Thursday, 29 September 2016

Did the Medieval Parent love their Children?

The love that we give our children is unconditional and unchanging, it has no bounds, this love creates for them a foundation on which to build their own lives. The path that a modern child takes is, on the whole, that of its own choosing, and when those steps are eventually taken our children know that they have been, and still are, loved. 

The path that the medieval child took was one that was forced on them by their parents, often for the benefit of that families wealth and status. As soon as they could pick up a sword, sons were dispatched to learn the art of war, and the female child, who was betrothed in the cradle was married as a teenager, often to someone who was old enough to be their father. I wonder, did these medieval parents show any emotion when they used them as pawns, when one child was out of the door, were they planning how best they would benefit from the next?

Does this mean that the medieval parent did not care for, or show love to, their children?

The Battle of Nancy

Following a number of victories in Belgium, Burgundy turned their attention eastward to Switzerland. The Burgundian Wars, as they have come to be known, were a number of battles that took place between 1474 and 1477 between Burgundy and a Swiss Confederacy. The first altercation, the Siege of Neuss, at the end of 
July 1474 was followed by the Battle of Hericourt in the November. 

Three years later in 1477, the last of these battles would take place outside the walls of the French town of Nancy between the forces of Rene, Duke of Lorraine and Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. 

The Battle of Nancy, an attempt by Charles the Bold to retake the town from the Duke of Lorraine, who had held it since the end of 1476, was fought in the winter of 1477. The weather was severe, many of Charles's men died due to the cold and the rest fled when they realised that the advancing army outnumbered them, but Charles stood firm at the head of his remaining army. Suffering much the same blow as his brother in law, Richard III would eight years later, Charles was struck by a halberd and died outside the town walls.

Charles's story continues at 

Birth of Henry Earl of Leicester

The 22nd of September 1345, saw the death of Henry, Earl of Leicester and Lancaster. Henry was the grandson of Henry III and the son Edmund Crouchback by his second wife Blanche of Artois. 

Seal of Henry of Lancaster from the Barons' Letter 1301,

Henry may have suffered from a condition known as Torticollis, where the muscles of the neck cause the head to twist to one side leading him to be nick-named Wryneck, the same name as a bird who can turn its head almost 180 degrees. 

In 1310, Henry was one of the Lords Ordainers, a body of twenty one men chosen to oppose King Edward II and force him to make changes to both his household and his kingdom. 

Joan of Kent

Joan of Kent, daughter of Edmund of Woodstock and Margaret Wake was born this day in 1328.

Anyone who has been to the cinema to watch Bridget Jones's Baby will know of poor Bridget's predicament, that is, two men vying for her affections. In the middle of the 14th century, Joan of Kent, a beautiful and charming princess, had much the same trouble.

Where as Bridget's suitors are Jack Qwant, a billionaire and inventor of a dating site, and good old Mark Darcy a human rights lawyer, Joan's suitors are Thomas Holland a knight of the royal household, and William Montague, son and heir of an Earl.

Joan of Kent is thought to have been born towards the end of September 1328, she grew up to be,
as described by Jean Froissart 

“The most beautiful woman in all the realm of England”

My blog continues on my website at

Bishop Ranulf Flambard

On the 15th August 1100, Bishop Ranulf Flambard was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Henry I on charges of embezzlement.

In the February of the following year, Flambard invited his guards to join him in his cell for a quick glass of vino collapso to celebrate Candlemas. While his inept guards guzzled down their wine, Flambard surreptitiously poured his into his favourite potted plant. 

You can find out what happened next to Bishop Flambard on my website

Prince Arthur of Wales

Born on the 20th September 1486 was Arthur, Prince of Wales, the boy on whom all Henry VII's hopes and dreams were pinned.

So important was it to Henry that Elizabeth give birth in the Hampshire town of Winchester, that he risked both their lives by rushing to get them there. This journey caused Elizabeth to give birth early, fortunately the queen delivered a healthy baby boy at St. Swithun’s Priory 

“afore one o’clock after midnight.”

You can read more of Arthur's story on my website 

Friday, 16 September 2016

Did you know that on the 16th September 1485, following his victory at the Battle of Bosworth, the Yeoman of the Guard, the bodyguard of the English Crown we know as Beefeaters, were established this day by King Henry VII.

Apart from talking to tourists and keeping the Tower ravens in check the Yeoman of the Guard are also the keepers of the Queens Keys.

My blog on the role of the Yeoman of the Guard and there part in the Ceremony of the Queens Keys can be read on my website.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Eleanor of Castile was the daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

A pawn like many a noble daughter, Eleanor's marriage in 1174 to King Alfonso of Castile was all about securing
 and strengthening Pyrenean border and granting Aquitaine to Eleanor before her marriage went some way to achieve this. With regard to the duchy of Gascony, Alfonso later claimed the rights to it stating that it was part of Eleanor's dowry, his threat to invade the duchy came to nothing. 

Eleanor, or Leonora as she was known in her home country, had married the king of Castile when she was twelve years old, the couple's first child, a daughter Berengaria, was born when Leonora was seventeen and she had given birth to ten more children by the time she was forty. 

Eleanor's story continues on my website at

Sunday, 11 September 2016

On This Day: The Battle of Stirling Bridge

On the 11th September 1297 William Wallace led his troops to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge

The Scottish troops gathered on Abbey Craig, which is now the site of the Wallace Monument, they quickly realised that they were greatly outnumbered by English forces under the Earl of Surrey, John de Warenne and Hugh Cressingham, an English administrator based in Scotland. The Scots advantage, although they probably didn't know it, was Stirling Bridge which was narrow, which the English forces had trouble crossing.

More on this story can be found on my website 

Saturday, 10 September 2016

On this Day: Death of Empress Matilda

Born in 1102, Matilda was the eldest child of Henry I and Matilda of Scotland, the death of her younger brother William Adelin, on the 25th November 1120 caused a succession crisis, known to us today as The Anarchy. 

King Henry I’s only son and heir had perished when the ship in which he was travelling sank in the English Channel. Following this tragedy, Henry made his daughter Matilda his heir when she married Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou.

Empress Matilda's story can be read on my blog at

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Bustaine of Devon

What were your family doing in 1069?
Mine were watching a rematch of the Battle of Hastings.

The village of Braunton in Devon lies just a few miles from the sea, its sand dunes and the Taw-Torridge Estuary make it a lovely holiday location and apleasant place to live. Although considered by most of those living there to be a village, Braunton, with over seven thousand inhabitants is actually the size ofa small town. You can walk on Braunton Burrows, a designated biosphere reserve and the first in the country to have gained this title, and along the South WestCoastal Path. South of the village is the River Taw that has made its way northwards from its origins on Dartmoor, its path changing direction until it reaches Heanton Punchardon and from there it flows south-west, diverted from its path by the aforementioned massive sand dunes of Braunton Burrows before it joins with the River Torridge, to form a tidal estuary that takes its name from both rivers. From there it joins the Atlantic Ocean.

The introduction to my Bustaine family history continues here: