King Henry and Rosamond

Here is the most wondered about genealogy in history.

John

https://sites.rootsweb.com/~dearbornboutwell/fam4693.html

Family of Henry II + and Rosamond + of CLIFFORD

Husband: Henry II + (1133-1189)
Wife: Rosamond + of CLIFFORD (1136-1176)
Children: William + (1173-1225)
Status: Never Married

Husband: Henry II +

picture Henry II +

Name: Henry II +
Sex: Male
Father: Geoffrey V + PLANTAGENET (1113-1151)
Mother: Matilda + (1102-1169)
Birth 5 Mar 1133 LeMans, Sarthe, France
Occupation King of England
Title frm 1151 to 1153 (age 17-20) Count of Mortain
Title frm 1151 to 1189 (age 17-56) Duke of Normandy
Title frm 1151 to 1189 (age 17-56) Count of Anjou
Title frm 1151 to 1189 (age 17-56) Count of Maine
Title frm 1152 to 1189 (age 18-56) Duke of Aquitane
Title frm 1152 to 1153 (age 18-20) Count of Poitiers
Title frm 1154 to 1189 (age 20-56) King of England
Death 6 Jul 1189 (age 56) Chinon, Indre-de-Loire/France

Wife: Rosamond + of CLIFFORD

Name: Rosamond + of CLIFFORD
Sex: Female
Father: Walter + of CLIFFORD (1113-1190)
Mother: Margaret + of TONI (1118-1185)
Birth 1136 Clifford Castle, Herefordshire, England
Death 1176 (age 39-40) Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England
Burial Godstow Nunnery, Oxfordshire, England

Child 1: William +

Name: William +
Sex: Male
Spouse: Ela + FITZPATRICK (1191-1261)
Birth 1173 England
Occupation Prince of England
Title Prince of England
Death 7 Mar 1225 (age 51-52) England

Note on Husband: Henry II +

Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189) ruled as King of England (1154–1189), Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the first of the House of Plantagenet to rule England. Henry was the first to use the title “King of England” (as opposed to “King of the English”).

He is also known as Henry Curtmantle or Curtmantel (French: Henri Court-manteau) and Henry Fitz-Empress.

Early life and descentHenry II was born in Le Mans, France, on 5 March 1133.[1] His father, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, son of Fulk of Jerusalem, was also Count of Maine. His mother, Empress Matilda, was a claimant to the English throne as the daughter of Henry I (reigned 1100–1135), son of William The Conqueror, Duke of Normandy. His own claim to the throne was strengthened by his descent from both the English Saxon kings and the kings of Scotland through his maternal grandmother Matilda of Scotland, whose father was Malcolm III of Scotland and whose mother was Margaret of Wessex (St. Margaret of Scotland), granddaughter of Edmund Ironside.

He spent his childhood in his father’s land of Anjou. At the age of nine, Robert of Gloucester took him to England, where he received education from Master Matthew at Bristol, with the assistance of Adelard of Bath and possibly Geoffrey of Monmouth. In 1144, he was returned to Normandy where his education was continued by William of Conches.[2]

On 18 May 1152, at Poitiers,[3] at the age of 19, Henry married Eleanor of Aquitaine. The wedding was “without the pomp or ceremony that befitted their rank,”[4] partly because Eleanor’s prior marriage to Louis VII of France had been annulled only two months previously. Their relationship, always stormy, eventually disintegrated: after Eleanor encouraged her children to rebel against their father in 1173, Henry had her placed under house arrest, where she remained for fifteen years.[5]

Henry and Eleanor had eight children, William, Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, John, Matilda, Eleanor, and Joan. William died in infancy. In the custom of the Capetian Kings of France, whose heirs apparent were crowned during their own lifetime in order to avoid succession disputes, Henry was crowned as joint king when he came of age. However, because he was never king in his own right, he is known to history as “Henry the Young King”, rather than Henry III. As the king’s sons matured, it was expected that Henry would inherit the throne from his father, Richard his mother’s possessions, Geoffrey would have Brittany through marriage, and John would be Lord of Ireland. However, fate would ultimately decide much differently.

It has been suggested by John Speed’s 1611 book, History of Great Britain, that another son, Philip, was born to the couple. Speed’s sources no longer exist, but Philip would presumably have died in early infancy.[6]

Several sources record Henry’s appearance. They all agree that he was very strong, energetic and surpassed his peers athletically.

…he was strongly built, with a large, leonine head, freckle fiery face and red hair cut short. His eyes were grey and we are told that his voice was harsh and cracked, possibly because of the amount of open-air exercise he took. He would walk or ride until his attendants and courtiers were worn out and his feet and legs were covered with blisters and sores… He would perform all athletic feats.

…the lord king has been red-haired so far, except that the coming of old age and grey hair has altered that colour somewhat. His height is medium, so that neither does he appear great among the small, nor yet does he seem small among the great… curved legs, a horseman’s shins, broad chest, and a boxer’s arms all announce him as a man strong, agile and bold… he never sits, unless riding a horse or eating… In a single day, if necessary, he can run through four or five day-marches and, thus foiling the plots of his enemies, frequently mocks their plots with surprise sudden arrivals… Always are in his hands bow, sword, spear and arrow, unless he be in council or in books.

A man of reddish, freckled complexion, with a large, round head, grey eyes that glowed fiercely and grew bloodshot in anger, a fiery countenance and a harsh, cracked voice. His neck was poked

forward slightly from his shoulders, his chest was broad and square, his arms strong and powerful. His body was stocky, with a pronounced tendency toward fatness, due to nature rather than self-indulgence – which he tempered with exercise.

Like his grandfather, Henry I of England, Henry II had an outstanding knowledge of the law. A talented linguist and excellent Latin speaker, he would sit on councils in person whenever possible. He dressed casually except when tradition dictated otherwise and ate a sparing diet.[7]

According to contemporary chronicler of court gossip Walter Map, Henry was modest and mixed with all classes easily. “He does not take upon himself to think high thoughts, his tongue never swells with elated language; he does not magnify himself as more than man”.[8] His generosity was well-known and he employed a Templar to distribute one tenth of all the food brought to the royal court amongst his poorest subjects.

Henry also had a good sense of humour and was never upset at being the butt of the joke. Once while he sat sulking and occupying himself with needlework, a courtier suggested that such behaviour was to be expected from a descendant of the bastard son of a tanner’s daughter (referring to his great-grandfather William the Conqueror being the son of Herleva, daughter of Fulbert a tanner from the Norman town of Falaise). The king rocked with laughter and even explained the

joke to those who did not immediately grasp it.[9]

“His memory was exceptional: he never failed to recognise a man he had once seen, nor to remember anything which might be of use. More deeply learned than any king of his time in the western world”.[7]

In contrast, the king’s temper has been written about. His actions against Thomas Becket are evidence of his blinding temper, along with his conflict with William I of Scotland.[10]

.Henry’s father, Geoffrey Plantagenet, held rich lands as a vassal from Louis VII of France. Maine and Anjou were therefore Henry’s by birthright, amongst other lands in Western France.[4] By maternal claim, Normandy was also to be his. From a contemporary perspective, however, the most notable inheritance Henry received from his mother was a claim to the English throne. Granddaughter of William the Conqueror, Empress Matilda was to be queen regnant of England, but her throne was usurped by her cousin, Stephen of England. Henry’s efforts to restore the royal line to his own family would create a dynasty spanning three centuries and thirteen kings.

Henry’s marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine placed him firmly in the ascendancy.[4] His plentiful lands were added to his new wife’s possessions, giving him control of Aquitaine and Gascony. The riches of the markets and vineyards in these regions, combined with Henry’s already plentiful holdings, made Henry the most powerful vassal in France.

Stephen and Henry discuss across the River Thames how to settle the succession of the English throne.Realising Henry’s royal ambition was far from easily fulfilled; his mother had been pushing her claim for the crown for several years to no avail, finally retiring in 1147. It was 1147 when Henry had accompanied Matilda on an invasion of England. It soon failed due to lack of preparation,[4] but it made him determined that England was his mother’s right, and so his own. He returned to England again between 1149 and 1150. On 22 May 1149 he was knighted by King David I of Scotland, his great uncle, at Carlisle.[11]

Early in January 1153, just months after his wedding, he crossed the Channel one more time. His fleet was 36 ships strong, transporting a force of 3,000 footmen and 140 horses.[12] Sources dispute whether he landed at Dorset or Hampshire, but it is known he entered a small village church. It was 6 January and the locals were observing the Festival of the Three Kings. The correlation between the festivities and Henry’s arrival was not lost on them. “Ecce advenit dominator Dominus, et regnum in manu ejus”, they exclaimed as the introit for their feast, “Behold the Lord the ruler cometh, and the Kingdom in his hand.”[11]

Henry moved quickly and within the year he had secured his right to succession via the Treaty of Wallingford with Stephen of England. He was now, for all intents and purposes, in control of England. When Stephen died in October 1154, it was only a matter of time until Henry’s treaty would bear fruit, and the quest that began with his mother would be ended. On 19 December 1154 he was crowned in Westminster Abbey, “By The Grace Of God, Henry II, King Of England”.[11] He was thus the first to be crowned “King of England”, as opposed to “King of the English.”[13] Henry, a vassal of Louis VII, was now more powerful than the French king himself. Henry used the title Rex Angliae, Dux Normaniae et Aquitaniae et Comes Andigaviae (King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou).[14]

Shortly after his coronation, Henry sent an embassy to the newly elected Pope Adrian IV. Led by Bishop Arnold of Lisieux, the group of clerics requested authorisation for Henry to invade Ireland. Some historians suggest that this resulted in the papal bull Laudabiliter. Whether this donation is genuine or not, Edmund Curtis says, is one of “the great questions of history.”[15] It is possible Henry acted under the influence of a “Canterbury plot,” in which English ecclesiastics strove to dominate the Irish church.[16] However, Henry may have simply intended to secure Ireland as a lordship for his younger brother William.

William died soon after the plan was hatched and Ireland was ignored. It was not until 1166 that it came to the surface again. In that year, Dermot McMurrough, King of Leinster, was driven from his lands by Rory O’Conor, the High King of Ireland. Diarmait followed Henry to Aquitaine, seeking an audience. Henry promised to help him reassert control and made footmen, knights and nobles available for the cause. Their leader was a Welsh Norman, Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, nicknamed “Strongbow”. In exchange for his loyalty, Diarmait offered Earl Richard his daughter Aoife (Eva) in marriage and made him heir to his kingdom.

The Normans quickly restored Diarmait to his kingdom, but it soon became apparent that Henry had not helped purely out of kindness, and was now worried that Strongbow and his Cambro-Norman supporters would become independent of him. In 1171 Henry arrived from France with an army and declared himself “Lord of Ireland”. All of the Normans, along with many Irish princes, took oaths of homage to Henry by November, and he left after six months. He never returned, but in 1177 he named his youngest son, Prince John, as Lord of Ireland.

This process started 800 years of English overlordship on the island. At the Synod of Cashel in 1172 Church reforms were introduced. The 1175 Treaty of Windsor was agreed with King Rory O’Conor, but soon broke down.

In 1174, a rebellion spearheaded by his own sons was not Henry’s biggest problem. An invasion force from Scotland, led by their king, William the Lion, was advancing from the North. To make matters worse, a Flemish armada was sailing for England, just days from landing. It seemed likely that the king’s rapid growth was to be checked.[1]

Henry saw his predicament as a sign from God, that his treatment of Becket would be rewarded with defeat. He immediately did penance at Canterbury[1] for the Archbishop’s fate and events took a turn for the better.

The hostile armada dispersed in the English Channel and headed back for the continent. Henry had avoided a Flemish invasion, but Scottish invaders were still raiding in the North. Henry sent his troops to meet the Scots at Alnwick, where the English scored a devastating victory. William was captured in the chaos, removing the figurehead for rebellion, and within months all the problem fortresses had been torn down. Southern Scotland was now completely dominated by Henry, another fief in his Angevin Empire, that now stretched from the Solway Firth almost to the Mediterranean and from the Somme to the Pyrenees. By the end of this crisis, and his sons’ revolt, the king was “left stronger than ever before”.[17]

During Stephen’s reign, the barons in England had undermined Royal authority. Rebel castles were one problem, nobles avoiding military service was another. The new king immediately moved against the illegal fortresses that had sprung up during Stephen’s reign, having them torn down.

To counter the problem of avoiding military service, scutage became common. This tax, which Henry’s barons paid in lieu of military service, allowed the king to hire mercenaries. These hired troops were used to great effect by both Henry and his son Richard, and by 1159 the tax was central to the king’s army and his authority over vassals.

Henry II’s reign saw the establishment of Royal Magistrate courts.[18] This allowed court officials under authority of the Crown to adjudicate local disputes, reducing the workload on Royal courts proper and delivering justice with greater efficiency.

Henry also worked to make the legal system fairer. Trial by ordeal and trial by combat were still common in the 12th century. By the Assize of Clarendon in 1166, supplemented a decade later by the Assize of Northampton, a precursor to trial by jury was implemented. However, this group of “twelve lawful men,” as the Assize commonly refers to it, provided a service more similar to a grand jury, alerting court officials to matters suitable for prosecution. Despite these reforms, trial by ordeal continued until the Fourth Council of the Lateran forbade the participation of the clergy in 1215 and trial by combat was still legal in England until 1819, albeit only rarely resorted to after the twelfth century. Nevertheless, Henry’s support of juries was a great contribution to the country’s social history and allowed for a smoother transition from ordeal to jury than was managed in other European nations where trial by inquisition and even torture became commonplace.

During Stephen’s reign, the barons in England had undermined Royal authority. Rebel castles were one problem, nobles avoiding military service was another. The new king immediately moved against the illegal fortresses that had sprung up during Stephen’s reign, having them torn down.

To counter the problem of avoiding military service, scutage became common. This tax, which Henry’s barons paid in lieu of military service, allowed the king to hire mercenaries. These hired troops were used to great effect by both Henry and his son Richard, and by 1159 the tax was central to the king’s army and his authority over vassals.

Henry II’s reign saw the establishment of Royal Magistrate courts.[18] This allowed court officials under authority of the Crown to adjudicate local disputes, reducing the workload on Royal courts proper and delivering justice with greater efficiency.

Henry also worked to make the legal system fairer. Trial by ordeal and trial by combat were still common in the 12th century. By the Assize of Clarendon in 1166, supplemented a decade later by the Assize of Northampton, a precursor to trial by jury was implemented. However, this group of “twelve lawful men,” as the Assize commonly refers to it, provided a service more similar to a grand jury, alerting court officials to matters suitable for prosecution. Despite these reforms, trial by ordeal continued until the Fourth Council of the Lateran forbade the participation of the clergy in 1215 and trial by combat was still legal in England until 1819, albeit only rarely resorted to after the twelfth century. Nevertheless, Henry’s support of juries was a great contribution to the country’s social history and allowed for a smoother transition from ordeal to jury than was managed in other European nations where trial by inquisition and even torture became commonplace.

Murder of Thomas Becket”What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric!” were the words which sparked the darkest event in Henry’s religious wranglings. This speech has translated into legend in the form of “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”—a provocative statement which would perhaps have been just as riling to the knights and barons of his household at whom it was aimed as his actual words. Bitter at his old friend Becket, constantly thwarting his clerical constitutions, the king shouted in anger but possibly not with intent. However, four of Henry’s knights, Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Morville (the Lord of Westmorland), William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton overheard their king’s cries and decided to act on his words.

On 29 December 1170, they entered Canterbury Cathedral, finding Becket near the stairs to the crypt. They beat down the Archbishop, killing him with several blows. Becket’s brains were scattered upon the ground with the words; “Let us go, this fellow will not be getting up again”. Whatever the rights and wrongs, it certainly tainted Henry’s later reign. For the remaining 20 years of his rule, he would personally regret the death of a man who “in happier times…had been a friend”.[19]

Just three years later, Becket was canonised and revered as a martyr against secular interference in God’s church; Pope Alexander III had declared Becket a saint. Plantagenet historian John Harvey believes “The martyrdom of Thomas Becket was a martyrdom which he had repeatedly gone out of his way to seek…one cannot but feel sympathy towards Henry”.[19] Wherever the true intent and blame lie, it was yet another sacrifice to the ongoing war between church and state.

It is the common fate of sons to be misunderstood by their fathers, and of fathers to be unloved of their sons, but it has been the particular bane of the English throne.[20] ”

Henry’s attempts to divide his lands amongst his numerous ambitious children, combined with his reluctance to cede his own power and entrust them with any real responsibility, fractured his family. In 1173, Young Henry and Richard revolted against their father, hoping to secure the power and lands they had been promised. While both Young Henry and Richard were relatively strong in France, they still lacked the manpower and experience to trouble their father unduly. The king crushed this first rebellion and exacted punishment. Richard, for example, lost half of the revenue allowed to him as Count of Poitou.[21]

In 1182, the Plantagenet children’s aggression turned inward. Young Henry, Richard and Geoffrey all began fighting each other for their father’s possessions on the continent. The situation was exacerbated by French rebels and the king of France, Philip Augustus. This was the most serious threat to come from within the family yet, and the king faced the dynastic tragedy of civil war. However, on 11 June 1183, Henry the Young King died. The uprising, which had been built around the prince, promptly collapsed and the remaining brothers returned to their individual lands. Henry quickly occupied the rebel region of Angoulême to keep the peace.[21]

The final battle between Henry’s sons came in 1184. Geoffrey of Brittany and John of Ireland, the youngest brothers, had been promised Aquitaine, which belonged to now eldest brother Richard.[21] Geoffrey and John invaded but Richard, who was an accomplished military commander with over 10 years of experience by this time, expelled his brothers. The brothers would never again face each other in combat; Geoffrey died two years later, leaving only Richard and John.

The final thorn in Henry’s side would be an alliance between his eldest surviving son, Richard, and his greatest rival, Philip Augustus. John had become Henry’s favourite son and Richard had begun to fear he was being written out of the king’s inheritance.[21] In summer 1189, Richard and Philip invaded Henry’s heartland of power, Anjou. The unlikely allies took northwest Touraine, attacked Le Mans and overran Maine and Tours. Defeated, Henry II met his opponents and agreed to all their demands, including paying homage to Philip for all his French possessions.

Weak, ill, and deserted by all but an illegitimate son, Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, Henry died at Chinon on 6 July 1189. His legitimate children, chroniclers record him saying, were “the real bastards”.[22] The victorious Prince Richard later paid his respects to Henry’s corpse as it travelled to Fontevraud Abbey, upon which, according to Roger of Wendover, ‘blood flowed from the nostrils of the deceased, as if…indignant at the presence of the one who was believed to have caused his death’. The Prince, Henry’s eldest surviving son and conqueror, was crowned “by the grace of God, King Richard I of England” at Westminster on 1 September 1189.

Henry had a number of mistresses, including Rosamund Clifford. One of the daughters of Eleanor’s ex-husband Louis VII, Alys, originally sent to Henry’s court to marry Richard, was also said to be Henry’s mistress.

Henry also had illegitimate children. While they were not valid claimants, their royal blood made them potential problems for Henry’s legitimate successors.[21] William Longespée was one such child. He was the son of Henry’s mistress Ida de Tosny. He remained largely loyal and contented with the lands and wealth afforded to him as a royal bastard. Geoffrey, Bishop of Lincoln, Archbishop of York, on the other hand, was seen as a possible thorn in the side of Richard I of England.[21] Geoffrey had been the only son to attend Henry II on his deathbed, after even the king’s favourite son, John Lackland, deserted him.[17] Richard forced him into the clergy at York, thus ending his secular ambitions.[21] Another son, Morgan was elected to the Bishopric of Durham, although he was never consecrated due to opposition from Pope Innocent III.[23]

Note on Wife: Rosamond + of CLIFFORD

Rosamund Clifford (before 1150 – c. 1176), often called “The Fair Rosamund” or the “Rose of the World”, was famed for her beauty and was a mistress of King Henry II of England, famous in English folklore.

Rosamund was the daughter of the marcher lord Walter de Clifford and his wife Margaret Isobel de Tosny (referred to as “de Toeni” on the Page of her husband, Walter de Clifford). Walter was originally known as Walter Fitz Richard, but his name was gradually changed to that of his major holding, first as steward, then as lord. This was Clifford Castle on the River Wye.

Rosamund had two sisters, Amice and Lucy. Amice married Osbern fitz Hugh of Richard’s Castle and Lucy Hugh de Say of Stokesay. She also had three brothers, Walter II de Clifford, Richard and Gilbert.

Rosamund probably first met the King when he passed by Clifford Castle in 1163 during one of his campaigns in Wales against Rhys ap Gruffydd.

Her name, Rosamund, may have been influenced by the Latin phrase rosa mundi, which means “rose of the world.”[1

Historians are divided over whether or not Rosamund’s relationship with the King produced children. The question is complicated by the difficulty of separating the facts of Rosamund’s life from the profusion of legends surrounding it. Many historians have concluded that Rosamund most likely bore Henry a single child but cannot identify it or even provide a specific date of birth. Some modern writers, including Alison Weir, are of the opinion that Rosamund had no children; but whether this means she never gave birth or merely that none of her children survived remains unclear.

Legend has attributed to Rosamund two of King Henry’s favourite illegitimate sons: Geoffrey Plantagenet (1151–1212), Archbishop of York, and William Longespee (17 August before 1180–1226), Earl of Salisbury. Her maternity in these two cases was only claimed centuries later. Neither was Rosamund’s son. Henry and Rosamund met about 1163, and their relationship lasted until 1176. Geoffrey and Rosamund would therefore have been about the same age. Further, Geoffrey is directly attested as son of an otherwise unknown Ykenai, presumably another mistress of Henry. William Longespée’s maternity was a mystery for many years but the truth was discovered when charters issued by him were found to contain references to “Comitissa Ida, mater mea” (my mother, Countess Ida) (Bradenstoke Cartulary, 1979). She was Ida de Toeny, Countess of Norfolk.

[edit] Other storiesLittle is known about Rosamund, but she is discussed in books about Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry’s queen. The legends concerning her life are many, but few hard facts are available. The story that she was poisoned by a jealous Eleanor is certainly untrue, and so is the tale that Henry constructed the hunting lodge at Woodstock for her and surrounded it with a garden that was a labyrinth (“Rosamund’s Bower,” which was pulled down when Blenheim Palace was built nearby). In the ‘French Chronicle of London’, she is, oddly enough, described as having been roasted by the wife of Henry III, Eleanor of Provence. During the Elizabethan era, stories claiming that she had been murdered by Eleanor of Aquitaine gained popularity; but the Ballad of Fair Rosamund by Thomas Deloney and the Complaint of Rosamund by Samuel Daniel (1592) are both purely fictional.

She is thought to have entered Henry’s life around the time that Eleanor was pregnant with her final child, John who was born on 25 December 1166 at Oxford. Indeed, Eleanor is known to have given birth to John at Beaumont Palace rather than at Woodstock: because, it is speculated, having planned to give birth at Woodstock, she refused to do so upon finding Rosamund there.

Authorities differ over whether Rosamund stayed quietly in seclusion at Woodstock while Henry went back and forth between England and his continental possessions, or whether she travelled with him as a member of his household. If the former, the two of them could not have spent more than about a quarter of the time between 1166 and 1176 together (as historian Marion Meade puts it: “For all her subsequent fame, Rosamund must be one of the most neglected concubines in history”). Historians do seem to agree, however, that Rosamund was Eleanor’s opposite in personality and that Henry and Rosamund appear to have shared a deep love.

Rosamund was also associated with the village of Frampton on Severn in Gloucestershire, another of her father Walter’s holdings. Walter granted the mill at Frampton to Godstow Abbey for the good of the souls of Rosamund and his wife Margaret. The village green at Frampton became known as Rosamund’s Green by the 17th century.[2]

[edit] Death and thereafterHenry’s liaison with Rosamund became public knowledge in 1174; it ended when she retired to the nunnery at Godstow near Oxford in 1176, shortly before her death. Her death was remembered at Hereford Cathedral on 6 July, the same day as that of the king.

Henry and the Clifford family paid for her tomb at Godstow in the choir of the convent’s church and for an endowment that would ensure care of the tomb by the nuns. It became a popular local shrine until 1191, two years after Henry’s death. Hugh of Lincoln, Bishop of Lincoln, while visiting Godstow, noticed Rosamund’s tomb right in front of the high altar. The tomb was laden with flowers and candles, demonstrating that the local people were still praying there. Unsurprisingly calling Rosamund a harlot, the bishop ordered her remains removed from the church: instead, she was to be buried outside the church ‘with the rest, that the Christian religion may not grow into contempt, and that other women, warned by her example, may abstain from illicit and adulterous intercourse’. Her tomb was moved to the cemetery by the nuns’ chapter house, where it could be visited until it was destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII of England. The remains of Godstow Priory still stand and are open to the public.

Paul Hentzner, a German traveler who visited England c.1599 records [3] during that her faded tombstone inscription read in part:

… Adorent, Utque tibi detur requies Rosamunda precamur.

Followed by a rhyming epitaph:

Hic jacet in tumba Rosamundi non Rosamunda, Non redolet sed olet, quae redolere solet.

Apollinaire was to use Rosamond as the central character in his poem Rosemonde, taken from the 1913 collection ‘Alcools’ (citation taken from Garnet Rees 1975 edition of Guillaume Apollinaire’s Alcools; The Athlone Press; London)

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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