Miracle of Battlewell

The miracles of Simon de Montfort, as recorded in the chronicle of William Rishanger, has this interesting entry:
‘The Countess of Gloucester had a palfrey that had been broken-winded for two years. In returning from Evesham to Tewkesbury, the horse having drunk of the Earl’s Well and having had its head and face washed in the water, recovered of this. The Countess and all her company are witnesses.’
This is about Maud de Lacy (rather her horse), who was the dowager countess of Gloucester. She was Gilbert de Clare’s mother, he who had betrayed Simon de Montfort. Maud was the daughter of John de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, one of Simon’s closest collaborators on the council before his death in 1240. Maud had been married to Richard de Clare in 1238, around the time Simon married Henry III’s sister Eleanor, widow of William Marshal II, much to the indignation of the clergy and baronage (Eleanor had taken a vow of perpetual widowhood). Eleanor’s other brother Richard of Cornwall was the most indignant because Richard de Clare was his stepson and he had not been consulted on either marriage. At the death of Richard de Clare in 1262, Gilbert tried to rush through his belting as the new Earl of Gloucester by going to France where Henry was just then in a legal suit against Simon de Montfort. The king told him to get lost, because he rightly suspected that Richard de Clare had used the recent reforms to usurp royal rights and he wanted them back. This pissed off ginger-hair Gilbert because he knew he was in for a fight with his mother about her one-third share of Gloucester coming to her as her dower. Ironically, it wasn’t until Montfort came to power in 1263 that Gilbert actually got his earldom.
But back to Maud: she seems to have been quite a character. When Henry asked Queen Margaret of France to speed her sister Eleanor of Provence (Henry’s queen) homeward after Evesham, Margaret said she would do so because she was worried that Henry, in his loneliness, might get it into his head to marry Maud. Now that would’ve really pissed off Gilbert.

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