Michael Cahill

Michael Cahill

I have history degrees from the University of Warwick, which I attended as a “mature student” in the 1990s.  From 2002 I worked for Open Studies, becoming a freelance lecturer in 2010.  I teach in Leamington, Coventry, and at the Percival Guildhouse adult education centre in Rugby.  My training was in early modern English history, but I have ranged more widely since then.


Edward II, 1307 – 1327

 After we conclude our survey of the reign of Edward I, we turn to that of his son.  The subject of Marlowe’s famous play, Edward II’s devotion to his favourites, particularly the notorious Piers Gaveston, ensured the growth of a powerful opposition, whose members sought to regulate an irresponsible king.  With Scottish, Gascon and domestic crises, as well as the antagonism of his wife, Queen Isabella, Edward was to face deposition, and died, we are told, in horrible circumstances.  In a period characterised by violence, we shall also consider other aspects of its history.

Our class is friendly and informal, and participation is encouraged.  No prior knowledge of the period is required.  The course runs for 10 weeks and our sessions are as follows.

  • Week 1:      France and Scotland
  • Week 2:      Edward I, a great and terrible king?
  • Week 3:      Edward II’s early years
  • Week 4:      The throne and the Favourite
  • Week 5:      Opposition to Gaveston and his death
  • Week 6:      Defeat at Bannockburn and conflict at home
  • Week 7:      Mediaeval guilds and the glories of Gothic
  • Week 8:      Civil War
  • Week 9:      “One of the most unpleasant regimes… ever to rule   England”
  • Week 10:   Edward’s deposition and end; Conclusion

The following books are of interest:

  • Alexander, J., and Binski, P., (eds)  Age of Chivalry (Royal Academy of Arts, 1987)
  • Dodd, G., and Musson, A., The reign of Edward II: New Perspectives (Woodbridge 2008)
  • Davies, R. R., The First English Empire, 1093-1443 (Oxford, 2000)
  • Hamilton, J.,  Piers Gaveston; Earl of Cornwall 1307-1312 (London, 1988)
  • Jones, D., The Plantagenets (Collins, 2013)
  • Marlowe, C., Edward II
  • Morris, M., A Great and Terrible King (Windmill, 2009)
  • Morris, M., Castle: A History of the Buildings that Shaped Mediaeval England (2003)
  • Nussbacker, A., The battle of Bannockburn (Stroud, 2000)
  • Phillips, S., Edward II (Yale, 2011)
  • Prestwich, M., Edward I (1988)
  • Prestwich, M., Plantagenet England, 1225-1360 (Oxford, 2005)

Oddfellows F. S., 6 Clarence Terrace, Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5LD


Thursdays from 9.45 a.m to 11.45 a.m, with a break for refreshment.  (Course members are asked to contribute £1 from time to time to maintain a kitty for tea, coffee and biscuits.)


16 Jan 2020


£90 for 10 weeks


If you wish to enrol for this course, or have any queries, you may contact me by typing your name, e-mail address and message in the boxes below and clicking “submit”.  You do not need to enter a website address, but it would be helpful if you would give a phone number together with your message in the Comment box.  I will try to answer your message as soon as possible.








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