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This is a highly original reappraisal of the role of Piers Gaveston in English history and of his personal relationship with Edward II. It challenges the accepted view that Gaveston had a homosexual affair with Edward, and reassesses the main events of Gaveston's career, including his exiles from England and the scandal over the alleged theft of royal jewels. Pierre Chaplais draws his evidence from documentary and narrative sources including unpublished record evidence. The conclusions are fascinating and often suprising. The unusual features of the famous royal charter of 6 August 1307, which granted the earldom of Cornwall to Gaveston, are discussed at length for the first time. Special attention is also paid to the King's personal intervention in the drafting and sealing of documents relating to Gaveston, and to the history of the great seal of absence used while Edward was in France in 1308. This unique criticism of the documentary evidence by a leading diplomatist and historian of the period reveals the reality behind the myths surrounding Piers Gaveston, and makes fascinating reading.
Pierre Chaplais is editor of numerous editions of English historical documents, including English Medieval Diplomatic Practice, Parts I & II (H.M.S.O., 1975, 1982), English Royal Documents, King John to Henry VI (Clarendon Press, 1971), and Essays in Medieval Diplomacy and Administration (Hambledon Press, 1981). He lives in Bampton, Oxfordshire.