‘A Great and Terrible King’ (Windmill Books) A Great Story of a Controversial King – Book Review

This is the most comprehensive and fluent account I have ever read of Edward I, king of England.

But firstly, the cover. We are drawn to covers, of course, although sometimes we don’t like to admit it, that it might just be a tiny bit shallow to judge a book by its cover. Yet this cover says it all, really, a ruler who lived by the sword, who was both just and ruthless, as every successful monarch of the high middle ages had to be, like a roaring lion in human form.

Morris conveys convincingly the notion that we have to judge the man by his times and not our own; Edward was a crusader and a conqueror, subjugator of Wales and ‘Hammer of the Scots’.

The appalling treatment of William Wallace in 1305, accused of treason, and then hung, drawn and quartered whilst Edward was at play elsewhere, does not seem at all righteous to modern minds. After all Wallace was probably one of the very few Scottish nobles who did not swear allegiance to the English king: he was a Scottish patriot after all, but that would be lost on the empire building approach of Edward and the expediency of his reign.

So today Edward I may not be too popular in either Scotland or indeed Wales. But he failed to fully conquer Scotland, even though he was successful in planting his ‘own man’ (John Balliol) on the Scottish throne for a time.

And then there is the Statute of Jewry of 1275 where Edward acceded to the Church’s demands to try and limit the effects of usury. Morris deals with this in a most balanced way, I feel, trying to help us understand the reasons for this and what seems to us now the eventual cruel banishment of Jews from the kingdom of England in 1290. Naturally, today such action is not viewed in the same light; we live in a very different, more secular world.

Most especially this book conveys the sheer intensity of the personality of this monarch, his energy and drive, a man whose body was exhumed in 1774, confirming his oft used moniker of the time, Longshanks – that is, he had long legs.

The subtitle of Morris’ book is ‘And the forging of Britain’. Ultimately, the king was only partially successful in this and many of his achievements were undone by his son, Edward II, who lost at Bannockburn in 1314, which in turn led to the groundbreaking Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, where noble Scots claimed their long term independence from England.

All in all, a fabulous read, albeit keeping us at a safe distance from those terrible, tumultuous times.


Copyright Francis 2021

February 2022: World Tarot Reading

My 7 card ‘Days of the Week Spread’, or ‘Luminary Spread’ for the month of February 2022.

Justice at the centre Sun position indicates that legal matters will be prominent. Ongoing issues with governments and prominent individuals will likely feature, with the affairs in court and in the media being quite interesting and revealing.

Knight of Cups in the Moon position emphasises the emotions, family and home, areas of our lives which are going to be very important and active this month. A good time to nurture.

King of Wands in the Mars position shows that this will be a decisive and engaging month. We are going to see executive action from governments and agencies but also, perhaps more especially, from other organisations and individuals with much authority to act.

King of Swords in the Mercury position shows that local environments, travel and the media will become much more fluid and active this month. Expect some clarity and revelation in the news (especially after February 3 when Mercury turns direct).

Queen of Coins in the Jupiter position shows that the common people are going to be more prominent too, with more power to change existing legal structures at state and local level.

Five of Wands in the Venus position reveals that likely swift moving events will bring much change and instability among the public, but there will at least be a climate of appreciation that things are now at last beginning to progress to a better place.

And finally, 4 of Wands in the Saturn position of outcomes and resolutions, indicates that a feeling of more security and a sense of true, legitimate authority will slowly emerge as the month goes on.


Copyright Francis 2022

How Mayflower Compact Influenced The American Concept Of Rule Of Law — PA Pundits – International (Reblog)

By Angela Sailor ~ A group of scholars meets this week to discuss the impact of the Mayflower Compact—signed 400 years ago last week, on Nov. 11, 1620—on the American concept of the rule of law. The Heritage Foundation and the Religious Freedom Institute are co-hosting the second event in a webinar series exploring the […]

How Mayflower Compact Influenced The American Concept Of Rule Of Law — PA Pundits – International