This is a highly original reappraisal of the role of Piers Gaveston in English history and of his personal relationship with Edward II. It challenges the accepted view that Gaveston had a homosexual affair with Edward, and reassesses the main events of Gaveston's career, including his exiles from England and the scandal over the alleged theft of royal jewels.
Pierre Chaplais draws his evidence from documentary and narrative sources including unpublished record evidence. The conclusions are fascinating and often surprising. The unusual features of the famous royal charter of 6 August 1307, which granted the earldom of Cornwall to Gaveston are discussed at length for the first time. Special attention is also paid to the king's personal intervention in the drafting and sealing of documents relating to Gaveston, and to the history of the great seal of absence used while Edward was in France in 1308.
This unique criticism of the documentary evidence by a leading diplomatist and historian of the period reveals the reality behind the myths surrounding Piers Gaveston, and makes fascinating reading.
'The arguments are scholarly.'
James Mildren, Western Morning News
'Pierre Chaplais's profound understanding of documents and their seals ultimately derives from a fascination with detail of this kind. His work brings us uniquely close to the practices and procedures of English medieval administration.'
Times Literary Supplement
`Pierre Chaplais is the master of English diplomatic history, and he displays his erudition in some magnificent vignettes...Chaplais' diplomatic skills allay the confusion over the date of Gaveston's final return from exile...Chaplais also clarifies the date of the papal bull absolving Gaveston of excommunication...We can but thank Chaplais for the insights he so ably has provided.'
`A highly original reappraisal of the role of Piers Gaveston in English and of his personal relationship with Edward II.'
The Medieval World
`an unusual book'
The English Historical Review
`Chaplais brings out interesting new evidence to demonstrate just how completely Edward trusted his alter ego.'
Scott L. Waugh, University of Callifornia, Los Angeles, Speculum - A Journal of Medieval Studies, Apr, 1996
Pierre Chaplais s well known as a leading authority on the diplomatic and administrative history of late-medieval England, and he is also a highly respected paleographer. His analysis of the dating and decoration of the charter granting the earldom of Cornwall to Gaveston is fascinating. Regardless of whether his novel interpretation of the relationship between king and favorite is accepted, this slim volume will remain a model iof insightful scholarship.