The medieval bottom is not what most of you will be thinking about as you get ready for your day, or are waving your nearest and dearest off to work. No certainly not! However, now that you have turned onto my page it is the medieval posterior that I am writing about today.
You will be surprised to find that many a monarch died from problems related to their royal rear end.
Alfred the Great died from an inflammatory bowel disease, Harold Harefoot, King John, Edward I, Henry V and James I all died from dysentery and King Stephen and Anglo-Saxon king Eadred died from some stomach disorder. It is not surprising these people went this way, under cooked food, bad hygiene and contaminated water was the scourge of the time.
No doubt, with the royal derriere now in your mind, you may be thinking of Edward II and his awful death at Berkeley Castle which is attributed to a red-hot poker, but that's a lot of nonsense, as is the tale twelfth-century writers tell of the death of King Edmund - known as Ironside. Poor Edmund, is supposed to have died whilst sitting on the toilet, having been stabbed right in the middle of his buttocks from below, which is equally nonsensical. Who in their right mind would hide in loo waiting on the off chance that the king needed to spend a penny?
Anyway, that's enough chat about bottoms - have a lovely day and try not to spend too much time sitting on yours.
Quoted here, is one verse from the poem entitled For the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon, it is a composition that many of us know very well.
The fourth verse of this poem begins "They shall grow not old" can be found on a memorial plaque which stands on a cliff edge between Pentire Point and The Rumps in the north of Cornwall. Reading it, as you glance out to sea, is certain to bring a tear to the eye and a
lump to the throat.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Binyon was a poet and an artist who entered the University of Oxford in 1888. After graduating he worked for the British Museum. With the onset of the first world war Binyon was too old to enlist, instead he worked as a volunteer in a British hospital for French soldiers in France as a hospital orderly.
His poem was written whilst sitting on the very spot you can see below and was first published in September of 1914 in the The Times newspaper.
At Winchester Palace on the 7th November in 1541 Catherine Howard, fifth wife of King Henry VIII was interrogated by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer regarding her premarital sexual relations and her alleged adultery with Sir Thomas Culpeper.
By the February of the following year, Catherine Howard and Jane Boleyn, who encouraged the young couple's relationship, went to their deaths.
Probably at Mortimer Castle in County Westmeath in Ireland on the 6th November 1391 Edmund the son of Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March and Eleanor Holland was born.
Edmund was heir presumptive to Richard II before he was deposed.
You can read more about Edmund on the Mortimer Society here
On this day in 1856 the death of one of my favourite French artists - Paul Delarouche.
Delarouche had a 'straightforward technique that was firm, solid and smooth' he also had a wonderful talent for the dramatic. He was known to build little stage sets, including model figures to aid his work, he was also well known for his cloaked references to the French Revolution in which he often used English historical 'victims' such as Charles I, Lady Jane Grey and Thomas Wentworth to make a point.
Delaroche cared little about historical inaccuracies if he succeeded in getting his point across to the French public.
A good example of this is his painting The Princes in the Tower, for which he drew his inspiration from the work of Shakespeare, a story he knew to have some truth. With this in mind, he was able to make a comparison of the deaths of the two English boys to draw attention to the mysterious deaths of Louis XVII of France.
Delaroche always denied any reference to the revolution in his works, but why would a French artist produce work based on the deaths of English victims of tyranny, if it was not to represent his own.
Paul Delaroche had married Louise Vernet, daughter of a noted French artist famous for his portraits of battles/French revolution. He never recovered from Louise's death, his Head of an Angel was based on a study of her.
I expect many of you are watching the BBC's new series Gunpowder.
I've watched all three episodes, but many of you will still be waiting to watch the final show this weekend so I will refrain from writing about it in full until this episode has been aired. However, I will say that I thought that it has brought a breath of fresh air to historical dramas - and about time too. No sex, no sanitized sets and no distorting of the facts - only the merging of related events during the terrible persecution of Catholics as an aid help us understand how and why Robert Catesby acted as he did.
Because Catesby story and that of John Gerard and Henry Garnet is not just related to the Gunpowder Plot it would have proved difficult to include it in the story, likewise it would prove difficult to include the stories of the other members of the plot, however I do not think this adaption of such a sad tale lost any of its impact because of it.
Apart from the escape scene from the Tower of London, I thought Gunpowder was a job well done.
What's your opinion on the show so far?
Ambrose Rookwoode, one of the eight gunpowder plotters whose face was burned and who was injured in the shootout at Holbeche House, story was not told has links to my home county of Lincolnshire - here's a little bit about him.
On this day in 1483 - All Souls Day, the execution of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham for his part in the rebellion against Richard III.
Richard III: Act V, Scene 1 Salisbury. An open place.
Why, then All Souls' day is my body's doomsday.
This is the day that, in King Edward's time,
I wish't might fall on me, when I was found
False to his children or his wife's allies
This is the day wherein I wish'd to fall
By the false faith of him I trusted most;
This, this All-Souls' day to my fearful soul
Is the determined respite of my wrongs:
That high All-Seer that I dallied with
Hath turn'd my feigned prayer on my head
And given in earnest what I begg'd in jest.
Thus doth he force the swords of wicked men
To turn their own points on their masters' bosoms:
Now Margaret's curse is fallen upon my head;
'When he,' quoth she, 'shall split thy heart with sorrow,
Remember Margaret was a prophetess.'
Come, sirs, convey me to the block of shame;
Wrong hath but wrong, and blame the due of blame
I wonder if he managed to pass through purgatory without stopping?
On this day in 1470, the birth of Edward V in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey while his father, Edward IV, was in exile.
You'll know Edward as one of the Princes in the Tower and the tale of their fate - something did happen to them but we don't know what.
There's much written about Edward's brother Richard Richard of Shrewsbury surviving - the story of Perkin Warbeck or Jack Leslau's theory that he is the young man in the far right-hand corner of Rowland Lockey's painting of Thomas More and his Family are just two.
But what happened to Edward?
History is so interesting isn't it? Do you love the story of King Alfred's unsuccessful afternoon in the kitchen or King Cnut unsuccessful attempt not to get his feet wet? Maybe you're interested in when the Normans landing on our shores or the stories of an era closer to our time?
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Thomas Vaughan: An Introduction
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