Archive for the ‘Events in History’ Category

17
Feb

Second Battle of St Albans

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , , ,

Second Battle of St Albans

St Michael’s Bridge and ford (© D Preis)

Second Battle of St Albans – a Lancastrian victory

The second Battle of St Albans was fought on 17 February 1461 between the Lancastrian forces under Margaret of Anjou (Henry VI’s queen) and the Yorkist forces under Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (‘The Kingmaker”).  It was won by the Lancastrian forces.  Henry VI was reunited with his wife and son.  The Yorkists, however, won the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461 and with it the crown for Edwrad IV.

The photo shows St Michael’s Bridge and ford.  Part of the Lancastrian forces led by Sir Andrew Trollope entered St Albans via this ford.  The present bridge was only built in 1765, but it is considered to be the oldest still existing bridge in Hertfordshire.

The second Battle of St Albans was fought over a larger area than the first Battle of St Albans on 22 May 1455, which was concentrated on the streets in the town centre.

The website St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society has a map showing the area covered by both battles.

A short description of the various battles of the Wars of the Roses can be found on the website of the Richard III Society.

Dorothea Preis

 

11
Feb

Birth of Elizabeth of York

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags:

Birth of Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York as queen, holding the white rose of the House of York

Birth of Elizabeth of York – king’s daughter, king’s wife

Birth of Elizabeth of York on 11 February 1466 at Westminster.  She was the eldest child of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

After Edward’s invasion of France in 1475, in the Treaty of Picquigny, she was supposed to marry to Dauphin Charles.  This marriage never took place.  After her father’s death on 9 April 1483, she went with her mother and siblings into sanctuary at Westminster. On Christmas Day 1483, Henry Tudor took an oath in Rennes Cathedral to marry her, if he managed to become king.

She left sanctuary with her mother and siblings on 1 April 1484. Richard III undertook to find suitable husbands for her and her sisters.  This came to nothing and on 22 August 1485 Richard lost his life and throne at the Battle of Bosworth.  The victorious Henry Tudor was in no rush to marry her.  Parliament reminded him on 10 December 1485, and the wedding finally took place on 18 January 1486. Her coronation was nearly two years later on 25 November 1487.

Elizabeth and Henry had eight children, of which four survived infancy.  She died on her 37th birthday, 11 February 1503, at Richmond Palace, after giving birth to her youngest daughter Katherine on 2 February 1503, probably from post-partum infection.  She is buried next to her husband, who died in 1509, in a magnificent marble tomb in Westminster Abbey.

References:

Rosemary Horrox, ‘Elizabeth (1466–1503)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.  [accessed online 27 January 2011]

Richard Cavendish, ‘The Death of Elizabeth of York’, History Today, Volume 53, Issue 2 (2003).  URL:  http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/death-elizabeth-york  [accessed 12 February 2013]

P.W. Hammond, ‘The Coronation of Elizabeth of York’, The Ricardian, Vol VI, No 83 (December 1983), pp. 270-272

Dorothea Preis

10
Feb

Birth of Henry Plantagenet at Hatfield

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: ,

Birth of Henry Plantagenet at Hatfield

Birth of Henry Birth of Henry Plantagenet at HatfieldPlantagenet at Hatfield on 10 February 1441.  He was the eldest son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. He died as a baby.

At the time of his birth, his parents had already two daughters, Joan (1438), who had also died in infancy, and Anne (10 August 1439).  Their next son, Edward, was born on 28 April 1442. He was to accede the throne as Edward IV on 4 March 1461.

Unfortunately it is not sure whether he was born at Hatfield in Hertfordshire or Hatfield Chase in Yorkshire. Hatfield in Hertfordshire belonged to the Bishops of Ely, which is why it also called Bishops Hatfield.  Their manor might have offered suitable accommodation on the way to London. The Great North Road connecting London and York ran through Hatfield.

Hatfield Chase was a royal hunting ground and one of the Duke of York’s family residences. [1]  There are several sources linking Henry to this Hatfield. [2]

References:

1.  Michael K Jones, Bosworth 1485:  Psychology of a Battle. Tempus, 2003, p.81

2. For instance:  Jones, ibid.

S Whaley, The History and Antiquities of Thorne, with Some Account of the Drainage of Hatfield Chase (1829). p.24

Hatfield Town Council, ‘Parish History

You can find a list of the children of Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville here.

Dorothea Preis

 

Press Conference at the University of Leicester

Facial Reconstruction of Richard III (used by permission of the Richard III Society)

An unforgettable event:

Press Conference at the University of Leicester – it is Richard III!

A press conference at the University of Leicester was specially convened on 4 February 2013.  At 10h40 (local time) it was announced that the human remains found during the archaeological dig in the area of Leicester’s Greyfriars were those of King Richard III.

The identification was based on a wealth of scientific evidence, including radiocarbon dating, radiological evidence, DNA and bone analysis and archaeological results.

In conclusion to a presentation of the various strains of evidence, Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on the Search for Richard III, said: “It is the academic conclusion of the University of Leicester that the individual exhumed at Grey Friars in August 2012 is indeed King Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England.” *

You can watch and listen to the whole press conference again at  http://www2.le.ac.uk/news/blog/2013/february/watch-or-listen-to-the-richard-iii-press-conference-online

* ‘University of Leicester announces discovery of King Richard III’, University of Leicester (4 Feb 2013).  URL:  http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2013/february/university-of-leicester-announces-discovery-of-king-richard-iii [accessed  4 Feb 2013]

 

3
Feb

Death of Johannes Gutenberg

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Death of Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg

Death of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press

The death of  Johannes Gutenberg occurred on 3 February 1468 in Mainz.

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg, his full name, was born c. 1398 in Mainz.  In approx. 1439 he invented a mechanical printing press using moveable type.  This was later, in 1476, introduced into England by William Caxton.  The invention of the printing press is regarded as one of the most important developments in the history of mankind as it allowed the fast dissemination of written texts.

A fascinating novel about the first printed Bible is Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie.  You can find a review here.

More information on Johannes Gutenberg:

Tejvan Pettinger, ‘Biography of Johannes Gutenberg’, Biography Online (28 December 2012).  URL: http://www.biographyonline.net/business/j-gutenberg.html  [accessed 27 December 2014]

Dorothea Preis

 

3
Feb

Death of John of Gaunt

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags:

Death of John of Gaunt

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster

Death of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster – ancestor of the Lancastrian Kings and the Tudors

The death of John of Gaunt occurred on 3 February 1399 at Leicester Castle.

He was the third surviving son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault.  He was born on 6 March 1340 in Ghent, which why he was called ‘of Gaunt’.

His first wife was Blanche, the daughter of Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster. They married in 1359.  His father gave him the title Duke of Lanacster in 1362 after the death of his father-in-law.   Their eldest son surviving infancy was Henry Bolingbroke, who would later become the Lancastrian king Henry IV.

After Blanche’s death in 1369, he married the Infanta Constance of Castile in 1371.  She died in 1394.

With Katherine de Roet he is the ancestor of the Beaufort family.  The children were born when Katherine was his mistress.  However, Katherine and John married in 1396 and the children were legitimised.  Their half-brother Henry IV barred the Beauforts from the succession to the throne.  The later fact was conveniently forgotten by Margaret Beaufort and her son Henry Tudor, when he aimed to become king (Henry VII).  Katherine and her relationship with John of Gaunt is the subject of Anya Seton’s unforgettable novel Katherine.

More information:

Richard Cavendish, ‘Death of John of Gaunt‘, History Today (2 February 1999). [accessed 3 February 2013]

John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, Encyclopaedia Britannica

Dorothea Preis

 

2
Feb

Battle of Mortimer’s Cross

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , ,

Battle of Mortimer’s CrossBattle of Mortimer’s Cross, Herefordshire – Edward on the way to the throne

The Battle of Mortimer’s Cross was fought on 2 February 1461 in Herefordshire,  It was an important battle in the Wars of the Roses.

In the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross the Yorkists were led by 18-year-old  Edward, Earl of March (later Edward IV).  They intercepted a  Lancastrian forces led by Owen Tudor and his son Jasper into England.  The Lancastrians outnumbered the Yorkists considerably and were better mounted and armed.  The Yorkists were encouraged by a parhelion, a meteorological phenomenon in which three suns appear.  This is the origin of Edward’s badge ‘The Sun in Splendour’.

Unfortunately the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross is not very well documented.  The fighting must have been ferocious in adverse weather conditions in the middle of winter.

After the battle Owen Tudor was captured and executed in Hereford, along with other prisoners of rank.

To find out more:

Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, Battlefields Resource Centre.

Jennifer Young, ‘The Mortimer’s Cross Parhelion: How a Meteorological Phenomenon Changed English History’, Decoded Science (2 October 2011).  URL:  http://www.decodedscience.com/the-mortimers-cross-parhelion-how-a-meteorological-phenomenon-changed-english-history/3437  [accessed 26 January 2015]

Dorothea Preis

 

28
Jan

Birth of Henry Tudor

   Posted by: Michael Tags: ,

Birth of Henry Tudor

Henry Tudor (portrait at National Portrait Gallery, London)

Birth of Henry Tudor

On 28 January 1457, Henry Tudor was born at Pembroke Castle in Wales, the son of Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, and Margaret Beaufort.  Edmund Tudor was the son of Owen Tudor and Henry V’s widow Catherine of Valois.  Margaret Beaufort, was a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt (third son of Edward III) and his third wife and previous mistress Katherine Swynford.   The children of this relationship, the Beauforts, were disinherited by Letters Patent of King Henry IV from any claim to the throne. After defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485, he took the throne as Henry VII.

Read the History Today article on ‘The Birth of Henry Tudor”.

28
Jan

Death of Charlemagne

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: ,

Death of Charlemagne

15th century picture of Charlemagne

Death of Charlemagne – the end of the first and most powerful Holy Roman Emperor

Charlemagne (Karolus Magnus, Karl der Große) died on 28 January 814 at Aachen.  He is buried in Aachen Cathedral.

Karl, from the Carolingian family,  was born on 2 April, either in 747 or 748.  Nor do we know where he was born.  Aachen and Liège are possible, but other towns have also been suggested.  His parents were Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon (history has given her the rather unflattering nickname ‘Bertrada Boadfoot’).

After Pepin’s death on 24 September 768, the realm was divided between his two sons, Karl and Karlmann (Carlman).  The relationship between the two kings did not go smoothly.  Then Karlmann suddenly died on 4 December 771 of natural causes.  Karl seized the whole realm, which he extended during a number of wars.

On 25 December 800, he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III in Saint Peter’s Basilika in Rome. This was the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806.

Traditionally the story went that the Pope unexpectedly put the crown on Karl’s head, while he was praying.  However, modern research has shown that this romantic version is highly unlikely.  As the position of the Pope was fairly weak, it was probably Karl himself who sought the honour.

Under Karl, the Carolingian Empire was at its largest and most powerful position (the extent is shown on this map on Wikimedia Commons).

After his death, Karl was buried in Aachen Cathedral.  He was succeeded by his only surviving son Ludwig (Louis).

More information on Charlemagne from Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Other articles of interest:

Peter Munz, ‘The Imperial Coronation of Charlemagne’, History Today, Volume 9, Issue 7, 1959.  URL:  http://www.historytoday.com/peter-munz/imperial-coronation-charlemagne  [accessed 3 October 2010]

Kim Rendfeld, ‘Bertrada: Queen Mother and Diplomat’, Kim Rendfeld – Outtakes from a Historical Novelist (21 May 2013).  URL:  http://kimrendfeld.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/bertrada-queen-mother-and-diplomat/  [accessed 22 May 2013]

Dorothea Preis

 

25
Jan

Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

   Posted by: Michael Tags: ,

Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

Ruins of Sopwell Nunnery, St Albans (© D Preis)

Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

On 25 January 1533, Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn in secret, possibly at Sopwell Nunnery in St Albans. This is suggested among others on the blog The Tangible Past.

Henry was very much attracted by Anne’s charm and wit.  To be able to marry her, Henry wanted to divorce his first wife Katherine of Aragon, to whom he had been married for 24 years.  This meant he also had to break with the Church of Rome, who did not accept his reasons for a divorce.  Their marriage was only annulled on 23 May 1533, when Thomas Cranmer declared it null and void.  On 28 May 1533 he declared the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn valid.

However, as Anne did not produce the looked-for male heir, after approx. 1000 days of marriage, Henry ordered Anne’s execution.

You might find Suzannah Lipscomb‘s article on this marriage of interest.