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Encyclopedia > Piers Gaveston

Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall (c. 1284 – 19 June 1312) was the favorite, and alleged lover, of King Edward II of England. June 19 is the 170th day of the year (171st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 195 days remaining. ... Events June 15 : Battle near Rozgoni Battle near Thebes Siege of Rostock begins Births November 13 - King Edward III of England Deaths June 19 - Piers Gaveston, favourite of Edward II of England September 7 - King Ferdinand IV of Castile Categories: 1312 ... This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ... Edward II, (25 April 1284 – 21 September? 1327), of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until deposed in January, 1327. ...

A Gascon by birth, Piers was the son of Sir Arnaud de Gabaston, a soldier in service to King Edward I of England. Arnaud had been used as a hostage by Edward twice; on the second occasion, Arnaud escaped captivity, and fled to England with his son. Both then entered the royal household, where Gaveston behaved so well and so virtuously that the King declared him an example for his own son, Prince Edward, to follow, making him a companion of Prince Edward in 1300. Prince Edward was delighted with Gaveston, who was noted for his wit, rudeness, and entertaining manner, and gave him many honours and gifts. The Prince also declared that he loved Gaveston 'like a brother'. Gaveston was also a close friend of Lord Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, Gaveston being awarded the wardship of Mortimer's property after the death of Roger's father - this was a great honour for Gaveston, since the wardship of such an estate would normally be awarded to a nobleman, and is thus an indication of the regard both the King and his son held for Gaveston. Map of the historical and cultural area of Gascony. ... Edward I (17 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), popularly known as Longshanks[1] and the Hammer of the Scots,[2] achieved fame as the monarch who conquered Wales and who kept Scotland under English domination during his lifetime. ... Events February 22 - Jubilee of Pope Boniface VIII. March 10 - Wardrobe accounts of King Edward I of Englanddo (aka Edward Longshanks) include a reference to a game called creag being played at the town of Newenden in Kent. ...


Gaveston and Edward I

Whilst King Edward I liked Gaveston, he strongly disapproved of the close relationship between the knight and the Prince, which was felt to be inappropriate due to Gaveston's rank. He became especially enraged with Gaveston when he, along with twenty-one other knights including Sir Roger Mortimer, deserted the English army in Scotland after the 1306 campaign and went to a tournament in France. Furious, the King declared the estates of all the deserters forfeit, issued orders for them to be arrested, and declared them traitors. Gaveston and his companions therefore asked Prince Edward to intercede with the King on their behalf; the Prince accordingly enlisted the support of his stepmother, Queen Margaret, who pleaded with the King to forgive the young men. Most, including Mortimer, were forgiven in the January of 1307 and returned their estates. Gaveston, however, remained disfavoured: the King had learnt that Piers and the Prince were sworn brothers-in-arms, who had promised to fight together, protect each other, and share all of their possessions. To the King, this was unthinkable: not only was it monstrous for a King to be shackled by oath to a commoner, unable to be adequately secure against potential plots; but the oath threatened to share the government of England itself with Gaveston, and that was simply unthinkable. Hence his increasing displeasure towards Gaveston and his friendship with Prince Edward.[1].

The Prince, determined to maintain his oath and companionship with Gaveston, next resolved to ennoble the other man, by granting him the County of Ponthieu (one of Prince Edward's own Counties). He sent an extremely unwilling Treasurer William Langton to the King with this news. Langton announced it on his knees: "My lord King, I am sent on behalf of my lord the prince, your son, though as God lives, unwillingly, to seek in his name your licence to promote his knight Piers Gaveston to the rank of the Count of Ponthieu."

Unsurprisingly, the King was not pleased. Reportedly, he shouted back at Langton, "Who are you who dares to ask such things? As God lives, if not for the fear of the Lord, and because you said at the outset that you undertook this business unwillingly, you would not escape my hands!" The King then summoned the Prince before him, demanding to know why he had sent Langton before him. The Prince answered, that he might have consent from the King to grant Ponthieu to Gaveston. According to historian Ian Mortimer, on hearing these words spoken by the Prince, the King flew into a rage, exclaiming, "'You wretched son of a whore! Do you want to give away lands now? You who have never gained any? As God lives, if not for fear of breaking up the Kingdom, I would never let you enjoy your inheritance!' As he spoke, the King seized hold of the Prince's head by the hair and tore handfuls of hair out, then threw the Prince to the floor and kicked him repeatedly until he was exhausted." [2].

King Edward then summoned the Lords gathering for the parliament at Carlisle, and before them declared Gaveston banished. It appears to have been more a punishment of the Prince than of Gaveston - Gaveston's conduct having been largely irreproachable, the King granted him a pension to be enjoyed whilst abroad. He also forced Prince Edward and Piers to swear an oath never to see one another again without his permission. Then Piers set sail for France, loaded down with many rich gifts from the prince. But as soon as his father died in July 1307, the new king recalled his "Brother Perrot" and endowed him with the county of Cornwall (which had been intended for Thomas of Brotherton, Edward I's young second son).

First Recall

Soon after his recalling, Edward II arranged the marriage of Gaveston to Margaret de Clare, a granddaughter of King Edward I, and sister of the Earl of Gloucester, another friend of both Edward and Gaveston. The marriage was held soon after the funeral of the old King: held at Berkhampstead, the Manor of Queen Margaret, it proved an excuse for the first in a string of feasts and hunts, being followed by similar entertainments at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, and a tournament held by the King in honour of Gaveston at Wallingford Castle, which had been presented to Gaveston by Edward. It proved an embarrassment for many of the older lords present: Gaveston's young and talented knights easily won against the older knights fighting for the Earls of Warenne, Hereford, and Arundel. This led to the enmity of these Earls. Margaret de Clare (1293-1342) was one of the three daughters of Gilbert de Clare, 3rd Earl of Gloucester and his wife, Joan of Acre. ... Edward I (17 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), popularly known as Longshanks[1] and the Hammer of the Scots,[2] achieved fame as the monarch who conquered Wales and who kept Scotland under English domination during his lifetime. ... Wallingford Castle 1913. ...

When Edward II had to leave the country in 1308 to marry Isabella of France, he appointed Gaveston regent in his place, horrifying the Lords - they had expected Edward to appoint a family member or an experienced noble. In doing this, Edward demonstrated his faith in Gaveston, in the process furthering the hatred of the man. Gaveston himself did little during his regency, however - the only thing he did of note in his two weeks of rule was to take a proud attitude to those who came before him. Gaveston also proved unpopular with the new queen, Isabelle - the two men, who were of approximately the same age, may have had a homosexual relationship, and his preference for the company of Gaveston over her, whatever the motives, is generally agreed by historians as having created early discord in the marriage. Events Henry VII is elected as king of the Holy Roman Empire. ... [[Image:Retour d Isabelle de France en pimp, Edward III. Jean Fouquet, 1455x1460. ... Since its coinage, the word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings. ...

Gaveston's behaviour at the coronation feast is of especial note: he appeared in royal purple instead of an earl's cloth of gold, spent the evening chatting and joking with Edward - who ignored his bride, her brother and her uncles in favour of Gaveston - and was eventually discovered to have been given all of the gold and jewellery Edward had been presented with as wedding gifts.

Ireland and return

Following the embarrassment of the coronation, Gaveston was sent to Ireland: having been forced by his lords to banish Gaveston, Edward instead appointed him Lord Lieutenant, a job which allowed Gaveston much authority, honour and dignity. Whilst in Ireland, Gaveston may have also fought with Sir Roger Mortimer, who was also in the country at that time, and by the summer of 1309 he had garnered a reputation as a sound military administrator, having strengthened Dublin and secured English rule there. After manipulations by Edward in England, Gaveston left Ireland on 23 July 1309 and made his way to Stamford via Tintagel, arriving at Parliament in Stamford in late July.

Unfortunately for Gaveston, he swiftly made more enemies: the moderate Earl of Pembroke, whom Gaveston offended by referring to him as 'Joseph the Jew'; and Thomas Plantagenet, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, a cousin of the King and most powerful lord in the land after the King - he swore to destroy Gaveston when, having already provoked the Earl many times, Gaveston persuaded Edward to dismiss one of Lancaster's retainers. Led by Lancaster, a powerful group of Earls demanded that he be banished again; few stood by the King, and of those who did, the Earl of Surrey had sworn eternal hatred of Gaveston. After a failed Scottish campaign in 1310-11, Edward was forced by his Earls to banish Gaveston once again. Thomas of Lancasters main possessions (Maddicott). ...


When he returned in 1312, he was faced with hostility. The Earl of Lancaster raised an army against Gaveston and the King, and on the 4th of May attacked Newcastle, where Edward and Gaveston were staying. They were forced to flee by ship to Scarborough Castle, leaving behind all of their money and soldiers, where it was appropriated by Lancaster. Edward then went south to raise an army, leaving Gaveston in Scarborough. Lancaster immediately brought his army up to threaten Gaveston and to cut him off from the King. Fearful for his life, Gaveston was forced to surrender to Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, who swore an oath to surrender his lands and titles to protect Gaveston. However, in Oxfordshire, Gaveston was captured and taken to Warwick Castle by Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick. He was held there for nine days before the Earl of Lancaster arrived; Lancaster then judged, "While he lives, there will be no safe place in the realm of England." Accordingly, on 19th of June, Gaveston was taken to Blacklow Hill (which belonged to the Earl of Lancaster), and killed by two Welshmen, who ran him through with a sword before beheading him as he lay dying on the grass. The keep of Scarborough Castle. ... Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick (d. ...

He was survived by his wife and a baby daughter, Joan. The Earl of Pembroke, who had sworn to protect him, was mortified by the death, having attempted to raise an army to free him, and having even appealed to the University of Oxford for aid (the University, not known for its military strength in any case, had not the slightest interest in assisting either Gaveston or de Valence). Edward II, on hearing of the murder, at first reacted with utter rage; later, this would become cold fury, and a desire to destroy those who had destroyed Gaveston. Ten years later, Edward II avenged Gaveston's death when he had the Earl of Lancaster killed. Much later, Gaveston would be replaced in the king's affections by Hugh le Despenser. The execution of Hugh, the younger Despenser, from a manuscript of Froissart. ...

Gaveston is a major character in Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II. An anonymous portrait in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, often believed to show Christopher Marlowe. ... Edward II is an Elizabethan play written by Christopher Marlowe. ...

One of the more flamboyant dining clubs at Oxford University is named after him. The Piers Gaveston Society is an exclusive dining club at the University of Oxford with a membership limited to 12 undergraduates. ...


  1. ^ Mortimer, Ian (2004). The Greatest Traitor. Pimlico, 29. “Mortimer cites 'Piers Gaveston', pp. 20-2, by Chaplais, as his source.” 
  2. ^ Mortimer, Ian (2004). The Greatest Traitor. Pimlico, 29. “Mortimer cites 'Edward of Carnarvon', p. 121, by Johnstone, and the 'Chronicle of Walter of Guisborough', p. 382, edited by Rothwell.” 

The subject of this article seems to fail one of the following consensually-accepted Wikipedia inclusion guidelines: If you are familiar with the subject matter, please expand the article to establish its notability, citing reliable sources, so as to avoid it being considered for deletion. ... The subject of this article seems to fail one of the following consensually-accepted Wikipedia inclusion guidelines: If you are familiar with the subject matter, please expand the article to establish its notability, citing reliable sources, so as to avoid it being considered for deletion. ...


  • Vita Edwardi Secundi
  • Walter of Guisborough
  • Johnstone, Hilda. Edward of Caernavon, 1946
  • Mortimer, Ian. The Greatest Traitor, 2004

  Results from FactBites:
Piers Gaveston - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (441 words)
A Gascon by birth, Piers was the son of Sir Arnaul de Gabaston, a soldier in service to King Edward I of England.
Gaveston was married to Margaret de Clare, a granddaughter of King Edward I and was created Earl of Cornwall by the king.
Gaveston was unpopular with the new queen as well as with the nobles, and the two men, who were approximately the same age, are believed to have had a homosexual relationship.
Piers Gaveston (214 words)
Piers Gaveston (~1284-1312) was the favourite of King Edward II of England.
A Gascon by birth, Gaveston was married to Margaret de Clare, a granddaughter of King Edward I and was created Earl of Cornwall by the king.
Gaveston had already been sent into exile once by King Edward I, who disapproved of the friendship.
  More results at FactBites »



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