Queen Isabella of France

woman and Queen Consort of England (1308-1327)

Died aged 63

Isabella of France (c. 1295 – 22 August 1358), sometimes described as the She-Wolf of France (French: Louve de France), was Queen of England as the wife of King Edward II, and regent of England from 1327 until 1330. She was the youngest surviving child and only surviving daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre. Isabella was notable in her lifetime for her diplomatic skills, intelligence, and beauty. She overthrew her husband, becoming a "femme fatale" figure in plays and literature over the years, usually portrayed as a beautiful but cruel and manipulative figure. Isabella arrived in England at the age of 12 during a period of growing conflict between the king and the powerful baronial factions. Her new husband was notorious for the patronage he lavished on his favourite, Piers Gaveston, but the queen supported Edward during these early years, forming a working relationship with Piers and using her relationship with the French monarchy to bolster her own authority and power. After the death of Gaveston at the hands of the barons in 1312, however, Edward later turned to a new favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger, and attempted to take revenge on the barons, resulting in the Despenser War and a period of internal repression across England. Isabella could not tolerate Hugh Despenser, and by 1325, her marriage to Edward was at a breaking point. Travelling to France on a diplomatic mission, Isabella may have begun an affair with Roger Mortimer, and the two may possibly have agreed at this point to depose Edward and oust the Despenser family. The Queen returned to England with a small mercenary army in 1326, moving rapidly across England. The King's forces deserted him. Isabella deposed Edward, becoming regent on behalf of her young son, Edward III. Some believe that Isabella then arranged the murder of Edward II. Isabella and Mortimer's regime began to crumble, partly because of her lavish spending, but also because the Queen successfully, but unpopularly, resolved long-running problems such as the war with Scotland. In 1330, aged 18, Edward III forcibly asserted his authority. Mortimer was executed, Isabella's regency was ended and she was imprisoned. Released after two years, she afterward lived in considerable style; though she did not reside at court, she often visited to see her grandchildren.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

The Collegiate and Parish Church of St. John the Baptist This church was founded in 1344 by Queen Isabella widow of King Edward II, on land called 'Babblake' and was granted by her to the Guild of St. John the Baptist. It was to be served by two chaplains from the 'College of Bablake'. Those priests were to say a daily mass for, the repose of the soul of her late husband King Edward II, her son King Edward III, her daughter in law Queen Phiippa, her grandson Edward the Black Prince and members of the Guild of St. John. The building was consecrated on 2nd May 1350 to God and St. John the Baptist. By the time of the dissolution of the Guilds in 1548, the church was closed and given to the Mayor of the Corporation. During the time of the Commonwealth (1642-1660), the church was used as a prison for Royalist soldiers captured at the Battle of Preston. As the sympathies of the citizens of Coventry lay with the Parliamentarians, they gave the Royalist prisoners a hostile reception giving rise to the saying 'sent to Coventry', meaning that someone is ignored or treated coldly. After many years lying empty, occasionally being used to hold markets and as a stretch yard for dyed cloth, the Corporation agreed to reopen the church as a place of worship. It was created a Parish Church on 24th July 1734. Today the church serves the spiritual and other needs of this community and the city.

St. John the Baptist Parish Church, Corporation Street, Coventry, United Kingdom where they founded (1344)

Cheylesmore Manor House A manor house at Cheylesmore is first mentioned in the year 1250. In 1320 it passed to Queen Isabella. wife of Edward II. and from her to her grandson, the Black Prince. In 1385 the royal manor was enclosed within the city walls, then under construction. In the 16th century Leland wrote, "the King has a palace at Coventry now somewhat in ruin. The great hall was said to be down. In 1661 its other buildings were repaired by Sir Robert Townsend. In 1738 a weaver asked permission to make a tenement of one of them! In 1955 most of the South wing, which had become a range of industrial top-shops, was demolished. In 1965 Coventry Corporation undertook restoration of the gatehouse and the surviving bays of the north and South wings. The work. completed in 1968. revealed important historical features. For example. the south wing probably belongs to the original manor house of the 13th century: the ogee-headed doorway (on right) is an original entrance into the manor grounds from the Grey-Friars Monastery of which only the church steeple still stands: the open timber roofs had scarcely been altered since they were built; and of the original framework enough had survived to assure authentic restoration.

Coventry Register Office, Manor House Drive, Coventry, United Kingdom where they owned (1320-1358)