The chaotic violence of the tourney also appealed to the darker side of Edward’s nature. As a young man he surrounded himself with a band of unruly companions, including his unpopular Lusignan kinsmen. The chronicles report exaggerated tales of the cruelties inflicted by the prince and his men, including one lurid account of Edward ordering the mutilation of a defenceless peasant out of mere spite. His comrades were said to have attacked a priory while Edward was visiting his uncle at Wallingford, driving out the monks and indulging in an orgy of vandalism. .
In a bid to work off his son’s destructive energies – and remove him from the political scene – Henry sent Edward abroad in 1260 to participate on the French tournament circuit. One hostile account claims the prince and his thuggish friends did badly, often being wounded and losing all their gear and horses. A more pro-Edwardian account claimed he ‘gained the victory in the tournament’. Edward doesn’t appear to have suffered any lasting damage. By 8th October he was back in England where he knighted two of the sons of Simon Montfort. In November he went back to France, where he once again entered the lists. In June he was gravely wounded in the melee and considered fortunate to survive.
‘To whom shall the noble Edward be compared? Perhaps he will be rightly called a leopard…’
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.
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