Saturday, November 24, 2012

Heroes and Villains

 Leo's 25th gr-grandfather was Sir Roger Mortimer, 1st Baron Mortimer, 1231-1282, who killed and beheaded Sir Simon VI de Montfort, the great-nephew of another of our ancestors

Sir Simon died in 1265 with his friends and sons at the battle of Evesham, defending freedom and liberty.  After his death, people came to his grave and many were healed, miraculously. This was something the king's touch was supposed to do - and did not. It infuriated King Henry III and his son, Prince Edward so much that they posted guards at the grave, and later had Simon's body disinterred and moved.

Sir Roger died seventeen years later, after a life of fighting for wealth, privilege and power. His epitaph speaks: "Here lies buried, glittering with praise, Roger the pure, Roger Mortimer the second, called Lord of Wigmore by those who held him dear. While he lived all Wales feared his power, and given as a gift to him all Wales remained his. It knew his campaigns, he subjected it to torment."

Why these ancestors should matter, is that between them they touched the lives of many of our ancestors, and influenced the fate of kings and nations.  If ever anyone embodied the epitome of the curse "May you live in interesting times", it would be these knights, whose actions indeed made the times most interesting for themselves, and everyone else as well.

In a study of history, the individual appears to be lost in the context of great events that affect nations.  However, studying individuals in the light of their historical context can put history in perspective and reveal the human character and motives.