William and Alice de la Pole’s Foundation at Ewelme[i] – Family Background and Ewelme Manor
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Ewelme and its St Mary’s Church with the adjacent almshouse and school. This was an experience which has resonated with me since that day. It was an opportunity to come close to “normal” medieval people, not just the high-status people.
Ewelme is a village approx. 25 km south east of Oxford. Its name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon “æwelme”, meaning a fresh spring, which refers to the stream which still runs through the village.
580 years ago, on 3 July 1437, William and Alice de la Pole, the Earl and Countess of Suffolk. received a royal licence to found an almshouse supporting a community of two priests and thirteen poor men, which was to be called God’s House. The priests and poor men were to pray for the King, and the Earl and Countess during their lives and later for their souls, as well as the parents and friends and benefactors of the Earl and Countess. Continue reading
As we have seen in my last post, John of Wheathampstead, abbot of St Albans, travelled in 1423/24 to Italy to attend the Council of Pavia/Siena and to visit the Pope. Both on his way to Italy and back, he visited Cologne. This part of his trip was of particular interest to me, as I grew up in the Cologne/Bonn area of Germany.
Cologne in 1531. The unfinished cathedral is on the right.
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
Book Review: The Sewing Machine
Valerie Fergie, The Sewing Machine. Unbound Digital, London, 2017, ISBN13 9781911586043 (I read the Kindle version)
Singer sewing machine
I just finished reading The Sewing Machine, a delightful debut by Valerie Fergie. The central “character” is a Singer sewing machine which connects four generations of two families over a period of more than 100 years. The earliest is Jean, who works at the Singer factory in Clydebank in 1911. The last is Fred, who inherits the machine in 2016. Initially, he wants to get rid of it, but then starts growing attached to it. Continue reading
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
Book Review: Troubadour
A guest post by Julia Redlich
Isolde Martyn, Troubadour. Harlequin Mira, 2017, rrp $24.95. ISBN 9781489220370
We thank Julia Redlich for reviewing Isolde Martyn’s latest novel for us here on Dottie Tales.
Members of the New South Wales branch of the Richard III Society will have read and enjoyed our fellow member Isolde Martyn’s historical novels. Most of them have concerned real people from the period that interests us most: from Katherine Bonville to the Duke of Buckingham, and women who play a role in Edward IV’s life – Elysabeth Woodville and Elizabeth “Jane Shore” Lambard. Her presentation of real characters and the events of their time in English history is always combines romance with impeccable research. Continue reading
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