King Edward and his Merry Men

In my Walks in Robin Hood’s Yorkshire I follow the career of 14th century Robert Hode of Wakefield so Prince John and Richard the Lionheart are long gone but Edward II and his rival Earls (and rival lords of the manor of Wakefield) John de Warenne and Thomas of Lancaster provide a suitably dramatic and violent context. Their rivalry culminated in the Battle of Boroughbridge after which many men were declared outlaws.

I enjoyed illustrating the knockabout Little Gest of Robin Hood but I felt quite emotional when it came to the humiliation, mock-trial and execution of Thomas of Lancaster at his own castle at Pontefract. Here I was trying to imaginatively recreate real events which happened to a real, not a semi-mythical, person in a local town that I’ve long been familiar with.

Whatever his faults Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, didn’t deserve that kind of treatment. No wonder he was soon hailed as a saint!

Artwork from ‘Walks in Robin Hood’s Yorkshire’, Willow Island Editions, ISBN 978-1-902467-19-1, from my display ‘A long, drawn out process . . .’ exhibited at the Robin Hood Scholars’ Conference at Beverley, 10 July 2011.

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