The questions we must ask ourselves at this early juncture, considering the nature of the debate, is why this king was able to persevere for so long on the throne despite his infirmities?
One of the most sensational episodes of the mid-fifteenth century was the trial for treasonable witchcraft of Eleanor, duchess of Gloucester. As the wife of a royal duke, Humphrey of Gloucester, uncle to the young Henry VI, she not only moved in the highest circles but, since the king was still unmarried, was also amongst the ﬁrst ladies in the land.
Inevitably Fortescue had to adopt new arguments for the defence of Henry VI. To this end he asserted that the Lancastrians now had a just title through divine and ecclesiastical approbation, popular consent and prescription, but the core of his case was a direct response to the Yorkist claim that they had a superior hereditary title to the throne.
Were medieval kings like other men? A century’s work on the sacrality of kingship has tended to stress how kings differed from their fellow adult males, even fellow nobles.
This approach is further hampered by the continually changing nature of modem psychology. Due to alterations in the criteria used for diagnoses, terms and illnesses become obsolete, thus negating our previous theories.
Modern assumptions about medieval justice still tend to see this process of amelioration as merely occasional and exceptional: mercy needed to be applied only where special circumstances made it inappropriate to apply the full rigours of the law. This, however, is seriously to misunderstand both the purpose and the pervasiveness of mercy in the operation of medieval justice.
The way these operate can be seen in the section of La Male Regle from which I excerpted my paper’s title. It comes about three-quarters of the way through the poem when the narrator relates a first-hand account of how he and his Privy-Seal Office colleagues handle a night of drinking.
Throughout his life, John Hardyng (1378-c.1465), had many guises: soldier, esquire, spy, forger, chronicler, cartographer.
Critics have long recognized that the religious orders played an important part in the production of vernacular devotional literature in late medieval England. The orders were well suited to this task. Reading and writing were an important part of the life of those who lived under a rule.
A Norfolk gentlewoman and Lydgatian patronage: Lady Sibylle Boys and her cultural environment Bale, A. Medium Aevum, 78(2), (2009) Abstract The poetry of John…