Final days in England

Eleanor de Montfort, based at Dover, had learned of the massacre at Evesham by 11 August 1265. On that day she sent the prior to her brother, the king, on a mission that remains a mystery today. Asking for clemency, promising more defiance? A widow again, she put on russet and withdrew, refusing all meat and fish. On 15 August she received a messenger from her nephew Edward, the victor of Evesham. No word on the contents, probably a combination of condolences and advice to surrender Dover. Four days later, she made an offering for Simon’s soul, 12 shillings and 9 pence. On September 3, his soul received another 7 shillings, altogether about £1. Not much, maybe it was all she could spare as provisions were running low. But then we find her sending two of her sons, Amaury and Richard, to France with more than £7,000 in cash. Perhaps given Simon’s martyrdom on the battlefield, she believed his soul could take care of itself. What is touching here are the outlays she made for Richard’s trip, buying him a new set of clothes. He was then 12-years old and Eleanor was sending him to grow up at the court in Navarre. She must have known she might never see him again, and she didn’t.

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