The historic castle was rebuilt in stone around 1200 by the de Braose family and Hay Castle Trust believes the ball may have been launched in the Barons' War
of 1263 to 1266.
In 1265, during the Barons' War
, it was held for ten weeks by supporters of Simon de Montfort against the men of Prince Edward, son of Henry III.
After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War
. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and joined the fight against Simon de Montfort.
Even that one exception - the signing of Magna Carta in June 1215 - turned out to be the mere prelude to the First Barons' War
, when both sides settled down to find out exactly what the new agreement meant in practice.
After this discussion of the Barons' War
of the 1260s, the chapters proceed both chronologically and thematically, involving consideration of literary responses to Edward I's Scottish campaigns, the failures of Edward II, and the early years of Edward III.
In chapter 4, the focus shifts to the reigns of Louis IX and Henry III, contrasting the fortunes of the two kings with another nod to Charles Dickens: it was the "best of times" for Louis, secure on his throne and instigating reforms, but the "worst of times" for Henry, faced with the Barons' War
. The architectural rivalry between the two institutions is examined in chapter 5 and it is here that Jordan sheds the most light on the abbeys themselves.
The specific invitation to cross the Alps by the duke of Milan, Lodovico Sforza, was only the last in a lengthy list of such appeals: the Venetian republic during the Ferrara war (1484); Pope Innocent VIII during the Barons' War
(1486) and again in 1489.