Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 12 July 2013

A newly perceived problem for the fifteenth century soldier

This evening I met a friend on his way to travel to Tewkesbury for the annual renactment of the battle fought on May 4th 1471. I have attended this several times in the past and it is good fun - especially the medieval fair with seemingly everything you could want to be properly fifteenth century - my favourite was an armourer's stall entitled "Dressed to Kill" 

My friend, who is fair skinned, had realised he was without sun cream. I opined that this was a significant new insight into fifteenth century warfare that I for one had not thought of before. Could one imagine King Edward IV turning that May morning Richard Duke of Gloucester to complain he had no sunscreen, and so the battle was off, or, on the Lancastrian side, Queen Margaret refusing to allow her son Edward Prince of Wales to go out without his sunfilter? Moving on to 1485, can one imagine King Richard III on August 22rd shouting "Sunscreen! Sunscreen! My kingdom for some sunscreen!"? 

Maybe not. 

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