It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Crimes of passion are always difficult to explain, which is of course why they are so interesting. But how was it done back in the 12th century?
It was widely known at the time, throughout both England and France, that Henry was having an affair with young Rosamond de Clifford. Eleanor’s spies reported the goings-on to her in her castle at Poitiers, to which she had now retired. It seems that as the affair persisted, she became angrier, since Henry’s past affairs had never lasted long and this new infatuation appeared to be growing more intense. Eleanor decided to act, stealing into England with her knights, headed for Woodstock, where Henry had his mistress hidden away. The palace was deep in the forest and its approaches were constructed like a labyrinth designed to foil Eleanor, should she ever decide to do what she was doing now. Alas for Rosamond, a silk thread had become detached from a needlework chest that the King had given her for embroidery. Once the Queen discovered it, she was able to follow it to the heart of the labyrinth and surprise the young woman. The Queen’s soldiers quickly overpowered the single brave knight who was there to protect her and at last Eleanor confronted her nemesis. She offered Rosamond a choice between a dagger and a cup of poisoned wine. Rosamond apparently chose the poison and died, and that was the end of her, or so the story goes.
Have you heard of Eleanor Cobham, a woman from fairly humble origins who became a royal duchess and then lost everything when she was convicted of witchcraft? Back in the 15th century probably the last thing you would expect to find in the English royal family would be a witch. So you may be surprised to find that several royal ladies from this period were suspected of practising the dark arts, including Joan of Navarre who was accused by her son Henry V of plotting to use magic to kill him and Jacquetta Woodville who was said to have worked with her daughter Elizabeth to bring about her marriage to Edward IV by using sorcery and making lead images of the king.
But how does Eleanor Cobham qualify as a mystery person of history? Firstly there were the witchcraft charges brought against her. Was she really guilty of dabbling in the occult or was she set up by an opposing faction at court who wanted to undermine the influence her husband, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, had over the young King Henry VI. Then there were the two illegitimate children of her royal husband, Arthur and Antigone Plantagenet. Was Eleanor Cobham their mother? If so why were they not legitimised after Eleanor and Humphrey of Gloucester married, as the Beauforts were when John of Gaunt married his long-time mistress Katherine Swynford?
When the White Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, became the first 'commoner' to marry an English king, some muttered she may have used magic to enchant him. Edward was said to be so enamoured with her beauty that he married her in secret, rather than wed a French princess.
However, it was Elizabeth's mother Jacquetta who was first accused of witchcraft.
The White Queen's mother Jacquetta on trial for witchcraft
In February 1471, Edward IV had lost the English throne after the Earl of Warwick imprisoned him in his castle and reinstated Henry VI.
Warwick also executed Elizabeth's father, Earl Rivers. Shortly after, the now widowed Jacquetta was accused of witchcraft by one of Warwick's squires, Thomas Wake.
He brought a broken puppet made of lead to Warwick castle, and said Jacquetta had fashioned it in order to practise witchcraft. To support his allegation, he claimed that a parish clerk called John Daunger knew of two more images, one representing Edward, the other Elizabeth.
John Dee (13 July 1527 – 1608 or 1609) was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I of Welsh origin. He devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy, divination and Hermetic philosophy.
Dee straddled the worlds of science and magic just as they were becoming distinguishable. One of the most learned men of his age, he had been invited to lecture on advanced algebra at the University of Paris while still in his early twenties. Dee was an ardent promoter of mathematics and a respected astronomer, as well as a leading expert in navigation, having trained many of those who would conduct England's voyages of discovery.
Simultaneously with these efforts, Dee immersed himself in the worlds of magic, astrology and Hermetic philosophy. He devoted much time and effort in the last thirty years or so of his life to attempting to commune with angels in order to learn the universal language of creation and bring about the pre-apocalyptic unity of mankind. A student of the Renaissance Neo-Platonism of Marsilio Ficino, Dee did not draw distinctions between his mathematical research and his investigations into Hermetic magic, angel summoning and divination. Instead he considered all of his activities to constitute different facets of the same quest: the search for a transcendent understanding of the divine forms which underlie the visible world, which Dee called "pure verities".
In his lifetime Dee amassed one of the largest libraries in England. His high status as a scholar also allowed him to play a role in Elizabethan politics.
Satanism is a broad term referring to a group of Western religions comprising diverse ideological and philosophical beliefs. Their shared features include symbolic association with, or admiration for the character of Satan, and Prometheus, which are in their view, liberating figures.
Satan (Hebrew: שָּׂטָן Satan, "Adversary,") is a character appearing in the texts of the Abrahamic religions who personifies evil and temptation, and is known as the deceiver that leads humanity astray. The term is often applied to an angel who fell out of favor with God, seducing humanity into the ways of sin, and who now rules over the fallen world.
In 1386 Joan was married to John IV (or V), duke of Brittany; they had eight children. John died in 1399, and Joan was regent for her son John V (or VI) until 1401. During his banishment (1398–99), the future Henry IV resided with Joan and the duke of Brittany, and strong affections developed between Henry and Joan. Following her husband’s death in November 1399, Joan had a proxy marriage to Henry in April 1402; Henry returned to England with Joan in 1403, and they were formally married. The English disapproved of Henry’s French bride and distrusted Joan’s foreign favourites at Henry’s court. Many of the French likewise disapproved of the marriage. After Henry’s death in 1413, Joan received an annuity, but, because of an active anti-French policy in England, she was accused of witchcraft in 1419, imprisoned, and denied access to the revenue from her dowry. She was released in 1422, and the remainder of her life was uneventful.