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)
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
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
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 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
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
Congratulations to Leicester City on winning the English Premier League title. This morning, this was the first thing I read, when checking the overnight news on my phone. Imagine me cheering loudly in a still sleeping house.
Anyone who knows me, realises how utterly unlikely this reaction is. I’m not interested in sport, never have been, and least of all in soccer. Nevertheless, here I am supporting a soccer team on the other end of the world. Just don’t expect any technical analysis of the Leicester’s game plan from me here. Continue reading
Hatfield before Hatfield House –
the 15th century ‘Old Palace’
In this final part of Hatfield before Hatfield House, we look at the last medieval manor at Hatfield, and the only one of which a part is still standing.[i]
In 1478, a new bishop of Ely was appointed: John Morton. Morton was a dedicated supporter of the Lancastrians and would be on very good terms with Henry VII, though considerably less so with Richard III. However, he is not only remembered for political mischief, but also as one of the great builders of his age. Soon after being elevated to the bishopric of Ely, he set about rebuilding the manor at Hatfield, as well as Wisbech Castle, which also belonged to the Diocese of Ely. Another project was a great dyke, which was cut through the fens from Peterborough to Wisbech, and is considered a pioneer effort in drainage. In 1486, a grateful Henry VII had him translated to the see of Canterbury, where he completed the Angel steeple on the cathedral and further buildings of the archdiocese, as for example the gatehouse of Lambeth Palace (also built of brick).[ii] Continue reading
Hatfield before Hatfield House –
the Medieval Manor of the Bishops of Ely
Part 1 and Part 2 of Hatfield before Hatfield House explained how the Bishops of Ely came to hold the estate and how the park and township developed. Part 3 will deal with the medieval manor of the bishops of Ely at Hatfield.
It is known that the bishops of Ely had a substantial house at Hatfield from early on, though we don’t know exactly when it was first built or what it looked like. [i] Continue reading