Monthly Archives: January 2013

Something different……..snowy Castles

Something different considering the weather we are having here in the West Midlands, England at the moment I thought I would share some of the pictures I have found having a play with google pictures.

Berkeley Castle

Berkeley Castle

Castle Menzies

Castle Menzies

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Hampton Court

hampton court winter

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

And last although not a castle itself, seeing as it is only a mile or two away from home I thought I would add Blakesley Hall, from Yardley in Birmingham and it is very pretty

blakesley hall

Robert Fitzroy, 1st Earl of Gloucester the military behind Matilda

Robert Fitzroy, 1st Earl of Gloucester was the illegitimate son of King Henry I of England. He fought for Matilda his half-sister during the Anarchy in which she warred against Stephen of Blois for the English crown.
It is believed that Robert was the eldest of Henry’s illegitimate sons born before 1100 and before his father accession to the throne. The name of his mother is disputed, it is believed that she may have been Nest ferch Rhys a Welsh Princess, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr. It is also stated that it may be a member of the Gay or Gayt family of North Oxfordshire. A number of Robert’s illegitimate siblings also had mothers from this region.

He had been contracted by his father to marry Mabel FitzHamon daughter and heir of Robert FitzHamon. His wife brought with her Gloucester in England, Glamorgan in Wales and also lands in Normandy. It was after the White Ship disaster and the marriage that Henry then created Robert, Earl of Gloucester.
1st Earl Gloucester 2

He had seven different children with Mabel, of which included; William who succeeded as the 2nd Earl of Gloucester, Robert who became Bishop of Worcester and Matilda who married Ranulf the 4th Earl of Chester. He also had four known illegitimate children.

There is evidence that Robert was considered as a candidate for the throne but due to his illegitimacy he was ruled out. It is written within the Gesta Stephani (unknown author, 12th Century manuscript)

‘Among others came Robert, Earl of Gloucester, son of King Henry, but a bastard, a man of proved talent and admirable wisdom. When he was advised, as the story went, to claim the throne on his father’s death, deterred by sounder advice he by no means assented, saying it was fairer to yield it to his sister’s son (the future Henry II of England), than presumptuously to arrogate it to himself’

Robert went on to become Matilda his sister’s main military commander during the Anarchy. At the Battle of Lincoln on 2nd February 1141 Robert led an army to victory breaking King Stephen’s siege of the castle at Lincoln and went on to capture and take prisoner King Stephen. This led to Matilda taking control of the country for a short period of time. Robert’s forces were then defeated at the Rout of Winchester on 14th September 1141 leading to his capture near Stocksbrige.

Robert was exchanged for King Stephen which then led to King Stephen taking back power and Matilda giving up her best chance of becoming Queen. She later returned to France where she died in 1167.

Robert of Gloucester died in 1147 at Bristol Castle. He was later buried at St James Priory in Bristol which he had founded and was succeeded by his son William FitzRobert as the 2nd Earl of Gloucester.

Chimneypiece of the Banqueting Hall, Cardiff Castle, carved by Thomas Nicholls to instructions by the architect William Burges. 1870s. Robert the Consul was the 1st Earl of Gloucester and the 2nd Lord of Glamorgan, the nobleman credited with having built the Norman keep of Cardiff Castle. The main figure on Nicholls's huge chimneypiece depicts this twelfth-century hero setting off on one of his exploits, gazing up at his wife as she waves from the ramparts of a castle, with heralds blowing their trumpets from the castle's ramparts.

Chimneypiece of the Banqueting Hall, Cardiff Castle, carved by Thomas Nicholls to instructions by the architect William Burges. 1870s. .

The House of Plantagenets, the beginnings

So to try and stick with my previous post in stick with a ‘theme’ I am going to focus my next couple of pieces on the Plantagenet Kings of England and their families.  It is easy to see very quickly that the crown jumped between, brother, nephew, grandsons – with Queen Consorts and Princesses marrying two and sometimes three times making the web of succession and rule an every spiralling bigger mess.

I am going use the blog to chart my learning and the different paths that I travel down to try and understand the mess that was created within early Medieval England.

The Plantagenets ruled in England from 1154 when Henry II inherited the crown from his cousin Stephen after his mother Empress Matilda had negotiated the succession of the crown for her son.  This lasted until Richard III who died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the throne then passing to the victor of the battle his niece’s husband Henry Tudor beginning the dynasty of the Tudors.

Firstly I think it is important to try and understand who each of the Kings where and from whom they succeeded and from where they gained their right to claim themselves as King.  Below is a list of the different Plantagenet kings in chronological order.

The Plantagenets

  • Henry II, reigned between 1154-1189 and was the grandson of Henry I and the cousin of Stephen the previous King of England
  • Richard I ‘the lionheart’, 1189-1199, was the son of Henry II
  • John, 1199-1216, was the son of Henry II and brother to Richard I
  • Henry III, 1216-1272, son of John
  • Edward I ‘Longshanks’, 1272-1307, son of Henry III
  • Edward II, 1307-1327, son of Edward I
  • Edward III, 1327-1377, son of Edward II
  • Richard II, 1377-1399, grandson of Edward III, son of Edward of Woodstock

House of Lancaster

  • Henry IV, 1399-1413, grandson of Edward III, son of John of Gaunt and cousin of Richard II
  • Henry V, 1413-1422, son of Henry IV
  • Henry VI, 1422- 1461 and 1470-1471, son of Henry V

House of York

  • Edward IV, 1461-1470 and 1471-1483, great-grandson of Edward III, son of Richard of Plantagenet and cousin of Henry VI
  • Edward V, 1483-1483, son of Edward IV
  • Richard III, 1483-1485, uncle of Edward V and son of Ricahrd of Plantagenet

Within the 331 years of Plantagenet rule many important events happened in England, from the signing of the Magna Carta, the Peasants Revolt, The Hundred Years War to the War of the Roses, the shape of England was truly taken from a fledgling nation to a real powerhouse within Europe.

I want to explore the reign of each of the Kings and breakdown things of interest which I will blog over the next coming weeks and months, whilst also looking at their Queen Consorts and the wider families that they married from.

2013 Happy New Year, and where I would like the blog to go

I thought now I am in a New Year that I would write a little as to what my dream is for this blog and where I would like it to go.  Anyone who has seen any of my tweets previously would of maybe seen a little of what I would wish to do if enough time was available. 

My initial thoughts around the blog where regarding how the different royal families around Europe were formed together and it was always royals marrying royals and the claims of different families to claims of the thrones.  I also wanted to learn more about European royalty and more regarding different parts of European history that I didn’t know.  From my opening blogs regarding the Normans and focusing purely on that family this has now become a little disjointed and I seem to be jumping from here to there with no continuity.  I almost got there with Queen Victoria’s children but not the level I would like. 

So to try and bring some continuity around the blogs that I am doing I am trying to create a database that lists all the royals from the different families and also digging deeper into each of the families.   I have started this and this is why post’s have been sparse a little at times over the last month or so as I have been concentrating on this. 
My dream would be to create a website where all this information would then be available with details of each person, and also paintings, pictures or statues that I could find.    I have played around with a couple of free sites but at the moment it is all a bit strange to me, so that is still in the pipeline and for now I am hoping to focus more on certain families and be a little more concentrated.

So here is to a good 2013 to everyone and hopefully a successful one.