A trip down memory lane – Richard III’s Book of Hours and the Middleham Jewel

This morning, I remembered a wonderful day 10 years ago, when I had the opportunity to see Richard III’s Book of Hours and the Middleham Jewel, both in one day. I wrote afterwards about the visit on the blog of the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society, but it was such a memorable experience that it is also a suitable Dottie Tale.

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The duke of Buckingham haunts Salisbury

The King’s House. (Photograph by Richard Sutcliffe via Geograph)

The duke of Buckingham in the Cathedral Close

For Halloween, the Salisbury Journal told his readers a ‘Ghostly tale of Henry, Duke of Buckingham’. It seems that the ghost of Henry Stafford is haunting the Salisbury Museum in the Cathedral Close, which used to be the Diocesan Training College. The college was established in 1841 to train female teachers for Church of England schools in the diocese of Salisbury.

For his involvement in the 1483 rebellion against King Richard III, Henry Stafford, second duke of Buckingham was beheaded in the Market Square in Salisbury on 2 Nov. 1483.

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Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, Part III

Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire

Part III:  A look around town

This is the last of three parts dealing with Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire.

St Peter’s Church from Castle Street

St Peter’s Church

I made my way back to the High Street along Castle Street, the original access route to the castle.  It used to end at the South Gate, the main entrance to the castle.  However, both the gate and the moat in that part were knocked down to make place for the railway in the 19th century.

I walked past Berkhamsted School to St Peter’s Church, at the corner of Castle Street and the High Street. Continue reading

Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, Part II

Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire

Part II:  Berkhamsted Castle

This is the second of three parts dealing with Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire.

Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, Part II

Castle Ruins

When I visited Berkhamsted, rather than the town itself, my first stop were the ruins of the castle. As the reason for my visit was to pay my respects to Cecily Neville, the mother of Richard III, it was only polite to go to where she had resided.

The castle is located a bit away from the town, on higher ground, instead of the marshy river area.  Berkhamsted was an important strategic location, as it was on one of the main routes between London and the Midlands, approx. 30 miles (= 48 km) from the capital.

Don’t be confused by today’s entrance to the castle area.  You will pass the Keeper’s House, but this is only from the 19th century. Continue reading

The Blue Boar Inn in Leicester

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)

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Hunsdon House

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).

Hunsdon House

A glimpse of the present-day Hunsdon House

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The Book of Hours of Richard III on-line

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.

The Book of Hours of Richard III on-line

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/

Thomas Barowe – Richard III’s Master of the Rolls: Part III

Thomas Barowe – 

Richard III’s Master of the Rolls,

churchman, administrator,

and bound by loyalty

Part III:  the Later Years

How the young man from Winthorpe in Lincolnshire became very successful as the man of Richard of Gloucester, later Richard III, was dealt with in Part I and Part II.  Part III will look at his later years under Henry Tudor. Continue reading