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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 183



On the third of March, the banras met in the refectory of the monks at Westminster, and petitioned Edward for the redress of abuses, and the immediate banishment of the favourite. The King- promised to reply in the parliament that was about to meet in the following May, and, in the meantime, Gaveston continued to dispose of the royal favours ; in fact, he wore the royal jewels and crown whenever he pleased, filled the court with libertines and buffoons, outvied every rival in the splendour of his dress and the number of his retinue, took to his own use all the treasures and most of the jewels of the crown, administered the affairs of tho nation just as he pleased, and used his irresistible influence over the King to deprive the Queen of her husband's affections. As to Edward, the nation declared him bewitched : he lived but to serve his fascinating minion ; and, more than cuce, he declared, if his power equalled his affection, he would place Gaveston on the throne. To Isabella, his conduet was reprehensible in the extreme. He evidently deemed her too weak and girlish to be entitled to much attention, either as a Queen or a wife ; but in this he was fatally mistaken, for, in temper, she was too haughty, tyrannical, and unforgiving, and in blood too nearly allied to the powerful leaders of the disaffected barons to quietly brook the outrages offered to her womanly pride. Although handsome, stalwart, ehivalric, and polished in manners, Gaveston was neither thoughtful noi discreet. He knew the Queen hated him ; but as he possessed a sparkling wit and a keenly satirical turn of mind, he made her the frequent subject of his irony and biting sarcasm. Too unwise to aim at conciliating her, lie thus aggravated her already deadly enmity. Forgetting, too, that the adventurer whom a breath had made, a breath could just as easily destroy, he conducted himself towards the barons with equal indiscretion and insolence. At different tournaments he had unhoised the Earls of Lancaster, Hereford, Pembroke, and Warenne, and, elated by his success, he indulged in a provoking display of his sarcastic powers against them and other nobles, who, at the suggestion, and with the immediate sanction of Isabella, formed a confederacy for the express purpose of expelling the insolent favourite from the court. At the head of this confederacy was Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin to the King, half-uncle to the Queen, first prince of the blood, and the most wealthy and powerful subject in the realm. When the parliament met in May, this influential noble and his associates attended at Westminster with so great a force, that they were able to dictate their own terms to the King. Gaveston was accordingly banished, and compelled to swrear that he would never return; and the bishops threatened him with excommunication should he violate his oath. To console the affliction of bis favourite, Edward permitted him to send abroad treasures to the value of little less than one hundred thousand pounds, made him a gift of valuable lands in England and Guienne, wrote in his favour to the Pope and the King of France, and, to the surprise and indignation of his enemies, appointed him viceroy of Ireland, and went with him on his way thither as far as Bristol. Gaveston ruled Ireland with great success, and distinguished himself by the suppression of several formidable rebellions. In England, the King's treasury was at this period empty, anà the Queen was completely without money. Edward, therefore, summoned a parliament, and solicited an aid for himself, and requested that an income might be settled on his beloved consort, Isabella, Queen of England, befitting her exalted station. The Lords determined that the revenues of Ponthieu and Montrieul should be appropriated to the Queen's use during her lifetime; and by an order, dated the fifteenth May, 1309, the King commands his seneschal of those provinces to give peaceable possession of them to the Queen's deputies. The Commons granted an aid of a twentyfifth, but to this grant they appendag^ed the unprecedented request that the King should previously grant redress upon certain articles wherein they were aggrieved.


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