The Black Prince

Edward, the son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, was born at Woodstock Palace, Oxfordshire on June 15 1330
He married at Windsor Castle on October 10 1361, Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, daughter of Edmund of Woodstock and Margaret, Baroness Wake


Edward, the Black Prince (M Gregson)

He began his military career in 1346 at Crecy when he was still a boy. He went on to win several victories in the Hundred Years' War gaining the reputation of a fearless soldier. His title, the Black Prince, came from the black amour the he wore.

Having being created Earl of Chester in 1333, the Prince received the duchy of Cornwall in 1337 to become the first person the hold the title of Duke in England. He died at the Palace of Westminster, June 8 1376

His wife, who held the title Countess of Kent, was born September 29 1328, and died at Wallingford Castle, Berkshire, August 8 1385.

Wallingford Castle, Oxfordshire

A large mound topped with trees beside the River Thames marks the site of Wallingford Castle which after the Norman Conquest passed to Robert d'Oiley. At the time of the Domesday Survey, Wallingford was the most important town in Berkshire. After Robert's death, the castle passed by marriage to Brian Fitzcount.

Matilda, who opposed Stephen when he claimed the English throne, sought refuge in Wallingford Castle after her escape from Oxford. She returned to France leaving her son, Henry, to continue the struggle. He subsequently signed a treaty at Wallingford which accepted that Stephen could continue to rule England, but after his death the Crown would pass to Henry, who in 1154 succeeded as Henry II.

In 1231 Henry III gave Wallingford Castle to his brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall. After the death of his son, possession returned to the Crown.

In 1317 Edward II bestowed the castle on his wife, Isabella of France, and from that time it was frequently used by royalty.

By 1385 the castle was being used as a prison. Joan, Maid of Kent, was held there and died in confinement in 1385. In 1399 Isabella de Valois, the young wife of Richard II, was in residence at Wallingford. She was forced to flee to the safety of Sonning when her husband was arrested.

After the death of Henry V in 1422, Wallingford Castle became a residence for his widow, Catherine of France.

During the Civil War, Wallingford held out for 65 days during a siege by Parliamentarian troops It finally surrendered in July 1646 when it was taken by Fairfax. In 1652 Wallingford Castle was dismantled on the orders of the Council of State.