Sunday, November 29, 2009

Roger Mortimer

On November 29, 1330, Earl of March Roger Mortimer was hanged at Tyburn. The charge was treason. The charges were brought by King Edward III of England, who had been under Mortimer's tutelage while a minor, after Edward II was forced to abdicate the throne.

Edward II's departure was brought on by Mortimer himself, along with Edward's own wife Isabella of France. Mortimer and Isabella had become lovers while both were in France; Mortimer due to refusing Edward's summons, Isabella merely to escape from Edward. Mortimer launched an invasion of England from Flanders, and successfully deposed Edward (1327).

As Edward III was underage at the time his father abdicated, he could not take the throne. Mortimer effectively ruled for three years, until Edward, now 18 and weary of Mortimer's control, decided to take matters into his own hands. Around Michaelmas 1330, Edward summoned a parliament at Nottingham, to approach Mortimer's castle. The castle being heavily guarded, the castle gatekeeper was approached instead. Sir William Eland knew of an underground passage into the castle that even Mortimer himself was unaware of. The opening, which became known as Mortimer Hole, was used to gain access, arrest Mortimer, and take him out with none of the guards being aware.

Scott includes a reference to Roger Mortimer in his Kenilworth.

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