Here is a piece about a pearl and diamond pendant, formerly owned by Marie Antoinette and was sold recently in Geneva.
Anyone who heard BBC news coverage during the week of this event may well have learned two things:
1) “She ordered it before she was executed.”
Really? How do you order a pendant posthumously and where do you put it without a head?
2) “She was the last Queen of France.” – except for two others, including her own daughter (technically). There were also three Empresses up to 1870.
Edward of York, better known as Edward of Middleham, was the only legitimate son of King Richard III and his Queen, Anne Neville.
Edward was thought to have been born in Middleham Castle in December 1473, but this date is not certain. The historian Charles Ross wrote that this date “lacks authority” and was of the opinion that Edward was probably born in 1476. A document in which the Duke of Clarence thought that the marriage between his brother and Anne was invalid confirms that the child was not born at least until 1474. The Tewkesbury Chronicle estimates that he was born in 1476 so when he died he was probably 7 and not 10, as many think. No doubt he was already born on 10th April 1477 as priests of York Minster were asked to pray for King Edward’s family including his brother Richard and his family (wife and son).
For almost everyone he is Edward of Middleham, as he was probably born in the Nursery Tower of Middleham, today known as the Prince’s Tower in the west wing of the castle and it is thought he died there too. He grew up in Middleham with a wet nurse called Isabel Burgh and a governess, Anne Idley, married to one of Richard’s favourite courtiers.
During his short life, Edward was given several titles. On 15th February 1478 Earl of Salisbury, on 26th June 1483 Duke of Cornwall, on 19th July Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and above all on 24th August 1483 he was named Earl of Chester and Prince of Wales. He received this last title in York with his father himself performing the ritual. The solemn ceremony was held in the Archbishop’s Palace and was followed by four hours of banqueting. Edward walked along the streets of York to the delight of people.
It has always been said that Edward was not a healthy child. It seems that he was so sick that he went to York in a litter and not riding a horse as he was meant to do and he couldn’t even be present at his parents’ Coronation. Because of this, probably Richard decided to organise this solemn ceremony in York where the child was named Prince of Wales.
Edward was the only legitimate child of Richard but he had at least one half-brother and a half-sister. As it is likely that these two children grew up in Yorkshire, it is possible that Edward didn’t feel lonely as a child.
Unfortunately, we have no official portrait of Edward apart from a few drawings and stained glasses. The most famous is in St Mary and St Alkelda Church in Middleham, where he appears dressed as the Prince of Wales along with his father and mother. His physical appearance is not clear as he is different in the images we have of him. It is likely he was a fair haired child with blue eyes and a lean body shape.
As Prince of Wales, Edward was expected to be king after the death of his father but fate had decided otherwise for both of them. In April 1484, Richard and Anne were at the castle of Nottingham to enjoy a respite from their royal progress, when the news of Edward’s death arrived. The reactions of the poor parents is described in the Croyland Chronicles as they were almost bordering upon madness. This means that the death was sudden and unexpected and this explains the fact that they had left him in Middleham, as they didn’t suspect an imminent death.
The cause of death is not sure, it seems he suffered with tuberculosis but a sudden death is not typical of this illness. So possibly the cause was something completely different and it is very unlikely we will ever know.
A mystery surrounds the burial of Edward. Many think he was buried in Sheriff Hutton in a tomb of alabaster representing a child. Some investigations have proved the tomb is empty so there is a theory that the child was possibly buried somewhere in the church, along with the mortal remains of the Neville family’s members. Due to its age, it is not possible to see any inscriptions and it is very likely the tomb dates from much earlier than 1484. The theories around the actual location of Edward’s tomb are many and varied. Some people think it could be in Coverham, others in Jervaulx Abbey where, as a child, Edward rode horses with his father, others even it is in York. Some are of the opinion that any place he might be was a provisional resting place. At that time re-burials were very common so it was not impossible that Richard had in mind a different location but, as protecting his son’s body from being desecrated or displayed was apparently Richard’s desire, we can just hope nobody will ever disturb Edward’s eternal peace.
An article in British History Online , as illustrated by this John Zephaniah Bell painting says: “Here [Westminster Abbey/Sanctuary/Cheyneygates] the unhappy queen [Elizabeth Woodville] was induced by the Duke of Buckingham and the Archbishop of York to surrender her little son, Edward V., to his uncle Richard, who carried him to the Tower, where the two children shared a common fate.”
Ashdown-Hill’s The Mythology of the “Princes in the Tower” (ch.9, p.49) talks about the confusion between Shrewsbury and Sir Richard Grey, who WAS arrested at Stony Stratford. ch.10 p.54 includes your c19 portrait: “Buckingham was also a leading member of a delegation which, on Monday 16 June, was sent by boat a short distance up the Thames to Westminster Abbey, to try to persuade Elizabeth Woodville to release her younger son, RICHARD DUKE OF YORK, from sanctuary and send him to join his elder brother at the King’s Lodgings in the Tower. However, the person who actually led the deputation into the sanctuary at Westminster had to be a priest. Therefore the group was led by another royal cousin, Cardinal Bourchier, Archbishop of CANTERBURY”. The same volume points out that we don’t know about any “common fate”, whilst putting us in a better position to find out.
Today in 1461, which was Palm Sunday, the Battle of Towton was fought, resulting in a Yorkist victory with large scale casualties. Legend has it that Henry VI fled to Muncaster Castle, then in Cumberland, where he gave his host Sir John Pennington a glass drinking bowl. It became known as the “Luck of Muncaster” such that both host family and deposed monarch would thrive so long as the bowl remained intact. It does today and the Penningtons (originally Alan de Penitone when granted the building in 1208) still own the castle, although the fragile Henry died just over ten years later.
This building was visited by Paul Rose in his recent BBC2 The Lakesseries.
In 2014, a broken Victorian corkscrew made from pieces of old London Bridge was bought for £40,000 at an auction in Essex, over 100 times its asking price. See this article/, from which the following is taken:-
“The corkscrew, the components of which are thought to be up to 800 years old, was bought by an “anonymous European collector” at the sale in Colchester.
“Sold by Reeman Dansie Auctioneers (which last year old a collection of photographs showing German pilots from WWI drinking champagne) the corkscrew had an asking price of just £400 – £600.
“John Benson, the auctioneer at the sale, said the bid “caught us all unawares” and apparently there was a round of applause when the gavel came down.
“Engraved with the words: “”Made from the Iron Shoe that was taken from a pillar. That was 656 Years in the Foundation of Old London Bridge,” the corkscrew was made by Ovenston of 72 Great Titchfield Street in London.
The new bridge was built 180 feet west of the old bridge and for a time Londoners could see both the old bridge and the new side-by-side.
“However, despite being in relatively good condition the corkscrew does not work properly, the catalogue explaining that the “ratchet does not engage with the spring”.
“Old London Bridge was built between 1176 and the early 13th century, paid for with a tax on wool imposed by King Henry II (when England was the centre of the European wool trade), famously covered in houses and shops (see below) it was torn down in 1831 when new London Bridge was opened (and which now resides in Havasu City, Arizona).
“The current London Bridge is at least the fourth incarnation of the famous span and was built between 1967 and 1972, opening in March 1973.”
The winning entry by Denise Geach, of Melton, for The 1718 Challenge at the Festival of Quilts EMN-180509-150945001″A Melton woman who took up quilting to use up off-cuts from dress-making is celebrating winning an international prize for her work. Denise Geach won a coveted category at the annual Festival of Quilts, which attracted 800 entries and 25,000 visitors from across the world….”
“Contestants were challenged to replicate or interpret the historic piece in their work and her entry contained references to her Leicestershire roots such as a fox and crowns representing the recent reburial of King Richard III in Leicester….”
Here is an interesting article from Londonist with interesting and early maps of London, all updated. Some samples are shown above as a taster, including South London. To read more, go to here and here.
In the church of All Saints, Carshalton, now part of South London, can be found the charming brass of Margaret Gaynesford nee Sidney, her husband Nicholas and their various children. Due to the brass being attached to the wall and not the floor, as is usually the case, it has still retained much of its original enamelling including Margaret’s vivid red gown.
Both Margaret and her husband Nicolas served Queen Elizabeth Wydeville in various capacities including Margaret as one of the queen’s Gentlewoman. There is much information can be found about Nicholas Gaynesford and his career, he being another one who changed sides when the need arose – including taking part in Buckingham’s rebellion, October 1483, although Richard later pardoned him – but I would like to focus here on this wonderful brass.
Margaret kneels in front of a prie-dieu, prayer book open, the folds of her red gown draped gracefully around her feet.
Margaret is depicted in front of a prie-dieu, wearing a collar of suns and roses, and a butterfly headdress. The empty matrix for four now missing daughters is behind her although the small brasses depicting her four sons have survived. A brass of the Trinity , which the family are adoring, is also missing.
Nicholas who died about 1498 is shown in armour.
What Margaret’s thoughts were regarding the shenanigans and the ups and downs of Elizabeth’s sometimes turbulent life , how much did she know?, what did she think about Elizabeth’s ‘retirement to Bermondsey? – are sadly unrecorded. However she lived long enough to see Elizabeth’s daughter crowned in 1487, with both her and Nicholas attending, with Nicholas serving Elizabeth of York in the post of Usher of the King’s Consort.
The above image depicts Henry V receiving a box of tennis balls from the French Dauphin. Right. I know this was supposed to have happened – well, Shakespeare said so – but this doesn’t look like Henry V to me! It looks more like a Tudorised Richard III! Wearing Nora Batty’s wrinkled stockings.
This link provides some interesting reading about the origins of the Wars of the Roses, as most people describe the civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster. A lot of the points are from very early on in the proceedings, which makes them all the more interesting to me.