THE MOURNING SWORD ON DISPLAY AT SUDELEY CASTLE
Sudeley Castle certainly seems to be making the most of its Ricardian connections these days.The latest news is that they will temporarily have Gloucester’s ‘Mourning Sword’ on display up until October 20th.
This sword was given to the city by Richard while he was on his first progress in 1483. He also gave them his cap of maintenance, which unfortunately no longer exists. The sword has been refashioned several times in its long history but appears to retain at least part of its original core.
The right to have a sword carried before the mayor is specially conferred upon the city of Gloucester by Richard’s charter, dated 2nd September, 1483.
Sudeley is also worth visiting because it is believed Richard stayed there prior to Tewkesbury, and later built the now-ruined great hall, which must have been a real eye-catcher when complete. Besides the sword, the Richard III collection contains a spur from Tewkesbury Field, and Sudeley’s own version of a reconstruction of Richard’s face.
As additional interest for medievalists, nearby Hailes Abbey is worth a visit while in the area; I have no evidence Richard ever visited it, but it contained an important relic, the Holy Blood of Hailes, which I am sure would have interested him. (The ruined abbey was the burial site of Richard of Cornwall, brother of Henry III, his wife Sanchia of Provence and his murdered son, Henry of Almain.)