©National Archives

A Medieval Case of Treason: Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, 1330 On 13 October 1330, articles of impeachment were brought in parliament against Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. Mortimer had been the lover of Queen Isabella, the estranged wife of Edward II. Seizing power in November 1326 they had deposed the king and ruled the kingdom until their arrest by the young Edward III in October 1330.

The principal charge against Mortimer was that he had arranged for the captive Edward II to be sent to Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire where he had died in mysterious circumstances. Tradition has it that a red-hot poker was inserted into the king's bowels to avoid leaving any marks of violence.

The lords in parliament - having considered the evidence - judged Mortimer to be a traitor. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. This terrible punishment was performed on 29 November at a place called the Elms.

See item in the collection's timeline