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Archive for the category “religion”

The Crown Jewels of East Anglia?

Picture: Birmingham Museums Trust

This excellent EADT article suggests that a horde found near Tamworth about ten years ago included some crown jewels worn by Anna* or Onna, the (Wuffing) King of East Anglia and nephew of Raedwald. He is likely to have died in a 653/4 battle near Blythburgh, along with his Bishop, Thomas, fighting against Penda’s pagan Mercians. Tamworth is, of course, in Mercia and parts of the treasure can be seen there: in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as well as the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. All five of Anna’s children, including Ethelreda (Audrey) and Jurmin, his only son who died in the same battle.

* Male, despite his name, as were the C16 French warrior Anne de Montmorency and the historian Sharon Turner.

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?

Desperately Seeking Wolsey….

The discovery in Leicester of the remains of Richard III was surely one of the greatest such event, and since then there have been increased attempts to locate other great figures from our past. Leicester has at least one other such person just waiting to be found, but as yet he’s proving elusive. The location of Cardinal Wolsey’s burial has been a matter of debate for some time now, and this blog has mentioned it at least twice, as well as the angels made for his tomb.

Over the past five hundred years there have been a number of attempts to find the man whose humble beginnings as an innkeeper’s son did not prevent him from rising to be one of the highest and most influential figures in Tudor England. It’s hard to even imagine what Leicester Abbey looked like at the time of his interment, let alone where in its footprint the great cardinal might be lying.

An artist impression of Leicester Abbey in its heyday. John Finnie

Now there has been another article about his missing tomb, but I’m afraid that if he really did look like his awful statue, I’d rather they didn’t find him! He’s enough to give children nightmares.

The Abbey Park statute of Cardinal Wolsey who died at Leicester Abbey in 1530 (Image: Will Johnston)

The anonymous friar and the black arts….

I quote the footnote below because I believe it to be an example of giving someone the wrong name.

“….Another high-profile case comes in 1376, during the Good Parliament, with antagonism against Alice Perrers, Knights of the Parliament captured her physician, the Dominican friar Palange Wyk, accused of practising black arts o her behalf; Carole Rawcliffe, ‘The Profits of Practice: the Wealth and Status of Medical Men in Later Medieval England’, Social History of Medicine, I (1988): 73; and J.R. Maddicott, ‘Parliament and the Constituencies, 1272-1377’, in The English Parliament in the Middle Ages, ed. R.G. Davies and J.H. Denton (Manchester, 1981), pp 79-80….”

The above paragraph is from: Popular Protest in Late Medieval English Towns by Samuel K. Cohn, Jr, Douglas Aiton, Jr. and Samuel K. Cohn. Page 304, footnote 169.

Why do I think it names someone incorrectly? Because I have researched this particular case, and try as I will, I haven’t been able to find the actual name of the Dominican friar in question. For the purposes of this article, it doesn’t matter whether he did or didn’t cast spells and so on, just that he is never named. Except in this quoted footnote.

However, the Hammersmith manor where he was arrested, and which belonged to his mistress, Alice Perrers, was called Pallenswick (Pallingswyck, Palingswick, Paddingswick and so on) Now, it seems to me that Palange Wick and Pallenswick are confusingly similar. Too similar, in fact, to merely be coincidence. So I have to conclude that the friar remains unnamed, and his only connection with the words Palange and Wyk is that he was arrested in Pallenswick.

If anyone knows better, and can supply the friar’s name, I will be eternally grateful.

Elizabeth Woodville and witchcraft in medieval England….

 

Elizabeth Woodville meets Edward IV in 1464
(Photo by Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Aha, so Elizabeth Woodvile was a witch, and so was her mother, Jacquette of Luxembourg. Well, everyone knew that already, because Philippa Gregory wrote about it in great detail. So it just has to be true!

Anyway, joking aside, this History extra article is interesting for the information it gives about what the English medieval world thought about magic and so on.

How would Thetford Priory have looked?

(see here for more about Robert II)

Mid Anglia Group, Richard III Society

Thetford Priory was, of course, a Cluniac Priory. Whilst some walls stand away from the entrance, in other areas only the foundations remain and the Mowbray tomb locations are no longer marked, although those of the Howards, moved to Framlingham, remain.

If only, I hear you say, some kind of restoration could take place. That would be extremely expensive but there is a comparable building, although it suffered less dilapidation in the first place. Paisley Abbey was also a Cluniac priory and constructed in the twelfth century, although it had to be rebuilt in 1307 after an Edward I visit. Just nine years after that, on March 2nd, Marjorie Bruce, the king’s daughter married to Walter the Steward, fell off her horse nearby, whilst heavily pregnant. Although she died, her son was born alive and survived to 74, eventually succeeding his uncle as Robert II, the first Stewart King and…

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