This Day in History: 1308-02-25

Curtana, sword of Edward the ConfessorOn 25th February 1308, Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln and Lord of Pontefract, held aloft one of the Swords of State at the coronation of Edward II in Westminster Abbey. Thomas of Lancaster, the king’s cousin, carried the ceremonial  ‘Curtana’ (the Sword of Justice or Mercy) at the ceremony, which was reputed to be  the sword of Edward the Confessor. Controversially, Piers Gaveston carried the crown of St Edward the Confessor and at the post-coronation feast arrived dressed in purple, a colour reserved for the monarch only. Such was the discord within the royal court that The Chronicle of Lanercost records that on this date: ‘The people of the country and the leading men complained loudly at his coronation against the aforesaid Piers, and unanimously wished that he should be deprived of his earldom; but this the king obstinately refused. The murmurs increased from day to day, and engrossed the lips and ears of all men, nor was there one who had a good word either for the king or for Piers. The chief men agreed unanimously in strongly demanding that Piers should be sent back into exile, foremost among them being the noble Earl of Lincoln and the young Earl of Gloucester, whose sister, however, Piers had received in marriage by the king’s gift.’