I’m doing well today when it comes to detailed maps – old maps, specifically .Attention has probably been drawn to this site on various occasions, but here it is again. You can zoom right in on maps that are usually/often hard to make out. I’ve chosen this 1583 Warwick/Leicester map at random.
There are a lot more, not only from the UK but from all over the world, here.
This very informative BBC documentary, presented by Dr. Bendor Grosvenor, showed how a portrait, presently on display in Glasgow, was proved to be an original Rubens. George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, was a courtier and soldier, serving under both James VI/I and Charles I as well as being a possible partner of the former. He was assassinated in 1628 and the portrait (left) dates from about three years before this.
Villiers’ line fared no better than their predecessors in their tenure of the Buckingham title. Just as two of the three Stafford Dukes were executed and one killed at Northampton over their 67 years, Villiers’ son went into exile in France after serving in Charles II’s “CABAL” – he left no male heir and both his brothers had already died without issue. The title was recreated, with Normanby, for John Sheffield in 1703 but his male line expired in 1735 whilst Richard Grenville’s family held it, with Chandos, from 1822-89.
Well, the walk itself is probably excellent…just don’t read the intro! Not only for the errors, but the general tone. Clearly influenced by all that “fake news” from the Tudors…
Not at all eerie in daylight!
Feel like being spooked? Somewhere with a connection to Richard?
On 8th June, Haunted Heritage Paranormal Events are visiting Donington Le Heath Manor House, near Coalville in Leicestershire, one of the oldest houses in England!
“It is believed that Robert De Herle bought the land and had the house built between 1258 & 1295. For nearly 700 years the house remained a family dwelling. In the early part of the 16th Century, the house was modernised. Around this period the house may have been owned by the Digby family. Sir… Everard Digby achieved notoriety as one of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot; he was a close friend of Guy Fawkes. In 1963 the house was purchased by Leicestershire County Council and the building was restored and opened to the public in 1973 as a museum.
“There are ghosts at Donington Le Heath Manor House. A housemaid has been seen flitting about and also a man of 17th Century appearance with a tall brimmed hat, thought to be the shade of Sir Everard Digby. During one of our events we captured our famous EVP (electronic voice phenomenon), moments after leaving King Dick’s bedroom, home of the bed that Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England slept in on his way to the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Our EVP hit headline news across the world! You can hear this recording on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4GkgTFBPWk
“Donington Le Heath manor House is steeped in history. It is charming and quaint whilst being remarkably eerie. The house, barn and gardens offer a range of exciting and different paranormal experiences. Group members will have the opportunity to use a comprehensive range of paranormal investigative equipment such as dousing rods, EMF meters, ‘Ghost Boxes’ (record voice phenomena) as well as participate in séances, glass divination and table tipping sessions. All of our paranormal events to date at Donington Le Heath have been hugely successful with activity getting stronger every time we visit!”
Here are the details:- Starts 8 June @ 9:00 pm
and ends 9 June @ 2:00 am
The cost is £36.50
Venue 1620’s House (Donington Manor) Manor Road, Coalville,
Gold half-angels are scarce enough, but those from Richard’s brief reign are truly rare. Now one has been found in a field close to Bosworth, and is to be auctioned. It joins the exceedingly slender ranks of those previously discovered.
To read the whole story of its unearthing, click here:
Postscript: Since writing the above article, the coin has been sold for the huge sum of £40,000! An association with Richard III certainly carries some clout.
Right at the start of this series, Helen Castor (left) takes a black marker pen and illustrates the cause of the 1553 crisis on a large sheet of paper. Beginning with Henry VII, very few of his legitimate male descendants were alive at the start of that year – eliminating the obvious illegitimate cases, we have Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, aged seven (a Catholic in Scotland) and Edward VI, aged fifteen, whose health took a turn for the worse at that time. There were, however, nine healthy legitimate female descendants: Lady Margaret Douglas, Mary Stewart who was Lady Margaret’s niece of ten and already crowned in Scotland (but living as a Queen consort in France), Henry VIII’s two bastardised, but included by law, daughters Mary and Elizabeth, Lady Frances Grey (nee’ Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk in suo jure) and her three daughters Jane, Catherine and Mary together with Frances’ niece Lady Margaret Clifford. In short, the “Tudor” male line was on the propinquity of its termination, although a medical explanation for this was not given.
In the first programme, Castor showed how Edward’s “devise for my succession” developed during that fateful year. First, he hopes that one of the Protestant Grey sisters will have a male heir to succeed him with Frances as the new King’s grandmother and Regent. Then his illness accelerated and there are crossings out on the devise, such that “the Lady Jane’s heires male” becomes “the Lady Jane AND HER heires male”, in the hope that he will live long enough for Parliament to enact this document and supersede Henry VIII’s own legislation, which named the Catholic Mary as heir after Edward, although the Greys would be preferred to the Stewarts. On the left is the “Streatham Portrait“, previously thought to have been of Jane, but not commissioned until half a century later.
During the first half of 1553, Lady Jane was married to Lord Guildford Dudley, son of the Duke of Northumberland who was Lord Protector at the time. Lady Catherine Grey also married, as did Guildford’s sisters, one to Lord Henry Hastings, later Earl of Huntingdon. In the event, fate overtook Edward’s plans and his devise, as letters patent, had no legal status at his death on 6 July. Darnley’s claim as the last “Tudor” male was to be ignored and England was to have a Queen Regent, as Northumberland took his son and new daughter-in-law from Bradgate in Leicestershire, via Sion House to the Royal Apartments in the Tower for her reign to be proclaimed on 10 July, although Jane took the fateful decision that her husband was to be created Duke of Clarence and not King.
In the second programme, Castor explains how the Privy Council erred by sending Northumberland to East Anglia to arrest Mary, removing the realm’s best military commander from the capital, where the professional soldiers and their weapons were. Mary moved from Kenninghall in Norfolk to Framlingham Castle to strengthen her position and gathered support from those who still adhered to her Catholic faith and who had “known” her from afar for her whole life. There was to be no arrest of Mary, nor was there to be a pitched battle as Henry VIII’s first-born child outmanoeuvred Northumberland, at his Cambridge base, in order to march upon London.
The third episode begins with a naval mutiny ensuring that Mary had some artillery to enforce her claimand the Privy Council officially dethroning Jane. Mary took the Tower, Jane, Guildford and their fathers became prisoners and Mary was proclaimed. For Jane, there could be no return to her earlier life at Bradgate. Except for Northumberland, there was to be no trial until November and even then Jane, Guildford and Suffolk had their sentences of death suspended – until Thomas Wyatt rebelled in the Protestant interest in mid-January, in protest at Mary’s plans to marry Phillip II. Mary then signed the three death warrants, the teenage couple went to the block on February 12th and Jane’s father eleven days later. Cranmer, who had been part of her Privy Council, was attainted and deprived but lived to face Mary’s further wrath at a later date. Darnley married the other Queen Mary and was killed a year or two later in his own realm. For nearly fifty years from that July day when Edward VI’s eyes closed for the last time, England had no male claimant descended from Henry VII and the throne was disputed solely by Queens Regnant.
Castor concludes by pointing out that Jane, proclaimed Queen by the Privy Council who had served Edward VI, should be reckoned as a real monarch of England, even though she had been illegally proclaimed and then dethroned. In some ways, her turbulent final year taught her cousin Elizabeth a valuable lesson – not to take a husband, especially as the most likely such candidate was her fellow survivor: Lord Guildford Dudley’s younger brother, Robert.
On the right is Paul Delaroche’s highly inaccurate painting of Jane’s end, painted as late as 1834. His version of her execution takes place indoors but we know that she died on Tower Green, as did most beheaded women.
For those of us more focused on the fifteenth century, we will be familiar with the concepts of a king Edward whose death was not announced for several days whilst a faction sought to establish control (1483) and of prisoners being executed to clear the way for a Spanish marriage (1499).
The painted tapestry below is from Rothley Chapel in Leicestershire.
Strangely, since the article that prompts me now (see link below) was written in 2012, no one appears to have noticed the great likeness of the depicted English king to Richard III. At least, if they have, I don’t know of it. It’s Richard, even to his clothes. Clearly, he has been based on the famous portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.
But clearly too, the Templars were no longer a huge force in Richard’s time. Nor is the royal banner appropriate to the 15th century, when the English kings also laid claim to the crown of France. (To read more about Rothley Temple, which is now part of the Rothley Court Hotel, there is an informative article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothley_Temple and another at http://knightstemplarvault.com/rothley-chapel/. There is more again, with many illustrations, at http://www.rothleyparishcouncil.org.uk/rothley-temple-and-the-chapel-of.html.)
So let’s consider the De Castro Code article for a moment. It’s a very interesting and clever allusion to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and to conspiracy theories in general. I love a good conspiracy theory, from the so-called fraud of the moon landings to whether Hitler lived on in South America after World War II. I’m not saying I believe them, just that they fascinate me. So do not even mention Rennes le Château or pirates’ buried treasure at Oak Island. Or Atlantis being in Antarctica or a real flying saucer being captured at Roswell and kept at Area 51. All juicy stuff, and eminently readable.
In the case of the illustration at the beginning of what I now write, it appears to depict Richard III with Templar knights, the conspiracy is referred at (very neatly and appropriately) as The De Castro Code. (St Mary de Castro is a church in Leicester) Dan Brown’s world-selling novel concerned a theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and founded the Merovingian dynasty of French kings. With the Norman Conquest of 1066, families with Merovingian blood came over to England. They were the de Beaumonts and the de Montforts. Leicester first Norman earl, Robert de Beaumont, married a lady of undoubted Merovingin descent, so that their son, Robert le Bossu (who built Leicester Abbey), became the first truly Merovingian earl.
This Merovingian line only died out when Simon de Montfort was killed in 1265. So for 200 years, Leicester was a Merovingian stronghold in England, with rulers who claimed divine descent. Well, I doubt they promoted such a claim at the time, for it would have brought the wrath of Holy Church down upon them, and the awful fate that would entail. An English king was hardly likely to defend nobles who boasted such a claim. Anyway, the upshot of all this is that the Merovingians were also in England. Specifically Leicester. What might this imply – if they were indeed of divine descent?
So, what is the artist saying? Was he an early Ricardian, pointing out on the q.t. that Richard was as betrayed and defamed as the Templars had been? After all, the Stanleys betrayed him on the battlefield, and the Tudors defamed him at every whipstitch.
Or… Might there be a hint that Richard had Merovingian blood in his veins? That would mean Edward IV and George of Clarence had as well, of course, but the artist seems concerned only with Richard.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have not covered everything from the article, such as all the other similarities with The Da Vinci Code’s conclusions (St Mary de Castro even has a window depicting the Last Supper, and a possible Mary Magdalene), nor have I wondered about the Templar connection with the similarly named Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, but I leave you to cogitate this most puzzling of new Ricardian mysteries….
The following link takes you to the original article. http://www.thiswasleicestershire.co.uk/2012/11/the-de-castro-code.html
Postscript: I have been reminded (by Christine Smart – thank you, Christine!) that in the spring of 1484, the Silesian ambassador had a conversation with Richard, in which the latter expressed a desire to go on a Crusade. http://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/crusading/2014/03/20/a-crusading-richard-iii/ This may well be the inspiration for the painting. But it cannot be said for certain. An element of mystery still remains.
Another Postscript: While examining a Google image of the Rothley Temple painted tapestry—more information about which is infuriatingly elusive—I wondered if it was possible the unknown artist had signed it somewhere. All the usual places proved negative, but then I spotted something which looks like a signature to me, but can’t be made out because the resolution of the illustration is too poor. I have indicated its whereabouts in the illustration below. Opinions please? A larger version of the picture is at the beginning of this post.
Here, we showed how the hansom cab was patented in 1834 by a Hinckley man. Just seven years later, a Market Harborough resident was transporting Temperance Society colleagues the short distance from Leicester (Campbell Street) to Loughborough.
Campbell Street station no longer remains but Thomas Cook (left) now stands at the entrance of London Road station, where people arrive in the city to view Richard’s tomb about a mile away. His eponymous company, as a partnership, dates from 1872.