Rosamond - Encyclopedia

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ROSAMOND, known as "The Fair" (d. c. 1176), mistress of Henry II., king of England, is believed to have been the daughter of Walter de Clifford of the family of Fitz-Ponce. The evidence for the paternity is, however, only an entry of a statement made by the jurors of the manor of Corfham in a Hundred Roll of the second year of the reign of Edward I. (1274), great grandson of Henry II. Rosamond is said to have been Henry's mistress secretly for several years, but was openly acknowledged by him only when he imprisoned his wife Eleanor of Acquitaine as a punishment for her encouragement of her sons in the rebellion of 1173-74. She died in or about 1176, and was buried in the nunnery church of Godstow before the high altar. The body was removed by order of St Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, in 1191, and was, seemingly, reinterred in the chapter house. The story that she was poisoned by Queen Eleanor first appears in the French Chronicle of London in the 14th century. The romantic details of the labyrinth at Woodstock, and the clue which guided King Henry II. to her bower, were the inventions of story-writers of later times. There is no evidence for the belief that she was the mother of Henry's natural son William Longsword, earl of Salisbury.

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