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The Plantagenets

The Plantagenet Family Tree

 

THE PLANTAGENETS - PART ONE

THE PLANTAGENETS - PART TWO

Henry II
King of England 1154 – 1189.
Born : March 25th, 1133 at Anjou, France.
Died : July 6th, 1189 at Cheateau Chinon, Anjou, France.
Interred : Fontevraud Abbey, Anjou, France.

When Henry’s father died in 1151 he took control of Normandy having already established a pact with King Stephen that he was heir to the English throne. The country having been thrown into Civil War, Henry II had a lot of business to settle. Stephen had allowed the barons more freedom, giving them a grasp on power that had been kept in check by a more forceful monarchy.

Castles that had been built without permission were torn down and Henry II introduced a tax system and law courts. These new reforms brought about a better keeping of records and a more efficient legal system. However, these new acts took power away from the church as they had dealt with crimes in the secular courts. This brought Henry into conflict with the church and so he appointed his friend and Chancellor, Thomas-a-Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury in the hope of keeping the peace. Whether this friendship gave Becket the comfort to oppose the King, he became his fiercest opponent in thinking the church was above these new laws and clergy committing any offence should be tried by the secular courts. He caused Henry II so much frustration in not only seeking aid from Pope Alexander III but receiving support from Henry’s long-time enemy, Louis VII of France. There is dispute as to Henry II knowing of the plot to assassinate Becket, but it certainly rid him of a trouble-maker.

Thomas-a-Becket was murdered in his church at Canterbury where he is now said to haunt.

Henry may have chosen wisely in marriage when it came to gaining lands and wealth as his wife came with the control of Aquitaine, making Henry more powerful than the King of France. But with this new marriage came problems as Eleanor of Aquitaine, also eleven years older than Henry, was divorced. Most women of that age, being spurned or widowed, would be expected to live out their days in a nunnery but Eleanor was not a typical woman of her time. She had already taken part in the 2nd Crusade, encouraging other females to do the same and her tales of adventures in these foreign lands could well have set her son Richard on the path to free Jerusalem.

Eleanor was married to Louis VII of France, giving him two daughters, Marie and Alix, also known as Alice. The marriage took a turn for the worse during the Crusades and was annulled with reasons of being closely related, though it is more likely due to Eleanor not producing the male heir required of her. It was a year later that Eleanor married Henry, before he came to the throne of England.

Henry II and Eleanor had eight children together though Henry enjoyed extra-marital affairs that brought more children of which Eleanor raised in the royal nursery. One affair was said to have troubled Eleanor so much so that she killed her husband’s mistress, Rosamund de Clifford. The affair had gone on for eleven years until Rosamund’s death which is very doubtful that it was caused by poison. When Rosamund died at Godstow, Henry paid towards a shrine that was placed in front of the altar. It soon became a place of pilgrimage tended by the nuns even after Henry’s death. It was when the Bishop of Lincoln visited in 1191 that he had the shrine and Rosamund’s remains reinterred outside the church, though it still gleaned an interest until destroyed in the acts of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Having installed Rosamund at Woodstock for the King to visit, she is reputed to haunt the area which is now the site of Blenheim Palace. Rosamund is also said to haunt the Trout Inn at Wolvercote, a White Lady supposedly being her spirit, coming with the stone that was pilfered to build the place.

If Rosamund was the love of Henry’s life, he soon moved on to other conquests. Procuring lucrative marriages for his surviving children, Henry went on to seek a divorce from Eleanor once she could produce no more offspring. Unfortunately he did not want to give up his hold on Eleanor’s lands either and the choice of his new bride was thoughtless and selfish in looking to Princess Alice who was already betrothed to his son, Richard. Instead of marrying her, Alice became the King’s mistress, producing several illigitimate children.

As William I, Henry attempted to divide the lands between his sons. The eldest son, William died around four years of age leaving Henry as the eldest surviving son. Henry II gave this son England and he was crowned King Henry III but never assended as monarch, being known as Henry, The Young King. Though this title was very grand it brought none of the powers associated with it as Henry II remained the true monarch.

Geoffrey Plantagenet married Constance of Brittany, gaining him the title of Count. The couple had two children, Eleanor, and a son, Arthur, who became Duke and took control when his mother abdicated in his favour. Both Arthur and Eleanor were later to become threats to their uncle, King John.

With Henry II dishing out titles with no power, or wealth for that matter, his sons soon turned upon him. The brothers often had the support of Louis VII of France while Henry II had the loyalty of his illigitimate sons. When there was a coup to uproot Henry II from England and leave his son Henry as the sole king, this failed when Richard, having the upper hand, refused to fight his father and pledged allegiance. The second time was different with Richard being the oldest surviving son and in the ensuing battle Henry was injured, dying two days later.


 Richard I
King of England 1189 – 1199.

Born : September 8th, 1157 at Beaumont Palace, Oxford.
Died : April 6th, 1199 at Chalus, France.
Interred : Fontevraud Abbey, Anjou, France.

Richard survived three brothers to become King of England. His mother Eleanor of Aquitaine had been kept a prisoner for the past fifteen years by her husband in his greed to keep control of her inheritance, that being Aquitaine and beyond. Richard was always her favourite and on his father's death Eleanor was released, spending most of the time as regent while Richard went off on his expensive adventures that tended to cost the English dearly. Though he was born in England, Richard had remained with his mother when she affected a separation by remaining in her own realm.

Unlike his siblings, Richard chose his own bride has his original betrothed, Princess Alice of France, was seduced by his father, making it an impossible match for Richard on religious grounds.

Having only met once, Princess Barengaria was taken to Richard to be married and then he was off to the Holy Lands. Barengaria went part of the way with her new husband before returning to Europe. With Richard being captured he did not get the chance to do his kingly duty of producing heirs, naming his brother, Geoffrey's son, Arthur his heir apparent.

This being a family to fall out and make up just as quickly, Richard decided to bypass Arthur and named John his successor. This did not go down too well with the barons as Arthur had a stronger claim than John, coming from the lineage of an older son. However, when Richard died from a wound acquired in a skirmish, John took the English throne.


John
King of England 1199 – 1216.
Born : December 24th, 1167 at Beaumont Palace, Oxford.
Died : October 18th/19th, 1216 at Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire (at the time in Lincolnshire.)
Interred : Worcester Cathedral, Worcestershire.

Although Richard I had named him successor to the English throne, his nephew Arthur had been heir apparent, being the son of Richard’s older brother.

On learning the news of his brother's death, John hurried to England and was crowned king at Westminster. He then left for what is now France and his Normandy holdings as his nephew, Arthur also had a strong claim. But neither was in a mind to share which eventually broke out in a war that Arthur lost. There are numerous stories as to what happened to young Arthur from John having him killed to doing the deed himself and throwing the body into the river Seine. Whatever happened, Arthur certainly died in 1203 when he disappeared, his remains never being found.

Arthur’s sister, Eleanor was also a threat. She was captured and spent the rest of her days a prisoner at Corfe Castle. Forgotten and over-looked, she died in 1216.

With Richard having used England like a bank to fund his crusade, John must have expected much the same, and more. Taxes were levied on lands and businesses with these new taxes raising money for the wars to secure Norman lands. When a group of monks went to make a plea in person to the King, asking to be exempt, John was so angry that he had them locked up with orders that they be crushed to death by horses.

It was that same night that John had a dream in which he was flogged for his cruelty. He must have had quite a shock when he woke for it is claimed his body had the marks of being flogged as in the dream. Seeing this as an omen, John released the monks and even went so far as to give them the lands of Beaulieu with permission to build an abbey. This became a very active centre and place of pilgrimage for over 300 years until the Dissolution. The ruins of Beaulieu Abbey are said to be haunted with visitors reportedly hearing the strains of chanting from disembodied monks.

John's father, Henry II, had renovations made at Nottingham Castle where meetings could be held and John is now seen as the villain during Richard’s absent reign.

The legend of Robin Hood is entwined with John, though stories date much further back. Robin is a name thought to be more associated with tree elves, spirits of the forest and the Green Man. There was many a villain from murderer to those stealing food to feed a starving family finding solace in the trees. These bandits had leadership and the name Robin Hood could well have been a code name used to cover the true identity. Such a title may well have been handed from one leader to another but none strike so much of a figure as the one associated with Prince John in his bid to usurp Richard I.

Though Nottingham Castle have no records of Robin Hood and his good deeds, the statues of him and Maid Marian make for a tourist attraction for those on a quest for Robin Hood and his Merrie Men.

At Edwinstowe, the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest attracts thousands of visitors each year. The tale is that Robin Hood used the hollow tree to store food but it was also used to keep birds prior to the cockfights. The church at the village of Edwinstowe is said to be where Robin Hood and Maid Marian held a marriage ceremony in the doorway.

After a twenty year reign, King John died not too far from Sherwood at Newark Castle which at the time was on the borders of Lincolnshire.

Having married first Isabella of Gloucester, on becoming King, John decided the marriage was inappropriate and it was annulled on grounds of too closer relationship, much to the anger of the Pope. But John soon found a more lucrative match and within months married 12-year-old Isabella, which brought another duchy to add to his holdings on the continent. Even though John was thirty three years old it was an age when infants were betrothed to much older men in sealing a pact or peace treaty, with a majority of the betrothals never coming to fruition.

John and Isabella had three children, Henry, Richard and Eleanor. On the death of King John the crown of England and an unstable monarchy was left to a nine-year-old boy.


Henry III
King of England 1216 – 1272.
Born : October 1st, 1207 at Winchester Castle, Winchester.
Died : November 16th, 1272 at Westminster, London.
Interred : Westminster Abbey, London.

Coming to the throne on his father's death at the age of nine, there were those who hungered for the power it brought as the country was ruled by Regency until 1227 when Henry became 20 years of age, that same year marrying Eleanor of Provence.

This was a time of mixed fortunes with internal strife leading to the brink of Civil War while fending off claims by the French.

After such a long reign, Henry all but gave up the crown to his eldest son, Edward before dying in 1272.


Edward I
King of England 1272 – 1307.
Born : June 17th, 1239 at the Palace of Westminster, London.
Died : July 7th, 1307 at Burgh-on-Sands, Northnmberland.
Interred : Westminster Abbey, London.

Edward I was older than most, coming to the throne at 33 years old. He had married Eleanor of Castile in 1254 and already had three surviving children. Eleanor went on to have 16 in all and when she died Edward was grief stricken.

A second marriage that was very diplomatic, to Marguerite of France produced another three children.

Edward is probably better known for his battles against Scotland but he was a ruthless man who also turned on the Jews. Once he had bled them dry and they could pay no more towards his cost of war, over 300 were taken to the Tower of London and killed while many more were butchered in their homes. Edward also decreed they should wear a yellow patch on clothing when in public, something Hitler’s regime would later incorporate.

Edward was on his way to wage another battle with the Scots when he died. His dream to see Scotland and England united as with Wales was not meant to be, at least not in his lifetime.


 Edward II
King of England 1307 – 1327.

Born : April 25th, 1284 at Caernarfon Castle, Wales.
Died : September 21st, 1327 at Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire.
Interred : St. Peter's Abbey, Gloucestershire.

Edward was the first to be titled Prince of Wales and though his father took him on campaigns, Edward I’s son and heir was simply not a warrior. His father put his extravagant ways down to the company kept and exiled his friend Piers Gaveston. On coming to the throne, Edward had Gaveston return and abandoned the Scottish campaign his father had fought so hard to achieve.

Piers Gaveston was married to Margaret de Clare, the Kings niece, which brought him into the royal family, and when Edward went to fetch his wife, Isabella of France, Gaveston acted as Regent.

The barons despised the friendship and soon rumours began to grow of an affair between the two. It was a cousin of the King, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster who led an opposing force against Gaveston and Edward was forced to send his friend into exile yet again.

When Edward thought things had died down, he recalled Gaveston only for the barons to rise up once again, but this time there was going to be no exile. On the Kings orders Gaveston took refuge at Scarborough Castle. The Castle was highly fortified at the side of the ruins that stand there today. With several sieges of the Castle having failed, the barons had no intention of breaking down the door, instead they bided their time until Gaveston was forced out by starvation. He was subsequently executed and is said to still haunt what is left of the castle on a decaying coastline.

Edward found new favourites in Hugh le Dispenser and his son. They soon had a strong hold over the King but they also disliked his wife who had been unhappily neglected in favour of Edward spending time with his friends. When Isabella took her eldest son to Aquitaine she refused to return while the Dispenser’s held any sway over the King.

Taking Roger Mortimer as her lover, Isabella formed an alliance and when she did return to English shores it was to conquer. Edward attempted to escape but was captured and held prisoner at Kenilworth Castle while those in Parliament deserted their King and declared his son the new monarch.

Edward II was moved from one place of internment to another until he ended up at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire where he was kept in appalling conditions. With the crown under Regency the power of the throne being in the hands of Isabella and her lover, it is said that they wanted to be rid of Edward permanently. When the bad conditions and almost starved of food didn't see him off, he was more than likely murdered. The more popular story is that to show no marks a hot poker was placed in his rectum, this also being punishment for his homosexuality. Edward II is reputed to haunt Berkeley Castle, the screams of this agony still being heard. It was claimed that Edward had died of natural causes and he was buried at St. Peter's Abbey which is now Gloucester Cathedral. His son, Edward III later avenged his father's death and had a magnificent tomb erected.


Edward III
King of England 1327 – 1377.
Born : November 13th, 1312 at Windsor Castle, Berkshire.
Died : June 21st, 1377 at Sheen Place, Windsor, Berkshire.
Interred : Westminster Abbey, London.

Edward III came to the throne while his father was still alive, having been imprisoned, he was murdered eight months later. Edward was 15-years-old and so the reign went into regency.

Although a commission had been formed, no one was in any doubt that Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer was in control. In October 1327, Edward married Princess Philippa from what is now Belgium and they had nineteen children that would later take the country into Civil War, known as War of the Roses.

On coming of age at eighteen, Edward took his place as King, overthrowing his mother and Mortimer in a palace coup at Nottingham. Mortimer was captured and held at Nottingham Castle before being taken to London where he was put on a mock trial with the inevitable outcome and was subsequently hanged. The public house cut into the rock below the castle is said to be haunted by Roger Mortimer with staff at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem reporting many unusual occurrences.

Edwards’s mother got off more lightly. Being arrested, Isabella was placed at Castle Rising in Norfolk and charged with her husband’s death at Berkeley Castle. Though Edward had no qualms about signing the death warrant for Mortimer, Isabella was after all this mother. Instead, she was placed under house arrest, and from records appears to have lived quite well for the next 20 years with her own small court of ladies in waiting and barons to attend her. However, the futility of being shut away is said to have eventually taken its toll and she went mad before dying at the age of 54.

She now haunts Castle Rising, the shrieks of manic laughter and the wails of sorrow at the loss of her lover being heard. Shortly after her death rumours spread that Isabella’s spirit had transformed into a wolf as her nickname by those who despised her foreign intervention was 'She Wolf of France.' Even in this more modern age, it is said on nights of the full moon, that Isabella in wolf form stalks the ramparts of the castle.

There are also suggestions that Isabella pays occasional visits to Nottingham Castle in search of her lover, Roger Mortimer, this being the last place she saw him alive.

The eldest son of Edward III, also named Edward, was headstrong and stubborn, especially when it came to marriage. Although he was heir to the throne, he married for love. Joan of Kent also known as 'The Fair Maid of Kent' had already been through two marriages, the first in secret to Thomas Holland, and while he was away on the Crusades, her family forced her to marry William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, a very lucrative match. When Thomas Holland returned, expecting his wife to be waiting for him, the whole story came out. The Pope annulled Joan’s second marriage and she had five children with Thomas Holland before his death. Joan was still young and having grown up at court, her father being the son of Edward I with his second wife Margaret of France, she and Edward were virtually cousins. Edward had always loved Joan, but it was a match his mother was against. Edward and Joan would meet at Hall Place at Bexley and apart from the wandering spirit of a female, Edward is said to be a regular visitor, wearing the black armour he is associated with, though a sighting of him is said to be a warning of bad luck to the owners of the property.

Edward and Joan had one surviving son when he died, the ravages of war affecting his health. He died one week before is 46th birthday, leaving Joan and an infant son and heir. Edward later became known as the Black Prince due to the colour of his armour, though other versions are that it was due to his black temper. He was interred at Canterbury Cathedral but when Joan past nine-years later the couple were not reunited and she is interred at Stamford in Lincolnshire.

Over 200 years later, Edward, the Black Prince could well have been the trouble of Cromwell’s men. Edward was born at Woodstock Manor, all that is now left of what was once a royal hunting lodge is now a plaque. It was here that Edward III’s wife, Queen Philippa, gave birth to their first child, and it was also here during the Civil War that commissioners took up lodgings. However, someone or something had no intention of them enjoying the luxuries. This was a classic poltergeist case as beds moved as though by invisible hands, candles blew out with no apparent cause, and broken glass was thrown. This activity ceased once Cromwell’s men left and the house was later destroyed by the Roundheads in retribution. What remained was removed when Blenheim Palace was built.

Another son of Edward III, Lionel of Antwerp became Earl of Ulster on marrying Elizabeth de Burgh, having one daughter, Philippa, whose descendants would later lay claim to the throne of England.

Edward III’s fourth son, John of Gaunt, married his cousin Blanche, which gave him the titles of Lancashire. His powers grew on his elder brother’s death and he acted as regent throughout the later reign of his father during his illness.

When Blanche died, John having married for a second time, the third was to his mistress Catherine Swynford which legitimised the children they had prior, but this also barred them from the throne that this line of the family would later usurp.

The youngest child of Edward III and Queen Philippa was also born at Woodstock so the poltergeist activity suffered by the Roundheads could just as well have been Thomas, known as Thomas of Woodstock. He married Eleanor de Bohun, the daughter of the Earl of Essex and they had five children. Thomas was murdered, possibly on the orders of Richard II.


Richard II
King of England 1377 – 1399.
Born : January 6th, 1367 at Bordeaux, France.
Died : February 14th, 1400 at Pontefract Castle, West Yorkshire.
Interred : King's Langley Church, Hertfordshire (Finally placed at Westminster Abbey by Henry V.)

Being made Prince of Wales on the death of his father Edward, the Black Prince in 1376, when his grandfather, Edward III died in 1377, after suffering a stroke, it left England with a 10-year-old King.

During his coronation at Westminster, a long affair for anyone, the boy King was so exhausted that he was carried from the abbey to the banquet that followed. In the process, one of his red shoes came off never to be found.

Richard’s uncle, John of Gaunt was by his side for the coronation but some unpopular decisions weakened his position and he was left out when appointing a council of twelve to act as Regency. Finding it difficult to give up their power, Richard was 22-years-old when he declared that he was taking control and placed his own favourites in positions of trust.

Having his uncle, Thomas, arrested, he was taken to Calais where he died at the hands of the King’s men. It is thought that he was suffocated with a mattress.

Things became worse for Richard on the death of his uncle, John of Gaunt. John’s son and heir to the vast wealth of Lancashire had been exiled the previous year and when Richard had the estates made forfeit to the crown, Henry’s anger was too great to stay away.

With a force of 300 men, Henry Bolingbroke landed in Yorkshire and stating that he only wanted his inheritance restoring, soon rallied support. The King was in Ireland delayed by storms and by the time he returned it was already too late.

Holding out at Conwy Castle, Richard was offered terms that would allow him to remain King, but once he came from the Castle he was swiftly arrested.

Richard was taken to the Tower of London, where no doubt under duress, was forced to abdicate in favour of Henry Bolingbroke.

Five months later Richard II was dead. Held at Pontefract Castle where Thomas Swynford was Constable, he being the son of Katherine Swynford and step-brother to Henry Bolingbroke, Richard was probably starved to death. He was too dangerous to keep alive as plots were already afoot to restore Richard to the throne. To prove to the people that the former King was truly dead, Henry IV ordered Richard’s body to be put on display before internment at Kings Langley church in Hertfordshire, though there were those who could not come to terms with the death and for years there were reported sightings. Richard’s body was later moved to Westminster Abbey but his coffin had been so badly constructed that it was falling apart and on route people were putting their hands in the holes and taking what they could snatch.

After 245 years Richard II was the last King of the House of Plantagenet.


Paranormal X 2000 - 2013

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