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History Book Part One

The Legendary Ten Seconds have a new album out. The tracks go back chronologically to Arthurian times, before including two about the Battle of Hastings – or of Battle to be precise. The last six cover Richard III’s adult life and reign, from the seemingly effortless taking of Edinburgh to the Harrington dispute and the subsequent Stanley treachery at Bosworth.

Here is a recording of their performance at Coldridge, with reference to the stained glass window there.

More travels in enemy territory (2006)

Arlington Court is not a particularly old building but it commemorates a family that can be traced back to the Battle of Hastings, with a twentieth century twist. It dates from 1820, however it is the third or possibly fourth grand house to occupy the same site since the sixteenth century. The grounds are extensive and the circular walk is reputed to take an hour; there is also a Carriage Museum. The whole estate lies about five miles from Barnstaple.
Until 1949 it was the home of the Chichester family, Sir John having married a Raleigh heiress in 1385. The Chichesters were recusants from 1577 but maintained a loyalty to the Crown through the following centuries. Another John Chichester was awarded a Baronetcy in 1840 but left only one son and Sir Bruce’s only child was a daughter, “Miss Rosalie”.
It is through her eyes (1865-1949) that visitors see the present house, as she survived her father by sixty-eight years and her mother by forty-one. Her many collections, including model ships and family portraits, and individual style dominate the many rooms. Sir Bruce’s widow married one of his cousins, Rector of the adjacent parish of Shirwell, and his grandson was the 1967 solo circumnavigator Francis Chichester (right), knighted on board his Gypsy Moth IV. The National Trust, to whom she left the house and grounds, added a model of this to his “aunt’s” collection.
I am certain that she would have welcomed this posthumous augmentation.

Did Richard III prefer to travel his realm by land, river or around the coast. . .?

King Edward III's cog, Thomas

Here is a question that has bugged me for some time now. If, during medieval centuries, a journey could be made around the English coast, rather than across country, was the sea option likely to be chosen?

I will take a particular example. It’s from the 14th century, but could be from the 13th or the 15th. A high-ranking aristocrat, who was accustomed to sailing (he was at one time Admiral of the Fleet in the Western Seas – I think that is the correct title) wished to go from London to Dartmouth on the south coast of Devon. It was a journey he would have made fairly frequently, because his country seat in Devon was his favourite residence, some of his children were born there and he clearly like to escape to its peaceful acres.

cog and boat of fugitives

RII embarks for Ireland, 1394

Now, medieval journeys fascinate me, and I wonder what governed the choice of route. For instance, when Richard II made his two visits to Ireland, he travelled across country and then along through Glamorgan and Pembroke to Haverford, from where he set sail for Ireland. The voyage took two days. But many of his men/ships/horses/equipment and so on were sent by ship from Bristol.

Bristol Castle in 14th Century

Why didn’t Richard leave from Bristol as well? It would certainly have been easier than all the way through South Wales. Was it simply to show himself to the people of Wales and the southern Marches? He went from castle to abbey to castle and so on. Quite a long way to be in the saddle. Yes, all medieval aristocrats and royalty showed themselves around the country, but they liked their comfort too, and surely a few extra days’ voyage from Bristol would be preferable to a couple of weeks on indifferent roads?

medieval fleet - 3

Which brings me back to my particular nobleman in Devon. When he joined the king in Ireland in 1394, he sailed from Bristol on 7th March. He certainly didn’t go up to Gloucester, across the Severn and then all the way through South Wales to Haverford. No indeed. But why not from Dartmouth, which was only a few miles from his residence? His wife had just given birth to a son there, and it seems fairly certain (not confirmed) that her husband had been there with her just prior to leaving on the Irish campaign?

dartmouth_castle_engraving

Back to London. Let me provide a particular scenario. There has been a lot of rain and the roads are appalling, but the weather is otherwise calm. Would he choose to labour to Devon by road? Or take a vessel and sail along the south coast?

It seems to me that surely he would prefer to go by sea, but apart from international travel, or travelling along navigable rivers, I have yet to come across a definite reference to sailing around the coast from one part of the mainland to another. Sometimes there is simply a statement that one town was left and another reached. If the towns are in the middle of the country, then it’s obvious the journey was by road. But if close to the coast…? What then? Traders did it, of course, but did other travellers do the same?

Postscript:
Since I first composed this article, I have come upon the interesting thoughts of prominent historian, Ian Mortimer, on the very subject of whether travel would have been by water or road. In Appendix Five of The Fears of Henry IV, he ponders the speed of Henry’s movements around the country, and whether or not roads would have been the natural route. As places like Nottingham and Pontefract are mentioned, it makes me wonder about some of Richard III’s journeys. I have always imagined that he travelled by road, but might he have actually gone by river?

Here is an extract from Mortimer:

“The distances. . .all presume Henry travelled by road, and it needs to be stressed that some of the journeys were probably by water. In fact, Douglas Biggs has suggested that Henry moved mostly by water in 1407.* With regard to his journey from York (5 September 1407) to Beverley (11 September): he sailed down the River Ouse, pausing at Faxfleet, and up the River Hull to Beverley. Similarly Henry could have travelled by water from Nottingham to Pontefract (via the rivers Trent and Calder), and from Bishopthorpe to Cawood (via the Ouse). However, he did not always move by water. His journey from Nottingham to Pontefract via Newstead and Worksop. . .must have been by road, and his presence at Kilham indicates that, although he probably sailed from Beverley to Bridlington, he returned to Bishopthorpe by road.”

* Syllabus: T.D. Hardy (ed.), Syllabus. . .of Rymer’s Foedera (3 vols, 1869-85). Vol ii, p.544. Also Douglas Biggs. ‘An Ill and Infirm King: Henry IV, Health and the Gloucester Parliament of 1407’ – paper delivered at Nottingham 2006).

What did Richard do? Did he always ride on horseback or take to his barge or cog? Over to you, ladies and gentlemen.

The Champernownes of Devon

Champernowne_CoatOfArms

The Champernownes (above), a Norman line whose alternative spellings include Chapman and Chamberlain, are surely Devon’s second family after the Courtenays of Powderham Castle, who hold the Earldom. From 1162, their (Domesday Book-cited) home was at Chambercombe Manor near Ilfracombe (middle right) but, by the early sixteenth century, this had passed to Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, father of Jane (below left).

The Champernownes Arthur Champernowne (1524-78) moved the family from Polsoe, near Exeter, to Dartington near Totnes, where the Hall (middle left) was built in 1560 and his descendants lived there – the previous building had been owned by the Holland Dukes of Exeter. Kat Ashley, his aunt, was Elizabeth I’s governess, Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh (above right) were among his nephews, Henry Norris (executed over the Anne Boleyn case) was his father-in-law and Sir Edward Seymour, grandson of the Protector Somerset, married one of his daughters, launching a line of baronets, so Arthur’s close family were at the centre of the “Tudor” political scene.

Arthur was a Vice-Admiral as well as an MP in the south-west, as was his grandson Arthur and his Georgian descendant Arthur (ne Harrington), who married a relative of Crediton’s General Sir Redvers Buller (below).

BullerStatue

As this genealogy also shows, Champernownes married Courtenays at least once.

 

 

The contrasting fates of two properties associated with Sir Francis Drake….

 

Crowdale Farm, Tavistock, Devon - birthplace of Sir Francis Drake

Crowndale Farm, Tavistock, Devon, birthplace in 1540 of Sir Francis Drake.

The recent concern https://www.metro.news/sir-francis-drakes-birthplace-at-risk-of-being-lost-forever/1243118/ gradual disintegration of Sir Francis Drake’s birthplace, the Grade II listed Crowndale Farm, in Tavistock, Devon, where he came into the world in 1540. It is unbelievable that such neglect has been allowed to take place. What is the point of listing a property, and then not providing the owner with the funds to restore/protect it? Not all owners are rolling in money. And what is the point of listing something at all, if that’s the end of it? Listing would appear to = slow demise.

Crowndale is not the only building associated with Sir Francis Drake, nor is the Gatcombe associated with the present Prince of Wales the only place of that name in Gloucestershire. There is another Gatcombe, a tiny place on the Forest of Dean side of the River Severn. Most people will have heard of the prince’s Gatcombe, but not this other one.

Here is an extract from Riversprite: A Trow’s Story, by Roger Poole:-

“The ancient town of Lydney is situated a few miles north of ~Chepstow on the Forest of Dean side of the River Severn. It has a history that goes back many centuries. Iron Age tribes lived and worked here, as did the Romans, but as a port it grew maninly during the 18th and 19th centuries.

“One of the main cargoes that went through the harbour was coal from the pits in the Forest of Dean, although large quantities of timber and iron ore also passed through the port and on across the Severn Sea.

“Before that, In Tudor times, ship-building was an important business in the area, Warships for the King’s navy were built here, using oak and other timber from the Forest of Dean. Sir Francie Drake lived for a time at nearby Gatcombe, and Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have done business with local timber merchants while staying in the tiny hamlet of Purton, a couple of miles upstream….”

If you go to https://www.sungreen.co.uk/gatcombe/severn-fishermen.html, you will find a very old photograph of Severn fishermen (see below), and in between them the distant white rectangle of Drake’s house.

Old View of Gatcombe on the River Severn

Severn fishermen on “Waveridge Sands”. The Old Severn Bridge pub is on the left, the Purton ferry staging is on the water’s edge and between the two men with the Lave nets is Drake’s House.

And if you go to https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-66396161.html you will see much more about the same house. Doubt is cast upon the connection with Sir Francie, but nevertheless, the legend is very strong, on both sides of the Severn.

Drake's House, Gatcombe, Lydney

Drake’s House, Gatcombe, Lydney, Glos.

I have drawn attention to this house on the Severn as a contrast to the fate that is being allowed to befall Crowndale Farm in Devon. Maybe the present appearance of Drake’s House isn’t to all tastes, not everyone likes pink, or wishes to live right next to a main railway line, but at least the house is still standing and still loved. Still there for future generations to appreciate.

The same should be able to be said of Crowndale Farm!

 

 

 

A very busy presenter

Rob Bell seems to be on television a lot at the moment. Although he is an engineer and not quite a historian, many of his programmes go back in time as structures were built. Walking Britain’s Lost Railways, for instance, goes back under two centuries because of the subject matter, but Great British Ships (both Channel Five) has already covered HMS Victory and the Mary Rose, which was built in 1510 and sank in 1545. At the same time, possibly literally, Bell is appearing on BBC1 and BBC4’s (repeated) Engineering Giants, projects which he narrates actively with enthusiasm and technical knowledge, together with an interest in the local culture. For example, he tells viewers of Brunel’s great feats, tries to explain why the Mary Rose sank and walks most of the Dartmoor route from Plymouth to Exeter, although a small stage of this track has re-opened in recent years.

The last episode featured Ruabon to Barmouth via Llangollen, where the Irish Ladies lived.

A performance in Coldridge – a review

The Legendary Ten Seconds Concert at Coldridge

 Nestling deep in the Mid-Devon countryside is the hill-top village of Coldridge where the windswept St Matthews Church is hiding secrets relating to the mystery of The Princes in the Tower.

The Church and its links to Richard III and Edward V are currently being investigated by Philippa Langley’s Missing Princes Project.

Maybe in an attempt to stir up some mediaeval spirits of the past, it was very fitting that on 5 March 2018 the folk rock band the Legendary Ten Seconds came to Coldridge and presented an excellent concert to the village.

The atmospheric and acoustic setting of the Church resonated with original and very entertaining music evocative of the Tudor Period. It was very special to hear the mediaeval harmonies sung so well in that ancient building.

The bands highly competent musicians comprised Ian Churchward on guitar and vocals, Elaine Churchward vocals, Rob Bright lead guitar and Lord Zarquon (Mike) on keyboards.

We were entertained by a range of songs, composed by the band, featuring;

WRITTEN AT RISING (about a letter written in June 1469 by the Duke of Gloucester at Castle Rising)

LORD ANTHONY WOODVILLE (a song about Elizabeth Woodville’s oldest brother who was looking after Edward V at Ludlow)

THE LADY ANNE NEVILLE ( sung by Elaine )

FELLOWSHIP OF THE WHITE BOAR

KING IN THE CAR PARK  ( sung by Elaine )

HOW DO YOU REBURY A KING (the reburial of Richard III in Leicester)

RAGGED STAFF instrumental

THE GOLD IT FEELS SO COLD (about Edward IV’s campaign in France 1475)

THE YEAR OF THREE KINGS (Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III 1483)

THE COURT OF KING RICHARD III (the visit of a knight from Silesia to the Court of Richard III in Nottingham in 1484)

ACT III SCENE IV (using the words written by Shakespeare in Act III, Scene IV of the play called Richard III)

The above three photographs showing the band recording their album “Murrey & Blue”

WHITE SURREY (Richard III at the battle of Bosworth)

HOUSE OF YORK (the first song that The Legendary Ten Seconds recorded about Richard III)

 

I spoke to several villagers after the concert and all were in agreement that it was a thoroughly enjoyable and special experience for the Church, and who knows – was that the armour of  our Tudor Knight, Sir John Evans, we heard clinking away in time to the music ? !

John Dike

Coldridge

Devon.

Recording the Murrey and Blue album

 

 

The Legendary Ten Seconds again

They will be performing at Coleridge Church on 5th March and for the Devon and Cornwall Branch of the Richard III Society on 26th May. Read more here

Old Nick and his footprints are back….!!!!

old nick - 1

I endeavoured to include a link to the following article, but it was far too long, and the resultant Tinyurl simply would not transfer. Very strange. One might almost say devilishly so! Anyway, I do hope Tara MacIsaac will not mind that I include the article in full, because I gladly acknowledge her work Devil’s Hoofprints Spotted in the Snow? which appeared in Beyond Science, Epoch Times, December 17, 2014.

On Feb. 9, 1855, in the county of Devon, England, residents were mystified when they awoke to find strange tracks in the snow—tracks unlike any animal tracks they’d seen before. As groups of people across multiple villages spanning some 40 to 100 miles followed the tracks, curiosity turned to a mounting sense of horror and dread.

“Some 4–5 inches long and in the shape of cloven hooves, they went up walls, across rooftops, from one side of objects inexplicably through to the other side. They seemed to sink so low in the snow, it’s almost as though they were hot and seared their way through. At spots, the tracks seemed to disappear, only to reappear some ways off, as though the being that made them had flown for a short stretch. The single-file prints suggested a biped.

“In some villages, it seemed the maker of the tracks had visited nearly every home.

“Was it animals? Was it a case of mass hysteria? Was it a trick played by some mischief-makers? Was it, as many believed, the Devil himself? No one really knows. Let’s take a look at the accounts, the evidence, and the possibilities.

“The most extensive modern investigation of the so-called Devil’s Hoofmarks was undertaken by Mike Dash, an editor for Fortean Times. He collected all primary documents available, including tracings of the prints made by witnesses, the accounts collected by Reverend H.T. Ellacombe, who was vicar of the parish of Clyst St. George in East Devon from 1850 to 1885, newspaper articles from the time, and more.

hoofprints 1

Tracing of the “Devil’s Hoofmarks” by Mr. D’Urban of Clyst St. Mary in Devon, England, reproduced in the Illustrated London News.

hoofprints 2JPG

“Tracing of the “Devil’s Hoofmarks,” included in the papers collected by Reverend H.T. Ellacombe, who was vicar of the parish of Clyst St. George in Devon, England, from 1850 to 1885.

hoofprints 3

“Tracing of the “Devil’s Hoofmarks” by G.M.M of Withecombs Raleigh, Exmouth, Devon, England, reproduced in the Illustrated London News.

hoofprints 5

“Tracing of the “Devil’s Hoofmarks,” sent in a letter by Reverend G.M. Musgrave from Exmouth, East Devon, included in the papers collected by Reverend H.T. Ellacombe.

Reverend Thingie

“He wrote in a paper titled The Devil’s Hoofmarks: ‘On the whole it appears that a considerable majority of the people who might have been expected to be familiar with all manner of trails left by the local wildlife, were puzzled and in many cases scared by these tracks and by the places in which they were discovered.’

“Nonetheless, it seems that at least some of the tracks attributed to the Devil may have been made by animals. The night of Feb. 8 was an unusually cold one. But a thaw is said to have occurred partway through. The snow melted a little, then froze again when the temperatures dropped once more. This can distort animal prints, and some of the prints may have been made by hares hopping (the two hind feet can leave prints that may be mistaken for cloven hooves in single-file), or some other small animal. Claw marks were reportedly seen in some of the prints, suggesting little animal feet instead of hooves. In one account, the prints went through a drain pipe 6 inches in diameter. But, some of the other prints seem to defy this explanation and it may be that these regular animal prints were scrutinized alongside prints of a more mystifying nature.

“In Exmouth, a port town in East Devon, a witness named W. Courthope Forman said: “The footprints came up the front garden to within a few feet of the house, stopped abruptly, and began again at the back within a few feet of the building.” Others made similar comments about the prints crossing garden walls and other objects. In one case, the prints stopped on one side of a haystack and resumed on the other, without leaving a trace on top that anything had moved across it. Dash wrote: “Indeed the problem with assessing all the reports of prints found in strange places is a lack of full descriptions of their precise situation.”

“Witnesses Reverend J.J. Rowe and R.H. Busk tell of how they followed the tracks with hounds. R.H. Busk said, “At last, in a wood, the hounds came back baying and terrified.” Rowe said: “The episode of the hounds … I well and distinctly remember.”Another man who followed the prints found a toad at the end of them, though it’s uncertain that a toad did or could make such marks.

“The prints were found in two other regions that same winter.

“In March 1855, they were sighted in Inverness, Scotland, where a local naturalist dismissed them as hare or polecat prints, according to an Inverness Courier report from that time.

“In January 1855, near Wolverhampton, England, about 200 miles north of Devon, hoofprints were said to have appeared on vertical walls and the roofs of pubs. According to Dash, Elizabeth Brown, landlady of The Lion pub in this region, told a public meeting that “her house was mainly frequented by quarrymen and the tracks were nothing new to them. Similar hoofmarks were to be seen burnt into the rock at Pearl Quarry, on Timmins Hill.”

“This brings us back to the reports that the footprints seemed to have been branded into the snow.

“Similar descriptions have been given in other cases. In the Spring 1957 edition of Tomorrow, a Quarterly Review of Psychical Research, anthropologist and psychical researcher Eric Dingwall reported one such case. A business man named Mr. Wilson found perplexing prints on a Devon beach in 1950. They appeared to be hoofmarks, though not cloven. The stride from one to the next was some six feet—a stark contrast to the small stride of the 1855 Devon prints which were only 8–12 inches apart—and he noticed, Dingwall wrote, “that no sand was splashed up at the edges: it looked as if each mark had been cut out of the sand with a flat iron.”

“Dingwall continued: “He had realized how totally inexplicable they were. For here was a biped with a track shaped like a hoof, starting immediately beneath a perpendicular cliff on a closed beach and ending in the sea. There was no returning track.” Dingwall asked Wilson if it’s possible that the animal, or whatever may have made the marks, turned right or left in the sea and returned to land elsewhere. “But Mr. Wilson produced photographs which showed that the beach was a comparatively narrow space completely enclosed by rocky headlands on either side.”

“In the winter of 1957, Lynda Hanson observed hoofmarks in her parents’ garden. In a letter to Fortean Times editor Bob Rickard, she wrote that it had snowed about an inch overnight and in the morning she saw them, “shaped as a cloven hoof, 4 inches across, approximately 12 inches apart, in a straight line and stopping in the middle of the garden.”

“She said dry concrete could be seen where the prints were, unlike with normal animal or human prints, which leave compressed snow.

“In 2009, retired local government official Jill Wade of North Devon awoke to find prints in her yard, about 5 inches long, with a stride of 11–17 inches. She called in experts to investigate. Zoologist Graham Inglis told the Telegraph: “This is certainly a first for me. The footprints are peculiar, but they are not the devil’s … Personally I think it belongs to a rabbit or hare but quite an academic punch-up has started over it.”

“Other explanations for the Devon prints—including an escaped kangaroo, a chain hanging from a weather balloon, and more—have been brought up and dismissed or deemed unlikely from various angles. As unlikely as the explanations may seem, it’s hard to prove or disprove any of them with certainty. Something unusual occurred in Devon, England, on the night of Feb. 8, 1855.”

So, is Beelezub back? Is he tramping our land again? What is he doing? Looking for victims? Or converts?

See also this article which contains similar information, but also the photograph of footprints at the top of this article, and the Victorian painting below. Um, Old Nick making a snow angel just sort of appeared. A little like his mysterious footprints. Happy Halloween!

Victorian hoofprints

snow devil

 

 

 

 

THE MISSING PRINCES-LOOKING IN LINCOLNSHIRE & DEVON

Philippa Langley has recently been on the road with ‘The Missing Princes Project’ making inquiries in Lincolnshire as to any local legends or folklore (such stories can often  hold a tiny grain of folk memory) relating to King Richard or the two boys.

Interestingly, author Sandra Heath Wilson in her novels has the  princes hidden at Friskney, which is in Lincolnshire. There is more to her choice of location than  a random place name chosen by an author ( but I will leave Sandra to do the telling, if she wishes to reveal!)

During Philippa’s recent talk, it was also mentioned that Richard, as Duke of Gloucester, overruled the choice of a mayor in Grimsby during 1474, and replaced the incumbent with his choice, Robert More. An unusual tidbit, as we do not generally think of Richard  as being ‘active’ in this area of Britain. Where was this More in 1483 or 84?

Several legends from different parts of the country seem to be emerging. Could this be because one or both of the princes were frequently moved to different locations, perhaps remote and unlikely ones, to avoid detection or possible rescue? Although mostly held in Sarum, Eleanor of Aquitaine was moved to other castles during her imprisonment; even more frequently shunted about was the unfortunate Eleanor, Fair Maid of Brittany, first prisoner of King John and then his son Henry III. Her exact whereabouts were hard to trace throughout her long years of imprisonment, though we know she may have been at Corfe castle and she definitely spent some time at Gloucester. It was only when she was too old to bear children and was allowed to enter a convent that her location became generally known. Later on, Mary Queen of Scots had many different places of imprisonment before her final date with destiny at Fotheringhay.

Another intriguing site I stumbled upon is that of Coldridge, a small village in Devon. In the church is a chantry chapel to one John Evans, who was keeper of the park and yeoman of the crown. Beyond that, nothing is known of his origin, although his name appears to be Welsh. Evans leased the local manor from Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset, the half brother to the princes, in the reign of Henry VII. In his own chapel, Evans lies in effigy, gazing towards a particularly rare stained glass window depicting Edward V with the crown suspended over his head as a symbol to acknowledge he was never crowned. Some guidebooks wrongly describe this glass as being of Edward VI, Henry VIII’s son, but it is clearly from an earlier period by clothes and hair, and then there is the matter of the crown.  Although not confirmed, some sources state that Evans, whoever he was, attended the funeral of Henry VIII’s first son, Henry, which is intriguing indeed.

(There is also a fragmentary section of a scowling man’s face just below the glass of Edward V, which has been thought to represent an evil Richard, but  that is possibly a more recent attribution, and it may have been part of another scene completely unrelated to the Edward V one.)

http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/grimsby-news/link-lincolnshire-missing-princes-15th-316618#ICID=sharebar_facebook

Postscript from viscountessw (Sandra Heath Wilson):- I lighted on Friskney in Lincolnshire for two reasons. Firstly, research revealed it to have been held by the Earl of Lincoln, and secondly it was occupied by the Kymbe family, one of whom, Thomas, became the third husband of Cicely/Cecily, younger sister of Elizabeth of York. This marriage was apparently a love match – if it wasn’t, I can’t think why she would have risked losing everything in order to make such a “low” marriage.

 

 

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