Beyond the Castle Gate: The Role of Royal Landscapes in Constructions of English Medieval Kingship and Queenship
By Amanda Richardson
Concilium medii aevi, Vol. 14 (2011)
Abstract: This paper derives from the text of a Powerpoint presentation delivered at Würzburg on 20February 2010 at the conference “Herrschaft und Burgenland-schaften – Fränkische und internationale Forschung im Vergleich”. It mainly concerns the royal deer parks and forests connected with castles, rather than the castles themselves, and aims to explore the role of those landscapes in the construction of kingship and queenship in late-medieval England. The paper employs case studies of English medieval queens – in particular Margaret of France (d. 1318), but also Eleanor of Provence (d. 1291), Eleanor of Castile (d. 1290), Isabella of France (d. 1358) and Margaret of Anjou (d. 1482) – whose properties included many castles, forest and parks. It will begin by briefly explaining the English medieval forest system, and by considering the ways in which Clarendon Forest and park (Wiltshire) functioned in advertising royal power from the late 13th to the mid 14th century. It ends by concluding that relationships between high-status gender and space – both interior and exterior – may not be as straightforward as scholars have sometimes assumed.