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.

Monday 30 November 2015

Glastonbury in the news again

Stephanie A Mann at Supremacy and Survival has picked up a report on the latest archaeological work at Glastonbury Abbey and links to it with some pertinent comments of her own in her post Glastonbury and Its Legends

Saturday 28 November 2015

Brothers Pilgrimage to Binsey

Today the Brothers of the Secular Oratory here in Oxford went on a walking pilgrimage to the medieval church of St Margaret at Binsey and to the Holy Well which lies in its churchyard.

We walked by the Oxford Canal and along the riverside to cross Port Meadow - and a view of the ugly Castle Mill Stram accomodation blocks the University managed to slip by the planning authorities - and went to visit St Margaret's Church at Binsey.

This simple early Norman church occupies a place within what until recently identifiable as an earthen Anglo -Saxon defensive enclosure - soon after it was identified it was largely obliterated by a local farmer -  and is the traditional place of St Frideswide's refuge when pursued by Algar of Leicester. Tradition asserts tht it was with the water from the Holy Well in the churchyard that St Frideswide cured Algar of the blindness with which he was struck as punishment for his pursuit of her.


Binsey Church 


The interior of the church 


In the church Fr Jerome and I talked about its history and architecture to the other Brothers.

Thomas Hearne the Oxford antiquary records that until it was demolished in the early eighteenth century, there was a shrine -like well house over the well itself, which lies to the west of the church.

St Margaret's Well in Binsey churchyard in spring


The well was restored in 1874 and that might cast doubt on the idea that it is the inspiration for the Treacle Well ( Treacle meaning balm or healing ) in Alice in Wonderland, which began with a boat trip to Binsey in 1862, and was published in 1865.

We took a group photo of the Brothers by the well, before going on to lunch at the Perch, a well known hostelry destination after a walk across Port Meadow.

We walked back across the Meadow and went back to have tea in the Oratory Library and discussed the planning of future events.

I realised that it was over a decade since I had been at Binsey - not I think since I was thurifer at the celebration of St Margaret's day there in 2002, when July 20th fell on a Sunday and the parishes of St Thomas and St Frideswide with Binsey combined their efforts to keep the patronal feast. It was a glorious summer day and a real sense of history an occasion as the Anglican liturgy was celebrated in the church. A day which seems both recent and yet so distant, before my reception as a Catholic and all that has happened since.

Commemorating Queen Eleanor of Castile

Today is the 725th anniversary of the death in 1290 at Harby on the borders of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire of  Queen Eleanor of Castile, the first wife of King Edward I.

Queen Eleanor of Castile
Tomb effigy in Westminster Abbey

Image: Lady Shirley on Flickr

Recent research has suggested she may not have been as universally popular as later historians have written, but the King mourned her in an impressive and commemorative way.

Her body was embalmed at Lincoln and her internal organs buried in the Angel Choir of the cathedral. The original monument was destroyed when the cathedral was vandalised in 1643, but a nineteenth century reconstruction, based on a seventeenth century drawing of the original, now occupies the site.


The viscerial tomb of Queen Eleanor in Lincoln Cathedral 
Between the arms of England are those of the County of Ponthieu, of which she was the heiress and the Kingdom of Castle and Leon


The places where her body rested on the journey to Westminster were marked by the erection of memorial crosses, of which three survive, at Geddington, Northampton and Waltham. These were close to the monasteries where the Queen's body rested on its jorney to London. These have inspired many later monuments, not least the 'Martyrs Memorial' in Oxford - a nice irony as it is just the type of thing Latimer and Ridley liked to destroy. Originally all of them would have been painted.

The Geddington Cross
The only one known to be on a triangular plan



The Northampton  Cross

Image: geograph.org.uk


The Waltham Cross

Image: mauriceboddy.org.uk

There is an online account of all the crosses, their fate and what, if anything, remains of the others as well as of copies of them at Eleanor cross.

This pattern of memorial crosses derived from those erected in France to mark where the body of St Louis rested on his corpse's return to St Denis from Tunis.

The last of these crosses was the original Charing Cross - now reproduced in a Victorian reconstruction outside the eponymous station - and thus linked to her burial in Westminster Abbey, where her body rests under the effigy shown above.


 The rebuilt Charing Cross of 1863-65 by the stonemason Thomas Earp

Her nephew, Master James of Spain - an illegitimate son of her brother - lived in Oxford and was the man who gave the house called 'la Oriole' to the House of Blessed Mary the Virgin in Oxford, thus giving it the name of Oriel, in 1329. A condition of this was that Queen Eleanor was made, in effect, a posthumous honorary Fellow, and was to be prayed for by the College. One of my achievements as a Bible Clerk at Oriel was to get her name restored to the list of Benefactors, whence it had slipped at some time or other.

As to Master James - well I have post coming fairly soon about him, and the lastest theories about his parentage and career.

Thursday 26 November 2015

A medieval painting rediscovered

Stephanie A. Mann at Supremacy and Survival: The English Reformation has a very interesting post  about conservation work which has revealed arare surviving devotional panel from late medieval England. The work has been domn eby the Fitzwilliam Museum on a panel they acquired some years ago from Grafton Regis church in Northamptonshire. Her post is based around an article in The Guardian, and puts the painting in the context of how little survived the destructive urges of so -called "Reformers". Her post can be viewed at One of the 3%: A Painting that Survived the English Reformation

The Kiss of Judas

The Grafton Regis Panel

Image:  HKI Institute/The Fitzwilliam Museum, Image Library/Guardian

The panel may not be great art, but it is a valuable and precious insight into what decorated late medieval English churches, and to the devotion of which they were a part.


Tuesday 24 November 2015

Iraqi Christians In Need

Last Thursday evening I attended an organ recital at the Oxford Oratory given by Carl Bahoshy in aid of the charity Iraqi Christians in Need. Carl himself is of Iraqi Christian descent.

In addition to listening to a fine selection of organ pieces we were able to view a power point display of the situation facing our fellow Christians in Iraq, and of the effects of persecution and destruction in specific churches and of the plight of refugees, and also of the help being brought to them.

This is a very worthwhile cause which I recommend to readers.

The website of ICIN can be visited at  ICIN: Iraqi Christians In Need :: Home

Inhabitants of Londinium

The BBC News website has an article about a recent project looking at the ethnic mix and other features of the population of Roman London. Being the BBC it, inevitably, gives it a bit of a politically correct slant, but it is nevertheless an interesting piece of research:

** London ethnically diverse from start **
A DNA study confirms London was an ethnically diverse city from its very beginnings, BBC News has learned.

The piece can be viewed at  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34809804


Monday 23 November 2015

King Eadred and King Eadwig

Today is the 1060th anniversary of the death of King Eadred at Frome in 955. He was aged about 30 and appears to have suffered an illness which affected his ability to eat solid food and also to have had a permanent disability which affected his feet. Nonetheless he was not inactive as a ruler.
There is a brief online biography of the King at Eadred, and the more detailed and academic life of him by Ann Williams in the Oxford DNB can be read at Eadred [Edred]

The year after his accession he was recognised as King by the York Vikings in 947 at Tanshelf - the later Pontefract - and in the next year, following a northern revolt against his rule marched north and in 948 burned Ripon, including St Wilfrid's church there, and fought a battle at Castleford.

His successor was his nephew, Eadwig, who was born in 940, the son of King Edmund I who had been accidentally killed attempting to stop a fight between two retainers in 946. The new King was remembered as a good looking teenager, but one who got a bad press from monastic writers. There is anonline account of his life and reign at Eadwig, and Simon Keynes' Oxford DNB life can be read at Eadwig [Edwy] There is also a useful piece about the reign at Anglo-Saxons.net : Eadwig All-Fair

It was following his coronation at Kingston on Thames in late January 956 that probably the most famous event of his short reign occurred - having slipped away from the coronation feast the fifteen year old King was found cavorting ( make of that what you will ) with his future wife and her mother by St Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury, and the Bishop of Lichfield, who dressed him and returned him to the feast. The young King was, in consequence, no fan of Dunstan, and Dunstan's part in dissolving the King's marriage as within the prohibited degrees of affinity and against the King's will did not help. Hence the monastic bad press for the King. As the saint's modern biographer, Douglas Dales, remarked in a talk I heard him give whilst on a retreat at Glastonbury, Eadwig's behaviour was that of a typical teenager - and Douglas Dales was speaking as a public schoolmaster.

In 957 the King's younger brother Edgar was recognised as King of Mercia - which looks to be his creation as Junior King and his recognition as heir apparent. Two years later he succeeded Eadwig when in 959 he died at Gloucester.

St Clement

John Dillon has posted on the Medieval Religion discussion group a selection of images of Pope St Clement I, whose feast is today.

As a saint he was popular in Denmark, and hence dedications to him in the Danelaw and, most famously, St Clement Danes in London. St Clement's in Oxford was presumably the area settled by the Danes before, and perhaps after the St Brice's day massacre here. In my home town of Pontefract the collegiate chapel in the castle is also a probable legacy of Danish settlement - the archaeologists working on the site twenty five or so years ago thought it was situated on the highest natural part of the castle rock, and pre-dated the Norman castle

John Dillon writes as follows:
The author of an extant letter to the church of Corinth and the suppositious author of the pseudo-Clementine Recognitions and Homilies, Pope St. Clement I (d. c. 100) occupies either third or fourth place in early lists of the bishops of Rome. Although it now seems unlikely that he was martyred, throughout the Middle Ages he was accorded martyrial status (as he still is in many churches). According to his legendary late antique Passio (BHL 1848; translated into Greek, BHG 349-350), Clement was exiled by the Emperor Trajan to the mines of Crimea, evangelized there with much success (in which effort he was aided by his miraculous discovery of an underground stream from which his parched fellow workers then drank), and for his pains was thrown into the Black Sea weighted down with an anchor. In response to the prayers of his disciples Cornelius and Phoebus, the waters parted and Clement's body was miraculously revealed in a chapel where the faithful could venerate him annually for a week beginning on his _dies natalis_.

Thus far Clement's Passio. In the ninth century, Sts. Constantine / Cyril and Methodius brought to Rome from Constantinople bodily relics believed to be his. These were placed in Rome's basilica di San Clemente. Constantine / Cyril is said to have found or obtained them, together with the fatal anchor, in the Crimea. Here's a view of Constantine / Cyril and Methodius receiving Clement's remains by the Black Sea as depicted in the late tenth- or very early eleventh-century so-called Menologion of Basil II (Città del Vaticano, BAV, cod. Vat. gr. 1613, p. 204):

File:Menologion of Basil 062.jpg

In an eleventh- or early twelfth-century fresco painted in what is now the lower church of San Clemente and depicting its reception of that saint's relics, Constantine/Cyril and Methodius (one nimbed, the other not) are shown at left accompanying the Pope:

Another view, taken from a watercolour of the fresco made shortly after its discovery in the nineteenth century:

A dubious tradition known to the author of the first Vita of St. Genovefa of Paris (BHL 3334; ca. 520) and perpetuated in, e.g., the legendary Passiones of St. Dionysius / Denys of Paris claims an apostolic origin for the church of Paris and for other Gallic churches through evangelization by missionaries whom Clement had sent out from Rome. Modern historical scholarship commonly rejects this notion.

In the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology and in the ninth-century martyrologies of St. Ado of Vienne and Usuard of Saint-Germain Clement's  dies natalis is given as VIIII Kal. Dec. (23. November). This remained Clement's feast day in the medieval Latin West and is still his feast day in churches whose sanctoral calendars descend from medieval Latin-rite Uses. In the medieval Greek church Clement's feast falls on 25. November in pre-Metaphrastic menologia, in the later tenth-century Metaphrastic Menologion, and in the initially tenth- and eleventh-century Synaxary of Constantinople. This remains his feast day in churches employing the Byzantine Rite.

By way of supplement to Gordon Plumb's recent post (23. Nov.) of links to medieval images of pope St. Clement I in glass, herewith links to some other period-pertinent images of this saint in various media:

a) as depicted (second from left, after St. Martin of Tours) in the heavily restored later sixth-century mosaic procession of male saints (c. 560) in the nave of Ravenna's basilica di Sant' Apollinare Nuovo:

Detail view (courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth):

b) as depicted (second from left, after Pope St. Sylvester I) in a later eighth-century fresco ( between 757 and 767) in the nave of Rome's chiesa di Santa Maria Antiqua:

c) as depicted (left margin at bottom) in a ninth-century copy of St. John Damascene's Parallela sacra (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 923, fol. 309v):

d) as depicted (at centre, saying Mass) in an eleventh-century fresco in what is now the lower church of Rome's basilica di San Clemente:


e) as depicted in a mid-eleventh-century mosaic in the cathedral of St. Sophia in Kyiv / Kiev (lower portion restored with oil painting in the nineteenth century):

f) as portrayed in relief (upper register at centre) on the  tympanum (c. 1151-1175) above the west portal of the chiesa abbaziale di San Clemente a Casauria in Castiglione a Casauria (PE) in Abruzzo:

g) as depicted (at far right, after Sts. Martin of Tours, Stephen protomartyr, and Peter of Alexandria) in the late twelfth-century apse mosaics (c. 1182) in Monreale's basilica cattedrale di Santa Maria Nuova:

h) as depicted (at left, receiving the volume from its author-compiler) at the end of brother John Berard's late twelfth-century cartulary chronicle of the abbey of San Clemente a Casauria (1182; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 5411, fol. 272v):

i) as depicted (upper register at right; at left, St. Peter) in the very late twelfth- or very early thirteenth-century apse mosaic (c. 1200) of Rome's basilica di San Clemente:

j) as depicted in a thirteenth-century fresco in the rupestrian church of the grotta di San Giovanni at Cafaro, a locality of San Vito dei Normanni (BR) in southern Apulia:

k) as depicted (twice: at left, being baptized by St. Peter; at right, saying Mass) in a panel of the thirteenth-century St. Clement window in the choir of Köln's Basilika St. Kunibert (an earlier to mid-thirteenth-century replacement for a predecessor dedicated to Clement):
Detail views:

l) as depicted (lower register at right; sending St. Dionysius and companions to Gaul) in a mid-thirteenth-century copy of a French-language Life of St. Dionysius of Paris (Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 1098, fol. 34r):

m) as depicted (upper register) in a panel of a mid-thirteenth-century glass window (c. 1245-1250; w. 201) in Strasbourg's cathédrale Notre-Dame:

n) as depicted (martyrdom) in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 162v):

o) as depicted in the late thirteenth-century frescoes (c. 1295) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of the Peribleptos (now Sv. Kliment Ohridski) in Ohrid:

p) as depicted (martyrdom) in a fourteenth-century glass window panel of French origin in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow:

Stained glass panel 'St. Clement of Rome', French, 14th century </br> © CSG CIC

q) as depicted (martyrdom) in an early fourteenth-century collection of French-language saint's lives (St John's College, Cambridge, MS B.9, fol. 133v):

r) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Astius of Durrës / Durazzo) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (c. 1308-1320) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. Nicetas the Goth (Sv. Nikita) at Čučer in today's Čučer-Sandevo in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:

s) as depicted (at the foot of the page; martyrdom) in the early fourteenth-century Queen Mary Psalter (c. 1310-1320; London, BL, Royal MS 2 B VII, fol. 279r):

t) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Meletius of Antioch) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1312-1321/1322) of the Paraclis of the Theotokos in the monastery church of the Theotokos at Gračanica in, depending on one's view of the matter, Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo:
Detail view (Clement):

u) as depicted (at left, with St. Hippolytus, Bishop of Pontus  and St. Metrophanes [of Byzantium]) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (c. 1313-1318; conservation work in 1968) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. George at Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:

v) as depicted (at left in panel at upper left; at right, the martyrdom of St. Peter of Alexandria) in an earlier fourteenth-century pictorial menologion from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 18v):

w) as depicted (second from right, sending St. Dionysius and other missionaries to Gaul) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of theLegenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1326-1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 204v):

x) as depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier fourteenth-century French-language legendary of Parisian origin with illuminations attributed to the Fauvel Master (ca. 1327; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 183, fol. 74r):

y) as depicted (at left; at right, the martyrdom of St. Peter of Alexandria) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1335-1350) in the narthex of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:

z) as depicted (martyrdom) in a mid-fourteenth-century copy, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1348; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 311r):

aa) as depicted in a cutting from a later fourteenth-century gradual (c. 1370) illuminated by Silvestro dei Gherarducci for the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence (Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Cod. cor. 2; this image from fol. 159r):

bb) as depicted (twice: at left, uncovering the buried stream; at right, martyrdom) in a later fourteenth-century copy of books 11-13 of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1370-1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 15941, fol. 16v):

cc) as depicted in a fifteenth-century glass window panel of German origin in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow:

dd) as portrayed in a fifteenth-century polychromed wooden statue on the high altar of the Sankt Clemens Kirke in Rømø (Tønder Kommune), Syddanmark:

ee) as depicted (at right; baptizing St. Taurinus) in a panel of a mid-fifteenth-century glass window (c. 1450) in Évreux's église Saint-Taurin:

ff) as depicted in grisaille (martyrdom) by Jean le Tavernier in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (ca. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 257r):

gg) as depicted by Giovanni di Paolo in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1455; from a dismembered altarpiece) in the Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon:

hh) as depicted (lancet at far right; at left and centre, the martyrdom of St. Thomas of Canterbury) in a later fifteenth-century glass window (w. 214) in Paris' église Saint-Séverin:

ii) as depicted (lower register at left; blessing St. Domitilla in prison) in an illumination depicting events from the legendary Passio of Nereus and Achilleus in a later fifteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1463; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 50, fol. 358v):

jj) as depicted by Peter Hemmel of Andlau in a panel of a later fifteenth-century glass window (1477-1478) in Ravensburg's Liebfrauenkirche:

kk) as depicted (upper register at far left) by Domenico Ghirlandaio in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1479) of the Madonna and Christ Child with Saints in Lucca's cattedrale di San Martino:

ll) as depicted (uncovering the buried stream) in a later fifteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (c. 1480-1490; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 245, fol. 182v):

mm) as depicted (right margin at top) in a hand-coloured woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century Weltchronik (Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CVIIIv:

nn) as depicted by Bernardino Fungai in two late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century predella panel paintings (c. 1498-1501; from his Coronation of the Virgin altarpiece in Siena's chiesa di Santa Maria dei Servi) in the York Art Gallery, York:
1) Uncovering the buried stream:

St Clement Striking the Rock

2) Martyrdom:

The Martyrdom of St Clement

oo) as depicted in a late fifteenth-or early sixteenth-century vault fresco (c. 1500-1503; restored, 1896-1899) in Skivholme Kirke (Skanderborg Kommune), Midtjylland:

pp) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Christopher) in an early sixteenth-century fresco (c. 1515-1520) in Aarhus Domkirke (dedicated to Clement):

Saturday 21 November 2015

Archbishop Robert Holgate and his Hospital

Last Sunday, November 15th, was the 560th anniversary of the death in London of Robert Holgate (1481/2–1555), last Master of the Order of Sempringham, Bishop of Llandaff, President of the Council of the North from 1538 and Archbishop of York from 1545 until deprived by Queen Mary in 1553 on account of his marriage. He was buried in St Sepulchre's Holborn.

There is a brief online life of him at Robert Holgate and H.L.Parish's much fuller Oxford DNB life can be read at Holgate, Robert


My interest in Holgate arises from the fact that he came from my part of the West Riding. Holgate was born in Hemsworth in 1481/2, and contracted his rather odd marriage to Barbara Wentworth in 1550 at the church at Adwick-le-Street in the same area - and where incidentally the parish priest Robert Parkyn jotted down his reactions to the religious changes going on around him in a way analogous to the much fuller reconstruction we have of life in Morebath thanks to Professor Duffy; Professor A.G. Dickens edited these and used them in his books. There is more about this Catholic priest at http://www.adwick-st-laurence.co.uk/history_parkyn.html


St Laurence Adwick-le-Street, where Holgate became the first married Archbishop of York - and potentially a bigamist

Prof. Dickens wrote several pieces about Holgate whom he claimed to see as an early example of a distinctive Anglican spirituality and tradition.

As Archbishop of York he must have been the only man to wear teh Anglican Pallium provided for by legislation after the break with Rome whereby the Archbishops of Canterbury and York were to consecrate pallia for each other. Holgate was the one Archbishop in this era who qualified for such an ornament. the provision would have been repealed under Queen mary, and was never re-enacted under her falf-sister or her successors. In any case, of course, the pallium is seen as asymbol of union with the Holy See. There is an article in a volume of the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal from the 1890s which discusses this Henrician provision

He founded three Grammar schools in 1546-7 at his birthplace Hemsworth - whence the school was transferred to Barnsley in the late nineteenth century; its former buildings in Hemsworth are now, perhaps ironically, the Catholic church of the Sacred Heart - at Malton where he had been Prior of the Gilbertines and in York There is more on these and other educational interests in an extract from Prof Dickens' Borthwick paper account of the Archbishop which can be seen at http://www.ahgs.co.uk/history.html

In his will of 1555 he provided that almshouses should be built to provide for persons aged 60 years or over from the ancient parishes of Hemsworth, Felkirk, South Kirkby, and Wragby. originally close
to the church in Hemsworth they were moved to a new site and buildings on the edge of Hemsworth in 1860, and adjoins Vissett manor, which is sais to be the Archbishop's birthplace. Today Archbishop Holgate's Hospital provides 24 self-contained homes for its almspeople.

The Gatehouse

The Chapel


More pictures of the Hospital and its grounds can be seen at the online account at Archbishop Holgate Hospital, Hemsworth.

Last Monday the present Archbishop of York preached at the founder's day Evensong and opened a new facility named the Ebor Hall for the use of the Hospital residents and the parish of Hemsworth, as can be seen in Archbishop Opens Ebor Hall at Archbishop Holgate's Hospital. The present Master of the Hospital is an old friend of mine, whom I got to know on Anglican Pilgrimages to Walsingham when I still lived in Pontefract.

Friday 20 November 2015

St Edmund King and Martyr in stained glass

Today is the feast of St Edmund, King and Martyr, and Gordon Plumb has posted photographs from his collection of medieval stained glass depictions of him on the Medieval Rekligion discussion group as follows:

Saxlingham Nethergate, St Mary, Norfolk, mid-13thC.:

Carlton Scroop, St Nicholas, Lincolnshire, B2, arms of St Edmund c.1307:

York Minster, sXXXIV, 5a-6a c.1310:

York Minster, nXXVI, 1a, 1b, 1c, three roundels showing the martyrdom of St Edmund c.1310-20:

Barton Mills, St Mary, Suffolk, sV, 2a-3a, 2nd quarter 14thC.:

Heydour, St Michael, Lincolnshire, nVI, 2c, c.1360, unusually shown as knight in armour:

Gloucester Cathedral, east window, right-hand figure, c.1350-60:

Wrangle, St Mary and St Nicholas, Lincolnshire, nVII, A3, c.1410-30:

Churchill, St John, Avon, nVI, 3a, fragment of St Edmund; originally from what is now Wakefield Cathedral, West Yorkshire, 15thC.:
and detail:

Long Melford, Suffolk, nXV, 2b, Edmund with an abbot of Bury kneeling at his feet, 15thC.:
detail of abbot:

St Philip has arrived

From the Oxford Oratory website:

"And here at length is he" *

Regular readers will know that there is a travelling bust of St Philip, made in Seville for his five-hundredth anniversary year, which has been travelling around the Oratories of the world. We had been expecting it some time ago, but heard that it was delayed, somewhere between Maastricht and Alcala de Henares.
Then, quite unexpectedly, and enormous crate was delivered last week:


The box took quite a lot of effort and ingenuity to open, but when we succeeded, inside was the bust of our Holy Father.


The bust shows St Philip, filled with the Holy Spirit, pointing to his heart, which was enlarged by the Spirit's action. The bust contains a relic of St Philip's body.


We have put the bust on St Philip's altar to give people the opportunity to pray before it. As to when and where the image will go next: St Philip has a habit of surprising!


Text and images: Oxford Oratory

The Clever Boy will add that one person here was inclined to describe the bust as reminiscent of Medallion Man...

Perhaps one should say that the bust may well be as bright and striking as older examples in churches and museums were when they were new.

* A quotation from Bl. John Henry Newman's hymn to St Philip "On Northern Shores our lot is cast" which speaks of the Saint travelling in spirit and in his sons, the Oratorians, to England.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Wolsey receives the Red Hat

Five centuries ago, on November 18 1515, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey received his red hat at the high altar of Westminster Abbey from the hands of the three other Archbishops who had celebrated the Mass - Archbishop William Warham of Canterbury and the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin - the former was John Kite, later Bishop of Carlisle and a political ally of Wolsey, and about whom there is a brief online biography here, and thelatter being William Rokeby, about whose chantry I posted last August in St Oswald's Church Kirk Sandall.

It is claimed that following this ceremony Warham, who was never to become a Cardinal, as might have been expected, never managed to have his Metropolitan Cross borne before him again whilst Wolsey lived, being outranked by him. 

What is believed to be Wolsey's Cardinal's hat was on show earlier this year in the Picture Gallery at Christ Church, the Oxford college the Cardinal founded in 1525. The hat is normally kept in its Strawberry Hill display case in the College Library.


 The Cardinal's Hat on display in Christ Church Library


I have posted about the hat and its history before in Cardinal Wolsey's red hat and Revising Wolsey's hat in 2011

The English College in Rome has a rather florid and not, I suspect, overly accurate, nineteenth century painting of the ceremony, and which is reproduced on the dust-jacket of Nicholas Schofield and Gerard Skinner's The English Cardinals

Image: Amazon

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Coin clipping hoard

BBC News website has a report of an interesting numismatic discovery by a metal detector in Gloucestershire. The find in the Forest of Dean of clippings from coins from the 1560s and 70s through to 1645 gives an insight into the shadier side of life in the period

The BBC report can be read at 'Toenail Hoard' of 500 coin clippings found in Forest of Dean

St Elizabeth of Hungary

John Dillon posted about St Elizabeth of Hungary, whose feast falls today in the General calendar, on the Medieval Religion discussion group as follows:

A daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary, Elizabeth was married in 1221 to Ludwig IV, landgrave of Thüringen (whence she is also known as Elizabeth of Thüringen). They had three children of whom the third, a daughter, was born after her crusading father's death at Otranto in 1227 and died in infancy. Only twenty when she was widowed, Elizabeth left the Thuringian court soon afterward -- there was a nasty struggle over her dowry -- and took up residence in Marburg (in today's Hessen), where she lived ascetically, devoted herself to works of charity, and died in 1231 at the age of twenty-four. Miracles were reported at her tomb and a cult arose. Two canonization trials ensued, followed by a canonization in 1235. Having dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi a hospital she had built in Marburg, she was subsequently promoted by Franciscans as a model of lay spirituality and charity. But she was educated at a Dominican convent in Hungary and the Dominicans claim her as well.

Elizabeth has a very extensive hagiographic dossier, including rather different miracle collections emanating from the Order of Friars Minor and from the Order of Preachers. In one legend, the young Elizabeth was forbidden by her father to distribute food to the poor. She of course did so anyway and was stopped for inspection, whereupon the food was changed miraculously to flowers (or was miraculously covered by them).

Some period-pertinent images of St. Elizabeth of Hungary / of Thüringen:

a) as portrayed at the base of her tomb (c. 1235-1250) in the originally thirteenth- and earlier fourteenth-century St. Elisabethkirche in Marburg an der Lahn, begun in the year of her canonization:


http://www.kornbluthphoto.com/images/ElizShrine2.jpg [photo courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth]
The tomb as a whole:


http://www.kornbluthphoto.com/images/ElizShrine1.jpg [photo courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth]

b) as portrayed on her copper-gilt shrine (between 1235 and 1250) in the same church:
1) standing, on one of the shrine's short ends:



2) Scenes of Elizabeth as portrayed on the roof of the shrine:






c) Elizabeth as portrayed in an earlier thirteenth-century statue, thought to be from very shortly after her canonization in 1235, in the Kirche (ex-cathedral) St. Peter und Paul in Naumburg:


d) as depicted (scenes) in several panels of the earlier thirteenth-century glass window (before 1250) devoted to her in the choir of the St. Elisabethkirche in Marburg an der Lahn:
1) http://tinyurl.com/pn23wco
larger view:


2) http://tinyurl.com/p4a2k7l

3) http://tinyurl.com/okvgktd
The window as a whole (click on the panels for smallish individual views):

e) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Francis of Assisi) in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the Legenda aurea (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 157r):

f) as depicted (tending the sick) in the late thirteenth-century Livre d'images de Madame Marie (c. 1285-1290; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 82v):

g) as depicted (at left; with Sts. Margaret of Hungary and Henry of Hungary) by Simone Martini in his early fourteenth-century frescoes of Franciscan saints (c. 1318) in the south transept of the lower church of the basilica di San Francesco at Assisi:


h) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Clare of Assisi) by Simone Martini in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco (c. 1318-1320) at the entrance to the cappella di San Martino in the lower church of the basilica di San Francesco at Assisi:


Detail view (Elizabeth):


i) as depicted (giving a cloak to a beggar) in a panel of the earlier fourteenth-century Altenberg Altarpiece (c. 1330) in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt m Main:

j) as depicted (at right; miracle of the flowers) in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco (c. 1337) formerly in the chiesa di Sant'Elisabetta d'Ungheria in Perugia and now in the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria in that city:


k) as depicted (experiencing a vision) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (c. 1326-1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 223r):

l) as depicted (experiencing a vision) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century copy, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1348; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 305r):


m) as depicted on the upper portion of a wing of a later fourteenth-century altarpiece (c. 1370-1373) from Schloss Tirol in the Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck:


The altarpiece as a whole:


n) as depicted (holding flowers) in a late fourteenth- or very early fifteenth-century panel painting attributed to Gherardo Starnina (formerly known as the Maestro del Bambino Vispo) sold at auction at Sotheby's in 1962:


Expandable grayscale views of the painting as photographed prior to that sale are here:
Where is the painting now?

o) as depicted (experiencing a vision) in the earlier fifteenth-century Châteauroux breviary (ca. 1414; Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 415v):


p) as depicted (washing a leper) in an early fifteenth-century copy of the Elsässische Legenda aurea (1419; Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. Pal. germ. 144, fol. 242v):

q) as depicted (experiencing a vision) in an earlier-to-mid-fifteenth century Franciscan breviary of Milanese origin (Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 760, fol. 573r):

r) as depicted (scenes) on the earlier fifteenth-century choir screen (c. 1420-1430) of the Heiligen-Geist-Hospital in Lübeck:


The panels in situ:


s) as depicted (at right, holding flowers; at left, St. Francis of Assisi) by Piero della Francesca in his later fifteenth-century Polyptych of Sant'Antonio (c. 1460-1470) in the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria in Perugia:


t) as portrayed in a later fifteenth-century polychromed wooden statue (c. 1470; the crown is later) in the nave (near the choir screen) in the St. Elisabethkirche in Marburg an der Lahn:



In the statue she is holding the Elisabethkirche.

u) as depicted (witha jug and a loaf, succoring the poor) by the Master of the Drapery Studies in the central panel of the later fifteenth-century St. Elizabeth Triptych (c. 1480) in the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe:


The altarpiece as a whole:


v) as depicted (succoring the poor) in a later fifteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (c. 1480-1490; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 245, fol. 175r):


w) as depicted (at top in left margin; holding a jug and a loaf) in a hand-coloured woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century Weltchronik (Nuremberg Chronicle; 1493) at fol. CCXIr:

x) as portrayed (holding a loaf and a spouted jug) by the Master of the Imberger Altar in a late fifteenth-century polychromed statuette in the altarpiece of the BVM and Saints (1495) in the Kapelle St. Jakobus at Reichenbach, a locality of Oberstdorf (Lkr. Oberallgäu) in Bavaria:
1) at right here:


2) at left here (at right, St. Sebastian):


y) as portrayed (second from left, holding flowers and looking remarkably aged for someone who died at age twenty-four; at left, St. Francis of Assisi) by Andrea della Robbia in about 1500 in his great terracotta relief of the Madonna and Child with Saints in the chiesa di Sant'Agata in Radicofani (SI) in Tuscany:

z) as portrayed (also elderly; holding loaves and a jug) in a late fifteenth- or earlier sixteenth-century statue in the Stiftskirche in Stuttgart:


aa) as portrayed (holding a loaf and a jug) in a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century panel painting on an altarpiece wing in the Stiftsgalerie in Herzogenburg (Land Niederösterreich):


bb) as portrayed on an early sixteenth-century Guldengroschen (1502) struck in Kassel by Wilhelm II, Landgraf of Hessen:

cc) as portrayed in an earlier sixteenth-century polychromed wooden statue (1511) by Ludwig Juppe on the celebrants' sedile in the east choir of the St. Elisabethkirche in Marburg an der Lahn:


Detail view:


In the statue she is again depicted holding the Elisabethkirche

dd) as portrayed in an earlier sixteenth-century statue (c. 1520) of Bavarian origin, ascribed to the workshop of Hans Leinberger, in the Musée de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame, Strasbourg:


ee) as portrayed in relief in a copy of an earlier sixteenth-century sculpture by Ludwig Juppe on Marburg's City Hall (1527; the original is in the Museum für Kulturgeschichte in the Marburger Schloss):