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Piers Gaveston: Minion of a Hateful King

Fascinating People Fascinating Places

Daniel Mainwaring

Documentary, Society & Culture:documentary, Society & Culture, History

51.1K Ratings

🗓️ 15 September 2023

⏱️ 31 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Piers Gaveston has cast a long shadow over 700 years of British history. He wasn’t quite a ’nobody’ but among the well-stacked ranks of medieval nobles, he was close to the last rung of the ladder. Rising from obscurity in France, for a time he was arguably the most powerful man in England. Even seeming to hold sway over King Edward II who many believe was his lover. Crude, vengeful, and thrice exiled, despite dying years before him, he is seen as partly culpable for the later murder of the King. Within the last decade, his name was invoked in a political scandal that almost saw the removal of the British Prime Minister.

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On the 2nd of January 1315, a grand yet somber occasion took place at a Dominican


Priory just outside of Kings Langley in all of England.


Other notable attendees included Earls, bishops, friars, the Chancellor, and most notably of all,


King Edward II of England. He had spent personally


300 pounds the equivalent of about quarter of a million dollars in today's


terms for the golden ropes


which were wrapped around the courts of the man the assembled masses had come to bury.


Pierce Gatherston, but the extravagance of the occasion belies the reality of Gaveston's


standing at the time and his reputation as it has been memorialized ever since.


By the time of his burial, Gaviston had been dead for two years.


He initially denied a Christian burial, as he'd been excommunicated by the church at the


time of his death.


Five hundred years later, a monument was erected northwest of Hertfordshire in Warwickshire, marking the exact location of Gavasen's demise.


Its inscription reads in parts, in the hollow of this rock was


beheaded by barons lawless as himself, Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, the minion of a hateful king, in life and death a memorable instance of misrule.


But who was Piers Gaveston? In this episode I explore his remarkable rise from


obscurity, his fall from grace, his resurgence, his ultimate demands, and his enduring yet still controversial legacy. It's believed Gavastin was born in 1284. His father, Arnold the Gabaston, was a knight who had operated for many years in the Pyrenees.


His mother, Claramond and Marsum, through an inheritance jointly on land with her brother in Gascon.


Her marriage to Gabiston meant the family who are now living in Gatscon were subjects of the Duke of Aquitaine,


a title held at that time by King Edward I of England.


Edward, often referred to as Longshanks and later as the hammer of the Scots


was a ferocious warrior. He was a competent administrator and respected if not loved by his subjects, but he was certainly the man of war.


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