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The Great Bovine Pestilence

The heavy rains are intermittent now and this has set up the conditions for disease. The murrain, a medieval term meaning death, is a catch-all phrase for any disease affecting livestock. It could mean hoof-and-mouth disease to anthrax. The Great Bovine Pestilence will kill off 62% of all cattle in England and Wales in the next two years. That means more than just a loss of meat production and milk. Up to four oxen are needed to pull the heavy plows they use in the Middle Ages. With the loss of their oxen, food production has just taken another nosedive right when they need it most. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I hate to be a Debbie Downer but farming was primitive at this time. When the weather was good they were barely getting by. Food production was enhanced by using the fertile soils near the forest lands, but they were still using the old methods of farming... old even for George Washington. That is old. And they didn't know what germs were. Murrains were like magic spells to them and in fact the word "murrain" will come to be associated with magic... as a magic curse. It will also be the word they use when they translate the Bible into English. It will be one of the plagues God will set upon the Egyptians.... the death of cattle.

Another Welshman Loses His Head

Llywelyn of the Woods is a Welsh nobleman who led a failed revolt against King Edward II of England in 1316 and has now been turned over to Hugh the Younger Dispenser so that he can get a fair trial before he is executed. Unfortunately Hugh is a thief, a liar and the largest landowner in Wales. He skips the trial and has Llywelyn of the Woods drawn and quartered. This will incense the Welsh and the barons so much that it will lead to the eventual overthrow of Hugh the Younger and King Edward II. [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The barons are worried that Hugh the Younger is controlling King Edward II just like Piers de Gaveston had done before he had his head removed. As Hugh acts more and more capriciously (just as Piers had done) the more the barons will be thinking of a permanent replacement for Hugh's head and King Edward's... with his wife's hearty approval and help.

The High King of Ireland is Dead

Although the rain has subsided in England it continues to ravage Ireland. The Great Famine was a problem for Edward the Bruce but it will be no longer. Edward was named High King of Ireland by the O'Neil clan and was in the process of taking Ireland away from King Edward II of England when his life came to an end at the Battle of Faughart. His body will be drawn and quartered and his head will be sent to King Edward II. [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
One wonders what the effect the Famine had on the fighting ability of Edward the Bruce's troops. There is hard evidence that rains were heavy in Ireland at this time and getting what little food there was to his troops must have been a nightmare. In Ireland, people were digging up dead bodies and eating them. I can only imagine what happened after one of these battles.[11]

See Also

References

  1. Slavin, Philip. The Great Bovine Pestilence and its economic and environmental consequences in England and Wales, 1318-50. The Economic History Review , Vol. 65, No. 4 (Nov. 2012), pp. 1239-1266.
  2. Jordan, William Chester, The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century, Princeton University Press, December 15, 1997. p. 35. (BOOK)
  3. Lucas,Henry S.. The Great European Famine of 1315, 1316, and 1317. Speculum, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Oct., 1930). Medieval Academy of America. pp. 377. (JOURNAL)
  4. Murrain - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Hugh Le Despenser the Younger,(credits), 2013 [last update]
  6. Llywelyn Bren - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Lucas,Henry S.. The Great European Famine of 1315, 1316, and 1317. Speculum, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Oct., 1930). Medieval Academy of America. pp. 370-373. (JOURNAL)
  8. Battle of Faughart, everyhistory.org, 2013 [last update]
  9. Edward the Bruce: Battle of Faughart - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Battle of Faughart - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Jordan, William Chester, The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century, Princeton University Press, December 15, 1997. p. 17. (BOOK)

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