John was made Warden of March of Scotland in 1335, it was while he was in Scotland that he died on this day in 1336, he was just twenty years old.
This magnificent tomb of John of Elham stands in Westminster Abbey.
You can see parts of the tomb in detail in the drawing below, also in the second image you can see John's armour and his a sword, and on his shield you can see his coat of arms. The lion at his feet symbolises strength and loyalty and John was certainly loyal to his brother King Edward III and Edward, who was greatly impressed by John's many of actions, returned the favour by creating this magnificent tomb in his honour.
John of Eltham, the second son of Edward II and Isabella of France was named after the place he was born, that is the original 'palace' of Eltham in Greenwich. In 1328 John was given the title of Earl of Cornwall by Edward and a year later was considered competent enough to act as regent while the king was in France.
John was made Warden of March of Scotland in 1335, it was while he was in Scotland that he died on this day in 1336, he was just twenty years old.
John of Etham's body was not interred at Westminster Abbey until the second week of January the following year.
At three o'clock in the afternoon of the 24th March 1603, Henry Tudor's mighty dynasty, that had been founded on a field in Leicestershire in 1485, came to an end after just 118 years.
Henry VII's granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth I, died at the age of six-nine after forty-four years on the throne, she may have not been the male heir her father desired, but she was certainly the next best thing. Elizabeth was spirited, feisty and intelligent and her reign would be known as the Golden Age.
Elizabeth is said to have died on cushions on the floor of her private rooms,
" mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from a tree… "
Elizabeth's body was first buried in the same vault as that of her grandfather, but was moved in 1606 to its present position alongside King James I.
The inscriptions are in Latin and translated they read:
"Sacred to memory: Religion to its primitive purity restored, peace settled, money restored to its just value, domestic rebellion quelled, France relieved when involved with intestine divisions; the Netherlands supported; the Spanish Armada vanquished; Ireland almost lost by rebels, eased by routing the Spaniard; the revenues of both universities much enlarged by a Law of Provisions; and lastly, all England enriched. Elizabeth, a most prudent governor 45 years, a victorious and triumphant Queen, most strictly religious, most happy, by a calm and resigned death at her 70th year left her mortal remains, till by Christ's Word they shall rise to immortality, to be deposited in the Church, by her established and lastly founded. She died the 24th of March, Anno 1602 of her reign the 45th year, of her age the 70th. To the eternal memory of Elizabeth queen of England, France and Ireland, daughter of King Henry VIII, grand-daughter of King Henry VII, great-grand-daughter to King Edward IV. Mother of her country, a nursing-mother to religion and all liberal sciences, skilled in many languages, adorned with excellent endowments both of body and mind, and excellent for princely virtues beyond her sex. James, king of Great Britain, France and Ireland, hath devoutly and justly erected this monument to her whose virtues and kingdoms he inherits"
On the base of the monument are the lovely words in reference to Elizabeth and her half sister Mary:
"Partners in throne and grave, here we sleep, Elizabeth and Mary, sisters, in hope of the Resurrection."
Confirmed by experts in 2013 as being an original, this ten foot by three foot carved alter panel, known as The Westminster Retable, once stood pride of place in Westminster Abbey in the mid 13th century.
It is the earliest surviving oil painting in the country, and tests prove it was made for the reconsecration of Westminster Abbey in 1269. During the early centuries, the retable stood on the High Altar at the Abbey, facing the congregation. Experts were able to confirm this date from a tree ring analysis, and it has been suggested that it was commissioned by Henry III as part of his reconstruction of the abbey in tribute to St Edward the Confessor, who is buried close to the High Altar.
It has spent a good many years covered with dust, it survived the traumatic pillaging of the monasteries by Thomas Cromwell
and was "knocked about a bit" by Cromwell's ancestor Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War.
Despite being used as a roof of a cupboard that was filled with funeral effigies, a frame for a bust of William Pitt and its figurative painting sanded, scraped and repainted in differing colours, it has survived remarkably well. In 1827, someone finally noticed its significance but it wasn't until over seventy years later that restoration took place and this was just a couple of dabs of glue and some paint.
Originally, it would have been part of a solid gold altarpiece, decorated with jewels and painting that had been divided into five compartments depicting scenes from the Gospels, with Christ at is centre. It was made by using copper alloy, silver foil, pieces of glass, gold leaf, jewels and enamel. Ian McClure, of the Hamilton Kerr Institute for conservation in Cambridge, said of this piece
"It is so exquisitely painted that we can - thrillingly - show there was craftsmanship in this country in the 13th century every bit the equal of what was going on in Italy."
Henry III or Henry of Winchester was the eldest son of King John by his second wife, Isabella of Angouleme, he was born at Winchester on the 1st October 1207.
Henry is said to have been intelligent and quick to master the problems of administration and government, he was also seen a "uncomplicated, almost naive man, and a lover of peace," yet all this is hardly mentioned, historians preferring to write about Simon de Monfort who not only stole Henry's crown but also his limelight.
The dissatisfaction of Henry's barons culminated in the Second Barons War in 1263. It was Simon de Monfort who lead the rebellion against Henry, and after the Battle of Lewes in 1264 both the king and his son Edward, later Edward I, were captured and it was de Montfort who ruled in his name. Eventually, de Montfort lost the support of many of Henry's disaffected barons, this along with Edward escaping his captors and raising an army was the beginning of the end for de Montfort. After the Battle of Evesham, Simon de Montfort met a grizzly end and Henry regained his throne.
Henry III was the first English king to be crowned as a child. His reign was a long one, he was king of England for fifty six years, and I feel his time as our countries monarch was one of the most important and significant reigns in our history and as I mentioned earlier, much overlooked.
Henry III improved the educational system in England, he was a lover of art and architecture and it was Henry who ordered the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey in the Gothic style we see today.
The kings last few years saw his power restored and it was a relatively peaceful one following the signing of the Dictum of Kenilworth. Henry was sensible enough to pass many of de Montfort's ideas and changes to government, and this act was brought into play by the end of October 1266.
Two years later Henry had Edward the Confessors body moved to its new shrine at Westminster Abbey, a clever move on Henry's part that suggests he considered or he hoped others would consider that trouble between him and his barons was over for good, although the death of his brother's son Henry of Almain, who was murdered by the vengeful Guy and Simon de Montfort, the sons of Simon de Montfort in 1271, was a blot on the new peace.
In 1270, Henry became ill, he wrote to Edward, who was on crusade asking him to return. For a time the king regained his strength, but he continued to worry about the fragility of the peace he had worked hard to obtain, this must have been a contributing factor that lead to his death on the16th of November 1272. In 1290, Henry's body was exhumed, it was noted then that his body was in a very good condition, many thought that this was an indication of his saintly status leading to miracles being reported as occurring at his tomb.
Just as Richard III did in later years, Henry III suffered at the hands of antagonistic chroniclers, disregarding this, what did this man leave behind, what was his legacy?
Under Henry we saw the implementation of Magna Carta, and as mentioned earlier, learning flourished as many men followed in his wake in their pursuit of knowledge. We have marital alliances with the kingdoms of France and Scotland, and we have many magnificent buildings dotted around our fine country thanks to this 13th century monarch.
This beautiful monument commemorates Lady Elizabeth Nightingale.
Elizabeth was born in 1704, the eldest of three daughters of Washington Shirley, 2nd Earl Ferrers.
On 24 June 1725, Elizabeth married Joseph Gascoigne who later took the surname of Nightingale. On the 17th of August 1731, only six years after her marriage, Elizabeth died of a miscarriage caused by the shock of a violent flash of lightning. The child, Elizabeth, survived and later married Wilmot Vaughan, 1st Earl of Lisburne.
This monument was erected thirty one years after Elizabeth's death and gives an incorrect date. The inscription reads:
'Here rest the ashes of Joseph Gasgoigne Nightingale of Mamhead in the county of Devon Esqr., who died July the 20th 1752 aged 56. And of Lady Elizabeth his wife, daughter and coheir of Washington Earl Ferrers; who died August the 17th 1734 aged 27. Their only son Washington Gascoigne Nightingale Esqr. deceas’d, in memory of their virtues, did by his last will order this monument to be erected”.
The art work was created by sculptor Louis Francois Roubiliac and depicts death emerging from his prison to aim his deadly dart at the dying figure of Elizabeth above. She is held up by her husband who, in horror, tries to ward off the stroke of death.
The monument can be found just off the north transept of Westminster Abbey. The idea for this work has been attributed to Elizabeth’s brother in law who had a dream of a skeleton appearing at the foot of his bed, which proceeded to creep up under the bedclothes between him and wife.
Quite a frightening piece isn't it?
It certainly frightened a robber who broke into the Church, he was so horrified at seeing the figure of death in the moonlight that he dropped his crowbar and fled in terror. The crowbar was displayed for a while along side the monument but now has disappeared along with the deaths lower jaw and his spear which has since been replaced with a wooden replica.
When ever the subject of the Princes in the Tower comes up, there are always lots of interesting responses regarding the find of skeletal remains of two children under a set of steps in the Tower of London which many still consider to be that of the two sons of Edward IV who disappeared in 1483.
These remains eventually ended up in an urn in Westminster Abbey with the following inscription
'Here lie interred the remains of Edward V King of England, and Richard, Duke of York, whose long desired and much sought after bones, after above an hundred and ninety years, were found by most certain tokens, deep interred under the rubbish of the stairs that led up to the Chapel of the White Tower, on the 17th of July in the year of our Lord 1674. Charles the second, a most merciful prince, having compassion upon their hard fortune, performed the funeral rites of these most unhappy princes among the tombs of their ancestors, anno domini 1678.'
But it is the remains found under a stair case by workmen in 1674 that are still thought to be that of the two princes Edward and Richard of Shrewsbury.
Why is that?
What is interesting is the intense focus on this set of remains, they are only one, among a number of children's remains, that have been found in the Tower of London over the years that are said to be of Edward and Richard. Others include remains found when Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower, remains found when the tower's moat was drained in the mid nineteenth century and in 1789 the two small child size coffins that were found walled up in a 'hidden space' next to the vault holding the coffins of Edward V and his Elizabeth his queen.
The real answer to this question is quite simple and pretty straight forward.
Sir Thomas More's in his The History of Richard III says it was so.
....."About midnight (the sely children lying in their beddes) came into the chamber, and sodainly lapped them vp among the clothes so be wrapped them and entangled them keping down by force the fetherbed and pillowes hard vnto their mouthes, that within a while smored and stifled, theyr breath failing, thei gaue vp to god their innocent soules into the ioyes of heauen, leauing to the tormentors their bodyes dead in the bed."
but here's the interesting bit......
..... "Whiche after that the wretches parceiued, first by the strugling with the paines of death, and after long lying styll, to be throughly dead: they laide their bodies naked out vppon the bed, and fetched sir Iames to see them. Which vpon the sight of them, caused those murtherers........... to burye them at the stayre foote, metely depe in the grounde vnder a great heape of stones....... Than rode sir Iames in geat haste to king Richarde, and shewed him al the maner of the murther, who gaue hym gret thanks."
Thomas More is not only responsible for the fact that Charles II and everybody else considers these remains to be that of the two princes but that King Richard III from then on was the princes murderer.
The 'story' that the remains are of Edward and Richard, stems partly from the work of Professor William Wright and Dr George Northcroft who published their findings in ‘The Sons of Edward IV. A re-examination of the evidence on their deaths and on the Bones in Westminster Abbey’ This work ought be treated with caution, DNA aside, I wonder how it can be suggested that they were, in life, the princes, if they never established the sex of the skeletons? In 1986 it was pointed out that a couple of important facts from the study were not mentioned. Firstly, there were indications in "existing and unerupted teeth" that suggested that one of the skeletons was a female and secondly the age gap between the two remains were less than three years of the princes.
IF these two boys they met their deaths at the Tower, who in their right minds would place the bodies under the noses of all who were in the present at the time, without being seen and within a limited time frame? Others feel the same, suggesting there were better ways to get rid of the bodies than to hide them somewhere in the Tower itself.
I don't know why More wrote what is written here, or what his motives were, I don't know what happened to the two princes in the summer of 1483, they may well have been murdered, but equally they might not have been.
What I do know is that it has never been proved that the two sons of Edward IV were dead at all.
I also don't believe it is their remains at Westminster Abbey.
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.