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How would Thetford Priory have looked?

Thetford Priory was, of course, a Cluniac Priory. Whilst some walls stand away from the entrance, in other areas only the foundations remain and the Mowbray tomb locations are no longer marked, although those of the Howards, moved to Framlingham, remain.

If only, I hear you say, some kind of restoration could take place. That would be extremely expensive but there is a comparable building, although it suffered less dilapidation in the first place. Paisley Abbey was also a Cluniac priory and constructed in the twelfth century, although it had to be rebuilt in 1307 after an Edward I visit. Just nine years after that, on March 2nd, Marjorie Bruce, the king’s daughter married to Walter the Steward, fell off her horse nearby, whilst heavily pregnant. Although she died, her son was born alive and survived to 74, eventually succeeding his uncle as Robert II, the first Stewart King and progenitor of the Scottish nobility.

Paisley Abbey, arguably the Strathclyde region’s greatest historic attraction, is known as the “Cradle of the Royal House of Stewart” – literally, in fact. It is now a Church of Scotland church and has appeared on Songs of Praise in recent years, whilst the restoration continues. Robert II is among those buried there, with many of his family.

Henry VII’s lavish gift to his daughter….

Oh dear, how very Henry VII. I’ve just read in this link that because the leek was the emblem of the Welsh, on one St David’s Day he presented a leek to his daughter. A real leek, that is, not one studded with precious stones. Talk about a cheap gift! I’m sure she was thrilled. It’s every girl’s dream to be given a leek! Did she keep it under her pillow?

And I’ll bet it came from someone else’s land. Henry didn’t give anything away, unless it wasn’t his to start with. Ha!

What a splendid role model he was for Scrooge!

This is NOT a dig at the Welsh, by the way. Far from it, because I hail from that proud land. But Henry VII is always fair game for those of us who believe the wrong man won at Bosworth!

Will the sequencing of Richard’s genome prove he was good or bad….?

On Tuesday 2nd March a new series commences on BBC2 (9 pm) about what may or may not be revealed by the in-depth study of DNA and sequencing genomes. Of course, this will include Richard. How can it not? Especially when Professor Turi King is involved. Richard is surely the most important and prominent historical figure about whom everyone really wants to know. His detractors have nothing good to say about him, while we, his supporters, will hear little bad. Was the real Richard somewhere in between? Can they really say whether he was good or bad, simply by analysing his genome?

Well, studying it might reveal a few things, e.g. whether he was likely to go bald and accurate indications of his  blood type, hair and eye colour. However, “….scientists are scientists are studying possible associations of genes with personality traits, including propensity to violent aggression, psychopathy and narcissism…” Ah. This is where I begin to feel uncomfortable. Just because someone might have had certain characteristics does not mean they definitely did. For instance, every man who likes enthusiastic sex might be predisposed to be a rapist. Yes, he might, but that doesn’t mean he is a rapist.

Professor King’s findings are to be published in the coming months, and I look forward to reading them—hopefully they won’t be so technical that I won’t have a clue what she’s really saying. However, she is apparently at pains to say that this area of genetics remained “extremely fuzzy” and that it would take years to tease out any associations. If ever, I find myself adding.

Here is one paragraph in this article from The Times (which to read in full, you’ll need to subscribe) :-

“….[Professor] King said that even if Richard did order the deaths of his nephews, as most historians believe, this did not necessarily reflect particular personality traits but was simply how monarchs behaved at the time. Significantly, the analysis will reveal more specific information on Richard’s Y chromosome type. This is DNA that is passed down through the male line, from father to son through generations. Earlier analysis predicted that Richard’s Y chromosome was of a different type from that of living individuals believed to descend from Edward III, Richard’s paternal great-great-grandfather, in the male line. More details of Richard’s Y chromosome could one day help to establish which was the original Plantagenet Y chromosome and whether Richard or members of the Somerset family, with a documented male-line descent from Edward III, carry an interloper variant arising from extramarital shenanigans….”

But, being well-documented doesn’t mean that that those documents were 100% truthful. Has every man in the line from Edward III owned up to fearing he wasn’t the father of the son who bears his name? Or even knowing he wasn’t? A great deal of face-saving would be involved. Legitimacy was a very, very, very sensitive subject for the nobility. It still is. So to my mind it just isn’t possible to be so certain that no margin of error is to be allowed.  The discrepancy in the Y Chromosome merely indicates that someone, somewhere, sometime told a little porky.

So on Tuesday, 2nd March at 9 p.m. I will start watching this new TV documentary series on BBC2 with great interest, especially when it covers Richard III. I don’t know in which episode he will be discussed. The series is called DNA Family Secrets, and Professor King will be using DNA to solve mysteries in various Britons’ family trees. “…The team, from Leicester University and Potsdam University’s genomics laboratory, have also sequenced the whole genomes of Michael Ibsen and Wendy Duldig, who are descended in the female line from Richard’s sister, Anne of York, and whose mitochondrial DNA, inherited from mother to child, was matched to Richard’s, confirming the identification of the remains…”

Bring it on, I’m more than avid to know the findings.

So here is the challenge:

Dan Snow (LLoyd George knew his great-grandmother) said (punctuation corrected):

“I thought twitter was full of Richard III fans. So, WATSON, why in the name of usurping cadet branches has the Henry V hoodie has massive outsold the Richard III one.” 

“Where are you, Ricardians?”

We can do something about it here.

Welsh Marcher Lordships

So here is the latest video from the Legendary Ten Seconds, this time about the Mortimers and other Marcher Lords.

 

 

Here are the lyrics:

THE MARCHER LORDS

 

ON THE BORDER WITH WALES WE STAND

DEFENCE AND CONQUEST WE HAVE IN HAND

OUR KING AND COUNTRY WE MAY SERVE

THOUGH IT’S OUR OWN POWER WE PRESERVE

 

THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

MASTERS OF OUR DESTINY

OH THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

IF YOU CROSS OUR PATH TREAD CAREFULLY

OH THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

 

IT’S A LAND OF OPPORTUNITY

JOIN OUR RAIDS IN THE WELSH COUNTRY

LAND AND RICHES WE ALWAYS SEEK

WE EXPLOIT THE POOR AND DESPISE THE MEEK

 

THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

MASTERS OF OUR DESTINY

THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

IF YOU CROSS OUR PATH TREAD CAREFULLY

OH THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

 

SEE OUR CASTLES MADE OF STONE

THE SEEDS OF STRIFE THAT WE HAVE SOWN

OF OUR POWER YOU MUST TAKE HEED

OR ON YOUR KNEES YOU WILL SOON PLEAD

 

THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

MASTERS OF OUR DESTINY

THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

IF YOU CROSS OUR PATH TREAD CAREFULLY

OH THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

 

PRIVATE WARS ARE OUR LIBERTY

DON’T INTERFERE JUST LEAVE US BE

BUT BRING UNTO TO US A ROYAL WRIT

AND YOU WILL SOON BE EATING IT

 

THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

MASTERS OF OUR DESTINY

THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

IF YOU CROSS OUR PATH TREAD CAREFULLY

OH THE MARCHER LORDS ARE WE

Who’s coming to dinner (a guest post)

How did this happen? Am I dreaming? Is there some sort of Time-slip? Yet here I am, somehow “transposed” from my 21st century self to a Lady-in-Waiting, helping to host a secret dinner. I cannot understand how or why it has occurred, all I know is that it is the end of February 1485, after the lavish Christmas festivities at Westminster.
I am aware that I am a Lady Katherine – Manners or Ferrers perhaps? – apparently the ladies of the court take turns in “hosting” the dinner with the King, no favouritism displayed. This is a regular occurrence when the Queen is unwell – she seems worryingly consumptive and the loss of their son has been an additional grief and burden to them both.
Yet I am also “Me” – I have foreknowledge, but am somehow unable to speak of this, to warn.
Our guest – highly secret – no record to be made of the evening, is Elizabeth Woodville, our former Queen, now to be known as Dame Grey, since the illegitimacy of her marriage to Edward IV has been shown. She is as finely dressed as ever – ignoring the Sumptuary Laws, in a heavily brocaded underdress of dove-grey silk, and a deep crimson velvet robe with long detachable sleeves, trimmed with silver braid, not the ermine of her earlier, more fortunate days. Her tyrewoman has fashioned her headdress with the utmost elegance, black half-henin cap (a nod to her still being almost in mourning) also trimmed with the silver braid, with light “butterfly wings” of pure white veiling standing away either side of the cap.
She still wears the jewelled rings that should have been passed on to Queen Anne, but Richard and Anne had decided not to make an issue of it. She makes her obeisance with an almost knowing smile, perhaps not quite deep enough, but then, she was once Queen herself.
We are at Nottingham Castle in the new Royal Apartments begun by Edward, finished by Richard. He takes pleasure in the crisp new stonework of the wider windows perfected in the latest style with flattened arches, beautiful tracery and the mullions rising elegantly up into the arch. He enjoys “improving things”, but generally does not want to be extravagant, so he contents himself with windows, as at Sudeley, Barnard Castle, Gainsborough and here in Nottingham… by and large his building interests have been of a military or seagoing nature.
The food is all cooked in the newly installed kitchens; the Master of the Household making the choices from what has been delivered fresh, recently caught, or available from the stores. It is just a simple meal; King Richard is known for his moderation in food matters.
We have dainty mushroom and cheese tartlets in the lightest pastry, salmon from the Trent, salted turbot with leeks, tender young boar stewed in cider, roast venison, a marchpane delicacy, and a vanilla flummery to settle the stomach. Richard has chosen small beer, a fine Rhenish, and a strong yet mellow red vintage from Portugal (sent by his good friend Sir Edward Brampton) then a sweet honeyed wine to finish. The former queen dines with enjoyment and relish. Strange, I had imagined her to pick at her food. Yet she retains her youthful figure, after how many – twelve? – children. How does she do it I wonder with a touch of envy.
King Richard is asking Dame Grey if she is now satisfied that her boys are safe. The Christmas court has shown that she and her daughters will be well treated – the finest clothes, good marriages (within the limitations of their ignoble birth, but never forgetting their father was a king) and always welcome at court. She is as beautiful as ever – neither sorrow, fear, danger nor her reduced status seem to have left their mark on her smooth white skin, the small amount of hair she allows to show under the cap gleams silver-gilt in the candlelight.
“You are content with the arrangements?” Richard asks. Dame Grey has recently travelled from Sherriff Hutton where her daughters are settled for the coming Lent season. She attempts a winning smile, peeping from under her lashes – a trick that often has many a man gasping. She could have saved herself the effort – Richard has ever been immune to La Woodville’s charms. But on the whole she knows how to handle men, and so adapts her style to suit Richard.
“The preparations are sufficient Your Grace. If my son Edward is not to be king, then at least his safety is guaranteed, and that of his brother, my bold young Richard. I thank you for their present safe-keeping and regret the coming parting, but I understand how they cannot live quietly in England as my daughters will, and my hope is that we can be quietly reunited from time to time. ‘Tis Fortune’s Wheel Sire,” she shrugs. “Yea, One rises up, then down, then who knows? Up again? Sir James (Tyrrell) is to convey me to Gipping to say my farewells.” She never forgets that although her father was a mere knight, later created Earl Rivers, her mother was Jacquetta of Luxembourg and, by her first marriage, Duchess of Bedford, the highest woman in the land after Queen Margaret.
“You do understand why these steps are necessary?” Richard asks. “After Buckingham’s revolt and with the Tudor still at large in Brittany or France ( whichever country will have him) we cannot afford to risk the boys’ lives. Were Tudor to succeed, the boys would be in his way on his path to the throne – I am informed he plans to marry their sister, Lady Elizabeth, to legitimise his own claim. As you know, I have kept Margaret Beaufort close at hand, serving my lady wife. She will find it difficult to contact her son.” He takes a deep draught from his goblet, like a man in need.
“She too, is well aware of the danger the boys hold for her son’s chances,” he continues, “Despite their newly discovered bastard birth, any uprising in their favour would probably be willing to put aside God’s ordaining and start up the barons’ wars again – England cannot be well-ruled by a child. It is my earnest hope that my rule will be so peaceful and just, that England shall be prosperous and busy again, with parity and justice before the law, without recourse to the bribery and corrupt practises of old; that in time they will not wish to rebel. Meanwhile the boys must be kept safe, most like with my sister in Burgundy, as they are indeed my brother’s undoubted children. I must stress the secret nature of this meeting and these plans. Nobody at Westminster is aware that I am here – the story is that I am keeping to my chambers with the ague and Secretary Kendall has undertaken to record my presence in London.”
It is a long speech from the King, he is not often given to explaining himself, for he is a man of few words and greater deeds.
But it seems Dame Grey’s attention has wavered somewhat. Her eyes have narrowed and she is looking keenly at myself. I had given a sharp start as Henry Tudor’s name was mentioned and although I tried to cover it up by fiddling with my napery, she is not fooled.
“Mistress Katherine,” she says smoothly, “I find it interesting that you also know something of Fortune’s favours. As a widow, your consequence should have waned, until you got yourself second husband. Yet here you are, at court, favoured by their Majesties; it seems you made the most of your chances. Mayhap these chances were not unexpected to you, I wonder if you have the gift of foreknowledge? I too have a little of The Sight, inherited from my mother I would vow. She once claimed to me that although I should be Queen and then “not queen”, my daughter Elizabeth would be the ancestress of monarchs.”
Richard seems frozen in shock at these words, unable to speak. He has paled and the lines from his nose to his mouth have deepened. He touches the cross which hangs from his regal chain. He has aged since the death of his son, the cares of State seem now to weigh heavy on him, but he is quick to recognise and reject any hint of witchcraft or sorcery, his strong faith in God is his constant support.
I hurry to speak, “My lady, whatever visions or dreams may occur in any person’s life, I am certain they are God-given, intended to guide our lives in the true and virtuous path.”
Meanwhile my mind is whirling, images of a broken body flung naked over a horse, hurried night-time funeral rites, a reputation ruined, play-actors through the ages telling a twisted tale of this man and this woman.
How would the two seated here feel if they knew their story would be told for more than five hundred years? Yet I could say no more, stilled at last by the vision of a shining black plinth, atop it a marble-white, cross-incised tombstone and the words filling my head “Grant me the carving of my name”. My heart is racing, I feel breathless and lightheaded.
The meal is over. Richard, thoughtful, says no more beyond the formal farewells. But as my Lady Grey takes her leave she smiles secretly me at me, and then looks upon my Lord Richard with something like pity in her eyes…

The Princes in the Tower “disappear” 1483

Richard’s son Prince Edward dies at Middleham Castle in April 1484

His wife Queen Anne dies March 1485.

There is an eclipse of the sun on the same day.

Richard is killed at Bosworth August 1485

He is buried hastily with little ceremony at Greyfriars Priory in Leicester

His bones are rediscovered and identified 2012

He is reinterred with dignity and honour in nearby Leicester Cathedral March 2015

Anne Ayres 2020

A beautiful Yorkshire church with connections to the Scropes of Bolton….

Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire

Here is a link to a very interesting paper on the astonishingly beautiful but now redundant church of Holy Trinity in the small North Yorkshire village of Wensley. I’m posting it because this church was much patronised by the Scropes of Bolton who did, of course, have great connections to our period and to various families of consequence, including the de la Poles.

For more about the church, Wikipedia has a page from which the above external photograph has been taken. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Trinity_Church,_Wensley

Chancel stalls with quartered shield of Scrope and Tiptoft and dragon carving. Holy Trinity Church, Wensley. Photograph by the author of the paper, Eleanor Warren

THE ANCIENT TREES OF GREENWICH PALACE HUNTING GROUNDS

Reblogged from A Medieval Potpourri sparkypus.com

image

THE ANCIENT OAK TREE KNOWN AS THE ‘ELIZABETH’ OAK.  With thanks to Spitalfieldlife for this photo.  

In the words of Sir John Howard,  Duke of Norfolk, Richard III’s loyal friend, I get  as wode as a Wilde bullok‘  when I read yet another tedious reference to Henry VIII stayed here, Elizabeth I stayed there,  blah blah blah,  especially in places that predate  the Tudors and already had a history before their unfortunate arrival on the scene.    So what if Henry,  that hateful, monstrous cruel tyrant and medieval Pol Pot stayed there with his gammy leg?   I care not.  What about the Magnificent Plantagenets!?  Tell me they stayed anywhere and you have my attention.   This daft belief  of thinking the World and his Wife are only interested in somewhere as long as Henry danced there with the unfortunate Anne Boleyn,  you know,  the wife he had judicially murdered,  or kipped there for a couple of nights along with his gammy leg –  well la di dah di dah –  is tiresome and leaves me cold.  Even the ancient trees that were part of the hunting grounds of Greenwich Palace, favourite residence of  Lancastrian nobility and Yorkists queens, that have survived over the centuries and were there well before Fat Henry have been been hijacked.  Duh!  Whats wrong with mentioning  King Richard III may have danced with his Queen, Anne Neville,  below a tree that was ancient in his time or rested in its shade as he enjoyed a day’s hunting…hmmmm?  

img_6036

One particular tree,  now known as the Elizabeth Oakstanding in a dell in the midst of the hunting park,  would definitely  have been there in 1483 as it is said to date from the 12th century.  Anyway rant over and back to the wonderful old oaks and sweet chestnuts of Greenwich Park.

To continue reading click here

 

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE! CHARLES VI OF FRANCE

On January 28, 1393, Charles VI decided to partake in the  Bal des Sauvages, the Ball of the Wild Men, a masquerade ball in which the ruler joined with gusto, joining a party of five other nobles to perform a frenzied dance dressed as a ‘woodwose’–a Wild Man of the forest. Unfortunately, the Ball ended up in disaster and tragedy, when the dancers’ costumes were ignited by a torch, and hence the ball is now known as the Bal des Ardents–the Ball of the Burning Men.

The costumes of the dancers, sewn on, were made of linen soaked with resin, and tufted with flax to give the ‘wild men’ the necessary hirsute and troll-like appearance. To complete the outfits, they wore masks, hiding their identity–most of the revellers did not even realise the king was one of the party. There were some safety measures taken by the celebrants; no torches were kindled within the hall and no one was permitted to bring a torch inside.

However, the King’s brother Louis, Duke of Orleans, and a friend, arriving late and both very drunk, ignored the rules and marched into the hall carrying torches. Some say Louis held a torch over a dancer’s head to try and identify him and a falling spark caught on the man’s leg; another account says he actually flung the torch at the dancers. They were standing so close together (some accounts say some were chained ) that they were immediately engulfed in a ball of flame.

The Queen of France, Isabeau, knowing the king was in the troupe fainted when she saw the flames leap up and heard agonised screams. However, by sheer luck, it seems like Charles was not chained with the rest and was standing slightly apart from the others, near his aunt Joan, the Duchess of Berry. The quick-thinking young duchess flung her huge skirts over the King to keep his costume from being set alight by flying sparks.

Of the six men who caught alight, only two survived– the king and Sieur de Nantouillet ,who threw himself bodily into a huge vat of wine, which extinguished the flames. The king’s brother Louis was blamed for the accident and was later accused of many evils, including sorcery, but the people of France also believed the ball showed up the king’s own weaknesses–Charles was known to suffer mental illness, perhaps inherited from his mother, Joanna of Bourbon. One time he attacked his own companions before falling into a catatonic state, another time he could not remember he was king and did not recognise his wife,. He thought he was Saint George and believed he was made of glass, ordering metal rods sewn into his garments to keep him from shattering.

Poor Charles was, of course, the father of the Catherine of Valois, who married Henry V of England–a union that produced Henry VI, who inherited his grandfather’s mental illness and was prone to falling into a catatonic state. Charles was also the grandfather of Catherine’s children with Owen Tudor, founder of the Tudor dynasty (unless Owen was not the father of the eldest, Edmund as has been hypothesised). In any case, it does not appear Charles’ unfortunate medical condition was passed to any of Catherine’s subsequent children after Henry.

https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-important-events/ball-burning-men-0013313: THE FULL STORY OF THE BALL OF THE BURNING MEN.

 

THE TRIAL OF RICHARD III, PART 1

REBLOGGED FROM A MEDIEVAL POTPOURRI SPARKYPUS.COM

The statue of Justice, Old Bailey, London.

Way back in  1980 the late Jeremy Potter,  Chairman of the Richard III Society,  and producer Richard Drewitt discussed King Richard III at length and an idea was born.    That was to put Richard  on trial for a heinous murder he had been  held responsible for over the centuries,  that of the murder of his brother Edward IVs young sons.   I’ve always found this strange as is it not the responsibilty for the accusers to prove the guilt of someone and not the other way around?  Anyway, this ‘germ‘ of an idea took root and after numerous obstacles the trial finally took place and was recorded on the 21 February 1984.

jusdge

The judge was Lord Elwyn Jones of Llanelli and Newham, who had served as Lord Chancellor in 1974-79 and had acted as a prosecutor at the war crimes trial at Nuremberg.  Lord Elwyn Jones made the comment ‘As the great historian Lord Acton wrote history is a judgement seat and Richard III is to be tried before the bar of history’.  

Lord Elwyn Jones of Llanelli and Newham

The services of two Queen’s Council  of the highest calibre were secured who received permission from the  Bar Council to appear with the instructions they were to remain anonymous and not to wear their wigs although permission was granted for them to be able to wear their black gowns. To preserve their anonymity the council for the prosecution used his mother’s maiden name of Russell and the defence counsel chose Dillon ‘a treasured family name’.  The researchers met frequently with Mr Russell, not so much with Mr Dillon,  partly because he was ‘busy with cases in distant parts of the country and partly because he preferred to play his cards close to his chest. So much so that during the trial he made at least one telling point that had not emerged in discussions with any of the witnesses, the production team or even from the literature of the period‘.  Both barristers were supplied with copies of all relevant contemporary documents such as the Second Continuation of the  Croyland Chronicle and Mancini’s De Occupatione Regni Anglie per Riccardum Tercium, The  Usurpation of King Richard III with assessments of their value and significance.  

goodi

Mr Dillon QC Defence Barrister.  

They also received background dossiers on the leading characters in the drama.   As the  barristers begun to develop their cases they requested briefs on questions that were puzzling them such as the taking of sanctuary in the 15th century, the power of Parliament at the time, the consequences of attainder and the autumn rebellion of 1483.  The stage was beginning to get set…

What of the witnesses?   Academic historians were approached although first attempts proved discouraging.   The first Tudor expert they approached, Professor Geoffrey Elton,  refused to have anything to do with the programme on the grounds that ‘as far as he and most historians were concerned Richard III  was a gangster who had killed the princes‘ and thus further debate was pointless.  Not all historians were so unhelpful with many taking the time and trouble to cooperate with the researchers.  Among these were Dr A L Rouse, Dr Rosemary Horrox, Dr C A J Armstrong (Mancini’s editor), although Professor Ross was unwell at the time so he was asked to prepare a statement.   However one of Ross’ former students,  Dr Tony Pollard, author of The Tyranny of Richard III stepped up to the plate and was one of the first recruits to the team of witnesses for the prosecution team. Dr David Starkey followed – oh the joy! – as did historian Jeffrey Richards.

deathstare

The Starkey Death Stare….

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