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, 2 November 2022

Medieval Islamic glass found at Caelaverock Castle

Fragments of a twelfth or thirteenth century glass drinking vessel made in the Near East were found during excavations at Carlaverock Castle in Dumfriesshire in the 1990s.

The Past has an article about research into these glass fragments and the reconstruction of the original vessel and which can be seen at Glass fragments highlight Islamic connections in late medieval Scotland

It is interesting that these pieces of glass were discovered just the other side of the Solway from Cumberland with its traditional Lucks, vessels which bring good fortune to their owners, and two of which are also of glass. The story of these Lucks is set out in a BBC article at BBC - Cumbria - History - Cumberland Lucks

The Luck of Edenhall is an exquisite mid-fourteenth century beaker from Syria, and now in the V&A. It is described at V&A · The Luck of Edenhall from the V&A website, by Wikipedia at Luck of Edenhall and by Atlas Obscura at The Luck of Edenhall

The Luck of Edenhall


The Luck of Muncaster may be of Venetian manufacture and is a bowl, traditionally said to have been given to Sir John Pennington of Mucaster Castle by King Henry VI in 1464. This was in recognition of the nine days hospitality given by Sir John to the dethroned  King in his flight after the battle of Hexham. It is still in the possession of the descendants of the Penningtons at Muncaster Castle. There are online articles about it at The Luck of Muncaster Castle and of Eden Hallat Muncaster Luckboth of which also look at the Luck of Edenhall, and at Luck of the Muncasters to go on show

Luck of Muncaster
The Luck of Muncaster

Image: BBC

That such exotic glassware was appreciated is clear from the story of the Lucks, but it is evident that such vessels were not unknown elsewhere in the seemingly remote borderlands around the Solway Firth. Was the Caerlaverock glass a similar piece whose luck finally ran out?

Caerlaverock Castle as it might have appeared in the fifteenth century by Alan Sorrell.

Image: Castle Studies Trust / Crown Copyright HES

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