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.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Commemorating Edward Prince of Wales

Yesterday was the 645th anniversary of the death at the Palace of Westminster of Edward Prince of Wales in 1376.

Man of action, man of prayer
The gilt bronze effigy of Edward Prince of Wales in Canterbury Cathedral 

Image: Medievalists.net

There is an online biography of the Prince from Wikipedia at Edward the Black Prince and another account at THE DEATH OF THE BLACK PRINCE - Naked History This has an emphasis in part on his funeral the following September at Canterbury.

In recent months I have come across several online video features about his heraldic achievements which, after the funeral
ceremonies were hung above his tomb in Canterbury Cathedral. These are rare and precious survivals.
Replicas, made in the 1950's, of the armorial achievements of the Black Prince, including his jupon.
Replicas of the Prince’s achievements made in the 1950s
Image: trc-leiden.nl 

There are features about the analysis of the tomb and more particularly the effigy, itself an assembly of forty five pieces, which gives an idea of what arming a knight involved, at The Tomb of the Black Prince and at Investigating the Black Prince's Tomb

I particularly like the practicality of the idea of the detachable tail for the crest on the helm.

The jupon still surviving at Canterbury is discussed in this report from the Textile Research Centre in Leiden at Jupon of the Black Prince

A longer feature is about the creation of a reproduction of his jupon using the appropriate fabrics. This is from a BBC series  can be seen at A Stitch in Time S01E05 The Black Prince

The overall result is very splendid and gives an idea of the vividness and colour of medieval military and chivalric life. Would one really want to get such an item spoiled in the heat of battle or jousting? Evidently people were indeed prepared to, and presumably that kept craftsmen and craftswomen in business. It is certainly far from the too frequent modern cinematic idea of everything medieval being in shades of grey and beige, or even black ( which was, of course, a very expensive colour to produce ), and on days when it always rained.... For the mind of modern film costumers that all changes with the advent of the Tudors of course ....

The resulting jupon recreated for the Prince can also be seen in this photograph:

Image: ninyamikhailya.com

May he rest in peace

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