, bishop of Hereford, John Droxford, bishop of Bath and Wells, Henry Burghersh, bishop of Lincoln, John Statford, bishop of Winchester Stratford, John Hothum, bishop of Ely and William Airmyn, bishop of Norwich 
Not a clever chess player, King Edward II…….
2 Tensions with France:
As if the problems at home were not enough , to make things worse [poor King Edward II……], in 1324 Edward II quarreled
big time  with his brother in law, [his wife Isabella’s brother], King Charles IV  They had a serious row over Gascony [the land in France, the Plantagenet Kings had inherited via their ancestor Eleanor of Aquitaine. For that land they had to do homage for the French King for their lands, the French King being their liegelord in France, but that homage always was a source for tension between England and France]  Edward also had to pay homage for Ponthieu, which was his inheritance from his mother, Eleanor of Castile, countess of Ponthieu in her own right.  ANYWAY WAR BROKE OUT OVER THE QUESTION GASCONY.  This war had far reaching consequences for the relation between Edward II and his wife Isabella, the sister of Charles IV.
Because Edward II did a ”great thing” …….. During the war, ordered the arrest of any French persons in England and seized Isabella’s lands, on the basis that she was of French origin……
Given the fact, that those measures were unfair anyway, since the French in England, nor the Queen, were NOT responsible for the measures of the French King, it was utterly unfair to Isabella, who, until now, had been a loyal Queen to Edward. Her life was not made much easier, by this, added to the fact, that favourite Hugh Despenser was [seemingly] the TOP priority for Edward and the Despensers did not allow ANYONE alone with the King, even not his wife……
But back to the war: At a certain moment, it was agreed, that negociations would take place between Edward II and Charles IV.
To perform them, Edward II sent his wife Isabella, sister of Charles IV, to France [which proved to be desastrous later]  who started the negociations late march 1325. She did the best she could, but it proved to be difficult.
Charles IV insisted, that Edward II came to France to pay homage for Gascony and Ponthieu. And don’t underestimate it: That homage thing was very serious: When one failed, the lands were forfeited to the liege lord, in this case, Charles IV.  So homage was necessary.
Now Edward II had a huge problem. He could not leave England like that, since the growing unrest in the country, stemming from the unpopularity of the Edward II/Despenser rule. But that was not the only worry of Edward II.
One can safely say, that at that moment [apart from his children], Hugh Despenser the Younger perhaps was the most important person in Edward’s life. He depended strongly upon him, both political and emotional. Now there was a clear chance, that without Edward II’s protection, Hugh and his father risked to be killed in an uprising.
But taking Hugh with him to France was no option either, since Hugh was hated there because of his piracy [during his banishment during the Despenser War] and risked to be arrested. 
So it was an enormous dilemma for Edward, which he tried to solve by sending his son Edward of Windsor [ [the later Edward III, whom his father had made duke of Aquitaine and count of Ponthieu] to pay homage in his father’s place.
Was that a wise decision? NO Because now the successor to the throne was out of his father’s control and under the influence of his mother Isabella [he was 12 years old], who had an agenda of her own…..
Yet Edward II had no other options……
Because when nether he nor his son would pay homage, his lands would be forfeited, as I have pointed out above.
3 Isabella in France/Refusal to return to England
Well, Edward of Windsor, the 12 year old son of Edward II, payed homage in september 1325 , but then the mess really began. Because apparently Edward II expected his wife and son to come back to England and Isabella refused, pointing out, that she wanted Hugh Despenser removed from Court. Out in the open she accused her husband from supposedly having a romantic and sexual relationship with Hugh. In France she held a speech, stating ”’”I feel that marriage is a joining together of man and woman, maintaining the undivided habit of life, and that someone has come between my husband and myself trying to break this bond; I protest that I will not return until this intruder is removed, but discarding my marriage garment, shall assume the robes of widowhood and mourning until I am avenged of this Pharisee.”  She made quite a show by dressing like a widow, since Hugh Despenser had come beteen her and her husband. 
Her refusal to return to her husband was, of course, a scandal in those Medieval times.
Some sources suggest, that the intention of her speech was, that she wanted to save her marriage and to go back to her husband, when he would send Despenser away, while others say, that she knew quite well, that the King would refuse and that she used it as a pretext to side with his enemies and depose him.
Now I can’t read Queen Isabella’s mind [no one can], but I think that whatever her intentions, she could have known that Edward would never send Despenser away….
Anyway, whatever Isabella wanted, felt or planned, Edward made it perfectly clear, that sending Hugh away would NEVER going to happen. 
AND THEN IT BECAME QUITE A SHOW BETWEEN EDWARD AND ISABELLA, HAHAHA
Learning, that his wife refused to come back [since HE refused to send his favourite Hugh Despenser away], Edward began to write a series of letters, to the Pope and King Charles IV of France, urging his concern about his wife’s absence, but to no avail.  Charles IV protected his sister, replying: ‘The queen has come of her will, and may freely return if she so wishes. But if she prefers to remain in these parts, she is my sister, and I will not detain her.’  [Wikipedia mentions not ”detain” but ”expel”] 
Edward II, in reaction of Isabella’s refusal return to him , cut off her expenses in mid-November 1325, and, short of funds, the queen was forced to borrow 1000 Paris livres from Charles IV on 31 December. 
Edward II wrote his last-ever letter to Isabella on 1 December 1325, ordering her home and claiming that he was suffering badly from her ‘so very long absence’. This letter contained [certainly to the annoyment of Isabella!] endlessly long justifications for Hugh Despenser the Younger’s behaviour.  Edward wrote simulateous letters to his son Edward of Windsor, Charles IV and numerous French magnates and bishops. 
Edward defended Hugh Despenser also before before the parliament which began at Westminster – the last one he ever held – on 18 November 1325. 
If there were tabloids in those days, what a sensational stories they could have written. HAHAHAHAHA
Contrariants, with a vengeance!/Roger Mortimer
We have met Roger Mortimer already, the powerful Marcher Lord and ally of Thomas of Lancaster in the Despenser war, imprisoned in the Tower and escaped in 1323, fled to France. 
Probably between october 1325 and february 1326, Isabella associated herself with Roger Mortimer. 
In and around february 1326 , that Edward II complained that his queen was ‘adopting the counsel’ of Roger Mortimer and his allies on the Continent  [meaning other English noblemen and knights who had joined the 1321/22 Contrariant rebellion against the king and the Despensers and who fled the country after the Contrariant defeat at the battle of Boroughbridge on 16 March 1322, where Thomas of Lancaster was captured and the Earl of Hereford was killed in battle] Of course it was obvious, that taken from Edward II’s and medieval point of view, this act of Isabella was treason and he was right to complain.
There is often suggested, that she already had associated herself with him in England and even helped him escape from the Tower. Possible, I don’t know
What I DO know is, that they associated in France and would stay allies until the end. Were they lovers, as is usually assumed?  Probably: In each case, they were very closely associated, but of course there is no proof for a romance, as there is no proof for the romantic relationship of Edward II with Hugh Despenser, [although Edward II with Hugh Despenser seems seems yet more probable, since the intense need of Edward for this guy, defending him against all odds….]
Be as it may, Isabella associated herself with Roger and other Contariants as Sir William Trussel , a die hard ally of Thomas of Lancaster and soon her environment became a circle for the resistance against the Edward II Despensers rule.
To cut a long story short. The ”Court” of Isabella became a centre of the resistance against the Edward II/Despenser rule, including King’s own halfbrother, the Earl of Kent : In order to do that, they had to invade England. So Isabella and Roger went to Hainault [part of modern Belgium], where her son Edward of Windsor [the later Edward III] was bethroted to the daughter of the Count of Hainault with as a ”dowry”, ships, mercenaries and cash to invade England.  Which they did on september 1326. Alas for King Edward II, they were received with great approval and his support crumbled almost immediately. One of the main causes was the joining with the rebels [Isabella and Roger] of Henry of Lancaster, brother of the executed Thomas of Lancaster [at the moment of the invasion, Henry was only Earl of Leicester] , he was, to put it mildly, certainly no friend of the Despensers. The cause of that may be clear: The Despensers were the main force behind the execution of his brother Thomas, although not the only ones.  Also [must be very painful for the King], King’s other halfbrother [and full brother of the Earl of Kent] abandoned the King and joined the rebels.
Almost deserted by everybody [with special thanks to the Despenser’s evil councils, although it was Edward II’s choice to favourite them], the King and the Despensers fled London, westwards with the King. Despenser the Elder tried to defend Bristol, but had to surrender himself. 
After a mock trial [a parody of that of Thomas of Lancaster]
he was condemned to be hanged, drawn and quatered [horrible!] on the orders of Roger Mortimer, Queen Isabella, Henry of Lancaster and others. 
The King and Hugh Despenser [his great favourite],
fled west and tried to sail to Lundy, a small island off the Devon coast, but failed, because of the weather  and were captured at South Wales by the forces of Henry
of Lancaster. 
The King went to Kenilworth, the castle of Henry of Lancaster, who was ordered to hold him in custody and treated him very courteously, according to his royal rank 
But poor Hugh Despenser was treated totally otherwise:
After a horribly humiliating journey to Hereford, where Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer were waiting for him. Actually, Queen Isabella wanted him to be executed in London [because of course he was a fair trial], but since he tried to starve himself to death [poor man], she was afraid he would not make London. Therefore his ”trial” in Hereford with his horrible execution, to be hanged, drawn and quarted” This gruesome execution took place on 24 november 1326. 
I can imagine the immense grief Edward II must have felt: First the execution of Hugh’s father, Hugh Despenser the Elder  and a month later the execution of his favourite Hugh, whom he had defended unconditionally, whatever the consequences. It must have been devastating to him.
As if that were not enough, he had to face an immense humiliation, his deposition as a King. For us, modern people, it’s hard to understand what pain he must have been through. Because deposing a King was unprecendented in English history [as far as we know], the Kingship was divine  and was supposed to end with the death of the King. But of course the new de facto rulers, Isabella and Mortimer, had this huge problem. Edward II was still King in name, but beaten, powerless and imprisoned. So to execute power de jure , they had to get rid of him as a King. So the whole thing was orchestrated. Adam Orleton, the Bishop of Hereford, strong supporter of Isabella and Mortimer, since the King had alienated him by his unfunded accusations of siding with the Contraraints , made a series of public allegations about Edward’s conduct as king, and in January 1327 a parliament convened at Westminster at which the question of Edward’s future was raised Edward II refused to attend the gathering;
To cut a long story short: After consent of the leading barons and the clergy, in january 1327 a representative delegation of barons, clergy and knights was sent to Kenilworth to speak to the King. Probably under thtreat [the story is told, that if he were to resign as monarch, his son Prince Edward would succeed him, but if he failed to do so, his son might be disinherited as well, and the crown given to an alternative candidate] , the King abdicated.  His reign was formally ended, when Sir William Trussell, a strong adherer of Thomas of Lancaster, representing the kingdom as a whole, withdrew his homage. 
Edward of Windsor, son of Edward II, was the new King. He crowned in february, 1327 as King Edward III.  Henry of Lancaster, his father’s cousin, was appointed as ”chief advisor” of King Edward III. 
His father was the first English King, who was deposed.
Edward II From Kenilworth to Berkeley Castle
During his custody under his cousin Henry of Lancaster [brother of Thomas of Lancaster] he was treated with all honour, due to a King. But, doubtless to the regret of Edward II, this was not going to last, since there were a number of plots to free him. Therefore the new rulers [his son Edward III was only King in name] probably for security reasons, removed Edward from his cousin Henry to another location, Berkeley Castle.  Whereas Edward enjoyed an honourable treatment at his cousin Henry’s Castle, it is not clear, what treatment he got in Berkeley Castle.
His custodians were Thomas Berkeley [son in law of Roger Mortimer]  and his [Thomas’] brother in law, John Maltravers, who sided with the Marcher Lords in the Despenser War and fought at the side of Thomas of Lancaster in the last decisive battle, the Battle of Boroughbridge., after which he fled abroad, to return to England with Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer in 1326. 
Now I have not the faintest idea, what treatment Edward II got in Berkeley Castle. According to some sources he was often mistreated , other sources doubt it. 
Well, perhaps he was not mistreated, but I have an idea, that his treatment was totally different than at his cousin Henry’s Castle, since he was surrounded by his enemies.
For whatever grudge Henry -probably- held against Edward II because of the execution of his brother Thomas, being his royal cousin he must have had a thorough respect of monarchy and after all, he was a less hardliner than his brother and almost certainly no enemy of Edward [in contrary with his brother], at least not before the execution of his brother.
With Berkeley and Maltravers, I think it was another matter….
For Isabella and Roger Mortimer their problems were not over, since new plots arose to free former King Edward II. What happened then in Berkeley Castle is not clear, but at 23 September Edward III was informed that his father had died at Berkeley Castle during the night of 21 September. 
Generally accepted by fourtheenth century chroniclers was that Edward II died indeed in Berkeley Castle at 21 september, some wrote that he was murdered, while there were chroniclers who thought that he died from natural causes.  However, a majority, as the most historians, are in agreement, that he probably was murdered, , what is quite a logical assumption, since a natural death seemed to be too ”convenient” dor the de facto rulers and it was clear, that Edward formed a security risk and a source of fear.
What as the adherents of Edward succeeded in their attempts to free him and he was restored to power again, revoked his abdication and doubtless would take mercilessly revenge on those, who executed the Despensers? Exactly, Isabella and her ally/favourite and likely lover, Roger Mortimer!
About the possible murder of Edward II a horrifying story circulated, which was lontime widely believed, that he was murdered by a ”red hot poker” [see for details under note 660] But now it is commonly believed by historians as a complete invention. 
DIDN’T EDWARD II DIE IN BERKELEY CASTLE, BUT MUCH LATER
Now obviously, in the Middle Ages and in our times, celebrity stories are celebrity stories and tend to be fantastic [however it CAN be the truth] Fantastic tales about contemporary as historical celebrities, like Kings, who were not the sons of their fathers, however fancied , change of babies or children , etc, etc, are from all times and places and will always excite people.
So it would seem a matter of time when a story rose, that Edward II not died at Berkeley at all, but somehow escaped [or was freed], went abroad and lived long after that. But there is a minority of historians, who believe this seemingly fantastic story and support it with evidence, they have found. However, it is not convincing to me yet, but under note 664 I present to you some articles. Judge for yourself.
But no matter how and when he died and whether he was murdered or not, to me, Edward II was a tragic character, who was emotionally dependent on men, yet had to marry to secure the line of succession. And his deep feelings towards men, sexually or not, which explained his dangerous and silly favouritism, led to his downfall. I am not saying here that he had no feelings at all for Isabella. There are plenty occasions where he proved his respect and affection for her.  But I am nearly convinced, that his deepest feelings were not for her, as he clearly showed in his loves for Piers Gaveston and especially Hugh Despenser, whom he refused to send away from him, despite Isabella’s pleas.
That absolute loyalty to his favourites was his weakness, but makes him sympathetic in my eyes [only that aspect, NOT his clear vindictiveness and merciless conduct, especially after the Despenser War], as his affinities for common people, and his generosity. 
An inadequate [to put it mildly] military leader and ruler. But also a man, capable of great loves.
A pity, that he ended so tragically, whether murdered or died at Berkeley, whether escaped and died faraway, losing his dearest friend Hugh, without ever seeing his children again and never knowing his grandchildren……
Now about the Despensers, who were [not to exclude of course the King’s own responsibility!] the main persons, responsible for Edward II”s and tragically also their own downfall:
HUGH DESPENSER THE ELDER
One thing I must say to the defence of Hugh Despenser the Elder: He is one of the rare magnates, who were loyal to Edward II from start to finish,  in contrary with his son Hugh, who in his early years had followed the political line of his maternal uncle, Guy de Beauchamp, the 10th Earl Warwick, one of the executioners of Piers Gaveston. of Warwick, one of the executioners of Piers Gaveston……  YEAH Rather surprisingly, seen in the light of the 1320’s…….. Loyal to Edward I and serving him on numerous cases on battles , Hugh Despenser the Elder was likewise to his son and successor, Edward II. As a reward for Despenser’s loyal service and to settle a debt, Edward I owed him, he [Edward I] married his granddaughter Eleanor de Clare  to Despenser’s son, Hugh, the later favourite of Edward II. 
Despenser the Elder was by the way one of the few barons, who remainedloyal to Edward during the controversy regarding Piers Gaveston. So Despenser became Edward’s loyal servant and chief administrator after the execution [by the barons] of Piers Gaveston. 
And there ends the credit I give to Hugh Despenser the Elder: It has been said over and over again: Hugh the Elder and his son were nearly abnormally avarious and it was one great show of landgrabbing, extortioning and imprisoning people [in order to get their lands from them] and further misuse of power. They even managed to give no one access to the King [especially in the 1320’s, when they were at the top of their power], unless one of them attended.  Even Queen Isabella was victim to that dangerous nonsense.  It comes as no surprise that they became the most hated men in England! 
That show all began, when Hugh’s son, also ”Hugh” was appointed as royal chamberlain in 1317 and somehow managed to charm his way to the top.  Because of their avariciousness and their violation of the rights of the Marcher Lords and Despenser’s robbing of his own brothers in law [the husbands of his sisters in law], the former favourites of the King [Roger d’Amory and Hugh de Audley] , The Despenser war started, with the King, his adherents and the Despensers at one side and the Marcher Lords and King’s turbulent cousin Thomas of Lancaster at the other side.  The Despensers were initially exiled [the demand of the Marcher Lords and Thomas of Lancaster], but later revoked. The King was successful, the Marcher Lords surrendered, his cousin Thomas of Lancaster and approximately nineteen or twenty two adherents were executed in 1322.  Those executions were preceded by either mock trials or no trial at all. In the case of Thomas of Lancaster, a mock trial took place in his own, favourite Castle of Pontefract with as ”judges”, his cousin King Edward II, of course the Despensers and others [ the earls of Kent, Pembroke, Richmond, Surrey, Arundel, the Scottish earls of Angus and Atholl and the justice Robert Malberthorpe] 
The Ordinances [curbing the royal power], to which Thomas of Lancaster had given his heart, were revoked in may 1322 and nothing stood in the way of the reign of terror, Edward II and the Despensers established.  And in 1322, Despenser the Elder was created Earl of Winchester. 
Eventually, due to tensions with France, Queen Isabella [who had suffered by the King’s favouritism of Despenser the Younger] left for France as a mediator between Edward II and her brother, Charles IV.  She did not come back, associated herself with Roger Mortimer [the most powerful Marcher Lord and ally of Thomas of Lancaster, who, Mortimer I mean, had escaped from the Tower of London]. They invaded England in 1326, captured the King and Hugh Despenser the Younger and put an end to that terror regime. 
That’s the history. Before capturing the King however, Hugh Despenser the Elder, who tried to defend Bristol, surrendered Bristol Castle to Isabella and Mortimer.
He was given a mock trial by Mortimer, Isabella, Henry of Lancaster [who had scores to settle with the Despensers….]and a few others at Bristol Castle in October 1326, in what was clearly intended as a parody of Thomas of Lancaster’s trial.
Gory detail: He was hanged in his armour, his head was sent to Winchester on a spear, and his body was cut up and fed to dogs…
Edmund Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, one of the executioners of King’s favourite Piers Gaveston  [together with the 10th Earl of Warwick, the Earl of Hereford and Thomas of Lancaster], who later completely changed sides and became loyal to the King. He was one of the ”judges”, who condemned Thomas of Lancaster, his former ”partner in evil” [execution of Piers Gaveston] to death……  To his credit however must be said, that he stayed loyal to Edward II till the end and fled with him and Hugh Despenser the Younger [his close relation by marriage, since his son was married with Despenser’s eldest daughter Isabel] to Wales. In November 1326, Edmund was captured by John Charlton, who had been Edward II’s chamberlain until 1318.
Edmund was beheaded, almost certainly without a trial, on 17 November 1326, probably at Hereford, though one chronicle says Shrewsbury.
Two of Edmund’s friends, John Daniel and Thomas [or Robert] de Micheldever, were executed with him…….
Horrible, all those executions…..
Hugh Despenser the Younger
Despenser the Elder’s son, another ”Hugh”, was the great favourite of King Edward II. Originally following the political line of his uncle [brother of his mother Isabella de Beauchamp, married Despenser], the 10th Earl of Warwick [one of the executioners of Edward II’s favourite Piers Gaveston] , nevertheless he was appointed to royal chamberlain in the autumn of 1318  and somehow managed to charm himself into the favour of Edward II. Now the function of royal chamberlain was an extremely powerful one. since the chamberlain controlled access, physical and written, to the king and the physical proximity and the frequent contact gave Despenser a real advantage to become ”intimate” with the King [whether physical or not].
Be it as it may: Despenser became the second great favourite of Edward II, after Piers Gaveston and he could do almost anything and yet hold the King’s favour.
The Despenser war [the name says enough] was fought because of him [reason: his and his father’s extreme avariciousness and ambition, disadvantaging the other nobles, especially the Marcher Lords] , leading to his [and his father’s] banishment, but revoked by Edward as soon as possible.
Edward held on to his extreme attachment to him, against the pleas of his estranged wife Isabella [from France], to send him away, as we have seen in my writings above.
His and his father’s [rising with his son’s power] avariousness and numerous crimes in the 1320’s after the Despenser war was won by the King and the Ordinances [the great cause of Thomas of Lancaster] were revoked and all their enemies were either dead, imprisoned or exiled, led to his downfall.
After the invasion in september 1326 of Queen Isabella and her ally [lover] Roger Mortimer and the support of Edward II was crumbling down [mainly because of the hatred against the Despensers], theDespenser game was over.
His father Hugh was captured in Bristol and executed after a mock trial, a parody of the trial and execution of Thomas of Lancaster  and Hugh and the King were captured in South Wales by the forces of Henry of Lancaster [brother of the executed Thomas of Lancaster, who immediately had taken the sides of Isabella and Roger Mortimer against King Edward II and the Despensers]  and Hugh Despenser’s fate was sealed.
Poor vain man, who overplayed his hands….
It was now all suffering, to the end: Significant: It was reported by several chroniclers that, since the capture, Hugh had refused all food and water in an attempt to try and starve himself to death before his execution. 
Now I can’t resist to point out the following: Hugh Despenser was captured at 16 november, and executed on the 24th. Now it IS possible, that someone can manage without food for eight days [in a very weakened state, the maximum seems three weeks], but it is impossible not to DRINK for eight days. The maximum without drink [and then you are from the world already] seems to be a week.  But complete with hallicunations, complete weakness. So no way Despenser should have made a journey from South Wales to Hereford [where they brought him in a rather fast time, between eight days] and survived….
So he will have refused FOOD and survived the journey, but not drink.
His journey was utterly humiliating and he was accompanied to Hereford by Henry de Leyburne [who had fought for Thomas of Lancaster in the last Battle of Boroughbridge] and Robert de Stangrave and they made sure that it was a journey from hell. 
Factually, Queen Isabella wished to have Hugh executed in London, but apparently because of his weakness [the hungerstrike], Hereford was decided for the ”trial” and place of execution.
When he arrived in Hereford, of course, horrible, new humiliations were the poor man’s fate 
At last, he faced his ”trial” at the marketplace in Hereford:
His ”judges” were Henry, earl of Lancaster, the earl of Kent [ironic! Kent also was, together with the Despensers, one of the ”judges” in the trial of Thomas of Lancaster…], Roger de Mortimer and others 
As had happened at the trial of Thomas of Lancaster in 1322, Hugh was not permitted to speak in his defence. 
And the outcome was, of course predictable, since revenge [from Isabella and Roger Mortimer against Despenser, from Henry of Lancaster against Despenser] was the case here.
Hugh was sentenced to the traitors death: To be hanged, drawn and quartered and he suffered the whole horror of that sentence……
Sir William Trussel, strong adherer of Thomas of Lancaster, who had fought at his side at the Battle of Boroughbridge ‘fled to France and returned with Isabella and Roger Mortimer]  read out the charges against Hugh Despenser 
And the outcome was, of course predictable, since revenge [from Isabella and Roger Mortimer against Despenser, from Henry of Lancaster against Despenser] was the case here.
Hugh was sentenced to the traitors death:  To be hanged, drawn and quartered and he suffered the whole horror of that sentence……
At 24 november 1326  Together with him also Simon Reading, a rather unknown man, who was captured together with Despenser and the King and whose ”crime” seemed to have been [he got no trial] to have ”insulted” the Queen, was hanged. 
That was the hideous end of Hugh Despenser the Younger, the great favourite of Edward II.
What a death. Whatever he had done, no he didn’t deserves to die like that. No one deserves to die like that.
”WE BOW TO NO MAN……..”
And now about Roger Mortimer, powerful Marcher Lord and ally of Thomas of Lancaster. How fared he?
The story is known about the Despenser war Roger, Thomas and their allies fought out against the Despensers and ultimately King Edward II, I wrote it already extensively in chapter six and seven.
A powerful Marcher Lord, Initially loyal to the King, being King’s Lieutenant and Justiciar in Ireland , Roger Mortimer came into rebellion, together with his uncle Roger Mortimer de Chirk and many others, because of Edward II´s extreme favouritism of the Despensers, which disadvantaged the Marcher Lords.  This resulted in the Despenser war in which the Marcher Lords destroyed Despenser lands , but also attacked, pillaged and extortioned innocents, with as main victims poor villagers ¨ They formed a close alliance with Thomas of Lancaster, who was yearlong in opposition against his cousin and King. At the end, Thomas of Lancaster was defeated in the Battle of Boroughbridge on 16 march 1322 and executed on 22 march 1322 after a mock trial , with so many others also executed (not always after a ´´trial, . Roger Mortimer and his uncle de Chirk, who were already complelled to surrender in january 1322 , were imprisoned at the Tower of London. BUT IN 1323 ROGER MORTIMER ESCAPED!  SPECTACULAR!
One of the few who ever escaped the Tower of London! He fled to France and there he met other Contrariants (rebels against the King in the Despenser war), who fled England after the defeat at Boroughbridge.
SO FAR, SO GOOD!
But Mortimer was an ambitious man, who wanted his power, position and lands back. That was only possible with a military victory against the King, which meant a military invasion of England. Now for him, that step was not so great. He had rebelled against his king before.
But the main problem: With whom to associate, who enabled him to raise an army and for whom the people in England were prepare to fight?
Question, question, untill Queen Isabella arrived in France in 1325, for mediating between her husband Edward II and brother King Charles IV in their military conflict over Gascony  She DID mediate, but then did not return to England under the pretext (or perhaps she really meant it, which is more likely) that Hugh Despenser had ruined her marriage (as if he did that singlehanded, without the passionate cooperation of Edward II) and that she would not return to England unless Edward would send him away  Of course he refused (she could have known that before….) infatuated with the man as he was. 
To cut a long story short Isabella and Mortimer associated with each other, probably as lovers (or perhaps that came later), but chiefly for having a strong common interest, certainly now the successor to the throne, prince Edward (who payed homage over Gascony and Ponthieu instead of his father Edward II) was in France under his mother´s guard.
Mortimer alone could not go to England and demand the throne for prince Edward. But Isabella, his ally änd possible lover, and the mother of the successor to the throne, could and, presenting her as a Lady in distresss, put aside by her husband, who preferred his favourite, would do for the people to fight for her….. CLEVER, VERY CLEVER
So Isabella promised to marry her son Edward to Philippa, daughter of the Count of Hainault. As a ´´dowry´´ she got the necessary troops, cash and merecenaries  and she and Mortimer invaded England in september 1326. The support for Edward II was now crumbling down, his cousin Henry of Lancaster (brother of Thomas of Lancaster) and his halfbrother the Earl of Norfolk  [his other halfbrother and full brother of the Earl of Norfolk, the Earl of Kent, had already joined Isabella and Mortimer in France)  abandoned him and at the end, Edward II was captured together with his favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger. The Despensers were hideously executed…..
Edward was compelled to abdicate in january 1327 in favour of his son  who became Edward III, but for the moment, only ruler in name (until 1330) Isabella and Mortimer were the de facto rulers..
AND NOW POWER WAS ISABELLA´S AND ROGER MORTIMER’S!
Because of the period of tyranny of Edward II and the Despensers, Isabella and Mortimer were received as heroes and saviours of the nation and in the beginning it must have seemed for many people, that better times had come: But soon they would be disappointed
But first: Apart from the hideous executions of the Despensers and the executions of some of their adherents [like the Earl of Arundel], some good things turned out of this invasion. Many people, imprisoned by the Despensers, were pardoned  and doubtless to the satisfaction of Henry of Lancaster and the former adherents of his brother Thomas [and remember, Roger Mortimer had been Thomas’ ally during the Despenser war], the trial of Thomas was reversed 
AND: Henry, who had petitioned for his brothers Earldoms and got Leicester back in 1324  [but NOT the rest of his Earldoms, which were forfeited, since Thomas was executed as a traitor], was restored in his brother’s Earldoms and now officially the Earl of Lancaster.  In 1327, Henry also was made chief of the Council of Regency [since King Edward III was a minor, yet] 
In september 1327, former King Edward II died at Berkeley Castle, probably murdered , although some modern historians presume that he escaped and lived years and years abroad.  Be as it may: Young King Edward III believed his father was murdered, since that was one of the charges against Roger Mortimer in 1330. 
REIGN OF ISABELLA AND ROGER MORTIMER/TERROR, AGAIN!
The rather abrupt death of King Edward II casted, of course, a shadow on their reign, but there was more: If people had hoped, all things would be better with the Despensers gone, they were mistaken! There was a new terror reign, this time not the Despenser terror, but the Isabnella and Mortimer terror. In fact, there was a new ”favourite” in the land, Hugh Despenser, favourite of former King Edward Ii, was simply replaced by Roger Mortimer, favourite of Queen Isabella….. The pair was abnormally avaricious, worse than the Despensers ever had been and their political opponents suffered prison and execution too.  They rewarded themselves [and family] with vast estates and the expenses of the royal treasury and in 1328 Roger Mortimer was made the Earl of March.
Moreover they made peace with Scotland, which made them very unpopular. 
This and their avariciousness led to great discontentment in the lands and their allies began to desert them. The first was Henry of Lancaster, who had enough of the ”tyranny”,among else since the Council of Regency [from which he was chief] was de facto ousted out of power. He raised an army against the Mortimer/Isabella regime in 1328, since like his brother Thomas before, he had many armed man at his disposal, but he failed, although he was spared from death. But in exchange for the ”mercy” of Isabella and Mortimer, he had to pay a very huge fine…… Apparently, Henry resembled his brother Thomas’ rebellious nature more than it had seemed in the past…..
So discontent with Isabella and Mortimer grew day by day and more former adherents abandoned them. 
THE EARL OF KENT DRAMA:
As if they were not unpopular enough, the Isabella and Mortimer pair executed the King’s uncle, Edmund of Woodstock, the Earl of Kent. 
This Earl of Kent had interesting ”life and times”: Halfbrother of King Edward II, he, together with the Despensers [and others] had been one of the ”judges” in the mock trial against Thomas of Lancaster , later went to the Pope to promote the very Thomas’ canonization …… He took part in the rebellion of Isabella and Mortimerf against his halfbrother King Edward II. And to make the story complete: He was one of the ”judges” at the mock trial of Hugh Despenser the Elder  and present at the trial against Hugh Despenser the Younger  The same men with whom he sentenced Thomas of Lancaster to death…. Speaking from ”switching sides”………
ANYWAY: What lead to Kent’s execution:
After apparently have participated in the failed rebellion of Henry of Lancaster [Thomas’ brother] against Isabella and Mortimer  [and, as Henry, been spared by the Isabella/Mortimer regime], it was not over yet and Kent played a far more dangerous game:
He became involved in another plot against the Isabella/Mortimer pair , when he was convinced by rumours that his halfbrother was still alive…..
According to some historians, the whole ”Edward II is still alive” thing, was a set up by Roger Mortimer to lure Kent into a trap to commit treason against his nephew, the present King, Edward III  Some modern historians allege, that in fact Edward II WAS still alive and that somehow Kemt had got some proof of that 
Be as it may [I let the reader judge for him or herself], whether Kent was naive and gullible enough to believe that the dead Edward II was not dead after all or that Edward II REALLY lived, it is to be praised in Edmund, Earl of Kent, that he tried to free his halfbrother, former King Edward II.
Needless to say, that Roger and Isabella were not pleased at all:
Poor Earl of Kent was executed at 19 march 1330…..
But at the end, this worked all wrong for Roger Mortimer, since the death of Kent was one of the charges against him in 1330…..
Since Kent had that high royal status [son of late king Edward I, halfbrother of former king Edward II and uncle of present king Edward III]  the executioner was unwilling to take part in the judicial murder of a king’s son and fled, and so the unfortunate Kent had to wait around in his shirt for many hours until a common felon under sentence of death was offered his freedom if he agreed to wield the axe……. 
THE LION AWAKES SWAN SONG/NOTTINGHAM CASTLE/DOWNFALL
””Whereas the king’s affairs and the affairs of his realm have been directed until now to the damage and dishonour of him and his realm and to the impoverishment of his people, as he has well perceived and as the facts prove*, wherefore he has, of his own knowledge and will, caused certain persons to be arrested, to wit the earl of La Marche [i.e. Roger Mortimer], Sir Oliver de Ingham, and Sir Simon de Bereford, who have been principal movers of the said affairs, and he wills that all men shall know that he will henceforth govern his people according to right and reason, as befits his royal dignity**, and that the affairs that concern him and the estate of his realm shall be directed by the common counsel of the magnates of the realm and in no other wise…” 
Proclamation of King Edward III, the day after the arrest of Roger Mortimer 
I wrote it before: People became more and more fed up with the Isabella and Mortimer terror and the execution of the Earl of Kent, King’s uncle, was probably the last straw. But there was more to it.
Young King Edward III, who was untill now the ‘puppet king” in the hands of his mother and Roger Mortimer, grew more and more dissatisfied about this state of affair.
And I can state safely here, that the execution of his uncle, Earl of Kent, did NOT have Edward III’s consent, since one of the later charges against Roger Mortimer was procuring the death of King Edward III’s uncle, the said Earl of Kent. 
To cut a long story short:
King Edward III was fed up with Mortimer [probably he suspected him Mortimer already of the alleged murder on his father, since that also was one of the charges held against Mortimer]  Likely the last straw was the birth of his eldest son, the later ”Black Prince” in june 1330 
So the King Edward III, with the help of his dearest and closest friend, William Montecute [son of the former favourite of Edward II, William Montecute, who formed a ”triumvirate” together with the two other favourites, Roger Damory and Hugh Audley]  and other companions of his [Edward III’s] age, made a clever plan, that was very well prepared. Although spontaneous by nature, probably Edward had planned some sort of movement against Mortimer all along [which was difficult enough to execute, since Isabella and Mortimer had spies in his household]
AND IT WAS SPECTACULAR!
Mortimer and Isabella were at Nothingham Castle and there the show began:
Via a secret tunnel [likely Isabella and Mortimer were not aware of that] Edward III, his close friend Montecute and his other loyal knights entered the Castle and Isabella and Mortimer, who were in conference with their few adherents left, were totally surprised and Roger was arrested, despite [according to the chroncicles] Isabella was supposed to have pleaded for him: ‘Fair son, have pity on gentle [translated as ”from noble birth”] Mortimer” 
The reign of Edward III now de facto [Latin for ”in fact”] had started.
Mortimer was imprisoned in the Tower of London until his trial on 26 November.  But ”trial” is a too big word for what really happened: Like of Thomas of Lancaster and the Despensers, Roger was not permitted to speak in his own defence when he was taken before Parliament at Westminster. He was charged with fourteen crimes, including: the murder of Edward II; procuring the death of Edward’s half-brother Kent; and taking royal power and using it to enrich himself, his children and his supporters. 
Of course, Roger was found guilty of these crimes, and ‘many others’, by notoriety, that is, his crimes were ‘notorious and known for their truth to you and all the realm’. 
He was convicted to be ”hanged, drawn and quartered” [the ”traitors death”], but King Edward III showed himself merciful and commuted his punishment to ”merely” hanging. 
He was executed at Tyburn, the first nobleman to be hanged there. Tyburn was the execution site for common criminals, and hanging was the method used to dispatch them. Noblemen were usually beheaded. 
But obviously, Edward III wanted him to be executed as a common criminal.
Some of the young knights who supported and aided Edward III during his coup were later rewarded with earldoms: William Montacute, with Salisbury  Robert Ufford, with Suffolk; William Clinton, with Huntingdon and so others 
DEATH AND ROYAL DESCENDANTS
And so passed Roger de Mortimer, 3rd baron de Mortimer, 1st Earl of March.  He had gambled for power and eventually lost.
But…….through the marriage of his greatgrandson Edmund, 3rd Earl of March, with the granddaughter of Edward III, Philippa [daughter of his son Lionel of Antwerp], Mortimer became the ancestor of Richard, Duke of York, his sons, the Plantagenet Kings Edward IV and Richard III and via Edward IV’s daughter, Elizabeth of York [wife of Henry Tudor, Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII], the ancestor of all subsequent monarchs in England! 
NO BAD CURRICULUM VITAE FOR A REBEL TO THE THRONE!
And now: Queen Isabella:
How fared she after the execution of her cousin by marriage and uncle [halfbrother of her mother Joan I of Navarre] Thomas of Lancaster? Much about her life I have written already: See above ”King Edward II” and ”Roger Mortimer”
To cut a long story short [at least an attempt…..]
ISABELLA INTO REBELLION
King Edward II clearly was totally infatuated with Hugh Despenser the Younger, and he and his father held such a power, that no one could access the King without one of them being present.  That also applied to Queen Isabella , what must have been very disconcerting to her. And her position further deteriorated, when, due to tensions with France and the outbroken war, Edward II reduced her income, seized her lands and treated her more like an enemy than his Queen.  Due to the fact it was difficult for Edward II to leave the country to pay homage for Gascony and Ponthieu [growing unrest and great unpopularity of the Despensers and subsequently, the King] , he sent Isabella to France to mediate between him and her brother Charles IV, King of France.  She did mediate, but stayed in France, made publicly known, not to return to England before Despenser was sent away from Court. 
Edward II and Isabella made from their marriage laughing stock by sending letters to each other [and to others], rejecting Hugh Despenser [Isabella] and defending him firmly [Edward II]  and at that time it became clear to Isabella [what she could have known from the start], that Edward II was NOT going to send dear Hugh away from him…..
When prince Edward [the later Edward III] came to pay homage for Gascony and Ponthieu instead of his father and now under his mother’s control, Isabella came into the position to pose a serious threat on her husband. In the meantime, she had began a cooperation [romantic or not] with escaped Marcher Lord Roger Mortimer and more and more fled Contrariants [rebels against King Edward II in the Despenser war and adherents of the Marcher Lords and Thomas of Lancaster]
At the end, after promising her son Edward in marriage with the daughter of the Count of Hainault [and so getting the necessary military aid], Isabella and Mortimer invaded England, defeated Edward II [whose support was crumbling down into almost nothing], executed the Despensers in the style of Thomas of Lancaster [in mock trials]  and establising their power.
ISABELLA’S VINDICTIVENESS NOT TO FORGET/THREE LITTLE NUNS
Edward II had shown his vindictiveness against the women and children of the Contrariants after 1322 [defeat and execution of Thomas of Lancaster, which marked the end of the Despenser war] , but Isabella proved not to be better:
In january 1327, Isabella revenged herself on three little daughters of the late Hugh Despenser, by forcibly let them veiled to nuns.  Hugh’s eldest daughter escaped, since she was already married with Richard Fitzalan  the son of the executed Earl of Arundel [once one of the executioners of Piers de Gaveston, together with the 10th Earl of Warwick, the Earl of Hereford and Thomas of Lancaster, then returned to loyalty to Edward II and paid the highest price being beheaded by Isabella and Mortimer]  Hughs youngest daughter also escaped, being too young or still in her mother’s womb. 
Think! Their grandfather and father dead, brutally executed, their mother imprisoned  Bereaved from their hitherto priviliged state.
From Isabella’s side a low act of pure vindictiveness, to those innocent girls…..
The Isabella and Mortimer pair deposed King Edward II in favour of his son, now Edward III , poor King Edward II was imprisoned, first at his cousin Henry of Lancaster’s castle Kenilworth [treated with all honour and respect] , thereafter at Berkeley Castle [no idea how he was treated, but I guess less honourably] , where he officially died in september 1327, probably murdered  [some historians however think he survived and lived years later abroad] 
Discontentment grew, since Isabella and Mortuimer proved no better rulers than the Despensers and were more avaricious than even the Despensers had been. 
Edward III, who was King only in name, had enough of it and in october 1330 overthrew the power of Mortimer and his mother and had Mortimer executed in november 1330, among else on the charges of the murder of his father and the execution of his uncle, the Earl of Kent, halfbrother of his father. 
That was the end of Mortimer and the power of the Isabella/Mortimer pair…..
AFTER MORTIMER’S EXECUTION: ISABELLA
Whatever Edward III must have thought of possible accomplicity of Isabella in the [what he then thought] murder of his father, she was still his mother: In contrary with all dramatic stories, EDWARD III DID NOT LOCK UP HIS MOTHER FOREVER IN CASTLE RISING!  In fact, Edward held her out of the storm: In the charges against Mortimer, she was mentioned in only one charge: “the said Roger falsely and maliciously sowed discord between the father of our lord the King and the Queen his companion…the said Queen remained absent from her said lord, to the great dishonour of our lord the King and the said Queen his mother…” 
After Mortimer’s arrest, Isabella was taken to Berkhamsted Castle and placed under temporary house arrest., where she was treated with respect, due to her royal status. Later she lived at Windsor Castle and from 1332 in her own Castle Rising.  On 1 December, Isabella surrendered her vast estates into the hands of her son [many she had stolen to enrich herself], but Edward turned
to be very lenient with her and granted her an income of £3000 a year: “Grant for life, with the assent of Parliament, to queen Isabella of a yearly sum of 3,000l at the Exchequer to provide for her estate…” [in 1331 her estates, which belonged to HER, were given back to her, not what she had stolen]  This income was in fact higher than her income as reigning Queen. And considering that most people in England earned less than five pounds per year, and forty pounds qualified a man for knighthood, it was still a vast income by any standards. In 1337, it was raised to £4500.
So she lived a luxuriously life, returning to Castle Rising in 1332 , although her political influence and power was over.
And the relationship with her son Edward seemed to be well. In 1330, she passed Christmas with her son and likely her daughter in law and baby grandson, the later Black Prince, with whom she became very close. 
The death [execution] of Mortimer must have been very painful for her and perhaps she suffered a nervous breakdown , what some historians have suggested, but she was smart enough not to show any grief in public. [which was by the way highly uncommon by people of noble birth and certainly royals]
Anyway, she led a comfortable, but conventional life until her death, received visitors, had a regular contact with her son the King and especially with her favourite grandson Edward, the Black Prince, who visited her regularly and vice versa . Interesting too was, that she was often visited by the captive French King John II, son of her first cousin, who was the first Valois King, Philip VI [Philip VI’s father, Charles of Valois, was the brother of Philip IV, the Fair, father of Isabella]  The last period of her life her youngest daughter Joan, who had been married with David the Bruce [son of Robert the Bruce and King of the Scots, her grandfather Edward I would have exploded!], took care for her. 
Isabella died at 22 august 1358 at Hertford Castle.  At her request, she was buried with her wedding clothes.  Edward III visited his mother’s funeral, the convention that kings did not attend funerals belonging to later centuries, not the fourteenth. 
There are rumours, that she was also buried with the heart of Edward II, but that is not sure. 
Isabella left the bulk of her property to her favourite grandson, Edward the Black Prince and some of her belongings to her youngest daughter Joan, who nursed her the last period of her life. 
And so passed Isabella of France, daughter of Philip IV the Fair of France, wife of King Edward II and mother of King Edward III. A remarkable, tumultuous royal Lady, who broke with the conventions of her time to rebel openly against her Lord and husband…..
However, the story isn’t over yet: Because I can’t describe the life and times of Queen Isabella , without some thoughts about her marriage with Edward II:
How was the marriage of King Edward II and Queen Isabella of France? Well, there are conflicting opinions about that Some sources say, that this marriage was a disaster from day one [due to Edward II’s extreme favouritism of Piers Gaveston], but that version you mostly see by older historians and often in fiction. According to more, modern versions, it was a good and happy marriage until along came Hugh Despenser…….. [only in that case you can question WHY Hugh got such an emotional impact on the King, if his marriage was that good…..] And although modern writers don’t make of this marriage an extremely romantic thing, they tend to it, perhaps as a countraweight against the ”disaster” version. I think both versions are wrong. To my view, the marriage was a well working Medieval union at least from the death of Piers Gaveston until the coming of Hugh Despenser but not neccessarily loving.
Now nobody can’t possibly know how the marriage really was, since the only sources are the chronicle writers, who gave insight in that time and the lives of Edward II and Isabella, but were NOT in the royal bedchamber…. Medieval documents [letters, offiicial documents etc] are valuable, but the relationship between two persons, which is complex and can change, is, of course, not recorded. So the quality of their marriage remains a matter of interpretation.
Taken into consideration, that, bisexual [or homosexual] or not [a matter of interpretation, nobody can know for sure], Edward II had a strong, emotional need for male companions  and got at lengths [especially in the case of Gaveston and Despenser] to keep them at his side, that is no recipe for a good, succesfull and happy marriage,……
My view [but only a view] is that the marriage was NO disaster from day one, , ,neither a succesful, loving and happy marriage, but a well working Medieval union [four children, including the successor to the throne and his brother, John of Eltham], Isabella fulfillling her royal duties loyally, as trying to act as peacemaker and mediator, and Edward having a high regard of her, untill along came Hugh Despenser……..
That the marriage was not particulary loving and happy seems understandable, since it was arranged. But that is not the only explanation, since some arranged marriages [for example Edward I’s and Edward III’s, as Isabella of France’s father] were seemingly very happy.  No, another aspect was the Kings infatuation and obsession with Piers Gaveston [I can safely assume: HIS great love] and later Hugh Despenser.
How Isabella really thought about Gaveston, is not recorded, although it is often presented, that she loathed and hated him.
The only recorded source however is a letter she wrote, after Gaveston”s third exile to the receiver of Ponthieu “concerning the affairs of the earl of Cornwall.”  That was perhaps an indication, that she had agreed to help Gaveston in his exile, at least financially [interpretation on EdwardthesecondBlogspot and I can agree with that]  But I can’t see it as a proof, that she actually LIKED him. More as a possible indication, that she must be glad to have him out of the way and to make sure [from financial perspective] that he stayed where he was…..
After the arrival of Hugh Despenser in the royal favour however, from a working union, the marriage became a disaster, with Isabella leaving for France, invading England and the deposition of Edward II. I wrote it all above here.
But to say in the defence of Despenser: However reproachable his role into the marriage was, it was Edward II who made the choice to lay explosives under his marriage, not only becoming that infatuated with Hugh, but wanting to hold him at his side, no matter which plea of Isabella to send him away. 
That was HIS choice, not [only] the machinations of Hugh Despenser.
Was Edward a man, who led a ”great happy marriage” before Hugh’s coming? I don’t think so, since his extreme emotional dependence of men [Gaveston, and to lesser extent, the trumvirate Roger Damory, Hugh Audley and William Montecute]
Whether Isabella loved Edward on the great, happy, romantic way before Despenser, I can’t say. There is no proof of that, nor proof of the contrary.
But it takes two to make a happy and loving marriage….
To my opinion: A good and working union,after the death of Piers Gaveston and untill Hugh Despenser came. No more, no less.
HENRY OF LANCASTER
I vividly imagine a scene in, let’s say 1324, when Hugh Despenser the Younger meets Henry of Lancaster in the Westminster Palace.
With feigned friendliness he asks for Henry’s welfare and pretends some ”cordiality”, knowing full well, that Henry doesn’t like him at all. After all, he was one of the ”judges”, who condemned his brother Thomas to death in a mock trial in 1322…….
Despenser suggests, that although the death of his brother must have been painful for Henry, life goes on. After all, he was not that close to his brother?
”Forgiven and forgotten, my Lord brother?”  Despenser falsely asks: [Henry was married with Despenser’s maternal half sister Maud Chaworth] Henry, having no alternative, Despenser being the most powerful man in the land, responds
”Yes my Lord” and bows.
But when Despenser leaves, Henry’s face is stern and grief-stricken
Because whether close or not, Thomas after all WAS his brother.
So he mutters against the disappearing back of Despenser
”SEE YOU AROUND, BUDDY BOY. IT AIN’T OVER YET’…. NO PEACE WITH YOU MY LORD, NO PEACE”
Despenser overconfident as always, had no idea whatsoever, what was really in Henry’s mind…..
Such a scene COULD have happened. Did it really happen? No idea.
OUR MYSTERY MAN
Now during the turbulent 1312-1322 part of the reign of Edward II, in which Thomas of Lancaster, Henry’s elder brother, and Edward II had a furious struggle for power, which eventually led to the execution of Thomas, Henry almost seems forgotten, gone away to France or in each case, rather mysteriously absent.
Yet in 1326, Edward II and Despensers would know, that Henry all those years played his own games And waiting for his chance to settle old scores.  But then, for them, it was too late……
Born in or about 1281, he was the younger son of Edward I’s brother Edmund [Crouchback], Earl of Lancaster, Leicester and Derby and Blanche of Artois, and brother of Thomas of Lancaster and the not well known John 
So Henry and his brothers were the first cousins of Edward II [their fathers being brothers] Henry also was the halfbrother of Queen Joan I of Navarre [daughter of Blanche of Artois from her first marriage with King Henry of Navarre], who was the wife of the French King Philip IV and the mother of Isabella of France, Edward II’s wife [and the French Kings Louis X, Philip V and Charles IV] Which made Henry [and Thomas] the maternal uncles of Isabella of France! 
After their father’s death in 1296, the bulk of his lands was inherited by Thomas, being the eldest son. Yet Henry inhertited a part of his father’s vast lands, and was lord of Kidwelly and owned the Three Castles in Monmouthshire (Grosmont, Skenfrith and the White Castle) 
On 6 February1298/99 his uncle Edward I had a surprise for him: He was summoned to Parliament on 6 february 1298/99 by writ directed to Henrico de Lancastre nepoti Regis (“Henry of Lancaster, nephew of the king”), by which he is held to have become Baron Lancaster. 
Around 1297, he married Maud Chaworth, the elder maternal halfsister of Hugh Despenser the Younger. 
He fought for his uncle, King Edward I, in the Scottish wars  and in the Flanders campaign  With his elder brother Thomas he visited the future Edward II [then ”just” heir to the throne] during the 1290 years. 
In 1308 Henry was present at the coronation of his cousin Edward II and his wife Isabella, Thomas carrying the sword ”Curtana” and Henry had the honour to carry the royal rod. 
HENRY, THE MYSTERIOUS MAN
Concerning Henry of Lancaster, two things puzzles me:
Why the hell he didn’t participate in his brother Thomas’ rebellions?
And the fact, that he managed to hold himself ”low profile” until he emerged out of from nowhere, to become the main force behind the fall of Edward II and the Despensers…..
I will come back to my ”puzzles” later in the story. Continuing:
You should think, that with such an impressive family background, Henry would be destined to play an important role in political affairs. But that was not the case, at least not until 1326….
Now the fact, that he, as a younger son, was not rich, doesn’t explain everything: Since his brother Thomas was twice in open rebellion to Edward II [1311-1312, the Piers Gaveston case and in 1321-22, Despenser war] and continually, from about 1312 until 1322, was struggling with Edward II for power, one should think, that Henry would take part in his brother’s rebellions. Quod not.
According to some historians, Henry was not that close with his brother  I don’t know, whether that’s really true, but that can hardly be an explanation for his lack of political/military participation on behalf of Thomas, since it was usual, that brothers joined each other when there was a rebellion and they were not all close with each other either. Besides, when the rebellion succeeded, the supporting brothers could be assured of high positions, so it was their own interest as well.
What perhaps can explain his lack of political involvement was the fact, that Henry was a real family man with such a close and affectionate bond with his son and daughters, to that extent, that his daughters lived a great part of their life with him, even when they were married.  And that was not usual. He also seemed to have had a more quiet temper than Thomas, which perhaps urged him to keep out of political turbulences.
But living in England could bring him in an impossible position, since he could eventually have been forced to choose between his brother and his cousin the King.
I think that he didn’t want to fight against the King [there was no indication whastoever, that Henry was not altogether loyal to Edward II and the relationship between them was seemingly well, at least until Thomas’ execution], but he certainly would not have wanted to fight against his own brother, whether they were ”close” or not.
He seemed to have tried not to meddle in the quarrels of his brother: In 1316 he was among the men chosen by the King , to take part in the campaign against Llywellyn Bren, which Henry did  with Sir William Montacute , one of the King’s favourites from around 1316-18, who, together with Roger Damory and Hugh Audley [HAHAHA, the latter two would end up as allies of Thomas] , would become serious enemies of his brother Thomas.  Although, admittedly, that animosity with Thomas was not so apparent in 1316 yet:
The great trouble between Thomas and those destructive favourites [I wrote about them extendedly in chapter five] would fully emerge in 1317 , a year after the campaign against Llywellyn Bren…..
Taking no part in the quarrels of his brother and yet didn’t
want to be turned against him, can be the reason, that Henry ”escaped” when the opportunity rose and his escape route was France. His ”escape” however was a sad one:
In 1317, Henry’s [and Thomas’] younger brother John died childless and in May 1318 Edward II granted Henry permission to travel to France to “obtain the inheritance in that land which by the death of John de Lancastre, his brother, descended to him.” 
So since he had possessions now in France, he could live there.
So he said ”Hasta la vista” to England and spent spent much if not all of the next few years in France, to judge from the number of times Edward granted him permission and protection to remain overseas (he was still out of England in January 1322 and perhaps even later) 
But strangely enough he did crop up sometimes. During the tensions before the outbreak of the Despenser war, which would cost his brother Thomas his life, Henry had participated in an anti Despenser coalition, perhaps [speculation from my side] because Henry had possessions in Wales  [where the Despensers went on the rampage, with full consent of the King]  Which proved that he must have been in England somewhere between let’s say 26 october 1320 and the early months of 1321…..
Henry was part of a confederation of allies against Hugh Despenser the Younger [remember: Hugh was his brother in law, since he was married to Hugh’s half sister Maud Chaworth], in and around 1321 with among else, Roger Mortimer and his uncle Roger Mortimer de Chirk, the King’s former favourites Roger Damory and Hugh Audley and others. 
Doubtless Henry’s brother Thomas was pleased with Henry’s involvement, but then Henry seemed to have dissappeared again… To France, where he stayed at least untill january 1322…… Mysterious fellow…..
TRAGEDY IN 1322/EXECUTION OF HIS BROTHER THOMAS
I don’t know whether Henry was in France or back in England around march 1322. However, the execution of his brother Thomas on 22 march must have been a great shock to him, whether he was ”close” to him or not. Thomas was condemned to death by King Edward II, the Despensers, the earls of Kent, Pembroke, Richmond, Surrey, Arundel and the Scottish earls of Angus and Atholl, in an unfair trial, where Thomas was not allowed to speak in his own defence or asked anyone to raise a defence on his behalf.  Some of Thomas’ ”judges” had no idea yet, that this mock trial some day would be used against them in their own so called ”trials”, with now HENRY as one of their ”judges”….
And there was another person, who would not be forgotten, by Henry either: Sir Robert Holland, a former close ally of Thomas of Lancaster, who had betrayed him, one of the reasons why he had lost the Battle of Boroughbridge…… I will deal with that later. To the honour of King Edward II must be said, that he didn’t appreciate the treacherous changes of sides of Robert Holland at all: He imprisoned him and it was not before 1327, that he was released by Queen Isabella. 
THE EARLDOMS/HENRY’S PETITION
After the execution of his brother, Henry, apparently, kept himself low profile. Not that it was very likely, that he was in danger, since he didn’t participated in his brother’s rebellion, but in those times of tyranny [he was after all Thomas’ brother] you never can tell…. But he had one advantage, which protected him against the possible vindictiveness of the Despensers [don’t forget he had been part of the anti-Despenser coalition just before the outbreak of the Despense war] : He was married with Maud Chaworth, halfsister of Hugh Despenser the Younger from his mother’s side. 
But although he kept on the background, in the years to come he at least once rose his voice: To petition for his brother Thomas’ lands and titles [he was Thomas’ heir, since he had no legitimate children], which were forfeited after his execution for treason.  He did that partially successfully, since Edward II restored the Earldom of Leicester to him. In 1324 he was created Earl of Leicester.
You may wonder why Edward II didn’t give him all the lands of his brother back? I don’t know, of course, but I will make a speculation here: The possession of all those Earldoms had made Thomas not only the richest, but also most powerful man, after King Edward II and he had used that power in a 10 years long battle for power with his cousin the King.
Edward II and the Despensers could not be sure of Henry’s loyalty-after all they had executed his brother and he might take it into his head to take revenge on them-and from their point of view, it could be dangerous to give him that power. Henry had loyal men at his disposal and some former adherents of his late brother appeared in his retinue.  It was a ”security risk” to make him too powerful……
CULT OF ”SAINT THOMAS”
But there was more to it: Shortly after the execution of Henry’s brother, Thomas of Lancaster, rumours began to circulate about miracles, performed at his tomb and the place of his execution.  And it didn’t take long before hundreds, no thousands of people came to worship ”Saint Thomas” [yes, Thomas of Lancaster] as a Saint.  I have described this extendedly in chapter nine. Now it is not clear, how those rumours came into the world, but it is not imaginary, that brother Henry was behind those tales about the Sainthood of his brother. It was the perfect revenge on Edward II and the Despensers [since Henry had no other option], since the more people venerated ”Saint Thomas”, the more the already hated Despensers would be despised. At the other hand: Apart from Henry’s possible need for revenge, the veneration of Saint Thomas, however stemmed from, had a source in the discontentment with the Despenser tyranny, condoned by a doting Edward II…..
However: That the veneration of his brother meant a lot to Henry, appeared from the fact, that, at his request, in 1327 [after the downfall of Edward II of course], Archbishop William Melton of York [who in 1320 had sent Thomas of Lancaster’s correspondence with the Scots to King Edward II]  wrote a letter to the Pope, with the request to inquire into the canonization of the popular ”Saint” [”Saint Thomas”] .  Also, in collaboration with Queen Isabella, an agreement took place with Queen Isabella [confirmed by King Edward III], dealing with a chapel, which was to be built outside
the city walls, on the hill where Lancaster had been executed five years ago [so this great event took place in 1327] A hermit was to reside there to receive alms for the building of the chapel and was to be assisted by a clerk appointed by Isabella and Henry. 
But back to 1322-23: The veneration of ”Saint Thomas” was a source of great worry to Edward II and although he did his utmost to finish it, it only grew in popularity. 
How Henry further fared between 1323 until 1326, I have no idea, but being a man of surprises, he was to make his great move in 1326…..
1326/HENRY’S WAY/THE GREAT MOVE INVASION OF ISABELLA AND MORTIMER
So our ”mystery man” Henry, who didn’t participate in his brother Thomas’ rebellions and kept to himself most of those turbulent years [1317-1322] in France and hardly made any appearance during the Edward II and Despenser tyranny, suddenly rose, to play a key role in the events in 1326!
When Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer invaded in England in 1326, Henry, then ”merely” Earl of Leicester, was one of the first to abandon Edward II and join the Isabella and Mortimer rebellion.  Not so difficult, why, although it might have been a mixture of reasons. He doubtless must have wanted to take revenge for the execution of his brother, especially wished by the Despensers, and, of course, also by Edward II, because of Lancaster’s involvement with the murder of his favourite Piers Gaveston] . Discontentment with the greedy tyranny of EdwardII/The Despensers may have also played a role, as the fact, that Henry was granted only the Earldom of Leicester, when he petitioned for his brother’s inheritance in 1323.
But to my opinion, Henry’s most important reason to support Isabella and Mortimer was revenge for the execution of his brother.
The joining Isabella and Mortimers” rebellion was an enormous problem for Edward II, since his cousin Henry, like Henry’s brother Thomas before, had many means and men at his disposal, as a number of former adherents of Thomas, who had now joined Henry’s retinue.  In a futile attempt of damage control, Edward II ordered to seize Henry’s Welsh castles of Grosmond, Skenfirth and White Castle. 
Painful for Edward II must have been the desertion of his own halfbrother, Thomas, Earl of Norfolk.  His other halfbrother [and full brother of Thomas of Norfolk], Edmund, Earl of Kent, had already joined Isabella and Mortimer in France and invaded with them…. 
Kent was to play a very strange role in 1330 in an attempt to free his supposedly dead halfbrother Edward II from prison and was executed for it……
TO SETTE OLD SCORES/THE DESPENSERS
SEE YOU AROUND, BUDDY BOY, IT AIN’T OVER YET…
NOW it was Henry’s chance to settle old scores with the Despensers……
Following the invasion of Isabella and Mortimer, Edward II and the Despensers left London. In the meantime, Despenser the Elder failed to defend Bristol Castle against the forces of Isabella and Mortimer, surrerendered and was given a mock trial in what was clearly intended as a parody of Thomas of Lancaster’s trial. He was not allowed to speak to his own defence. His ”judges” were Mortimer, Isabella, Henry of Lancaster and a few others…..  So it was-hard, but true-”what goes around, comes around.”  Thomas of Lancaster had been ”judged” in a mock trial, by among else Despenser the Elder and his son , and now Thomas’ Henry set in ”judgement” over him….. Despenser the Elder was hanged in his own armour….. Sadly enough for him and his family….
To be fair with Despenser the Elder: He committed many crimes, but was one of the few barons, who were loyal to Edward II from start to finish and never switched sides. 
Now Henry was ordered to pursue Edward II and Despenser the Younger [accompanied by a few faithful adherents], who fled to Wales, where they were captured by Henry’s forces at 16 november.  Edward II and Despenser the Younger were split up: Edward II was taken in Henry’s custody to Kenilworth Castle, Henry’s family Castle where Henry treated him with honour and respect, due to a King. 
Poor Despenser the Younger suffered a totally other fate: After a humiliating journey in which he had tried to starve himself , he was taken to Hereford, to undergo, as his father before him, a mock trial: They, again, made a cruel show of it and a clear parody of the mock trial of Thomas of Lancaster: He was not permitted to speak in his own defence….
The charges against him [followed by his verdict] were read by Sir William Trussell, a die hard supporter of Thomas of Lancaster, who had fought at his side at the Battle of Boroughbridge, fled to France and returned with the Isabella and Mortimer invasion.  As a proof that this verdict was- apart from the just charges as piracy, extortions, stealing and imprisonment- also a revenge for the execution of Thomas of Lancaster, the following charge/ passage was included:
”You took the good earl of Lancaster [le bone Counte de Lancastre], who was the cousin-german of our lord the king and his brothers and uncle of the very noble king of France and his sister my lady the queen of England, and had him falsely imprisoned and robbed, and in his own hall in his castle, by your royal power which you had seized from our lord the king, had him judged by a false record contrary to law and reason and Magna Carta and also without response, and you had him martyred and murdered by hard and piteous death.” 
To be fair, that was not quite right, since Thomas was not ”falsely imprisoned” or ”robbed”, but ”judged” [even though it was no fair trial] because of his open rebellion against Edward II…..
Trussell ended the charges with the dramatic words:
”Withdraw, you traitor, tyrant, renegade; go to take your own justice, traitor, evil man, criminal!  [In French, likely the language in which the charges were read out: Retrees vous traitour, tyrant, Reneye, si ales vostre iuys prendre, traitour, malueys, et atteynt; malueys or malveis]
His verdict and death was gruesome: To be hanged, drawn and quartered……
Those present were Queen Isabella and her son [then still] Prince Edward [the later Edward III], Roger Mortimer, Edward II’s halfbrother the Earl of Kent, many others and Henry of Lancaster…. 
The lawliness of the mock trial of Thomas of Lancaster had not only boomeranged on the Despensers and other executed loyal friends of Edward II [often without ANY trial] , but cast a foreboding on the coming years: The Isabella and Despenser regime proved to be as lawless and tyrannic as the Edward II/Despenser rule….
But before continuing there, first a notorious ”Sir Traitor”, Sir Robert Holland and the scores Henry had to settle with him… This Sir Robert Holland was a yearlong very close and trusted ally of Henry’s brother Thomas: In 1311 Edward II wrote to Robert about some illness of Thomas of Lancaster and spoke out his hope to see him in parliament soon, accompanied by Robert…. However, Robert, who was that close to Thomas, would proof to be a big traitor: He abandoned Thomas when he needed him most: During the Battle of Boroughbridge on 16 march…….., which he lost, was taken captive and executed on 22 march….
However, Sir Traitor Robert was imprisoned by Edward II, who couldn’t appreciate his betrayal , but released by Isabella in 1327 .
A former adherent of Thomas of Lancaster killed him in 1328 and his head was sent to Henry.  Was Henry behind this murder, since he must have been very upset about the betrayal of Robert, leading to his brother’s defeat and execution? Probably we’ll never know, but in each case he must have felt like settle old scores, since he took the killers under his protection….
This betrayal against his brother must have touched him very deeply, especially because Robert Holland had been so close with Earl Thomas.
Yes Old scores……..
HENRY UNDER THE ISABELLA AND MORTIMER REGIME TRUST AND CONSENT
At first Henry must have gone well with the Isabella and Mortimer regime:
An initial token of Isabella and Mortimer’s trust and appreciation for his military support was their order to him to pursue and capture Edward II and Despenser the Younger [as written above] hold Edward II in custody in his Castle of Kenilworth, where he treated the fallen King with honour and respect.  Later he was made chief of the Council of Regency for the minor King Edward III. 
One of the other things the Isabella and Mortimer regime did, which doubtless meant a lot to Henry was the reversion of the treason conviction of his brother Thomas.  And to his satisfaction, he was granted the full restoration of his brother’s inheritance. 
Now he was , finally, Earl of Lancaster, Leicester and Derby.
He [see above] also promoted the veneration cult of his brother Thomas in collaboration with Isabella, dealing with a chapel, which was to be built outside
the city walls, on the hill where Lancaster had been executed. 
HENRY AND THE ISABELLA AND MORTIMER REGIME TROUBLE IN PARADISE
But the first troubles in paradise appeared……. And it related with the very task Isabella and Mortimer gave Henry: The custody of his cousin Edward II, the lenient way Henry treated the King, the security risks and the power this custody gave Henry, which easily could be misused……
Whether Henry still held a grudge against Edward II for the execution of his brother Thomas, I don’t know.
However, Edward II was the King after all [and after his deposition the King’s father], and Henry treated him, regardless of what he possibly must have felt, with dignity and honour, according to his royal state. 
Now keeping a fallen King in custody is an enormous responsibility, also in this case: There were several plots to free Edward II, also when he stayed in Kenilworth.  So for security reasons Isabella and Mortimer removed Edward II from Kenilworth, Henry’s family Castle, to Berkeley Castle.  The security reasons were a sensible argument”, of course, since Berkeley Castle had the advantage of being far away from Scotland, where many of Edward’s allies were, and also, the Dunheveds [a gang, very loyalto Edward II who repeatedly tried to free Edward II] were strong in the vicinity of Kenilworth…..
Besides the loyalty of Lord Berkeley was assured: Not only he was the son in law, but also he and his father had been imprisoned under Edward II [his father, an adherent of Thomas of Lancaster, who rebelled with him against Edward II died in prison] 
So he had no reason at all to be ”sympathetic” to Edward II…..
Henry’s lenient treatment of Edward II:
Besides over important ”security reasons”, there was more:
Henry was very courteous to Edward II, not forgot his royalty and after all, they were royal cousins: [remember, Henry had, certainly before the execution of his brother, never been Edward II’s enemy and never rebelled against him] Perhaps his treatment of Edward II was too lenient in the eyes of the regime [especially Mortimer and possibly Isabella]
Very, very important: Henry’s powerful position:
What mattered more to the Isabella and Mortimer couple was the POWER Henry had, not only as Edward II’s custodian, but especially by the restored Earldoms he had inherited from his dear brother Thomas. And Thomas, Edward II’s not so dear cousin, had used the power he derived from his Earldoms in a to year long battle for power against Edward II. My ”overmighty subject” theory is confirmed by note 888
I can understand, that the fear that the whole Thomas of Lancaster show would be repeated by brother Henry, caused Isabella and Mortimer to remove the custody out of the hands of Henry and place them in the more reliable hands of Sir Thomas Berkeley, son in law of Roger Mortimer, who, to repeat it again, would have no inclination to treat Edward II as an honoured guest, since he had been imprisoned by him and his [Berkeley’s] father had died in imprisonment under Edward II…..
So King Edward II was removed to Berkeley Castle, after his courteous custody at his cousin Henry, where he had stayed from november 1326 until the end of march 1327.
It’s not certain, how Henry reacted on the removal of his cousin Edward II , king no more, from Kenilworth: There are sources, stating that he was quite relieved to be freed of his huge responsibility , but other sources claim, that he was very angered about Edward II’s replacement. 
And what threatment [good or bad] Edward II got in Berkeley Castle, is not clear, although it is stated, that he was often mistreated  There is no evident proof for that, but I also can’t imagine that he was treated like an honoured guest, Lord Berkeley being yearlong prisoner of Edward II and his father even died in Edward II’s prison…… There are statements, that he was treated well, since Queen Isabella sent him gifts and letters , but for me, that proves nothing. Because who says that he ever really received those ”gifts and letters”?
Possibly the only reason they were sent was, that the Isabella and Mortimer couple wanted to keep up appearances, at least towards Edward’s and Isabella’s son , the now King Edward III.
Admittedly, Edward III still was a ”puppet king”, under tutelage of Isabella and Mortimer, but he would grow up one day, be the real King. Than it was better for Isabella/Mortimer, when Edward thought his father had been treated well. And by the way? Why should a woman, who had rebelled against her husband, took his kingdom from him, executed his great favourite cruelly [knowing how that must have hurt Edward II], giving him no chance to see his children and, by the way, imprisoned him, sent ”gifts and letters”’to him? Out of love, as is sometimes claimed?  COME ON…….
A woman, who loves her husband or ”still feels affection for him”, does NOT imprison him HAHAHAHA Who would believe that?
It is either convincible to me, that Edward II got a ”royal treatment”: The Berkeley Castle muniments roll records the purchase of wine, cheese, eggs, beef, capons and spices for Edward (Seymour Phillips, Edward II, p. 541 n. 118, citing rolls 39, 41, 42) 
I think it is well possible, that Edward II never ate that delicious food in Berkeley Castle…. And whether he died there or not [murdered or natural causes] is still open to speculation, as I wrote already in this very chapter 10, ”Aftermath” under ”King Edward II” See also note 897
TROUBLE IN PARADISE/ DISCORD WITH ISABELLA AND MORTIMER HENRY’S GREAT REBELLION
Let’s go back to Henry:
The problem between Henry and the Isabella/Mortimer pair over Henry’s custody of his cousin, king no more Edward II and his [Edward II’s] removal from Kenilworth Castle [Henry’s castle] to Berkeley Castle, was one thing:
Soon worse points of disagreement rose:
There was that peace agreement with the Scots, which Isabella and Mortimer closed, the Treaty of Northampton.  Henry of Lancaster was very much against it , like many others, especially [of course!], the earls, who had lost their Scottish estates without compensation, like [I come to him later] Henry’s future relative, Lord Beaumont.  And the compensation the Scots DID pay, 20. 000 [pounds, Medieval] were seized by Isabella and Mortimer…..
But especially Henry was annoyed by the fact, that Mortimer sidelined him:
He was chief council of the Regency [of the minor King Edward III], but his position was somehow ”usurped” by Roger Mortimer and Henry was even allegedly denied access to King Edward III. 
The beginning of the open confrontation between Henry and Roger Mortimer took place at the time of the Salisbury parliament in october 1328, in an attempt of Henry to regain power again as chief council of the Regency and so reassert his influence over the king, which failed. 
However, the ”trouble in paradise” seems to have started earlier that year, since in the middle of september 1328, he ceased to attest royal charters. 
Anyhow, hell broke loose between Henry and the Isabella/ Mortimer couple: The end of 1328 was a deja vu, since the whole Thomas of Lancaster show seemed to be repeated again: As his brother Thomas in the good old days, Henry had large numbers of men at his disposal, who once came to the rescue of Isabella and Mortimer at their invasion in 1326.  Now they were against them. And not only that: Henry, being one of the most important magnates in England now, being restored to the vast inheritance of his dear brother Thomas, could attract discontented people and the discontentment against the tyranny and greed of Isabella and Mortimer was big, let alone the unpopularity of the Treaty of Northampton. 
So Henry mobilised his army against Isabella and Mortimer. 
But sadly for Henry, his rebellion failed. In january 1329 he was defeated and a large amount of his estates were seized, resulting in his surrender.  But unlike his brother Thomas in 1322 under the Edward II Despenser regime, he didn’t lose his life, but had to pay a huge fine, which crippled his political power.  However, the most followers of Henry were pardoned by the Isabella/Mortimer regime.  Of course, after that, he was out of grace and didn’t seem to have played any role under the Isabella and Mortimer regime. Or did he play a role yet? I come to that point later
Meantime, there are some interesting facts about some important men, who joined
Henry in his rebellion:
Two important men of the realm, who joined Henry’s rebellion [initially, later they seemed to have abandoned the venture] were former king Edward II’s halfbrothers, the Earls of Norfolk and Kent , first adherents of Isabella and Mortimer, now fallen out with them, probably because out of annoyance with the dominant position of Mortimer  and because of the Scottish war, which ended in the unpopular Treaty of Northampton.  Henry’s son in law, Thomas Wake, 2nd baron Wake of Lidell, who had joined Isabella and Mortimer in 1326, following his father in law, , buty later fell out with the regime, also supported him. 
Another significant figure who joined Henry was a nobleman named Henry Beaumont.
The career of that man was interesting, as his relation with Henry: Henry was a French nobleman, who came to England in the 1290s.
Being 1st baron Beaumont and 4th Earl of Buchan [a Scottish Earldom] jure uxoris , he was initially loyal to Edward II, fought for him at the
Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 against the Scots -was one of the few nobles to attend the funeral of Piers Gaveston-  AND fought at Edward’s side against Henry’s brother, Thomas of Lancaster. 
However later was out of grace with Edward II, was imprisoned, then [in favour again] sent as an envoy to France and later accompanied Edward’s son prince Edward [the later Edward III] to France, who did homage to his [Edward III’s] uncle Charles IV in the place of father Edward II. Eventually imprisoned again…..and [understandably] joining Isabella and Mortimer. 
But after falling out with them, Beaumont joined Henry.  And because of his support Henry, who must not have been pleased with Beaumont fighting against his brother, will have consented to the marriage of his son Henry [the later Duke of Lancaster] with Isabella, daughter of Henry Beaumont. Also Henry’s daughter Eleanor was married to Beaumont’s son, John. 
After the failing of the rebellion of Henry, Henry Beaumont was forced to go in exile, since he was one of the four men specifically excluded from a pardon in early 1329, like William Trussell , that loyal supporter of Thomas of Lancaster [fought at his side at the Battle of Boroughbridge] , who had read the charges against Hugh Despenser the Younger.  Thomas Wake, Henry’s son in law [who perhaps was implicated in the plot of the Earl of Kent to free the supposedly dead Edward II] also fled the country.  As well as Beaumont as Wake returned after the fall of Isabella and Roger Mortimer.  Trussell fared well, became Edward III’s secretary, fulfilled diplomatic missions for him [Edward III] and died peacefully in 1347. 
HENRY’S LATER YEARS UNDER THE ISABELLA AND MORTIMER REGIME
Having rebelled against Isabella and Mortimer in 1328-29 , it may be clear, that Henry was heavily out of grace. How he fared in that period is shrouded in clouds, as his [possible] role in the overthrowing the Isabella and Mortimer regime by Edward II’s and Isabella’s son Edward III, until now king only in name.  It was commonly accepted, that he played no role whatsoever, in that overthrow, but some modern sources doubt that and state, that Henry, possibly, was more involved than hitherto had been presumed.  However, it happened and Henry must have been quite relieved. Historian sources state, that on hearing the news of Roger Mortimer’s arrest, he supposedly threw his cap in the air with joy…..
However, horribly for Henry, he gradually lost his eyesight in the course of 1330, so he couldn’t play a role on political and military level anymore.
He retired from public life and from now he would be represented in parliament and public life by his son, the flamboyant and charismatic Henry of Grosmont, the later [and first] Duke of Lancaster, warrior, diplomat and politician, good friend of King Edward III  and [via his daughter Blanche], Henry of Grosmont became the grandfather of the later King Henry IV. 
The last fifteen years of his life he stayed at Leicester Castle, where he founded a hospital for the poor and died in 1345, being one of the few Earls from the era of Edward II, who died peacefully. His funeral was attended by King Edward III and Queen Philippa. 
He was a loving and caring father , a ”mystery man”, who came and went to France, when England was ”hot” [during the struggle between his brother Thomas and Edward II], who didn’t participate in his brother Thomas’ rebellions, but yet was a loyal brother, promoting Thomas as a ”Saint”  and never forgot those, who had betrayed him at the battle of Boroughbridge 
And then, while most men must have thought he was of no importance [he didn’t participate in his brother’s rebellions, which was not usual in those times], he was one of the leading forces in the deposition of Edward II and the fall of the Despensers…..
An interesting, but underestimated man, and one of the great ancestors of all subsequent English Kings.
See note 938
Henry of Lancaster, brother of Thomas of Lancaster.
A man, who deserves to be remembered!
AND READERS,SOON YOU’LL MEET THE FINAL DANCE,
Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Thomas of Lancaster, rebel cousin of King Edward II, from warlord to Saint/Chapter Ten
A TRAVEL IN HISTORY…… Readers!You have travelled with me to the first half of 14th century England, to watch,as digital eyewitnesses, the fight for Power between king Edward II andhis not so dear cousin Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, initially loyal to the king,then fell out with him for personal and political reasons, like king’s favouritismof a Gascon nobleman, Piers Gaveston, with whom he [the king] was very closeand who [Piers Gaveston] ended horribly, with an evil role of Thomas of Lancasterhimself [but the majority of British nobility played his nasty of less nasty part in it]And for political reasons it had to do with the eternal strugglefor power between kings nobles, between centralisation and decentralisation. You have watched, as digital eyewitnesses in tension, like at a good movie,how the struggle intensified and ended sadly for the Earl of Lancaster, whowas executed on 22 march 1322, after lost the last open battle against theking, his cousin. SEE THE FORMER CHAPTERS: ONE
But that was not the end at all, neither politically, nor personally, as we’ll see.Because Thomas still had adherents, as political friends, who later wouldplay their role.Besides:Thomas had a brother, Henry, his later heir, who didn’t participate in hisbrother’s rebellion.But that didn’t mean, that he ever would not forget or forgivesome mighty persons, who had a hand in the execution of his brother…..But that will come later, as the major role he would play……. We meet the later Earl Henry, Thomas of Lancaster’s brother, in this Chapter Nine………. So it was not over yet:What puzzled me long was the fact, that Earl Thomas the warlord was declared a Saint [though not officially by the Holy Church]after his death.The puzzling question to me and I think many others, who are familiar with thelife and time of Earl Thomas was:How does a declared warlord, that certainly not led a holy life [you see fewSaints, who engage in battle, HAHAHA] became a Saint? Read further and you’ll learn…..
”.O Thomas, strenuous champion of plentiful charity, who didst combat for the law of England’s liberty, intercede for our sins with the Father of Glory, that he may give us a place with the blessed in the heavenly court.”
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, was no more. But not forgotten, as this amazing story will tell:
Because within several weeks after his execution , miracles were reported at the site of his execution and
on his tomb at Pontefract Priory, a dignified final resting place for a man, who loved Pontefract Castle the world… 
And there were great stories to be told:
There was a story of a blind priest, who dreamed, that he should go to the hill where Thomas of Lancaster was executed, and that he should have his sight again. Because the priest had this dream for three consecutive nights, he went to the execution hill in Pontefract, he prayed, that he might have his sight again and that great thing happened. 
One of the authors of the Brut chronicles  reported: ”And as he was in his prayers, he laid his hand upon the same place there the good man was martyred on; and a drop of dry blood and small sand cleaved on his hand, and therewith he rubbed his eyes, and anon, through the might of God and of St Thomas of Lancaster, he had his sight again, and thanked Almighty God and St Thomas.” [translation of Kathryn Warner, historian and writer of among else ”Edward II, the unconventional King and and host of the weblog ”EdwardthesecondBlogspot.com] 
Another reported miracle was of a young child drowned in a well in the town of Pontefract, and was dead three days and three nights; The child was laid upon the tomb of Thomas of Lancaster and arose from death. 
The rich man from Condom [Gascony]
Another great story was from a rich man from Condom [Gascony]: About him the above mentioned author of the Brut chronicler wrote:
” “Also there was a rich man in Condom in Gascony; and such a malady he had, that all his right side rotted, and fell away from him; and men might see his liver, and also his heart; and so he stank, that scarcely men might come near him. Wherefore his friends were for him full sorry. But at the last, as God wanted, they prayed to St Thomas of Lancaster, that he would pray to Almighty God for that prisoner, and promised to go to Pontefract for to do their pilgrimage. And the good man soon after slept full soft, and dreamed that the martyr St Thomas came unto him, and anointed all over his sick side. And therewith the good man awoke, and was all whole; and his flesh was restored again, that before was rotted and fell away; for which miracle the good man and his friends loved God and St Thomas evermore after. ” 
A touching story. The rich man kept his promise and went to pilgrimage to Pontefract and took with him four other men. When back in his own country [France], they told about the miracle of Saint Thomas [the executed Thomas of Lancaster] 
Two men healed from ”morimal” [cancer or gangrene]
There was also a thrilling story of two men, healed from ”morimal” [cancer or gangrene] 
Bad news travels fast.
Good news too.
Given the amazing stories, it didn’t take long, before they were spread under the common people, the clergy, the nobility, and even to Royal Court, as we shall see.
And you don’t have to be a Medieval man [or woman] to understand, that with such stories, hundreds, no, thousands of people came to visit the tomb of ”Saint Thomas” [Thomas of Lancaster] hoping to be cured of some disease or having a healthy childbirth, etc, etc.
REACTION OF KING EDWARD II/THE DESPENSERS
Those miracles were reported to King Edward II during the parliament that was held in York during april 1322.  Since Thomas was executed on orders of the King, it will come as no surprise, that neither he, nor his favourites the Despensers, were very happy with the news about the veneration of ”Saint Thomas”.
According to again the Brut chronicler, the Despensers said that it was ”great heresy”.  Of course they reacted like that: Thomas of Lancaster had been their great adversary, wanting them ousted from influence over the King.
The King himself was not pleased either, for the same reasons [and not to forget, Thomas’ involvement in the execution of his favourite Piers Gaveston in 1312].
In June 1323, Edward II ordered the bishop of London (Stephen Gravesend, a good friend and ally of the King] to prevent people praying and making offerings at a tablet in St Pauls “whereon are depicted statues, sculpture or images of diverse persons,” Thomas of Lancaster’s among them, “as the king learns with displeasure that many of the people go to the said tablet and worship it as a holy thing without the authority of the church of Rome, asserting that miracles are done there.” 
The Croniques de London describes this object instead as a tablet which Thomas of Lancaster had had made to celebrate Edward’s granting of the Ordinances in 1311.  So Saint’s veneration was mixed here with Lancaster’s struggle to curb royal power and obtaining more freedoms for the barons [which subsequently later could benefit other classes like the burgesses, etc] 
The story goes on:
In early september 1323, from Barnard Castle, King Edward II ordered Richard Moseley, his clerk and the constable of Pontefract Castle, to “go in person to the place of execution of Thomas, late earl of Lancaster, and prohibit a multitude of malefactors and apostates from praying and making oblations there in memory of the said earl not to God but rather to idols, in contempt of the king and contrary to his former command.” 
Direct cause for the orders of the King: In 1323, 2000 people, some of them from as far away as Kent, gathered to pray and make oblations at Thomas of Lancaster’s tomb. 
But the more the King pushed to prevent the veneration of Saint Thomas, the more recalcitrant the people became:
Moseley and his servants, the men the King had ordered to prohibit those, who went to pilgrimage, to pray at the tomb of Saint Thomas were assaulted, and two of them, Richard de Godeleye and Robert de la Hawe, were killed. 
But not only the King wrote disapprovingly about the veneration of ”Saint Thomas” The archbishop of York, Edward II’s loyal friend and ally William Melton [who had sent the correspondence of Thomas of Lancaster with the Scots to the King] wrote the Official of the Archdeacon of York, banning the cult and empowering its activity there, pointing out that Thomas of Lancaster was not a canonised saint, 
The veneration of ”Saint Thomas” grew in popularity according as the tyranny of Edward II and his favourites the Despensers , became worse and worse.
And not only Thomas of Lancaster was venerated as a Saint: Two Contrariants [you know: the rebels who fought the Despenser influence over the King and forced their banishment, under leadership of the Marcher Lords and Thomas of Lancaster, in the Despenser War]  executed in March 1322 in Bristol were Henry de Montfort and Henry Wilington: in September 1323, miracles were also said to have taken place at their execution site.  The mayor of Bristol told Edward II that Montfort’s brother Reginald bribed a ‘poor child’ of the city with two shillings “to pronounce to the people that he received healing of his sight.” 
On the contrary: Men named William Cliff and William and John Corteis “went there many times and preached to the people that miracles were done and forcibly maintained this, saying that without doubt the things done there were true.” 
But a really impressive cult was the veneration of Saint Thomas, that grew and grew during the last four years of the reign [from 1322, the execution year of Thomas of Lancaster until 1326-27, the invasion of Isabella of France and former Marcher Lord Roger Mortimer and Edward II’s subsequent downfall from power] of his cousin, King Edward II.
AFTER EDWARD II’S DOWNFALL/ATTEMPTS TO CANONIZE ”SAINT” THOMAS OF LANCASTER
With Edward II’s downfall in 1327 and the rise in power of Isabella of France [his estranged wife] and her [presumably] lover, Marcher Lord Roger Mortimer and former ally of Thomas of Lancaster [Mortimer surrendered to Edward II at Shrewsbury, in january 1322, was imprisoned in the Tower, escaped and fled to France, to return to England with Isabella and an invasion army] , the attitude towards the cult of ”Saint Thomas” changed. Not only was it no longer officially banned, but royal and ecclasiastical efforts were made to turn Thomas of Lancaster from a popular to a canonized martyr.  A campaign to canonise Thomas of Lancaster began in earnest, yet before Lancaster’s death sentence was officially annulled by King Edward III in march 1328 [after it had been discussed in the first parliament of the new reign, february-march 1327] 
AND THEY SURE WENT FOR IT!
In a parliamentary petition to King Edward III [who had succeeded his father Edward II after his forced abdication or deposition, you can call it both]  in the first year of his reign, the commons asked to promote the canonization of Thomas of Lancaster.  On the last day of february 1327 a letter was sent under Edward III’s seal to Pope John XXII, requesting an inquiry into the canonization of Lancaster. Thomas of Lancaster was referred to as the Kings ”most beloved kinsman” (nostrumque consanguinem carissimum”) and described not only as a martyr by the manner of his death, but also a pious man in life. He was described as ”generous, provident and faithful”  But this appeal for canonization was grounded not only in his ”holy” life or ”martyr’s death” [as it was described and which were conditions for a possible canonization], but also on the miracles, performed after his execution. 
King Edward III wrote another two letters to the Pope to promote Thomas of Lancaster’s canonization:
A second in march 1330  and remarkably, a third AFTER his deposing his mother Isabella of France and her [possible] lover Roger Mortimer from power , meaning, that he had not solely acted according to the wishes of Isabella and Roger Mortimer [since he wrote the two first letters, when they were the de facto rulers in England]
There was also this visit to the Pope:
After the downfall of Edward II [and before the third letter of King Edward III to the Pope], Edward II’s own halfbrother, so the uncle of Edward III, the earl of Kent – who, by the way, was one of the men who condemned Thomas of Lancaster to death  – visited Pope John XXII in 1329 to ask him to canonise Thomas. 
But the royal letters as the attempts of the Earl of Kent were not the only ones:
Not surprisingly, Thomas of Lancaster’s brother Henry of Lancaster [our ”mystery man, as described in chapter seven, F], also wrote to the Pope, a few days earlier than the first letter of King Edward III on the last day of february 1327. Archbishop William Melton of York [who in 1320 had sent Thomas of Lancaster’s correspondence with the Scots to King Edward II]  wrote the letter on behalf of Henry of Lancaster, requesting the Pope to inquire into the canonization of the popular ”Saint”. 
But Henry did more: In collaboration with Isabella [springing probably from Isabella and Mortimer’s desire to keep Henry of Lancaster on board in the rank of of their supporters], an agreement [confirmed by King Edward III] took place between the Priory and the Convent of Pontefract. It dealt with a chapel, which was to be built outside the city walls, on the hill where Lancaster had been executed five years ago [so this great event took place in 1327] A hermit was to reside there to receive alms for the building of the chapel. He was to be assisted by a clerk appointed by Isabella and Henry of Lancaster.  And that was not all: A clerk was appointed for collecting alms from all over the Kingdom for the construction of the said chapel. It proved succesful: The offerings received were very generous! 
CULT UNDER KING EDWARD III
Under King Edward III, the cult of ”Saint Thomas” continued to flourish and was greatly encouraged: Hagiographies  about him were written  and pilgrims continued to visit his tomb or place of execution. In time, new attributes were added to the list of Lancaster’s superlatives, as Christ’s noble knight and athlete (nobili Christi miles et athleta) 
A text written in Latin probably in the late 1320s laments Thomas as “the blessed martyr” and “flower of knights,” and says “the pouring out of prayers to Thomas restores the sick to health; the pious earl comes immediately to the aid of those who are feeble.” It begins “Rejoice, Thomas, the glory of chieftains, the light of Lancaster, who by thy death imitatest Thomas [Becket] of Canterbury, whose head was broken on account of the peace of the Church, and thine is cut off for the cause of the peace in England; be to us an affectionate guardian in every difficulty.”
The text further emphasizes the notion that Thomas was condemned to death unfairly and was a freedom fighter for the people of England against royal despotism. 
That was not entirely untrue, since the trial of Thomas of Lancaster was utterly unfair  [although proofs of his letters with the Scots would eventually have eventually led to death sentence or at least life imprisonment of exile] and Thomas of Lancaster DID combat the Edward II arbitrary favouritism on the avaricious Despensers and tried to defend the Ordinances.  On the other hand: For a very important part he was guided by lust for power and not idealism…….
The text also suggests, that Lancaster cared a lot about the common people, writing ”Who when he perceived that the whole commons were falling into wreck, did not shrink from dying for the right, in the fatal commerce…he is delivered to dire death, on account of which England mourns. Alas! he is beheaded for the aid of the commons..”  The reader may judge for his or herself, whether Thomas of Lancaster really cared much about the common people….
Pilgrim’s badge were made for his veneration and Thomas’ hat and belt preserved at Pontefract were used as remedies in childbirth and for headaches as late as the Reformation. 
Lancaster was never officially canonized, although the chronicler Thomas Walsingham wrote in 1390, that Thomas WAS. [Sanctus Thomas de Lancastria canonizatus est] , which led to a big revival of his cult.
But although Thomas never received the official papal status of martyr, he remained a martyr by popular acclamation for the next two hundred years…..
TRANSFORMATION FROM A WARLORD REBEL INTO A SAINT
Now what intrigues me most in this amazing story -I wrote that on the start of this book [HAHAHA, my article], is the transformation of Thomas of Lancaster from a warlord into a saint. How was it possible that a man of high birth and rank from double royal descent [both from his father’s as his mother’s side] , who was a rebel warlord for nearly ten years, taking up arms against his King, feuded with other nobles , made the King’s favourite [Piers Gaveston] executed [joined by other nobles]  and was [as far as I know] seeking wordly power and wealth only, in death was transformed into a Saint? A miracle in itself.
According to Medieval standards, to become a saint, certain clear qualifications were necessary, like having led a pious life, having defended the rights of the Church and [recommendable] died for it, like Thomas Becket did, who indeed was canonized ….
Now Thomas of Lancaster certainly did NOT led a pious life, nor did he defend the rights of the Church. On the contrary, he sought [to put it in familiar Medieval terms] temporal power and wealth.
Besides: Thomas was not the best man of his time [I refer to the murder of Piers Gaveston, Thomas’ arrogance,
taking up arms against his King], although there were far worse men [I refer to the crimes of the Marcher Lords, which Thomas did NOT commit, although supporting the Lords]  Also he was NOT known for a particular generosity to the poor, in contrary to later hagiography. 
On the other hand, following Medieval standards, at least he had one qualification to Sanctity: Miracles were reported on his tomb and place of his execution. 
And because of those miracles, Thomas was considered to be a Saint.
MIRACLES BELIEF/POPULARITY/REACTION OF THE PEOPLE
Now in the Middle Ages, when every person from the King down to the lowliest peasant, lived lives, that were ordered around the beliefs, ceremonies and doctrines of the Catholic Church, the fenomenon ”miracle” was as real as computers and televisions in modern eyes. Regarding to the supposed miracles at the grave and the tomb of Thomas of Lancaster:
Now of course it is impossible to know what actually took place at his grave or tomb, but whatever happened, people believed in those miracles, which caused pilgrimages to his grave.
Whoever does NOT want to be healed from a disease, freed from his [or her] headaches or having a healthy childbirth?  That can partly explain the agressive reaction on the King’s clerk, Richard Moseley and his servants, when they tried, on the orders of the King [Edward II], to prevent the people to venerate ”Saint Thomas” 
People [often poor people], who wanted to be healed, came ”as far as Kent”  [Kent lies in the South of England, Pontefract Castle lies in the middle of England, direction North]  in the hope to be healed, only to discover, that the autorities tried to prevent them reaching their goals: Veneration of Saint Thomas and healing of their illnesses! Of course they were furious [not to justify the violencer that took the lives of the two servants of Richard Morseley, of course]
MIRACLES/WHO GAINES AND WHO LOSES?
At every event in history or our times, whether wordly of ”holy” events, it is important to have a close look [with regard to the ”holy” events, with all respect], who benefits from it, or who loses.
That ”benefit” or ”lose” can be political or materialistic [money, possession, fame] Or ”non materialistic”; emotional and [or] spiritual [or a mix between materialistic and non materialistic]
Now take a look on those, who were the ”losers”
THOSE, WHO LOSE
”Losers” not in the present meaning of the word , because here was a King and high nobility involved, King Edward II and his favourites the Despensers. Being Thomas’ executioners [together with a number of ”colleague” nobles of the Despensers]  and knowing that he had still support [especially in the North of England], the news, that alleged miracles had taken place on his tomb [or place of execution], was, to put it mildly, disturbing to them. And let’s not forget: Thomas WAS a condemned traitor , in an unfair trial, admittedly, but a ”legal” one, confirmed by the King, who also had set in judgment over him. And a traitor as a Saint….? From their point of view, that must have been bizarre.
I can understand the King and the Despensers [who were so closely connected with the King that I think it is justified to mention them simultaneously] very well: They had a huge problem. Their government was growing in unpopularity  They didn’t know what really took place at the tomb [or place of execution] of Thomas, whether there was someone influential behind those ”miracle” rumours. Someone [with support from the North], who was able to rise against the King again? Yes, I can understand their worries.
So the King took measures to end the veneration of ”Saint Thomas” [see above : Reaction of King Edward II Despensers], to no avail. Because whatever he did to suppress the venerations, they only grew in popularity……..
THOSE WHO GAIN
Now take a look on those, who ”gained” or ”profited”.
The first I mention is Thomas’ brother Henry. Now it is known, that he took no part in his brother”s rebellion  and spent most of the ”hot years” [between 1319-1322, during which the feud between King Edward II and Thomas of Lancaster escalated, ending in his execution, see the chapters 5 t/m 8] in France.  There is even suggested, that Thomas and Henry were not that close. 
Be that as it may:  But of course the execution of his brother Thomas must have been dramatic for Henry, as his actions will show [see chapter 10, Aftermath] We don’t know, how the stories about the miracles were spread: Perhaps Henry had a hand in it [I don’t know, only pointing out the possibility] Perhaps not.
But for sure he came at the heart of the action: A few days earlier before the first letter of King Edward III in 1327 [King after the deposition of his father Edward II in 1327] , Archbishop William Melton of York [who in 1320 had sent Thomas of Lancaster’s correspondence with the Scots to King Edward II]  wrote a letter on behalf of Henry of Lancaster, requesting the Pope to inquire into the canonization of the popular ”Saint” 
Under responsibility of Henry of Lancaster and Queen Isabella of France, also an agreement [confirmed by King Edward III] took place between the Priory and the Convent of Pontefract. It dealt with a chapel, which was to be built outside the city walls, on the hill where Lancaster had been executed five years ago A hermit was to reside there to receive alms for the building of the chapel. He was to be assisted by a clerk appointed by Isabella and Henry of Lancaster. 
Henry’s aim may have served several purposes:
An emotional one: Publicly commemorating his brother and restoring family honour [after all, Thomas was executed as a traitor] But also a materialistic one:
Veneration of Saints [and all the trade in pilgrimages etc] was very profitable.
Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer:
The second to be mentioned were Queen Isabella and her ally and possible lover, former Marcher Lord Roger Mortimer [see also the chapters six and seven about his role in the Despenser war]
Their motives were mainly political: First to counterbalance the potential posthumous popularity of Edward II [his tragic death aroused pity and the Isabella and Mortimer regime grew more and more unpopular, see chapter 10, Aftermath] Their second motive was, possibly, to keep Henry of Lancaster on board as their supporter, especially since he headed the new minor’s kings council. 
King Edward III
And King Edward III himself, who wrote three times to the Pope in order to get a canonization for ”Saint Thomas”
I bring the reader into memory, that the initial two letters were written by Edward III, when his mother Isabella and her [possible] lover Roger Mortimer were the de facto rulers , so it was on that moment not clear, whether the King [then 14 years old] acted of his own accord.
However, after having overthrown the regime of his mother and Isabella and Roger Mortimer , Edward III did wrote a third [and last] letter to the Pope . That WAS on his own accord, since now he was not king in name anymore, but the de facto ruler too.
Edward III’s motive could have been his appreciation for Henry of Lancaster, who not only served in his council [under the Isabella and Mortimer regime], but also helped the King to put an end to the Mortimer [and Isabella] regime.  Also Edward III’s great liking of Henry’s son, Henry of Grosmont [first Duke of Lancaster, the second duke in English history, after Edward III’s eldest son, the Black Prince] , who represented his father in parliament from 1330 [because of Henry of Lancaster’s loss of eyesight], could have played an important part in Edward III’s attempts to canonize Thomas of Lancaster 
Anyway, that were my considerations about the motives of the important players after the downfall of Edward II, regarding the canonization of Thomas of Lancaster.
Thomas did not lead a pious life, nor seemed to have cared much about the ”common people” or ”the poor” The only link with commons I can see is his devotion to the Ordinances , curbing the royal power and giving space to more power for the nobility, which eventually could have led to more power for the commoners too.
So he derived his Sanctity not from a pious life or for fighting the rights of the Church, but from the miracles that were reported on hisgrave and place of execution, since people were appartently healed.
I ask myself: Reported by who? The people who were ”healed” and their families? Or had Henry, Thomas’ brother, a hand in those rumours, desiring to repair the honour of his executed brother and the family name. Possible.
But at the end, there was more to it:
Not only people venerated ”Saint Thomas” because of the miracles, this veneration was also an act of protest against the mounting tyranny of the King and the Despensers, who repressed the Contrariant’s resistance severely [executions, imprisonments, hard treatment of the wives of the rebels] 
When faced with such a tyranny, those who opposed the ”tyrants” [The Contrariants, namely Thomas, the Marcher Lords and allies], soon became ”freedomfighters” and in the light of unfair trials, underdogs and in the case of Thomas of Lancaster, eventually, holy…..
Also by law Thomas had his honour preserved [ in 1328 his trial was reversed]  and his brother Henry his satisfaction.
I end with the beginning of this chapter:
A part of a prayer to ”Saint Thomas” “the blessed martyr” and “flower of knights,”
”.O Thomas, strenuous champion of plentiful charity, who didst combat for the law of England’s liberty, intercede for our sins with the Father of Glory, that he may give us a place with the blessed in the heavenly court.” 
The warlord had become ”Thomas the Martyr” 
Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Thomas of Lancaster, rebel cousin of king Edward II, from warlord to Saint/Chapter Nine
FOLLOWING THE STORY…… Smart Readers with interest in English medieval history have travelled withme to the first half of the fourteenth century, where we were Internet eyewitnessesof the feud between king Edward II and his cousin Thomas, Second Earlof Lancaster, which resulted in an open war, lost by……. Read the former chapters
SO!Now you know who won and who lost But was it a real victory? I’ll deal with that in a next chapter BUT FIRST THE SAD CONTINUATION OF CHAPTER SEVEN: CHAPTER EIGHT
The travel Revenge of the King Reception Trial The others Last passage
””Now the king of Heaven give us mercy, for the earthly king has forsaken us!”
The long battle between Thomas and his cousin King Edward II was over. The way to the grisly end was about to begin:
An end, which was not about to bring the King and the [in january returned] Despensers much joy, but would cast a shadow on their lives and reign.
After the devastating end of the Battle of Boroughbridge, resulting in the horrible death of the Earl of Hereford , companion till the last of Thomas of Lancaster [and by the way, the brother in law of Edward II] , Thomas of Lancaster found himself prisoner of the King.
The humiliation could begin…….
Thomas was taken by water via York to Pontefract Castle. That was an intent torment and humiliation, since Pontefract Castle was his favourite residence. [His constable had surrendered to the King without a fight] That must have been very bitter for Thomas.
He was forced to wear garments of the striped cloth which the squires of his household wore, an intentional humiliation of a man of high birth and rank. 
But that was not enough:
On the way to York, a crowd of people threw snowballs at him, called him a traitor, and shouted “Now shall you have the reward that long time you have deserved!”  Interesting though that there must have been among them people, who later revered him……
At the meantime other adherents of Thomas of Lancaster were taken prisoner, who would share his fate, as the story will show.
REVENGE OF THE KING
The King had tried to make it as humiliating as possible for his cousin and long time adversary Thomas. He ”received” his cousin at his own favourite Castle of Pontefract, accompanied by his favourites the Despensers, who must have thought, that it was their moment of joy. Quod non [Latin for: that is not the case]  as will the story reveal later [See Chapter 10, Aftermath]
But although sad for Thomas, the satisfaction the King’ undoubtedly felt, now his powerful cousin was at his mercy, is in a way understandable.
It was not only the 10 year long resistance of Thomas, complete with jeering at the King [in 1317 and 1320], and blocking his way with armed guards , probably the King’s most important feeling was revenge for the death of Piers Gaveston, since Thomas was one of the responsibles for his [Gaveston’s] murder , a cruel and illegal act against a man, who was vain, avaricious and insulting [to the Lords] , but further didn’t do the Lords any wrong.
And Edward II had made no secret of his need for revenge! During the siege of Berwick in 1319  in which Thomas had cooperated with Edward , he [Edward] made clear what was on his mind by declaring “When this wretched business is over, we will turn our hands to other matters. For I have not forgotten the wrong that was done to my brother Piers.”  That threat was obviously aimed at Thomas, who left Berwick later [and right he was!]. 
And as I have said before, when it came to revenge, Edward II was true to his word.
On 21 march, Thomas of Lancaster arrived at his Castle of Pontefract. And what was to be expected, the Despensers couldn’t resist to show their satisfaction in humiliating Lancaster. Thomas was ”contemptuously insulted……to his face with malicious and arrogant words” by the king and the recently returned Despensers”  Nice reception in your own castle……
Now rumour had it that Thomas of Lancaster had built a tower in which to hold the king captive for the rest of his life. And, surprise, surprise…… In that very [supposed for imprisonment of the King] tower Thomas was kept prisoner…..  The day after Thomas’ arrival, 22 march 1322, his ”trial” took place. I say ”trial” because it didn’t deserve the name at the least.
It was a mock trial, that took place in the hall of Lancaster’s own castle [how bitter…..] and the outcome was a foregone conclusion. Thomas was not allowed to speak in his own defence as his crimes were deemed ‘notorious’ 
According to sources he was said to have exclaimed: ” “This is a powerful court, and great in authority, where no answer is heard nor any excuse admitted,”  And right he was! The fact that Thomas didn’t grant Piers Gaveston a fair trial too [yet apart from the fact that he had no right to give him a trial anyway], doesn’t excuse his ”judges” to do the same with him.
And there were ”judges”, who undoubtedly would later regret their own injustice…………
See Chapter 10 ”Aftermath”
The composition of those socalled ”judges” was a laughing stock anyway, were it not so grave an affair, since they consisted of either his enemies, or staunch adherents of the King [or a combination of those two]
The ”judges” were:
Thomas’ first cousin, King Edward II
The Despensers [father and son]
The Earl of Pembroke [Thomas’ first cousin once removed. Originally one of the besiegers of Piers Gaveston in 1312, now he was a staunch adherer of the King, since he was against his will, forced to break his word against Piers Gaveston, who was in his custody and in Pembroke’s absence abducted by the 10th Earl of Warwick, which lead to Gaveston’s execution. His presence at this mock trial was a pity, I have mentioned him several times as a man of honour, who repeatedly tried to reconcile Edward II and Thomas of Lancaster, but perhaps he was forced to become part of this show trial] 
The Earl of Kent [halfbrother of King Edward II, and first cousin to Thomas of Lancaster] 
The Earl of Richmond [first cousin to King Edward II and Thomas of Lancaster] 
The Earl of Arundel [choose the King’s side after the murder of Gaveston, whom he had executed after a mock trial together with Thomas of Lancaster, the 10th Earl of Warwick and the Earl of Hereford, who died at the Battle of Boroughbridge] 
The Earl of Surrey , [originally one of the besiegers of Piers Gaveston in 1312 and later a mortal enemy of Thomas. Under his responsibility Thomas’ estranged wife Alice de Lacy was abducted, which lead to a private war between Surrey and Thomas] 
The [Scottish] Earls of Atholl and Angus, who had once served in the retinue of Thomas of Lancaster. 
The royal justice Robert Malberthorpe, who spoke out the charges against him. 
Striking is, that three of the ”judges” [Edward II, the Earl of Kent, the Earl of Richmond] were first cousins of Thomas of Lancaster  and one, the Earl of Pembroke, his first cousin removed. 
Thomas was charged [of course] for treason, as he and other Contrariants had invited several of Robert Bruce’s liegemen to England in 1322 to ride with them against their king. 
But that was not all:
The list of charges comprised the many grievances Edward managed to dredge up against his cousin, going back to Thomas’s seizure of his possessions at Tynemouth in 1312 [when Lancaster and the other barons were pursuing the King and his favourite Piers Gaveston, after his return from permanent exile. The charge however was unjust, since Lancaster had given the possessions back in 1313]  and including Thomas’s jeering at him from the Pontefract battlements in 1317,  and Lancaster’s blocking of the roads in an attempt to prevent Edward’s travelling through Yorkshire. 
Verdict: A fourtheenth century scandal
One need not to be surprised about the verdict:
Of course Thomas was found guilty, since this was a show trial, containing ”judges”, who were extremely hostile to him.
But to be fair: Even if it WERE a fair trial, the exchanged letters and dealings with the Scots  were reason enough to condemn him.
Therefore it was not the CONDEMNATION that was shocking, and caused a scandal, but the fact, that Thomas was condemned to death, which was a break with the convention of the time, not only because of his close kinship to the King [first cousin, Lancaster’s father was the younger brother of King Edward I], but especially because since Waltheof, the Earl of Northumbria was executed in 1076 on the orders of William the Conqueror , no English Earl was ever executed.  In cases, comparable with Lancaster, an Earl had to suffer ”only” life imprisonment or exile. 
I think, that the King perhaps had shown mercy [I mean, not imposing the death penalty], were it not for Lancaster’s involvement in the murder of King’s favourite Piers Gaveston, which was not one of the charges, but the underlying reason for the King’s need for revenge. 
But there was more: Not only the death penalty was pronounced, Thomas was condemned to the worst form, the traitor’s death: In other words: to be hanged, drawn and quartered…..
But the King was not totally crazy: Executing a [royal] Earl was already a scandal, but to be hanged, drawn and quartered…… Besides, whatever had happened between them, Thomas was the King’s first cousin and of royal blood Therefore the King commuted this verdict to ”merely” beheading……
However, some sources mention, that the King commuted the ”hanged, drawn and quarted” verdict to beheading “for the love of Quene Isabell,”, which possibly means, that the King commuted the verdict to beheading as a result of intercession of Queen Isabella , who was with King Edward at Pontefract [brrrrrr, horrifying, to accompany one’s husband at the eve of an execution….yet when she really intervened, it was a good thing that she came…..]  Queen Isabella was, you remember still,,,, Thomas’ niece, since he was the halfbrother of her mother, Queen Joan I of Navarre] 
Of course the phrase “for the love of Quene Isabell” can also
mean, that the beheading verdict was the King”s own decision, but that he considered his and Queen Isabella’s relationship with Thomas of Lancaster……
Before we follow Thomas on his last passage, there is a lot to tell about his adherents, who were captured together with him or on other locations around the same time: I mention six knights, who were hanged at Pontefract around or at the same time as Thomas were executed: William Cheyne or Cheney, Warin Lisle, Henry Bradbourne, William Fitzwilliam, Thomas Mauduit and William Tuchet 
According to the Flores Historiarum , such a lack of humanity was shown, that Thomas had to face their execution before he himself was executed [although the Flores Historiarum mentioned nine of his knights, while other sources give six] 
Anyway, Edward II was not satisfied with seven executions [Thomas and the six knights], as a whole at least between 19 and 22 lords and knights were executed and one, Lord Badlesmere [from the Siege of Leeds, see Chapter 7] suffered the traitor’s death.  Many were imprisoned, even the wives and children of the rebels [see also Chapter 10, Aftermath]  A bloody project of a vengeful King, undoubtedly stimulated by the [with right mentioned so by the rebels!] evil councillors, the Despensers. 
It was on the morning of 22 march, that Thomas of Lancaster heard his verdict, condemned in the Hall of his own Favourite Castle in Pontefract. The same morning, on a cold, snowy day, Thomas was executed. The King, apparently making a holiday of his cousin’s trial and execution, had arrived there on 19 march, together with Queen Isabella and spent there until 25 march….. [strong nerves they must have had…….]
However, rather than have him executed in the castle bailey, Edward II had a painful ”surprise” for Thomas of Lancaster, which showed his desire for revenge on the execution of his favourite, Piers Gaveston: In fact, he arranged a ”parody” on the execution of Piers Gaveston [who was executed on a hill, called ”Blacklow Hill” and also beheaded] 
Thomas was taken outside to a small hill, outside of the walls of his favourite Castle Pontefract, mirroring Piers’ 1312 death on Blacklow Hill. He was forced to ride “some worthless mule” and “an old chaplet, rent and torn, that was not worth a half-penny,” was set on his head. A crowd of spectators again threw snowballs at him. Apparently at the king’s order, Thomas was forced to kneel facing towards Scotland, in a pointed reminder of his correspondence with Robert Bruce [which of course had been treason] 
Then Thomas uttered the words:
“Now the king of Heaven give us mercy, for the earthly king has forsaken us!” 
Two or three strokes of the axe and he was beheaded.
Thomas of Lancaster, Earl of Lancaster, Leicester, Derby, Lincoln and Salisbury, long time adversary of his cousin Edward II and the last to defend the Ordinances  was no more………
Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Thomas of Lancaster, rebel cousin of king Edward II, from warlord to Saint/Chapter Eight
I BOLDLY STATE, THAT IF THOMAS OF LANCASTER, THE MARCHER LORDS AND THEIR ATTACHING ALLIES HAD JOINED TOGETHER EFFECTIVELY, FORGOTTEN UNDERLYING FEUDS AND IGNORED THE DIVIDE AND RULE GAME OF THE KING, THEY COULD HAVE WON.
Preview For the readers, who failed to read Chapter six:
What happened in Despenser war, first phase?
After the Treaty of Leake in 1318 [reconciliation between the King and his overmighty cousin Thomas of Lancaster, with whom he the King feuded endlessly] and the banishment of the three favourites of the King [what Lancaster had demanded], a new favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger rose [who took his father along with him in his enjoyment of favouritism]. The King’s excessive favouritism towards Despenser, and Despenser’s abnormal avariciousness, drove the Marcher Lords into rebellion and they made an alliance with Thomas of Lancaster, who loathed those favourites of the King. The Marcher Lords marched on London in 1321 [later supported by Lancaster] and forced the King to send the Despensers in exile.
B Queen Isabella’s Pilgrimage to Canterbury and
her reception at Leeds Castle
C Hell breaks loose:
The Siege of Leeds Castle The Siege of Leeds: Aftermath King’s military victory/Political consequences
D Fight to the death
Edward II’s war with the Marcher Lords Events in november, december and begin of january
E Fight to the death The Marcher Lords and Thomas of Lancaster Edward II’s war with the Marcher Lords Swan Song
F Fight to the death Edward II and Thomas of Lancaster Last dance
After the Marcher Lords’ ”March on London” late july 1321 , in august backed
by Thomas of Lancaster  and eventually forcing the King to banish the Despensers, tensions grew high in the country, both sides mobilising their forces. And of course the King sought for an opportunity, to bring back his favourite Despensers as soon as possible. Then in the autumn of 1321, Something took place, which would change the course of events for the King, the Despensers and the opposing rebels.
QUEEN ISABELLA’S PILMGRIMAGE TO CANTERBURY AND HER RECEPTION AT LEEDS CASTLE
It happened in october 1321, that Queen Isabella went on pilgrimage to Canterbury, and, not taking the usual route headed for Leeds Castle, where Lord Badlesmere was appointed as governor.  And this Lord Badlesmere was at first loyal to the King, being the King’s household steward , but later switched sides and became a Contrariant, thus an ally of the Marcher Lords and Thomas of Lancaster.  At the moment of the Queen’s arrival, Lord Badlesmere was at a Contrariant’s meeting at Oxford and whether on instructions of her husband or not , his wife, Lady Badlesmere, refused the Queen entrance to the Castle, which, of course, was a gross insult. Queen Isabella, probably furious, ordered her escort to force an entry into the castle, and the garrison of Lady Badlesmere opened up a volley of arrows at them, killing six men of the Queen. Isabella was left outside and had to find other lodgings..,. Of course the King was furious. He avenged the insult to the Queen, by besieging the Castle of Leeds. 
Coincidence or deliberate?
Now it is possible, that Queen Isabella for some innocent reason had taken another route than usual, but according to some historians, she did so to create a casus belli.  With other words: Her heading for Leeds Castle was deliberate and on the orders of the King, in the hope that Lady Badlesmere [what she did, indeed] as the wife of a Contrariant rebel, would refuse the Queen entrance to the Castle, giving the King the excuse to revenge his wife’s insult, starting the war again.  And not only that: Because of the insult of the Queen, many moderate barons, who didn’t take sides yet, would join the royal army.
It also gave the King opportunity to a policy of ”divide et impera” [Latin for ”divide and rule], since Thomas of Lancaster loathed Lord Badlesmere and would probably not come to Lady Badlesmere’s assistance, when the castle were besieged. 
And Thomas of Lancaster fell right into the trap [poor Lord Thomas, not very smart and dishonourable, the Lady was in need…..] and indeed didn’t help , even ordered the Marcher Lords not to ….. Lord Badlesmere himself assembled an army and tried to help his wife and break the siege of the castle, but was not able to do so, since Thomas of Lancaster and the Marcher Lords didn’t come to his aid …
This strategic failure of Lancaster led to a major strengthening of the position of the King:
Because of the insult to the Queen and King’s readiness to go á royal ”fist to fist, toe to toe on this, many barons and volunteers indeed rallied to his assistance ……
AND his victory would lead to his regaining control of South-East England….. Another ”great” thing happened Edward II felt his position strong enough to revoke the banishment order of the Despensers in december 1321….. So the same mess started over again……
THAT’S WHY I STATED, THAT ONE OF THE CAUSES OF THE DEFEAT OF THE CONTRARIANTS WAS UNDERLYING FEUDS [as between Thomas of Lancaster and Lord Badlesmere] AND THE DEVIOUS DIVIDE ET IMPERA POLICY OF THE KING…
But to the honour of Lord Badlesmere [who did get a bad press in history, whether it is uncertain, if it is deserved]  must be said, that he fought side by side with Thomas of Lancaster in his last battle against the King, the Battle of Boroughbridge, in spite of the fact, that Thomas didn’t come to the assistance of his wife, when besieged, nor help him [Badlesmere] to break the siege….
Now about the coincidence or deliberate act regarding Queen Isabella heading for Leeds Castle: Assuming that it was a deliberate trap of the King, it was very clever strategy. What poses the question, whether the King had thought this out for himself, since he had, to put it mildly, no great strategic talents: Therefore some historians think, that he was in contact with [and likely had met] the banished Hugh Despenser the Younger, who perhaps was the mastermind behind the casus belli….
And concerning the clever ”divide and rule” policy of the KIng:
Edward [and possibly Hugh Despenser, when it was true that they had met and were together in this] must have known that the earl of Lancaster detested Badlesmere, and gambled that the he would not help him.  And he gambled right, alas for Thomas of Lancaster, the other Contrariants and Lord and Lady Badlesmere themselves, as the story will tell….
But again: It was no clever strategy of Lord Thomas either, not to help a man, who was his ally, just because he didn’t like him. In a rebellion, you can’t always choose your friends, my lord of Lancaster…..
HELL BROKE LOOSE THE SIEGE OF LEEDS CASTLE
THE SIEGE AND AFTERMATH
Edward II mobilised his forces and placed Leeds Castle under siege, giving Queen Isabella the Great Seal and control of the Royal Chancery.  The assault on the Castle persisted for more than five days and on 31 october 1321 Lady Badlesmere surrendered. 
Now any siege of a city or a Castle is a nasty business, but especially Edward II’s siege of Castle Leeds: It was a siege of a Castle, held by a woman, who was totally outnumbered by the forces of the King  and got no help whatsoever from the Contrariants [as I from now on will call the rebels against the King, the Marcher Lords, the Earl of Lancaster and their forces and allies] , despite of her husband Lord Badlesmere begging them to come to the aid of his wife.  Of course there was a problem here, in this case for the Marcher Lords. Destroying the Despenser lands is one thing, using your forces in a direct battle against the King is another and openly, treason. Besides, their ally the Earl of Lancaster had ordered them, not to come to the aid of Badlesmere [which included his wife], since he had a great personal dislike of him [Badlesmere] 
A nasty business, as I said. The King, with on his side the Earls of Kent and Norfolk [his two halfbrothers] and the Earls of Surrey, Arundel, Pembroke and Richmond
 The King even brought his nearly nine year old son, the Earl of Chester [the later Edward III] 
I can’t see this siege , even if the King wanted to revenge the insult to his Queen, as utter cowardly. But to be fair: Also is the behaviour of the Contrariants, not to come to the aid of the wife of one of their allies.
Siege of Leeds Aftermath:
The aftermath was gruesome: Thirteen members of the garrison were drawn and hanged
after the end of the siege, even in those cruel times unusual, since men had never been executed within for holding a castle against the king………. Lady Badlesmere pleaded for mercy, but was arrested and with her children, sent to the Tower of London.  She therefore became the first recorded woman, imprisoned in the Tower.  She was released in november 1322, seven months after the horrible execution of her husband in april 1322 [hanged, drawn and quartered, the ”traitors’ death] , after his fighting in the Battle of Boroughbridge, where Lancaster was defeated by the royal forces. 
King’s military victory Political consequences:
The Siege of Leeds [casus belli or coincidence…] where the Contrariants failed to help Lady Badlesmere, led to an enormous strenghtening of the position of the King in the South-East  and a demoralisation of the Contrariants, who must have realized, too late, that they fell into the trap of the King’s game of divide and rule….
And not only his military position was strengthened, also his political, with the increasement of loyal barons [caused by the King’s readiness to avenge the insult to the Queen] and the come back of the Despensers, revoked out of banishment.
But now the fight between the King, his cousin Thomas of Lancaster and his allies the Marcher Lords [together the Contrariants] was about to begin in earnest.
FIGHT TO THE DEATH EDWARD II’S WAR WITH THE MARCHER LORDS EVENTS IN NOVEMBER, DECEMBER AND BEGIN JANUARY
As been said, Edward II’s succesful besiegement of Leeds Castle led to his control over South-East England again. A setback for the Contrariants, and Marcher Lords Roger Mortimer and the Earl of Hereford [brother in law of the King], travelled North to discuss the situation with Thomas of Lancaster, who in thed meantime and as a reaction on Edward II’s regained control of South-East England, had mobilised his forces in the North. 
They met on 29 november [Edward II had prohibited the meeting, to no avail], probably in Pontefract Castle [other sources call Doncaster] and they were sworn together a second time to maintain that which they had commenced. 
Battle with words: Amusing: Doncaster petition Thomas of Lancaster’s high opinion about himself…..
As shows the story [as has shown already], the Despenser war and its aftermath was an extremely bloody mess, complete with executions [including the ”traitor’s death], pillaging lands, robbing and extortioning innocent people, hard imprisonment of wives and children of the Contrariants [as we shall see]. Yet there was not only fighting with weapons, but also with words: Famous example is the ”’Doncaster Petition’, drewn up by Thomas of Lancaster and his allies, which said that Hugh Despenser the Younger, amusingly called Sire Huge throughout, had been exiled “for diverse reasonable reasons” with the consent of the king himself and all the magnates in parliament. It accused Edward of placing Despenser under the care of the men of the Cinque Ports  [which proved to be right] and supporting him in his piracy and various other crimes and included the usual references to Edward’s ‘evil counsellors’ [which was certainly true in the case of the Despensers] See for the sample text of the petition note 385
Now the amusing thing is not only their accusation of their own Lord the King of accomplicity with some crimes of Hugh Despenser [which by the way was probably not nonsense at all] , but the fact that the petition showed how highly Thomas of Lancaster thought about himself. That because the petitioners [Thomas and his allies] asked Edward to respond to the petition by 20 December….
Understandably, the King was not amused by this and informed Lancaster, that imposing a deadline on him on to reform the affairs of his kingdom gave the impression that he was the earl’s subject, not vice versa……
This ”deadline” was not the first time for Thomas to do such an act, which proved his arrogance and high opinion about himself:
Apart from the jeering at the King from the walls of Thomas’ Castle of Pontefract [1317 and 1320] and blocking the King’s way [in 1317] , Thomas had done another shocking thing, considering the fact, that he was Edward II’s subject and not vice versa:
In February 1311, his father-in-law Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, died, and Thomas inherited his lands by right of his wife Alice. He had to perform homage to Edward II for the lands, but Edward was then on campaign in Scotland. Thomas refused to cross the Tweed to meet the king; Edward refused to return to England Edward II was right: WHO THE HELL WAS THE KING HERE It was absurd, for the King to come to a subject! At the end, Edward gave in, met Thomas on the English side of the river Tweed. And there Thomas payed homage…..
Back to the Marcher Lords:
THE MARCHER LORDS/RETURN TO WALES/ATTACKS MAFFIA STYLE AND UPRISING After the meeting with the earl of Lancaster at Pontefract in november where they renewed their allegiance against the King [Edward II had forbidden the meeting, to no avail] , the Marcher lords returned to the west of England and Wales with a great armed force  and were playing the same tricks, maffia style again, as they did before: Stealing, extorting and assualting mostly innocent people under the pretext of attacking Despener lands 
This happened in november and december
Back in the Welsh borders, the Marcher Lords had firstly to pay attention to an uprising of the local peasantry  Making use of the problems of the Marcher Lords, in december the Edward II marched to Cirencester to invade the Welsh borders. 
MEANWHILE IN THE NORTH/THOMAS OF LANCASTER
Meanwhile in the North, Thomas of Lancaster had tried to win the support of the northern barons, his usual allies, but they stayed loyal to the king. 
Worse was, that Thomas to be already engaged in some negociations with the Scots, to get their support, supposedly to prevent the King to retake South Wales from the Marcher Lords.  How it came to light, that Thomas was engaged to parley with the Scots, the national enemy? [but I am on their side, because they fought for their freedom….] 
It will be revealed in this article [or book, HAHAHAHAHA] in this very chapter [seven]
Those military things took place in december 1321 and begin january 1322.
E FIGHT TO THE DEATH END DECEMBER 1321 AND JANUARY 1322 EDWARD II’S WAR WITH THE MARCHER LORDS SWAN SONG
As been said, the Contrariants [The Marcher Lords and Thomas of Lancaster, and allies] could have won, were it not for underlying feuds and the divide and rule policy of the King. Added to that, a fatal strategic error of Thomas of Lancaster and lack of good cooperation between the Marcher Lords themselves…… Tragic for them
EDWARD II’S WAR WITH THE MARCHER LORDS
December 1321/January 1322 Edward II’s war with the Marcher Lords
Edward marched to Cirencester in December 1321, preparing to invade the
Welsh borders,  ordering the arrest of some main Contrariants, like his former steward Bartholomew Badlesmere [the man from ”The Siege of Leeds Castle”, see above], and his [Edward’s] former Favourite, Roger Damory [first main enemy of Thomas of Lancaster, now his ally, alienated from the King by the Despenser avariciousness]  Meanwhile, the Marcher Lords seized Gloucester, twenty miles from Cirencester, and thus controlled the bridge over the river Severn. 
”Strategy” of the Marcher Lords: Don’t fight the King, run off from him…..
Now the strangest thing happened: In stead of confronting the King in open war [when Edward approached Gloucester], the Marcher Lords failed to do that and simply….fled…… Not without playing their old maffia tricks of robbing and assaulting innocent people again [probably out of frustration not engaging the King in battle] 
But there is a good explanation for their not engaging the King in battle [although their forces were allegedly almost four times bigger than the King’s]
Attacking Despenser lands and raging and pillaging innocent people [who only happened to live on or near Despenser lands] is one thing, openly engaging the King in battle is treason…….
But the Marcher Lords were not totally crazy and hold the bridge over the Severn against the King, so that he could not cross it. 
And that was the last clever thing they did:
Fatal strategic errors of the Marcher Lords: Not engaging the King in battle Splitting up Pillaging again
THEY SPLIT UP! Damory remained at Worcester [a city, he at least took for the Contrariants], others headed north, while the earl of Hereford started plundering again [had The Marcher Lords
never got enough of those criminal games…….] and now for a change not from innocent people, but their old goal: Despenser property: this time Despenser the Younger’s younger Worcestershire castles of Hanley and Elmley. 
Instead of staying together as a group, engaging the King in battle, they fled, split up and started pillaging again.
When they saw, that their military position started weaker and weaker, they desperately hoped for Thomas of Lancaster to come to their aid.
The aid of Thomas was extremely necessary, since Edward II had arrived at Shrewsbury at 14 january and managed to cross over the river Severn and Roger Mortimer of Wigmore and his uncle Roger Mortimer of Chirk were in a desperate position: They were running out of money, their men were deserting them and they were squeezed between two forces, Edward’s on the east side of the Severn and his allies on the west side, and their lands being occupied and burnt [yes, the Marcher Lords received a taste of their own medicine, poor people, who lived on their lands…..] 
Thomas of Lancaster’s fatal strategic error:
I don’t know, whether Thomas of Lancaster knew exactly, how desperate the position of the Marcher Lords was, but he certainly knew that they were losing the game in Wales.
And in stead of coming to the rescue of the besieged Mortimers, he wasted his time and forces to besiege Edward II’s Castle at Tickhill [near Doncaster]….. 
Had he ridden out to the rescue of the Mortimers, together they would have good chance to defeat the forces of the King [Lancaster had a big army]
But he did not.
The end was predictable Running out of money and men and without the help of Thomas of Lancaster, who could not have come to their aid anymore, anyway, since his two castles of Holt and Bromfield were later seized by Edward’s forces ,
the both Mortimers had no choice but surrender to Edward II….. This happened on 22 january 1322 at Shrewsbury. 
The last Contrariants surrendered on 6 february 1322 at Hereford [at the border of Wales] 
Their fight with the King was over, but there was still hope for victory: Thomas of Lancaster in the North.
So finally, the remaining Contrariants fled towards Yorkshire to seek refuge with the earl of Lancaster, their last hope for fulfilling their cause…….
F FIGHT TO THE DEATH I EDWARD II AND THOMAS OF LANCASTER II LAST DANCE
EDWARD II AND THOMAS OF LANCASTER
Now the Marcher Lords were dedeated, Edward could finally give his attention to his cousin, Thomas of Lancaster.
HENRY OF LANCASTER, THE MYSTERY MAN
But before telling this dramatic story, first the readers attention for a mystery man I mentioned occasionaly in this story: Henry of Lancaster, younger brother of Thomas of Lancaster and the great ancestor of the House of Lancaster  To say it like it is: Where the hell was he in this fight to the death of his brother? Oddly perhaps [since rebels mostly were joined and supported by their brothers ] Henry spent most of the years between 1318-1322 in France, where he in 1317 had inherited the lands of his younger brother John, who died childless.  During the life of his brother Thomas, he seemed to have been loyal to the King and took part, on the orders of the King, in dealing with an uprising in Wales in 1316.  So he was made from quite other stuff than his brother…. However, in 1320/begin 1321, he was one of the Lords who formed a coalition against the Despensers and stood [at that time], shoulder to shoulder with the Rogers Mortimer, the former favourites of the King and others.  Doubtless his brother Thomas [who would soon join the club] appreciated that. But Henry was an interesting ”come and go” guy: He suddenly seemed to have disappeared to France, in each case untill january 1322  [and so kept out of trouble], when the Despenser war reached its finale, which turned out dramatically for Henry personally. So clearly he did not participate in his brother’s rebellion and opposition against the King [except for his initial opposition against the Despensers, Henry was by the way married with the half sister of Hugh Despenser the Younger, by his mother’s side]
But as we shall see later, Henry was a man to settle old scores…… We’ll meet him again.
LETTERS, ROYAL WARNINGS:
Back to Thomas and his last fight with his cousin, the King:
Oddly enough, after the surrender of the Marcher Lords, there was no immediate fight between the King and his not so dear cousin Thomas, as would be expected. At first the King ”warned” Thomas. On 8 February 1322 Edward II wrote to him, stating that he “wished to continue and augment his affection to the earl” and ordering him not to adhere to the Contrariants, who “have publicly boasted that they were going to the earl, and that they would draw him to them in the aforesaid excesses, and that they were sure of this.” Edward pointed out that joining the Contrariants would render Thomas guilty of treason 
To put it mildly: This was a strange letter, since Edward knew very well, that Thomas and the Marcher Lords were ”thick as thieves” [HAHAHA]  Also the King knew [of course!] that since 10 january, Thomas held his Castle Tickhill under siege. 
The answer of Thomas on the letter of the King [but to be fair: he could hardly be honest, criminalising himself as a traitor] was still stranger, since he pretended not to have anything to do with rebels.  YEAH RIGHT………
FIGHTING THE CAPTURE OF CASTLES
But then the to be expected fight broke out:
And for the direct cause, the King certainly was not to blame. He was right: Because, besiegement of a royal Castle [Thomas had put Edward II’s Tickhill Castle under siege] is a gross provocation and downright treason. And on 13 february, Edward announced his intention of going to raise the siege. He asked his brother-in-law Charles IV of France – Thomas’s nephew, son of his half sister Joan I of Navarre, who was also the mother of Queen Isabella of France – to send men to help him fight Thomas and the Contrariants, and also asked his nephews the duke of Brabant and the count of Bar, his kinsmen the counts of Eu, St Pol, Aumale and Beaumont, Charles IV and Isabella’s uncle the count of Valois, and the count of Hainault to send horsemen and footmen, and ordered Amaury de Craon, steward of Gascony, to come to him with armed men and advice. 
I don’t know if they all send military aid to Edward, but certain was, that Edward firmly wanted to confront his cousin in battle. On 19 february, Edward captured Thomas’s great Warwickshire stronghold of Kenilworth. 
But on 1 march 1322, Something would come to light, what would lead, directly to the dramatic end of the story…….
NEVER PUT YOUR TREASON ON PAPER/ THOMAS AND THE SCOTS ANOTHER FATAL ERROR: THE LETTERS ”KING ARTHUR”
I mentioned the fatal error Thomas had made, not to come to the aid of the besieged Rogers Mortimer, but instead of that, besieging the royal Castle of Tickhill. 
But what directly would seal his fate was writing treason down! The first lesson in the criminal’s handbook: NEVER WRITE DOWN SOMETHING ON PAPER!
AND WHEN YOU WRITE TREASON LETTERS OR RECEIVE ANSWER, BURN THEM!
That was the fatal error he made.
Poor Thomas. Proud and a high, an extremely well connected royal Lord, but not capable to see the danger of the written word….
What was the case here:
As I wrote before, when Edward marched on Cirencester in december 1321 to invade the Welsh border, Thomas had apparently asked the Scots to come to his [and the Contrariants] help, to prevent Edward to retake control over South Wales.  Now of course he could have done such a request only when he was already parleying with the Scots….. 
Now he was, apparently, earlier suspected of dealing with the Scots: Because: It was noticed that when the Scottish forces raided the north of England, they left his lands alone 
Now this is, obviously, circumstancial evidence , since you can’t accuse someone of treason for NOT being attacked by the national enemy, but what raised understandable suspicion [although not yet serious evidence] was the fact that although Thomas had a great army at Pontefract, he seemed not to have attempted to pursue the Scottish raiders……. 
Alas, for Thomas personally, real evidence DID show iself:
THE FATAL 1 MARCH
1 March was a fatal date for Thomas, because then, William Melton, archbishop of York, came into possession [I don’t know how] of letters, that had been exchanged between the Scottish Sir James Douglas [The Black Douglas]  and a mysterious ”King Arthur” In one of those letters, ”King Arthur” informed Douglas that the earl of Hereford, Roger Damory, Hugh Audley, Roger Clifford, Henry Tyes, Thomas Mauduit, John Wilington and Bartholomew Badlesmere [See the Siege of Leeds Castle] had come to ”King Arthur” They were prepared to treat with the Scots, as long as the Scots did what had previously been discussed: “to come to our aid, and to go with us in England and Wales” and “live and die with us in our quarrel.” 
HOW STUPID! Using a pseudonym  but naming the men by their own name, all adherents to Thomas of Lancaster! And to make matters worse: Thomas Randolph, earl of Moray and another close ally of Bruce, granted safe-conducts on 16 February 1322 for Roger Clifford, John Mowbray and forty horsemen to travel to Scotland.
Needless to say: John Mombray and Roger Clifford were diehard homies  of Thomas of Lancaster. By the way Mowbray was [not that the others were peaches, but this went far] a bad guy anyway. When going on the rampage in one of those Marcher Lords pillaging projects [somewhere in august or september 1321] he not only stole livestock, goods and chattels from the villagers of Laughton-en-le-Morthern in Yorkshire, but even robbed the church! 
Back to the stupidity of putting treason on paper:
How is it possible that a high Lord, a political animal as Thomas of Lancaster, who ruled de facto England for four years [although not very cleverly, forlorn in feudism with Edward II], could have fallen in the trap to put his treason ON PAPER……,while he could have sent trusted men, with a verbal message, then there was no evidence whatsoever……. Unbelievable
Yet it happened
I think: The arrogance of power.
Anyway, the discovery of the letters proved to be disastrous for Thomas.
I don’t know, whether the King already suspected Thomas of possible parleying with the Scots, but it must have been a great shock to him anyway. In each case, he gave orders, to make the letters public, which was, of course, a great moral setback for Thomas, because the support he still enjoyed , just scrumbled away. After all, getting along with Thomas of Lancaster now didn’t mean merely resistance against the destructive influence of the Despensers on the King and subsequently [since the King was so closely tied with those Despenser guys] against the King [which was treason], but also conspiring with the national enemy, the Scots…….
And he felt it instantly. Not only he had absolutely no hope to gain others for his cause anymore [remember he wanted the Despensers out of the throne’s influence and the Ordinances to be executed] his allies were deserting him. Sir Robert Holland, one of his most faithful men, deserted him, when he needed him most , something his brother, Henry of Lancaster [our ”mystery man”, who did not take part in his brother’s rebellion] would not forget nor forgive. 
And others would soon follow. 
Battle of Burton-on-Trent:
Thomas and the earl of Hereford and their allies left Pontefract on 1 March, broke the siege of Tickhill, and took up position at Burton-on-Trent near Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire, which belonged to Thomas.
In the meantime, Edward had pronounced Thomas, Roger Damory, Hugh Audley, Hereford, Lords Clifford and Mowbray and others to be traitors, and ordered all the sheriffs of England, the justice of Chester and the bishop of Durham to arrest them, saying that they “inflicted evil against the king’s servants, conducting war against the king with banners displayed.”  To cut a long story short: Thomas tried to hold the stronghold at Burton on Trent, but when Edward II’s forces came and Thomas saw, that he was outnumbered, he and his adherents withdrew  [smart, when you see you can’t make it]. According to some sources, “they turned their backs, set fire to the town, and fled.” 
They retreated to Pontefract , where a heated debate took place about what to do now. Some wanted to flee to Dunstanburgh, yet another of Thomas’s great castles on the Northumbrian coast, but Thomas didn”t want that, since it would seem as fleeing towards the Scots [you remember: Scottish raids were succesfully held in North England].  Strange way of reasoning, since Thomas’ correspondence with the Scots had already been revealed……
At the end,Thomas was ”persuaded” [yeah, with Lord Clifford’s sword waving in Thomas face….]  and they fled North anyway. At least, they tried……
They did not get far. On 16 march, as the King’s army continued to move up from the North, Thomas of Lancaster, the Earl of Hereford, Lord Clifford and others were suddenly halted at Boroughbridge by the arrival of Edward’s second army of approximately 4000 men under the command of Sir Andrew Harclay , sheriff of Cumberland and a former adherent of Thomas of Lancaster , who already had secured the bridge against the rebels.  Commanders at the side of the rebels were:
Thomas of Lancaster his faithful companion [and also a Marcher Lord] the Earl of Hereford [who had Piers Gaveston executed, together with Thomas of Lancaster, the Earl of Arundel and the 10th Earl of Warwick] And Roger, 2nd Baron de Clifford [son of Robert de Clifford, one of the besiegers of Piers Gaveston and died at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314] 
The Royal Commander was:
Andrew Harclay, 1st Earl of Carlisle 
To cut a long, dramatic story short:
Thomas and his men were forced to battle, the Earl of Hereford and others, attempting to walk across the bridge to break through Harclay’s lines, didn’t succeed and Hereford died horribly. 
So they lost the Battle of Boroughbridge, which took place on 16 march 1322. 
And Thomas, the great Earl of Lancaster, saw himself made prisoner…….
The long battle between him and his cousin King Edward II was over.
But Thomas’ humiliation and suffering was about to begin…….
Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Thomas of Lancaster, rebel cousin of king Edward II, from warlord to Saint/Chapter Seven
But not only Earl Thomas was a warlord, but also was proclaimed asa Saint after his death, which I find fascinatingFor how becomes a warlord a Saint? Read all about that! AND NOW DEAR READERS, CHAPTER SIX!
CHAPTER SIX OPEN WAR
DESPENSER WAR/FIRST PHASE [February-August 1321]
This ”book” [this article is so long, beginning to show like a book really, patience readers] is about Thomas of Lancaster, but since so many other players play a part in this magnificent story, they have to be described too. Especially to point out the complicated situation and all those changements of alliances….. I will mention the events of the war, but probably not all details, I am sorry Would I have done that, it would fill a university paper… For more reading, just look to the notes below…….
The reader must realize also, that in the first phase of the Despenser war, the role of Thomas of Lancaster is important, but limited. The biggest role is played by his allies the Marcher Lords. You will see, that in fact, they started the war, which was, in short, due to the Kings excessive favouritism of his friends the Despensers. The first phase of the war ends with the coerced banishment of the Despensers.
A Prelude B United against the King’s favourites/ Despenser war/Unlikely allies C The storm breaks out/Despenser war/ started/Sworn Oaths/Fist to fist/Toe to toe/I [First phase february-august 1321]
In chapter five I wrote, that Thomas of Lancaster cooperated well with the King in the unsuccesful siege of Berwick [in the war against the Scots] But as I wrote earlier, the fragile co operation between the two most powerful men, was ruined by the following remark of the King ””When this wretched business is over, we will turn our hands to other matters. For I have not forgotten the wrong that was done to my brother Piers.”  That despite the earlier pardons for the murder of Piers Gaveston, the King had issued in 1313  and the extended pardons to Lancaster and his allies, given at the Treaty of Leake.  To say it again: A king must rise above his personal feelings and must be true to his word. Edward II couldn’t or wouldn’t do that……
That being said: Understandably Thomas of Lancaster, knowing that the King’s remark about Piers Gaveston was directly aimed against him, said ”Hasta la vista” and left Berwick.  And from that moment, relations between the two men deterioriated again.
But not only the unpredictability of the King was to blame for the deteriation between the two men, also the rising of a new star favourite, more dangerous than all the others had been: You’ve met him already: Hugh Despenser the Younger  and with his coming, things would never be the same again….
To be fair, Thomas himself was certainly NOT innocent either [not to speak about the murder of Gaveston], because of his repeated provocations of the King. I wrote about it in chapter five Jeering at the King from his [Thomas’] castle Pontefract, in 1317 [that jeering would be repeated in 1320 with the Queen accompanying the King]  Once blocking the King’s path…. 
That could be considered as treason, and not without reason! In each case it was to be expected, that the King would not consider those insults lightly as will appear in this story….. 
UNITED AGAINST THE KING’S FAVOURITES DESPENSER WAR/UNLIKELY ALLIES
Thomas of Lancaster and his allies The Marcher Lords and allies Two former royal favourites
The last ”fight to the death” between Thomas and his cousin, King Edward II, was actually a fight against the influence of a new, far more dangerous favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger  and his father, Hugh Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester[ Despenser the Elder].  Who were in this fight and why? Thomas of Lancaster of course, being the leader of the baronial opposition against the King, the ”Marcher Lords” , Roger Mortimer and his uncle, Roger Mortimer de Chirk  and their allies. And, painfully for Edward II, his two former favourites, Roger Damory and Hugh Audley.  Once deadly enemies of Thomas of Lancaster, now allies……
In the last battle Lancaster would fight against his king, the battle of Boroughbridge , Hugh Audley would even fight at his side….. While Sir Robert Holland, his [Thomas’] close and die hard ally, would abandon him in his hour of need…  Something Thomas’ brother Henry of Lancaster [who by the way NOT participated in any of his brother”s rebellions, although he seemed to be involved in the anti Despenser coalition]  , would not forget or forgive…..
This anti Despenser fight [and subsequently against the King] was called the ”Despenser war”, with the aim to crush the Despenser’s influence over the King, which would eventually result in avariciousness and tyranny.  But that’s for later.
What thar Despenser influence really meant?
For the Marcher Lords, to be robbed of their lands and privileges, as the revival of an old feud.
The former favourites of the King held a grudge against Hugh Despenser the Younger regarding his land grabbing as the ”Gloucester inheritance case”[see below]
And for Thomas of Lancaster it was threefold: A personal matter [he seemed to have loathed Despenser the Elder, the reason why I don’t know] A wish to curb royal power through the Ordinances  [which included no avaricious favourites]. And of course [let’s not make an idealist of Thomas, hahaha] a personal need for power.
COMEBACK OF THOMAS OF LANCASTER, LEADER OF THE BARONIAL OPPOSITION AGAINST THE KING, BUT TEMPORARILY POLITICALLY ISOLATED
As written in chapter four, after the death of his father in law in 1311, the 3rd Earl of Lincoln [called ”Burst Belly” by vain and tragic Piers Gaveston], Thomas became very powerful [inherited from his father in law the Earldoms Lincoln and Salisbury, already in the possession of Lancaster, Leicester and Derby, inherited from his own father, Edmund Crouchback, brother of King Edward I]. So he became the ”natural” leader of the opposition against Edward II and his favourite Piers Gaveston. After the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, which ended so destastrous for England, Edward II was at the mercy of Thomas, in name King, while Thomas was the real king, de facto. See chapter five He became gradually politically isolated  [not attending parliaments, personal conflicts/feuds with other barons, no wise political insight, lack of governmental talents, unable to protect the borders against the Scottish raids, etc], but was yet too powerful to be ignored, because of his five Earldoms and,not to forget, his royal birth [being first cousin of Edward II]
However, when the resistance against the Despensers grew, The Marcher Lords and others looked up to Thomas as a leader of the resistance again, since he was the most constant factor in the struggle against King’s favourites [and the King]….. 
Together, they would go ”fist to fist’, toe to toe” in this rebellion……
THE MARCHER LORDS
Let’s say it like it is. The Despensers, father and son, were a bunch of thieves and criminals, who went into length to aggrandise their power and wealth, with less [or not at all] scrupules. From noble birth, admitted and married into the royal family , but nevertheless, thieves. Whether Hugh Despenser the Younger [favourite of the King] was really attached to Edward II is food for Medieval historians [although even they can’t look into the royal bedchamber, supposedly Hugh was the ”husband” of Edward II, as Queen Isabella would write later . In each case, he was a shameless royal adventurer [funny side was, not for his victims of course, that he was a pirate during his exile, hahahahaha  And one thing was sure: Edward II was really very attached to him. 
Appointed as chamberlain of the King in 1318, Hugh moved himself into the affections of the King , replaced the former royal favourites [Roger Damory, Hugh Audley and William Montecute] and the Piers Gaveston story [but this time a far more dangerous player] started all over again. But this time worse, given the greed and avariciousness of the Despensers, their excessive ambition and need for political power. They didn’t allow anyone access to Edward unless at least one of them was present. Even Queen Isabella couldn’t see her husband alone!  Such a crazy situation existed….
Back to the avariciousness of the Despensers:
In the Middle Ages, land was power and that was just the thing the Despensers wanted. They wanted to build a huge ‘empire’ in South Wales and that was the very territory where the Marcher Lords [keepers of the borders with Wales] had lands. They feared their lands to be taken over, with consent of the King [who was infatuated with our Hugh Despenser..]
Their fears were proved to be right. In october 1320 Edward II ordered the peninsula of Gower in South Wales to be taken into his own hands, apparently to give it to Hugh Despenser. See for the whole, complicated story, note 308 Roger Mortimer , his uncle Roger Mortimer of Chirk and the other Marcher Lords were furious, considering this as a deprivation of their rights  Hugh Despenser was granted also other lands in the Marches [Welsh territory]’, which was taken fromRoger Mortimer and other Marcher Lords 
Not only unfair, but also foolish of Edward, since most of the Marcher Lords, especially Roger Mortimer and his uncle, were, until Edward’s clear favouritism of Despenser, at the cost of them and the other Marcher Lords, were loyal to the throne. 
To make matters complicated, there also was an old feud between Marcher Lords Roger Mortimer [and his uncle, Roger Mortimer de Chirk] and the Despensers…. Read about that in note 312
TWO FORMER ROYAL FAVOURITES AND HUGH DESPENSER THE YOUNGER
Hugh Despenser the Younger [as his father] had a mastertalent to incite the fury and hatred from his colleague noblemen. He pushed the Marcher Lords to the edge with his avariciousness and unlimited ambition, and his avariciousness also led to a big conflict with two former favourites of Edward II, Roger Damory and Hugh Audley:
Not only Hugh Despenser replaced Damory and Audley as favourites[also Montecute, but he played no further role, died in 1319 in Gascony], he also claimed the best lands from the Gloucester inheritance. [Hugh Despenser, Hugh Audley and Roger Damory were married to the three sisters of the 8th Earl of Gloucester and when he died in the battle of Bannockburn childless, his sisters were his heirs] 
And to further enrage Damory and Audley: In october 1320 Edward II took the South Wales peninsula of Gower into his own hands prior to granting it to Hugh Despenser See for background information about that, note 314 Despenser also had taken the Welsh lands of Hugh Audley.  That Despenser really was a man, who knew how to make friends……[hahahahahaha] 
Is it wonder, that men like the Marcher Lords , who once were loyal to the throne, were driven into rebellion and that even sworn enemies as Thomas of Lancaster and the former favourites found each other and fought side by side?
THE STORM BREAKS OUT/DESPENSER WAR/SWORN OATHS/FIST TO FIST/TOE TO TOE I FIRST PHASE/FEBRUARY-AUGUST 1321
The Marcher Lords on the rampage/sworn oaths:
The MarcherLords must have thought: ”Attack is the best way of defence.”
Because the war started with them attacking the Despenser lands and properties in Wales.  Those calamities [sacking, looting, pillaging, with most of the victims of course the common people….] took place from may 1321. Stealing from the Despensers was one thing, far more worse was, that, as usual, the poor and defenseless people paid the highest price: Sacking, looting, pillaging, extorting money from poor villagers with the threath of burning their village.  It was degrading and cruel. Those same horrors the Marcher Lords would repeat in the second phase of the Despenser war, in november and december 1321. 
But before going on the rampage, the Marcher Lords had arranged for support in the back:
In february 1321, they held a meeting with Thomas of Lancaster [probably at his favourite Castle Pontefract] and there was decided to attack Despenser lands.  However, Thomas did not take part in the attack itself.
As a reaction on the Marcher Lords-Lancaster agreement [to attack Despenser lands], Edward II responded in March by mobilising his forces in Wales, demonstrating that he intended to make any attack on the Despensers an attack on the crown, and therefore treasonable 
That was no clever movement of the King, thereby confirming his onesided favouritism of the Despensers and making it nearly impossible for those who were hesitant to go into rebellion, to stay loyal to the crown. At the other hand, the King tried to placate the rebels [or resistance fighters against the Despenser avariciousness, it depends from how you see it], by calling them [the Marcher Lords] to convene with him [first in Gloucester, later in Bristol] to no avail. 
After attacking Despenser properties [lands, castles, etc] as much as they pleased, Roger Mortimer and Hereford [brother in law of Edward II and together with Thomas of Lancaster, the 10th Earl of Warwick and the 9th Earl of Arundel, the murderer of Piers Gaveston in 1312] marched North to join Lancaster at Pontefract.
In june the barons swore an alliance at Sherburn-in-Elmet, near Pontefract, calling their faction the ”Contrariants” and promised to remove the Despensers for good. Sadly for Thomas and his allies: An attempt to attract the northern Lords to their cause failed. They stayed loyal to the King. 
Lancaster and the Marcher Lords would swear an oath once more on 29 november 1321, in the second phase of the Despenser war ”to maintain what they had commenced” 
March on London ”We bow down to no man”………..
One thing you can say about the Marcher Lords” They DID have guts……..
Not only destroying, looting, pillaging, extortioning and terrorising as they pleased and not only the Despenser possessions [and innocent people, who were unlucky to live on Despenser lands] .
No, they went farther. Much farther…..
After making their alliance with Thomas of Lancaster at Sherburn-in-Elmet , the Marcher Lords marched [hahaha, but that was what they did] from Sherburn [near Pontefract, in Yorkshire] to…….London…. From all places, they had the audacity to march on the royal centre of power….
From Yorkshire to London they repeated the same atrocities as in Wales: Assault, extortion and terror: They seized victuals from local inhabitants and pillaged the countryside – not only Despenser manors – all the way from Yorkshire to London.  Four Marchers [John Mowbray, Stephen Baret, Jocelyn Deyville and Bogo Bayouse] even robbed the Church in Laughton-en-le-Morthen [in Yorkshire] 
Further they tried to buy people’s allegiance with money, and seized the property of those who refused to join them. 
Real maffia practices……
But that terrorising and pillaging was only a [bad] game: Their goal was London, to put pressure on the King in order to banish the Despensers for good.
When they arrived outside of London on july 1321, not really surprisingly [even without Internet and smartphone, bad news travels fast], the citizens of London refused to let them in. The King also refused to meet them or even to listen to their demands that the Despensers be perpetually exiled from England, and they and their heirs disinherited “as false and traitorous criminals and spies.” 
Then, to go a stadium further [in fact that was treason] , they placed themselves and their armies outside the city walls, at strategic locations, to prevent the king leaving……
Let us put this straight: THEY BESIEGED LONDON, ”IMPRISONING” THE KING IN HIS OWN CAPITAL!
They then sent two knights as envoys to Edward II, to tell him that they held both Hugh Despensers “enemies and traitors to you and to the kingdom, and for this they wish them to be removed from here.”  Not surprisingly, the King, again, refused to meet the envoys.
On 1 August the Marchers entered London, while their great ally, Thomas of Lancaster, arrived also in August to support them.  Meanwhile, Despenser the Younger threatening them from a ship on the River Thames, and the rebels [Contrariants] threatened to begin to destroy royal properties and lands outside London unless he desisted. 
To cut a long story short: the earls of Pembroke, Richmond, Surrey and Arundel finally brought the Marchers’ demands to Edward. If he refused to consent to the Despensers’ exile, he would be deposed. 
Even then the King refused.
QUEEN ISABELLA ON HER KNEES
And as in the chess play , where the Queen holds the most important playing position, the solution came from Queen Isabella:
Queen Isabella went down on her knees before her husband and begged him, for the good of his realm, to exile the Despensers. 
That had not only the desired effect, it gave the King the opportunity, to get out from this without losing his face, making it look like fulfilling his wife’s desire.
But it must have been very painful for Edward II, losing his friends, who meant that much to him…. I think we must consider that, besides his foolish and unfair favouritism at the cost of the other Lords.
AGAIN A MAN OF HONOUR THE EARL OF PEMBROKE, MEDIATOR
And with all that negociating, let’s not forget the important role of the Earl of Pembroke [the man of honour, who didn’t want to breach his oath against Piers Gaveston and after Gaveston’s death, diehard loyal to the King  , who continually had mediated between the Marcher Lords and the King and was behind the exile plea of Queen Isabella. 
And finally the King decided on the banishment of The Despensers, father and son [the favourite] At 14 August in the Great Hall of Westminster it was to be, in the presence, of course, of the King Charges: ”They were accused, among many other things, of “evil covetousness,” accroaching to themselves royal power, guiding and counselling the king evilly, only allowing the magnates to speak to Edward in their presence, “ousting the king from his duty,” removing good counsellors from their positions and replacing them “by other false and bad ministers of their conspiracy,” and “plotting to distance the affection of our lord the king from the peers of the land, to have sole government of the realm between the two of them.”  [They were also called ”evil councillors” by the Contrariants [The Marcher Lords, Thomas of Lancaster and allies] That was all true.  The judgement decreed that the Despensers “shall be disinherited for ever as disinheritors of the crown and enemies of the king and his people, and that they shall be exiled from the realm of England, without returning at any time,” saving only the consent of the king, prelates, earls and barons in parliament. They were convicted by notoriety, with no chance to speak in their own defence. 
Utterly unfair, that they had no chance to speak in their own defence, but what was ”fair trial” in that time?
The same reprehensible thing happened to so many other noblemen thereafter……
The departure date was set on 29 August, 1321. Despenser the Elder left England immediately, perhaps to one of Edward II’s French territories, Gascony or Ponthieu. However, his son, Despenser the Younger BECAME A PIRATE IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL [HAHAHAHAHA] 
AGAIN, ”ROYAL PARDONS”……
Between 20 August and late September 1321, Edward II granted a pardon to more than 400 men for the murders, abductions, thefts and vandalism they had committed in the Despensers’ lands, which crimes the Marchers claimed were “a case of necessity, [and] ought not to be corrected or punished by the rigour of the law, nor could this happen without causing too much trouble.” 
Which of course was a hypocrite excuse and bagatellising of serious and undefensible crimes.
Edward later protested that he had done this unwillingly and that any pardon he had given under coercion was invalid and contravened his coronation oath. 
I must say, the King had a point here. The attentive reader remembers, that I wrote at the beginning of this chapter [chapter VI], that the King was not true to his word, issuing pardons and later to come back on them, 
But this case was different, because now the King was besieged in his own capital as threathened with deposition, if he didn’t consent with the Despensers exile. That’s clearly coercion. And treason.
PLANNING FOR REVENGE
The King was furious, of course and by the way [but the reader has already understood] never to consent with the permanent exile of his Despenser friends.
The following morning at breakfast, the king talked to his ally Hamo Hethe, bishop of Rochester, “anxious and sad.” He swore that he would “within half a year make such an amend that the whole world would hear of it and tremble,” 
And as we will see in the next chapter, he was true to his word…..
END OF THIS CHAPTER
SEE FOR NOTES
Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Thomas of Lancaster, rebel cousin of king Edward II, from warlord to Saint/Chapter Six
In the chapters one, two, three and four we saw, how the initial loyalcousin of king Edward II, fell out with him in a feud/conflict, for political andpersonal reasons and we watched the tragic fate of king’s dear favourite,Piers Gaveston and Thomas of Lancaster’s deadly role in it.
For reasons you’ll read in Chapter Five, Thomas of Lancaster, England”s wealthiest and most powerful man after king Edward II, became the uncrowned king of England Read furthrer:
CHAPTER FIVE DANCE FOR POWER THOMAS OF LANCASTER, THE UNCROWNED KING 1314-1315
A Battle of Bannockburn  B The Great Famine [1315-1317] C Lincoln Parliament /Thomas triumphant D Three destructive favourites [1315-1318] E Thomas of Lancaster/Feud with Warenne F Thomas a peach?/Dangerous incidents G Pembroke, man of honour/Treaty of Leake  H Aftermath/The favourites I After the Treaty of Leake/New danger….
With his good friend and ally the [10th] Earl of Warwick gone, Thomas of Lancaster not only suffered a personal loss [they were close, since Warwick had named his son after Thomas , but also it was a political setback. Warwick was a skilled and clever ruler, while Lancaster, although tough and forceful in action, was as incompetent as his cousin Edward II, when it came to ruling, as the story will show…..
From the moment Piers Gaveston was murdered by Thomas and his accomplices, it was a dance to the death between him and Edward II, the two most powerful men in the land, yet apart’ from the struggle for power. For although Edward officially had pardoned Thomas [and others] for the murder of Gaveston , it was quite clear, that he would never forgive or forget his cousin’s role in the murder of a man, whom he lhad oved that much.
During the [unsuccesful] siege of Berwick [in which Thomas of Lancaster cooperated, for a change, with Edward II], in 1318, Edward was stated to have said:: ””When this wretched business is over, we will turn our hands to other matters. For I have not forgotten the wrong that was done to my brother Piers.” 
So there was a situation in which two powerful men competed for the rule of England, both incompetent rulers, who could not put their own personal feelings above the general political problems, like the war with the Scots and internal questions [I’ll refer to the great Famine between 1315-1317 later] Disastrous for the country and eventually for themselves.
THE FUN WAS JUST ABOUT TO BEGIN:
BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN/1314
After a tense and dangerous year [since the murder of Gaveston in 1312], where civil war threatened in a moment and eventually there seemed some de escalation, tensions flew high, again. Presumably with the aim of strenghtening his position [a victory on the Scots would enlarge both Kings popularity as his royal position against the barons], Edward II decided to take a military campaign against the Scots, who were leaded by the formidable military commander and King, Robert the Bruce. 
And yes, Thomas of Lancaster reacted!
As to be expected, in June 1314, Thomas refused to accompany his cousin to Scotland for the Bannockburn campaign, and sent only four knights and four men-at-arms to fulfil his feudal obligations. 
The outcome was disastrous. England suffered one of the most humiliating defeats against the Scots, in the battle of Bannockburn  in which the King’s nephew [remember, Gaveston’s brother in law, who had refused to help him], the [8th] Earl of Gloucester, was killed in battle,  as Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford, one of the besiegers of Piers Gaveston at Scarbourough Castle. 
To the great credit of the King must be said, that although a bad military commander, he fought very bravely and eventually they practically had to drag him from the battlefield to prevent the greatest humiliation: to be captured, as would happen, years later [in 1356], to the French King John II during the Hundred Years War with England…. 
And figure: A perhaps yearlong regency for his 2 year old son [Edward, later Edward III, born in 1312…], under the leadership of….guess who? Likely, his cousin Thomas, Earl of Lancaster [King’s halfbrothers were still too young].
SO: THIS WAS THE GOLDEN CHANCE FOR THOMAS!
The battle of Bannockburn not only was a great personal humiliation for Edward II, it put him entirely at Thomas’ mercy. 
Had Edward been victorious, he would have gained a great prestige and popularity, as secure borders in the North. That would have strengthened his position towards Thomas of Lancaster and the other opposing barons enormously.
But the painful reality was a humiliating defeat [and for the Scots a great step in their freedom fight!]
So Edward needed his cousin Thomas: Without his help, the borders couldn’t be defended against the Scottish raids, that now ravaged English soil. 
A nasty position for a King, dependency on a subject, who was his most powerful nobleman and enemy.
1315/ THOMAS OF LANCASTER DE FACTO RULER
In name Edward was the King, but the de facto ruler was Thomas. Alas, he proved to be as incompetent ruler as his cousin Edward and although tough in military action, he nevertheless was incapable to defend England against the Scottish attacks.
Perhaps it is not fair to reproach him that: Robert the Bruce was an extraordinary skilled military leader and the Scots were very motivated to fight for their freedom [in the meantime ravaging North England….]
But it IS reproachable, that neither the King nor Thomas were capable to rise above personal matters to work together in the State interests.
It was said, that ””Whatever pleases the lord king, the earl’s servants try to upset; and whatever pleases the earl, the king’s servants call treachery…and their lords, by whom the land ought to be defended, are not allowed to rest in harmony.” 
THE GREAT FAMINE/1315/1317
This disaster lasted from 1315 till 1317:
The first duty of a Medieval Lord [and certainly a King] was to look to the welfare of the people. To take care of them. To feed the poor. To defend the weak. 
When Thomas of Lancaster had sold some of his precious belongings to feed the poor during that famine, he should have been a saint already during his life….
That’s a pure joke, of course Not ONE Lord in that time would mind about the need of the poor [the chivalric codes were merely theoretical] or would put it in his head to sell precious things for the poor. Besides that, the famine problem was not that simple, because it was not only merely a question of not HAVING food, but not capable to PRODUCE it.
The Great Famine started with bad weather in spring 1315. Crop failures lasted through 1316 until the summer harvest in 1317.
It rained heavily and constantly for much of the summer of 1314 and most of 1315 and 1316. This torrential rain, inevitably, caused flooding; crops rotted away and livestock drowned in the waterlogged fields. So the result was the Great Famine, which is estimated to have killed at least five per cent, and perhaps much more, of the population of England. The rest of northern Europe suffered a similar or higher death toll. 
Edward II did his best to handle the crisis, but was not capable to solve the problem.  Perhaps Thomas of Lancaster took some measures too, I don’t know.
Of course the famine was a hugh problem, yet it is the task of rulers to handle wisely and competently. Both failed, King and cousin, to handle the problems and of course they didn’t cooperate together, which is more than just bad ruling. When famine is concerning, it is a crime against the poor population, which suffered the most.
However, to say to their defence, the situation WAS alarming and partly they were powerless: Even the King when visiting St Albans from 10 to 12 August 1315, had difficulties buying bread for himself and his household…….
It is a wonder, that there had been no uprisings or peasants revolt in that time….
The weather finally improved in 1317, and gradually the famine loosened its dread grip. 
Two big disasters and yet the most powerful men in the land couldn’t rise above personal matters and work together…..
A foreboding for all the mess, which was yet to come.
EDWARD II AND THOMAS OF LANCASTER/ TWO IRRESPONSIBLE FOOL RULERS
Just when there were such challenges and a need for strong leadership, Edward II and his cousin Thomas could do no better than thwarting each other, to the destruction of many, including themselves.
For example [to begin with Thomas]:
Although Thomas was chosen as one of the godfathers of Edward and Isabella of France’s second son John of Eltham , Thomas’s great-nephew, he failed to attend the boy’s christening, a gross insult to the king and queen. 
But honesty obliges me to say, that before the christening solemnity of the second son of the King, Thomas and the King seemed to have had a serious row in York…..
But yet, try to keep the peace, my Lord Lancaster…..
The King acted no better:
”In April 1318 the Scots took the English town of Berwick which led to a shaky reconciliation between Lancaster and his cousin Edward. The king, however, had not forgotten, or forgiven the death of Gaveston and was so ”wise” to have said: ”When this wretched business is over, we will turn our hands to other matters. For I have not forgotten the wrong that was done to my brother Piers”.
Well, the temporary ”peace” was over and Lancaster [Thomas] left.  Not strange, since the remark of the King was aimed directly against Lancaster, for his role in the murder of Gaveston.
But since the King had pardoned those involved in the murder of Gaveston in 1313,  he was obliged to his royal status to hold his word, whatever his personal feelings and how painful for him as a person.
That’s the honour of a King AND wise ruling. This remark but showed, that Lancaster was right, not to trust the King…..
Nor could the King trust Lancaster. And as will be revealed in the story, there were people around the king, trusted ”friends”, who played a dirty role to prevent any reconciliation between the King and cousin Thomas.
1316 LINCOLN PARLIAMENT/THOMAS TRIUMPHANT
The Lincoln parliament of early 1316 – at which Thomas of Lancaster attended, more than two weeks late – requested of the king’s “dear cousin” that “he might be pleased to be chief of his council, in all the great or weighty matters concerning him [Edward] and his realm,” and Thomas, “for the great love which he bears towards his said lord the king,” agreed. 
To cut this shortly Thomas was appointed to the ”chief place” in the Council [Chief Councillor].  Unfortunately, he seemed to take little part in government and preferred to stay at his favourite residence at Pontefract Castle [which he had inherited jure uxoris from his father in law, Henry de Lacy, the 3rd Earl of Lincoln]  That formed a problem, since Edward II and the Council had to communicate with him ”as though he were an independent potentate, or another King”  [Hahaha, there was no Internet then/Otherwise they could have mailed or Facebooked…….”’Dear Cousin”, ”Sire, my cousin……]
SURPRISE, SURPRISE/ROW WITH COUSIN KING EDWARD II
Edward and Thomas met in York in the summer of 1316 and had a furious row, apparently over Edward’s ongoing reluctance to accept the Ordinances , to which Thomas was devoted. 
Now I can imagine, that Thomas was irritated: After all Edward II had agreed with the ordinances in 1311, and although he was more or less coerced to, when a King gives his word, his subjects have a right to expect, that he holds it. I refer to the last passage from the coronation oath of the King [pronounced in French]
”Sire, graunte vous à tenir & garder les loys & les custumes droitureles, les quiels la communaute de vostre roiaume aura esleu, & les defendrez & afforcerez, al honour de DIEU, à vostre poer?” And his answer and promise ”Jeo les graunte & promette.”
[English translation: Sire, do you grant to be held and observed the just laws and customs that the community of your realm shall determine, and will you, so far as in you lies, defend and strengthen them to the honour of God?
Answer and promise of the King ” I grant and promise them.”] 
That means of course, that if the King grants the Ordinances, he has to hold word. And as a subject, Thomas of Lancaster had the right to hold the King accountable to his oath. 
On the other hand I can understand the King’s position too. He was more or less coerced to those Ordinances, which assaulted his royal position. Yet a King is bound to his ”promises”…..
But of course that was not the point here.
After the brutal murder on Gaveston, any conflict between Edward II and Thomas of Lancaster was in fact about the King’s need for revenge on his cousin. Maybe understandable being a private person, but a King must put the interests of the State first. And that Edward II was not willing or able to do.
That was the King’s tragedy, which would led to his downfall.
THREE DESTRUCTIVE FAVOURITES ROGER DAMORY, HUGH AUDLEY AND WILLIAM MONTECUTE, THREE DESTRUCTIVE FAVOURITES 1315/1318
To make matters worse, the next years [untill the ”reconciliation” treaty of Leake], three friends and favourites of Edward II, declared enemies of Thomas of Lancaster, would do their utmost to further arouse Edward’s hostility towards his cousin Thomas. Their names were Roger Damory, Hugh Audley and William Montecute [father of that William Montecute, close friend of Edward III, who helped him overthrow the regime of his mother Isabella of France and her lover Roger Mortimer]  And I am not exaggerating, when saying, that their influence was destructive, doing everything to enlarge the tensions in the country.
Roger Damory/Favourite and first disturber of the peace
After having mourned Piers Gaveston for about three years, Edward II had a close companion again [I don’t speculate, whether their relationship was sexually intimate or not, let the reader form his or her own opinion] in Roger Damory, the most important of the three favourites [ancestor of Walt Disney, hahahaha]  That man was one of a kind:
First favourite of the King [about 1315-1319], later ally of the same Thomas of Lancaster he tried to destroy during the time he was favourite…… Joining the retinue of King’s nephew, the [8th] Earl of Gloucester [also brother in law of Piers Gaveston, whom Gloucester didn’t help, when he [Gaveston] was in the dungeons of Warwick Castle] , Damory fought bravely in the Battle of Bannockburn  and thus attracted the King’s attention. And so he made a quick career. , which especially seemed to have been characterized by seeking his own advantage and hinder all reconciliation attempts between Edward II and his] cousin Thomas of Lancaster.  Rightly Pope John XXII wrote to King Edward ” to “remove those friends whose youth and imprudence injure the affairs of the realm.”  By the way, Edward II married Roger Damory to his niece, Elizabeth de Clare, sister of the [8th] Earl of Gloucester. 
Hugh Audley/Favourite and second disturber of the peace [only favourite to survive the reign of Edward II and also rebel against the King and ally of Thomas of Lancaster and the Marcher Lords]
Hugh Audley rose in royal favour in 1315 and the relationship came that close, that Edward II married him to his niece Margaret de Clare, sister of the [8th] Earl of Gloucester and dowager countess of Cornwall, widow of Edward II’s beloved Piers Gaveston . That was a beautiful catch! Remember, Edward married Roger Damory to his other niece Elizabeth, sister of Margaret de Clare.
William Montecute/Favourite and third disturber of the peace
William Montecute, father of his namesake William, who was one of the closesr friends of Edward III , rose into royal favour after 1315 and was a good soldier. He was appointed steward of the royal household in 1317, which gave him direct access to the King, so a powerful position.  He had a reputation as a good soldier. 
Alas, he also was a great hindrance in bringing reconciliation between Edward II and his cousin, Thomas of Lancaster……
THE DESTRUCTIVE TRIUMVIRATE DANGEROUS THREAT TO THE PEACE IN THE COUNTRY
Roger Damory, Hugh Audley and William Montecute had a highly destructive and fatal influence on the King, intruiging against Thomas of Lancaster at any means necessary. The reason I condemn them so harshly is because this dangerous policy led to further destabilisation of the situation in the land, which was already torn apart by the continuing threat of civil war, because of the enmity between Edward and his cousin Thomas.
And as I see it, the destructive policy came mainly from those three favourites, not from Thomas of Lancaster [Thomas is no peach at all, but here he was certainly not the attacker], who had reason to feel himself threatened by those three.
For example [list is not complete]
At a meeting of the king’s council at Clarendon in the spring of 1317, the three openly called Thomas a traitor. 
That is a very serious accusation, dangerous too.
So understandably, Thomas protested. He sent letters to the King, to say that “he fears the deadly stratagems of certain persons who thrive under the protection of the royal court…they have already carried off the earl’s wife to his disgrace and shame.” [on the history of his wife I refer later]  That he subsequently [and repeatedly] asked the banishment from Court of Damory, Audley and Montecute, comes as no suprise either, since those gentlemen continued to sow discord and counselled the king to remain hostile to his cousin. 
Out of self interest of course, and highly damaging for the peace in the country.
Edward II, no great champion in knowledge of human nature, was misled by those three and wrote Thomas, as reaction of his letters with the request of banishment ””I will avenge the despite done to the earl when I can; I refuse to expel my household; for the abduction of his wife let him seek a remedy in law only.”  By this, the King made things worse.
And Thomas was not alone, but was supported by Pope John XXII, who wrote the King repeatedly in 1317 and 1318, warning the King not to allow any “backbiter or malicious flatterer” to bring about disunity between himself and Thomas, and to send away from court those men who offended the earl.  He advised the King to “remove those friends whose youth and imprudence injure the affairs of the realm.  He also warned Thomas to “separate himself” from those who displeased Edward and to reject “suggestions of whisperers and double-tongued men.”
The Pope was a real peacemaker! In addition to the King and his cousin Thomas, he also wrote to Thomas’ brother, Henry, [later] Earl of Lancaster several times in 1318 as a close kinsman of both the king and Thomas and “bound to pay them reverence and affection,” asking him to promote accord between them “so that the realm may be freed from disturbance” 
I don’t know whether Henry tried to mediate, since it is likely, that he spent the most of that period in France [perhaps because he wouldn’t be involved in his brothers’ feud with the King? } 
But the machinations of the three favourites were not done yet:
After several summons of the King to Thomas of Lancaster to attend council meetings, which he not attended [not suprisingly, since the three favourites attended, sometimes armed…], the King asked his household and friends for advice in this situation: ””You see how the earl of Lancaster has not come to parliament. You see how he scorns to obey our commands. How does it seem to you?”  Some advised to arrest or exile Thomas, others, more sensible, advised to negociate. After all, although politically isolated now, Thomas of Lancaster WAS a force of nature, since very powerful by the possession of his five Earldoms and not to be underestimated, his private army.
Be as it may, a very dangerous situation threatened:
To cut a long story short: At the instigation of two cardinalswho had recently arrived in the country – they were with the king at York in September 1318 – a date was finally set for a meeting between Edward and Thomas, although it was postponed. Edward agreed to take no hostile action against Thomas and his adherents, and Thomas agreed to attend the next parliament, due to be held at Lincoln in January 1318. 
At the beginning of October 1317, The King left York to return to London. Alas, despite his promise a few days earlier not to take action against his cousin, he commanded his men to take up arms and attack him.  Apparently one of Edward’s friends – most likely Roger Damory – had persuaded him that the earl posed a threat to Edward and that he should attack him first. Fortunately the King informed the earl of Pembroke beforehand what he was intending to do. He said “I have been told that the earl of Lancaster is lying in ambush, and is diligently preparing to catch us all by surprise.”  Pembroke fortunately managed to convince Edward that this was not in fact the case, and talked the King out of it…..
This unsound situation would continue from 1315 to 1318, when the man of honour [see the Piers Gaveston story], Lord Pembroke and the Middle Party intervened and managed to reach the Treaty of Leake.  But that’s for later
FEUD WITH WARENNE
Never a dull moment in the Edward II/Thomas of Lancaster times. Not only Edward and his cousin had become bitter enemies, which included enmity between Lancaster and the named destructive favourites, Thomas also had a bitter feud with John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey [one of the besiegers of Piers Gaveston in Scarbourough Castle]. What the original nature of the hatred of Warenne for Lancaster was, is not sure: Probably he blamed Lancaster for his [Warenne’s] inability to secure a divorce [he was unhappily married]. This may be because Lancaster had persuaded the Bishop of Chichester to prosecute Warenne for his adultery 
In each case, Warenne retaliated with the abduction of Lancaster’s wife, Alice de Lacy, with whom he [Lancaster] was unhappily married.  Whether the abduction took place with or without the consent of Lady Alice, is not clear. Lancaster, not a man to forgive an insult, retaliated again with seizing two castles from Warenne. 
At last the King intervened, which led to an uneasy peace between the two noblemen. 
WHAT A FUN!
However, Lancaster also thought, that the three favourites were behind the abduction , which made matters worse and worse…….
THOMAS OF LANCASTER A PEACH?/ FORGET IT/DANGEROUS INCIDENTS [Jeering at the King/1318/1320/Blocking his way….]
The attentive reader shall have noticed, that I defended Thomas of Lancaster several times: Against the unpredictable behaviour of the King [stating not to attack Lancaster and yet planning an attack, not holding his word and failing to obey the Ordinances of 1311]  Against his destructive favourites, who did everything in their power to prevent a reconciliation between the King and his cousin Thomas.
But was Thomas then, a peach, only intended to hold the King to his word? NOT AT ALL!
The reader has read about his [and others’] execution of poor and vain Piers Gaveston. That’s not ”peach” behaviour, but lawless and ruthless.
The King, on his part, was not ”true to his word”, stating at one moment not to attack Thomas, and the second moment attempting to attack him [Thanks to the Earl of Pembroke, nothing came from that] Stating to observe the ordinances and then not to hold his promise.
But to the defence of the King must be said, that Thomas did, also, his best to stir up the animosity”, which the King [understandably] harboured because of the tragic murder on Gaveston:
I already mentioned the absence of Thomas at the battle of Bannockburn, as his failing to attend the christening of the Kings second son, John of Eltham, although he was one of the godfathers. 
But it became worse:
BLOCKING THE PATH OF THE KING
During the time of high tension [when the three favourites accused Thomas of treason, his wife Alice had been abducted] Edward and Isabella left Nottingham and the failed council meeting on 7 August 1317 [where Thomas didn’t attend, not willing to meet the King, as long as the three destructive favourites were not expelled from Court]] , and travelled to York. The most direct route would have taken Edward right through the town, but Thomas had blocked his way by placing armed guards on the roads and bridges south of York, claiming he had the right to be informed about the movement of armed men as he was the hereditary Steward of England…..
Of course the King was furious that a subject had blocked his way!
MORE FUN/ JEERING AT THE KING
Next to blocking the King’s path in his own Kingdom, one of the worst things subjects can do is, make a joke of their King, by jeering at him. And that was precisely what Thomas of Lancaster did: 1317 ”Thomas made matters worse by leading his men out to the top of the castle ditch and jeering at Edward as he and his retinue travelled past. 
AND HE DID IT AGAIN! 1320 After the parliament in York ended [which Thomas failed to attend], Edward II and his wife Isabella of France travelled through Pontefract on their way to London, and Thomas’s retainers once again jeered at the king, and also the queen, from the safety of the castle. 
NOT VERY CLEVER, MY LORD THOMAS Not very clever……
PEMBROKE, MAN OF HONOUR/THE MIDDLE PARTY AND THE TREATY OF LEAKE
Finally a reconciliation between the two most powerful men, Edward II and his cousin Thomas, was about to take place. With special compliments for the Earl of Pembroke, the man of honour, who had been offended by Gaveston’s abduction since he had given his word . The same man, who had talked Edward II out of his foolish and dangerous intention to attack Thomas of Lancaster at his stronghold at Pontefract 
With Pembroke playing an important role, since April 1318, a group of barons and prelates [the ”Middle Party]  had been negotiating with the earl of Lancaster, and trying to persuade Edward and his cousin to overcome their hostility to each other. On 8 June, they came to a preliminary agreement: Edward would uphold the Ordinances, govern by the counsel of his magnates, and conciliate Thomas, who was threatened with sanctions if he continued to hold armed assemblies [which he indeed had held, but also the King had permitted armed Lords to his councils]. 
On 7 August 1318 the two men exchanged the kiss of peace in a field between Loughborough and Leicester. Edward gave his cousin a fine palfrey “in recognition of his great love” of Thomas. (Hmmmm.) A formal agreement, the Treaty of Leake, was signed in the town of Leake near Loughborough two days later 
Thomas of Lancaster demanded [and right he was!] that Roger Damory, Hugh Audley and William Montacute be sent away from court, the King consented and off they went…..
GOOD RIDDANCE WORKS!
Finally the destructive influence of the King’s three favourites had come to an end!
How fared they?
From Kings friend to enemy
His influence was over, athough he seemed to have been in the favour of the king for a while. At last, he clashed with the new and most destructive favourite of the King, Hugh Despenser the Younger , joined the Marcher Lords [sworn enemies of the Despensers, father and son and allies of Thomas of Lancaster]  He fought with the Marcher Lords against the Kings army, was captured and tried [condemned to the traitor’s death, which was not executed, happily for him] and died at Tutbury Priory on 12 March 1322, presumably of wounds sustained fighting against the royal army…… 
As his co favourites Roger Damory and Hugh Audleu he had done everything to instigate further animosity between Edward II and his cousin Thomas of Lancaster. Therefore he was removed from his post as steward of the royal household and appointed steward of Gascony in november 1318. He died in Gascony in 1319. 
Hugh Audley also turned from the friend of the King to his enemy….. Hugh fought with the Marcher Lords against the King [and the Despensers] and later fought at the side of Thomas of Lancaster [the Marcher Lords were his ally] in the fatal Battle of Bouroughbridge . He was spared execution thanks to his wife Margaret de Clare’s pleas [she was the niece of Edward II and widow of his former lover Piers Gaveston], somehow survived the reign of Edward II and the regime of his wife Isabella of France and lover Roger Mortimer [see his life/273] and died peacefully in november 1347. 
He was the only one of Edward II’s favourite to survive those turbulent times.
AFTER THE TREATY OF LEAKE/NEW DANGER
By late 1318, the relationship between Edward II and the earl of Lancaster was relatively good and Pembroke and the other barons [as the other subjects of the King] doubtless sighed with relief, because civil war seemed to be at the end. And for those, who doubt Thomas: He actually co-operated with the king and took part in the siege of Berwick in 1319.  But as we shall see: Nothing lasts forever and the destructive favourites would soon be replaced by a far more dangerous man: Hugh Despenser the Younger , who would lead the King to his destruction and his own [Hugh’s]
More about the Despensers and Thomas of Lancaster’s role in the next chapter.
Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Thomas of Lancaster, rebel cousin of king Edward II, from warlord to Saint/Chapter Five
AND NOW……CHAPTER FOUR!ENJOY AND WATCH CLOSELY, HOW THE DRAMA UNFOLDS……..
CHAPTER FOUR THOMAS OF LANCASTER AND KING EDWARD II OUTBURST OF THE CONFLICT/PIERS GAVESTON, THE ROYAL FAVOURITE
[This is a rather elaborated story about Piers Gaveston, since he played a large part in the enmity between Thomas and his cousin Edward II]
It was the tragedy of Piers Gaveston, who set a deep and nearly invincible enmity between King Edward and his cousin Thomas……
The first indication of tension between Edward II and his cousin Thomas was his abrupt leave of the Court in 1308, the fact that he, obviously, witnessed no charters after that day, until march 1310 AND that the constant flow of grants and favours to him from Edward also ceased.  I don’t know, what the cause of the conflict was. In each case, it didn’t seem to be referred to Gaveston, since Lancaster, at first, was on friendly terms with him and remained loyal, when the barons were pressing for Gaveston’s exile in the spring of 1308 , he later completely turned against Piers Gaveston.
Before going to that, something about Piers Gaveston [about whom I will write an article in the future, just wait and see] He was a fascinating man. Intelligent, witty, charming, with martial skills and later proved to be a skilled military administrator.
Alas…… Too arrogant and provocative, which eventually led to his downfall.
Piers Gaveston was an English nobleman from Gascon descent. His father was a Gascon knight, Arnaud de Gabaston, his mother was a noble woman, Claramonde de Marsan . Some sources suggest, that she is burned as a witch , but there is no proof for that. His father was in the service of King Edward I [Edward II’s father] and Piers [Gaveston] seems to have served King Edward likewise.  Anyway, King Edward I was apparently impressed by Gaveston’s conduct and martial skills, and wanted him to serve as a model for his son [the later Edward II], so he became a member of his household. 
To cut a long story short: Prince Edward and Piers Gaveston grew very fond of each other, probably too fond in the eyes of the King…..and fearing the apparent influence of Piers on the [then] Prince of Wales , Edward [II], Piers Gaveston was banished.  That was the first time. There were still two times to go…..
RETURN TO ENGLAND
Old King Edward I died on 7 july, 1307 and his son, Edward of Caernarfon [named after his Welsh birthplace] , was now King of England. One of his first acts was, surprise, surprise…..to recall his favourite Piers Gaveston from exile.
TROUBLES WITH THE BARONS/FAVOURS FROM THE KING AND PROVOCATIONS
Very soon this led to great displeasure, to say it mildly under the greatest part of the nobility, since Edward made him ”Earl of Cornwall” and this title was reserved for the members of the royal family.  So the great barons felt insulted, not only because of this title, as for the fact, that compared with them, Piers Gaveston was of relatively humble origins. ‘
And then that coronation business!
As I wrote, Thomas of Lancaster carried the sword ”Curtana” at the coronation of Edward II [and his wife Isabella of France], his brother Henry carried the royal rod, as were many other members of high nobility involved in the ceremony. 
BUT PIERS GAVESTON STOLE THE SHOW! While the Earls wore cloth-of-gold, as they were entitled to do in the king’s presence (cloth-of-gold is material shot through with gold thread), Gaveston wore royal purple, of silk, encrusted with jewels.  They were beaten by Piers Gaveston at the tournament at Wallingford in december 1307, what seemed to have aroused fury.  They were also insulted, that the King married Piers Gaveston off to his niece Margaret de Clare , daughter of Kings sister Joan of Acre [married Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester]  and sister of the powerful [8th] Earl of Gloucester. 
And then those nicknames!
Perhaps out of self-defence, or merely for the pleasure of provocation, Piers gave the Earls and barons all sort of insulting nicknames:
Henry de Lacy, [3rd] Earl of Lincoln, the father in law of Thomas of Lancaster, was called ”burst belly” [boule crevee], Thomas of Lancaster himself was called ”the churl” or ”the fiddler”, the [2nd] Earl of Pembroke  [a man of honour, which will show later] ”Joseph the Jew” and the [10th] Earl of Warwick , one of Piers” most bitter enemies, was called ”the Black Dog of Arden.”  Whether Piers really called his brother in law, the [7th] Earl of Gloucester ”whoreson”, is doubtful, since the lady in question, Gloucester’s mother [as the mother of Piers” wife] was the sister of the King….
Yet, although annoying [apart of course from that ”whoreson” what really was serious] , one should think, that some teasing, defeat at a tournament and arrogance would not trigger such a hatred, as especially Thomas of Lancaster and Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick have had for the vain, witty and charming Piers, who did them, further [unlike the later favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger, who was real powerseeking and dangerous  no harm.
But those were high Earls, most of them royal or else married with royalty and no men to forget insults, especially from a man, who was, in their eyes, of ”humble origin”  and considered to be an adventurer.
And the King did nothing to stop Piers” arrogance. On the contrary: He seemed the witty remarks of Piers ”funny”
Seen the King’s great love and emotional dependence of Piers Gaveston [as shows not only the numerous gifts and honours he bestowed at him, as his reaction on his banishments], some writers assumed they were lovers and others, not 
I can’t look into the Medieval royal bedchamber, of course, but given Edward’s great emotional need for Piers, that he swore vengeance after his death  as the fact that he never forgot him , it seems likely to me.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH/YOUR GRACE, BANISH THAT RASCAL! SECOND EXILE
No part to play for Thomas of Lancaster Not yet……..
Tensions rose between at one side the Earls and barons and at the other side Piers Gaveston [and subsequently, the King]
This led to the second [Piers was already banished firstly by Edward I, recalled by Edward II] banishment of Piers Gaveston in 1308
I already mentioned the arrogant behaviour of Piers, the insulting nicknames, the fact that the King married him off to a member of the royal family [his niece Margaret de Clare], Piers” showing off at the coronation of the King [and Isabella, his wife] , his beating of important members of the nobility at the tournament of Wallingford, the fact, that the King had made him regent during his absence [his marriage in France, with Isabella, daughter of King Philip IV] 
Reasons enough for the high and mighty Lords to hate Piers. What I DIDN’T mention [and do now], that the King refused to see any of his barons unless Piers was also present, and rudely ignored them, talking only to Piers. 
The Medieval chronicle Vita Edwardi Secundi [Latin: Life of Edward the Second] wrote about Piers” growing arrogance:’ ””scornfully rolling his upraised eyes in pride and in abuse, he looked down upon all with pompous and supercilious countenance…indeed the superciliousness which he affected would have been unbearable enough in a king’s son.”
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, the Earls and barons must have said: He has to go!
Under pressure of nearly every member of the nobility, the King was forced to banish Gaveston. 
Another powerful influence came from the French King, Philip IV who, apparently offended by the Edward II’s favouritism of Gaveston and the [intended or not] neglect, at least at the coronation banquet  of his [Philip IV’s] daughter Isabella, and Edward’s wife, supported the barons. 
According some sources he said to have sent 40,000 livres to the earls of Lincoln [Thomas of Lancaster’s father in law] and Pembroke to encourage them to proceed against Gaveston. 
Strangely although, at that time Thomas of Lancaster was still supportive to the King, along with a small minority, and was not behind the banishment.  However, that would change, dramatically
Well, on 18 may  Edward consented to exile Piers, which he did grudgedly, but with no choice: Civil war was treathening [figure, ONE YEAR a King and already the nobility willing to rise against you…..] and although he was stripped from his lands [being Earl of Cornwall], but was allowed to hold the title. And he was not without an income! Edward granted Piers £2000 worth of lands in his homeland of Gascony, and another £2000 of English lands for him and his wife Margaret [who accompanied him in exiler, although she was not banished, being the granddaughter of King Edward I and the sister of the Earl of Gloucester. Edward also gave him a gift of 1180 marks, about 786 pounds, an enormous sum !
And he was not actually BANISHED from the realm, since he was appointed Lieutenant General in Ireland, where he showed [granted] a skilled military administrator and even beat down a rebellion. 
Meanwhile Edward did his utmost to bring Piers back. Through distribution of patronage and concessions to political demands, he won over several of the earls who had previously been of a hostile disposition.  Henry de Lacy [Earl of Lincoln, Thomas of Lancaster’s father in law], who was the leader of the baronial opposition due to his age and great wealth, was reconciled with Edward by late summer 1308. Even Warwick, who had been the most unyielding enemies, of Gaveston, was gradually mollified The excommunication with which Piers was threatened by the Archbishop of Canterbury should he come back, was nullified by Pope Clement V. . That was in april 1309.
So the way was free for Piers to return. Of course it had come with a price: At the parliament that met at Stamford in July, Edward had to agree to a series of political concessions, The so-called Statute of Stamford was based on a similar document Edward I had consented to in 1300, called the articuli super carta, which was in turn based on Magna Carta.
The ”Statute of Stamford” implied a promiose to redress baronial grievances. 
However: At 27 june 1309, Piers had returned to England. On 5 August 1309, Gaveston was reinstated with the earldom of Cornwall.
RETURN/AS ARROGANT AS EVER!
BUT SOME PEOPLE NEVER LEARN.
You would expect some modesty, some cautiousness.
But no, Piers Gaveston was as arrogant as ever, perhaps even worse and the King did nothing to stop him. He played the old game again, provocating the nobility and giving them insulting nicknames. 
Of course the Earls and barons were furious! They had enough of it.
The political climate became so hateful that in February 1310, a number of the earls refused to attend parliament as long as Gaveston was present. Gaveston was dismissed, and, when parliament convened, the disaffected barons presented a list of grievances they wanted addressed. On 16 March, the King was forced to appoint a group of men to ordain reforms of the royal household.[This group of so-called Lords Ordainers cons isted of eight earls, seven bishops and six barons.
Among them supporters of the King, like the Earl of Gloucester [his nephew and brother in law of Piers Gaveston], but also die hard opponents of Piers Gaveston [and subsequently the King], like the [10th] Earl of Warwick and Thomas of Lancaster, who was now neither a friend of the king, nor of Piers Gaveston. The natural leader of the Ordainers was ”burst belly” [nickname by Piers Gaveston….], Henry de Lacy, the [3rd] Earl of Lincoln and father in law of Thomas of Lancaster. Lincoln had a moderate influence, which, alas, would disappear…..
The meaning of the Ordinances, as eventually presented in 1311 , was twofold. The great Lords wanted to get rid of Piers Gaveston, surely, but I think, that even when there had been no Gaveston, such as the Ordinances would have been presented [since Edward II was not the strong leader his father was], aiming at limiting royal power.
To say it otherwise: The eternal struggle between centralization and decentralization, as I have described in part one.
Hatred against Piers Gaveston, the ”Gascon adventurer” and his influence over the King, combined with adesire for reforms, partly based on the ideas of Simon de Montfort  Partly [or mainly, as you see it] based on greater influence for the nobility and a weaker kingship.
With the King doting over Gaveston no difficult task…..
Anyway, to cut a long story short:
When the Lord Ordainers were working on reforms [consisting diminishing royal power], the King launched a military campaign against the Scots, but many barons refused to follow him. Except his nephew [and brother in law of Gaveston] Gloucester, Warenne  and of course, Piers Gaveston. It came to nothing, however, when the Scottish King and leader Robert the Bruce  refused to engage in open battle, or even get involved in negotiations. In February, Gaveston was sent with an army north from Roxburgh to Perth, but he failed to track down the Scottish army. 
EXIT ”BURST BELLY”/THE COMING OF THOMAS OF LANCASTER
In the meantime it went worse and going to a new tragedy for the King and Gaveston: ”Burst Belly”, Thomas of Lancaster’s father in law died on 6 february 1311, which meant the end of the moderate influence in the baronial opposition against the King.
Thomas of Lancaster, as his heir [now in the possession of five Earldoms, three from his father and two from his father in law] became the new leader of the Lords Ordainers and a hardliner!
With the Ordainers ready to present their programme of reform, Edward had to summon a parliament. In late July he appointed Gaveston Lieutenant of Scotland, and departed for London. The Bruce still evaded the English successfully, in early August even staging a raid into northern England, and shortly after this Gaveston withdrew to Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland.
When parliament met on 16 August, the King was presented with a set of proposed reforms of the royal household, as well as specific attacks on individuals, including a demand for the renewed exile of Piers Gaveston. Edward initially offered to agree to the reforms as long as Gaveston was allowed to stay, but the Ordainers refused.
The King eventually had to agree to the Ordinances, which were published on 27 September. On 3 November, two days after the allotted deadline, Gaveston left England ………..
A triumph for the barons A deep, personal tragedy for the King.
DETORIATION OF THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THOMAS OF LANCASTER AND THE KING/ CLASHES
Before continuing with the Piers Gaveston tragedy, some examples of the detoriation of the relationship between the King and his cousin Thomas of Lancaster:
In February 1311, Thomas’ father-in-law Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, died, and Thomas inherited his lands by right of his wife Alice. He had to perform homage to Edward II for the lands, but Edward was then on campaign in Scotland. Thomas refused to cross the Tweed to meet the king; Edward refused to return to England. According to the Lanercost chronicle, Thomas threatened to forcibly enter his lands with a hundred knights, at which Edward gave in and met Thomas at Haggerston, on the English side of the river Tweed. Whatever they felt for each other by then, the men at least managed to conceal any hostility and “saluted each other amicably and exchanged frequent kisses.” 
This in fact was a declaraion of war against his King and is considered to be treason…..
But there is more:
”In June 1314, Thomas refused to accompany his cousin to Scotland for the Bannockburn campaign, and sent only four knights and four men-at-armsto fulfil his feudal obligations.” 
Of course the Gaveston tragedy….. 
And in 1316, when open war was imminent between those two most powerful men in England, the following:
Although Thomas was chosen as one of the godfathers of Edward and Isabella of France’s second son John of Eltham , Thomas’s great-nephew, he failed to attend the boy’s christening, a gross insult to the king and queen. 
But honesty obliges me to say, that before the christening solemnity of the second son of the King, Thomas and the King seemed to have had a serious row in York…..
Back to Gaveston:
RETURN TO ENGLAND PIERS GAVESTON GOES HOME……..
You noticed the hatred, the barons felt for Piers Gaveston Their attempts to get rid of him. Twice And this time, his exile was really meant forever……
And guess who’s coming to visit?
PIERS GAVESTON! Came back again.
Despite the fact the barons hated him. Despite the fact that he was to be excommunicated, whenever he set his foot on English soil again.
If the man was not playing a crazy and reckless game, his return must have had a pressing need: I think perhaps he came back for the birth of his child. And for him it must have been a wonderful thing, that at least he saw his child: At 12 january, Piers’ wife Margaret gave birth to a daughter, Joan. Edward seems to have met Piers at Knaresborough on 13 January, [I don’t know when Piers set foot on English soil] and the two men rushed the seventeen miles to York that same day, likely so Piers could see his wife and baby. 
Seen in the light of the tragic events, it’s good to know that he at least saw his child, before the tragedy befell him……
What then happened was no clever politics from the King: He publicly revoked Gaveston”s exile.  So the barons knew that he was back and were now preparing for civil war, with Thomas of Lancaster and The Earl of Warwick ahead! In march Gaveston was excommunicated  and soon he, the King and Queen Isabella were hunted down by the barons.
Thomas of Lancaster came after them with an army and Edward fled with his wife and Gaveston, pursued by his own cousin Thomas! 
WHAT A DEGRADING SITUATION! WHEN A KING MUST TAKE FLIGHT FOR HIS OWN, ARMED SUBJECTS, HIS RULE AND KINGSHIP IS BANKRUPT AND AT THAT MOMENT HE IS, AS A KING, A TOTAL FAILURE!
Edward should have been warned by this, that if he was not able to restore his authority in short time, this could be the beginning of the end!
And it was………
How powerful Thomas of Lancaster must have felt. As if HE were the King…….
It was a dramatic flight, with a dramatic end. Edward’s desperate attempts to keep Gaveston safe seem to have gone so far, that he offered Robert the Bruce [King of the Scots and the great leader of the rise against the English domination] to acknowledge him as King in exchange for the protection of Gaveston.  Which the Bruce refused, who seems to have exclaimed ””How shall the king of England keep faith with me, since he does not observe the sworn promises made to his liege men?…No trust can be put in such a fickle man; his promises will not deceive me.” 
I ask my readers: If the king wanted to go that far to save his favourite, Gaveston, were they just friends or lovers? I think, lovers……
SIEGE OF SCARBOROUGH
Meanwhile the barons, under the leadership of Thomas of Lancaster, were determined ”to get him” [Gaveston]
Thomas of Lancaster nearly captured the King and his favourite, when they were in Newcastle and the [2nd] Earl of Pembroke  and the [7th] Earl of Surrey, John de Warenne , were given the task to capture Gaveston. 
The King and Gaveston split up [probably the King wanted to get reinforcements to protect Gaveston] , the king and Queen went to York and Gaveston was in Scarbourough Castle. That was the last time, King Edward would ever see Gaveston…..
Soon Gaveston was besieged by Pembroke, Warenne, Henry de Percy [1st Baron Percy]  and Robert de Clifford [1st Baron de Clifford]
ONE MAN OF HONOUR…..
The rest of the story is gruesome, but one man should get the credits he deserved. Aymer de Valence, [2nd] Earl of Pembroke. As written, Gaveston was besieged in Scarborough by Pembroke, Warenne, with the help of Henry de Percy and Robert de Clifford.
Gaveston could not held the castle, so he surrendered to the besiegers. The terms of the surrender were that Pembroke, Warenne and Percy would take Gaveston to York, where the barons would negotiate with the king. If an agreement could not be reached by 1 August, Gaveston would be allowed to return to Scarborough. The three swore an oath to guarantee his safety.After an initial meeting with the King in York, Gaveston was left in the custody of Pembroke, who escorted him south for safekeeping.
Pembroke [who was the cousin of the late King Edward I, his father being the halfbrother of Edward I’s father, King Henry III]  did his utmost to behold his word. When leaving Gaveston in the rectory at Deddington in Oxfordshire to visit his wife, Gaveston’s bitter enemy and great ally of Thomas of Lancaster, the 10th Earl of Warwick, found out about Gaveston’s whereabouts, he immediately rode out to capture him. The next morning he appeared at the rectory, where he took Gaveston captive and brought him back to his castle at Warwick.
Pembroke, who was shocked, that he broke his word without his guilt and found therefore his honour affronted, did his utmost to bring Gaveston back: He appealed for justice both to Gaveston’s brother-in-law Gloucester and to the University of Oxford, but to no avail. 
SO, THAT’S A MAN OF HONOUR, AN MAN TRUE TO HIS WORD!
He [Pembroke] was so shocked about what happened thereafter, that he left the baronial opposition and sided from then with King Edward. 
AFTERMATH/PIERS GAVESTON GOES HOME….. DIRTY ROLE TO PLAY FOR THOMAS OF LANCASTER AND CO
What happened then was dishonourable and criminal:
After putting Gaveston in his dungeons, Warwick sent word to Thomas of Lancaster, the [4th] Earl of Hereford [married with the sister of King Edward….]  and the [9th] Earl of Arundel 
They came to Warwick Castle and in a show trial they condemned poor Gaveston to death [among else ”for having violated the Ordinances…] On 19 June, he was taken out on the road towards Kenilworth as far to a place, Blacklow Hill, which was on the Earl of Lancaster’s land.
There he was beheaded by two Welshmen….. 
They at least ”granted” him the ”honour” of beheading, the nobleman’s death, since he was the brother in law of the [8th] Earl of Gloucester, the King’s nephew. 
Poor Gaveston, who flew too high and was too vain and had a too sharp tongue…..
His daughter was just five months old. She never knew her father 
”MY BROTHER PIERS”/AFTERMATH
[My Brother Piers, that was the way King Edward II called Piers Gaveston…] 
If Thomas of Lancaster and [the 10th Earl of] Warwick had thought, that their unlawful killing of Piers Gaveston would end the threat of civil war, they were wrong. It only made things worse.
Not only the King who [understandably] was beside himself of grief and rage and swore revenge on Gaveston’s killers , many former adherents of Lancaster and Warwick were alienated from them, shocked by the illegality and brutality of the murder of a man, who was only too arrogant, witty and avarious, but posed no political threat. That would be totally different in the case of a later favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger, who, with his father, also Hugh, 1st Earl of Winchester, would pose a real political threat, was powerseeking, greedy and dangerous in a way, Gaveston never was……. People would miss Gaveston en wish he were here, in place ofthe Despensers …………….
So the brutal killing of Gaveston had the effect of garnering support for the king and marginalising the rebellious barons.
So, many turned to the King again, also those directly involved with the fight against Gaveston, especially
the Earl of Pembroke, who reproached Warwick to have offended his honour by abducting Gaveston, when in his [Pembroke’s] custody [see above]  But also Warenne, the [7th] Earl of Surrey , with Pembroke, one of the bersiegers of Scarbourough Castle [where Gaveston was hiding] was pushed back into the kings’ camp, unhappy about Gaveston’s execution.  By the way: Later, Warenne would become a bitter enemy of Thomas of Lancaster, who accused him to have played a role in the abduction of his wife, Alice de Lacy, with whom he was married unhappily…. 
But there was more to it:
Since civil war was still on the move, Thomas of Lancaster and his gang [let’s bring some humour in this sordid story], the Earls of Warwick and Hereford [who was, remember, King’s brother in law] , brought their armies in Hertfordshire [immediately North of London]  and the King, moving from York [where he had heard the news of the death of Gaveston], headed for London.
He arrived in Westminster and on 14 July and stayed there for the rest of the month, and made an impassioned public speech at the house of the Dominicans asking the Londoners to defend the city against Piers Gaveston’s killers. London supported him and closed the gates of the city against the earls of Lancaster, Warwick and Hereford. 
What to do? That was the question. Piers Gaveston was brutally murdered, the King wanted revenge, he went to London, but the murderers of Gaveston also brought their armies to Hertfordshire [immediately North of London], although the Londoners closed the gates for them.
Civil war was close to begin, in earnest.
Something had to be done:
There were mediators between the King and the Earls [Thomas of Lancaster, Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick and the Earl of Hereford, brother in law of the King] I mention here:
The [8th] Earl of Gloucester, nephew of the King [who, by the way, had refused to help Gaveston when imprisoned in Warwick Castle  Lord Clifford [one of the besiegers of Scarbourough, but further loyal to the King] Louis, Count of Evreux , halfbrother of King Philip IV [father in law of Edward II], sent by him to mediate. The Pope [Pope Clement V] , sent two envoys, Arnaud d’Aux, bishop of Poitiers, and Cardinal Arnaud Nouvel. Another negotiator was Edward II’s first cousin John of Brittany, earl of Richmond, grandson of Henry III 
High profile mediators, thus.
Yet a military confrontation threatened throughout the summer and early autumn of 1312.
But, luckily, nothing came from that.
Meanwhile, Edward II must have been consolated in a way for the grief about Gaveston, when on 13 november 1312, his first son, the future King Edward III was born , which of course delighted his father [Edward II] and his mother, Queen Isabella. 
Anyway, a treaty was made and sealed in London on 20 December 1312, in the presence of Cardinal Arnaud Nouvel, Arnaud d’Aux, bishop of Poitiers, Louis, count of Evreux, and the earls of Gloucester and Richmond. It was agreed that the three earls and various barons would make obeisance to Edward II in his great hall at Westminster, “with great humility, on their knees” (oue graunte humilite as genuz/cum magna humilitate flexis genibus) and “humbly beg him to release them from his resentment and rancour, and receive them into his good will.” 
The precious goods, belonging to Edward II and Piers Gaveston, seized by Thomas of Lancaster , must be returned to the King.
On 16 December, four days before the treaty, Edward had granted Lancaster a safe-conduct and permission to use an escort of forty men-at-arms to bring him his possessions.
No action would be taken against Piers’ followers, and the three earls and all their own followers would be pardoned for anything they had done to Piers.
On 16 October 1313 at Westminster, Edward II pardoned the three earls, and more than 350 of their adherents, “of all causes of rancour, anger, distress, actions, obligations, quarrels and accusations, arisen in any manner on account of Piers Gaveston, from the time of our marriage with our dear companion, our very dear lady, Lady Isabella queen of England.” Over 350 men were pardoned. 
Of course this was only a show, because the King wanted to take his revenge, but was was not in the opportunity, since the power of the Earls was too strong.
The drama would continue.
And another dramatic addition:
When Piers Gaveston was murdered and the body [that was simply ”left behind” at the place of the execution and later found by a group of Dominican friars brought the body and embalmed the body], Piers Gaveston could not be buried in consecrated ground, since he was excommunicated. So the King had to wait, until he had secured a papal absolution for his favourite.  Eventually when the absolution was given, Piers Gaveston was burned at Langley Priory [founded by Edward II] at 2 or 3 january 1315…… 
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE KILLERS/BESIEGERS OF GAVESTON?
Readers, although the story writes itself, I think you want to know in advance, what happened to the killers of Piers Gaveston.
Guy de Beauchamp, the [10th] Earl of Warwick:
As been written, Guy de Beauchamp, that great ally of Thomas of Lancaster and bitter enemy of Piers Gaveston, had abducted him [Piers Gaveston] from the custody of the Earl of Pembroke, brought him to Warwick Castle, put him in one of his dungeons and awaited Thomas of Lancaster and the Earls of Hereford and Arundel. Gaveston was given a mock trial and put to death at Blacklow Hill. Warwick didn’t attend the murder, in contary with the other three Earls.
After Gaveston’s death, Warwick remained the enemy of the King [received pardon nevertheless] and refused to participate in the campaign of Edward II against the Scots, which resulted in the defeat at Bannockburn.  However, In mid-July Warwick had to withdraw from government to his estates, due to illness. He died on 12 August 1315.  There were rumours that Edward II had him poisoned, but there is no proof for that. 
In contrary with Thomas Lancaster, he was an intelligent and skilled politician and was undoubtedly greatly missed by him [:Lancaster]
HUMPHREY DE BOHUN, 4TH EARL OF HEREFORD
One of the killers of Piers Gaveston, who attended his murder was King’s the [4th] Earl of Hereford. He did fight in the battle of Bannockburn, was taken prisoner and although he was out of grace after the murder of Piers Gaveston, was ransomed by Edward II, obviously on the pleading of his [Edward’s] wife, Isabella.  Éventually, he joined the second rebellion of Thomas of Lancaster and was killed in the Battle of Bouroughbridge. 
EDMUND FITZALAN, [9TH] EARL OF ARUNDEL
Together with Thomas of Lancaster and the Earl of Hereford, the Earl of Arundel watched the murder of Piers Gaveston, after [with Warwick, Lancaster and Hereford] condemning him to death in a mock trial. However, he turned to the King again in 1313 [and married his son Richard to the daughter of Hugh Despenser the Younger, the Kings later favourite]. As result of his loyalty, he was executed in 1326, when Isabella of France and her [supposed] lover Roger Mortimer invaded England and deposed Edward II. 
AYMER DE VALENCE, 2ND EARL OF PEMBROKE
The Earl of Pembroke was one of the besiegers of Castle Scarbourough, where Piers Gaveston was hiding. And he was a man of honour, who gave Gaveston his word for his safety and was honestly shocked, when the Earl of Warwick abducted him. He tried to save Gaveston by appealing for justice at the University of Oxford and Gaveston’s brother in law, the Earl of Gloucester, but to no avail.  Being shocked at this violation of his honour, he sided with the King again , tried to prevent civil war by mediating between the King and Thomas of Lancaster. Eventually he came into trouble because the rise of the Despensers, was sent to an embassy in France and died there. 
JOHN DE WARENNE, 7TH EARL OF SURREY
With the Earl of Pembroke and others one of the besiegers of Castle Scarbourough. However, unhappy with the extrajudicial execution of Piers Gaveston, he sided with the King again. Later he had a long lasting feud with Thomas of Lancaster over his supposed role in the abduction of Lancaster’s wife. Together with the Earl of Arundel, they were the last Earls, who remained loyal to Edward II, when his wife Isabella of France and her [possible] lover Roger Mortimer invaded England. After the execution of Arundel, he went over to Isabella and Mortimer. Eventually he died peacefully in 1345, as one of the few Earls during the reign of Edward II. 
HENRY DE PERCY, 1ST BARON PERCY
Together with Thomas of Lancaster he had pusued the King and Gaveston on their way north. Later he was one of the besiegers of Castle Scarbourough, but as Pembroke and Warenne, not involved in the murder of Gaveston. Yet out of revenge and being less powerful than the Earls, complicitín the murder, the King confiscated his lands in 1312 and had him imprisoned. However: The earls made Percy’s release a priority in their dnegotiations with the king and he was freed in January 1313. and was formally pardoned,
with the others involved.  He didn’t participate in the Battle of Bannockburn, along with five of the earls and many other nobles refused summonses to this campaign because it had not been sanctioned by parliament, as required by the Ordinances. In the first half of October 1314 Henry Percy died, aged forty one, of unknown causes. 
ROBERT CLIFFORD, 1ST BARON DE CLIFFORD
As Henry Percy, baron de Clifford had pusued the King and Gaveston on their way North, under the leadership of Thomas of Lancaster. He also was one of the besiegers of Castle Scarbourough. And in contrary with Henry Percy, Thomas of Lancaster, the Earl of Warwick and many other nobles he DID fight in the Battle of Bannockburn and was killed. 
Who also was killed in the Battle of Bannockburn, was Gilbert de Clare, the [8th] Earl of Gloucester, the brother in law of Piers Gaveston, who neither pusued him or besieged him, but refused to help him when was asked by the Earl of Pembroke. 
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST/THOMAS, 2ND OF LANCASTER What happened to Thomas of Lancaster, how his illustrious life ended, is yet shrouded in mist……
The story will tell…….
Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Thomas of Lancaster, rebel cousin of king Edward II/From warlord to Saint/Chapter Four
Today, chapter threeENJOY and travel with me to 14 century England……
CHAPTER THREE THOMAS OF LANCASTER/CONFLICT WITH HIS COUSIN, KING EDWARD II From day one?
No. Because of the bitter battle between King Edward II and his cousin, Thomas of Lancaster, there are people, who think, that they were enemies from the very beginning. However, that’s not the case.
Originally, Thomas was loyal to Edward and in good terms with him, also before his accession of King. For example: In 1305, Thomas was forced to apologise to Edward for being unable to come and attend him, as he was ill. Edward wrote back to say that he hoped to visit Thomas soon, “to see and to comfort you.” 
At Edward’s Edward’s coronation, on 25 february 1308, Thomas carried Curtana, the sword of St Edward the Confessor [one of the last Anglo Saxon Kings before William the Conqueror]  And when you read the rest of the story, it will come as a surprise to you, that according to some sources,Thomas was not after Kings’ favourite Piers Gaveston  from day one, but was initially rather on good terms with him.  He remained loyal to Edward, when in the spring of 1308, the majority of the barons were pressing for Piers Gaveston’s exile. 
However it seems, that in november 1308, Thomas suddenly left the Court, from reasons unknown. 
NOTES 1 -250
Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Thomas of Lancaster, rebel cousin of king Edward II/From warlord to Saint/Chapter Three