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Richard III – hero or villain….?

Look very carefully, I will say this only once. There IS a little article in among all the darned adverts!

Helen Cox is to give a talk on whether Richard was a hero or a villain. It is always difficult where he is concerned, because whenever he is described as the boy’s uncle, the uninitated (and set-in-concrete traditionalists) envisage a much older, untrustworthy man, who’d been around the royal block a good few times and knew how to bend every rule in sight. An undoubtedly wicked man. Something along the lines of the troublesome uncles around the boy-king Richard II. John of Gaunt was not wicked, but was always suspected of planning to steal the throne for himself. Shakespeare depicts Richard III as this stereotype. 

But Richard III didn’t fit the criteria, because he was honourable, and apart from anything else he was a young man. Yet because of the Bard and the repulsive Tudors, it is the sterotype of him that always surges to the fore.

 

 

THE LOST CITY OF TRELLECH-FOUND

Once upon a time, back in the  Middle Ages, a large, thriving Welsh city existed between Monmouth and the village of Trellech. Its size was astounding for the day—it had 10,000 inhabitants (for comparison London had 40,000.) Another 10,000 souls may have lived in a shanty town along its edges.

What makes Trellech’s size particularly startling is that it reached this number in a mere 25 years, meaning that vast numbers of people must have been flooding into the area. This was undoubtedly something to do with the powerful de Clare lords, who held the local lands and used Trellech for smelting iron for their personal army.

Then…something happened. It possibly began with a  devastating raid over poaching deer, which destroyed a large portion of the town.  Then the Black Death roared in during the 1300’s, causing the population to drop dramatically. More trouble followed in the early 15th century when Owain Glyndwr was on the rampage in those debatable borderlands. By the time of the Civil War, the city had been completely abandoned, and soon nature reclaimed what was once its own, and grass grew over the walls of once mighty Trellech.

By modern times, it was mainly known through a few medieval documents and in local legend, its precise location lost and subject to much speculation, with many believing it was sited under the modern village of Trellech.

No one seemed terribly interested in definitively locating it and finding out if it was as extensive and important as claimed, although some earlier surveys were indicative. But then an enthusiastic young archaeologist, intrigued by the story of the lost city,  decided to use his life savings to buy the fields where folklore said Trellech stood.

And it turned out,  when the trenches were dug, that legend, this time, was correct.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4083716/History-fan-spends-32-000-life-savings-buying-field-digs-discover-lost-medieval-city.html

trell

http://www.lostcityoftrellech.co.uk/

 

The project is ongoing, so if anyone is in the area and wishes to join in this summer, there are details in the second link.

Besides the archaeological site of the city, the nearby village of Trellech is itself worth a visit, with its Holy Well dedicated to saint Anne, the Grade I Church of Saint Nicholas, a castle motte called the Tump, a 16th C pub, and three enormous Bronze Age standing stones (Harold’s Stones) which are aligned on the Midwinter sunset.

 

 

Tadcaster Bridge

tadcasterbridgeThis, over the Wharfe whereby part of the defeated Lancastrian army at Towton fled, has been closed since the 2012 and 2015 floods but will be re-opened on 19th February and the Archbishop of York will preside at a ceremony the following Sunday.

RICHARD RETURNS TO THE TOWER THIS CHRISTMAS

The Tower of London is holding an event of interest to Ricardians. Between December 27 and 31, you will be able to enter King Richard III’s court as it celebrates Christmas 1484.

Court intrigue and plotting takes place amidst the pageantry, glorious costumes, and revels, all under the eye of the traditional Lord of Misrule.

Events begin at 11 A.M. with the King’s Arrival, then progress to ‘Court and Conspiracy’  at 11:30 and 14:30, and ‘The Hunt’ at 1:30 and 15:30.

http://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on/medieval-christmas/#gs.2hY5r7sItower

It is nice to see  Richard’s reign getting some recognition, although we do not yet know  how fair a view the entertainment will take. It is too easy (or should that be lazy?) for someone au fait only with Shakespeare or bad documentaries to imagine that such a short time was spent in nothing but warfare and misery, with the Tower a sinister symbol (which it was generally not, being a royal palace, not just a place of imprisonment). Richard liked a good party!

SPECTACLE OF LIGHT AT SUDELEY CASTLE

Richard wouldn’t recognise it…but Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, which he owned briefly and probably stayed at prior to the battle of  Tewkesbury,  is being lit up in spectacular fashion this December. Gardens, buildings, the ruined banqueting hall (most likely built by Richard) and the little chapel containing the tomb of Katherine Parr, are all included in the light up.

The event runs until December 23. Please check the times on the castle’s  page, as the event is not on every night.

spectacle-f-light

https://www.facebook.com/spectacleoflight/?hc_ref=SEARCH

 

 

Auction of coins from Edward III to Richard III….

henry-iv-groat

No illustrations of Richard’s coins, unfortunately. The above is a Henry IV groat, estimated price of £3-4,000). But Richard’s coin(s) are in this auction today. Get your plastic cards out, ladies and gentlemen…

Spink Auctions: From Edward III to Richard III, Lord Stewartby’s 4th Sale

A day out in Exeter

THE LEGENDARY TEN SECONDS ~ performance at Exeter’s Picturehouse – 6th November 2016

 

As always, it was a pleasure to sing with Ian Churchward, founding member of The Legendary Ten Seconds at the Picturehouse in Exeter – a wonderful, arty location that always provides a warm welcome.

 

We were joined by lovely staff from the Somerset & South West Scoliosis Association UK who brought balloons, cakes, sweets and donation pots. It was great to help raise awareness of the charity and perform Ian’s well written songs about Richard III. An author called Philip Photiou also brought along copies of his Wars of the Roses novel to sell at the event.

 

Rob Stroud on electric guitar and Lord Zarquon on keyboards created a powerful landscape to accompany the historical narratives. Their solos were magnificent.

 

We had a nice sized audience including the artist Georgie Harman who is contributing to the new artwork for the forthcoming Sunnes and Roses album by The Legendary Ten Seconds.

 

Ian introduced his songs with a background of the history and how he came to write it, giving a nice context to each piece.

 

A particular highlight was singing The Year of Three Kings with its catchy sing-along chorus. We sang it for a second time as part of an encore with a much more positive and audible response from the audience second time around, proving how catchy the songs are.

 

Ian chose songs from the first, second and third albums to sing at Sunday’s event, calling me up onstage accordingly. My vocals are on the 2nd and 3rd albums and I have sung most of the songs from the 1st album live, but did not know Ian at the time to record on the 1st album.

 

After a break from the band to focus on my acting ventures I was delighted to re-join this group of talented musicians for a gig at the Picturehouse, where it all began. Ian and I used to sing around 5 songs as part of a music evening consisting of different musicians. It was fantastic to perform a longer set this time with the whole band.

 

Camilla Joyce oct-16-poster-for-ricardian-albums wrathofkingsimage-poster-06-nov-16

 

WRITTEN AT RISING

 

LORD ANTHONY WOODVILLE

 

HOUSE OF YORK

 

THE LADY ANNE NEVILLE

 

FELLOWSHIP OF THE WHITE BOAR

 

KING IN THE CAR PARK

 

HOW DO YOU REBURY A KING

 

RAGGED STAFF instrumental

 

THE GOLD IT FEELS SO COLD

 

THE COURT OF KING RICHARD III

 

THE YEAR OF THREE KINGS

 

SHAKESPEARE’S RICHARD

 

ACT III SCENE IV

 

WHITE SURREY

 

AMBION HILL 

 

SHERIFF HUTTON

 

Richard inspires best-selling author to write forensic crime thrillers….

patricia-cornwell

We have all heard of Patricia Cornwell, author of numerous titles, including the Scarpetta series. Well, it seems that the discovery of Richard’s remains have inspired her to change direction from straight crime into forensic crime.  Richard’s appeal reaches out in all manner of different ways!

http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/how-did-leicester-inspire-best-selling-author-patricia-cornwell/story-29840177-detail/story.html

The beauty of royal barges….

royal-barge-at-windsor

Searching for snippets of information takes me (and everyone else!) all over the internet, and often to forgotten sites. My search this time was for information about the length of time a medieval rowed barge would take to go from Westminster to Windsor, and then back again. I still have no idea, but the Thames was one of England’s main ‘motorways’ and those oarsmen were well up to the job, so I think the voyage did not take as long as my modern self imagines.

Anyway, this webpage came to light. http://www.thamesalive.org.uk/royalrowbarge.asp

I remember the wonderful sight of Gloriana at the Queen’s Jubilee. Downpour or not, the vessel looked amazing, and really brought the past to life again. The link is about various royal barges, and is well worth a browse.

Postscript: I have now received some information and links from Merlyn MacLeod to add to the above.  I now have a new word to conjure with: shallop. Thank you, Merlyn.

  • There are illustrations and facts at http://www.georgianindex.net/transportationLondon/Barge.html
  • “A shallop is a fast oar-powered craft rowed by up to eight men that was popular on the Thames in the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries. These Barges were the fastest means of water transport between business centres and residences and were the limousines of the lower Thames in the 17th and 18th century. An eight-oared Shallop could cover the 35 miles from Hampton Court to Greenwich in approximately four hours.”
  • The following is an illustration of a 15th-century Flemish royal barge. It’s one of the small shallops with only 8 rowers.flemish-royal-barge

New Richard III Memorial To Be Revealed

Back in April we reported that Bridport had recently discovered that in 1483 Richard III had visited the city on his way to Exeter to crush Buckingham’s rebellion and decided to commemorate this with a stone memorial. We are pleased to reveal that the initiative was successful and that the memorial will be revealed to the public on the 533rd anniversary of the event on Saturday, 5th November, at 2pm by the East Bridge. Sir Philip Williams, the High Sheriff of Dorset, and John Collingwood, the Bridport Town Crier, will be attending the unveiling.

The memorial was funded with donations from members of the public in the UK and abroad. It has been crafted by Master Stone Masons Christine and Karl Dixon from white Portland stone and, as well as containing relevant details, also depicts Richard’s white boar and his personal motto “Loyaulté me lie”. It will be placed beside the River Asker and facing the oriel window, which is one of the few remnants of the Priory of St John the Baptist where Richard is thought to have lodged.

You can find out more details about the initiative and Richard’s visit to Bridport here.

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