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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.

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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.

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.

Simon de Montfort

Biography of 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.

The Templar of Tyre

The Templar of Tyre

What happened to Simon de Montfort, leader of the Reformers, after his defeat at the Battle of Evesham? Was Earl Simon captured alive and later murdered? Does this explain the murder of Henry of Almain by Simon’s sons, Simon and Guy? Could such behaviour be reconciled with prevailing views on chivalry? The questions raised by the Templar’s account will be discussed for many years.

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Two Pilgrimages: Winchcombe and Hailes

Pilgrimage is the most essential of medieval studies – that’s a conclusion which Tim Porter has drawn from years of reading, research and exploration. Religion, politics, economics, travel, industry, art, architecture – pilgrimage opens into all these fields, and many more! And it cuts across classes and genders like nothing else, because nobody could be denied the vocation, if it was held to be genuine. Scores of places had some kind of pilgrimage attached to them: but the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire region was especially rich, with a host of saints and shrines reflecting every aspect of the ethos. Hailes and Winchcombe in particular offer in a nutshell so much of what we need to know.

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A new account of the death of Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham, found on a fourteenth-century roll belonging to the College of Arms.