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How Richard III changed Leicester….

Was it really only five years ago? Sometimes it seems like forever. And for me, the most affecting thing is still seeing Richard’s Book of Hours, which is thought to have been with him in his tent at Bosworth. I confess I had tears in my eyes. It just seemed so very personal to him. One of the prayers inside it reads: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, deign to free me, your servant King Richard, from every tribulation, sorrow and trouble in which I am placed…’  Yes, he was thrust into these tribulations, he didn’t seek them, and he paid a terrible price for shouldering the burden.

The day of his reinterment in Leicester Cathedral was truly momentous, as you’ll read here here

The discovery of Richard’s remains has made such a difference to Leicester. And rightly so. The city has taken him to its heart.

News from around the tomb….

We remember the tragic helicopter accident that cost the life of much-loved former chairman of Leicester City Football Club Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. What with the discovery of Richard III’s remains and the club’s surge in victories, it was a truly devastating blow.

He donated toward Richard’s reinterment in Leicester Cathedral, and now, thanks to his foundation, the revamp of Leicester Cathedral itself is to receive £800K. He was, and remains, a true friend of Leicester.

From here :-

“….A charity foundation named after Leicester City’s former chairman is donating £800,000 towards the restoration of the city’s cathedral.

“….Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed in a helicopter crash near the football stadium in October last year.

“….After his death the football club renamed its existing Leicester City Foxes Foundation after him….”

Visit to Rayleigh and Hadleigh – 20th July 2019

via Visit to Rayleigh and Hadleigh – 20th July 2019

The “Devilish Dame” of Lincolnshire….

Christians and Saracens, found on Pinterest

According to https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hdovAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA342&lpg=PA342&dq=elizabeth+devilish+dame&source=bl&ots=ZZGPTAz6n6&sig=ACfU3U00pw4KiBMUmlu-OBTeW7AFdQIeXQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj2ipLJwPvlAhVYSxUIHblZCHQQ6AEwAnoECAwQAg#v=onepage&q=elizabeth%20devilish%20dame&f=false in the middle of the 14th century, Sir Thomas Holand of Estovening (Estoveninghall, Estovenhall) Manor in the parish of Swineshead in Lincolnshire, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Piers Tempest.

Swineshead, Lincolnshire, from http://www.swinesheadhistory.com/

Elizabeth was apparently known as the “Devilish Dame”, and the unfortunate (or exceedingly wise!) Sir Thomas spent most of his time in the Holy Land, coming home only every seven years.

I have, as yet, been unable to discover why Elizabeth earned this epithet. Was she accused of being a witch? Did she call up tempests (sorry!) or raise demons? Or did she simply have such a vile temper that her husband preferred to face the Saracens? Whatever, one may read what one will into Sir Thomas’s almost permanent absence from England.

Witch raising a storm, 1562. From Olaus Magnus Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus, Antwerp. (Coloured black and white print).

Incidentally, Swineshead Abbey “….is famous for the poisoning of King John after his baggage train had been washed away on the tide at Sutton Bridge. It is debatable whether any treasure was actually lost in this accident and there is an excellent book by Richard Waters called ‘The Lost Treasure of King John’, in which the author puts forward a number of different scenarios as explanation for the supposed loss…”

available from Amazon

 

Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Kingmaker and Richard II: the eyes have it….!

Well, I have to say that the above carving is very startling. It is believed to be of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and has just been discovered at Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes. There is nothing in this article to say why they are so certain it’s Eleanor, but they seem in no doubt.

The first thing that occurred to me, however, was that the eyes reminded me very forcibly of the carving of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, the “Kingmaker”, as a mourner on the tomb of his father-in-law, Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick.

There is also a likeness of the Beauchamp tomb of the Kingmaker’s sister, Cecily Neville, Duchess of Warwick, and she too has these striking eyes. I’m told by a friend that in his biography of the Kingmaker, Professor Pollard decided there had been a real attempt to create a true likeness, so I imagine that these eyes must indeed be a trait in the Neville family.

There is an odd little story about Edward III, in which he apparently gave credence to the story of his family being descended from Melusine, the Devil’s daughter. The king claimed that the House of Plantagenet was descended from Melusine, and that slanting eyes appeared to be evidence of this. There is one member of that house who definitely had slanting eyes, Richard II.

So, where did those eyes originate? Or was it all mere coincidence that the likes of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Kingmaker and Richard II appear to have shared such a memorable feature?

From Sir Simon Burley to Leadenhall, and a renowned gander named Old Tom….!

When looking for information about a residence associated with the ill-fated Sir Simon Burley (executed by the Lords Appellant in 1388) I had cause to investigate the properties around London’s Leadenhall Market. It seems Leadenhall stems from a mansion on the site, owned at the beginning of the 14th century by Sir Hugh Neville, which had a lead roof, and was thus called Leaden Hall/Leadenhall.

Anyway, Sir Simon and his brother possessed a residential property in the grounds of Leadenhall mansion. But that is by the by, because the search lead me to the fascinating 19th-century tale of a gander called Old Tom. If you want to read about this valorous bird, who survived to the age of 37 in a market where poultry was sold (!) go to this article.

He passed away of natural causes on 19th March 1835, and his obituary was published in The Times:-

In memory of Old Tom the Gander.
Obit 19th March, 1835, aetat, 37 years, 9 months, and 6 days.

‘This famous gander, while in stubble,
Fed freely, without care or trouble:
Grew fat with corn and sitting still,
And scarce could cross the barn-door sill:
And seldom waddled forth to cool
His belly in the neighbouring pool.
Transplanted to another scene,
He stalk’d in state o’er Calais-green,
With full five hundred geese behind,
To his superior care consign’d,
Whom readily he would engage
To lead in march ten miles a-stage.
Thus a decoy he lived and died,
The chief of geese, the poulterer’s pride.’

And he has a bar named after him!

Richard’s Middleham Castle is in the top 500 outstanding sites in the UK….

Image from https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/middleham-castle/history/ which contains a lot of information about the castle.

Well, Richard makes it to 373 out of UK’s top 500 outstanding sites:

“373: Tread in the steps of Richard III at Middleham Castle”

To see the article where I found the above listing, go to this ITV article.

To put up a sign or not to put up a sign, that is the question….

 

Market Cross, Amen Corner, Barnard Castle

Here’s a tricky one. We need signs to direct us to places, in this case the Bowes Museum and “antiques quarter” in Barnard Castle. But putting up such a sign will interfere with a view of the famous Market Cross. So…should there be a sign or not?

To read more, go to this Teesdale Mercury article.

Where to find out about the nooks and crannies of the old city of London….

from https://knowyourlondon.wordpress.com/

If, like me, you’re always combing around for new bits of information about medieval London, you’ll find this site very interesting and helpful. And delightfully detailed. It knows its onions…well, its old city…and I thoroughly recommend you take a look. And keep it earmarked for future reference.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is three-cranes-wharf-agas_circa-1561.jpg
The three cranes of Three Cranes Wharf, as shown in the Agas map of circa 1561

 

Another Richard III Coin – Museum Seeks Funding for Purchase

Buckingham Old Gaol Museum (which is an interesting little museum situated in a fortified lock-up in the town centre) is seeking to purchase a rare Richard III  coin found this September by a local metal detector. The gold half-angel was found only one mile from the town centre of Buckingham (some people have all the luck!) It is an extremely rare piece, with only seven being known to exist.

The museum is hoping to raise five figures and obtain the coin for permanent display. If it succeeds, it will be the ONLY one of these half-angels available to be be viewed by the public. The last one that turned  up was sold to a private collector for around £44,000.

Fingers crossed that this one will , with the renewed interest in Richard III since 2012, generate enough donations to keep it in Buckingham, where the public can view it as an important piece of regional–and national–heritage.

 

Buckingham Museum & Richard III Gold Angel

coin

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