Tag Archives: Scotland

Baby Brothers

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Two loving brothers

A little while ago I wrote an article about how badly middle children were treated in the Middle Ages. I got to musing on this point again this week, mainly because my baby sister was being her usual grandparent-cum-babysitter-hogging self.

I was, of course, being unfair to my baby sister; I know this because my mum-cum-grandparent-cum-can’t-babysit-because-your-sister-might-need-me told me so.

This got me running for the history books – my own form of escapism – and I decided to look into younger siblings throughout history. I was amazed at how loyal, loving and unspoilt baby brothers were in Medieval times (does the sarcasm come across ok? IT SHOULD!).

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Helpful Henry I

Baby brothers were always very helpful, loyal and supportive. Look at Henry I. On his death  William the Conqueror left Normandy to his eldest son Robert Curthose, and he left England to his second son, William II Rufus.

Henry, who was son no. 3, was supportive of this and in no way resentful. Staying in England, he followed his older brother, William, everywhere. It must have been some sort of hero-worship, as Henry was always close by. In fact, he was so close to William that he was with him when William was ‘accidentally’ struck by an arrow in the New Forest.

Henry was so distraught by his brother’s death that he forgot his duty to look after his brother’s body. Not knowing what he was doing, he rode wildly away and somehow managed to find himself in Winchester.

Luckily this was where the Royal Treasury was held.

Henry came to his senses in Winchester and decided the sensible thing was to take control of the Treasury and get himself crowned at Westminster Abbey as soon as possible. He knew this what was William would have wanted. After all he’d spent most of his reign arguing with their older brother, Robert, so he wouldn’t have wanted him to be king.

Robert_curthose
Robert Curthose, Henry I’s ‘guest’

And then there was Robert…..

Having taken on the onerous duties of kingship, Henry realised what a hard and difficult life it was. He didn’t want any one else to have to go through the hardships he was enduring, not even his brother the Duke of Normandy. After an hour-long battle – oops, I meant ‘discussion’ – at Tinchebray Henry very kindly took over the running of Normandy and sent Robert to Devizes Castle – and Spa – for the next 20 years, and then onto a hotel called the Cardiff Castle.

Of course, one of the better younger brothers was John, brother of Richard I. When Richard went on crusade to the holy Land, John did his best to look after Richard’s kingdom, even though he hadn’t been asked. He kept Richard’s enemies quiet by plotting with them – although he was never going to go through with the plots. He looked after some castles – such as Nottingham – so that Richard’s civil servants had their hands free to do other tasks.

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Durnstein Castle, Richard I’s holiday home in Germany

Even more helpfully John, knowing how onerous it was to run a country, tried his best to use his own money – and that of the king of France – in order to extend Richard’s holiday in Germany. Richard was having such a good time that John felt it a shame his holiday would ever have to finish.

There were, of course, younger brothers who took advantage of their older sibling’s generosity. Edward Bruce, for example, liked the idea of having a crown of his own and asked his older brother, Robert, to help him claim one by giving him an army to invade Ireland. Unfortunately, Edward got carried away and lost his head.

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Distracted Duke Humphrey

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, also asked older brothers, Henry V and John Duke of Bedford, to help him carve out a little country for himself after he married Jacqueline de Hainault. Jacqueline had been chased out of her own country by her husband (her other husband, not Duke Humphrey) and her uncle.

Humphrey tried his best to win the country back for Jacqueline, until he got distracted by Jacqueline’s lady-in-waiting, Eleanor de Cobham.  Humphrey lost interest in his wife’s Dutch lands and legged it back to Ol’ Blighty and, on finding out he wasn’t actually married to Jacqueline as she already had a husband, married Eleanor.

And now we come to the best little brother of all……

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Edward IV making the most of his leisure-time

He was loyal and faithful throughout his brother’s two kingships. Richard of Gloucester did everything for his bog brother Edward. He hero-worshipped him; followed him into exiled; ran the North of England for Edward so that Edward had more leisure-time.

He was a model baby brother and that didn’t end with Edward’s premature death at the age of 40 (probably because he didn’t have enough leisure-time).

Richard obviously thought that Edward had died from over-work. He blamed all those around Edward who had not told the king to ‘take a rest’ regularly. When he came to London to commiserate with his beloved sister-in-law, Richard punished those he blamed for his brother’s early death.

Edward’s mistress, Jane Shore, who obviously had failed to make sure Edward was in bed nice and early, was made to do penance and walk through the city barefoot. Richard was so mad at Edward’s best friend – for not making sure the king took his ease after a hard day’s work – that he relieved the man of his head.

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Edward V being saved from working himself to death

The grieving Duke then turned to his little nephews.

Richard couldn’t bear the thought of little Edward V having to go through the life his father had endured.

One afternoon, when taking tea with Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Richard came up with a plan for helping Edward. Elizabeth was reminiscing on her wedding day, and how the sun was shining, how no one knew about it – she even mused on how much fun it was, keeping the secret. Richard jokingly said ‘it’s a wonder Edward hadn’t done that before’ and giggled.

Then he turned pensive and ….. well, you know the rest.

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Jeff R Sun still has no babysitter

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Sources: Cairo in Spring by JAH; Cairo in Summer by A Carson; The Best Spa Resorts in Germany by Richard T Lionheart; The best Spa Resorts in the UK by Robert C Hose; How to Invade a Country Without Success by Edward Bruce and Humphrey Gloucester

Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The truth about the death of the King of Scotland.

"Kenneth II of Scotland" by The original uploader was Benson85 at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kenneth_II_of_Scotland.jpg#/media/File:Kenneth_II_of_Scotland.jpg
Someone who may or may not be Kenneth of Scotland, drawn in the Autumn, as is obvious by the leaves that have fallen on his head just before this picture was drawn.

Anglicised as Kenneth II, Cináed mac Maíl Coluim, was the son of Malcolm I (Máel Coluim mac Domnaill) and was born sometime before 964,  succeeding King Cuilén (Cuilén mac Iduilb) in 971 as King of Scots (Alba).

Known primary sources, such as The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba were compiled in Kenneth’s reign, but many of the place names and events mentioned are entirely imaginary or corrupt.  It is always difficult sieving the wheat from the chaff when trying to establish a time line for his life and years of reign.

Whatever the reality, more reliable sources have always been available to tell the story of his death and at a conference in Wybunbury, the ceremonial county of Cheshire, following painstaking years of piecing together and translating a short parchment, an established version of the events leading to his demise and the immediate aftermath has now been recorded and accepted by all leading ‘Kenneth’ scholars.

The new material endorses part of what has has been known for many years, the account of John of Fordun writing in the 14th century. Kenneth attempted to change the succession rules, allowing “the nearest survivor in blood to the deceased king to succeed“, thus securing the throne for his own descendants. He did so to specifically exclude Constantine) and Kenneth (known as Gryme) in this source. The duo then conspired against him, convincing Finnguala (literally meaning fair shoulder) to kill the king which she is reputed to have done as revenge for Kenneth killing her own son.  Things got a bit complicated then as she turned into a swan and there was a wicked stepmother somewhere but I lost the will to live when it got to the fairy tale bit and so as we know they did not all live happily ever after, we will leave it at Finnguala killing Kenneth. That much is established now beyond doubt and is summed up below.

One day, Kenneth II and his companions went hunting into the wood. The hunt took him to Fettercairn, where Finnguala resided. It has now been established that Fettercairn is known better as Soweth Påk (South Park in modern English).

Finnguala approached him to proclaim her loyalty and invited him to visit her home, whispering into his ear that she had information about a conspiracy before  enticing him to  a small dwelling where a booby trap was hidden, a statue connected by strings to a number of crossbows. If anyone moved the statue, this would trigger the crossbows and be pierced by the arrows. Kenneth touched the statue and “was shot though by arrows sped from all sides, and fell without uttering another word.

Finnguala escaped through the woods and managed to join her co-plotters, Constantine  and Gryme.

Despite Kenneth having been killed at Soweth Påk, the hunting companions soon discovered the blood soaked king.  With the now world famous cry they proclaimed his death,

“Oh my god, they killed Kenny! You bastards!”

Jeff Jefferty Jeff is going to go and lick his salty balls – chocolate ones that is!

Source material:

Linen

Cotton

Silk

Polyester

Polly Esther

Denim

df2

© Jeff ‘Jefferty’ Jeff  08.06.15

William Wallace and Brave Heart (with a peep at Quantum Mechanics)

 

Since Mrs JJ flounced off at the end of last year and went to stay with her mother, I have found something wonderful. I have complete and absolute unilateral control of the television remote control and no longer have to be subjected to hour after hour of repeats of repeats of repeats of QI or never ending programmes about women giving birth.

I sat down one night with a glass of homemade Elderflower Cordial that Mrs JJ had left in

thriftyliving. net
Home madeelderflower cordial: thriftyliving. net

the pantry and despite this cordial being maybe 110% proof (how did she do that?) I flicked through the channels on the TV, finding a film called Braveheart was just starting.

It is a film that I have never seen, to the incredulous amazement of my fellow Jeffs, but after fetching a plate of cheese and pickled gherkins I sat down to watch with enjoyment as Mel Gibson, cast as a fictitious character called William Wallace, swash buckled his way through the scenes.

Feeling mellow I reflected how similar this film was to the life of real person in history with a similar name and wondered why this should be.

Mel Gibson wearing makeup that is meant to look like woad.
Mel Gibson wearing makeup that meant to look like woad.

For days I hunted through articles and journals and even took a trip to Rome to hunt for clues to this strange matter. It was in Rome, most glorious and historic of cities, that I found the answer, an answer so strange as to defy belief but believe it I must. I have seen the evidence. I have the photo copies and now you will have the story.

Braveheart is a 1995 epic historic fantasy film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson plays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. Except for the actual existence of a king of that name and regnal number and a war of that name, the whole of the plot is made up. (Scots are not made up of course and did exist in Mediaeval times and still exist today. My cousin Jeff’s wife is a Scot.)

Uilliam Uallas, however, was a mild mannered, scholarly land owner in Scotland who was born about 1270. As a child he liked pressing wild flowers and catching butterflies with his mother’s hessian hair net, but he longed to be more manly and masculine to attract the attention of the sweetest girl he had ever seen. This was not to be however, as after his father’s death he was sent to live with his uncle and continued his education in Rome.

It was while in Rome that Uilliam met the Medici family through a contact of his Uncle and lodged with them until his return to Scotland around 1291. He stayed mostly at their estate at Mugello, just 37 km from Florence and a day’s jaunt away from their town house in Rome. By road now the journey takes about four and a half hours but in baking summer sun it seems longer than a day and certainly no jaunt, particularly when undertaken with a car sick Mrs JJ and two small people in the back seat.

Uilliam’s greatest friend there was Salvestro de’ Medici, son of Averardo, who interestingly are cited as being the possible 18th and 19th great grandfathers of Princess Di. Salvestro was a young man fascinated in what we today would describe as physics or physical science but then was described as natural philosophy.

The Medici’s were up an up and coming yuppy family, famous for pickling gherkins, and although they were initially considered very nouveau riche and crass, their patronizing of artists and natural philosophers made them more acceptable among the old money; it also kept them abreast of the latest in ‘scientific’ experiments and gadgets. Among the papers in the family archives are Salvestro’s designs for what we would later describe as a helicopter and scuba diving equipment, designs that later would be reworked and credited to Leonardo da Vinci.

Also among the family papers are pages and pages of equations and one is amazing.

E = mc²

along with margin notes in Salvestro’s writing saying in Mediaeval Italian: time travel is possible, at least in one direction.

Physics is not my strong point so I Googled time travel and came up up this page http://timetravelphilosophy.net/topics/relativity/

The page claims conclusively that Time Travel in both directions is possible, not only possible but probable! and consistent with the theory of relativity.

And Salvestro knew this and would have told his friend Uilliam who was desperate to be a manly man to woo the girl he loved (manly men were in big demand then*) and didn’t know how to go about it.

A third page article that I found online in the Cornish Guardian dated December 1995 gives the rest of the story.

Double History. Cornish guardian spoof.

So piecing together all of this evidence, it is clear that Uilliam time travelled forward to 1995, watched a fantasy film, thought ‘I can do that’, went back to Rome and spent hours weight training until he resembled the swash buckling hero of the movie, grew his hair long and didn’t shave too often and then journeyed back to his lands in Scotland….and the rest, as they say, is history.

Uilliam Uallas is better known of course by the modern spelling of William Wallace and is commemorated in Blind Harry’s epic poem The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace.

The opening lines of The Wallace

Our antecessowris that we suld of reide, And hald in mynde thar nobille worthi deid, We lat ourslide throu verray sleuthfulnes, And castis us ever till uther besynes. Till honour ennymyis is our haile entent, It has beyne seyne in thir tymys bywent. Our ald ennemys cummyn of Saxonys blud, That nevyr yeit to Scotland wald do gud, But ever on fors and contrar haile thar will, Quhow gret kyndnes thar has beyne kyth thaim till. It is weyle knawyne on mony divers syde, How they haff wrocht in to thar mychty pryde, To hald Scotland at undyr evermar, Bot God abuff has maid thar mycht to par. Yhit we suld thynk one our bearis befor, Of that parablys as now I say no mor. We reide of ane rycht famous of renowne, Of worthi blude that ryngis in this regioune, And hensfurth I will my proces hald, Of Wilyham Wallas yhe haf hard beyne tald.

(Auto correct went slightly insane whilst typing that. Auto correct is currently under sedation in a darkened room and ‘hops two bee buck son’)

And that is the end of my tale, until Wallace comes again from the past, or will it be the future, or can he indeed do that at all now he has been hung, drawn and quartered not to mention castrated?

No! I said NOT to mention castrated!

Watch this space.

* Jeff Jefferty Jeff considers himself manly man, though maybe a little inclined to chubbiness. He is currently separated and looking for a suitable woman for friendship and to share his interests. Knowledge of how to use a tin opener and microwave is essential.

Sources:

Cornish Guardian newspaper online

Brave heart- film

Microwave cookery for one: Belinda Bellend

The Medicis: Scrap of old paper I found in Aunt Rose’s trunk

Nat West bank Statement (from the personal collection of Jeff Jefferty Jeff)

How to get a quicky divorce from a flouncing wife: public interest article, the Guardian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Jeff Jefferty Jeff February 2015