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Merry Christmas To All Henry the Young King Readers!

To all Henry the Young King's readers. Greeting! Our blog is taking a break until 8 January, so let me wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (hopefully full of Henry the Young King)! Here you can find my last year text about where and how Christmas was celebrated at the courts of Henry and his family.
During festive season I'm going to re-read my favourite Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman, but also find a few minutes to pay a visit to my friend Gabriele's Lost Fort in search of Henry's sister Matilda and her husband Heinrich der Löwe [Henry the Lion], Duke of Saxony and Bavaria. I will be staying in a company of Edward II and Piers Gaveston, but also of my friend CrazyCris and a certain Clever Boy.
Stay warm and safe (hopefully we won't have to suffer what Henry and his consort, Marguerite were through on the Christmas night of 1172, when "a thunder was heard in Ireland and England and in all of France generally, Sudden and dire, portending some…

19 December 1154. Coronation of Henry's Parents

On Sunday, 19 December 1154, Henry the Young King's parents were crowned king and queen of England at Westminster Abbey by Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury*. The chronicler Henry of Huntigdonexpressed the feelingsthat must have filled all the hearts in the ravaged by the civil war England: … Henry was crowned and consecrated with becoming pomp and splendour, amidst universal rejoicing, which many mingled with tears of joy!’ (Henry of Huntingdon p.296-97).
The then Henry fitz Empress was staying in Normandy when he learned that on 25 October king Stephen died. ‘… Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, with many nobles, dispatched messengers in all haste to their now lord the Duke of Normandy, intreating him to come over without delay, and receive the crown of England. Hindered, however, by contrary winds and a stormy sea, as well as other circumstances, it was not till six days before Christmas that, accompanied by his wife and brothers, with a retinue of great nobles and a strong forc…

Saint Nicholas Day 1183 and Other December Anniversaries

On 6 December 1183, six months after Henry the Young King's untimelay death, his father Henry II and his brother-in-law Philip of France met at the peace conference between Gisors and Trie, wherethe former did homage to the latter “for all his lands beyond the sea, whereas before this he had never been willing to do homage to him” (Howden, Vol.II, p.31). The two kings also came to terms over the Norman Vexin, which Philip's half-sister, Marguerite had brought into the Angevin domains in 1160 upon her marriage to the Young Henry. It was agreed that for quitting claims to the Vexin and all the castles and fortresses given to her and her husband by her father Louis VII on their marriage, Marguerite should receive, one thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds money Angevin, "each year at Paris from our lord the king of England and his heirs, as long as she lived" (Howden, Vol II, p.28). They also discussed the fate of Marguerite and Philip’s sister Alais, who had been bet…

25 November 1120. The White Ship Sinking

Exactly 893 years ago, on a bitterly cold and frosty” night [Orderic Vitalis], the White Ship went down in the waters near Barfleur, taking almost all her passengers to the bottom of the sea. Among them was William Ætheling (b.1103), Henry I's son and heir.… the head which should have worn a crown of gold, was suddenly dashed against the rocks; instead of wearing embroidered robes, he floated naked in the waves; and instead of ascending a lofty throne, he found his grave in the bellies of fishes at the bottom of the sea… [from Henry of Huntingdon,Letter to Walter].                                             William Ætheling (1103-1120), via Wikipedia

Together with the prince perished his half-brother, Richard, king Henry’s bastard son, “one whom we admired for his talents, and from whom we expected great things” Their half-sister, Matilda, wife of Rotrou Count of Mortain [William of Malmesbury calls her the countess of Perche], and Richard, the young earl of Chester [aged twenty-s…

Henry Says "Thank You!"

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of our blog. We have survived in the blogosphere. Hooray! Of course this would not be possible without all the wonderful people we have met. I would like to thank my dear husband, Piotrek for his love and and unwavering support; Sharon Kay Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick for my renewed interest in Henry and his tempestuous family; Richard Willis for inviting me and Henry to his blog (and my first offiicial post on Henry) his friendly words of advice and our chats about the Angevins; Paweł and Marcin Fujcik for book supplies; Mateusz Kolek for being a great help in creating our blog; Emilie Laforge, who has become Henry's godmother; Kathryn Warner for her encouragement. kind support and fresh approach to writing about history; Joan Battistuzzi,Anerje, Gabriele C. and Christina Beans Picón for their lovely and thought-provoking comments, Stephanie Churchill Ling and Ken John for all the links and recommendations; also David Pilling, Malcolm Craig…

Happy Anniversary to Henry the Young King

Today marks the first anniversary of Henry the Young King blog! Hooray! I started it exactly a year ago, on 7 November 2012, posting about Henry at the coronation of his brother-in-law, Philip Capet [later Augustus] And here we are still, jauntily conquering blogosphere. To celebrate the joyous occasion I have invited my favourite historian and blogger to answer a few questions about her brilliant blog and offer Henry and me a friendly word of advice for the future. I am deeply honoured to welcome Kathryn Warner. Kathryn grew up in the Lake District in the north-west of England, and gained a BA and an MA with Distinction in medieval history and literature from the University of Manchester.  She spends much of her time researching and writing about King Edward II (1307-1327), and has run a blog about him since December 2005. Kathryn had an article published in the English Historical Review in 2011 and enjoys poring over and translating primary sources of Edward II's reign.  When no…

Not Enough Henry.... Or How To Get Lost In A Book

Hello everyone! A few more thoughts on Henry to share. Since last August I've been a happy owner of a fantastic book. Highly recommended to those of you who have become members of the Angevin royal households for good. England under the Norman and Angevin Kings by Robert Bartlett has comfortably settled on my working desk, ready to fall in my greedy hands whenever I choose. Professor Bartlett provides a reader with all sort of useful information, from court politics, royal finances and administration, via saints and their cults, overseas pilgrimage, dance and drama, to naming patterns, love, sex, marriage, manners and „beings neither angelic, human, nor animal”. I have learnt of the English kings' miraculous abilities to cure swelling of the throat glands, discovered St William of Norwich's love for candles, travelled with the portable royal household...

Unfortunately the book, excellent as it may be, suffers from one major drawback: not enough Henry the Young King. I am…

17 October 1173: The Battle of Fornham

‘I have been concerned here to record what I know from personal experience of the events that took place in St Edmund’s church in my time, describing the bad deeds as well as the good, to provide both warning and example. I begin in the year in which the Flemings were taken prisoner outside the town…’ With these words Jocelin of Brakelond begins his Chronicle of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds and adds that 1173 was the year when he himself entered the monastery. Following suit, Jocelin must have known every detail of the battle that was fought at nearby Fornham St. Genevive on 17 October 1173, the first serious defeat of Henry the Young King’s forces on English soil in the rebellion against his father, and probably, as John D. Hosler points out ‘the most decesive battle’ in Henry II’s reign.
‘… on the fourth of July, by the king’s command, the city of Leicester is said to have been besieged, because the earl, its lord, had left the king and taken part with the young king his son’ (Roger o…