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Downfall of a King's Favourite: Edward II and Hugh Despenser the Younger
The first-ever biography of Edward II's powerful and despotic favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger, whose behaviour brought down the king in 1326/27.
Published October 30th 2018 by Pen and Sword History
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Dec 10, 2018 Lisa rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
The greatest villain of the fourteenth century – at least according to a poll by BBC History Magazine – was Hugh Despenser the Younger. He was the favourite and possible lover of Edward II, his influence leading to the tyranny that marked Edward II’s later reign and, ultimately, the rebellion led by Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer that resulted in Edward’s deposition and Hugh’s savage execution. More than anyone else in that era, Hugh is the shadow that loomed over the narrative of Edward’s la ...more
It's astonishing that no-one has ever written a biography of Hugh Despenser the younger before. After all, he was the man responsible for the first ever deposition of an English king - an event which changed the course of history. The hated favourite and possible lover of Edward II - knight, pirate, extortionist - he has always been painted almost as a two-dimensional moustache-twirling villain. But what of the real man? Were his crimes really as bad as they have been reported ever since his dow ...more
I grew up in the north of England, and hold two degrees in medieval history and literature from the University of Manchester. I have run a blog about King Edward II (reigned 1307 to 1327) since 2005, have had work published about him in the prestigious academic journal the English Historical Review and in the academic essay collection Fourteenth Century England, and have appeared talking about him ...more