Thursday, 28 August 2008

Piers' early life.

Piers Gaveston – Early Life

Very little is known about Piers’ early life. He was born in the early 1280’s, and was the son of Arnaud de Gabaston and Claramonde de Marsan. His mother died either in 1287 or 1288, when Piers was very young. In the 1280’s and 90’s, his father was busy in the service of Edward 1st . Thus Piers had a common link with Edward II – his childhood must have been very lonely, having lost his mother and his father frequently absent. There is no evidence to say what happened to Piers at this stage in his life – where he lived, and who looked after him.

The first evidence of Piers in the service of Edward 1st is in 1297. His father had been held by the King of France, and managed to escape to England, bringing the young Piers with him. Piers was probably in his early teens. He seems to have taken part in Edward 1’s campaign in Flanders. His status is given as a yeoman. Edward 1’s son, Edward of Carnarvon, did not accompany his father on this campaign, so Piers was still unknown to him. As a yeoman, Piers was paid 12d. a day. Another piece of information from the Flanders campaign is that Piers owned a horse valued at 12 marks. After the Flemish campaign, Piers’ father returned to Gascony – but Piers did not. He returned to England, still in the service of Edward 1st. From household accounts, we know that he and his horse were listed in a possible campaign for Scotland, and both he and his father served Edward 1st in the Scottish campaign of 1300. Piers’ brothers, the illegitimate Guillaume-Arnaude de Gabaston and Arnaud-Guillaume de Marsan, accompanied their father as his squires. However, Piers did not – for he had risen in status. Edward 1st must have been very pleased with the young Gascon – so pleased, that he believed him to be a suitable role model for his own son, Edward of Carnarvon. Piers transferred to the Prince of Wales’ household in1300. A contemporary chronicle says that Piers was chosen because he came from ‘the region of fine manners and was courteous’. Edward 1st knew of his military skills from Flanders and the Scottish campaign, and this was probably a factor in transferring him to the Prince’s household.

Of course, the irony of Edward 1st’s actions won’t be lost on those that know how the relationship between Prince Edward and Piers developed.

6 comments:

Alianore said...

Haha, it is rather ironic, isn't it?! ;)

Anerje said...

I bet it's the only time Prince Ed was ever grateful to his father:)

Alianore said...

:-)

It's probably pointless to speculate, but I wonder how different Ed II's life would have been if Ed I hadn't placed Piers in his household. And what would have happened to Piers, too. No earldom of Cornwall and marriage to the king's niece, of course, but probably a much longer life...

Anerje said...

Ed would have been happily married to Isa, of course:) Piers would have carried on fighting for this king or that. No guarantee his life would have been longer.

Lady D. said...

I like the fact that he was chosen for his fine manners etc - especially in light of his later very un-fine manners concerning the earls' nicknames ;-)

Gabriele C. said...

Oh, I bet he still addressed them with a bow and a flourish. :)