From today on there are only 100 days left till the reburial of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral.
If you want to join the cermony, Leicester Cathedral starts a ballot procedure, to select participants for the ceremony. The procedure of ‘ballot’ was selected to find a fair way to chose among the many interested in the ceremony worldwide.
The ballot procedure starts at 8 a.m. [GMT] and is open till 31st December 2014 (12 a.m./noon).
The online access can be reached via this form provided by Leicester Cathedral on their website:
The places offered via the ballot are for the
- Reception service on Sunday 22 March
- the Reinterment service on Thursday 26 March and
- the Tomb Reveal service on Friday 27 March.
(Winners will be notified about 30 days after the ballot closes, so at the end of January 2015.)
Good luck and all the best wishes !
Happy Birthday, King Richard III !
To be exact, happy 562. birthday !
KRA has no real birthday present for King Richard III, but we have three wonderful presents for our three
who won the KRA Quiz 2014:
The prices for our winners are:
- “Finding Richard III: The Official Account“, by Annette Carson, Philippa Langley, Dr. Ashdown-Hill (Pb)
- “Richard III: A Small Guide to the Great Debate” by Annette Carson (Pb)
- “The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III“, by Philippa Langley, Michael Jones (Pb)
Our three winners and this year’s King Richard Armitage – Champions are:
- Janet Slocombe
- Andrea Castano
And they really are champions.
I admit, the quiz was hard this year, really hard.
So again this year, the selection of the winners was a point decision.
Still, I hope you all had fun answering the trick- and not so tricky questions.
The solution-page unfortunately was accumulated in a bit of a rush, as I had an overly hectic month of September, but I will try to extend it with more details and background information.
Many of you know, that on this day, now already two years ago, a for my life important person died. So this day, with its joy about Richard Armitage’s birthday, always holds the vivid image of loss for me as well.
What must it have been for Richard Armitage, growing up and always being reminded on his birthday, that King Richard III lost his life on exactly that day?
We nonetheless hope, Richard Armitage celebrates a wonderful birthday and has an exceptional performance of “The Crucible” at the Old Vic.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Armitage!
To celebrate both, the joy and the commemoration, KingRichardArmitage is doing a new Quiz.
All participants till 30 September 2014 (in all time zones around the world) will take part in the drawing.
The winners will be announced here on King Richard III’s birthday, the 2 October 2014.
As last year, the KingRichardArmitage-Champions will be drawn by chance among the most complete and correct Quiz entries.
Prices for the winners are three recently published books about King Richard III and the search in Leicester published by the restlessly and confidently pursuing team of the ‘Looking for King Richard Team’:
- “Finding Richard III: The Official Account“, by Annette Carson, Philippa Langley, Dr. Ashdown-Hill (Pb)
- “Richard III: A Small Guide to the Great Debate” by Annette Carson (Pb)
- “The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III“, by Philippa Langley, Michael Jones (Pb)
So it is worth to win and try your luck. Take your time, browse around and have a look around the KingRichardArmitage website, as for most of the questions the answers can directly be found on the KRA website.
The Quiz is Opened ! – Good Luck !
The date for the intended reinterment of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral is set:
Thursday, 26th of March 2015
- 22 March 2015 (Sunday)
University of Leicester will transfer King Richard III’s remains into a lead-lined coffin,
and will travel from Leicester to Bosworth on a remembrance journey.
In the evening, King Richard III’s remains will be given into the care of Leicester Cathedral,
and a church service of reception will be held.
- 23 – 25 March 2015
King Richard III’s remains will lie in repose in Leicester Cathedral.
- 26 March 2015
King Richard III will be re-buried in the morning.
- 27 – 28 March 2014
Revealing of the tomb and service to mark the completion of the reinterment.
Attendance at the Cathedral services will be by invitation of the Dean of Leicester, David Monteith.
The reinterment service will be broadcasted live on TV by Channel 4 (Editor John Hays), and will also cover the week’s events, with interviews and presentations of the leading participants in the search and discovery.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, current successor of King Richard III in the title as Duke of Gloucester, is to be the Patron of the Leicester Cathedral’s King Richard III Appeal, trying to cover the financial requirements of this ceremony and accompanying events.
More information on the website of Leicester Cathedral:
(Soon will be updated with planned schedule.)
First of all, congratulations to Mark Selby, the ‘Jester from Leicester’.
I know, he has nothing to do with King Richard III’s court, though a good jester surely could have been of value there. But I am quite sure King Richard III might have enjoyed the dramatic finale in the Snooker World Championship as well. When two of my favourite Snooker players are in the final competition, unfortunately only one of them can win. Great match, great players, worthy finale!
Now to another delicacy for all readers from and visiting London…
♛ Richard III in London ♛
is an ambitious theatre company from London, founded in 2010.
Their newest production, Shakespeare’s Richard III, by director Rae McKen uses authentic historical costume, designed by Fraz Roughton.
The pictures from the production already shared on Facebook give an interesting glimps of the time and how King Richard III and his comtemporaries might have looked like.
Facebook Foto-Album (Also visible without Facebook account.)
Till 18th of May 2014: in The Cockpit, London
From Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd of June 2014: in the Greenwich Theatre, London
Custom Practice (on Facebook)
Custom Practice (Richard III – website)
! Congratulations !
to our KingRichardArmitage Champions
We have the winners of this year’s quiz!
The quiz remains open so that you can further try your knowledge,
but the book prizes will go to:
Fabi & Kathryn Barnes
To my great surprise, it was a point decision and not by random number selected from all the correct answers.
And I had thought, I had made the quiz much too easy.
Sorry! Solutions are available here now.
Quiz prizes are: Two books by
Isolde Martyn “The Devil in Ermine”
Thank You !!!
to all interview partners
- Authors Isolde Martyn & Matthew Lewis – for their wonderful novels about King Richard III,
- Peter Warzynski – for his insights into archaeology and sharing first-hand Leicester experience with us,
- Fitzg – for her insights into King Richard III’s clothes,
- Jim Cowan – for exploring King Richard’s Wales,
- Dr. Ashdown-Hill – for enabling the find of King Richard III, and
- MaryAnn & Michael Tedstone – for bringing King Richard III back to life in music,
and all our helpers and contributors
of the King Richard Armitage Week 2013.
It was a fantastic experience for me
and I hope you enjoyed the celebrations!
! Attention !
The winners of the quiz are final and will be announced in a separate post today, where also the link to the quiz solutions will be revealed.
♕ ♛ ♕
King Richard III & Music
An interview with MaryAnn & Michael Tedstone
The Orpheus Project
Peter Warzynski in his interview (25.08.2013) gave us so insightful background information about Leicester and the euphoria about finding King Richard III there.
What better method is there to express happiness and joy than in music?
So I am very happy to present a Leicester based team of composers, MaryAnn & Michael Tedstone, with their group
The Orpheus Project
The two composers, MaryAnn & Michael Tedstone, brother and sister, are famous for their film music and their successful effort to combine old traditions with new musical elements.
They embrace the history and time of King Richard III and present musical elements and lyrics he might have known or heard himself in their new recording:
“The Last Plantagenet”
To tease you a bit with the wonderful music, here is a sample of “The Last Plantagenet”.
And I can assure you, it is worth having a look around the websites of the composer team, as their diverse music really is a joy and has a wide bandwidth of styles. I already spent quite a while on their websites and listened to their wonderful music:
- The Orpheus Project on SoundCloud
- ManikeMusic on SoundCloud
But now, I let them tell you themselves about their music and creative ideas behind “The Last Plantagenet”:
How did the group “The Orpheus Project” come into existence and when?
The Orpheus Project came into existence in 2011, when we recorded an Album of Ancient Greco Roman music. We wanted to create an ensemble made up of musicians who are experts in their fields but do not have traditional early music training. I think that early music can be over stylised and I wanted the music to have a natural feel. I felt that by making a new ensemble and having a new look at how music is written and created, we could provide a refreshingly new sound to different periods of music.
Who composes / arranges / selects music / chooses, researches and finds texts / trains the group / records the music?
MaryAnn does most of the composition/arranging music selection and trains the group.
Michael records and produces the music. One of the things that makes The Orpheus Project unique is that we have our own industry standard studio. we are used to writing music and recording it for projects all over the world so it’s easy for us to make albums. We don’t have to worry about studio time and finding a good producer. We have one of the best music producers right here with us.
What is the background of your group and your individual musicians?
MaryAnn Tedstone studied Early music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Philip Pickett.
Michael Tedstone studied music production at Alchemea College of music.
Glenn Sharp is a world music musician who play with the Jadid ensemble and is signed to Universal Music.
We use a variety of other musicians and vocalists who are experts in their fields. Each period calls for different instruments so it’s hard to give further information
Are your musicians only perform in this group or also individually or in other groups or ensembles?
Our musicians regularly play in other ensembles. Its what keeps us fresh and excited about what we do.
Why was this name chosen for the group? What connection does your group have to the Greek mythology?
When Orpheus called to his father Apollo, he did so on a golden lyre. I have always wondered what the music was that called the God Apollo down to Earth to help his son Orpheus. The Orpheus Project seemed like a good name. Our first Album was of Greco Roman music too. It also combines old and new which is what The Orpheus Project is all about.
Is your group mainly doing recordings or performing life?
The group does both live recordings and performs live.
Our next performance is for Leicester City Council where we are playing at a banquet.
I saw in the information, that you Ms Tedstone, are mainly composing film music and soundtracks for movie and film productions and advertisements. Is this also the direction of “The Orpheus Project” or to what purpose was this group created?
The Orpheus Project was intended to write music for historic documentaries and tv programmes but has become so much more due to the level of interest that we have received.
Why the title “The Last Plantagenet” for your CD? It gives already an interpretation of the events surrounding King Richard III’s demise in the Battle of Bosworth as well as the legitimacy of his royal succession. Is that intended or a reference to the last Plantagenet King on the throne of England or not an exact reference to King Richard III at all?
The album the Last Plantagenet is a reference to King Richard III. This album is music that he either might have heard, or music that has been specially composed in the style of the period.
What connection does the music have with King Richard III and are the music pieces new arrangements of old music or new arrangements ‘in-the-style-of’?
The Orpheus Project albums are intended to be a soundscape of what someone living in the period might have heard. For example our album SPQR is a representation of what Nero might have listened to.
Where do the texts / lyrics come from? E.g. the French text of the piece “Douce Dame”.
The Texts are all original. There are two by Dufay and One from Machaut.
If they are historic texts, would they be something Richard III could have had access to?
Yes we think King Richard III might have heard Douce Dame.
What image of King Richard III does the music promote?
(e.g. Richard III as courtier, as religious person of his time, as entertainment and music loving noble of his time,…)
I hope that the music makes you think that if King Richard III was riding through the streets of Leicester he might have heard something like our music playing in the street or in a pub.
What is your / your group’s connection to King Richard III?
We became interested in King Richard III when his body was found in a car park in Leicester and we started researching the music straight away.
What determined your choice of instruments in your group?
Not every travelling troupe of musicians would have had every instrument available to them. I felt that the lute and the hurdy gurdy were expensive instruments and so we should have only one. We chose lute. We have thought about what would happen to instruments when musicians of the period slept in fields or woods in between towns and we think that would have been really bad for all the instruments. Hopefully they put them in wooden cases.
Will your group get any official involvement in the ceremonies around King Richard III’s reburial next year?
We are officially involved with Leicester council. They are selling our CD in the museum and promoting us as much as they can. The re-burial is a church event and I have no idea at this stage how much involvement we will have.
What are your / your groups next plans for recordings? Is there more in store for all Richard III and late 15th century music fans?
We are thinking of looking at Robin Hood next which is not too far away from King Richard III. Stay tuned on our website www.orpheusproject.co.uk for more details.
Now that is good news for all Richard Armitage fans. Hopefully Sir Guy of Gisborne gets an extra place and special representation in the new music-project.
We will also keep you informed when the music of “The Last Plantagenet” will become available on iTunes in September 2013.
So far, you can order the CD version – £ 9,99 (PayPal payments accepted) – via firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Please get in contact for delivery rates, though they are very decent and partially free of charge and the CD is sent out worldwide.)
! Attention !
♕ ♛ ♕
History’s new potential
in the discoveries of Dr. John Ashdown-Hill
Why a special article about Historian Dr. Ashdown-Hill here, during the KRA week, when we already had interviews and present his research work here on the website?
- Dr. John Ashdown-Hill talks about his research regarding King Richard III
- Started KRA-page about Dr. Ashdown-Hill’s research. (With recommended video presentation of research steps.)
- Information about Dr. John Ashdown-Hill and his publications.
And other articles already covered the topic of ‘airbrushing’ Dr. Ashdown-Hill out of the story of finding King Richard III:
- Richard III: Historian claims he was ‘airbrushed out of king story’ (by Peter Warzynski, Leicester Mercury, 06.08.2013)
- Leicester ‘airbrushed’ historian out of Richard III find (by Paul Jump, Times Higher Education, 01.08.2013)
There was something I needed to figure out and I want to present some of my thoughts and results to you here.
Dr. Ashdown-Hill is an open-minded researcher, who searched for facts, where others readily followed legend – over centuries.
As the dissection of legend in the case of King Richard III was so very important, to even allow the beginning of the search, I cannot readily understand, why the one man, doing all the work mostly singlehandedly, strongly believing in the validity of his finds, does not get the praise he deserves.
It required already great effort together with Philippa Langley, to even raise sufficient doubt with researchers and officials in Leicester, to get their agreement to do a paid contracted search and give all the required permissions for the digging.
(And here a big motive for the specialists was that they could at least find other historically significant material for Leicester, to make it worth their while, which in the end caused their agreement to start digging.)
But why chose exactly this location for the digging, when the supposed location, indicated by a plaque, was so far away from it?
That was the result of a meticulous research of maps and sources about Leicester – done by Dr. John Ashdown-Hill.
He recognized, that some newer maps were inaccurate (the street drawn at the wrong side of the Greyfriars’ church, according to written sources of contemporaries) and the old medieval streets must have been located a bit differently from what reconstructions of historical Leicester so far made believe.
This changed the location and the area of research entirely and was based on the research of Dr. John Ashdown-Hill.
So, why is there no mention of this fact?
You would think, after all this research so essential for finding King Richard III, there should be a hall of fame for Dr. Ashdown-Hill.
Perhaps next year’s opening of the King Richard Museum in Leicester will remedy that fact and will give praise where praise so clearly is deserved.
We at the KRA website already started our small contribution to a ‘hall of fame’ here and hope to be able to contribute to set things straight.
One aspect, which especially fascinates me in the work of Dr. Ashdown-Hill, is his research, remaining unbiased by the ‘mainstream’ line of previous historical research and starting to get to the fact beneath layers of wrong and long traded interpretation.
This is a fact which exceedingly makes me happy about the research of Dr. John Ashdown-Hill and the finding of King Richard III.
It gives me hope for the art of history in its entirety, that with new perspectives and openness, history with its extensive tools and methods is able to discover great things about the past in the future.
History loses its dust cover and the strictures and rules by some self announced dictators and starts to get truly ‘researchable’ again.
So the real questions about King Richard III for me are not
will he be buried in York or Leicester or …,
was he a good or bad king,
was he a saint or murderer,
but that finding him was able to break up traditional perceptions of a story and a new approach was found and the truth behind it was revealed, after over 500 years!
This fact alone makes me absolutely jubilant!
History is no static entity any longer, but a playground opened up for new research. (While ‘playground’ not in the slightest means this is an easy task, but what history always has been, hard work and an enormous accumulation of knowledge of all kind.)
So go and search and keep your mind open for any possible result!!!
I hope to find out much more about the developments and events leading to the archaeological research in Leicester in the new book by Philippa Langley announced for the end of October 2013:
And Dr. John Ashdown-Hill publishes his new research about royal marriage traditions and currently works on a new book about Richard III’s third brother, George, Duke of Clarence:
♕ ♛ ♕
King Richard III & Cardiff
by Jim Cowan
For some time, I had been aware of the historical website about Cardiff and Wales by Jim Cowan:
This window was also the reason which brought us in contact.
Mr. Cowan commented on that picture here on the KingRichardArmitage website and, instead of releasing that comment, I asked him, if he could share his wide knowledge with us here at the website at more length.
See for yourself, what wonderful article developed from that comment, as Mr. Jim Cowan can tell the mysteries, story and connection between Cardiff and King Richard III so very gripping:
Cardiff is a city that often surprises the casual visitor. It is the capital city of Wales and has the buzz and activity that you associate with such centres of population, but at first glance does not appear like a typical capital city. Where are the historic palaces and churches? Why is the Cathedral more than 2 miles from the city centre? Where exactly is the “historic centre”?
As a proud citizen of Cardiff, and lover of royal history, one thing which for many years frustrated me was that Cardiff did not enjoy the colourful royal associations of the other capital cities of Britain: London and Edinburgh both have their palaces and sagas of Royal intrigue, plotting, triumphs and calamities.
Cardiff, by contrast, is a city which most associate with the industrial revolution; a Victorian dockland town which boomed when the coal mined in the nearby Welsh valleys was in demand throughout the world and Cardiff was its outlet. However, so rapid and dramatic was that transformation, that Cardiff’s life before the 19th century has been almost entirely forgotten.
Discovering this colourful but little known history has been for me a wonderful voyage of discovery. The jewel in the crown (pun fully intended!) has been discovering that, throughout its history, Cardiff has had fascinating, intriguing and, at times, dramatic links to English Royal History from the 12th to the 21st centuries. To paraphrase the famous line attributed to the cult TV series “Star Trek”, you might say of Cardiff that “It’s a Royal City but not as we know it!”
We even have a period of Cardiff’s history where key characters from the last turbulent years of the Plantagenet dynasty have links to the town.
So how is this so? For 600 years prior to the Victorian coal exporting boom, Cardiff was, in British terms, of no significance whatsoever. Its population hovered approximately between 1,500 and 2,000 people. It was a walled town, and by all accounts fairly prosperous in Welsh terms: it was the largest borough in Wales and, as a staple port, was the chief port of south Wales for exporting the produce of an essentially rural economy, and importing vital supplies, primarily trading with nearby Bristol. However, that fact alone illustrates the insignificance of Wales since its resistance to Anglo-Norman invasion was finally crushed in the late 13th century. In contrast to Edinburgh and London it was never a centre of Government and never a Royal powerbase.
However, all throughout its history we find the Royal connections! Some are admittedly on paper only but others are far more dramatic. These connections begin with the arrival of the Normans in south Wales in the late 11th century, some two decades after William the Conqueror’s Norman Conquest. The south-eastern region of Wales was seized from the Welsh Prince Iestyn ap Gwrgan by Robert Fitzhamon. Fitzhamon made a base in Cardiff, on the site of a mighty but ruined Roman fortress. Cardiff Castle was born, with a classic Norman Motte and Bailey Keep.
Fitzhamon was given the title “Lord of Glamorgan”. Essentially this role was equivalent to Governor General for the region stretching from the South Wales border with England to South West Wales. The Lord of Glamorgan would wield considerable power and autonomy and his was the most powerful of the so called “Marcher” Lordships, which, until the 16th century, existed along the entire English-Welsh border, to keep England safe from Welsh resistance. Through this title, its office and its system of inheritance, the Royal connections with Cardiff began.
Robert Fitzhamon, the First Lord of Glamorgan, arranged for his daughter Mabel to marry another Robert, the eldest illegitimate son of King Henry I. As the son of a King his upbringing had all the trappings of Royal privilege resulting in him being a brilliant soldier and tactical expert. This marriage brought the young suitor considerable land and titles, including inheriting the position of Lord of Glamorgan from his father in law, to which was added another title, 1st Earl of Gloucester. He fortified Cardiff with a stone keep which still stands today nearly 900 years later.
Robert is more commonly known as Robert the Consul and played a significant role in England during the 12th century struggle for the throne, between Henry I‘s daughter, Matilda (Robert the Consul’s half sister), and her cousin Stephen of Blois. During his Lordship events at Cardiff Castle changed the course of English Royal history when the castle was, in effect, occupied by two sons of Kings. One was Lord and Master of the castle, Robert the Consul, and the other his captive, Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, eldest son of William the Conqueror, and uncle of Robert the Consul. He was imprisoned following his failed attempt to depose his younger brother Henry I, spending the last eight years of his life the prisoner of Robert the Consul in Cardiff where he died in 1134.
The Royal link fleetingly re-emerges with Robert the Consul’s granddaughter, Isabel of Gloucester, in the late 12th century, with her marriage to Prince John, son of Henry II. Through that marriage Prince John took the title Lord of Glamorgan before the marriage was annulled and the title passed to relatives of Isabel.
From that point the title passed through a number of great noble families in the ensuing centuries including the De Clare family (the coat of arms of Cardiff still bears the three inverted Chevrons of this family); the Despenser family (one of whom, Hugh Despenser the Younger, was executed brutally in 1326 for his association with the ill fated Edward II), and the Beauchamp family.
The Beauchamp family were responsible for the creation of the house on the west wall of Cardiff Castle, which forms the core of the present castle apartments. Their construction followed the dramatic years of the early 15th century when Cardiff was, like many towns in Wales, all but destroyed during the great but ultimately unsuccessful Welsh uprising against the English, led by the powerful Welsh leader Owain Glyndwr.
It is in the mid-15th century, however, that we find Cardiff Castle becomes associated with some of the leading figures in the Wars of the Roses, between the houses of Lancaster and York.
The Beauchamp claim to the Lordship of Glamorgan died out with their failure to produce a male heir. Eventually the Lordship was inherited by Anne, Countess of Warwick. Females were unable to carry the title in their own right, so it was assumed by her husband: Richard Neville, better known as Warwick the Kingmaker. Following his death at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 the title passed to George Duke of Clarence, spouse of his eldest daughter Isabel, who held it until his death in 1477. After that time the title passed to Richard of Gloucester, spouse of Warwick’s other daughter, Anne.
Richard of Gloucester, of course, became King in 1483 which meant that de facto the Lordship of Glamorgan merged with the crown.
Richard Neville’s part in the general saga of the Wars of the Roses is widely known. What is frustrating is that so few details are known about the detail of life in Cardiff and Glamorgan at this time that we simply do not know the extent of the comings and goings of the Nevilles when they held the Lordship. Perhaps somewhere such details exist, buried and hidden as incidental detail and trapped in some archive for someone to discover one day. We see the references to Richard Neville in the Glamorgan Charters issued at this time but that is it. However, there are tentative clues to suggest that the Nevilles did more than hold the Glamorgan Lordship as a mere title.
For evidence of this we look not to political or military events at or directed from Cardiff Castle, but to something more aesthetic which still stands proudly to this day 200 yards from the castle: The Church of St John the Baptist.
While the Nevilles held the Lordship, a new building began to emerge in the city centre. The Church of St John the Baptist had been in existence since the 12th century but the old building had been destroyed during Glyndwr’s 1404 attack on the town, which he had viewed as an English Colonial outpost.
The new Church was unlike anything seen in the town before: a 40m (130 ft) high tower emerged, taller than any building in the town, topped by a flourish of pinnacles. To this day no church tower in the southern half of the UK has as many ornamental pinnacles as this one. It was a sign that there was serious finance and intent behind its construction. Where could this support have come from? Certainly not the merchants of Cardiff. Cardiff was too small and modest for such opulent gestures.
The answer comes in a document contained in a church a few miles west of Cardiff. The 1721 register of the Church of Llanblethian, Cowbridge, contains the following entry:
“Anno 1473 Anne the second daughter and co-heir of Richard Neville the late Earl of Salisbury and Warwick was married to Edward Prince of Wales, son of King Henry the sixth. She was late Lady of the Manor of Glamorgan and Morganwg. Built this Tower the south part of Cowbridge Church and St John’s Tower in Cardiff was also married to Richard Duke of Gloucester afterwards King of England by usurpation…..”
It would be wonderful to have some evidence that, while Lord of Glamorgan, Richard himself ever spent time in Cardiff Castle. The official line taken by the castle is that there is no evidence that he did. However, I tend to take the view that he may well have spent time there, even if it was brief. While there is no official record of his presence in Cardiff, Richard was known as a keen administrator. As Lord of Glamorgan from 1477 it would have been in character for him to oversee personally, even if only occasionally, the running of the region for which he was responsible. Had he come to Cardiff then business would probably have been conducted from the Plantagenet Hall of Cardiff Castle. In the nineteenth century this was remodelled into (and remains) the library of the castle.
Sadly we have no more than such speculation on which to base thoughts on Richard’s link to Cardiff. However, we have the visual evidence on which to base our imaginings, not only in St John’s Church, but with the Plantagenet exterior of the Cardiff Castle apartments.
In addition, the castle rooms are lined with stained glass windows of every Lord of Glamorgan from the twefth century creation of the title to its 16th century dissolution by Henry VIII (the last Lord of Glamorgan). This is thanks to the talented nineteenth century designer Charles Campbell, part of the team of the ingenious art architect William Burges, whose patron was the Third Marquess of Bute, richest man in Europe, and owner of Cardiff Castle, who transformed the building into a spectacular fairytale monument to his ancestry through gold, glass, marble, stone and wood. Whether by accident or design, as you enter the castle apartments, the first two figures you see are Anne Neville and Richard III beautifully portrayed in stained glass. It would be difficult to find in south Wales a more fitting place of pilgrimage for anyone seeking to discover and revere this much maligned figure.
by Jim Cowan,
Cardiff History and Hauntings
♕ ♛ ♕
in Medieval and late medieval England.
“Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditure in the matter of apparel, food, furniture etc.”
Black’s Law Dictionary.
English Sumptuary Laws date from 1281 in extant documents. They were then an expression of the Feudal System (every man in his place, dressed according his station. Women too.) The hierarchy must be established according to the “natural law”.
The next documented Law is that of 1309. This relates to conspicuous food consumptions of the nobles. (Peacocks presented at table, complete with feathers re-attached to the roasted fowl…)
Perhaps Edward III felt that such expenditure by his magnates reduced their monetary contributions to his Scottish and overseas wars.
Obviously, Kings and their families were not restricted by such fiscal management restraints.
Cloth of gold, fur, gold…. It appears that the first Tudor, despite a somewhat austere, penny-pinching reputation, at least in the popular version, was not averse to personal display.
However, there was considerable Church disapproval of courtly display of fashion “trends“. Shoes, in 15th C, were an issue with the Church: the vanity of the elongated toes.
And then, there was the Disney head dress. The Henin, and variations thereof.
The middle class was rising in wealth, and becoming uppity in dress. Note the quantities of costly material in the sleeves and gowns and richness of dyes.
Etienne Chevalier, was not a merchant, but a trusted civil servant.
Disconcertingly to the “enforcers” of the Sumptuary Laws, the merchant class rose inexorably. The merchant class accumulated wealth, based on wool and textiles, and import/export. They bought off the enforcers’ fines, and even lent funds to cash-strapped nobility. They were going to wear what they had earned. Their wives (and often mercantile partners/supporters) were an advertisement to their wealth and their often mutual hard work. (Take that, Enforcers! 😀 )
England has not been quite as rigidly class-ridden as might be thought – upward mobility was mobilised. From 15th century sheep farmers, the Churchills were Dukes of Marlborough two centuries later. A middle class was firmly rising throughout Europe, driven by trade – wool/textiles/luxury goods from the East. The sheep farmers became merchants (and money-lenders), married into gentry and titled families, became senior civil servants.
Sir Guy of Gisborne, dressed head to toe in costly leather. Would a minor knight, in possession of an obscure provincial manor, pass the Sumptuary laws? Leather tanning and production were extremely costly, as is the case today. Perhaps; it didn’t involve cloth of gold or furs….
And Many Happy Returns to Richard Armitage on August 22 2013.
Respects to King Richard III, may he please be laid to rest as befits an anointed monarch.
SOURCES (for the costume-obsessed)
- Boucher, Francois. 20,000 Years of Fashion; Henry H. Abrams Inc. New York.