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KEY TO THE CASTLE: LUMLEY CASTLE AND ITS OWNERS

Recently it hit the news that the  key to Lumley Castle’s ancient banqueting hall had been returned after it was stolen during an event 40 years ago. Lumley Castle is currently a hotel (so another one to add to the list of interesting castles you can stay in!) and the family who lived there had some interesting connections to various personages  during the Wars of the Roses.

The castle, which stands at Chester-le-Street, not far from Durham, was built in 1389 by Sir Ralph Lumley, replacing an earlier manor house. Unfortunately Ralph got involved in a plot to topple Henry IV and ended up on the block, leaving his widow Eleanor Neville, a daughter of Lord Neville of Raby Castle, in an almost destitute position. The castle was handed over to the Earl of Somerset, although Ralph’s son John was permitted to live in it. In 1421, however, when John died fighting for Henry V in France, the castle was granted back to Ralph’s grandson, John’s son Thomas.

Thomas Lumley was a Yorkist, and was at the seige of Bamburgh castle in 1464, when Warwick blased the walls with cannonfire, making it the first English castle to fall to gunfire.

His son, George,  became an MP and Sheriff of Northumberland. He served Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and was one of his commanders when he took the town of Berwick-on-Tweed back for England. Richard knighted him, along with many other notables, in the Scottish Campaign. He also fought for Richard at Bosworth and survived.

George managed to make the transition to the new regime and accompanied Henry VII on his first progress in the north.  He also once accompanied the Princess Margaret Tudor to Scotland. He seems to have been a feisty sort and slew his own wife’s bastard brother, Giles Thornton, in a duel in a ditch at Windsor Castle.

It is said that George’s son, Thomas, who predeceased his father, married an illegitimate daughter of Edward IV , “Elizabeth”, supposedly the daughter of Elizabeth Wayte, but this is a matter of debate.

THE MISSING KEY:

the lost key of Lumley Castle

 

LUMLEY

 

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The Real Treasures of Harewood

Harewood House is known as one of Britain’s treasure houses, but for some of us, the older history of the estate is more interesting than the 17th c stately pile. There is a ruined castle, encroached upon by the wildwood, and a stunning medieval church, All Saints, containing the effigies of members of several important families in the area—the Redmans, the Rythers and the Gascoignes.  All of these tombs are skilfully carved in alabaster and are extremely beautiful; one of the finest collection of late medieval alabaster tombs in the country.

Edward Redman (also spelt Redeman, Redmayne and in several 1700’s sources Reedman), lies beside his wife Elizabeth Huddlestone  with a peaceful smile on his carven face; his effigy is said to be one of the first to bear a true likeness to its owner.  Redman was a supporter of Richard III and is said to have fought for him at Bosworth. He was a lawyer and Esquire of the Body to the King by 1484.  He was made sheriff of Dorset and Devon, and served on commissions to arrest and imprison Buckingham’s rebels in the west in late 1483. Richard granted him lands in Somerset and Wiltshire in 1484.

After Bosworth, Edward Redman kept a low profile but his collar with Tudor roses and ‘esses’ shows that he eventually became reconciled to Henry Tudor’s reign, although it  seems he lived quietly and never held high office again.

Edward’s elder brother was William Redman, who also served Richard when he was Duke of Gloucester.  William assisted the Duke in removing the troublesome fishgarths from various rivers, and he was made a Knight Banneret by Richard in 1482,  while on the Scottish Campaign. Unfortunately, he seems to have died suddenly later that year and is buried at Heversham.

On the opposite side of All Saints church lies William Gascoigne (there are actually 3 William Gascoignes buried in All Saints, this William being the youngest of the three. His wife  was Margaret Percy, the daughter of the 3rd earl of Northumberland. He lived in Gawthorpe Hall, now just a series of large earthworks on the edge of the Harewood estate. He served the 4th earl for a while but later served the Duke of Gloucester in Scotland in 1482, and when Richard became King,  Gascoigne was made a Knight of the Body. He also fought at Bosworth but survived, though he died just two years later.

William’s daughter Agnes (also known in some sources as Anne) married Thomas  Fairfax and had twin boys, whose descendants are rather notable today—Nicholas is an ancestor of Prince William (though his mother, Princess Diana) and William is an ancestor of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

If visiting All Saints Church, there is no need to pay to get on to the Harewood Estate. Park in Harewood village at the community hall and walk up the bridleway; the church will be found on the left after a short walk. The earthworks of Gawthorpe Hall are in the field on the right; pass over the cattle grid and you will see them on the horizon. Returning to the village hall, have a rest if you need one, then, if you wish, set out to find Harewood Castle’s haunting ruins. Go behind the community hall, walk past the picnic tables and go between 4 wooden posts. It looks like you are entering someone’s back garden but is a right of way. After a few minutes, you’ll come onto a paved cul-de-sac with houses; look left and you’ll see a green sign saying public footpath. Follow it into the woods. You should see a tunnel; go through it and you are on a direct route to Harewood Castle, founded by Sir William Aldeburgh in 1366. (Aldeburgh only had two daughters who married into the Ryther and Redman families.)

Below: Edward Redman and wife Elizabeth Huddlestone

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Below: William Gascoigne and wife Margaret Percy

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Below: Harewood Castle

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