Elaine's Reviews > When Christ and His Saints Slept

When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman
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Aug 24, 2010

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William the Bastard, the Conquerer (1066-1087) had: William Rufus, King William (1087-1100) who was killed by a hunting arrow. Henry I,(William's youngest son) became king from 1100 -1135. Henry's only legitimate son drowned when the king's White Ship sunk in the English Channel. His daughter Maude (also known as Matilda) was first married to Heirich, the Holy Roman Emperor. After he died Maude married Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, and had a son, Henry II.
Stephen, William's grandson, Maude's first cousin, (his mother was Adela, William's daughter) took the throne from Maude and reigned 1135- 1154. Maude and Goeffrey's marriage was a battlefield.

Geoffery of Anjou was given the informal last name "Plantagenet" because of his habit of wearing a sprig of broom or planta genesta in his cap.

Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitane.(Who had first been married to King Louis VII of France) Two of their sons were kings of England...Richard the Lion Heart and John. Henry II began the reign of the Plantagenets in England, ending with the death of Richard III at Bosworth, in the War of the Roses. Eleanor died at age 82, (1204) surviving Henry (who was betrayed by his own sons) by 15 years.

The 19 years of Stephen's rein were years of war as Maude fought for her crown. That period is known as the time "When Christ and His Saints Slept"
It was said that Maude would listen to no one and Stephen would listen to everyone.

Robert, Maude's brother (one of Henry I's 23 illegitimate children) was her staunchest supporter.

In the 12th Century one out of every three children died before the age of five.

The Counts of Anjou were said to trace their descent from Lucifer's daughter, Melusine. (Tail of a fish, married a mortal)

Sons and Grandsons born after the Conquest did not consider themselves, English. English had negative connotations, a defeated people. Those of Norman-French decent felt vastly superior to the subjugated English.

North Wales was known as Gwynedd.

Hides soaked in vinegar were used to repel fire arrows.

Hasard--- a dice gambling game.

Last names were based on the father's first name. Henry's son would be Fitz Henry. The king's son would be Fitz Roy. Henry II called himself Fitz Empress rather than Fitz Geoffrey or Fitz Count.

February 2 was the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as Candlemas.

June 24, the Nativity of John the Baptist, also known as Midsummer's Day.

Red Herring--something done to through another off the trail. In hunting a herring drawn across the trail was said to throw pursuing dogs off the scent.

Petronilla was Eleanor's sister.

Maude's epitaph (died 1167, at age 66) read "great by birth, greater by marriage, greatest in her offspring. Here lies the daughter, wife and mother of Henry."

Henry II said "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?"—a provocative statement which would perhaps have been just as riling to the knights and barons of his household at whom it was aimed as his actual words. Bitter at his old friend Thomas Becket, constantly thwarting his clerical constitutions, the king shouted in anger but possibly not with intent. However, four of Henry's knights, overheard their king's cries and decided to act on his words.
On 29 December 1170, they entered Canterbury Cathedral, finding Becket near the stairs to the crypt. They beat down the Archbishop, killing him with several blows. Becket's brains were scattered upon the ground with the words; "Let us go, this fellow will not be getting up again".

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Jill Bowman Nice summation. :-)

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