Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John

By 

This is real history told in a story-telling style accessible to the layman but academically sound. William de Breos rose to a position of great power and influence as a close confidant of King John, but when his wife revealed John's greatest secret John's revenge was brutal. The fall of the de Breos family was the final spark that lit the fire of Magna Carta and led to the offer of the English crown to the prince of France.

free kindle book Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John
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Published 27 Aug 2013
Pages 40
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Book Details

William de Breos, 4th Lord of Bramber, served King Henry II and King Richard, but really came to prominence under King John. He was a close confidant of the king and was rewarded with many lands, including the lordship of Gower in south Wales, a strategically important estate in the Norman Marcher territories.

John was never expected to become king, and his mercurial temperament and lack of expertise proved disastrous for the Angevin empire and his subjects. The empire he inherited stretched from Scotland to the Pyrenees. By the end of his reign, all territory in France was lost and London was occupied by the Prince of France.

Fearing William's power and knowledge of his secrets, John demanded hostages and money to guarantee William's loyalty. William's wife refused, saying publicly that she would not trust her sons into the hands of a man who murdered his own nephew.

Once John's secret was out, John turned on William and treated him and his family very cruelly. They fled, William dying in France, his wife and eldest son starved to death in Windsor Castle by John, and his grandsons imprisoned.

William's other sons vowed revenge and allied with Llywelyn the Great, the strongest of the Welsh leaders, against John. Some of the de Breos family married into Llywelyn's family. Which was strange, because Llywelyn was married to King John's illegitimate daughter! One marriage arrangement was nearly ruined when one of the de Breoses was found in bed with Llywelyn's wife.

The other barons were very unhappy with John's behaviour, but his treatment of William was the final straw which led to Magna Carta.

The writing of this book came about due to the success of Ann Marie Thomas' first popular history book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, written while she was recovering from a major stroke. The book was well received by locals and tourists. Digging back into Alina's family tree, Ann found another fascinating story, set one hundred years before the first.

5 Points of Interest: 1. Did you know that King John's treatment of the Lord of Gower led to Magna Carta?
2. Did you know that King John starved Maud de Breos and her son to death in Windsor Castle?
3. The secret that William's wife revealed was that John murdered his nephew Arthur of Brittany, his rival for the throne.
4. Llywelyn the Great was married to King John's daughter Joan, known to the Welsh as Siwan.
5. This book, and the previous one, was written while the author recovered from a major stroke.

Books by Ann Marie Thomas

My Stroke of Inspiration

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Ann had a stroke in work in May 2010. In the long hours in hospital, she began to write poetry on her mobile phone, laboriously one letter at a time. She had written poetry before, but occasionally. Now it poured out of her, 22 poems in all. Verse, doggerel, blank verse. The poems talk about suffering and patience, therapy and faith. If you are a stroke survivor or know someone who is, these poems will comfort, encourage and inspire you.

Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth

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This is real history told in a way accessible to the layman but academically sound. Alina's husband John took control of the Lordship of Gower in south Wales in 1320, in an attempt to secure her inheritance. But her father had sold it to the king's favourite, and the king took it back. The Marcher Barons sided with John and rebelled against the king. It eventually led to the king's downfall, but Alina and John paid a heavy price.

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