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Simon de Montfort

Simon de Montfort was a man in pursuit of an elusive dream, a figure of paradox even today. Medieval chroniclers say that he was handsome, intelligent, fair-minded and able, but his enemies found him arrogant, cold and driven by ambition alone. His faith led him to take up the Crusader’s cross and, even a century after his death, men venerated him as a saint. Yet he scandalised the pious by marrying a young widow sworn to a holy oath of chastity. He was a Frenchman who came to symbolise English nationalism. Landless and without influence he talked a king into granting him and earldom then led a rebellion against his benefactor. He was brutally outspoken, once telling the same king that he belonged in a mad-house, and totally uncompromising. He alienated his allies yet men would have followed him to Hell. In an age of fixed truth he was unafraid of change. His downfall was sudden, dramatic and tragic. Patrick Rooke has written an enlightening summary of a man who was adventurer, idealist and enigma, a man of his times in an age of conflict, betrayal, human frailty, broken dreams, imperishable hopes and enduring legends.

£7.50

Related Topics

Heirs to Dissent

Heirs to Dissent

In Medieval England political martyrs were not uncommon, particularly in periods of political unrest, expressed in deeply religious terms, and in many cases that hostility was directed toward two Kings, Henry III (r.1216-1272) and Edward II (r.1307-1327). Two leaders of political reform and opposition came to prominence: Simon de Montfort and Thomas of Lancaster. In life they presented a dangerous opposition to an over-powerful monarchy, yet in death, they joined a long line of anti-royal saints and martyrs, allowing their followers to continue in their resistance. Adapting from his MA dissertation, Edward Gamble develops his thesis to investigate the political, religious, social and cultural phenomena that were political cults in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

William de Nangis

William de Nangis

William de Nangis’ account of the Battle of Evesham is an important source predating some of the other chronicler accounts. Although some sentences and the paragraph describing the death of Simon de Montfort have been translated, for example by John Nichols in his History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, the whole passage has not previously been translated.

The Tomb of Simon de Montfort

The Tomb of Simon de Montfort

The fate of the remains of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, has long been a mystery. Since his death at the battle of Evesham in 1265, one foot of the dismembered corpse has been confidently traced to Alnwick abbey in Northumberland, from where it disappeared, probably at the Reformation. A skull displayed in the Almonry Museum and Heritage Centre at Evesham may belong to a member of the Montfort family. Stories abound, of secret tunnels under the River Avon, and of remains collected by Montfort’s widow and interred in St Mary’s abbey, Kenilworth. In this booklet Dr Cox reviews the evidence for an alternative last resting place of Earl Simon’s bones, and outlines the circumstances under which they might be recovered and identified. A challenge thus awaits us to provide for Simon de Montfort the discovery and preservation accorded to the last Plantagenet king of England, Richard III.

Osney, Wykes, Trivet & The Evesham Chronicle

Osney, Wykesm Trivet & The Evesham Chronicle

Four translations of accounts of the Battle of Evesham of 1265 from Osney, Wykes Trivet and the Evesham Chronicle. All of them are important sources and extracts from them are quite often quoted or referred to by historians. Recently translated from the original Latin they will provide a sense of narrative and assist the reader’s understanding of the battle and the different viewpoints of the various chroniclers.

Battle of Evesham junior guide
Battle of Evesham junior guide
Battle of Evesham junior guide

Written by Ian Priest and with illustrations and additional material by Tony Westmancoat is an introduction to the Battle of Evesham for younger readers, with illustrations to colour. Ian and Tony are members of Circa 1265, a living history and re-enactment group focused on the Second Baronial Revolt and the Battle of Evesham.

Gwenllian

Gwenllian, cover

1275… a cry for help from a woman who is kidnapped at sea. Present day. Dutch archivist Fenna van Wijk is helping architect Ned Thompson to sift through a stack of ancient papers kept in an untouched archive in an old English manor house in Lincolnshire. Among manuscripts dealing with the holy Gilbert of Sempringham, they discover a letter from 1275, written by Eleanor de Montfort, the young bride to be of Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. During their research, Fenna stumbles upon a mysterious child: Gwenllian. The English king Edward I had this infant locked away for ever in a cloister in … Sempringham. When Fenna and Ned try to understand this harsh decision, they find more than they bargained for.

“Gwenllian” is our first move into serious historical fiction.