Hearne's time (c. 1711), though that writer regarded it as 'no more than the fiction of the vulgar' (Leland, Itin., ed. Hearne, ii. 77 ; Hearne. Will. of Newburgh, iii. 739).
Rosamond is commonly reported to have had two sons by Henry II, viz. Geoffrey, archbishop of York, and William Longsword, earl of Salisbury. This statement does not seem to reach further back than the end of the sixteenth or beginning of the seventeenth century. Apparently it is unknown to any English chronicler or historian before the publication of Speed's 'History of Great Britain' in 1611. It has since been accepted by both Carte and Eyton. That Geoffrey and William cannot both have been sons of Fair Rosamond is plain from the fact that the former was born in 1151-2 (Gir. Cambr. iv. 384), whereas Rosamond is spoken of as a 'girl' (puellam) more than twenty years later (Gir. Cambr. De Instit. Princ. p. 91). We also know from Walter Map that Geoffrey's mother was called Ykenai or Hikenai (De Nug. Curial. pp. 228, 235) ; and it is worth notice that, according to Dr. Stubbs, William Longsword laid claim to the inheritance of a Sir Roger de Akeny, a name which bears a close resemblance to Walter Map's Ykenai (Gir. Cambr., ed. Dimock, vii. p. xxxvii). There is moreover no positive evidence in favour of William Longsword's being the son of Rosamond. Before his death in 1188 Henry II granted William Longsword the manor of Appleby, Lincolnshire, whence it is seen to be improbable that he was the son of Rosamond and born, as the old legends have it, about 1175. In 1607, when Margaret, wife of George Clifford, third earl of Cumberland [q. v.], claimed the Clifford estates for her daughter Anne, and instituted proceedings against her brother-in-law Francis, another claimant, the Clifford genealogy was investigated, and the theory that William Longsword was the son of Rosamond Clifford was emphatically stated. But the main argument in favour of this kinship used on this occasion is vitiated by a fatal confusion between the manor of Appleby (in Lincolnshire) owned by Longsword and his descendants and the manor of the same name in Cumberland in the hands of the Cliffords.
The story of Queen Eleanor's vengeance on Rosamond makes its first appearance in the 'French Chronicle of London,' a fourteenth-century document which concludes with 1343 (17 Ed. III). It is entered under 1263 (47 Hen. III), and is transferred from Eleanor, the wife of Henry II, to Eleanor, the wife of Henry III. In this, the earliest version of the legend, the queen is made to bleed Rosamond to death in a hot bath at Woodstock, and King Henry has the dead body buried at Godstow. There is no allusion here to the familiar dagger and the poison-cup or to the maze, of which the latter alone was known to Higden, Knyghton, and Brompton. Another of the Rosamond legends, that of the silken clue, occurs first in Fabyan's 'Chronicle' (ed. Ellis, pp. 276-7). After describing the 'howse of wonder workyng or Dædalus' werke which is to mean, after moost exposytours, an howse wrought lyke unto a knot in a garden called a maze,' he adds, 'the comon fame tellyth that lastly the quene wane to her [i.e. Rosamond] by a clewe of threde or sylke and delte with her in such maner that she lyved not long after. Of the maner of her deth spekyth not myne auctour.' From Fabyan this tradition was handed on to Grafton and Holinshed, but still without the additions of the dagger and the bowl, which apparently make their first appearance together in the Percy ballad bearing the date 1611 (but for the poisoned draught, cf. Daniel, Complaint of Rosamond, 1596). This part of the story also may possibly be of considerably earlier date, if we can trust the evidence of Thomas Allen (d. 1632). He has recorded that on Rosamond's tomb, before its destruction at the Reformation, were 'enterchangeable weavings drawn out and decked with roses red and green, and the picture of the cup out of which she drank the poyson, given her by the queen, carved in stone' (Hearne, Will. of Newburgh, iii. 739). Hearne has left us an account of a picture, according to his informant painted about the reign of Henry VII, which represents Rosamond gazing at the 'fatal bowl.' Altogether the evidence would seem to show that the stories of the poisoned draught and the silken clue are the latest accretions to the Rosamond legend. The student of folklore will doubtless recognise in the latter incident a variant of an old-world myth in a somewhat altered setting ; while he may suspect, when he notices how very late is the introduction of the poisoned bowl, that he has here a distorted version of the actual fate of a yet more renowned Rosamond than the mistress of Henry II (cf. Paulus Diaconus, ii. c. 29).
[Dugdale's Monasticon (ed. 1817-46), vol. iv. ; Dugdale's Baronage, vol. i. ; Eyton's History of Shropshire, vol. v., and Itinerary of Henry II ; Sir H. Ellis's Introduction to Domesday ; Carte's History of England, vol. i. ; Giraldus Cambrensis, ed. Dimock (Rolls Series), vol. iv. ; Benedict of Peterborough, Roger Hoveden, and Walter of Coventry, ed. Stubbs (Rolls Series) ; Higden's Chronicle, ed. Luard (Rolls Series) ; Walter Map, De Nugis Curialium, ed. Wright (Camden