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This book presents key texts relating to the political as well as to the broader socio-economic history of the reign of Edward II. Drawing on a wide range of narrative sources, especially the extensive chronicle accounts of the reign, the editors also introduce other important material, including parliamentary rolls, charters, court records and accounts. Together this gathering of sources allows the reader to navigate this troubled and eventful period in English medieval history. The volume is organised chronologically, guiding the reader from the moment of Edward II’s accession in 1307 until his removal from office in 1327 and his supposed death in the same year. The editors also introduce more thematic chapters throughout, addressing such key themes as royal finances and the state of the early fourteenth-century economy, the role of parliament, and political and military engagement with Scotland. In an introductory essay, the editors discuss previous historical work directed at the reign of Edward II and also outline the range of source types available to the historian of the reign. Each section of primary source is also introduced by the editors, who offer a contextual analysis in each instance.

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Edward’s indulgence of his favourite, Piers Gaveston. As importantly, the articles set out the important position that the king’s magnates owed their loyalty to the crown rather than the person of the king. According to the author of the Vita , amongst others, Edward’s first act upon becoming king was to recall his great friend and favourite, Piers Gaveston, from exile

in The reign of Edward II, 1307–27
Open Access (free)
Coding same-sex union in Amis and Amiloun
Sheila Delany

Amiloun, another crossing of genres emerges, this one with political commentary. Parallels between our romance and the reality of Edward II and Piers Gaveston are striking. I do not propose an allegory, translatable at every point from fiction into history: for one thing, the original long predates Edward’s reign; for another, detailed allegory is not required in order to establish points of contact. I do not maintain that Amis or Amiloun ‘is’ Edward or Piers, only that distinctive features of their story have been added to a tale which might well already have been

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
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series of stages that have tended to define historians’ discussion of the reign. A first chapter on early opposition addresses Edward II’s accession in 1307, his political inheritance and the early indications of turmoil, culminating in an increasingly demarcated opposition and the killing of Edward’s favourite, Piers Gaveston. In Chapter V the middle years of the reign are explored, a period in which

in The reign of Edward II, 1307–27
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in the earliest years of the reign to confront the threat of Edward’s favouritism towards Piers Gaveston, were as notable for the early evidence of the fragility of the alliance against the king and the Despensers as for those who attended and indicated some level of support. The indenture witnessed at Sherburn in Elmet in late June 1321 stated the opposition to the perceived misdeeds of the

in The reign of Edward II, 1307–27
Rowland Wymer

the artist: ‘he might wish to lead a normal life but is incapable unless he destroys that which is his own existence’. 5 With hindsight it seems inevitable that Jarman should have been drawn to film Marlowe’s 1592 play about a medieval king whose obsession with his favourite Piers Gaveston causes his barons to depose him before having him horribly murdered in a manner which parodies the act of sodomy

in Derek Jarman
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Simon Callow

banter was completely out of my range. Anyway, I was looking for something quite different: deep, thrusting manly passion, as in the novels of Miss Renault; or a relationship based on Art, like that of Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten; or high romance, such as had raged between Piers Gaveston and Edward II. I wanted to meet someone in Real Life, not on this highly lit stage with its raucous soundtrack. I wanted, in fact, to be able to be myself , and to find love and sex on those terms. I wanted, I told myself, to be normally gay. That, however, was not to be easily

in Odd men out
Simon Walker

well as punishing the unworthy. The emergence of a favourite, towards whom a disproportionate amount of royal patronage was directed, was a certain source of political tension. This was the case with William de Valence at Henry III’s court, Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser in Edward II’s reign, Robert de Vere in Richard II’s, and William de la Pole under Henry VI. Each aroused the apprehension and hostility of the aristocracy and each was forcibly removed from his favoured prominence. With the possible exception of Piers Gaveston, it was not the position and actions

in Political culture in later medieval England
Brian Jackson

introduction to an extensive examination of the distinctions between true and false honour. True honour is the reward of virtue that cannot be blemished by any private affront. False honour can be bestowed anywhere and on anyone and is frequently showered by deluded monarchs on charming braggarts of low birth, who usurp loyal courtiers of more noble pedigree. And he gives some examples to demonstrate what he means, Proteas, Alexander the Great’s favourite drinking companion, Piers Gaveston and the Despensers, all at one stage or another, special favourites of Edward II

in Irish Catholic identities
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rampaged across Cumberland, Northumberland and County Durham, attacking major towns such as Durham. This was a situation that could not be tolerated by the English crown. A temporary reduction in the tensions between the king and the killers of Piers Gaveston allowed Edward, in 1313, to secure parliamentary support for a campaign against the Scots. A second parliament, planned for April 1314, did not meet

in The reign of Edward II, 1307–27