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Archive for the month “April, 2016”

These Boots Are Made For Walking: the Worcester Pilgrim Burial

Recently a fascinating burial was discovered in Worcester; that of a pilgrim who lived in the mid-15th century.

What makes this find  extraordinary is the preservation of organics in the grave, including, rather spectacularly, the man’s tall leather boots. His pilgrim’s staff was also present.

The Worcester pilgrim  certainly provides a window on the world of the late Middle Ages.

 

The Worcester Pilgrim Burial

 

 

Of well-connected Archbishops

Before the English Reformation, Archbishops were often related to the King, a spare brother from a branch of the Royal family. There were commoners, increasingly so as the years went on. Then the Reformation ensured that the clergy were no longer required to be celibate.

Focussing particularly on the province of Canterbury, there have been three Archbishops of clear Royal descent since 1536:
1) Reginald, Cardinal Pole (1500-58) – a great-nephew of Richard III and a Catholic who wasCardinal_Reginald_Pole ordained late in life, consecrated in 1556 and died on the same day as Mary I, his cousin.
2) Charles Manners-Sutton (1755-1828) – descended220px-Charles_Manners-Sutton_(1755–1828),_Archbishop_of_Canterbury from Anne of Exeter, he was the grandson of the 3rd Duke of Rutland and served from 1805.
3) Justin Welby (1956-) – has been Archbishop since 2013 and was previously thought to be the first incumbent of partial Jewish descent. Earlier this month we learned, through a Charles Moore article following a DNA test, that his biological father was Anthony Montague Browne, a descendant of James I and Joan, traditionally surnamed Beaufort. Ironically, the paternity of Joan’s father is now at issue and she may have been a Swynford.JustinWelby

Subject to that question, this trio of primates would have Edward III as a common ancestor

 

Richard and “Incest”

In BBC History, Richard III Special Edition, Professor Hicks returns to his theory that Richard III’s marriage to Anne Neville was incestuous because of the prior marriage of his brother, George Clarence, to Isabel Neville.

I have to confess to surprise that a historian of Professor Hicks’ fame and academic stature is still chasing this particular cat down the alley. He must surely be aware from his extensive reading that such marriages were not uncommon in the later middle ages.

For example, Edmund of Langley married Isabel of Castile, despite the undoubted fact that his brother, John of Gaunt, was already married to her sister, Constance of Castile.

In the 1430s, Richard Neville (later to be the ‘Kingmaker’) married Anne Beauchamp. At roughly the same time (possibly on the same day, I don’t remember) his sister Cecily, or Cecille, married Anne’s brother, Henry Beauchamp, Lord Despenser,  later Duke of Warwick.

These are two relatively famous examples. There were plenty of similar cases lower down the social scale.

Were Edmund of Langley and Warwick the Kingmaker incestuous and their children illegitimate? Were their parents really so careless when arranging their marriages? I think we should be told.

See also this Marie Barnfield article. Affinity does not beget affinity. QED.

 

 

This is not Anne Boleyn

NotAnneBoleyn WasAnneBoleyn NiddHall LadyBergavenny LadyBergavenny2

(re-blogged from Lissa Bryan’s guest post on The History Geeks, in response to this article)

This “new portrait of Anne Boleyn” has been making the rounds in social media, and now is being publicized in several news articles.

It is not Anne Boleyn.

The sketch that is circulating is a third-hand copy of a painting that used to be in the collection of Horace Walpole. He was given the painting by a lady of the court who identified it as Joan, Baroness Bergavenny. Walpole had no reason to doubt this identification, and added it to his collection. The painting was sold in the 1840s, and has apparently vanished from existence.

Now, a “historian” has identified it as being Anne Boleyn. But there are serious problems with this identification, which I will break down here.

The earliest sketch of the painting looks quite a bit different than the one that is circulating. The necklace is missing the “R” initial that sparked so much excitement. The description of the original painting when it was sold states that the necklace had only the initials “A” and “B.”) While that, on its own sounds exciting, we need to remember there were many women of the Tudor court that had those initials. The “R” initial was an invention of the sketch artist who either copied the image incorrectly, or decided to add his own touch of whimsy.

The woman’s clothing is completely wrong for an identification as Anne Boleyn. The style of the hood puts the image firmly in the early 1520s. The lappets – the white part of the hood – almost reach the woman’s collarbone. In the 1530s, lappets were chin length, as you can see in Anne’s portrait medal. They got shorter as the 1530s wore on, and by 1536 when Anne went to the scaffold, they were at about mouth level.

It was also fashionable in Anne’s time for the veil to be pinned up to the side of the hood, as you can see in the medal. The sitter in the sketch has a veil hanging straight down. (Look at the portrait medal and see how the veil is clumped on the left side of the head.)

The gown itself dates more to the 1520s, as well. The neckline is square and covers the shoulders. The necklines in the 1530s had gone wider, making them more rectangular and revealing more of the shoulders. The white bands at the shoulders had disappeared by Anne’s reign, as well.

Anne Boleyn was known to always be at the height of style and an innovator in fashion. She would not have worn something so out-of-date as queen.

Anne Boleyn was not rich enough in the early 1520s to afford the jewels the sitter wears, nor would she have been able to wear them due to the sumptuary laws. In the Hever/NPG portraits, the most famous and recognizable images of Anne, she is wearing jewels more appropriate to her station. It should be noted that those portraits were painted after Anne’s death, but they’re thought to be based on a lost original.

Anne was either thirteen years old or twenty years old in 1520 (depending on the birth date you believe.) The sitter in the sketch is clearly a middle-aged woman, not a young girl. Even the description of the painting says the sitter is a middle-aged woman.

The hood has the letter “I” and “A” repeated. The “I” initials are larger than the “A”s. This lady’s given name started with an “I” or a “J.” “A” was a secondary name, given less importance.There is simply no way to explain the “I” initials in the context of Anne Boleyn.

Anne favored the HA cipher after her marriage. She and Henry put it on everything from her personal jewels to the buildings erected during her reign. If it wasn’t “HA” it was “AR” or “ARS” for Anna Regina Sovereign. It’s inexplicable for her to revert back to a simple “A” with no mention of her marriage or royal status – via crown jewels or other symbols – anywhere in the image.

The sitter in the sketch is not royal. She’s obviously rich and titled, but she has no indications of royalty whatsoever. If this really was a coronation portrait, Anne would have worn some of the crown jewels, such as the “consort’s necklace” all of Henry’s queens after Anne are painted wearing.

The sitter is holding a carnation flower, which has been said by the historian to stand for “coronation.” I know of no other portraits in which that symbology was employed. The carnation generally stood for marriage or betrothal.

The most reasonable interpretation for the image is the one Walpole was given. This is a painting of Joan, Lady Bergavenny, likely painted posthumously. (It was common for posthumous paintings to be styled in the latest fashions. See the portrait of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon for an example.) The painting was meant to celebrate the union of the Arundel and Bergavenny houses through the marriage of Lady Joan, hence the initials “A”, “B” and “I”, with the latter being the largest because it identifies the sitter. The carnation then has its usual meaning of marriage.

I cannot say that the identification of Lady Bergavenny is absolutely certain. But I am certain that the sitter in the sketch is not Anne Boleyn.

Peter Sellers’ version of Shakespeare’s Richard….

Peter Sellers

OK, there are times when I really do like Shakespeare’s Richard! This may be from back in 1965, but it’s still absolutely brilliant.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/VIDEO-FLASHBACK-1965-Peter-Sellers-Mimics-Laurence-Oliviers-Richard-III-Reciting-The-Beatles-A-Hard-Days-Night-20160405

 

The Bard’s Richard reviewed by a Ricardian….

Ricardian review

Yes, yes, ANOTHER review of Shakespeare’s Richard. Don’t sigh, because this one is written by a Ricardian, who makes sure she sets the actual record straight before she goes on to speak of the production in question. Thank you Lynn Beaver.

My only grizzle? I could have done with a few more paragraph breaks! Endless solid lines of print can be difficult to read.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/austin/article/BWW-Review-THE-TRAGEDY-OF-KING-RICHARD-THE-THIRD-A-New-Take-That-Doesnt-Completely-Work-20160406

Bridport’s pride in its link with Richard III….

bridport-street

>>>On 5th November 1483 King Richard the Third stayed overnight in Bridport on his way to Exeter to deal with the remnants of the rebellion led by the Duke of Buckingham<<<

>>>Bridport Mayor Sandra Brown said: “I have been interested in
Richard and his unfair bad press ever since school. My history teacher put most of the blame on poor old Shakespeare, who was only keeping in with those Tudors.<<<

Things are afoot in Dorset to mark Richard’s visit to lovely Bridport. He may not have been there for long, but that he did is to be marked by the town. Good old Bridport – my father’s home, and well known to me!

http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/…/14409989.What_was_Richard_II…/

Edmund Ironside

Edmund II (Ironside) is a curiosity among English Kings. He reigned for barely seven months, succeeding his father Ethelred II (Unraed) on St. George’s Day 1016 but dying “in suspicious circumstances” on St. Andrew’s Day the same year. He was the half-brother of Edward the Confessor and grandfather of Edgar the Atheling, thus the ancestor of every English monarch from 1154. As the grandfather of St. Margaret of Wessex, second wife of Malcolm III, he was the ancestor of every Scottish monarch from 1093 (except Donald Bain, Malcolm’s brother).

Edmund’s reign began from a bad position as the northern part of England was occupied by the Danes. Sveyn Forkbeard, their King, had temporarily supplanted Ethelred in 1013 but he died the following year and Ethelred’s authority was restored. Edmund, Ethelred’s third but eldest surviving son, fought alongside him and continued the struggle after his death, raising an army and defeating the Danes, under Sveyn’s son Cnut, at least twice near London until he suffered a reverse at Assandun in October 1016 and re-divided England with Cnut. He died the following month, possibly poisoned by Eadric Streona, his brother-in-law, and Cnut became King of all England. In any event, Cnut had Eadric executed at Christmas the following year.

Assessing Edmund as a King and commander is, therefore, even more difficult than with Richard III, his descendant. Another connection is that a play from c.1590, reputedly written by Shakespeare, is named Edmund Ironside, heavily featuring Cnut and Eadric. A sequel, Hardicanute, named for Cnut’s son and successor but one, is now lost.

Remembering …

David Baldwin

… the Leicestershire author and historian David Baldwin, who died from cancer earlier this month. He lectured at Leicester and Nottingham Universities but will be principally be remembered for works that included:
His biography of Richard III, which was among those suggesting (correctly) where to find Richard, although it slightly underplayed the significance of Edward IV’s bigamy.
The Lost Prince, in which he argued cogently that Richard of Eastwell was Richard of Shrewsbury, the former Duke of York.
Robin Hood: The English Outlaw Unmasked, in which he identified Hood as an adherent of Simon de Montfort, which would explain the Friar Tuck anachronism.
Henry VIII’s Last Love, about that King and Lady Katherine Willoughby.

David Baldwin’s penultimate (68th) birthday coincided with Cardinal Nichols’ ecumenical service at the start of Richard’s reburial week. His death occurred on 6 April, or 25 March (ie Lady Day and the first day of the year) under the Julian calendar.

An early vindication of Richard….

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The following article by Annette Carson is an important and interesting read, proving that when the Tudors had gone, Richard was once again spoken of with honesty. Thank you Annette.

http://www.annettecarson.co.uk/357052369

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