Hunsdon House –
One of the most important medieval houses in Hertfordshire
A few years ago, an attempt to find traces of Richard III’s family in Hertfordshire led me to Hunsdon. This is a small village in the south-east of Hertfordshire, near the border to Essex. The former manor house, Hunsdon House, is situated to the south of the actual village, next to the church of St Dunstan (find it on a map here).
A glimpse of the present-day Hunsdon House
I just heard the fantastic news that the Book of Hours, which had belonged to Richard III, has been digitised and is now available in pdf format on-line. This was Richard’s personal prayer book, which was found in his tent after the battle of Bosworth.
So far, we could only see one page at a time, when the book was exhibited, for instance at its present home of Lambeth Palace Library, or when it played a part in the Reinterment events of Richard III at Leicester in 2015. Now we are able to see the entire book.
Anne F Sutton and Livia Visser-Fuchs wrote a book about Richard’s Book of Hours, The Hours of Richard III, which was originally published in 1990. This has been out-of-print for years and finding an affordable second-hand copy is virtually impossible. This book is also part of the digitisation and is now freely available.
The process was carried out by Leicester Cathedral, after Lambeth Palace Library gave its permission to this project. The digitisation of this manuscript was made possible with the financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Richard III Society and the University of Leicester. Thank you to all involved! This is fantastic news indeed.
You can find the digital version here: http://leicestercathedral.org/about-us/richard-iii/book-hours/
The Brückenmännchen in Bonn –
a cheeky little sculpture on a bridge
When we visited Bonn earlier this year, we went for a walk along the Rhine, as you do. To our surprise, we spotted on the Kennedy Bridge the sculpture of a man rather cheekily sticking his bum out at us, the Brückenmännchen, which translates as “little bridge man”. It turns out that this little sculpture plays an important part of the history of the bridge.
The Brückemnmännchen in Bonn – also a welcome resting place for pigeons
Bonn’s bridges across the Rhine –
Connecting Bonn to its eastern neighbours
Bonn is situated on the western side of the river Rhine. Understandably, a way to cross the river has been important for a long time, both for commercial and military reasons. On the opposite, the eastern, side of the river is Beuel. Beuel has since 1969 been a suburb of Bonn, incorporating all the area on the right-hand side of the Rhine, which consisted of various parishes. One example is Oberkassel, where the couple from the Ice Age was found.
There is a legend that Julius Caesar had the first bridge built in 55 BC when fighting the Gauls. However, archaeologists say that’s all that it is: a legend. Continue reading
Thomas Barowe –
Richard III’s Master of the Rolls,
and bound by loyalty
Thomas Barowe was Richard III’s master of the rolls. It is a great pity that to most historians of the late middle ages that is all there is to be said about him, not warranting any further details.
Richard III chose as his motto ‘Loyalty Binds Me’. Obviously, he felt bound by loyalty to those around him, but it would also be fair to say that he appreciated the loyalty of others in return. One man who remained loyal to Richard until his own death – 14 years after the Battle of Bosworth – was Master Thomas Barowe. The following is an attempt to find out more about this man and to show him as an integral part of Richard’s closely interconnected affinity. Continue reading
The Liberei in Braunschweig –
a medieval library ahead of its time
Braunschweig in approx. 1550 (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
The Liberei in Braunschweig is a unique medieval building: 1. It was the first free-standing library building in Europe north of the Alps. 2. It was the southern-most example of Backsteingotik. 3. It was one of the first public libraries in Germany. 4. It was a famous centre for research. Quite remarkable for a building of just 5 by 5 metres. Continue reading
The Redemption Windows
in Leicester Cathedral
On 24 April this year, two new stained glass windows were dedicated in Leicester Cathedral. I had a chance to see them, face-to-face, in the beginning of June. A much-anticipated visit and I was not disappointed!
Redemption Windows, Leicester Cathedral
Braunschweig Now and Then:
The Gewandhaus in
Eastern facade of the Gewandhaus
One of the present-day tourist attractions of Braunschweig is the Altstadtmarkt with its historic buildings: the Altstadtrathaus (town hall), St Martin’s Church, the Altstadtbrunnen (fountain) and the Gewandhaus. Altstadt (old town) refers to one of the five medieval parts of Braunschweig, the others being the Neustadt (new town), Hagen, Altewiek and Sack. Each had its own market, church and town hall. The two most important parts, Altstadt and Hagen, also had their own Gewandhaus (cloth merchants’ hall). Only the one in the Altstadt has survived, so this is the one which is referred to as the Gewandhaus today. Continue reading
The Manor of Ware in Hertfordshire during the Middle Ages
The town of Ware has a long history. The oldest dateable artefacts found in the area go back to the late Paleolithic period (c.25,000 – 10,000BC). There is evidence for a more permanent settlement in the Mesolithic period (8,000 – 5,000 BC). The Romans were also there and so it goes on into the Middle Ages, which is the period this post will be dealing with.[i] Continue reading