Kings and Castles
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Medieval Britain was dominated by its kings, and its kings dominated the land with their castles.
But what were those castles? Were they fortresses? Palaces? Or symbols of their owners power, and of their right to rule.
In this stimulating collection of articles and essays, the best-selling historian and broadcaster Marc Morris answers those fundamental questions - and many more.
He explores some of Britain’s favourite castles, such as Framlingham, Goodrich and Castle Acre, and the castle-building campaigns of famous kings like William the Conqueror and Edward I. And he addresses issues such as the origins of the cult of St George, the changing role of the medieval English earl and the riddle of the Winchester Round Table. Two articles – one on Edward I’s reputation, another on Lanercost Priory – appear here for the first time.
Dr Marc Morris is a best-selling historian and broadcaster. In 2003 he presented the six-part TV series Castle and wrote its accompanying book. His other books include a critically acclaimed biography of Edward I, A Great and Terrible King, and a major new history of The Norman Conquest
Henry II not only wrested control of royal castles from those who had usurped it; he also in some instances compelled the destruction of fortresses built by the earls themselves. After Hugh Bigod and some other old die-hards attempted to reassert their independence in 1173–74, the earl was compelled by Henry to hand over his main castle at Framlingham, and watch as the king had it torn down. Because of his success in dealing with the separatist tendencies of the English earls, Henry II is.
Castles from the communal defences of the Anglo-Saxons and the Romans that came before them, and it differentiated later castles from the purely military buildings that were constructed once the Middle Ages were over. Using this definition, we could point to places like Uffington Castle in Oxfordshire (really an Iron Age hill fort) or Deal Castle in Kent (one of a number of artillery bastions built along England’s south coast by Henry VIII) and knowledgeably expose them as castle frauds. For a.
Naturally, not everything can be described in this way: we could hardly recommend to our friends a great and terrible restaurant, or boast to them about our new, great and terrible carpet. But when we move beyond the mundane and begin to contemplate the mighty, great and terrible seem to be less contradictory, and even complementary adjectives. ‘The great and terrible wilderness’ is how the Bible describes the Sinai Desert; ‘Do not tempt me!’ says Gandalf to Frodo, alarmed by the hobbit’s offer.
Achieved such success against his neighbours (and his brothers) that he felt justified in styling himself ‘prince of Wales’. Nine years later, even the English king, Henry III, was obliged to recognize the prince’s self-proclaimed status. But Llywelyn failed to appreciate that his success owed much to Henry’s ineptitude. When the old king died in 1272 he was succeeded by his masterful and warlike son, Edward I – better known, thanks to Braveheart, by his contemporary nickname, Longshanks. The.
Family: he and his wife Eleanor of Castile had produced at least fifteen, possibly sixteen children, but only six of them were still living in 1290, and only one of the survivors was a boy. Nevertheless, one boy was all that was required. If the six-year-old Edward of Caernarfon were married to the Maid, he would become king of Scotland in right of his wife. Any children they went on to have would one day stand to inherit two kingdoms. Perhaps, in time, they would seek to rule them as a united.