Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The daughter of Walter Clifford , who had assumed the surname after taking possession of Clifford Castle on the river Wye, she first met the King when her father performed some service for him in the course of Henry's campaigns in Wales.
Historians are divided over whether or not Rosamund's relationship with the King produced children. The question is complicated by the difficulty of separating the facts of Rosamund's life from the profusion of legends surrounding it. Many historians have concluded that Rosamund most likely bore Henry a single child, but cannot identify it or even provide a specific date of birth. Some modern writers, including Alison Weir, are of the opinion that Rosamund had no children; but whether this means she never gave birth or merely that none of her children survived remains unclear.
Legend commonly attributes to Rosamund two of King Henry's favourite illegitimate sons, Geoffrey Plantagenet (1151-1212), Archbishop of York, and William Longsword (1176-1226), Earl of Salisbury. Of these, we can safely disgard Geoffrey. Henry and Rosamund met about 1166, and their relationship last until 1176. Geoffrey and Rosamund would therefore have been about the same age, and Geoffrey was therefore almost certainly the son of Ykenai the prostitute.
William de Longespee's maternity was a mystery for many years, but at last the truth was discovered when charters issued by him were found to contain references to "Comitissa Ida, mater mea." (Bradenstoke Cartulary, 1979). This Ida is now known to be Ida, Countess of Norfolk.
Not much is known about Rosamund, but she is discussed in books about Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry's Queen. The legends concerning her life abound, but few hard facts are available. The story that she was poisoned by a jealous Eleanor is certainly untrue, and so is the tale that Henry constructed the hunting lodge at Woodstock for her and surrounded it with a garden that was a labyrinth ("Rosamund's Bower," which was pulled down when Blenheim Palace was built nearby). During the Elizabethan era, the stories gained popularity, but the Ballad of Fair Rosamund by Thomas Delaney and the Complaint of Rosamund by Samuel Daniel (1592) are both purely fictional.
Authorities differ over whether Rosamund stayed quietly in seclusion at Woodstock while Henry was back and forth to his continental possessions or whether she traveled with him as a member of his household. If the former, the two of them could not have spent more than about a quarter of the time between 1166 and 1176 together. Historians do seem to agree, however, that Rosamund, who came into Henry's life just as Eleanor lost the ability to bear children, was Eleanor's opposite in personality, and that Henry and Rosamund truly did share a deep love.
Death and thereafter
Henry's liaison with Rosamund became public knowledge in 1174; it ended when she retired to the nunnery at Godstow in 1176, shortly before her death.
Henry and the Clifford family paid for her tomb in the choir of the convent's church and an endowment for it to be tended by the nuns, and it became a popular local shrine until 1191. In that year, two years after Henry's death, St. Hugh of Avalon , Bishop of Lincoln, while visiting Godstow noticed Rosamund's tomb right in front of the high altar. The tomb was laden with flowers and candles, demonstrating that the local people were still praying there. Calling Rosamund a harlot, the bishop ordered her remains removed from the church. Her tomb was moved outside of the abbey church itself to the cemetery at the nuns' chapter house next to it, where it could still be visited until it was destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII of England.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details