Zoot Horn mentioned visiting the site of Piers Gaveston's beheading, in Warwickshire, and the plaque's rather disapproving memorial. So I thought I'd post a couple of pictures - not by me.
In the Hollow of this Rock, Was beheaded, On the 1st Day of July, 1312, By Barons lawless as himself, PIERS GAVESTON, Earl of Cornwall; The Minion of a hateful King: In Life and Death, A memorable Instance of Misrule.
Gaveston is one of those figures who divides opinion. To some, he's a scheming politician who supported one of England's worst kings (Edward II, supposedly murdered via the introduction of a red-hot poker up the fundament) and got his just desserts. To others, he's an early martyr to homophobia. He was exiled a few times as power shifted between various court factions, until he was killed by a bunch of barons, having been declared an outlaw - only a few years after acting as Regent in Edward's absence.
It's unclear whether Gaveston was Edward II's lover - it was certainly a strong rumour, but the main objection to him seems to have been his access to, and influence over, this rather weak king. Gaveston seemed to have been a typical toff hearty: he once deserted a war against Scotland to attend a jousting tournament, and may have cheated at another. He also murdered a lot of people in Ireland, but then, so did any Englishman in that country. As a political plotter, he seems to have been Edward's Mandelson: 'a marked tendency towards avarice, nepotism, and especially overweening pride' - sly, rude, devious, but not as clever as he thought he was.
One of the most interesting examinations of Gaveston's story - though highly partial - is Christopher Marlowe's 1590s play, Edward II, in which both king and Gaveston are portrayed as simpering sodomites, picking up on earlier hints and rumours. Jarman's film of the play is (understandably) a bit more sympathetic.
Interesting character. So here are a couple of questions: where else are the bad guys buried/memorialised, and who should be rehabilitated?