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Archive for the month “Mar, 2016”

Douce Dame Jolie: Machaut’s ghostly music of love and death

Giaconda's Blog


Douce Dame Jolie was composed in the C14th by Guillaume de Machaut who lived between 1300 and 1377 around the area of Rheims in France. It follows the conventions of the ‘Ars Nova’ style which flourished in France and the Low Countries during the C14th and the structure of a ‘virelai’, a verse of three stanzas with a repeated refrain before the first and after each subsequent stanza.

Machaut was a master of this form and Douce Dame is probably the best known and most performed of his virelai pieces. Many contemporary performers continue to sing versions of the song with different tempi and voice styles but it remains consistently haunting and intoxicating to the ear.

The virelai was one of the three ‘Formes Fixes’, along with the ballade and rondeau which were popular in the C13th – C15th and together with motets and lais formed the basis of secular musical…

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An interactive 3D tour of Richard’s place in that car park….

completed tomb

The Ricardian news today is in a great many national newspapers, and concerns a 3D interactive exploration of Richard’s resting place – the car park, not the cathedral. I don’t know how many of you would wish to see this, but I don’t, because it’s too sad to be reminded of what happened to him. At the same time, I should not forget that if it were not for this amazing discovery, we would not have him back with us again today. 

Here are some links:-



Shakespeare’s Richard III as depicted in Sir Ian McKellen’s film….


In the following article, Sir Ian McKellen talks specifically about his 1930s version of Shakespeare’s “Richard III”.

No mention is made of the real Richard, oh, and the horse for his kingdom has become a jeep! There are  various reasons why I will not be watching this, but tell me, how can it really be Shakespeare’s Richard if more than two and a half hours and forty characters have been cut? Two and a half hours and forty characters? A great many of the Bard’s nuances are bound to have been sacrificed.

It’s art, I know, and one of hundreds of interpretations over the years, so my quibbles are neither here nor there in the great scheme of things. They matter to me, though.


The Battles of the Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses was a prolonged period of civil unrest in England, focussed on a period of just over thirty years which saw seventeen battles between rivals, the initiative swinging swiftly between the sides and the crown changing hands four times as a direct result of battles won and lost. One of the […]


Mike Ingram is a battlefield historian and the author of the excellent non-fiction book, Battle Story: Bosworth 1485. Soon Mike will be leading a new tour, Richard Duke of Gloucester, the Lord of the North, alongside Bob Savage from the Royal Armouries.
This promises to be a fantastic tour for both Ricardians and members of the public interested in the Wars of the Roses or the Middle Ages in general, presenting a deeper and more balanced view of Richard’s life (unlike certain unnamed persons who front extremely expensive tours using Richard’s name but continually rehash the tired ‘old Black Legend story,’ which seems to be much too ‘lucrative’ to give up. Their own personal historical favourites do not appear to be much of a draw!)
Richard’s years as Duke of Gloucester definitely need more attention and study from historians, as when the accomplishments of his youth and his time in the North are listed, it then becomes far more difficult to reconcile his character with that of the traditional Shakespearean figure, who lurks in the background without much real purpose other than lusting for the throne since childhood. Instead, you see the loyal younger brother, fighting for his brother’s causes and becoming an ‘especial good lord’ to the people of York, as well as dealing with Scottish incursions and eventually taking Berwick on Tweed back for England (where it has remained ever since.)
Details of Mike Ingram’s new tour are below:

Princess Joanna and her three Kings

The Forgotten Art of Allegory

Much of Jonathan Swift’s seminal ‘Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships’, or Gulliver’s Travels as it is more popularly known, is metaphor and allegory. Swift had lived through the troubles of James II’s dalliances with Catholicism, the […]

Putting Richard’s name to his bones….

Richard and Undercroft

Putting names to bones

The above article is very interesting, although the picture that went with it is of Richard’s remains. I know this still upsets many, so I have changed it for one of my own pictures.

The text doesn’t only concern Richard, although it does to a great extent. Differing views expressed, of course, and certain people not mentioned at all, but if all that is ignored,  it is very informative.

I sentence you to death by acquittal?

HenryVIIIArthur Waite, Viscount Lisle was released from the Tower of London in March 1542, having been held on suspicion of high treason for two years. This illegitimate son of Edward IV, as were they all, died of a heart attack the same week.

Sir Geoffrey Pole was arrested with some cousins, his brother and his nephew, both named Henry, in November 1538. His brother and his adult cousins were executed either in December or January, whilst his nephew is unaccounted for after 1542. Sir Geoffrey twice tried to kill himself in custody but gave evidence against Lord Montagu after his servants were threatened with torture. He lived on until November 1558, a broken man.

Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, was betrothed to Anne Boleyn before her marriage service with Henry VIII. In spring 1536, the latter annulled his marriage on the grounds of a Boleyn-Percy pre-contract, before she was executed. Northumberland had been a juror at her trial and died just over a year later.

A book excerpt

With permission, we present  an extract from Kristie Davis Dean’s book “On the trail of the Yorks”, with a particular focus on Margaret of Burgundy and the duchy ruled, during her marriage and widowhood, by her father-in-law, husband, stepdaughter and stepson-in-law. Mechelen is, of course, where a certain historian sought Margaret’s remains, although their identity could not yet be proven.

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