Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II: Downfall of a King's Favourite

Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II: Downfall of a King's Favourite

by Kathryn Warner


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Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II tells the story of ‘the greatest villain of the fourteenth century’, his dazzling rise as favorite to the king and his disastrous fall.

Born in the late 1280s, Hugh married King Edward I of England’s eldest granddaughter when he was a teenager. Ambitious and greedy to an astonishing degree, Hugh chose a startling route to power: he seduced his wife’s uncle, the young King Edward II, and became the richest and most powerful man in the country in the 1320s. For years he dominated the English government and foreign policy, and took whatever lands he felt like by both quasi-legal and illegal methods, with the king’s connivance. His actions were to bring both himself and Edward II down, and Hugh was directly responsible for the first forced abdication of a king in English history; he had made the horrible mistake of alienating and insulting Edward’s queen Isabella of France, who loathed him, and who had him slowly and grotesquely executed in her presence in November 1326.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781526751751
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 07/26/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Kathryn Warner holds a BA and an MA with Distinction in medieval history and literature from the University of Manchester, and is the author of biographies about Edward II and his queen Isabella. Kathryn has had work published in the English Historical Review, has given a paper at the International Medieval Congress, and appeared in a BBC documentary. She runs a popular blog on Edward II and is an expert on Edward II, Isabelle of Castille and Richard II.

Table of Contents

Genealogical Tables vi

A Note on Names/A Note on Chapter Headings ix

Introduction xi

Chapter 1 A Plethora of Hugh Despensers 1

Chapter 2 Early Life 9

Chapter 3 Knighthood and Wedding 18

Chapter 4 The New King 28

Chapter 5 Assaulted and Powerless 36

Chapter 6 A Death is an Opportunity 44

Chapter 7 A Three-Year Pregnancy 52

Chapter 8 Power at Last 63

Chapter 9 War, Exile and Piracy 73

Chapter 10 Executions and Extortion 85

Chapter 11 Magical and Secret Dealings 94

Chapter 12 Directing the War 111

Chapter 13 The Queen's Hatred 124

Chapter 14 The Last Summer 135

Chapter 15 The End 144

Appendix 1 Hugh's Children 158

Appendix 2 Hugh's Itinerary 164

Abbreviations 179

Endnotes 180

Bibliography 207

Index 214

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