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Toy soldiers and real battles: Edler Schweizer Ritter Othon, Soldier and Diplomat, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands

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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Edler Schweizer Ritter Othon, Soldier and Diplomat, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands

The Edler Schweizer Ritter Othon monument, Soldier and Diplomat,at St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands. Otto de Grandson,also spelled Otton, Othon or Otho (c. 1238–1328), was the most prominent of the Savoyard knights in the service of Edward I, King of England. He was the closest personal friend of Edward, and shared the king's many interests. The son of Pierre, lord of Grandson near Lausanne, the young Otto travelled to England probably in the company of Peter II of Savoy in 1252, certainly not later than 1265. There he entered the service of King Henry III and by 1267 was placed in the household of Prince Edward. In return for likely service for Prince Edward at the battles of Lewes and Evesham he was rewarded with property at Queenhithe in London. In 1268 both prince and servant were knighted and in 1271 the latter accompanied his lord on the Ninth Crusade, where he served at Acre that year. According to one source, it was Otto, not Eleanor of Castile, who sucked the poison from the wounded Edward after an attempted assassination. In 1272 Otto was appointed an executor in Acre. Returning to England, he was a key household knight of King Edward I in his campaigns in Scotland and Wales, where he served as chief justiciar of Wales, based at Caernarfon Castle from 1284 to 1294. During the Welsh Wars of King Edward I Otto was very active diplomatically and militarily, beginning with the siege of Dolforwyn Castle in April 1277. On behalf of Edward, he concluded the Treaty of Aberconwy in November that brought the invasion of Wales in 1277 to an end. In 1278, he was appointed King's Lieutenant in the Duchy by Edward and sent to the Duchy of Gascony along with Robert Burnel. to reform the government He was also employed as a diplomat and gained contacts with most of the sovereigns of western Europe. During the second invasion of Wales in 1282–83 he narrowly escaped death at the battle of Moel-y-don before in April 1283 taking the town of Harlech at the head of 560 infantry. In 1283 he was briefly in the employ of Edmund Crouchback, the king's younger brother, for diplomatic work. It was said that no one could do the king's will better, including the king himself. He was appointed governor of the Channel Islands and in 1290 appointed a bailiff for each of the bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, giving them civil powers to administer the islands. In the spring of 1328, the ninety-year-old knight set out tor one last trip to Rome. Close to Aigle, he was taken ill. On 5 April 1328, he died.

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