Thursday 18 October 2018

Book Spotlight — The Wars Of Edward I The Leopard 1255 - 74 by David Pilling #Medieval #History @RobeH2

The Wars Of Edward I

The Leopard 1255 – 74

By David Pilling

‘To whom shall the noble Edward be compared? Perhaps he will be rightly called a leopard…’

Thus the Song of Lewes, composed by a hostile poet, described Edward I of England, remembered as the conqueror of Wales and Hammer of the Scots. By comparing him to a leopard, the poet praised Edward’s pride and fierceness, but criticised his alleged treachery and falsehood.

From his youth Edward divided opinion, and still does to this day.

Few princes had to serve such a tough or prolonged military apprenticeship. Edward’s early difficulties and failures, especially in Wales, forged him into one of the ablest Plantagenet warrior-kings. His alleged inconstancy as a youth saddled him with the reputation of an oath-breaker, and his capture at the Battle of Lewes was a signal humiliation. The spectacular reversal of fortune at Evesham, and swift rise thereafter to commander-in-chief of his father’s armies, proved the making of Edward’s reputation.

Edward owed much of his contemporary fame to his prowess as a general and fighting soldier. This book is the first of a three-part study of his military career, beginning with Edward’s first experience of war as a teenager in the duchy of Gascony, ending in his last doomed march to Scotland, aged sixty-seven. Book One deals with his formative military experiences in Gascony and Wales, the Second Barons’ War and the suppression of the Disinherited, and finally his role in the ill-fated Ninth Crusade.

This is the first non-fiction book by David Pilling, author of the Leader of Battles series, Soldier of Fortune, Caesar’s Sword, Reiver, and many other tales.


'Helpless in prison, Edward could do nothing to influence events. His old foe, Robert Ferrers, now took revenge for the devastation Edward had wreaked on his estates in the spring. Shortly after Easter 1264 he and other barons attacked Edwardian castles in the Midlands, seized Tickhill and Bolsover and destroyed Alvestone and Harestan. Ferrers also found time to help Baldwin Wake in the attack on Fotherinhay Castle, and in late June or early June captured Edward’s chief castle of the Peak in Derbyshire. At about the same time he took Nottingham Castle and installed his own men in the garrison, including one Roger Godberd, who would later earn notoriety in his own right. Later, in November, Ferrers led a large army to Chester and routed a royalist force led by Dafydd ap Gruffudd and two Marcher barons:

‘Robert de Ferrers of Derby took twenty thousand foot, and an equal number of horse, and marched on Chester. And there he encountered William le Zouche, David the brother of Llewelyn, James de Audley, and a multitude of others, but they did not dare to come against the earl in battle, and so fled. And when it came to the pursuit, he killed up to a hundred of them, and captured others; and only one of his men was wounded.'

David Pilling

I’m an English writer and researcher, addicted to history for as long as I can remember. I spent much of my childhood dragging my parents up and down ruined castles in Wales, and the medieval period has always held a particular fascination for me. I am also interested in the Roman period, the Dark Ages and the British Civil Wars of the 17th century. 

David loves to hear from readers, you can find him: Blog • Facebook •Twitter.


  1. Your book sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing an excerpt with us.

    1. Thank you Mary, I really appreciate the kind words :)

  2. Did Edward not side with the Barons at one point? I am sure I have read that somewhere. Your book sounds great by the way.

  3. Hi Beatrice, thanks for the interest and the kind comments. Yes, Edward sided with the barons in 1260, but was reconciled with his father by the next year. Hope that helps :)

  4. England had a colourful past! And a hectic one too! It's a wonder that anyone survived it!


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx