When Frenchman William of Normandy conquered England in 1066, that changed everything. When, nearly two hundred years later, another Frenchman named Simon de Montfort ruled England in the name of the king, that changed everything too. Only you wouldn’t know it today. Go to Lewes and see if you can find much indication that a At Lewesmonumental, almost fabled battle, one that changed the course of history, took place there. I started this project after such visit in the hope that the English nation, indeed the world, might better appreciate this fascinating figure and his compelling story. I came to Europe from New England, where I earned a degree in modern and classical languages, and have been living mostly in the Czech Republic since that time, working as a teacher and translator. 
Darren Baker

14 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Hi
    please tell me what HARD EVIDENCE there is for the battle of Evesham being on the suggested site, thank you. No finds of any wapons or medieval arrowheads have ever been found apart from one axe, no bones, no skeletons, no burial pits and even Battlewell has proven to be not medieval. Why is all this please ? Its a genuien question in a search for the facts. ‘ The facts gentleman, we must have the facts ‘ ( To quote Mrs T ! ). Even though the battle was 750 years ago surely there would be some finds after all the ploughing up of the fields etc. Why are there none

    1. BattlewellAfraid it’s the same as with Lewes. ‘The pickings have been good’ (to quote Mr T). Arrowheads would have been in short supply in any case. Very few reports of archers being used (the Welsh ran for it early on) and the scarcity of commodities during this period of unrest would have had scavengers thoroughly combing over the whole field for bits of anything. In the end it doesn’t really matter whether finds are eventually made or Battlewell is medieval or not. The UK government has done nothing to turn Evesham or Lewes into heritage sites worth visiting, more proof that the royalists are still firmly in control. Battlewell today is nothing more than green muck without post or marker one. Boggles the imagination…

    2. The hard evidence is in the chronicles, after all eyewitnesses are considered good enough for secure a conviction in a murder trial when properly questioned 😉

  2. Hello Darren,
    Please, let me introduce myself
    I am Valentina, from Mrs. Katherine Ashe’s book companion site
    The people who know me, including Ms. Iris Pinkstone and Mrs. Ashe, know also that there is nothing more important in my life than Simon de Montfort.
    I am still doing research for a book on his descendants in the House of Orsini de Pitigliano de Nola, including Jacqueline de Luxembourg the mother of queen Elizabeth Woodville ….. I also do research on the great works of literature inspired by him and his sons, starting with Amadis de Gaula and ending with the Count of Monte Cristo (based on the unofficial life of Guido de Monte Forte, count of Nola, former Guy de Montfort)
    I have a similar photo as you with the Lewes helmet on which Simon is depicted!
    I am very happy to see that our group grows stronger thanks to you! Hopefully, we will meet at the great battle of Lewes 750 years anniversary in 2014

  3. Greetings!
    In 1965 I met someone (a professor of psychology) living in New Orleans and San Francisco who claimed Simon de Montfort as an ancestor. He owned many fascinating items which led me to believe he was probably telling the truth. He was approximately fifty years old and spoke with a slight British accent. Obviously he must be deceased. Several years ago on a genealogy website I came across information about a deceased de Montfort family from both France and England. I think it was definitely his relatives. Perhaps you would like to contact me? I have never forgotten him because he was definitely a fascinating individual.

  4. I would like to make contact with the author of “Simon de Montfort”, Mr J R Maddicott. If anyone represents him or if Mr Maddicott is reading this, please would you get in touch. We are organising the 750th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Evesham and would very much like to involve Mr Maddicott somehow.

    Many thanks

  5. Hi,
    I have just become acquainted with your site and very good it is too. One comment I do have is the regarding the adoption of the arms of Simon de Montfort according to Matthew Paris. I believe that Matthew Paris is the only contemporary to draw the arms of Simon de Montfort as a red lion on a white background. All rolls of arms give a white lion on a red background. I also understand that Matthew Paris drew the shield of Simon de Montfort three times. In only one of these occasions did he refer to a red lion on a white shield – the other two occasions he referred to a white lion of a red field and in one of these the tail was not forked. I am also led to believe that where he drew the red lion (there are two shields in the margin) he was referring to the death of Simon de Montfort the Albigensian crusader (and his brother I believe). In any event, the evidence from Matthew Paris that ‘our’ Simon de Montfort had a red lion on a white background is not by any stretch of the imagination conclusive and yet the rolls of arms from the period clearly all list/show a white lion on a red background. It appears to me that the choice of arms is incorrect and I would dearly like to discuss this further if you have the time.

    1. Many thanks for getting in touch. In addition to Paris’ drawing, there is The Douce Apocalypse from around 1270, also showing Simon’s banner as a red lion on a light background. Much of the confusion it seems comes from the image at Chartres Cathedral that shows a Montfort with a white lion on a red background, but in all probability it was his father’s image.
      Montfort's banner

  6. Yes, the image at Chartres Cathedral is almost certainly that of Simon de Montfort the Albigensian crusader. However, this does not mean that ‘our’ Simon’s arms were different. In fact, it points towards them being the same as arms in these days were family arms.
    I am not familiar with the Douce Apocalypse and I would be most grateful if you could provide me with more information about this so I can do my own research.
    Matthew Paris drew the arms of Simon de Montfort three times and each is different. In contrast, whenever they are listed in the rolls of arms, all of them, without exception, give the arms of Simon de Montfort as a white lion (forked tail) on a red field. These rolls of arms were compiled for their masters by heralds who were experts in heraldry. Matthew Paris was a monk.
    It is my hope that more research is made into the arms of Simon de Montfort so that, if at all possible, this matter can be settled. For example, I have come across one web site that claims the Matthew Paris drawings provide absolute proof of Simon’s arms – this claim is clearly incorrect.
    I am looking forward to learning more about the Douce Apocalypse.

  7. Hi,
    Further to my last comment, I have now identified the Douce Apocalypse and I’m off to the local library to order some books and find out more.

  8. I have just returned (I live about 12 miles away) a from a very cold and windy walk to the battlefield at Lewes. I shall return when it is warmer and less muddy.

    1. I don’t remember any tree cover on the heights, so it must have been a windy walk indeed. Certainly worth the visit.

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