The Sunne in Splendour
Sharon Kay Penman
“Richard stood motionless for a time, gazing at the gilded effigies of this ill-starred Richard and his Queen; they had been depicted clasping hands, at the King’s own request. Richard knew, of course, that his was thought to be an unlucky title; only twice before had a Richard ruled England, and both met violent ends.
The Sunne in Splendour
Sharon Kay Penman
Thanks to harritudur
Fitted to a metal gate on the steps of York's city wall at Micklegate Bar is this roundel made in Fetter Lane by C Dearlove.
Dearloves were whitesmiths, a company who worked with white iron, that is tin, the workers at Dearloves would have finished or polished the tin ready for it to be painted and decorated as you see with this fine emblem of York, the White Rose.
Fetter lane forms part of medieval York, it runs to the south of Micklegate Bar and joins Skeldergate which runs parallel to the River Ouse. Incidentally, the word fetter refers to a chain or manacle, made out of iron that was used to restrain a prisoner around the ankles.
I wonder if Richard Duke of York and his son Edmund were restrained with such manacles before their decapitated heads ended up on Micklegate Bar in 1460.
You needn't worry, Dearloves were not involved in such a barbaric practice, the company worked in York during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Phew!
In the beginning there was the Domesday Book.
I was in Cornwall at the end of last year and on the way home we whizzed across the boarder into the County of Devon, to the tiny village of Meavy in search of my thirteenth century ancestors.
The spelling of Meavy's varies but its appears originally as Mewy and it is this spelling I am interested in. Alice Mewy added this manor, which had been held by her family under the Lordship of the Pomeroy family since 1236, to that of the lands of her husbands family which within two generations takes me back to sunny Cornwall.
After the conquest of England, the Manor of Meavy was given to Robert the Bastard, who some claim to be the illegitimate son of the Conquer, but I am not convinced. Mewy at Domesday is listed as having:
Taxable units: Taxable value 0.5 geld units.
Value: Value to lord in 1086 £0.4. Value to lord c. 1070 £0.3.
Households: 2 smallholders. 1 slave.
Ploughland: 2 ploughlands (land for). 1 lord's plough teams.
Other resources: 0.25 lord's lands. Meadow 2 acres. Pasture 0.5 league * 2 furlongs mixed measures. Woodland 0.5 acres.
The Devon Records Office have supplied me with the information I asked for enabling me to start my travels forward in time keeping you informed along the way and will be posting my full Mewy family history at some point on my genealogy page
I'll start at the beginning with this image of Meavy in the Domesday book.
As a Cornish earl, a crusader, a negotiator, and a very wealthy man, its not hard to see Richard of Cornwall as good guy,
you may even go so far as to consider him a bit of a hero, and maybe he was, but as far as his connections with Cornwall
are concerned he was also manipulative and greedy. Richard of Cornwall was born the second son of King John and Isabella
of Angouleme on the 5th January 1209, he was just fifteen months younger than his more famous brother, King Henry III.
In 1225 at just sixteen, Richard was granted the County of Cornwall and all the profits from its tin works, and following that
he was given the Earldom of Cornwall. Many of the events of Richard's life were centred around Cornwall, and it was from
his castle at Launceston that he and his men left for the battle of Lewes in 1264.
In Richard's early years he had been a supporter of the barons who were in opposition to the king, Henry paid him at
least three times to come back into the fold. However, after the death in 1240 of his first wife Isabel Marshall, daughter of
William Marshall, there was a change in Richard. This began with his marriage, in the November of 1242 to Sanchia
of Provence, the sister of Henry's queen, after which he became one of his brother's greatest supporters, although he was
not in agreement with the king on certain points. In 1257 he was crowned King of the Romans at Aachen, it was his
wealth, according to writings at the time, that enabled him to pay for enough votes to secure the title.
The Kyn of Alemaigne bi mi leaute
Thritti thousant pounds askede he
For to make the pees in the countre
Within two years of his coronation Richard was without a kingdom, however, he did have his small, but lucrative, 'Kingdom'
of Cornwall where he liked to pursue his hobby of collecting castles, and where, unlike previous Norman overlords, Richard
spent much of his time. His main residence was at Launceston where he built his mighty round tower and also spent time
and money rebuilding the castle walls and gatehouses. Not only did Richard take a few bribes, he was not opposed
to throwing his weight around and issuing threats. In 1236 he had his eye on Tintagel, whose castle and lands King John
had granted to Gervase de Hornicote. Under the threat of violence but in the guise of an exchange, Richard received
Tintagel from Hornicote's heir. In much the same manner he pursuaded the Cardinaham heiress to part with her large estates
at Bodmin and Lostwithiel to her 'most serene prince and lord.'
One last large Cornish castle that was not in his collection was Trematon, this was still in the possession of one of the
last Norman overlords, de Valletort family. Richard managed to purchase this castle in 1270, how he managed this is
unknown, but it has to be pointed out that Valletort's wife Joan, was Richard's mistress, and by whom, he had at least
It would seem that Richard was not particularly interested in family hierarchy or taking advice, he had to be persuaded to
conform and used underhand tactics to get what he wanted from others. Unwanted in Germany, Richard died on the 2nd
April 1272 at Berkhamsted Castle, a quasi king in his own little West Country kingdom where he was not much liked.
Richard, Earl of Cornwall died the age of sixty after suffering stroke that left him paralysed on one side and unable to speak.
He was buried at Hailes Abbey which he founded.
After ten years in the workplace I became a mother to three very beautiful daughters, I was fortunate enough to have been able to stay at home and spend my time with them as they grew into the young women they are now. I am still in the position of being able to be at home and pursue all the interests I have previously mentioned. We live in a beautiful Victorian spa town with wooded walks for the dog, lovely shops and a host of lovely people, what more could I ask for.
All works © Andrea Povey 2014. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Andrea Povey.