Gloucester on 28th October, 1378, 1483 and 1967….

from Gloucester Archive

28th October is a notable day for me because of three events in Gloucester’s history:-

(1) It was the day my second favourite king, Richard II was in Gloucester and Tewkesbury—well, he was from 20th October 1378 until mid-November, so had to be in one or the other on the 28th.

A young Richard II from the wilton Diptych

(2) It was also one of the days in 1483 when the treacherous Duke of Buckingham’s rebellion against Richard III floundered (and foundered!) and failed. 

Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham

(3) Most important of all, of course, it was the day I was married in 1967 (not actually in Gloucester, but right outside).

Very late 1960s!

 

Right, back to 1378 . This was another difficult year for England, and for Parliament. Demands for ever higher taxes made holding Parliament in London a rather hazardous matter, and so the venue was moved to Gloucester instead. The citizens of that city being deemed less militant? Anyway, the MPs met close to the abbey/cathedral in a half-timbered house that is still called Parliament House.

from www.yourlocalweb.com

RII was eleven years old at the time, and is recorded as having stayed at Llanthony Secunda Priory, where he was seen in the gardens. The priory was (parts of it still are) just outside Gloucester city walls, close to the Severn.

Llanthony Secunda Priory

Gloucester had a special significance for young Richard, because his great-grandfather, Edward II, was buried in the abbey. All his life, Richard held Edward in special regard, and strove without success to have him canonized.

Tomb of Edward II

When Parliament rose, Richard and his retinue rode north to Tewkesbury, and thence out of “my” area.

On to 1483. Richard III, of course, had been Duke of Gloucester. And yes, I’d have liked him to be interred in Gloucester Cathedral. Well, he was ours, in a manner of speaking. And he certainly wasn’t unpopular here, far from it.

For a timeline of 1483 see here It’s OK for the dates, but be warned, it’s anti-Richard. For example for 12th October 1483 it says “Richard writes to Russell, calling Buckingham ‘The most untrue creature living’ (next to himself, I suppose)”. Oh, excuse me while my sides split. But the dates are useful.

Richard III

The town of Gloucester had reason to be grateful to Richard. After his coronation on 6th July 1483 he went on a royal progress accompanied by Buckingham, and on reaching Gloucester on 29th July he granted it a charter that stayed in force until 1974. This gave the city the status of a county, allowed it to have a Sheriff who could hold a County Court, and allowed the election of a mayor, aldermen and a coroner. See here.

Extract of the charter granting rights to Gloucester, GBR/I/1/22 held at Gloucestershire Archives. Reproduced by kind permission of Gloucester City Council

Richard also presented what is said to be his own personal sword (the so-called Mourning Sword) to the City, which still has it.

The Mourning Sword – my photograph

On 2nd August 1483, when they both left Gloucester, Buckingham parted company from the king and made his way over the Severn into Wales and his own lands. He had with him, supposedly as his prisoner, a treacherous Lancastrian serpent by the name of Bishop John Morton.

John Morton at Canterbury – from www.kyrackramer.com

It will probably never be known exactly why the Duke of Buckingham rose against his cousin, Richard III. That Morton whispered in his ear in the Garden of Brecon is not in doubt! The man responsible for the odious Morton’s Fork surely had a forked tongue as well! See https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Morton#ref185463

I’ve tweaked a painting by Edmund Leighton entitled “Call to Arms”

Buckingham had been grandly rewarded, and was doing very nicely from the new king. What his motive was for turning on Richard is a mystery, and may simply have been that he fancied being kingy himself. What I doubt very much is that he rose in support of Henry Tudor. Never! Buckingham’s claim to the throne was much better, and he probably thought Tudor was helping him, not the other way around.

But then, I don’t think our duke was over-endowed with grey cells, just with ego. Henry, on the other hand, was as crafty as they come.

Henry Tudor

But that’s not the point now, because I’m concerned with 28th October. When Buckingham commenced his rebellion, he left his castle in Brecon and made for Gloucester, which was the best place to cross the awkward River Severn. It also provided the most direct route in England, and to wherever the duke intended to go from there. To take London while Richard was elsewhere in the realm? But one big thing seems to have been overlooked. That autumn was one of the worst in living memory, and the Severn (as well as all other rivers, especially in the west) was in flood. And how. It’s a beast of a river, believe me, even when it’s at normal levels.

So there’s Buckingham, banner unfurled, riding at the head of his reluctant army of Welshmen, who weren’t inclined to fight against Richard in the first place. They reached the river…. Suddenly the duke turned to look back and his army had melted away. Yikes! He’s practically on his own, and by now he knows Richard has been alerted and is on the way on the English side of the river. The king will not be pleased…or in a forgiving mood. Time to panic, methinks.

Severn in flood, 2007

So Buckingham turned tail…at least, his horse did…and off to the north he fled. Then it’s into the hands of a “friend” named Bannaster. Oh dear, another nasty shock, capture and being bundled down the English side of the Severn toward Salisbury, where a trial awaited. Richard refused to listen to his cousin’s abject pleas for a chance to explain himself. Which is as well, because Buckingham’s son afterward said his father had concealed a dagger about his person and intended to drive it into Richard however he could.

Here’s more about this Bannaster connection. “….Buckingham’s rebellion began – and failed, largely because his Welsh tenants decided they liked him less than Richard III.  Robbed of this crucial support, he fled to a friend’s home but the friend, Ralph Bannaster, turned him in and, on 31 October, Buckingham was taken to Sir James Tyrell and Christopher Wellesbourne, staunch supporters of Richard III….”

This betrayal by Bannaster is still remembered (see here) by the name of a house in Finchampstead in Berkshire. It’s thought that the Berkshire property is actually a confusion with another property closer to the northern Welsh borders, where Buckingham fled when he realised the game was up. The name of the betrayer isn’t questioned, it was definitely a Bannister/Bannaster/Bannastre. You will also find more at http://www.gnosallhistory.co.uk/horns_inn.htm

Duke’s Head, Gnosall, from http://www.gnosallhistory.co.uk/horns_inn.htm

And Henry Tudor? Well, he sailed for England with French backing, and lurked off shore like an animal sensing a foe. Henry was a great lurker. When he heard the uprising had collapsed, he scuttled back to France. Tomorrow was another day, as someone on celluloid once said.

The Old West Gate over Severn, Gloucester, over which Buckingham had hoped to advance

Right, that was Buckingham’s fate, but what had been going on in Gloucester during all this? The city had known that if the Severn should miraculously recede again, and the crossing were sufficiently exposed, they were going to be invaded by a rebel army. They didn’t know if the rains had long since ceased upstream and in the Welsh mountains, where the Severn began. If there was no flood water coming downstream, then the river would go down again, perhaps too quickly for comfort.

The Western Prospect of Gloucester, showing crossing and branches of the Severn

Gloucester was the king’s city, and I think the inhabitants must have flocked to the abbey and every other available church to get on their knees and pray the Severn stayed nice and high, even though it flooded the lower parts of the town. Nice and high at nearby Tewkesbury as well, because that was the next crossing, and was ticklishly close to Gloucester.

Tewkesbury Abbey surrounded by flood water in Gloucestershire as the river Severn burst its banks. 27 Nov 2012 . Concerns have been raised that there will be further flooding as the River Severn is expected to reach its peak in Gloucester later. The Environment Agency said the river would be at its highest level since the mass flooding of 2007, when much of the county was under water.

Neither town wanted to be caught up in Buckingham’s antics. They probably took to their knees again, this time in praise, when it was known Buckingham had been captured and executed, because their first prayers had been answered! The danger was past.

Oh dear, there they were on 28th October 1483, on their knees while the autumn rain came down in stair rods…fast forward 484 years, still in Gloucester, and there I am, on my knees in a church on my wedding day while the autumn rain came down in stair rods. Yes indeed, and guess what? The Severn was in flood then too! The autumn of 1967 was as bad as the one in 1483.

Not that my marriage proved as disastrous as the duke’s uprising! It lasted until my husband Rob passed away in 2015.

15 comments

  1. Viscountessw, wonderful post! love the photo’s, I’ve read that HS2dB had issues with the flooding but what one reads vs what it actually might have looked like makes the point quite effectively! As to his son’s (embellished) story that Henry would have taken a dagger to Richard, during some pleading interview with the king in his tent, oh pahleeze; Tyrell, and others, had already checked over Buckingham and did not require any rough interrogation (torture or other manhandling) as the heinous ingrate squealed like a stuck pig, spilling out all the details of at least HIS part of the plot and the very thought that Tyrell et al would have NOT done a thorough search of this fool, from his fat head down to his soggy boots, beggars belief! If he had secreted any blades, stilettos or a handy sgian dubh, well, they would have found it and very likely presented it to Richard, and oh I delight in thinking Richard himself would have gutted his cousin!

    Ok, onto other much more pleasant things, such as your wedding photo which is lovely! And your Viscount has charming dimples, you both look appropriately enchanted. It reminds me of that poem by Rimbaud (Royaute, from Illuminations, both ecstatic and delicate: …”they were indeed sovereigns for a whole morning, while all the houses were adorned with crimson hangings, and for an entire afternoon, while they made their way toward the palm gardens.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always thought that the tale of Buckingham hiding a knife to stab Richard with was pure invention. I mean, ES3dB (love Amma’s abbreviations) was only five or six years old at the time, so how could he possibly know that?

      I think one of three things happened:

      1) Someone made up the story and told ES3dB of it when he was a child in order to make Buckingham appear brave in his son’s eyes.

      2) ES3dB made up the story himself in order to make his father seem heroic (with the added bonus of plumping up his own resume as a potential claimant to the throne in the process).

      3) ES3dB had nothing to do with the story and it’s actually a legend that originated from some other source and was passed along as his words (of course, if this is true, then ES3dB purposefully chose not to intervene and correct the narrative).

      But, perhaps I’m wrong and Buckingham did intend to take a stab at killing Richard (pun intended). It doesn’t seem like the smartest move to make in his position; but facing his own imminent death probably did not improve his decision making in that moment.

      Five year old ES3dB as the source of the story though, whatever it’s veracity may be, seems unlikely to me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dear Elizabeth (EB) to my knowledge there is only one book on the Staffords in print, by Carole Rawcliffe (it might have been her diss), and I eagerly dashed to the section on HS2dB only to find, yup, most of his papers were missing, where they got to, like so much in Ricardian research is a mystery – possibly they were destroyed by the duke himself, on his order to his retainers as he made his escape plans – or even after his execution to protect the duke from R’s soldiers going through his papers looking for obvious co-conspirators and allies? Suffice to say what did survive, along with Rawcliffe’s research is that our HS was a churl, unloved by his tenants, and while he may have been recorded as a smooth and charming raconteur – for public occasions – he didn’t waste such conviviality with his servants, vassals, retainers and said tenants. Not surprised that Banastre, the “long time servant,” turned on him, prob took a NY minute to do so.

        As to ES3dB, well, he was raised by MB, as soon as the dust settled at Bosworth key members of the upcoming Yorkist generation were doled out by H7 to his mother (oh who else) – she got both of HS2dB’s sons – curiously, his mother, Catherine Woodville, was quickly married off (think marital custody) to none other than elderly uncle Jasper Tudor, some 30 yrs her senior!Hah! no more future future heirs/competition coming from her!A move straight out of LXI…
        Let’s see, GdC’s heir went into the Tower to rot, the whereabouts of Margaret of Warwick I still do not know, possibly she was with MB, or even with Cecily? The de la Poles, as with most of the nobility, were under various recognizances and laid low and stayed that way until young Warwick was executed (judicial murder) in 1499.

        But ES3dB was very much attached to MB, as odd as that sounds, and grew to be both emotionally attached and much influenced by her, especially as he lived with her and not his own mother – ES was the one who attempted to gather up what was left of his father’s paper’s, organize the Stafford documents, he was constantly in court suing anyone who irritated him (the Rolls are a fun read if you have the time to go through his court cases) and overall one gets the sense that he grew up feeling entitled, offended by every little perceived slight, avaricious in the extreme, and it is irony on steroids that he never saw the axe from H8 coming his way!

        The silly story of daddy hiding a dagger to plunge into Richard is just so delicious, if it was told to him I would suggest not MB (she was not an idiot) but the type of smarmy, servile type of friend this pea brain would have about him – and part of me really wishes HS2dB would have managed to sneak a dagger somewhere about his sopping, bedraggled self, but if he thought he could overpower Richard, who may have been “gracile” it just means what wasn’t bone was likely muscle and that wet, dripping fool would have been knocked flat with one blow. To my knowledge HS was never in a single battle, skirmish or even border raid!

        Rawcliffe’s book on the Stafford’s is worth having for Ricardians, it is still available in paper, but her interests have moved on into Medieval Health, medicine, leprosy etc. For the same material, and more topics, I prefer Toni Mount, who is readily available on Amazon (she also has a series of mysteries too but I haven’t read them) – her Everyday Life in Medieval London… is delightful.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the link to someone’s timeline for 1483, but I would warn interested browsers that it almost entirely lacks sources other than well-known narratives when they support any particular item. I have recently been at pains to learn Buckingham’s whereabouts in April 1483 but without success. I’d love to know the source for “14 April: On this day, Henry Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham, also learned of Edward IV’s death while on his estates at Brecon on the Welsh Marches.” I suspect it’s that well known historical source, Hall’s Chronicle. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    1. AC, just a wild guess here, but is it not possible that HS learned of something amiss with E4 from 1) his own sources at Ludlow with the young prince (his Woodvillle wife’s nephew) or 2) from his own said Woodville wife who surely had some contacts with her sister QEW?

      The Woodvilles may not have been too keen to keep R in the loop concerning E4’s health but HS was the senior male, and duke, and young king’s uncle, in the family and married TO the family, presumably within their sphere of influence. Also, E4 had used LXI’s idea of postal riders for his Scottish campaign earlier in 1482, and while E4 disbanded them in September 1483 there was nothing to preclude wealthy noblemen like HS (or RdG) to keep their own private, and far smaller, group of couriers to keep them abreast of news in London.

      (Personally, I think this is exactly what RdG did, which is why I think neither Hastings nor HS – and also to let QEW off the hook – need have bothered to notify RdG about E4’s death, they would have known R had his own couriers arranged to bring him info before he even left London after Parliament dispersed late February – for one thing there was talk of Albany again and a new campaign into Scotland for the summer, etc etc, R had already bought arrows for the upcoming campaign using funds from that 10,000 marks he had just been granted towards his new palatinate acquired from the Debatable Lands).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You may be right, but I’ll bet Woodville fingers were crossed behind their backs. Maybe Stafford fingers too, who knows? Claiming they thought Richard would already have been told was a”reasonable” excuse, I suppose: “Oh, we thought your couriers would have ridden north immediately the king died.” I don’t recall reading of this being mentioned, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t, of course. Magnates could indeed have their own system, and maybe this, not Hastings, was responsible for Richard hearing what had happened.

    He certainly seems to have heard about his brother’s death, but not anything else, e.g. the Woodvilles’ plot against him. So he rode down through England with his 200 gentlemen, all of them dressed respectfully, not armed to the teeth, looking for a fight. Hardly an aggressive act of any desciption, until he reached Stony Stratford, where an enormous penny dropped.

    Poor Richard, it must have been at this point that he realised his own life was in danger, and that of his own son. Perhaps he even wondered if Edward IV’s death had been hastened along. Who knows, but some very dire thoughts must have run through his mind. Gaining possession of the new young heir to the throne was obviously of paramount importance…and was anyway what he believed his late brother had wished him to do. The title and role of Lord Protector was self-explanatory.

    If he had a courier system, surely whoever despatched those couriers would have picked up the scent in London and sent another message north pdq to warn him that a dark game was afoot? Either this hypothetical second courier was never sent, or he passed Richard like a ship in the night.

    The truth of it will perhaps never be discovered, but your idea is certainly a good one.

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  4. Super Blue, thank you for the recommendation, do you have a specific title? I’m on Amazon and I see scads of books by J.M. Robinson but they all appear to be about the historic and famous stately country houses, or important architects of note. I saw one bio on Cardinal Consalvi (c. Napoleonic era) and a Quincentennial History on the Dukes of Norfolk, quite a few official guide books to impressive castles but nothing about HS or ES … any further assistance would be appreciated!
    Beth (Amma)

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  5. Thanks Super Blue, found the ISBN and with that all doors open, lol, at Amazon he’s under J.M. Robinson, not his full name and search engines being what they are well … looks like I have few options, Abebooks and Bookdepository both list this title as “currently unavailable” so amazon it is, I swear they own me. Thanks again, I’ll let you know how it compares to the Rawcliffe (which is admittedly somewhat dry, looking at Robinsons other titles I am curious to read what led him to write about the Staffords).

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  6. Amma, picking up on your statement that you have not read any of Toni Mount’s “Colour of….” mysteries. Remedy this at once! You’re missing a good thing. Not only an excellent picture of life in 15th century England, but very sympathetic to Richard – and good, classic mysteries besides. What’s not to like?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Halfwit, oh I know I know about Toni Mount’s mysteries, SOB! (I have Colour of Poison and very nearly went whole hog on all of them … BUT I am astonishingly impressionable, so much so that before I know it I will end up sounding like her, adopting her adjectives, narrative plot lines, her character’s quirks etc … the graphic novel I have been embroiled in for 2+ years now (6 pages drawn, bloody panel by bloody panel! they’re in a 14×17″ format) – but it must be something in the artists’ temperament that they just sponge up everything in their path! I don’t want to lose the story as I formed it 2 years ago – in reaction to “why hasn’t anyone written about Richard’s spies?” – and after assembling enough structure to contain what I have learned I fear sounding like all the other (fiction) authors I might read.

      BUT nonfic is fair game, it’s all info that I do digest, ruminate over, and even if only a smidgen ends up in a panel’s dialogue it’s the overall feel, being under the character’s skin, that I need and to that end, yup, I HAVE everything by Toni, which is priceless, not academic-speak at all, her sources can be cross referenced (a must with me) and she covers everything from the Medieval Housewife (this is awesome) to what passed for medicine and science; her sense of humour is endearing.

      Quick example, I needed more material on what Richard’s day would call a man, or woman, who was “making a harlot of their body” (oh ho Southwark had nothing on Portsoken!) – whore as a term not yet in use (c 1530’s), strumpet fine, bawds were the ones umm handling the men or women doing the harlotry, but there are academic specialists in this area (I have Ruth Mazo Karas’ Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England) but our Toni refines and economizes on what Karas’ needs 200+ pages to say, and Toni’s research is always spot on. (BTW, Jane Shore got off sooooooooooooo easy, for her day, Richard literally just gave her a slap on the wrist, if even that! Throw in possible if not likely collusion with Hastings’ plot, and we can argue all day on that one, and it just boggles the mind what any other woman would have been dealt in her time; adultery and promiscuity alone was harshly, and I mean harshly punished).

      Next to Toni’s practical, witty accounts the other best sources for real life, as Richard would have lived it, are Sylvia Thrupp’s Merchant Class of Medieval London (I LIVE in this book, dry to others perhaps, but the housewives and traders and yeomen one reads about in Toni’s accounts did exist and Thrupp has quite some interest in the aldermanic families here) and not to forget the best little gem I can across by a Bronislaw Geremek, the Margins of Society (in) Medieval Paris – my main spy character for Richard spends time (unhappily) in France (for E4) and I needed middle French (it’s been … interesting, AD CE MUR!) well, this is a tour de force! Knocked me back and over and upside the head. NOW I understand Villon when I never gave him more than a “oh, him” before.

      What a hideously cruel and brutal society Charles VII and his odious son, LXI, created and then continued to terrorize – their concept of law and how they enforced it makes 15thc England look like Disneyworld by comparison (although, the police state LXI had will soon by adopted by H7, virtually upon his accession, after reading Geremek it made me wonder if all the time Henry, and his handlers, spent with the French political counselors provided by Anne de Beaujeu -LXI’s daughter, regent to the timorous dauphin – has more to do with this insidious penchant for informers etc than his own inclinations?)

      oh where was I?

      Ok, once I have the time (I have my characters, scenes, narrative, etc, they are all set, I’m good thru Oct 1483, although prob stop the drawings in this series by Aug 1483, for good reason) so I can finally read Toni’s mysteries, NOW I just don’t have time, I spend every waking minute (it seems) drawing, re-drawing (I’m a perfectionist) – every panel starts on vellum tracing, and none of this quick sketch nonsense, I do fully realized figures, in proportion, I have been leaving out the dialogue for now, I will likely ink in this scene before starting the next one – I have been bouncing ideas off of Elizabeth Bradley (she’s a good egg) and sending her the tracings for review, I do wonder if she ”sees” what I do!??

      This particular scene is a night one, off Chepe past Colman, just after curfew (bells rang for every day of the year as it had passed, so this late in the year, its 2nd week of january 1482 (1483) that bell is tolling alot, a knife fight, well, it gets complicated. Anyway, if you want to see any of this email me, bwilliam@rcbc.edu – I’m being talked into doing this in color, sigh, but I’m such a B&W artist that we’ll see, I am willing to take suggestions!

      BTW, another pile of fiction I MEAN TO GET TO … that you might have read or like: the Kate Sedley Roger the Chapman series (Richard’s era) and and series by Richard Unwin, (Laurence the Armourer) with 3 titles (On Summer Seas, A Wilderness of Sea, The Roaring Tide). Sadly I am such a PIA that a couple pages in and I’m fighting with the authors, “no, no, it’s not like that, Richard didn’t do that or this or whatever…” ugh.

      Like I would know… Richard would say, “I marvel at her presumption!”

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