What is it? And which group of people associated with England’s history made it? I’ve given you the whole thing on this occasion. I shall give the credits for the image next week when I reveal the answer as to do so now would give the game away completely.
This is part of an image of an unfolded Roman curse tablet that can be found in Bath. There are 130 of them inscribed on sheets of lead or pewter. They were rolled up and dropped into the spring belonging to the goddess Sulis Minerva – Sulis is Celtic and the Romans simply tagged their own most appropriate goddess into the equation. They largely contain curses relating to thieves in Latin. One of the tablets is written in the Celtic language – making it unique.
I must admit that there are many fascinating Roman artefacts that I could have chosen. I selected these because they were recognised by UNESCO in 2014
William the Conqueror isn’t listed as having any known mistresses. He had no illegitimate children and it certainly appears that until his wife, Matilda of Flanders, supported their eldest son Robert Curthose in his rebellion against his father, that the couple worked effectively as a partnership.
There are many discussions about the sexuality of William Rufus. In the eighteenth century there was a suggestion that he might have had an illegitimate son but there is no contemporary evidence. The existence of illegitimate children, so long as the monarch recognised them, were the most likely way of a record of the mother being kept.
And then we arrive at Henry I – who is popular history remembers for having a large number of illegitimate children. His mistresses included: 1) Sybilla Corbet of Alcester. The Corbet’s were a powerful family and one of her daughters also named Sybilla was married to King Alexander of Scotland. Her eldest son Robert became the Earl of Gloucester who supported his half sister Matilda in her claim to the throne.
2) Ansfrida was the widow of a knight who held land owned by Abingdon Abbey. Henry “supported her in her troubles.” (Henry I Penguin Monarch series.) Their son Richard was drowned on the White Ship in 1120. Henry I was nothing if not equal in his attentions. Ansfrida has a Saxon name whereas 3) Edith’s father was Forn Sigulfson, Lord of Greystoke. His mistresses also included 4) Nesta, Princess of Deheubarth and 5)Isabella of Meulan. These women didn’t bear all his illegitimate children so there are a whole bunch of unknown mothers as well. It’s thought that one this life that Henry must have had at least ten mistresses from all walks of life. Henry not only acknowledged, educated and provided for his illegitimate children but he also provided influential husbands for the women.
King Stephen had far fewer mistresses than his uncle. 6) Dameta is listed as a gentlewoman of Normandy.
Henry II’s mistresses include a prostitute called 7) Ikenai; 8) Rosamund Clifford, 9)Ida de Tosny the daughter of the Earl of Leicester who was Henry II’s ward, 10) Alice of France who was actually betrothed to Henry’s son Richard at the time, 11) Nesta Bloet.
Richard the Lionheart had no illegitimate offspring and no recorded mistresses. His brother John on the other hand was a little too free with the wives, daughters and sisters of his barons. 12) The sister of the Earl of Surrey was one of John’s mistresses, 13) Clementine Pinel, 14) Hawise de Tracy,
Henry III seems to have had no known mistresses and neither does Edward I. Edward II who history links with Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser is recorded as having an illegitimate child called Adam by an unknown woman.
Edward III married Philippa of Hainault on 24th January 1328. The royal couple had thirteen children. Edward does not appear to have taken a mistress until Philippa became unwell. His mistress is the first mistress, aside from Fair Rosamund, that popular history tends to remember – 15) Alice Perrers- who gained a reputation for greed having Edward III’s ear in terms of politics and being in receipt of jewels and lands from her lover.
Richard II, Edward’s grandson was devoted to his wife Anne of Bohemia. His second wife Isabella of France was a child when she arrived in England, in later years she would marry the Duke of Orleans. There are no recorded mistresses. Henry IV is recorded as having an illegitimate child by an unknown woman but Henry V and Henry VI had no illegitimate children.
Edward IV on the other hand boasted on bedding the holiest, merriest and wiliest mistresses in the land! The holy mistress was 16) Lady Eleanor Butler to whom he might have been pre-contracted in marriage making his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville bigamous. The merriest mistress was 17) Jane Shore and the wiliest was 18) Elizabeth Lucy who bore a son called Arthur who would be educated with his nephew Henry and die in the Tower from a heart attack brought on by the news that he was to be released.
Henry VII has no recorded mistresses, though there are the dancing girls in the accounts of course. His predecessor Richard III did have illegitimate children but history does not record the names of their mothers.
Henry VIII is unusual in that many of his mistresses became his wives and there was of course the need for him to show his virility and ability to have a son. The only illegitimate child that was definitely illegitimate and who Henry acknowledged was Henry Fitzroy – his mother was 19) Bessie Blount. He had an affair with 20) Anne Stafford, 21) Mary Boleyn, 22) Anne Boleyn, 23) Madge Shelton, 24) Jane Seymour, 25) Catherine Howard, 26) Jane Popincourt, 27) Anne Basset (the step-daughter of Arthur Plantagenet), 28) Elizabeth Carew, 29) Margaret Skipworth, 30) Joan Dingley. Unless Henry VIII’s love life impacted on international politics or he married his mistress the tracking down of Henry’s mistresses is based on circumstantial evidence.
Henry’s children- Edward, Mary and Elizabeth ruled in turn. Questions, rumour and scandal attached themselves to Elizabeth’s relationship with Lord Robert Dudley.
James I had no illegitimate children and no recorded mistresses. There was scandal associated with his male favourites including Robert Carr the Earl of Somerset who was found guilty of murder and George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham who was assassinated during the reign of Charles I.
Charles I became devoted to his wife Henrietta Maria.
Charles II, the Merry Monarch, is famous for his mistresses: 31) Lucy Walter the mother of the Duke of Monmouth; 32) Elizabeth Killigrew; 33) Katherine Pegge of Yeldersley in Derbyshire whose son became the Earl of Plymouth; 34) Barbara Villiers; 35) Nell Gwyn; 36) Louise Renee, Duchess of Portsmouth and 37) Mary Davies. Presumably having spent so much time in Europe during the Commonwealth Period Charles happily adopted the french custom of the royal mistress as being a semi-official position. Charles is reported to have had somewhere in the region of twelve illegitimate offspring but unlike Henry VIII never attempted to annul his marriage in a bid to provide a royal heir.
James II was as well known for his womanising as his brother. He was required by Charles I to marry Anne Hyde the daughter of Lord Clarendon when she became pregnant. He also took 37) the daughter of Sir Winston Churchill as a mistress – she was the sister of the 1st Duke of Marlborough; 38) Katherine, Countess of Dorchester.
William and Mary and Anne followed but scandalous mistresses, leaving aside Anne’s close relationships with two of her ladies in waiting, only resumed with the arrival of the Hanoverians. There was a rumour that William of Orange had an affair with the Countess of Orkney – if we want to be strictly fair.
George I locked his wife Sophia Dorothea of Celle away when she committed adultery. 39) Melusine von der Schulenburg became George’s long term companion. They had three daughters. When he arrived in England in September 1714 had two mistresses with him. There were also 18 cooks.
George II who famously told Queen Caroline on her deathbed that he wouldn’t marry again – just have mistresses. The most famous mistress was 40) Henrietta Howard; 41) Amalia, Countess of Yarmouth.
George III is said to have married 42) Hannah Lightfoot the daughter of a shoemaker prior to his wedding to Sophia Charlotte.
George IV is said to have married 43) Maria Fitzherbert who was a Catholic. He described her as his wife of “heart and soul.” Their marriage was declared invalid because of her religion and because George had not sought his father’s permission which he knew would not be granted. when George died he asked to be buried with a miniature of Maria around his neck. He had other mistresses 44) Grace Daymple; 45) Mary Robinson; 46) Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey; 47) Isabella Ingram-Seymour, Marchioness of Hertford; 48) Elizabeth Conyngham, Marchioness of Conyngham. There was also Eliza Crole who was a theatre manager’s daughter.
William IV had been quite happily living with 49) Dorothy Jordan when he was Duke of Clarence until it became clear that he would need an heir. In 1811 William put Dorothy or Dorothea to one side and married an heiress.
Victoria – I’ll leave aside films that link Victoria semi romantically with John Brown.
Edward VII known as Edward the Caresser seems to have taken Henry I as a model on a far grander scale. It was once estimated that he had something like 50 affairs! According to popular history he was sent off to spend time with the grenadier guards who arranged for his education to be extended thanks to Nellie Clifden. In Paris he apparently enjoyed the company of several prostitutes. House parties involving the Prince of Wales and then the king involved discrete rooming arrangements. 50) Hortense Schneider; 51) Giulia Barucci; 52) Susan Pelham-Clinton; 53) Lillie Langtry; 54) Daisy Greville the Countess of Warwick – her maiden name was Brooke and it resulted in the sobriquet “babbling.”; 55) Agnes Keyser; 56) Jenny Churchill (Sir Winston’s mother) 57) Alice Keppel who was at his deathbed in 1910. Edward never acknowledged any illegitimate children – though that doesn’t mean there weren’t any if the rumours of the time are anything to go by. 58) Susan Vane Tempest is said to have had a child in 1873 but Susan died in 1875 and the trail goes cold.
George V was more interested in collecting stamps than women but Edward VIII who was never crowned took many mistresses when he was Prince of Wales. His affair and determination to marry twice divorced Wallis Simpson resulted in his abdication.
Freidman, Dennis. Ladies of the bedchamber: The Role of the Royal Mistress
Ridley, Jane. Bertie: A Life of Edward VII
This one is tricky – all I’ll say is that you wouldn’t want to be the subject of one! There are approximately 130 examples of these in varying states. They have to do with a Celtic goddess who was Romanised – and that’s the biggest clue I’m going to give you.
Royal mistresses since 1066, this week, if you please. We’ll leave Elizabeth I’s romantic attachments to one side and Queen Anne’s as well. Some monarchs are remarkably discreet, others less so. Henry VII for example was not known for his mistresses – but his account book reveals payment to “dancing girls” …they may just have been dancing. Other mistresses have achieved notoriety and in the case of Henry VIII’s mistresses, in many instances, the Crown itself. You may find yourself dealing with potentially bigamous monarchs as well this week. Good luck.
This is a tricky one – how did you do?
We’re not sure if William’s wife Matilda bore any daughters after the Conqueror became king of England in 1066. His eldest daughter Cecilia was born some time around 1054 and she was sent to the Abbey of the Holy Trinity just prior to the invasion of 1066. She became a bride of Christ, sealing the compact that her father was making with God in exactly the same way that a royal bride would seal any other treaty. She would one day become the abbess at Caen.
William Rufus was unmarried
Henry I had only two legitimate children. His first daughter Euphemia died whilst still a baby but the second daughter Adelaide born in 1102 took the name Matilda upon her marriage and is better known as the Empress Matilda – The Lady of the English.
King Stephen’s eldest surviving daughter, Mary, became a nun in Romsey Abbey Hampshire and in time became it’s abbess. Which sounds straight forward enough until you realise that when her brother William died she succeeded him as the Countess of Boulogne in 1159. Matthew I Count of Flanders abducted her from her convent and married her despite the fact that she was very clearly a nun. The couple had two daughters but the married was eventually annulled and Mary entered a French nunnery where she died in 1182.
Henry II’s eldest daughter was named after her grandmother Matilda. She married Henry “the Lion” of Saxony and Bavaria., a keen supporter of his cousin Frederick Barbarossa. He was an extremely powerful prince – so definitely a dynastic marriage as Henry sought to create his empire.
Richard I had no issue.
John’s daughter Joan fund herself married off to Alexander II of Scotland in 1221 when she was eleven. She died in 1238. Matthew Paris, the chronicler, suggests that the royal couple had a falling out and in 1237 when Joan came with her husband to England to negotiate with Henry III the Scottish queen remained in England. Henry granted her various manors and it is said that she died in the arms of her brothers Henry III and Richard of Cornwall. Henry must have love this sister very much because the effigy he ordered for her tomb some fourteen years after her death is the first we have of a queen in England.
Henry III’s first daughter Margaret married Alexander II’s successor, Alexander III. Alexander III was the son of Alexander of Scotland and his first wife Mary de Coucy. Alexander III was the monarch who died when his horse plunged from a cliff, allegedly, on a dark and stormy night leaving his and Margaret’s granddaughter, known as the Maid of Norway, to inherit the Scottish throne. Her death ultimately led to Edward I’s claim of overlordship and the Scottish Wars of Independence.
Edward I’s eldest daughter was named Eleanor, presumably after her mother Eleanor of Castile. The issue Rolls of 1302 describe her as Edward’s eldest daughter. She was first married to Alfonso III of Aragon by proxy but the marriage was never consummated as he died. She then married Henry III, Count of Bar.
Edward II’s daughter was another Eleanor who married Reginald II, Count of Guilders and Zuptphen. He would one day become his brother-in-law, Edward III’s, closest ally against the french when he launched the Hundred Years War. However, in 1338 Eleanor contracted leprosy – or so Reginald the Black said- her husband banished her from court. She became a nun.
Edward III’s daughter was Isabella – so he can’t have had that much of a grudge against his mother Isabella of France- she was born in 1332 at Woodstock and would on to marry Enguerrand II, Lord of Coucy. Her husband’s father is described as a “brigand-lord.” Coucy is in Picardy. Her father, to whom she was close, had attempted to marry her off when she was just three to Pedro of Castile, though this match was ultimately negotiated for Isabella’s younger sister. As her father’s favourite she was a bit over indulged and unusually didn’t get married until she was 33. When she was 19 she was betrothed to the son of the Lord of Albret. The fleet that was going to take her to her spouse was all set to sail but Isabella changed her mind and the marriage was called off – demonstrating Edward’s indulgence. Instead he granted her 1,000 marks a year and she eventually married her husband who was seven years her junior. He was actually a hostage for John II of France. The couple met at Windsor, Edward made a huge settlement on the couple, including lands that had once belonged to Enguerrand’s family across the north of England. Edward even made his son-in-law the Earl of Bedford.
Richard II had no issue.
Henry IV’s eldest daughter was named Blanche after her paternal grandmother. She was born in 1392 before Henry usurped his cousin’s throne. Her marriage to Louis Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine was another dynastic arrangement. As with many women, she died in childbirth.
Henry V and Henry VI had one son each but no daughters.
Edward IV’s eldest daughter was Elizabeth of York, who found herself married to Henry Tudor bringing the Wars of the Roses to a close.
Richard III had no legitimate daughters. His illegitimate daughter Katherine married William Herbert, Earl of Huntingdon. He had been Earl of Pembroke but was made to give it up by Edward IV along with his lands to Prince Edward (the one who died along with his brother in the Tower.) By 1487 he is listed as a widower.
Henry VII’s eldest daughter was Margaret who was sent north to marry James IV of Scotland. After James’ death at Flodden in 1513, Margaret married for a second time to Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. She is the grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Lord Darnley. She is also the great grandmother of Arbella Stuart. Margaret’s life was complicated by her flight from Scotland to England, her divorce from her second husband and her third marriage to Lord Methven. She died in 1541.
Henry VIII’s eldest daughter became Bloody Mary. She was succeeded by her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth. Mary married Philip II of Spain. Neither Mary nor Elizabeth had any children.
Elizabeth was succeeded by Margaret Tudor’s great grandson James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England. His eldest daughter was named after Elizabeth. James I who saw himself as a peacemaker married Elizabeth to the Protestant prince Frederick Henry who was the Elector Palatine of the Rhine and for one winter the King of Bohemia. Elizabeth is often known as the Winter Queen. Her sons Rupert and Maurice played an active part in their uncle’s campaign to retain his throne during the English Civil War.
Charles I’s eldest daughter Mary married William II of Orange. She was the mother of William III of Orange who married his cousin Mary, the daughter of King James II.
Charles II had no legitimate children.
James II inherited the throne from his brother. His two daughters from his first marriage to Anne Hyde became Queen Mary and Queen Anne in turn. Neither of his daughters had children who survived to adulthood.
The House of Hanover is descended from Elizabeth, the Winter Queen. Elizabeth’s daughter Sophia married Ernest Augustus of Brunswick-Luneberg. She died in June 1714 shortly before her cousin Queen Anne. Her son, George Elector of Hanover was invited to become king of England.
George I’s eldest daughter, Sophia Dorothea, was born in 1685 so a long while before the crown passed into George’s hands. She married Frederick William who became the first king of Prussia. One of her sons was Frederick the Great of Prussia. Sophia had fourteen children with her husband who had an unpredictable temper.
George II’s eldest daughter Anne was created Princess Royal in 1729. She married William IV of Orange. She died in 1759.
George III’s eldest daughter was called Charlotte Augusta Matilda and she married Frederick I of Wurttemburg.
George IV’s daughter another Charlotte Augusta died in childbirth in 1817.
William IV’s eldest daughter was …yes you’ve guessed…Charlotte Augusta. She was born on the 27th March 1819 and died on the same day.
Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter was Victoria who married Frederick III of Prussia, so a descendent of Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, the daughter of George I. Victoria and Frederick’s son was, of course, Kaiser Wilhelm.
Edward VII’s eldest daughter was Louise and she married the Marquess of MacDuff who became the 1st Duke of Fife. Lousie and MacDuff were inevitably related, both being descended from George III. She married him in 1889 and it was only the second time one of Victoria’s immediate family cycle had married a British subject rather than being part of Victoria and Albert’s plan to create a royal family network that covered Europe.
George V’s eldest daughter was Victoria known as Mary and she arrive Henry Lascelles, the 6th Earl of Harewood.
Edward VIII abdicated and had no heirs.
George VI’s eldest daughter became Queen Elizabeth II.
Elizabeth II’s eldest daughter, Princess Anne became the Princess royal in 1987. She was married first to Captain Mark Philips, they separated two years after Anne became Princess Royal and divorced in 1992. She then married Sir Timothy Laurence.
Weir. Alison, Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy.
The picture I gave you last weekend was the mouthpiece.
The Sutton Hoo helmet was found in 1939 when a ship burial was excavated in Suffolk near Woodbridge. The ship – identified by the ghost of its decayed timbers and rivets was 27 meters long. It is believed to have belonged to King Raedwald of East Anglia. So, of seventh century origins. But because of the dates of the coins found with the helmet there are other possible owners for the ornate helmet including my own favourite King Anna.
Bede records that Raedwald converted to Christianity during a visit to Kent but reverted to Paganism on return home.
Anna was descended from the Wufflingas family – or Wuffling – what’s not to like? His father was Raedwald’s nephew. The family was related to the famous Abbess Hild of Whitby.
As for the helmet – it contains over 4,000 garnets so it belonged to a very important man indeed. Amongst the contents of the tomb were items from Scandinavia and the Mediterranean, demonstrating the complexity of early medieval trade routes as well as changing the way that Historian’s viewed the Anglo-Saxon world.
The BBC identified the helmet as one of the world’s most important 100 objects.
Episode 4 of the podcast is now available in the series No plan like yours to study history wisely. Having covered the Normans and Plantagenets in previous podcasts we have now arrived at the house of Lancaster, descended from John of Gaunt, the third surviving son of Edward III. This week we cover Henry IV, Henry IV, and Henry VI.
With many thanks to Andrew Durrant of This is Distorted
And the legal bit:
This podcast uses sounds from free sound which are licensed under creative commons:
Ambient battle sounds by pfranzen at https://freesound.org/people/pfranzen/sounds/192072/
Beheading SFX by Ajexk at https://freesound.org/s/271984/
How did you do with the Alfred Jewel? Remember I’m choosing items of national significance from whatever period they might be. I think this one is a bit trickier…possibly.
Today’s challenge is once again courtesy of Michael – first born daughters of English monarchs since 1066 – a tricky challenge which I shall have to go away and have a good long think about. Daughters were marriageable commodities, often used to seal treaties between kingdoms. Who for example can name the daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine? There were three of them and I have mentioned one of them in recent weeks.
England does not have a salic law forbidding daughters from inheriting the Crown even though many medieval barons baulked at the idea of a woman in charge and lets not forget that the laws pertaining to women were very clear – poor souls didn’t have the brain power to be in charge and were naturally inferior to their male counterparts. Rape laws had to do with stealing another man’s property rather than personal abuse – father, husband or brother – which meant that even if the woman was a willing participant it was these laws which were invoked. It’s a very interesting field of study – though somewhat infuriating.
Henry VII married the eldest daughter of Edward IV in order to help legitimise his reign – not that he ever acknowledged that particular fact in public.