950: 1066 Remembered, Guest Post: The Bastard of Normandy v. the Golden Warrior (Paula Lofting)

before the second sleep

The Bastard of Normandy Versus the Golden Warrior

Paula Lofting

Funeral of King Edward the Confessor, Scene 26, Bayeux Tapestry (By Image on web site of Ulrich Harsh. [Public domain, Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)Funeral of King Edward the Confessor, Scene 26, Bayeux Tapestry (By Image on web site of Ulrich Harsh. [Public domain, Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

The year of 1066 started out with three contenders for the throne. As Edward lay dying in the early days of January, William of Normandy waited to hear news that he was now the new king of England. But unbeknown by him, Harold Godwinson was elected by the Witan, and the third contender, the young atheling, Edgar, had been cast aside, deemed as too young and inexperienced, without the kind of support Harold possessed. Edward, delirious in his sick bed, had given his blessing (as per the Vita Edwardi), and had appointed Harold as guardian of his queen, Harold’s sister Edith, and entrusted him with his kingdom.

With Edgar out…

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Livery, Maintenance and Richard III

What a great article!

Matt's History Blog

A large part of the anathema surrounding Richard III stems solely from rumour, personal feeling and, in particular, one unforgivable act that he only may have committed. It is a constant plea of the Ricardian movement that the evil of which he is accused during the summer of 1483 is so out of character as to seem impossible; it feels wrong. I thought perhaps it might be worth examining some of the evidence for this previous good character and what it can tell us about Richard, Duke of Gloucester. I recently read a very good article on Livery and Maintenance, a link to which can be found below, on Medievalists.net which I found fascinating and applicable to Richard’s background too.

After Edward IV regained his throne in 1471, much of the Parliament that followed was concerned with the lawlessness immediately prior to and during the re-adeption period. The Parliament Rolls…

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Thomas Langton: Richard III’s Character Witness


Amongst the glories of Winchester Cathedral, there is a chantry chapel of outstanding beauty and magnificence. The man who is buried there, and for whom the roof bosses provide a rebus clue, is Thomas Langton, who died of plague in 1501 only days after being elected by Henry VII as Archbishop of Canterbury. Earlier, he had served as the Bishop of Winchester (1493-1501), Salisbury (1484-93) and St. David’s (1483-84), and acted as a servant to three — or four, depending on how you count — English kings. As the information plaque at Winchester Cathedral succinctly announces, Langton had been a chaplain to Edward IV and Richard III, and Ambassador to France and Rome.

Although his death came as a surprise in his 70th year, he did have the opportunity to make an extensive will, showing he died a very wealthy man. It runs to over 100 items, and contains…

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12 Places Associated with King Richard III

Fleeting Glimpse

531 years ago today, King Richard III was killed in battle, fiercely and bravely fighting to defend his Kingship and realm. (I wrote a high level blog about it here)

In honour of King Richard, I give you 12 places that he would have known well, and/ or were associated with key moments in his short life. He was only 32 years old when he was killed, and what a turbulent, active, 32 years it was.

He is well known for the way that he died, but not many know about the events of life.


From the top left, working clockwise:

1.Church of St. Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire – the Parish church in the township of Richard’s birth, the church his father completed, and the final resting place of his parents and brother. Richard acted as chief mourner, re-interring his father and brother in a solemn…

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Some folks out there have recently been trying to justify the long list of people executed by Henry VIII  because ‘at least they had a trial’ or ‘because it was over religion, and there were always beheadings, pressings, burnings over religion.’

Well, surprisingly, I must agree with them on one thing. Henry sure could be fair and evenhanded.

He dealt out his brand of ‘justice’/punishment to both Catholics and Protestants, peasant and nobles, strangers and relatives, men  and women, and young and old alike!

From the Protestant side, the list of victims  include twelve clergymen, 3 monks, 2 lawyers, a courtier, several servants, an apprentice, a leatherseller and a tailor, a player and a musician, a painter and a mercer. Poignantly, there is also listed a poor artificer and a poor labourer, a  wife, a man called Valentine Freese alongside his wife, a child under 15 called Richard Mekins, and…

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Richard III and White Surrey….



Once again, while rooting around for information that might be of use in a book I intend to write about figures in the court of Richard II, I have found an interesting snippet. This time my thoughts are jolted with regard to the name of Richard III’s horse, White Surrey.

I have never particularly liked the name, and know that there is some doubt about its veracity, but even so, it is what we all call the great white courser he rode at Bosworth.

Anyway, my interest in Richard II centres on his Holland half-brothers . . . and so I have been going through “The Hollands, Dukes of Exeter, Earls of Kent and Huntingdon, 1352-1475” by Michael M.N. Stansfield, which is the most detailed work about this family that I have found so far.

In 1399, Richard II made a very ill-judged expedition to Ireland, and while his foolish…

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Inference: Richard III

Why the skeleton found in Leicester is definitely Richard III, even without the DNA evidence!

Rational Gareth

In my first post I am going to look at a problem of Bayesian inference. This is a technique that can be used whenever we need to weigh up the evidence for or against some proposition. There are several good blogs explaining Bayes’ Theorem, but I have not seen one that addresses a real problem and shows how many different kinds of information can be combined to come to a conclusion expressed as a probability. In this case we are looking at a scientific question where Bayesian reasoning could be, but apparently hasn’t, been used.

On 4 February 2013 Leicester University announced that a skeleton discovered on the site of the former Greyfriars Church in Leicester was “beyond reasonable doubt” that of King Richard III of England, who had died at the battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485, and whose resting place had been lost for centuries…

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