Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

King Louis X

Today is the seventh centenary of the death of King Louis X of France in 1316. He was 26, and had been King for little more than eighteen months. There is an online life of the King at Louis X of France

His tomb is in the abbey at St Denis. Here are two photographs of the head of the effigy:

Image: kornbluthphoto.com


King Louis X appears in the first three of Maurice Druon's series of novels on the last Capetians The Accursed Kings. In them he is not depicted especially favourably, and as a man in awe of his father and then disillusioned by his first wife's adultery. The actor Georges Ser gave a good performance as Louis in the original ORTF production in 1973-4.

Image result for Philip IV of France and family

The last Capetians
King Philip IV flanked by, left to right, his younger sons Charles - later King Charles IV - and Philip - later King Philip V -, his daughter Queen Isabella, wife of King Edward II, and by King Louis X as King of Navarre, and by his brother Charles Count of Valois, father of King Philip VI.

King Louis does look distinctly shifty, but that may simply be an artistic trait!

Image: Wikipedia

I suspect one could have a more favourable view of the King, and also allow for the pressures upon him - personal in respect of his marriages and concern for the succession, political in terms of the inevitable reaction following the death of his authoritarian and ruthlessly successful father, socio-economic in that 1315 saw the beginning of a near catastrophic pan-European famine linked to severe weather.

King Louis X depicted as King of France and of Navarre
 Image: Britannica.com

 Druon recounts the events leading to the death of Marguerite, Louis' first wife and his marriage to the Angevin princess Clemence of Hungary from Naples and her pregnancy, which was the situationwhen King Louis X died - there had to be a regency until her child was born. The luck of the Capetian dynasty in generating direct male heirs, which had secured their position since the accession of Hugh Capet in 987 was beginning to run out.


Quuen Clémence de Hongrie (1293–12 October 1328) 
Queen consort of France and Navarre, she was the second wife of King Louis X of France


King Louis X has a particular claim to fame in sporting history - he is the first recorded named player of tennis, and the fever which carried him off ( unless, as in Druon's The Poisoned Crown he was indeed poisoned)  seems to have begun with drinking chilled wine after a game of tennis.

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Sonia said...
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