Sunday, 19 May 2013

May 19th - anniversary of the day Piers Gaveston surrendered at Scarborough Castle.

After returning from his third exile in early January, 1312, (or perhaps even earlier, at Christmas 1311), it would only be a matter of time before Piers Gaveston faced the wrath of the nobles.  He had, in total, been banished 3 times, and the last time, the Vita had accused him of  leading the king astray and having  'counselled him badly and persuaded him deceitfully and in many ways to do evil…Piers Gaveston, as a public enemy of the king and of the kingdom, shall be utterly cast out and exiled, not only from England, but from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Gascony, and from every land as well beyond the sea as on this side of the sea subject to the lordship of the king of England, for ever and without return.'   Piers probably returned to see his newly born daughter Joan, and his wife, Margaret de Clare.  Naturally, a reunion with Edward II was on the cards, meeting probably at Knaresborough.  The nobles were enraged, particularly when Edward revoked the judgement against Piers and restored his lands and titles.   They prepared for war.

In early May, Piers and Edward parted.  Edward headed for York, whilst Piers headed for Scarborough castle which he had begun to prepare for a siege.  The siege did not last long, and Piers surrendered to, amongst others,  Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke.   The terms of the surrender were favourable to Piers.  Pembroke would take Piers to York, where the barons would negotiate with the king. If an agreement could not be reached by 1 August, Piers would be allowed to return to Scarborough. An oath to guarantee Piers' safety.    After an initial meeting with the king in York, Piers was left in the custody of Pembroke, who escorted him south for safekeeping.   From then, things were about to go tragically wrong.

There is a legend that the ghost of a headless Piers haunts Scarborough Castle and tries to 'push' visitors over the battlements.   Hmmmm, I just can't imagine Piers wanting to appear without his handsome head!

Scarborough Castle

6 comments:

Kathryn Warner said...

Great post, Anerje! A very sad anniversary, especially when we think that Piers only had another month to live :-(

Anerje said...

Yes very sad - Piers and Edward could have had no idea how badly things would turn out after Piers had surrendered with such favourable terms.

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

A sad anniversary indeed! I am too thinking of one of my favourite figures in history today: Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor and Henry the Young King's newphew (he was the third son of Henry's sister Matilda of Saxony and Henry the Lion). He died on 19 May 1218, aged 43. Gebriele wrote a great post on him. Here's the link:

http://lostfort.blogspot.de/2009/03/unfortunate-emperor.html

Anerje said...

Thanks for the link Kasia - I'll check it out!

Gabriele C. said...

Oh, I missed that one. Now I'll have to make sure not only to get extra nice pics of Alnwick for Kasia but also some of Scarborough Castle for you. *grin*

Anerje said...

Oh are you going there soon? Please take some pix - and watch out for a headless Piers:)