The Trial and the Sentence of Eleanor Cobham in English Historical Texts
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The Trial and the Sentence of Eleanor Cobham in English Historical Texts
Annotation
PII
S207987840007719-9-1
DOI
10.18254/S207987840007719-9
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Elena Kalmykova 
Affiliation: Lomonosov Moscow State University
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Abstract

This article examines one of the most notorious trials in the history of medieval England. In 1441, Eleanor Cobham, the wife of Duke Humphrey Gloucester, the heir of Henry VI, the King of England and France, was accused of a conspiracy to assassinate the monarch. Allegedly, the duchess together with her trusted associates, among whom there were a famous necromancer and a well-known witch, conducted various magical operations, as a result of which the king was supposed to die from melancholia. After both secular and ecclesiastical courts condemned them, Eleanor’s associates were executed, while she was forced to do a three-day public penance and spent the rest of her days in confinement. Her marriage with the Duke of Gloucester was annulled even before the verdict. The article explores both these events themselves and different reasons for the fall of Eleanor Cobham, as reflected in both contemporary and later historical narratives. While for the contemporaries of the trial, who considered the court process fair and the sentence — just, the main reason was the unbounded hubris of the duchess who wanted to become a queen, the historians of the Tudor period tended to consider her a victim of political intrigues that aimed to discredit Duke Humphrey.

Keywords
magic, necromancer, conspiracy, Royal council, trial, war, chronicles
Received
18.09.2019
Publication date
15.12.2019
Number of characters
33026
Number of purchasers
19
Views
197
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
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