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More musical connections?

This nursery rhyme, although not mediaeval, is early modern and is supposed to refer to a monarch just a few places after Richard III.

Here (left) we have the Martyrs’ Memorial near Balliol College, Oxford, that commemorates three of Mary I’s most prominent victims: Archbishop Cranmer and Bishops Latimer and Ridley. They were not the only episcopal victims but Hooper (Gloucester) and Ferrar (St. David’s) were executed elsewhere.

It is said that “Three Blind Mice” was about the trio, although there is no evidence that it was published until much later. It was mentioned in this Ian Hislop series on dissent.

See our previous post on nursery rhymes and the memorials to Patrick Hamilton and Rowland Tayler.

The Royal martyr

If you wish to visit the site of a heresy execution or a memorial to a victim in England and Wales, there are several options, most of which date from Mary I’s reign. Aldham Common in Hadleigh commemorates the town’s Rector, Rowland Tayler. Oxford marks an Archbishop, Cranmer, together with Bishops Latimer and Ridley, whilst their episcopal colleagues Hooper and Ferrar met their fate at Gloucester and Carmarthen respectively. There were also several hundred laymen, before and during her time, but all of them were commoners.
Scotland is sligPatrick_Hamiltonhtly different in this respect. Patrick Hamilton (left), born in about 1504, was burned outside St. Salvador’s Chapel (below) at St. Andrews in February 1527-8, as an early exponent of Luther’s reforms. He was a great-grandson of James II and thus the cousin once removed of the young James V, whose personal reign began that year. Like Cranmer, Tayler and a few others, Hamilton was legally married.

An afternoon in Hadleigh (2006)

This began at the usual time of 14:00 at St. Mary’s Church, most of which is medieval but the remains were clearly built in instalments. This Church is, as we discovered, a peculiar of the province of Canterbury, hence the roundels feature the Archbishops’ arms. A window, thought to be assembled in Victorian times, features the town’s rector, Rowland Tayler, executed just twenty days after Mary’s revival of the Lancastrian heresy laws in 1555. The three panels feature Tayler preaching, on trial and being burned. We learned more about him later in the day.

 We then moved on to view the Deanery Tower, albeit from the outside, previously being a gatehouse to Archdeacon Pykenham’s rectory. Just like his residence in Ipswich, only the gatehouse remains. Following this, we walked through the town, over Toppesfield Bridge and through the High Street. Hadleigh was a very wealthy town in Richard’s time and still is in some ways, being very quiet on a Sunday afternoon. The highlights of this stage include the former coaching inn that is now The George and number 49 High Street (opposite).

At this stage, we retired to sample the cream teas in the walled garden. It turned out that the “manageress” was very knowledgeable about the town and, after eating and drinking, she took us for a detailed walk around the Guildhall building, which has had several uses over the centuries including a Market House and a grammar school. We were able to learn more about Tayler, who was Archbishop Cranmer’s chaplain – this explained his national importance – and that his curate, Richard Yeoman, hid in the building for a year before being burned in Norwich. Tayler and Yeoman have roads named after them in the east of the town.

The last stage was an alternative to visiting St. James’ Church in the nearby village of Lindsey. However, it made more sense because the Guildhall was right in front of us, with no motorised transport required, and because it completed the Rowland Tayler story in the same way that the whole visit connected with our Ipswich walks through Archdeacon Pykenham.

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