PIERS GAVESTON, French favorite of Edward II of England, murdered (b: 1284); The favorite, and probable lover, of King Edward II of England. A Gascon by birth, Piers was the son of Sir Arnaud de Gabaston, a soldier in service to King Edward I of England. Arnaud had been used as a hostage by Edward twice; on the second occasion, Arnaud escaped captivity, and fled to England with his son. Both then entered the royal household, where Gaveston behaved so well and so virtuously that the King declared him an example for his own son, Prince Edward, to follow, making him a companion of Prince Edward in 1300.

Prince Edward was delighted with Gaveston — a man skilled in the arts of war and military tactics — who was noted for his wit, rudeness, and entertaining manner, and gave him many honors and gifts. The Prince also declared that he loved Gaveston ‘like a brother.’ Gaveston was also a close friend of Roger Mortimoer of Wigmore, Gaveston being awarded the wardship of Mortimer’s property after the death of Roger’s father – this was a great honor for Gaveston, since the wardship of such an estate would normally be awarded to a nobleman, and is thus an indication of the regard both the King and his son held for Gaveston.

When Gaveston returned in 1312, he was faced with hostility. Thomas Plantagenet, 2nd Earl of Lancaster raised an army against Gaveston and the King, and on May 4th attacked Newcastle, where Edward and Gaveston were holed up. They were forced to flee by ship to Scarborough Castle, leaving behind all of their money and soldiers, where they were appropriated by Lancaster. Edward then went south to raise an army, leaving Gaveston in Scarborough. Lancaster immediately brought his army up to threaten Gaveston and to cut him off from the King. Fearful for his life, Gaveston was forced to surrender to Aymer de Valence 2nd Earl of Pembroke who swore an oath to surrender his lands and titles to protect Gaveston.

However, in Oxfordshire, Gaveston was captured and taken to Warwick Castle by Guy de Beauchamp10th Earl of Warren. He was held there for nine days before the Earl of Lancaster arrived; Lancaster then judged, “While he lives, there will be no safe place in the realm of England.” Accordingly, on June 19th, Gaveston was taken to Blacklow Hill (which belonged to the Earl of Lancaster), and killed by two Welshmen, who ran him through with a sword before beheading him as he lay dying on the grass.

For more see The White Crane Blog.