A PORTRAIT OF EDWARD V AND THE MYSTERY OF COLDRIDGE CHURCH…Part II A Guest Post by John Dike.

Reblogged from A Medieval Potpourri sparkypus.com

 

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EDWARD V – STAINED GLASS COLDRIDGE CHURCH 

A guest post from John Dike who is leading Philippa Langley’s Missing Princes Project team in Devon and following on from my post A Portrait of Edward V and Perhaps Even a Resting Place?  :-

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The window in the Evans Chantry, St Matthew’s Church, Coldridge.

As far back as the writings of Beatrix Cresswell in the early 1900’s, learned authors have been puzzled by the rare stained glass window of Edward V in the Evans Chantry at Coldridge Church, Devon,  one of only four contemporary depictions of him in glass. Edward V was one of the two “Princes in the Tower” who disappeared, presumed by some to have been murdered by his uncle Richard III.   Later authors than Cresswell have speculated that Evans was in fact Edward V,  living a secret life in Coldridge.  It might sound far-fetched but there are a number of clues that add up to this possibility. The true identity of John Evans is currently under investigation by a small team of amateur historians under the guidance of Philippa Langley MBE who was responsible for the discovery of the grave of Richard III at Leicester. The following points are of interest.

EVANS ARRIVES IN COLDRIDGE

At some point after the battle of Bosworth in 1485,  John Evans was granted the Manor of Coldridge and the Stewardship of the Royal Coldridge Deer Park by Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset and half brother to Edward V.   He took over these estates from Robert Markenfield who had been granted them by Richard in 1484. Robert was the brother to the more famous Sir Thomas Markenfield who fought for Richard at Bosworth. Both the brothers, who were from Ripon in Yorkshire, were friends and Richard was extremely generous to Thomas (1). It would thus seem very strange that although Sir Thomas was granted much wealth, his brother, another good friend, was sent to a small and remote village in Devon. I will come back to this later. After Richard was killed at Bosworth and Henry VII took the throne,  Robert Markenfield moved to nearby Wembworthy and become an associate of Sir John Speke who held the Manor there. 

COLDRIDGE DEER PARK

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Coldridge Deer Park

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Being appointed the Parker was a prestigious appointment for Evans and allowed him to give favour to local dignitaries on behalf of Thomas Grey. The Deer Park was approximately 3000 yards in circumference and in 1525 had 140 ‘beasts of the chase. Existing place names indicate the area of the park on a modern map.   Higher Park, Lower Park, Lower Park Break, Park farm, Park Wood  etc., Park Mill was originally called Parker’s Mill. Long Parks named from Parker’s Long Field but adjacent to Coldridge Barton, John Evan’s manor house. 

THE EVANS CHANTRY

The chantry was built by John Evans and completed in 1511.  We know this because it originally contained two prayer desks with the inscriptions ‘Pray for John Evans, Parker of Coldridge, maker of this work in the third year of the reign of King Henry VIII’ and ‘Pray for the good estate of John Evans, who caused this to be made at his own expense the second day of August in the year of the Lord 1511.

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The renovated prayer desks with original inscriptions

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‘Pray for John Evans, Parker of Coldridge, maker of this work in the third year of the reign of King Henry VIII’

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The prayer desk front with the bench behind.  Photo John Dike.

20210411_102508Another view of the renovated prayer desks and bench.  It’s possible the bench and other pew ends were originally part of the furniture in the Evan’s Chantry and added in 1930s when the desk was restored.

By the early 1900’s these prayer desks were in poor condition and in 1930 the Rural Dean requested that these valuable objects be renovated. And so by 1931 a Miss Harris had rescued the desks by combining the remains into one with the new top engraved with the first inscription above. This desk is now in the Barton chapel as the Evans Chantry is now used as the vestry. The desks are significant as they confirm that John Evans was in Coldridge before 1511. As a chantry was intended to establish a ritual of prayer to speed the donor to heaven, it was likely that, with the then short life expectancy, he was around 40 years of age when it was finished. This would mean that he could have been the same age as Edward V who was born in 1470!.  

To continue reading about the Evans Tomb and Woodville plotting click here

 

6 comments

  1. Fascinating post, we seem to be getting closer to the secret. One thing puzzles me about the “ermine/deer” on the crown in the stained glass window – ARE they deer? Most seem to have five legs, one at least has six. If one of the “legs” is intended to be a tail on each animal, surely it would be shorter and pointing upwards on the rump?

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    1. Hallo Anne. Of course this post is by John Dike, who lives in Coldridge, who first pointed out to me the ermine spots were deer which I believe that they are looking at the heads. Yes they do have what looks like five legs and not four legs and a shorter tail. Could this be artistic licence or another nod to Edward ‘V’ or fifth?

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      1. Well, just doing a quick image search online this morning, I found four or five other examples where the ermine pictures have little “heads” with five or so strokes downwards – one even has the strokes going upwards. I’m sorry to be a bit of a wet blanket on this aspect of the theory – it was enticing! If you email me I could pass on the pictures I found and you could pass them on to John Dike…

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      2. Hi Anne have seen the photos you posted on the Murreyandblue Facebook page. After studying them closely I’m still going along with John and the Coldridge spots being deer.

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  2. Sorry, not sure if I’m missing something here so please be patient with me.

    I’ve seen the grant by Richard III of the parkership of the park to Robert Markenfeld, but that is all. Is there a separate grant of the actual tenure of the manor? If so, then surely a grant of the parkership would not have been needed as it would have been in Markenfeld’s own gift?

    After Dorset’s attendaer was reversed Coleridge apparently reverted to him, and the Marquess names it in his will as one of his manors so does not seem to have gifted it away. Again, is John Evans not just his parker there? Might he not have been Dorset’s parker of Coleridge before Bosworth as well?

    As regards the “misspelling” of Evans as Evas in one piece of the stonework, that is not actually a misspelling. If you look closely you will see there is a bar above the ‘as’ of ‘Evas’ – that is the standard shorthand symbol for an omitted ‘n’ or ‘m’ – a very, very common abbreviation. The reason the surname may have been abbreviated in this place and not elsewhere is likely to be either that there was a shortage of space or the mason was running out of time.

    Is it not likely, since this manor remained with Dorset, that he had commissioned the window to commemorate his half-brother?

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