Sunday, 23 May 2010
However, Richard was more tempted by the title of Emperor and bribed various Electors to acquire the crown. However, his title was challenged by Alfonso of Castile and neither could enforce their will on the Empire. Contemporary historians refer to Richard as King of the Germans and his son was known as Henry of Almain.
Richard had opposed Simon de Montfort at various points and joined the King when war broke out. He commanded a battle at Lewes but when things went badly he tried to take refuge in a windmill, coming out when the rebels threatened to set it aflame, calling "Come out you bad miller!" He remained in captivity until after Evesham. See http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/luttrell/accessible/page14lge.html for a roughly contemporary windmill.
Richard's son, Henry of Almain, was later murdered by two of the de Montforts while journeying through Italy. This earned them a place in Dante's Inferno - I'll add more when I get around to posting pictures of the de Montforts.
A possible link between Richard of Cornwall's arms and those of Richard I is covered here - go to the section on 'tricky arms'. This may also explain the lion of the de Joinville/de Geneville arms (I've painted a couple of figures in variations of these arms).
Another brother was William de Valence who acquired the title of Earl of Pemboke in right of his wife. He fought at Lewes and fled into exile. He returned the following year, landing with various other Royalists and a sizeable force in William's Welsh territory. They seem to have been in communication with Gilbert de Clare and soon met up with him. He fought at Kenilworth and at Evesham. One of his postwar gains was the manor of Inkberrow which is just under ten miles from where I live.
The picture of my figures at the top of the page shows the arms of Richard and of William. The other armigerous figure bears the arms of Oddingseles. They held land at Solihull and the arms are still part of the badge of Solihull School.
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
I then spent a couple of weeks cleaning bones, including a number of skulls. From the context, they were believed to be 13th century - as it happens the same period that I now cover in this blog. The preservation varied according to the soil - the boundary between two types passes through the site so in some cases half of the bones were very well preserved while the other half instantly crumbled.
I think I dealt with about half a dozen skulls and some were so well preserved that even the ear bones survived, washing out as I swilled the skulls round like some kind of macabre Tom-Cruise-in-Cocktail. One particular skeleton stays in my memory. It was a man and going by his long bones he was probably around 6 feet tall. He had marks on his bones showing that he'd had a lot of muscles - the on-site experts said that they showed he had probably been a rider and likely a knight which would explain his presence in a high status part of the abbey. A number of bones had broken at some stage in his life, including a leg, some ribs and one arm I think. They had all healed very well.
The most impressive injuries were to his head. There were two cuts in the skull, probably from a blade. One went from front to back along the top left of his skull and the other went from side to side across the upper back of his head. Although some healing had begun, the experts thought they were serious enough to have led to his death. A possible victim of Kenilworth or Evesham perhaps - the abbey lies within easy reach of both. Of course, it may have been some kind of accident or a local brawl, but I can daydream!
What does this have to do with the Beauchamps? When I was helping there, a couple of people mentioned that the Black Dog of Arden was buried there. I knew nothing of the period then and only recently found out that he was one of the Beauchamp Earls of Warwick, dubbed with that name as an insult by a favourite of Edward II. His grave had been discovered years ago, but it was nice to know that one of the great magnates had apparently chosen to be buried in my hometown.
In the photo, Beauchamps are second, fifth and seventh from the left. I haven't worried too much about whether the arms are suitable for the Barons' War. Others in the line up include Hastings and Mortimer. Mortimer was an especially major player in the war.
One of the branches of the d'Abitot family is to the extreme left. I haven't found out much about them except that they had various branches holding lands in my area of the country and that they had some nice looking coats of arms!
Incidentally, my output of Medieval figures is on hold for a while as I'm working through a backlog of Classical period stuff (Simon de Montfort sits on my painting table half-finished!). I may set up a different blog to cover some of this stuff but continue to update Dante's Wars in my current lacksdaisical manner.