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The Dead Queen on the Throne
Pierre-Charles Comte (1823-1895)
In the year 1339, the 20 year-old Prince of Portugal, named Peter, married Constance of Peñafiel. However, he soon fell in love with her lady-in-waiting, Inês de Castro, and the two kept up their affair for years, having four children together. However, Peter's father, King Afonso IV, hated Inês, and tried to keep the couple apart. Eventually, he sent some of his men to murder Inês, and they beheaded her in front of her infant son. Peter would get his revenge on two of the murders, having them executed by ripping out their hearts. His love for Inês would not go away, however, and when, according to some sources, he ascended to the throne in 1357, Peter had her body exhumed from her grave, placed on a throne, adorned with the jewellery and royal clothes. and forced all the nobles to pay homage by kissing the hem of her garments.
The Miser's plan to fake his own death
"The True history of the life and sudden death of old John Overs, the rich ferry-man of London' was first published in 1637, but purports to be a tale from early medieval times, before the London Bridge was built. John Overs worked as the ferryman, taking people across the Thames from London to Southwark. Although he grew rich, the text explains he was a terrible miser, acting so cheap that he would not give light from his candles to his neighbours, and that mice and rats would stay away from his home because there was no bit of food left over. One day, he came up with an idea to skip on having to feed his servants a meal. He pretended that he was dead and had himself wrapped in a burial shroud. He believed that his servants would be so sad that they would fast for the day, after which John would feign a sudden recovery. However, when the servant heard of his 'death' they were over-joyed! Breaking open the cupboards, they took out the bread, cheese and ale and had a party around the shrouded corpse. Eventually John Overs was so upset by his servants' actions that he decided to end the charade and chastise them for their waste. As John struggled to get out of his burial shroud, one of his servants saw this, and thinking that it was a ghost rising from the dead, immediately grabbed an oar and beat his master to death. The story does not end here - because John Overs had been excommunicated for usury, he was refused a Christian burial. His daughter eventually bribed a monastery to bury him, but when the Abbot (who had been away) returned, he immediately had the corpse dug up, then placed it on the back of an ass. The animal then wandered through the streets of London before arriving at St.Thomas-at-Watering, the place where executions took place. The ass then shrugged off John Overs' body, and he was buried there.
Dinner with your Lover
A 13th-century story tells how Le Châtelain de Coucy, a troubadour, had an affair with the Lady of Fayel, who was married. The troubadour took part in the Third Crusade, but at the siege of Acre he was mortally wounded. As he was about to die, he begged a man to remove his heart and give it to its true owner. The man did so, but when he reached the home of the Lady of Fayel, he foolishly told her husband about the request. The husband took the heart, had it cooked, and then served it to his wife for dinner. After she had finished he revealed what the meat really was - after this she refused all food and starved to death!
The Cockamamie Plan to Destroy London
British Library - Additional 14762 f. 12
This story appears in an official government document - the Hundred Rolls - a census and taxation record that was commissioned by King Edward I. It relates how Sir Richard de Southchurch, the Sheriff of Essex, came to his manor in 1267, and requested supplies to help King Henry III retake the city of London against rebel barons. While there were normal requests - like chickens to feed the wounded and ropes for catapults, Richard also asked for "cocks, forty and more, to whose feet he declared he would tie fire, and send them flying into London to burn it down." Many scholars have wondered about the practicalness of a plan to setting 40 roosters on fire and sending them into London to destroy the city, and one historian believes that the Sheriff was simply was just saying this to scam the villagers out of their poultry.
The Penny that would not stay still
Medieval Penny - wikipedia
In Gerald of Wales 12th century account 'The History and Topography of Ireland', he tells how the city of Dublin was captured by Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke. He writes: "When the city was captured, an archer, among others, offered a penny to the cross (in the Church of the Holy Trinity), and as he turned to go away, was hit in the back by the penny flung after immediately. He took it up and offered it to the cross a second time, but the same thing happened, while many people standing about looked on and wondered. Then the archer confessed before all that on that very day he had plundered the residence of the archbishop within the very precincts of that church. A penance was imposed upon him, and he returned whatever he had got from the archbishop's residence. He then brought back the same penny in great fear and awe for the third time to the cross. This time finally it remained and did not move."

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