Digging deeper at St Albans
John Whetehamstede found at
St Albans Abbey
Most mornings, still half asleep, I have a look at Facebook on my phone to see whether anything monumental has happened overnight. Most mornings I am disappointed, but the other morning I was suddenly wide awake: Another cleric had been found, but not just any old cleric! This one is John Whetehamstede, well-known to anyone interested in the late medieval period and the Wars of the Roses as an eye witness to the two battles of St Albans.
St Albans Cathedral seen from the east
The Blue Boar Inn in Leicester –
A ‘Grand Hotel’ of Richard III’s time
On his way to the battle of Bosworth, Richard III stayed in Leicester, leaving on 21 August. According to tradition, he spent the night at the Blue Boar Inn[i], though Peter Hammond thinks it more likely that he stayed at the castle.[ii] However, as this post is about the inn, it doesn’t really matter where Richard actually resided.
Blue Boar Inn, in: C.J. Billson, Mediaeval Leicester, 1920 (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
The Drachenfels in Königswinter –
more than just tourist kitsch
I grew up in Königswinter, a town of approx. 40,000 inhabitants next to Bonn. It stretches from the Rhine in the west across the Siebengebirge to the east. The Siebengebirge (“Seven Mountains”) consists of more than 40 hills of volcanic origin. Of the seven hills, which gave the region its name, the highest is the Ölberg with 460m, the smallest is the Drachenfels with 321m. How it got its name is disputed with various suggestions floating around.
The Drachenfels seen from the Rhine
Forgotten archbishops everywhere –
Five archbishops found at St Mary-at-Lambeth
In my last post, I looked at the fate of an archbishop of Cologne, whose forgotten remains had recently been re-found in Bonn Minster. I thought that losing one archbishop was maybe a tad careless. However, one archbishop seems irrelevant compared to five. It was recently revealed that the authorities at Lambeth Palace had managed to do the same with five archbishops. Continue reading
Siegfried von Westerburg refound in
The story of a forgotten archbishop
Siegfried von Westerburg, archbishop of Cologne, was buried in 1297 in Bonn Minster, where he seems to have had the unfortunate fate to get forgotten.
Bonn Minster from the north looking west
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
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