Saturday, 3 January 2015

An important anniversary I forgot......

I hadn't realised that this year marks the 700th anniversary of the burial of Piers Gaveston.  I'm indebted to Kathryn Warner for her superb report on it here 


It's an extraordinary story of Edward's devotion to Piers.  He must have spent a great deal of time, money and thought to Piers' funeral.  It contrasts with funeral plans for his father, Edward Ist.  Edward Ist requested his body be boiled, and his bones placed in a box and carried into battle against the Scots.  He did not want to be buried until the Scots had been subdued.   Inheriting a bankrupt treasury from his father, Edward II had no such plan, and buried his father in a plain tomb in Westminster Abbey. 


Piers resting place was at Langley Priory.   Some years later, the deposed king Richard II was buried there as well, before being re-interred at Westminster Abbey by Henry V.  The site has long since vanished, and my enquiries to the local history society lead me to believe there is now a public school built on the site.  I can only hope that Piers' remains lie undisturbed under the ground or that he was re-interred in the local church during the Reformation.  Knowing Edward, he must surely have given him a fine tomb - surely with an effigy?   I can but wonder what the inscription said.........

9 comments:

Kathryn Warner said...

You're welcome! :) I'm not entirely sure if the funeral took place on 2 or 3 January. Hope the matter can be clarified sometime :)

Incidentally, the story about Edward I requesting that his bones be boiled and carried against the Scots only dates to the late fourteenth century, so is probably an invention.

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

I am certain that there must have been an effigy - Edward made sure there was. I wonder whether the teacher and students of the school you mentioned are aware that they work and learn at Piers Gaveston's burial site... If they are they should put stress on learning history :-)

Elijah Shalis said...

Greetings. I love reading about the Plantagenets and their friends and associates. I happen to be descended from Henry II three times and Edward I and maybe Edward III. In addition I am descended from Piers Gaveston. My immigrant ancestor to the USA from him is Olive Welby and she is listed with the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the USA. Both Presidents Bush are descended from the Rev. Dr. Edward Bulkeley, which goes back to Piers and Henry II.

Anerje said...

Hi Kathryn - typical you know the origins of the Edward 1st story! I hope it's true - just because it amuses me that Edward II didn't bother!

Kasia - a friend who lives near St. Albans actually went to check out the school for me! Without me asking! I'm sure the teachers would have some idea.

Anerje said...

Welcome Elijah - I think it's brilliant you are descended from Piers - as well as all the others! I'd love to find out if I have a connection.

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Anerje, i don't mean to brag, but I did a little bit of recommedning on the anniversary of Piers's funeral via Google and Facebook and here's what one of the readers wrote:

"This the first time I've seen Piers Gaveston's name suggested as anything but negative. That is from all the books I've read. Please send me or suggest something that puts him into a positive light." :-D I said that there're plenty more Piers related articles on your blog plus I recommended Kathryn's blog and biography of Edward. We will manage to drag our lads out of obscurity, I'm quite positive about it :-D

Anerje said...

That's great Kasia. That's how I felt until I found Kathryn's blog. The Internet is great for bringing together like-minded people.

I'm really enjoying Sharon Penman's book - but now I'm back at work I'm not reading as much as I'd like.

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

I'm glad you're enjoying Devil's Brood. It's my favourite "Penman" novel :-) I'm sure it does not surprise you :-)

Anerje said...

I'm just over half way through - and I'm guessing she deals with the - dare I say it - death of Hal. Not looking forward to that part when it happens. He may be too easily led but he's such a charmer.