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Edward I's Regent (Hardback)

Edmund of Cornwall, The Man Behind England’s Greatest King

P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval History P&S History > Royal History

By Michael Ray
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 272
Illustrations: 20 mono
ISBN: 9781399093545
Published: 25th March 2022



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Born at Christmas 1249 to Richard, Edmund of Cornwall was nephew to Henry III and cousin to Edward I. His eventful childhood took him to Germany when his father was elected king there. He was captured at the Battle of Lewes and imprisoned for more than a year. Returning from crusade, he witnessed the brutal murder of his half-brother, which left him as heir to his father, the richest man in the kingdom.

Throughout his life, Edmund played a crucial role in medieval England. As Regent of England, Earl of Cornwall and the richest man in the land, he was a leading force of the late-thirteenth century.

This book considers Edmund’s life, his use of his wealth to lend to the king and others and to be a major benefactor of religious houses. His piety saw him found two new religious houses, rebuild another and bring the Holy Blood relic from Germany to Hailes abbey. His record as Regent of England for three years is assessed. The wide spread of his lands, which included 13castles and more than 800 places in 27 counties, and his tenants are set out as is his place in the local community. The basis of his wealth and its sources, including money from his lands but also from tin mining and marine dues in Cornwall, is explored and his knightly affinity and his close associates and officials are considered. On a personal level, the book examines his unsuccessful, childless marriage with the sister of the Earl of Gloucester.

Edmund was a key figure throughout Edward I's rein and the late-thirteenth century. In this insightful account, the man behind England's 'greatest king' is at long last brought to the fore.

Ray has conducted excellent research, and the book is interesting and enjoyable.

Charles Wright, Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society: Book Review

Ray has conducted excellent research, and the book is interesting and enjoyable ...a fine achievement.

Charles Wright, the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Soceity

Thoroughly researched and with extensive footnotes and bibliography, this is an excellent book in every way. It is a pleasure to read.

Edward I’s Regent: Edmund of Cornwall, The Man Behind England’s Greatest King by Michael Ray is an eminently readable book that could only be an asset to the study of medieval history and the reign of Edward I in particular. Whether you are studying medieval history for academia or simply as a hobby, this is a book which is not to be missed. I can highly recommend it.

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History... The Interesting Bits

Meticulous researched, impressively informative, exceptional in organization and presentation, "Edward I's Regent: Edmund of Cornwall, The Man Behind England's Greatest King" by Michael Lum rescues from an undeserved obscurity a critically important figure in 13th Century European history, "Edward I's Regent: Edmund of Cornwall, The Man Behind England's Greatest King" by Michael Lum is a critically important and commended addition to personal reading lists, community library collections, and academic supplemental Medieval British & European History studies lists.

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Midwest Book Review

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Cornish Times

"I would recommend this book to historians studying the Plantagenet period. Little is written about Edmund, so this book adds greatly to the knowledge of the period and the people around Edward l."

Alison Wall, Local history/ nursing and public health groups

About Michael Ray

After school in Shropshire, Michael Ray read geography and town planning at King’s and University Colleges, London. Retiring early from a planning career, he returned to KCL and obtained a PhD after a study of aliens in thirteenth-century England. He has since been published in books, journals and on websites including Academia.

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