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…
This Channel Five documentary has just completed a second series, with Alex Langlands and Raksha Dave, late of Time Team, in place of Helen Skelton. One particular episode was about Auckland Castle, where the “Prince Bishops” of Durham have lived for centuries and where archaeology is being carried out around the building.
One of these influential Bishops was William Bek who, surprisingly for a cleric, co-commanded the English army against William Wallace at Falkirk, shortly after Wallace and Moray’s victory at Stirling Bridge. Consequently, Langlands and Dave visited a few other venues associated with the story, including those in Scotland.
The series has also covered the lost Roman town of Silchester and HMS Invincible, as well as the Catterick garrison and Sudeley Castle.
Who do you think you are? is always an interesting programme and is disappointing to see only eight episodes in the series. In the past, Sir Matthew Pinsent, Frank Gardner, Danny Dyer and Clare Balding have all been revealed as proven descendants of Edward I. That has not happened in 2019 and few lines have gone back as far as the eighteenth century, so I hoped that the concluding episode’s research could beat that.
As it turned out, it did go back a long way. The subject was Mark Wright – not the red-haired central defender (left) who scored against Egypt in 1990, heading home a Gascoigne free kick, but a “reality show” star and former semi-professional full-back who was born only three years before that, who had a feeling that his complexion pointed to some Italian ancestry. This Mark Wright (right) was accompanied in the earliest scenes by Eddie, his paternal grandfather, who had collated his knowledge in advance, particularly about his own grandfather and namesake.
Edward Wright senior was a builder whose materials occasionally fell off the back of carts and was imprisoned for this on one occasion. On another, he was said to have left for America after another conviction and passenger lists proved that this really happened as opposed to being a cover for another “stretch”. With the help of Mark Smith (left), the arms and militaria expert from Antiques Roadshow, he proved that Edward Wright sourced horses for the British Army before signing up after reducing his age to serve in the First World War.
Next, Mark discovered that his grandfather’s mother came from a Jewish line named Simons/ Simmons, through which he was able to visit the 1701 Bevis Marks synagogue (right), built for the Sephardi (Iberian and North African) Jewish community whom Oliver Cromwell had allowed back into the British Isles.
Further research took him to Spain, in particular Jaen in Andalucia, where his ultimate known ancestor Antonio de Castro/ David de Mendoza, a fencing master, was born in 1661 and then brought up there. This was a family of “conversos”, but frequently came under suspicion from the Inquisition. Antonio, as he was known, was arrested and tortured, tried, convicted and imprisoned before escaping to Amsterdam with his wife and children, where they resumed an overt Jewish life. His nephew Miguel was then arrested and, possibly because of Antonio’s activities, burned, a fate he shares with an ancestor of Simon Sebag Montefiore, her brother and sister. On a brighter note, Mark was able to meet a distant cousin who is also a Mendoza descendant.
“Mordecai Mendoza”(Bernard Cribbins)
Wright actually showed a real flair for genealogy, enthusiastically drawing up tables on paper and spotting the religious significance of the name Mendoza. Might we hear more about his family some time?
Well, while researching the Painted Chamber of Westminster Palace, with particular reference to the “Good Parliament” of 1376, I couldn’t help imagining today’s House of Commons faced, not with someone like John Bercow (whose birthday it is today and is quite short with a head), but Edward the First! Can you just imagine old Longshanks putting up with all the parliamentary shenanigans we’re witnessing today? He’d see there were so many heads displayed on London Bridge there wouldn’t be any room left!
Which leads me to combine the subjects of Speakers and beheadings. How many of them actually met with this fate? If you go to this list you’ll be able to see all the Speakers until 1707. There is a link to subsequent Speakers. The man to be accepted (now) as the first true Speaker was Sir Peter de la Mare, although the title Speaker was not yet established.
It would seem that the following unfortunates were executed: Sir John Bussy (died 1399), Sir Thomas Tresham (died 1471),William Catesby (died 1485), Sir Richard Empson (died 1510), Edmund Dudley (died 1510), and Sir Thomas More (died 1536). Sir William Tresham, father of Thomas, was murdered/lynched in 1450. Back then it didn’t do to enter politics if your name was Tresham!
Maybe there were others who met a sticky end, if so, no doubt you will tell me!
This rather interesting article shows that it was in the south-eastern part of Christchurch Park, possibly exactly under the Mansion? The “Withypoll slab” of Tournai marble, which seems to lie near the back gardens of Bolton Lane, may be a significant clue – note how Edmund Withypoll behaved rather like the Stanleys against the Harringtons in his dealings with William Dandy or Daundy. It also explains why St. Margaret’s Church was constructed as a chapel of relief (overflow) to the Norman era Priory, which was then demolished or superseded.
Thanks also to the late John Blatchly and to Sir Diarmaid MacCullough for their 1977 research. There is a July 2019 update as well, from Ipswich Borough Council.
Yes indeed, King Alphonso almost succeeded to the throne of his father, Edward I. If you go to this page, you will learn about Alphonso, Earl of Chester (1273-1284) the ninth child of King Edward I and Eleanor of Castile. He was apparently named after his maternal uncle, King Alphonso X of Castile, and there was a time when he was first in line to the throne of England. He died, just short of 11 years of age, not long after the birth of his parents’ next son, another Edward, who was to become Edward II of England.
At the age of 10 Alphonso was betrothed to Margaret, daughter of the Count of Holland, but died a few months before the wedding. This psalter was being prepared, and the illustration below, showing the bridal couple’s arms, is taken from it.
Most of the above information has been taken from History UK (see link above). I do not claim the kudos. You can read more about Alphonso here and about the roll from which the portrait of Alphonso is taken, at the British Library.
In a tiny town in Wales, a ruined castle stands on rising ground amidst a haze of dark trees. An atmospheric round tower, cracked by time; shattered walls, the remains of hall and chapel. Privately owned, a garden drops down the hillside before it, to an old house which appears to contain much castle stonework. Modern statuary of gargoyles peep out from a tangle of flowers as birds fly from their nests in the towers toward the town beyond, with its grey church, once an ancient priory.
This is Usk Castle, and it has an interesting history, and a legend that might contain a grain of truth. A Roman fort once stood nearby and the castle itself may be situated on the site of an Iron Age hill-fort. The first castle was likely built in Norman times by Richard de Clare and William the Conqueror’s banner-bearer, Tristram Fitz Rolf . Later, around 1120, the Marcher Lord, Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare strengthened the castle’s defences, perhaps building in stone for the first time. His tenure there was long so long; Iorwerth Ap Owain killed him in an ambush in a dark, wooded pass called ‘the ill way of Coed Grano.’ The place today still contains a commemorative marker known as the ‘Stone of Revenge.’ Later still, Usk was held by William Marshal and then returned to the de Clare family with Gilbert de Clare, earl of Hereford (son of Joan of Acre, daughter of Edward I), who was slain at Bannockburn in 1314.
The last events of high drama at the castle seem to have taken place in 1405, when Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr attacked the town of Usk and the garrison gave battle, capturing Owain’s son.
The rest of the 1400’s may have been quieter in Usk, but just as interesting. For a time, Usk Castle was held by Edmund Mortimer, earl of the Marches, and from him it eventually passed to Richard, Duke of York, whose mother was Anne Mortimer, granddaughter of Philippa, the daughter of Lionel of Clarence, Edward III’S third son. The Duke of York was also patron to nearby Usk Priory, today the parish church. William Herbert (senior) was the Duke’s steward in the area. When Edward IV came to the throne, Usk became a crown possession, and of course it was also subsequently held by Richard III.
Several references of the 1800’s (earliest 1828) to the York family at Usk are rather noteworthy. They state the Duke of York spent ‘considerable time’ at the castle, and that both Edward IV and Richard III were born there. Now, it is known for a fact that Edward was born in Rouen, France and Richard at Fotheringhay, in Northamptonshire, but could there be something in this old tale, which was repeated in more than one source? Is there some sliver of folk memory here, recalling that the Duke’s sons had been in residence in Usk at some time? Edward was not all that far far away at Ludlow with Edmund as a youth, but what about Richard?
It is interesting to look at the stable isotopes detected on Richard’s teeth. They showed that his earliest childhood was spent in a geographic area of England that would correspond with Fotheringhay; then the isotopes appear to indicate he spent some time in a wetter environment more consistent with western Britain. We know he was with his family at Ludlow at the time of the Battle of Ludford Bridge and the subsequent sacking of the town. Could he have spent some time prior to that at Usk? Was Duchess Cecily in residence there for a while with her younger children? I somehow doubt the Duke would have his wife and children ride all the way from Fotheringhay to Ludlow with hostilities about to break out in the area, so it only makes sense to assume they were already dwelling somewhere in the region. Perhaps they were at Usk and the Duke ordered them to Ludlow, which had a larger, stronger, more defensible castle. The distance between Usk and Ludlow is around 50 miles, a much shorter distance than that between Fotheringhay and Ludlow. That latter route would also have taken in more of the Lancastrian dominated areas in the Midlands. Certainly, the possibility is there and many legends are not just pulled from thin air.
Don’t you just love it when glossaries cross-reference you from the word you seek, to another word, which then refers you back to the first word – with no definition or explanation whatsoever?
I have just been looking at this culinary glossary, seeking more information about an intriguing medieval dish known as ‘dilgirunt’. Intriguing because of its unusual history. But, when looking up dilgirunt, I am referred to ‘malpigeryum’. Just that dilgirunt = malpigeryum = dilgirunt. Not a word about what these words actually mean. But from other sources, I know that dilgirunt is a sort of spiced chicken pottage/porridge/gruel, and that if lard/suet is added to it during cooking, it becomes malpigeryum. But in spite of my quibble about the above glossary, the site is nevertheless good for reference.
So that we know what we’re talking about with dilgirunt, here is an old recipe:-
‘Take almonde mylk, and draw hit up thik with vernage, and let hit boyle, and braune of capons braied and put therto; and cast therto sugre, claves (cloves), maces, pynes, and ginger mynced; and take chekyns parboyled and chopped, and pul of the skin, and boyle al ensemble, and, in the settynge doune of the fire, put therto a lytel vynegur alaied with pouder of ginger, and a lytel water of everose, and make the potage hanginge, and serve hit forth.’ — Household Ordinances (Society of Antiquaries), page 466.
Well, I hope you can follow the above, because although I did find a modern English version, I failed to make a note of where, and now cannot find it anywhere. Sorry about that.
The yellow-highlighted entry in the illustration below is a lengthy explanation of Dilgirunt. It is from Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis – Liber Albus, Liber Custumarum et Liber Horn, in Archivis Gildhallae Asservati – Volume 2. Liber Custumarum, with Extracts from the Cottonian MS. Claudius, D.II.
From as early as Edward I, and at least until George IV, diligrunt was traditionally served at coronations. Providing it was the jealously guarded right of the Barons Bardolf, Lords of the Manor of Addington, near present day Croydon. I’m not sure how the tradition first arose, but the barons were proud of their right. And when the Leigh family became Lords of Addington, they inherited the right to provide dilgirunt at the monarch’s coronation. Finally the right passed to the Archbishops of Canterbury, when they became lords of the village. I do not know if it was served at the coronation of our present queen. It would be interesting to know.
This extract from the National Archives provides a description of the 1377 coronation ceremony of Richard II. It demonstrates how influential individuals and power groups wanted to secure their right to be involved in a medieval coronation ceremony. Interesting reading, and sometimes quite curious and quaint. For instance, if you go down the list to Number 15, you find:
“. . .William de Bardolf tenant of certain lands in Adynton. Petition to find a man in the king’s kitchen to make a mess called ‘dilgirunt’, and if lard be added it is called ‘malpigeryuin’. Claim admitted, and service performed. . .”
Three separate dishes of dilgirunt were then provided. One for the monarch, one for the Archbishop of Canterbury, and one for an individual the monarch chose to nominate.
It is interesting to think that if the dish was ceremonially served at all coronations from Edward I to George IV, then it must have featured when Richard III was crowned. A little research soon revealed that it was. At least, I think that’s what I understand from a “dilgirunt” reference to The Coronation of Richard III : the Extant Documents, edited by Sutton and Hammond. (Gloucester: Alan Sutton; New York: St Martin’s, 1983) I wonder if Richard liked the dainty dish that was set before him? You can read a lot more about his coronation here.
If dilgirunt was offered to Henry VII, I can only hope a stray chicken bone stuck in his throat!
Not that I think William Wallace counts as part of the British monarchy. I don’t believe Old Longshanks would have had any of that! Anyway, to read an article about films concerning various kings and queens, go here.
This one was at Edinburgh Castle in 1296, as the conclusion of Edward I’s campaign. In late April, his army was victorious at Dunbar, then James the Steward (Robert II’s grandfather) surrendered Roxburgh Castle. John Balliol fled north but was captured and deposed by July.
This article explains a little more about the siege, including the find of a stone projectile on the site, as a Virgin Hotel is proposed for part of Cowgate.