Piers Gaveston

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXI

In the year 1308, Piers Gaveston, the unworthy favourite of Edward II., was appointed Viceroy. The English barons had long been disgusted by his insolence, and jealous of his influence. He was banished to France—or rather a decree to that effect was issued—but Ireland was substituted, for it was considered a banishment to be sent to that country. Gaveston, with his usual love of display, was attended by a magnificent suite, and commenced his Viceroyalty in high state. He was accompanied by his wife, Marguerite, who was closely connected with the royal family.

The Templars had been suppressed and plundered by royal command; but though this evil deed was accomplished without much trouble, there were Irish clans whose suppression was not so easily effected. The O'Tooles and O'Briens, styled by the Anglo-Normans "les Ototheyles et les Obrynnes," stood their ground so well, that they had put the late Viceroy to flight this very year, and promised some active employment for his successor.

Edward appears to have had apprehensions as to the kind of reception his favourite was likely to receive from the powerful Earl of Ulster; he therefore wrote him a special letter, requesting his aid and counsel for the Viceroy. But De Burgo knew his own power too well; and instead of complying with the royal request, he marched off to Drogheda, and then to Trim, where he employed himself in giving sumptuous entertainments, and conferring the honour of knighthood on his adherents. The favourite was recalled to England at the end of a year. Edward had conducted him to Bristol, on his way to Ireland; he now went to meet him at Chester, on his return. Three years later he paid the forfeit of his head for all these condescensions.