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Gaveston, Piers

Gaveston, Piers (1284–1312). The most notorious favourite of Edward II was the son of a Gascon knight who served in Edward I's household. Whether his relationship with Edward II was sexual is not clear, but it seems likely that it was. It was certainly formed early, in adolescence. Piers was exiled by Edward I in the course of a quarrel with his son; once Edward II came to the throne he showered his waspish ‘brother’ with many favours, starting with no less than the earldom of Cornwall. Foolish rather than malign, Piers irritated the English nobility by his rudeness, giving them coarse nicknames; he also annoyed them with his skill in tournaments. He controlled royal patronage to an unacceptable degree. He was forced into exile by the king's opponents in 1309, and again in 1311; he returned to surrender at Scarborough in Yorkshire, and died at the hands of his opponents at Blacklow Hill in Warwickshire in 1312.

Michael Prestwich

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Gaveston, Piers

Piers Gaveston (pērz găv´əstən), d. 1312, favorite of Edward II of England. Son of a Gascon knight at the court of Edward I, he was a boyhood playmate of the future Edward II and acquired great influence over him. Edward I exiled him (1307), but he returned on his friend's accession later in the year. He was made earl of Cornwall and married the new king's niece. When Edward was absent in France (1308), Gaveston was regent. His greed and arrogance and the king's reliance on his counsel aroused strong hostility among the barons, who forced (1308) Edward to banish him. He was made lieutenant of Ireland, but he returned to England the following year. In 1311 the lords ordainers, who temporarily controlled the government, exiled Gaveston again. When he returned within the same year, the barons rose in rebellion. He was captured and executed.

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