Martyrs in the Making Political Martyrdom in Late Medieval England
Martyrs in the Making
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Martyrs in the Making Political Martyrdom in Late Medieval England
Martyrs in the Making
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Martyrs in the Making Political Martyrdom in Late Medieval England Danna Piroyansky
© Danna Piroyansky 2008 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 4LP. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The author has asserted her right to be identiﬁed as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. First published 2008 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010 Companies and representatives throughout the world PALGRAVE MACMILLAN is the global academic imprint of the Palgrave Macmillan division of St. Martin’s Press, LLC and of Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. Macmillan® is a registered trademark in the United States, United Kingdom and other countries. Palgrave is a registered trademark in the European Union and other countries. ISBN 13: 978–0–230–51692–2 hardback ISBN 10: 0–230–51692–0 hardback This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Piroyansky, Danna, 1974– Martyrs in the making : political martyrdom in late medieval England / Danna Piroyansky. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 10: 0–230–51692–0 (hardback : alk. paper) ISBN 13: 978–0–230–51692–2 (hardback : alk. paper) 1. England–Church history–Middle Ages, 600–1500. 2. Martyrdom. 3. Martyrs–England–History–To 1500. 4. Christianity and politics– England–History–To 1500. I. Title. BR747.P58 2008 272–dc22 10 17
2007052970 5 12
Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Antony Rowe, Chippenham and Eastbourne
In memory of my uncle, Eduardo Raúl Piroyansky A political activist shot by police in Buenos Aires (1947–1976)
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List of Abbreviations
Mapping Martyrdom Martyrdom in religious ideas and practices Martyrdom between orthodoxy and heterodoxy Metaphorical use of martyrdom
6 6 13 18
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight From condemnation to cure: cult chronology Lancastrian affinities Chivalry Justice and injustice
23 24 29 37 44
Archbishop Richard Scrope: Shepherd of the People Cult chronology: saint or martyr? The bishop’s roles Spiritual authority Political authority Scrope and the city of York
King Henry VI: Glory of Innocence Cult chronology: from Chertsey to Windsor Posthumous popularity Royal imagery Protector against the plague Patron of learning A holy innocent The political idiom of suffering
74 75 79 80 85 87 89 94
‘A Death Worth a Martyr’s Crown’: Other Martyrs and Their Cults Kings Bishops Barons
50 55 56 63 67
99 105 108
Conclusion Cult creation Cult purposes Martyrdom: ‘old’ versus ‘new’? Shared and distinctive traits The English Church
119 119 121 124 125 127
Acknowledgements The doctoral thesis upon which this book is based was presented to the University of London in 2005. Several studentships and scholarships supported its writing, first and foremost the three-year studentship generously offered to me by the Westfield Trust Research Fellowship of Queen Mary College. I am also grateful to the Central Research Fund of the University of London which supported my travels to study manuscripts and images in libraries and churches, as well as to the Overseas Research Students (ORS) Awards Scheme, whose generous support I enjoyed for two consecutive years. The following libraries and their staff made their manuscripts available: in London, the British Library, Lambeth Palace, Victoria and Albert Museum, Society of Antiquaries, College of Arms, the National Archives (PRO), and London Guildhall; in Cambridge, Corpus Christi, Trinity, Sidney Sussex, St John’s, Christ’s, Clare and King’s colleges, as well as the library of the Fitzwilliam Museum; in Oxford, Duke Humfrey’s library at the Bodleian, and University College, Merton, and Balliol colleges. I am also grateful to the libraries and librarians in York Minster, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service (Norwich), Worcester Cathedral, Durham University Library and Ushaw College, Trinity College Dublin, the Berlin Stadtbibliothek, the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and the university libraries of Jerusalem (Hebrew University), Haifa and Tel Aviv. I am also indebted to the congregations of the churches of South Newington (Oxfordshire), Barton Turf, Gateley, Binham Abbey, and Ludham (all in Norfolk), Eye (Suffolk), Alton (Hampshire), Ashtonunder-Lyne (Lancashire), Hillingdon (London), and Whimple (Devon), for their hospitality and permission to photograph images in their churches. I take great pleasure and pride in having gotten to know Miri Rubin who has supervised the writing of my dissertation, and has accompanied me ever since. Not only did she introduce me to Britain and its academic community and offered much sympathy and empathy, but she also inspired and challenged me, teaching me that in History matters are always more complicated than they seem and are worth questioning again and again. Nigel Saul and John Watts who were my doctoral examiners provided both criticism and encouragement; I thank them both. ix
In the process of writing this book I have tried to scrutinize things with fresh eyes, and in this I was fortunate to be helped and inspired by Julia Boffey, Virginia Davis, Thomas Freeman, Jeremy Goldberg, Miri Rubin, Nigel Saul and John Watts, who read and commented on my work at different stages. Many scholars have shared their work, thoughts and knowledge with me, advised, and offered me assistance; it is a pleasure to acknowledge their kind help. On a sadder note, I regret to acknowledge the late Simon Walker’s assistance and kindness posthumously. I am also indebted to David d’Avray, Anthony Bale, Bettina Bildhauer, Paul Binski, Julia Boffey, David Carpenter, Michael Clanchy, Esther Cohen, Patricia Cullum, Natalie Zemon Davis, Barrie Dobson, Sue Edgington, Anthony Edwards, Christopher Fletcher, Ian Forrest, Thomas Freeman, Jeremy Goldberg, Yitzhak Hen, Julian Luxford, Richard Marks, Sophia Menache, Robert Mills, Ann Nichols, Christopher Norton, Lea Olsan, Sophie Page, Raluca Radulescu, Richard Rex, Nicholas Rogers, Nigel Saul, Katheleen L. Scott, Paul Strohm, Mary Vincent, John Watts, Yossi Ziegler, and Patrick Zutshi. I am also grateful to the participants of the ‘European History 1050–1550’ Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in London, and to various others who commented on different stages of this work in other seminars and conferences in which I presented my work. I would also like to thank Michael Strang and Ruth Ireland from Palgrave Macmillan, to the anonymous reader whose comments were of great help, and to Ami Asher for his attentive editing. Any errors, inaccuracies or failings are, naturally, my own. I wish to thank my friends for their support over the years, particularly Tal Aisenberg, Sagit Anthony, Claudia Arroyo, Derek Clear, Kevin Freeman, Lauren Freeman, Tessa and Steve Friedman, Conrad Kaminer, Sharon Livne, Shira Philosof, and Kristina Spix. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to my family, who constantly supported me from both near and far, and accompanied me in every step. Only at a fairly late stage in my research did I finally realize the answer to the question I have been asked so often: ‘Why is an Israeli woman studying English medieval political martyrs?’ The answer lies in a Saturday evening in early November 1995, when I watched in disbelief the televised announcement that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in Tel Aviv. As farfetched as it may sound, exploring political martyrdom in late medieval England was a way of exploring my own various identities – as an individual in a community, an Israeli, and finally, a historian.
List of Abbreviations BIHR BJRL BL BM CCR CPR EETS EHR Foedera
Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research Bulletin of the John Rylands Library British Library British Museum Calendar of Close Rolls Calendar of Patent Rolls Early English Text Society English Historical Review T. Rymer, Foedera, Conventiones, Litterae…4 vols., Record Commission (London, 1816–69) ODNB Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004–5) PRO The National Archives (Public Record Office) Robbins Historical Poems of the XIVth and XVth Centuries, R.H. Robbins (ed.) (NY, 1959) RP Rotuli Parliamentorum, 6 vols., Record Commission (London) RS Rolls Series VCH Victoria History of the Counties of England Wright Political Poems and Songs relating to English History, T. Wright (ed. and trans.) 2 vols., RS 14 (1859–61) YML York Minster Library
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In Dives and Pauper, a Middle English moral treatise written between 1405 and 1410, the figure of Dives inquires, while discussing the First Commandment: ‘Why are there no martyrs these days, as there used to be?’ Pauper, his partner in dialogue, assures his friend that ‘We have these days all too many martyrs in this land’. When Dives still fails to understand, Pauper further explains: For the more martyrs the more murder, the more manslaughter and the more shedding of the blood of innocents…the English nation has now made many martyrs, they [the English] spare neither their own king nor their own bishops, no dignity, no rank, no status, no degree.1 The problem, according to Pauper, was not scarcity of martyrs in England, but rather their abundance. Yet the fact that the English were creating new martyrs was not cause for celebration, since this martyr making translated into murder, manslaughter, and the shedding of innocent blood. The fictional Pauper had real events in mind: King Richard II’s probable murder (1400), the executions of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel (1397) and Archbishop Richard Scrope (1405), perhaps even Archbishop Simon Sudbury’s decapitation by a mob thirty years or so earlier, during the Peasants’ Revolt (1381). The men Pauper refers to in this text – kings, bishops and others of high estate – were England’s political martyrs of the late Middle Ages, the subject of this book. Both before and after the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, England underwent bouts of martyr making: Anglo-Saxon royals were venerated as saints and martyrs for their pious life and untimely death, whereas 1
2 Martyrs in the Making
during the English Reformation and its aftermath, people who endured death as part of their religious conviction were held as martyrs in their communities. In this book the late medieval martyr-poeia is explored and treated as a contextualized political, religious, social and cultural phenomenon; it is therefore idiosyncratic and unique in its historical essence and representation, despite associations and comparisons with past examples of martyrdom. The late medieval political martyrs studied here found premature and unnatural death in political circumstances, as a result of rebellion, civil war, regime change or popular discontent. Indeed, many opportunities for violent, untimely death arose during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Having suffered death, these men were venerated as miracle-working martyrs in cults centred on their tombs, which turned into shrines. None of the political martyrs studied here gained official papal recognition in the form of canonization, although, for some, such a process was initiated, though never successfully concluded. Whether or not these martyrs-to-be expressed (when alive) a wish to die for a certain cause – be it the Church, the English common weal, or any other public agenda – is almost impossible to determine, and moreover, irrelevant to our purposes. Yet the posthumous explanations and justifications given to their deaths by their adherents are crucial to understanding late medieval English society, as they shed light on contemporary modes of thought, behaviour and worship. Our martyrs were always men. Although some women were not only politically involved, but commanded, when opportunity arose, immense powers – Queen Isabella of France (d. 1358) and Queen Margaret of Anjou (d. 1482) are the most obvious examples – opportunities for premature death, such as decapitation, battle or coup d’état were not as readily available to late medieval women as to their fellow men. Women of high birth were usually not executed for their political misdeeds, rather sent, after due penance, to end their lives in early retirement, in a castle or religious establishment, as did Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, in 1441. Despite the occasional exile, humiliation, poverty and imprisonment noble and royal women suffered following changed political circumstances, these were not enough to make them martyrs venerated posthumously through a cult. The political martyrs of the later Middle Ages were usually around their late forties and early fifties, with the exception of the slightly older religious leaders (late fifties to early sixties). They were killed, if not while in public office, then as a consequence of their effort and aspiration to command political power. They were familiar to their contemporaries
thanks to their temporal or spiritual authority, family connections or riches, at times all combined. These men were not responsible for the development of cults in the aftermath of their deaths; rather, they were made martyrs and venerated as such by others. One of the objectives of this work is to establish the agents behind the initial formation of such cults. This has proved to be particularly difficult, since despite relative success in identifying several devotees active in later stages of the cults’ existence, discovering the early adherents was usually impossible, mainly due to source limitations and to our difficulties with dating these accurately. Furthermore, adherents of political martyr cults were not a homogenous group. We shall see in the following chapters how the different cults attracted different adherents – religious and lay folk, men and women, landed gentry from the shires and merchants from the cities, rich and poor. Back in 1929, J.C. Russell set the tone for the future study of popular political canonization in high and late medieval England; his views were to linger for half a century or so. In ‘The Canonization of Opposition to the King in Angevin England’, he suggested that such cults of political saints offered a mode of showing resistance to the king, one which would have been difficult to penalize or control.2 During the 1970s, the study of political martyrdom became popular among American academics, perhaps in reaction to the Kennedy assassinations.3 Most of these studies tended to interpret political martyrdom as originating in political manipulation by powerful individual players, offering a reading which concentrated on the ‘political’ aspect in its narrowest sense, usually ignoring religious, cultural or symbolic perspectives.4 More recently, in what proved to be the turning point in the study of political sainthood in medieval England, the late Simon Walker managed, in his by now classic article from 1995, to highlight a different aspect of these cults. While accepting, at least for the early stages of their development, the explanation of propagandistic political manipulation as the initial driving force, he also argued that these martyrdom cults represented ideas of concord, harmony and love, without which, he claimed, they would have been quick to disappear off the devotional map.5 In this article and other works, Walker contributed significantly to the emerging study of the political culture of England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This relatively new discipline of political culture research aimed not only at reconstructing political action through its main players, but also at understanding political ideas and attitudes that were, as recently put by Christine Carpenter, ‘the common property of a wide social and political spectrum’.6
4 Martyrs in the Making
The cultural turn – and more particularly, medieval cultural studies – has shaped the process of contemplating this book. The questions brought to the fore have often been not (or not only) ‘How it really was?’, but rather ‘How was it for him, or her, or them?’7 My concern here, beyond the attempt to reconstruct historical narrative(s), is with cultural matters like representation and symbolism, the polyphony of individual voices and interpretations through religiosity, social standing or gender, and, concurrently, collective discourses and constructions of communal and individual identities. On the one hand, I aim at chronicling the formation and existence of these cults, and on the other, interpreting and giving meaning to our findings. Not only the themes studied here are culturally inclined, methods are too. Paul Strohm has suggested we should resolve ‘not just to be interdisciplinary, but actively to oppose disciplinary complacencies. To be, in a word, “antidisciplinary”’.8 Only by overlooking the boundaries between categories such as literature, art, liturgy or political history, and using them interchangeably, can we attempt to understand culture, ‘for it is the system of meanings’, as Miri Rubin proposed, ‘which makes order, ranks priority and suggests useful connections between things – real, felt and imagined’.9 Therefore, various types of sources are used in this book. Some are textual – diplomatic documents, hagiographical Vitae, miracle collections, chronicles, liturgy, commonplace books, church warden accounts, inventories, wills and poems; others are visual – representations in manuscripts, or on stained glass, rood screens and wall paintings. These sources are explored through different readings, using theoretical tools such as used, for example, by literary critics, anthropologists or art historians. Any study of the idea of political martyrdom and its manifestation in the form of political martyr cults should be undertaken with the understanding that they constituted an organic part of late medieval life, an entity in which not only political, but communal and private, local and regional, devotional and social aspirations mixed. If we aim at reconstructing them and understanding the activities and representations which emerged in their framework, we must place the cults within their proper context. Thus, Chapter 1 examines the idea of martyrdom as experienced and expressed in this period by different people and in various genres, and questions its importance and significance to the lives of contemporary English men and women. The next three chapters are case studies, each representing an aspect of late medieval society: king, archbishop, and earl. Juxtaposed and investigated side by side, they recreate several continuities and contiguities,
pictures of life, starting at the beginning of the fourteenth and ending in the second half of the sixteenth century. By studying the cults of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster (d. 1322), Richard Scrope, Archbishop of York (d. 1405), and King Henry VI (d. 1471), I raise questions pertinent to the posthumous cultic activity around them, from the circumstances of their emergence to the unique characteristics – social, geographical, political, iconographic and symbolic – of their representations through the cults, as posthumously constructed by their adherents. In Chapter 5 I explore so-called ‘minor’ cults which produced only small scale or short lived veneration, and ‘potential martyrs’, who never developed a posthumous following. By looking at the deaths of several kings, bishops, princes and nobles, we can further recreate the ‘imaginative structure’ of the period and its political culture,10 and identify the different variables which determined a late medieval cult’s success or failure. The making of the martyrs in this book is manifold: primarily, these political figures were ‘made’ martyrs by the mere fact of their death. But was their demise enough to articulate their martyrdom and create the cults which followed? Were martyrs created only through dying? Late medieval English political martyrs were rather ‘made’ through a construction process initiated by immediate followers and continued by later generations of adherents. Finally, these martyrs are ‘remade’ here, in this book, as we reconstruct this late medieval creation through the surviving sources and through the prisms of our own subjective existence.
1 Mapping Martyrdom
What were late medieval English people thinking of when they used the word ‘martyrdom’? This question will guide me in the exploration of ideas and images held by men and women, merchants and gentry, nobility and peasantry when confronted with narratives of martyrdom. The meaning of martyrdom can be likened to a pebble thrown into a pond: the spot where it hits the surface is apparent, but the farther one looks and as time passes, the ripples become subtler. At the heart of late medieval ideas on martyrdom lay Christ and his Passion, the sacrifice on the cross being the pivotal point of Christian narrative. The ripples are the words and images related to the innocent suffering which is martyrdom. The historical sources relevant to this study are vast, but unravelling them is highly challenging. The mapping of martyrdom in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England is essential for understanding the cultural and religious milieu in which ideas on political martyrdom were formed and cults of political martyrs constructed. This chapter explores the uses of the language of martyrdom, beginning with its epicentre, Christ’s suffering, and the ways in which it was imagined and experienced. I shall then discuss martyrdom and its place in devotional practices. It will emerge as an idea which intertwined many areas of life, like exile and marriage.
Martyrdom in religious ideas and practices Christ’s Passion and suffering were omnipresent in the late Middle Ages. Constructed and reconstructed through images, prayers, vernacular verses, sermons, religious drama and liturgy, it was accessible to all. Christ’s representation in the period was no longer triumphant; it was the suffering of a God who took on a human body. This was no longer 6
Mapping Martyrdom 7
a distant, majestic God, but rather an intimate kinsman – mother, father, brother or lover. Like the men and women who prayed to him, he had known pain and hardship, and suffered them patiently. His Passion was not a distant event, to which one could remain indifferent, but a link between past and present, God and man, sacred and profane, salvation and damnation. Devotions which celebrated particular elements of these sufferings were introduced into England in the late Middle Ages, and became part of private lay piety as well as public liturgy, further stressing the contemporary fascination with the more physical aspects of Christ’s life and death. One such cult was that of the Arms of Christ (Arma Christi) – the instruments used in his crucifixion: the nails, lance, pincers, hammer and even dice, but especially the Crown of Thorns. Items less directly linked to Calvary were part of this devotion too, like trees symbolizing the garden of Gethsemane, or dots representing Christ’s sweat. All these images were seen as ‘arms’ in two senses: they were weapons used by Christ against death and Satan; and they were akin to Christ’s coat of arms or emblem. This cult was especially connected with Christ’s pardon, protection, or mercy.1 Christ’s mother, Mary, was a central agent of Christ’s incarnation, and as such she received much doctrinal and liturgical attention in the period. Mary’s Immaculate Conception, for example, was acknowledged by the papacy from 1476 (celebrated on 8 December), although it only became dogma in 1854.2 Mary’s Joys (like the Annunciation, Nativity, or Ascension) and Sorrows (the flight into Egypt or the meeting with Christ on his way to Calvary) were celebrated with feasts and liturgies, as foci for sympathy and empathy with Mary. In the growing popularity of the image of the Pietà, showing the lamenting Mary embracing her dead son after his crucifixion, contemporaries found a model for compassion (from the Latin cumpassio, suffering with) to be followed. In her role as the Mater Dolorosa, Mary became, in the later Middle Ages, a devotional theme in her own right.3 At times, mother and son were depicted as suffering together, as in the very popular Mirrour of the Blessed Lyf of Jesu Christ, translated from the Meditationes Vitae Christi (attributed to Bonaventura) by Nicholas Love (d. 1424), prior of a Carthusian house in Yorkshire. Here a meditative imagining of Christ’s life was offered to the reader. When depicting the crucifixion, Love described not only Christ’s sufferings, but also his mother’s: ‘Look now’, Jesus says, ‘she hangs on the cross with me’ (‘loo now…she hangeπ | on |πe crosse with me’).4 A slightly different understanding of Mary’s suffering can be found in the ‘Obsecro Te’ prayer that appeared in books of hours, in which Mary’s Sorrows were
8 Martyrs in the Making
paired with those of Christ. Christ’s fountains of blood, for example, are paired with Mary’s fountains of tears: Christ bleeds while his mother is weeping.5 Their experiences are different but closely bound. In the later Middle Ages the bodily ties between Mary and Christ were increasingly emphasized, and they became almost equal in importance.6 Mary’s compassionate suffering with Christ was experienced by mystics who envisioned the Passion and underwent their own spiritual martyrdom of sorts. Following the model provided by Mary, Julian of Norwich (d. c. 1416), experienced visions during May 1373; no pain could be compared with that she had suffered when witnessing Christ’s own (‘here I felt stedfastly that I louyd Crist so much aboue my selfe that ther was no peyne that might be sufferyd lyke to that sorow that I had to see hym in payne’).7 Her spiritual encounter with Christ’s suffering was so intense and so real that the resulting anguish was beyond any human experience. Margery Kempe (d. c. 1438), the lay woman from Lynn, experienced similar visions in which she suffered with Christ. These triggered dramatic responses when she relived the Passion, after participating in a Corpus Christi procession. On one such occasion, after a woman had wished Margery that God give her grace to follow in His footsteps, Margery’s sobbing turned into repeated cries of ‘“I die”’, and such roaring that ‘the pepil wonderyd upon hir’.8 Imitation of Christ was an ardent co-suffering, to the point of an imagined death for Margery. This was a route to intimacy with God, at times to the point of spiritual unity.9 Meditative imagining of the Passion was made available through visual imagery and devotional writings which facilitated and encouraged such experiences, and were aimed at believers with different degrees of literacy, status and religious inclination. By emphasizing bodily and emotional experiences and not doctrinal issues, the creators of such Passion imagery guided their audience towards an immediate affective response, one which encompassed love and pity for Christ as well as guilt and shame for their own sins.10 The whole-page Calvary scene in the Sherborne Missal (c. 1399–1407), now in the British Library, is an example of such representations: the image is alive with several figures – the bleeding Christ, His fainting mother supported by two women, St John, Mary Magdalene, the two thieves, Longinus, soldiers, a crowd of onlookers and angels. Their costumes are rich; the rocky landscape is vibrant.11 It is not naturalistic, quite far from it considering the richly patterned carpet in the background, but rather vivid and full of life. Here is the culmination of a process which began in the thirteenth century: the participants in crucifixion scenes became more numerous, more involved, and were increasingly depicted as expressing human feel-
Mapping Martyrdom 9
ings. This shift enabled the viewer to become part of the Calvary scene, to share in Christ’s suffering.12 A similar effect was generated by Richard Rolle (d. 1349), the hermit from Hampole and composer of many devotional poems and treatises (both in English and Latin). In a meditation on the Passion, [D]euout meditacioun vp /pe passioun of Crist, Rolle described the agonizing crucifixion and the lingered death, nail by nail and limb by limb.13 Subtle devices were employed to intensify the readers’ reaction, through the reconstruction of a past which became a present. One such ploy was encouraging the reader or listener to use all senses while meditating, and to imagine not only the visual unfolding of events in front of their inner eyes, but also noises and odours accompanied. Another device employed the ‘dramatic present’, stressing the direct, immediate nature of the experience by using the present tense. Readers were not merely being told a story, but instructed to take part in it: ‘You see the crown of thorns…you feel your heart…you mourn, weep and cry out’.14 The desirable results of such gazing at and meditation on Passion imagery were manifold and interwoven. The most immediate was the experience of co-suffering with Christ, which stirred the person into feeling love, tenderness and pity towards Christ and consequently, towards fellow Christians as well. Another effect produced feelings of shame for the suffering which Christ had endured as He atoned for the sins of humanity. Such feelings could lead believers to contrition, confession and atonement. This system of Passion-related expiation had its dangers too. Walter Hilton (d. 1395/96), an Augustinian canon at Thurgarton (Nottinghamshire), who composed the meditative treatise Scale of Perfection, warned against the blurring of the boundaries between Christ’s suffering and the believers’. The love and joy felt through bodily suffering, he argued, was not ‘implanted by the Holy Spirit… but is stimulated by the devil in the fires of hell’.15 Ecstatic self-harm as part of religious ritual gave a cause for unease. Hilton suggested rather that the self-inflicted suffering be ‘well tempered with humility and discretion’; he discouraged the infliction of pain, like that practiced by the continental Flagellants, condemned as heretics by Pope Clement VI in 1349.16 This practice of meditation on the Passion was part of the growing involvement of the laity in, and diversification of, private and public religious practices, so evident from the thirteenth century onwards.17 Lay as well as religious people sought additional ways and created new paths into religious practice, beyond the basic experience of the sacraments and liturgy. The religious – Richard Rolle was a hermit, Julian of
10 Martyrs in the Making
Norwich an anchoress, Walter Hilton an Augustinian canon – explored such new directions. Other devotional experiences aimed to shorten the distance between Christ and the believer, and encompassed elements of imitative suffering, experiences akin to spiritual martyrdom. Some late medieval English men, and especially women, lived in voluntary celibacy. Male chastity allowed men to remain masculine without acting masculine, by overcoming lust, in a ‘battle for chastity’.18 This struggle was occasionally present in the more common female virginity, lived communally in a religious house or even within matrimony or in widowhood. These were ‘honorary virgins’, whose choices encompassed a certain degree of martyrological depth.19 Temptation posed tough challenges to the voluntary virgin, ones which resulted in much pain. The Ancrene Wisse, a guide for anchorites written c. 1220 by an anonymous Augustinian canon, instructed to hang black curtains marked by a white cross on their windows, so that chastity be contemplated constantly.20 These difficulties, like the blackness around the white cross, surrounded the white pure core, and it was ever-present. The curtains were not only a reminder of the continuous struggle and pain experienced by the virgin, but also a public declaration that acknowledged the presence of desires. The reward for winning this war was, according to a letter on virginity from early in the thirteenth century, bliss and the crown of Christ’s elect.21 This turned the triumphant virgin into a saint crowned in heaven or better still, into a martyr. Some lived the experience in an anchorhold, as if dead to the world. After her symbolic death had been liturgically celebrated, the anchoress was sealed in her cell, ready to start her new life as a famula dei.22 Far from the communal gaze yet also at its symbolic centre, these women acquired new position in this world.23 Because of their ritual death to the world they could become martyrs of sorts, combining their symbolic death with an ongoing state of martyrdom in life.24 This martyrdom was constructed through voluntary suffering caused by deprivation of human contact and physical comfort. Thus the anchoress was instructed to ‘die like a martyr in her suffering’ rather than ask for more palatable food to be brought to her.25 Her suffering was to be exacerbated by the daily deprivation, an ascetic exercise, a continuous martyrdom. Such life of suffering was not easy to endure, and few adhered to it. Most people preferred literary representations of martyrological feats by virgins, young boys, and kings in the hagiographical literature. Late medieval England witnessed an explosion of such writing in the vernacular, in collections or single works that retold stories of martyrs’ suffering: The South English Legendary and North English Legendary were
Mapping Martyrdom 11
popular in the thirteenth and fourteenth century; John Mirk’s Festial of the 1380s, a collection of homilies, comprised several on saints and martyrs; Legendys of Hooly Wummen was completed by Osbern Bokenham in 1447; and the Speculum Sacerdotale was a fifteenth-century collection of sermons, many of them on martyrs.26 The opening lines of Speculum Sacerdotale offered two reasons for celebrating the martyrs: firstly, so that the hearers of their stories would be stirred to follow them; and secondly, so that, through praying for their intercession, the saints and martyrs could help their devotees ‘here, on earth’.27 Martyrs offered role models in interesting ways. Chaucer retold St Cecily’s story in The Second Nun’s Tale; William Paris wrote St Christine’s legend in 1398/99; John Lydgate composed for Lady March, Ann Mortimer, the life of St Margaret between 1415 and 1426; and John Capgrave, the Austin friar, authored St Katherine’s legend c. 1445.28 It is suggested that martyrs were not meant to be emulated literally, but rather to offer occasion for contemplation and improvement.29 Indeed, by the fourteenth century menacing pagan tyrants no longer posed a threat to young English women, as they had done to St Agatha, St Julian or St Katherine. The danger was inner temptation, and by fighting it English virgins could imitate the steadfastness of virgin-martyrs of old. The composer of the Speculum Sacerdotale suggested that celebration of saints’ and martyrs’ days formed links between supplicants and the saintly recipient of their prayers. Pious lay folk prayed to their favourite saints and martyrs from books of hours, went on pilgrimages to their shrines, and invoked their help during their daily trials. Childbirth, headaches, bleeding or gout were some of the many mundane troubles for which people occasionally needed heavenly assistance. Help was sought through charms and spells which repeated holy words and names. This daily usage of charms and spells was not excluded from official worship. On the contrary, it was enhanced by a world of liturgical sacraments, whose language and cadences it often imitated.30 Martyrs’ sufferings were invoked to relieve similar anguish in the present. So, for example, Apollonia, a third-century virgin-martyr who had suffered having her teeth extracted by her pagan abusers, was considered useful for sufferers of toothache. In his commonplace book, written between 1470 and 1475, the villager Robert Reynes of Acle (Norfolk) copied a charm against ‘Tothake’ which invokes St Apollonia.31 So popular was this practice in later medieval and early modern England that it earned Thomas More’s disapproval. Writing in 1529, More criticized the habit of assigning a craft to each saint, and mockingly drew upon a litany of saints and their ‘offices’: St Roch and
12 Martyrs in the Making
St Sebastian for the plague; St Apollonia for the teeth; and others for the eyes (St Lucy) or the breast (St Agatha).32 The practical and instrumental, at times even mechanical use of charms and spells was not restricted to a single social group. Although they clearly were attractive to the population of hard working people on the land and in towns, charms are also to be found in more sophisticated, orthodox circles.33 The Middleham Jewel, for example, is a fifteenth-century gold pendant worn by a noblewoman. The magical words engraved on it, and the images of the Trinity, Nativity, and those of fifteen saints (most of them martyrs) were meant to protect her from spiritual and corporeal enemies.34 Above all martyrs the English Archbishop, Thomas of Canterbury, was the most popular. Thomas Becket, Henry II’s former Chancellor and close friend, was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. He opposed the royal settlement the Constitutions of Clarendon hoped to gain in 1164; first and foremost he resisted the demand that after being sentenced by an ecclesiastical court, criminous clergy would be handed over to the temporal authority to be punished. Becket has been seen as a defender of the rights and liberties of the Church. The result of this confrontation with Henry II was the Archbishop’s six years of exile in France, from which he returned in December 1170. In spite of the temporary reconciliation, similar issues of royal prerogative and jurisdiction over the clergy lingered on. The four knights who attacked Archbishop Thomas in the cathedral on 29 December 1170, thought they were doing the King’s will. They prompted Becket’s stellar rise to the ranks of saints and martyrs.35 Many factors contributed to the rapid expansion of the cult around St Thomas Martyr. First, his murder – committed by Christians, his spiritual sons, in his mother-church of Canterbury – shocked his contemporaries. The news spread quickly, not only in England but on the Continent as well. Eye witnesses contributed to the dissemination of the story of Thomas’ martyrdom; among them were Becket’s friend and secretary John of Salisbury, who later composed a Life of St Thomas, and the monk William Fitz Stephen, who authored two miracle anthologies, as well as another of the Archbishop’s Vitae.36 Miracles quickly occurred, and in 1173 canonization followed an already popular cult. As we shall see throughout the book, no English king ever did penance so publicly and ceremoniously again, as did Henry II for Becket’s death.37 The location of the Canterbury shrine, between London and Dover, was also a factor in the cult’s wide and enduring popularity; it attracted pilgrims and exalted visitors as they travelled to and from the Continent.38 The
Mapping Martyrdom 13
most important aspect of St Thomas’ reputation and attraction was its versatility, its appeal to different audiences. Thomas of Canterbury had many faces: he was variously seen as a convert to the service of God, an exemplary bishop, an ascetic who fasted regularly and wore a hairshirt, as a defender of Church liberties, and as an imitator of Christ. He was a model for the clergy and an example of penance to all. He was a martyr, willing to die for his faith.39 Becket’s blood had powers that were intercessory and protective; it was diluted into vials of water, which were then distributed to the Canterbury pilgrims in ampullae. Moreover, the union of lily and rose – Becket’s spilt brain and blood, and his virginity and martyrdom – was represented, as Paul Binski has shown, in the scheme of white and red marble decorating Canterbury Cathedral.40 But the cult also prospered because Becket’s sanctity was extended to his former enemies as well, offering patronage and protection to all the English people; it promoted ideas of repentance, remission and reconciliation.41 Becket’s cult reached its heyday in the high Middle Ages; by the late twelfth century St Thomas’ cult surpassed all others. He was still popular in the fourteenth century, as Chaucer shows so masterfully.42 By the eve of the Reformation, however, Becket’s shrine, like those of St Hugh of Lincoln or St Cuthbert at Durham, was in decline; they were all displaced by ‘new’ saints.43 This process is mirrored in the cults of the political martyrs that will be examined in the following chapters. For Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, Thomas of Canterbury was a powerful ‘father’; for Richard Scrope, Archbishop of York, he was a bishop-brother.44 In both these cases Thomas of Canterbury remained a point of reference; he was the model of the political martyr. His lasting significance for the English people was made evident with Henry VIII’s 1536 attack on the cult: the shrine in Canterbury was pillaged and Becket’s bones scattered. Thomas was denounced, more than 360 years after his death, as a rebel against the King. His cult disappeared: his images pulled down, his name erased from liturgical books.45
Martyrdom between orthodoxy and heterodoxy A variety of sources from late medieval England demonstrate that alongside widespread conventional piety, there was some dissent and discomfort prompted by religious practice. ‘Lollardy’ was a term that designated bearers of unorthodox opinion. The reality was probably less clear cut, in as much as no ‘sect’ of Lollardy existed, but some men
14 Martyrs in the Making
and women were prompted to express dissent against conventions of saint-worship, sacraments and pilgrimage. A sense of Lollard collective identity was created not so much by a strict set of beliefs, but by the language of martyrdom. Not many were burnt at the stake as heretics; a handful chose to interpret their sufferings through persecution as a kind of martyrdom. In those cases when Lollards were executed for heresy they were seen to be performing martyrdom. Both in life and in death, therefore, Lollards interpreted events through the prism of martyrdom: they understood suffering persecution as martyrdom, and argued for their right to treat fellow Lollards as martyrs. The use of the language of martyrdom in these ways contributed to a Lollard identity, both individual and collective. The climate of criticism and dissent which characterized England in the period was fertile ground for the making of martyrs.46 Executed Lollards were seen by their fellows as martyrs for the sake of ‘true’ Christianity. There was a well-documented, albeit short-lived, cult after the execution of the Lollard priest Richard Wyche in June 1440.47 A brief comment, half a century later, attests that the ashes from the burning in Smithfield of Joan Boughton, were kept in a pot as a precious relic.48 Lollard martyrs were rarely celebrated liturgically. A list of men who were thought to be ‘worshiped in heaven as holy martyrs’ since they held the ‘true and catholic’ doctrine and opinions was recited by William Emayn from Bristol when brought before John Stafford, Bishop of Bath and Wells, in March 1429. He named as martyrs Sir John Oldcastle, Master John Wycliffe, Master William Taylor, Sir William Sawtre, Sir John Beverley and Sir James, whose name remained incomplete.49 An executed Lollard who was left out of Emayn’s litany of Lollard martyrs was William Smith, a teacher from Bristol who probably died after 1448. Walter Comber, another Lollard from Bristol, opined in his trial of April 1457 that Smith died a true Christian man, ‘a martir afore God’.50 Such a martyrological emphasis was probably introduced only after 1401, and the implementation of Henry IV’s statute ‘On the Burning of Heretics’ (‘De Heretico Comburendo’). It brought into being a legal procedure by which the judicial system was brought into action in cases of those found by ecclesiastical courts to be lapsed heretics. Burning was used in England only as a last resort, and was therefore less popular as a solution for the threat of heresy than on the Continent. Some of those condemned to fire were viewed posthumously as martyrs. One such interesting case is that of John Wycliffe, whose status gradually changed from that of a Lollard saint to that of a martyr.
Mapping Martyrdom 15
Although he was not burnt for his heretical views, his followers accorded him a symbolic martyrdom, since his bones were exhumed and burnt in 1428.51 To become a Lollard martyr one had to be a ‘true Christian’, that is, to hold the ‘true’ opinions, and to suffer death by burning. Although the Lollards rejected pilgrimages to saints’ shrines, image worship, and belief in ‘new’ (post-biblical) saints and martyrs,52 they were nonetheless drawn to the idea of martyrdom, and to the discourse associated with it. Margery Baxter from Martham (Norfolk) not only believed in the sainthood of William White, the Kentish preacher burnt in Norwich in 1428, but also that he could intercede with God on her behalf.53 ‘Lollards’ often expressed unorthodox theological views, yet they also shared widely held contemporary ideas about faith and truth, within which martyrdom was dominant. It may be more useful to see Lollardy not as ‘heresy’ but rather as ‘radical orthodoxy’.54 We should not, therefore, look at the ‘Lollard’ martyrdom as different from a widespread understanding of martyrdom,55 but rather situate the ‘Lollard’ martyr-naming as their claim to name real, ‘true’ Christian martyrs. Martyrdom, and the authority to define and produce new martyrs, was part of the struggle between the Lollards and their accusers. Through the construction of martyrological ideas the two sides argued over Christian truth, witnessed by the martyrs. While Lollards treated their dead as martyrs the orthodox usage judged this practice of martyr-making as heretical. Indeed, in their trials suspected Lollards were accused, amongst other charges, of referring to their deceased fellows as martyrs, as was the case in the trials of William Emayn, Walter Comber, and Margery Baxter. Another way in which the ecclesiastical establishment countered Lollard martyr-making was through polemical and theological argument, part of a long tradition of anti-heretical polemic writing. One of these defenders of orthodoxy in fifteenth century England was Reginald Pecock, Bishop of Chichester, who was tried for heresy in 1457 and abjured.56 In his Book of Faith, written in English c. 1456, Pecock immersed himself in this tradition of polemical writings, claiming that those who saw recently burnt heretics as martyrs were analogous to the ones who held ‘old’ heretics (such as Arius and Pelagius) to be holy martyrs. He advised against seeing heretics as martyrs: ‘Alas upon this’, Pecock’s message went, ‘and alle othere such blindenes’.57 The Episcopal system of excommunication for heresy was not the only one to dispute the Lollard right to name martyrs and to reclaim the right to name martyrs. In a poem of 1415, addressed to the fugitive
16 Martyrs in the Making
leader John Oldcastle, Thomas Hoccleve (d. 1426), court poet and clerk of the Privy Seal, condemned Oldcastle’s abandonment of the true faith. The absent Oldcastle is invoked and made textually present.58 Although the poet respects Oldcastle’s virtues as a knight, he urges him to change his heretical opinions.59 Hoccleve stresses Oldcastle’s avoidance of martyrdom by contrasting it with that of the king’s men, the ‘real’ martyrs; they were not afraid to be slain, since they know their death would be in defence of true faith.60 To those who had political and ecclesiastical power, the notion of ‘Lollard martyrs’ seemed absurd. Lollard martyr-making was both a way of interpreting persecution and a way of spreading knowledge of the merits of their dead. As in the legends of the virgin-martyrs discussed above, it encouraged emulation of the virtues of piety and steadfastness. The ‘production’ of new martyrs was thus both consoling and encouraging. These twin didactic goals were achieved not only by referring to some executed Lollards as martyrs, but also by addressing the men and women who might be similarly tested. Other Europeans were faced with the dilemma of compromising their faith or accepting death. European Jews preferred death to forced conversion, and they were remembered by Jewish communities as martyrs who died ‘for the Sanctification of God’s Name’. They became models for emulation.61 During Queen Mary’s reign (1553–58), Protestants urged their friends to choose exile or die for their faith rather than commit ‘idolatry’.62 Although some of the Wycliffite sermons advised the faithful to flee, as Christ had fled from the Temple to hide from his detractors, it was preferable to suffer than to compromise the soul.63 Death was to be embraced when all alternatives failed. A Lollard sermon for the fourth Sunday after Trinity (on the Eighth Epistle to the Romans), discussed suffering and death for God’s cause. It encouraged the audience to embrace martyrdom. Since God rewards according to merit, it argued, believers should therefore be moved ‘to be marteris of loue of Crist’.64 Although an obvious gap existed between wished for ideas and lived reality, instruction aimed to make the gap between them smaller. Examples of unique individuals may have encouraged dissenters to refrain from abjuration. John Badby, a tailor who was burnt in Smithfield in 1410, was a model of martyrological behaviour. Badby refused to abjure even when the Prince of Wales broke off the proceedings and offered him his life and a daily pension of three pence until his death, if he returned to orthodoxy.65 Badby showed himself to be a ‘true’ man, and became an example of steadfastness in the face of temptation. We will never know how consciously Badby set out to become an example, but William Thorpe definitely did. Thorpe’s account of his
Mapping Martyrdom 17
exchanges with Archbishop Arundel in 1407, allegedly written at his friends’ request, is a manual for the aspiring martyr.66 In his testimony Thorpe managed not only to teach doctrine, but also turned the process of interrogation into a rhetorical display.67 The advice imparted by Thorpe’s account was to remain calm, answer questions wisely, remain strong in the face of threats, suffer humiliations patiently, and insist on true belief. When Archbishop Arundel threatens Thorpe with death, he remarks that in his heart he thought that God would do him great grace if He would bring him into such an end.68 More explicit is Thorpe’s appeal to future readers at the beginning of his testimony: ‘For no doubt, whoever would live here [on earth] piously, that is, charitably in Jesus Christ, should now, here in this life, suffer persecution one way or another – that is, if we should be saved’.69 Those who suffer persecution in their lifetime for the sake of Christ will be saved in the afterlife; reward is guaranteed to those who endure tribulation. This ‘pedagogical drama of inquisition’ in which Thorpe was the protagonist, makes him an advocate for, as well as example to, dissenters, even though he was probably not burnt for heresy eventually.70 In the few cases when Lollards were executed the themes they enacted were Christocentric. They followed Christ by enacting his death: silence during torment was one such martyrological motif, echoing Isaiah 53:7 (‘He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth’) as a prefiguration of Christ in his trial. Some have argued that William Sawtre, the first heretic to be burnt in England, was ‘reduced to silence’ during the ceremony of degradation and at his burning;71 Sawtre and his fellows may have interpreted this silence as a Christ-like reaction in the face of torment. William Thorpe used silence more explicitly in the face of curses, rebukes and scorns hurled at him. By emphasizing his exemplary reaction to them he communicated the Christological value of patient silence: ‘But I stood stille and spak no word’; ‘and I stood and herde hem curse and manasse and scorne me, but I seide no |πing’.72 Although Lollards rejected non-biblical saints and martyrs and their legends, some performances of martyrdom embody certain martyrological traditions.73 In 1494 eighty-year-old Joan Boughton was described by the Great Chronicle of London as a widow and mother.74 When she was threatened with burning at the stake, she declared that she was ‘soo beloved with God & his angelys, That all the ffyre In london shuld not hurt hyr’, echoing the defiant spirit attributed to St Agnes or St Cecily, of whom Christ (or his angels) was a protective lover.75 This
18 Martyrs in the Making
statement from an elderly widow uses the tone of a bold, young, beautiful virgin-martyr, at one pathetic and triumphant. A similar martyrological tradition was invoked in Thorpe’s testimony, in which Archbishop Arundel is portrayed as a powerful tyrant. While the Archbishop loses his temper on several occasions, Thorpe describes himself as remaining calm, willing to answer questions and even lecture on theological matters. Arundel’s rebukes and threats to Thorpe are cited verbatim in the text, and show him to have been impatient, insolent, almost demonic.76 In these examples we see a mimetic continuity between older martyrological traditions and new practices. Lollards, like martyrs, were not born but made. Even if they were educated from childhood on Wycliffite ideas, the pervasive martyrological language was also part of their makeup, a resource for polemical defiance and a source for inner strength. The Protestant hagiographer John Bale highlights this continuity: before his conversion Bale had been the writer of orthodox hagiography, an experience which, far from being an obstacle in his new vocation, enabled him to channel the hagiographical tradition in a Protestant direction, and to use these Catholic traditions for Protestant ends.77 Using the martyrological language in polemics, for comfort, in construction of identity, and for education, ‘Lollards’ borrowed from the world around them, and contributed to the broader martyrological understanding of their time.
Metaphorical use of martyrdom Ideas on martyrdom were also used metaphorically to describe more mundane categories of suffering that did not result in death. Life events which involved degrees of discomfort and distress were occasionally described as martyrdoms: illness, exile, slander, matrimonial distress or lovesickness. Thanks to this language sufferings no longer seemed unreasoned or chaotic, but rather part of a moral scheme. Fitting personal hardships into a martyrological pattern was comforting in difficult times. Like the martyrs celebrated on rood screens and glorified in legends, people who felt their anguish was martyr-like hoped to be rewarded. The model for this type of endurance was the biblical sufferer, Job. The cult of Saint Job had been growing in popularity since the High Middle Ages, reaching its heyday in the fourteenth and fifteenth century. His significance in the liturgical Office of the Dead had expanded with the gradual inclusion of verses from the Book of Job. His story was translated from the Latin Vulgate into the vernacular and shortened into the popular Middle English version of Pety Job, of the early fifteenth
Mapping Martyrdom 19
century. Job’s intercession was often invoked, especially against worms, skin and venereal diseases, as well as against melancholy.78 Medieval people could empathize with his trials: losing a child, the pain of illness, poverty, desertion by friends. Job’s faith in the face of adversity was exemplary and could encourage emulation, perhaps more so than the physical torture and death endured steadfastly by the virgin-martyrs. His story had a happy end, a more immediate comfort to most people than the heavenly crown of martyrdom: ‘So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning’ (Job 42:12). One tribulation which the biblical Job escaped was that of political imprisonment, banishment and exile. The decades of late fourteenth and fifteenth century were characterized by periods of political violence and friction, that troubled the life of aristocratic and gentry families. The writings of William Paris, a loyal retainer of Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, suggest that he found solace and encouragement in the life of St Christine, a virgin-martyr who suffered years of confinement brought upon by her pagan father, as well as torture and finally death. Paris retold this virgin-martyr’s legend in prison with Warwick on the Isle of Man in 1398/99 following Richard II’s onslaught on his political opponents. Paris emphasized in his St Christine’s life the calamities and humiliations she brought upon her abusers, thus using her, possibly, as some kind of fictional alter-ego to scoff at his political persecutors.79 Another imprisoned poet was the Lancastrian clerk of the Signet Office George Ashby, who was incarcerated by Edward IV, and wrote his Complaint of a Prisoner in the Fleet in 1463. Ashby laments his misfortune as a prisoner wrongly incarcerated, and develops the theme of patient suffering as a source for consolation. He begs God to help him suffer ‘in dew pacience, oure lord God to please’ (lines 34–5), refers to Job (lines 246–7), and presents patience as a weapon against troubles experienced (lines 299–300). He is required to learn to suffer patiently in order to profit his soul; indeed, through this text prison becomes a metaphor for the suffering encountered in this world, which can be endured by patience alone.80 Ashby describes the loss of friends (lines 36–42), and in doing so draws upon the poet Thomas Hoccleve’s description of such a fate, some forty years earlier. In his Complaint of c. 1420–22 Hoccleve treated his enforced social exile as martyrdom. His mental faculties (‘wit’) became a pilgrim who ‘went[e] fer from home’,81 but his martyrdom was not caused by this mental state. Rather later, when friends shunned him after recovery, Hoccleve felt he lived ‘in great torment/ and martire’.82 Hoccleve’s misery, a consequence of this marginalization, was like a martyrdom, and he had to respond as a martyr, with endurance and faith.
20 Martyrs in the Making
Margery Kempe also articulated her social marginality in martyrological language. She embraced suffering, and sought it by wearing virginal white and in fits of sobbing.83 Her defiance in face of ecclesiastical authority alternated with Christ-like humility and social exclusion. When Margery was confronted by ‘men of the cuntre’ who encouraged her to refrain from ‘so meche schame and so meche wo’, and live instead like other women do, she answered them by humbly diminishing her own suffering in comparison with that of Christ.84 Margery embraced this marginality since the martyrdom it constructed gave her the martyr-like power to intercede with God on behalf of others. She believed that God saw her martyrdom as acts of love and charity towards her fellow Christians; in her search for suffering Margery ‘saavyn hem alle fro dampnacyon’.85 Margery’s eagerness to intercede between believers and God was the very cause of the slander and odium she attracted and interpreted as martyrdom.86 Margery interceded because she suffered, and she suffered because of her desire to intercede. Margery Kempe constructed her martyrdom-in-life in the context of yet another daily reality, that of marital life. Whereas several aspects of matrimonial difficulties were treated sardonically, others were hardly mentioned at all. Margery was extremely preoccupied with marital sex. She frequently refers to it in her Book, saying it was so abominable to her, that she would rather eat or drink the muck in the gutter than consent to any sexual intercourse (‘fleschly commownyng’), or that ‘it was very peynful and horrybyl unto hir’.87 She wished to live in chastity but was forced to obey her husband’s wishes. Margery made of this ‘horrible’ marital sex a meritorious suffering, a metaphorical martyrdom.88 When she discussed her latest pregnancy with God, He assured her that, since ‘coming with her husband’ was for her great pain and disease, He did not regard it as a sin but rather as grace and merit.89 Margery’s interpretation of her marital sex as martyrdom allowed her to endure it until John Kempe accepted her wish to live in chastity. When the Archbishop of York demanded to know why Margery wore white, asking her sarcastically whether she was a maiden, she answered him proudly: ‘Nay, ser, I am no mayden; I am a wife’.90 Certain aspects of married life were fraught with anxiety, but medieval literature treated marriage more lightly. In a poem discussing the pain and sorrow of marriage, John Lydgate (d. 1449/50?), monk of Bury St Edmunds, described wedlock as endless penance, martyrdom, and a continuance of everlasting sorrow (‘endless penaunce’; ‘[A] martirdome and a contynuaunce/ Of sorowe ay lasting.’).91 We find here, as in Margery Kempe’s Book, a convergence of ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ ideas on martyrdom. Lydgate was, after all, a monk who vowed to preserve his celibacy
Mapping Martyrdom 21
and was therefore not preoccupied with the actual mundane difficulties of matrimony; yet he chose to express ideas on marriage as suffering using martyrological terminology. Martyrological language and imagery rather crossed literary genres and life choices and were available, indeed used, by people who experienced different modes of existence which presented various difficulties. Chaucer’s Wife of Bath spoke from experience on the ‘wo that is in mariage’ in her Prologue.92 She and her husbands had faced the tribulations of matrimony: Alisoun complains of her sufferings as a married woman – sexual frustration, the occasional beating – but her husbands suffered too from the pain and woe she caused them (‘the peyne I dide hem and the wo’).93 By declaring she was her fourth husband’s purgatory on earth the Wife of Bath brings us a step closer to understanding late medieval fascination with martyrological terminology and with the idea of suffering in life.94 Married life was full of tribulation and hardship. Notably, in the Greek-Orthodox wedding ceremony this tradition linking matrimony and martyrdom is alive to this day. During the Dance of Isaiah, in which the bride and groom follow the priest in the ceremonial walk, one of the hymns chanted is dedicated to the Holy Martyrs, who have contended bravely and were crowned. This anthem, as well as the stefana (wedding crowns, linked also to the idea of martyrdom), indicate the struggle the newly married couple enter together and symbolize the sacrificial love they ought to have for one another.95 Opportunities for patient endurance of suffering existed in almost all areas of life. This view was expressed in the commonplace book of the Yorkshire priest Robert Burton, in the late 1470s. One of the items in this book was a list of six examples for martyrdom: chastity in youth; mirth in old age; liberality in poverty; abstinence in wealth; patience in tribulation; humility in high office (‘castitas in iuventute; hillaritas in senectute; largitas in paupertate; abstinencia in habundancia; paciencia in tribulacione; humilitas in predicacione et dignitate’).96 Whether one was old, young, poor or rich, undergoing hardship or enjoying temporal glory, an opportunity for meritorious suffering was within reach; almost any situation in life could have become, if correctly interpreted and properly dealt with, an occasion for martyrdom in life. *** Throughout their lifetime, late medieval people encountered many categories of pain and misery, as people have always done. Some of
22 Martyrs in the Making
their trials resulted from a knowing choice, other hardships were sometimes induced by circumstance or hazard. Whether embraced or merely endured, however, these trials were sometimes experienced through the language of martyrdom. This making of martyrdom was shared by men and women from all walks of life. Articulating hardship as martyrdom provided consolation since it linked present and past suffering and also offered hope; it enabled resignation to providence. By enhancing a sense of group identity martyrdom also added that sense of support and consolation, as the case of the ‘Lollards’ has shown. When late medieval English people thought of martyrdom this was first and foremost of Christ’s suffering on the cross, but also of virginmartyrs, the heat of the stake, or one’s spouse. Martyrdom was a fluid, open concept which lent itself to various interpretations and was extremely adjustable, and no one group had a monopoly over it. This religious milieu was enacted by men and women of late medieval England also in their creation of cults of political martyrs.
2 Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight
Thomas Plantagenet was believed by his contemporaries to have been the ‘noblest of Christians, as well as the wealthiest earl in the world’.1 Despite being the richest, most powerful English magnate of his day, he was decapitated as a traitor on a hill outside the town of Pontefract on 22 March 1322. Lancaster’s relations with Edward II were tense since the Ordinances of 1311 which aimed at limiting the King’s power and controlling him, but only in 1321 did the conflict reach its boiling point. After the two gatherings of the northern and marcher lords in the summer of 1321, at the ‘pseudo parliaments’ of Pontefract and Sherburn which agreed on a confederation for mutual defence against the Despensers, Edward II besieged and captured Bartholomew Badlesmere’s Leeds Castle (Kent) in October. Here was an opportunity for the King, who was on pilgrimage to Canterbury at the time, to deal decisively with the revolt that was gathering momentum under Lancaster’s leadership in the north. While Edward was advancing towards the rebel army, Lancaster and his men set fire to Burton (Staffordshire), and marched on to Tutbury and Pontefract hoping to continue northwards.2 Sir Robert Holland, Lancaster’s friend and retainer, his ‘junior partner’, deserted him and joined the King’s side.3 When the Earl’s force arrived at Boroughbridge crossing they found it blocked by Andrew Harclay, Warden of Carlisle. The Earl of Hereford was killed while trying to force his way through, and Lancaster, deserted by many of his retainers during the night, surrendered himself in the morning.4 Lancaster’s quarrel failed because of its exaggerated focus on the grievances of the marcher lords, because of his own shortcomings as a leader, and because the King’s threatening proximity reminded Lancaster’s men of their loyalty to the monarch as well as of the severe 23
24 Martyrs in the Making
punishment awaiting the defeated.5 Lancaster was taken to York and later to Pontefract to the King. There he was tried and sentenced by his peers. It is not entirely clear who Lancaster’s judges were – the chroniclers disagree on this point6 – but the accusations were clear enough and included treason, murder, robbery, arson and other felonies, such as displaying his banner contrary to his homage, armed arrival to parliaments and alliance with Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, and other enemies of Edward II and England.7 The accused earl was not allowed to defend himself. He was sentenced to a traitor’s death of hanging, drawing and beheading, but in recognition of Lancaster’s parental excellence and noble descent as the son of Edmund (Henry III’s son and Edward I’s younger brother) and Blanche of Navarre – and thus Edward II’s cousin and Queen Isabella’s half-uncle – the first two punishments were annulled; instead, he was deemed to suffer only decapitation.8 This punishment was meant to serve as a warning to prospective rebels – to forever silence both Lancaster and his oppositional message. Ironically, it was his silencing that perpetuated his voice and created a cult.9 On 22 March 1322 Lancaster was taken to a hill outside the town of Pontefract, where he was beheaded. The Cluniac Priory of St John the Evangelist at Pontefract interred Lancaster’s body next to the high altar, a reflection of his high rank and perhaps also a prophetic hint – or realistic understanding – of the reverence in which he was to be held in the future.10
From condemnation to cure: cult chronology In its first few years, supporters of the cult were active politically and diplomatically, subject to two opposing tendencies: first, the fact that its activity was prohibited during Edward II’s reign; and second, the contrary encouragement it received and the lobbying for Lancaster’s canonization throughout the first years of Edward III’s reign. It took no longer than a week after Lancaster’s execution, on 29 March 1322, for the miracles to begin.11 After Trinity Sunday of the following year (22 May 1323) miracles occurred also at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, at the board (‘la table’) commemorating the Ordinances of 1311; here we find a manifestation of the connection between Lancaster as a miracle-making martyr on the one hand, and the sacrificial death he had suffered for the English polity on the other.12 This theme was to become further elaborated in hagiography and liturgy.
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 25
The Despensers were quick to dismiss Lancaster’s miracles.13 In that same year a necromancer in Coventry was paid to bring about their death using wax figures, and this atmosphere of waxing suspicion and terror they found themselves in probably contributed to their attack on Lancaster’s cult and to their pressure on Edward II to discourage it.14 In the following years, the Despensers continued to be held responsible for Lancaster’s execution and the forbidding of his cult. The ‘trial’ of Hugh Despenser the Elder before a group of magnates in October 1326 was staged as a parody of Lancaster’s trial: he was accused of treason and denied the right of answer. The Younger Despenser’s trial at the end of November found him guilty, among other crimes, of forbidding the cult of Lancaster at Pontefract.15 Their responsibility not only for the Earl’s decapitation but also for repressing his cult was thus avenged. Another reason for the King’s hostility towards the cult was the resentment which he probably still harboured against Lancaster for his involvement in Gaveston’s execution, in January 1312. Lancaster’s execution was interpreted by some chroniclers as motivated by the King’s wish to avenge his friend’s death; thus, claimed the Lanercost chronicler, Lancaster’s punishment was reduced to decapitation, ‘in the manner as this same Earl Thomas had caused Piers de Gaveston to be beheaded’ (‘sicut facere idem Thomas comes Petrumde Gavestoun decollari’).16 Gaveston’s memory was not put to rest by Lancaster’s decollation; Edward II even tried to bring about Gaveston’s canonization.17 The King thus had his own motives for suppressing the cult of the man responsible for his companion’s death, notwithstanding the Despensers’ pressure. Writing to Stephen Gravesend, Bishop of London, in June, the King asserted that the devotion shown by the people coming to St Paul’s was a dangerous phenomenon, not only for the King and the Bishop, but also for the people’s souls.18 In the months that followed the aforementioned board at St Paul’s was removed at the King’s order, and guards were sent to the priory church at Pontefract to keep its doors shut, to prevent people from venerating at Lancaster’s tomb.19 All these efforts were in vain. The cult grew beyond the King’s reach and people still chose to venerate this new martyr. In August 1323 William de Melton, Archbishop of York, wrote to the Official of the Archdeacon of York, banning the cult and empowering him to suppress its activity there.20 Yet, the people who made the pilgrimage to Lancaster’s tomb were recalcitrant, and their behaviour turned violent. In September the King had to commission an inquiry into the assault and death of two of the servants of Richard de Moseleye (his clerk and
26 Martyrs in the Making
Constable of Pontefract), who were sent to Lancaster’s tomb in order to prevent praying and oblations-giving there.21 With Edward II’s deposition in January 1327 and the political hegemony of Isabella, mother of King Edward III, and Roger Mortimer, her lover, the attitude towards the cult changed. Not only was it no longer officially banned, but royal and ecclesiastical efforts were made to turn Lancaster from a ‘popular’ to a canonized martyr. The motives for this new approach by the de facto rulers were mainly political. First, to counterbalance the potential posthumous popularity of Edward II.22 Another possible reason was Isabella and Mortimer’s continuous effort to reconcile with Henry of Lancaster, Thomas’ brother and heir, who had been gradually gaining political clout as the head of the new minor king’s council.23 A third possible reason was Isabella and Mortimer’s need to maintain their popularity among the English people. Accordingly, in a parliamentary petition to Edward III, in the first year of his reign when he was still a puppet in their hands, the Commons asked to promote the canonization of Lancaster. The petition was answered on the King’s behalf, that he will act by the good advice of the prelates.24 Indeed, on the last day of February 1327 a letter was sent under Edward III’s seal to Pope John XXII, requesting an inquiry into the canonization of the late earl. In it, Lancaster was referred to as the King’s ‘most beloved kinsman’ (‘nostrumque consanguinem carissimum’) and described not only as a martyr by the manner of his death, but also as a pious man in life. He was, among other superlatives, generous, just, provident, and faithful. His political activity was regarded with approval in that he fought for the Kingdom, for the public good, and also – more importantly for the Pope – in defence of the Church’s liberty. After his unjust death he is described as happily ‘falling asleep in God’ (‘in Domino feliciter obdormivit’). The appeal for canonization, however, was grounded not only in his holy life or even in his martyr’s death, but also in the miracles his body performed after his execution.25 Another letter to the Pope, by Archbishop William Melton of York, written a few days earlier on behalf of Henry of Lancaster, also requested the Holy See to inquire into the canonization of the popular ‘saint’. Its rhetorical structure is reminiscent of the first letter, with an added emphasis on the flow of pilgrims to the martyr’s tomb.26 Perhaps the two letters were written in accord. Henry of Lancaster’s motive, besides publicly commemorating his brother and clearing his family’s reputation, was to take over his late brother’s vast riches – to regain the lands, castles and manors forfeited to the Despensers.
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 27
This possible collaboration between Henry of Lancaster and Isabella and Mortimer can be seen also in an agreement, confirmed by the King that same year, between the Priory and the Convent of Pontefract. It dealt with a chapel which was to be built outside the city walls, on the hill where Lancaster had been executed five years earlier. A hermit was to reside there and receive alms for the building of this chapel; he was to be assisted by a clerk appointed by Isabella and Henry of Lancaster.27 Moreover, a clerk was appointed for collecting alms all over the Kingdom for the construction of the said chapel.28 This was a way of publicizing the martyr and attracting veneration from farther afield; it also proved successful – the offerings received were so generous that ‘sly pretenders’ (‘subdole configentes’) throughout England were professing to be the agents collecting the alms. The King therefore ordered local bailiffs in mid-December 1327 to prevent this.29 Another way of ‘advertising’ Lancaster and his merits, both in life and posthumously, was less politically controlled: a pilgrim’s badge from c. 1322–42 portrayed Lancaster’s rise and fall in six scenes, showing him signing the treaty of Leake, fighting in Boroughbridge, carried by boat to York to be sentenced, tried at Pontefract, taken to his execution place, and finally decapitated.30 By highlighting the process in which Lancaster became a martyr as opposed to merely depicting his beheading, this souvenir proved to be not only a devotional object for the Earl’s adherents but also a didactic one, further spreading the popularity of this saint, not only in England but on the Continent as well.31 In March 1328 Lancaster’s sentence was annulled by the King after it had been discussed in the first parliament of the new reign (February– March 1327) which aimed at undoing the wrongs of the previous one.32 Edward II’s act was reversed thus formally enabling Henry of Lancaster to be reinstated as Lancaster’s heir. According to the annulment, Edward III inquired into Lancaster’s trial and acknowledged that he had been convicted unjustly and against the law of the Kingdom. Edward II, however, was not held responsible; the fault lay rather with the evil counsel he had been given.33 In March 1330 Edward wrote to the Pope and five of his cardinals, requesting further inquiry towards a possible canonization of Lancaster.34 In this letter, however, the treatment of the Earl was different; Lancaster’s claim for martyrdom was hardly mentioned. The unjust trial was omitted and the only comment on the cult was the description of pilgrims arriving to Lancaster’s passion place (‘locum passionis’). After Lancaster’s sentence was annulled, there was no longer need, at least not politically or
28 Martyrs in the Making
diplomatically, to stress the oppositional activity which led to his beheading. Also, the mutinous nature of Lancaster’s deeds may have been omitted following Henry of Lancaster’s own opposition to the rulers in 1328–29 and the lenience later shown to him by the court.35 This letter of canonization seemed to stress that the political past, of 1322 and 1328 alike, was no longer relevant. New attributes were added to the list of Lancaster’s superlatives: he was now described, in accord with the growing liturgy and hagiography of the cult, as Christ’s noble knight and athlete (‘nobili Christi miles et athleta’). This emphasis on Lancaster as miles Christi will be discussed below. During the rest of Edward III’s reign, and after his assumption of personal rule in the coup of October 1330, the cult around Lancaster was encouraged. Writing again a year later, now of his own accord, Edward III cited Mathew 7:7 (‘knock, and it shall be opened unto you’), again mentioning Lancaster’s miracles while requesting the Pope to inquire into a possible canonization.36 Nonetheless, in the registers of Pope John XXII there is no record of a reply to Edward III’s appeal, and after 1331 the effort to canonize Lancaster ceased. This may have occurred because the effort had proved futile as well as expensive, or because Edward III was becoming increasingly occupied with military campaigns, especially in Scotland.37 Even though the chronicler Thomas Walsingham wrote categorically that Lancaster was canonized in 1390 (‘Sanctus Thomas de Lancastria canonizatus est’), Lancaster never received the official papal status of martyr, although he remained a martyr by popular acclamation for the next two hundred years.38 During the fifteenth century the cultic activity around Lancaster did not diminish. Under the Lancastrian kings and the encouragement of the de Bohun family, bequests for lights before images of Lancaster were made, prayers were written or added to manuscripts, and relics were cherished.39 In 1401 Henry IV presented St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle with a set of vestments of bright-blue cloth, embroidered with figures of white dogs. These included an orphery decorated with the life of Thomas of Lancaster.40 Like his grandfather Edward III before him, Henry IV also encouraged Lancaster’s cult. Through its promotion and the linking of the private and public veneration of Lancaster, Henry IV, who in 1401 still struggled with political unrest, could find personal inspiration, and gain support and legitimacy for his rule. Lancaster’s cult, however, had its own stamina and remained active also outside the rulers’ public support. In the middle of the fifteenth century Lancaster’s Passio, written in the fourteenth century, was copied into manuscripts; two examples
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 29
were found in continental Europe, indicating to the spread of Lancaster’s cult beyond the British Isles. This text, preserved by Herman Greven, member of the Carthusian monastery in Cologne during the 1460s or 1470s and the canon John Gieleman (d. 1487) from Brabant, concisely described Lancaster’s lineage and youth, concentrating on the political activity that led to his trial and execution, growing from ‘banishment to life, from prison to kingship, from transient pain to eternal joy’ (‘Et sic de exsilio ad vitam, de carcere ad regnum, de dolore transivit ad gaudium aeternum’), to eventually become a martyr.41 During the fifteenth century a guild or confraternity of Blessed Thomas of Lancaster was still active in Pontefract; its members – such as William of Northfolk from Pontefract or John Stele from York – still bequeathed it money.42 Lancaster’s cult was still active even later, during the first half of the sixteenth century and remained so until the Reformation. In 1514 the Londoner Sir James Pyncoke left money for the lights before St Thomas of Lancaster in his parish church of Hillingdon, as did the burgher Thomas Nycolas in 1523 and the yeoman Alexander Bell in 1528.43 The last indication of an active cult of Lancaster is from the 1530s. In Pontefract itself, Lancaster’s belt and hat were still working wonders by 1536 as reported by Henry VIII’s monastery visitors, Dr Layton and Dr Legh; Lancaster’s belt was helping lying-in women and his hat healing headaches.44
Lancastrian affinities The interpretation of political cults as a tool in the hands of political players who belonged to the highest ranks of society can explain only to a limited degree the initial emergence of Lancaster’s cult, and not its lingering activity. Lancaster’s cult was celebrated by its adherents also after the period in which it was discouraged by Edward II; after the time in which it could have been used to manifest and propagate anti-royal opposition.45 We therefore need to look at the broader context of the period, that of socio-political culture and behaviour, not only as articulated by the baronage but by other classes too. In the political culture of England in the later Middle Ages, affinities and loyalties played a significant role. For Sir John de Burton, rector of the parish church of Black Notley (Essex) c. 1366–75, Lancaster and his death held a special meaning; his personal seal showed the Earl’s execution entwined with the legend ‘de lancast’ martir verroi[?] ‘priez diev pvr moi’.46 Having the image of Lancaster’s beheading impressed on his seal was a significant choice on John de Burton’s part, since it was
30 Martyrs in the Making
the main religious images of Christianity (like the Lamb of God, Virgin and Child, or the head of St John the Baptist) which usually decorated personal seals after 1300; it is quite exceptional to encounter a ‘saint’ like Lancaster, who was never canonized.47 This devotee wished to associate himself with the martyr as directly as possible, and receive his help and protection – a unique example for the intimate bond between follower and saint. Like John de Burton, most of Lancaster’s adherents were men. They belonged to a variety of statuses and professions: William Lene (d. 1329) from the village of Walsham le Willows (Suffolk) was a butcher and one of the richest tenants on the manor;48 another was John Stele, citizen and dyer of York who in 1428 bequeathed money to Lancaster’s local confraternity; yet another was John Bukherst, a jurat (municipal officer) from ‘Romene’ (probably Romney in Kent) who left in his will of 1465 money for lights to burn before an image of Lancaster.49 Some of Lancaster’s followers were monks and friars in religious orders. First and foremost was the Cluniac Priory at Pontefract, Lancaster’s burial place, where his obit was celebrated. It appears in red on both 22 and 23 March in the calendar of a missal which belonged to this priory, indicating its significance for the monks with whom Lancaster had a special relationship: not only did he spend much of his last years at Pontefract, but the chapter house of the priory hosted one of the ‘summer parliaments’ of May 1321.50 An obit of Lancaster’s death was entered also in the calendar of a psalter which may have belonged to the Augustinian Priory of Bourn (Lincolnshire),51 and Augustinians (perhaps at the abbey of Leicester or at Newburgh) also owned a late fourteenth century manuscript which included a poem for Lancaster, hailing him as a just man beheaded for justice (‘Iustus pro iusticia fuit decollatus’).52 Franciscan friars were among Lancaster’s adherents too; another obit was included in the martyrology of the Church of the Friars of St Francis at Bridgewater (Somerset) c. 1478.53 Although these sources have survived in Cluniac, Augustinian and Franciscan houses, we may assume that Lancaster’s memory was celebrated also by Cistercians and Premonstratensians, as Lancaster was a generous patron and friend of monastic houses of various orders who offered gifts, liberties, and political support. For example, the Earl had given various liberties in Lancashire to the Austin canons in Leicester Abbey, who may have been the owners of the aforementioned manuscript.54 Many of Lancaster’s posthumous followers were knights from the landed lower nobility, the gentry. They commissioned religious and devotional manuscripts with prayers for Lancaster and visual depictions of
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 31
him and his martyrdom. The famous Luttrell Psalter, commissioned c. 1340 by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell of Irnham (Lincolnshire), lord of several estates in South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, depicted Lancaster’s beheading.55 The Raunds family from Raunds (Northamptonshire) may have owned in the fourteenth century a religious manuscript which included both a memoria to Lancaster and the obit of his death. The owners of this volume had a particular interest in the political significance of Lancaster’s death; whereas in the prayer he was seen to have died for England’s state (or public affairs) in God’s name (‘qui in dei nomine/ propter statum anglie/ occidi sustulisti te’), the obit in the calendar referred to the beheading of ‘Thomas once Earl of Lancaster, Steward of England’ (‘decolatio domini thome quondam com’ lanchastrie senechalli Anglie’).56 This special connection between the gentry and Lancaster’s cult will be further discussed below; suffice to say now that it was interwoven with ideas on knighthood and masculinity, and may have been the reason why only few women were ever linked to the cult. Yet it may have been a woman from the Bacon family of Suffolk who owned a book of hours dated to c. 1339 which included a suffrage for Lancaster.57 Another woman who saw in Lancaster an interceding martyr was a certain ‘mulier Dei’ suffering from a wounded and scarred arm; she was healed after applying to it dirt from Lancaster’s tomb.58 By 1536 the masculine domination of the cult had diminished, perhaps in accord with the shrinking relevance of war and chivalry; Henry VIII’s monastery visitors reported on Lancaster’s belt in Pontefract said to help women in birth.59 It is possible to trace a link between some of the areas in which Lancaster was posthumously venerated and lands over which he or his heirs had various degrees of power and control. Although Lancastrian lordship did not necessarily elicit total support for the Lancastrian magnate we can nevertheless find an association between Lancaster’s posthumous adherents and Lancastrian dominance over their localities, such as Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk and Suffolk.60 In the 1340s, the Butler family, lords of Wem (Shropshire), commissioned a book of hours containing a suffrage for the martyr. They also held lands from the Duchy of Lancaster.61 In 1514 the Londoner Sir James Pyncoke left money for the light of St Thomas of Lancaster in his parish church of Hillingdon which was a part of the Manor of Colham held, until 1322, by Lancaster himself.62 The links of patronage and lordship between Lancaster and his tenants or retainers were transformed with his death, but had not disappeared. There is evidence for a wish to
32 Martyrs in the Making
commemorate as well as maintain the reciprocity which characterized the relationships between patron and subordinate, even after having been dimmed almost beyond recall. Feelings of allegiance and devotion – nurtured through serving and fighting – ran parallel to, if not deeper than, attempts at more material, political gains. Many of Lancaster’s adherents – especially among the gentry – were connected with Lancaster when he was still alive, both in administrative level and in more bellicose activities, either personally or indirectly, through their ancestors. Adam Bacon and his brother Thomas Bacon of Suffolk, whose successors in the 1470s owned a manuscript with a prayer for Lancaster, had been his retainers around 1312, and were later pardoned for their involvement in Gaveston’s death. Another Bacon son, William, was pardoned for acts against the Despensers, committed in 1321.63 A wall painting in the village church of St Peter ad Vincula in the village of South Newington (Oxfordshire) showing Lancaster’s martyrdom alongside that of Archbishop Becket was commissioned c. 1330 by Sir Thomas Gifford and his wife, Margaret Mortayne.64 A possible explanation for this couple’s veneration of Lancaster may be the person of Sir John Gifford, Lord of Brimsfield (Gloucestershire), a staunch adherent of Lancaster who had lands in Oxfordshire, and who was sentenced to death and executed after the Battle of Boroughbridge. If the South Newington Giffords were related to him, this may explain their choice for the church’s decoration.65 Sir Geoffrey Luttrell of Irnham (Lincolnshire), who commissioned the Luttrell Psalter which included a miniature showing Lancaster’s beheading, had been likewise involved with the Earl and his family; in June 1298 he was one of ten men who travelled with Lancaster’s widowed mother, Blanche, to France, and in 1312 he was involved in a raid on Sempringham Priory which reveals his Lancastrian political agenda.66 Although it is probable that Simon Symeon had not been directly involved with Lancaster before his execution, he founded a chantry dedicated to the Earl on the hill where he had been decapitated, in 1361. Symeon did have close connections with Lancaster’s successor, however; he was an official in the administration of the Duchy of Lancaster – the Steward in Lincolnshire, as well as one of the co-executers of the will of Henry, Duke of Lancaster.67 Finally, not only retainers of Lancaster became his latter-day followers; special ties between Lancaster and the de Bohun family were forged through battle and marriage alike. In 1322 the Earl of Hereford and Essex, Humphrey de Bohun, fought alongside Lancaster in Boroughbridge and was killed by a Welshman while trying to force a way through. His successors showed veneration to Lancaster. In his will of 1361 Humphrey de
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 33
Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, wished that a good and loyal man go to Pontefract on his behalf, and offer money at the tomb of Lancaster there.68 Joan de Bohun, Countess of Hereford and granddaughter of Henry, Duke of Lancaster’s sister, acquired the Luttrell Psalter during the 1370s or 1380s.69 And we can only guess whether the pair of beads which belonged to ‘St Thomas, Earl of Lancaster’ at St Cuthbert’s Monastery in Durham (recorded in an inventory in 1383), had some connection to the de Bohun family; they were kept in two bags, ‘with a swan in white velvet’ – the heraldic emblem of this family.70 For the de Bohun family, commemorating Lancaster was commemorating their own ancestor as well. Ties forged through service, combat and marriage were thus an important motive for the martyr’s devotion. Unlike mythical or semihistorical saints, such as St George or St Katherine, Lancaster was a historical figure. Many, albeit not all, of his adherents had been variously connected with him before his execution, or were linked to his family after his death. Lancaster’s posthumous fame, and at times veneration, spread further afield. His reputation crossed the Channel; one of the miracles he was believed to have worked was the healing of a rich man from Coundon in Gascony (probably modern Condom), with a skin disease. After this man’s friends prayed to Lancaster for help, the rich man dreamt that he was anointed and thus cured by the martyr. Together with four of his friends, he celebrated this miraculous healing by travelling to England to pay homage to Lancaster.71 This martyr was famous also amongst the Carthusians of Cologne during the fifteenth century, although they may not have held him in special reverence. Herman Greven, a martyrologist and member of this monastery, included Lancaster’s Passio in his collection of some 250 saints from different countries, and a prayer for him was included in a prayer book from this monastery, a collection of rhythmic and prose prayers to German, French, English and Italian saints.72 A martyrological emphasis on Lancaster’s death as chosen by God ‘for the peace and state (or public affairs) of England’ (‘pro pace et statu Angliae’), similar to that found in some of the prayers already mentioned, testifies to this memoria’s origin; it had been probably composed in England during the fourteenth century and later reached Germany, most likely through Carthusian contacts. The travels of merchants, warfare, as well as religious connections contributed to the spread of new devotions and cults from England to the Continent, publicising Lancaster and his merits beyond the British Isles. Especially for the English people, but also for others, the execution of this rich, powerful earl was a key event in the period. Fascination
34 Martyrs in the Making
with the turn of Fortune’s Wheel existed in medieval culture long before Boccaccio completed his De Casibus Illustrium Virorum, probably in 1358; real-life stories of the fall of illustrious men offered warning for the mighty as well as solace for the common man, who managed to avoid both extraordinary grace and disgraceful downfall. Lancaster’s trial and decapitation are mentioned by almost all the chroniclers in the period, whether sympathetic, indifferent or even hostile to the Earl. All political factions were bewildered by this event, and it was the pro-royalist chronicler of the Vita Edwardi Secundi who expressed this feeling best, albeit with a taint of sarcasm: ‘O calamity! To see men lately dressed in purple and fine linen now attired in rags, bound and imprisoned in chains!’ (‘O monstrum! Uidere uiros purpura et bisso nuper indutos nunc attritis uestibus incedere, et uinctos in compedibus recludi sub carcere!’).73 Perhaps the illustrators of the Luttrell Psalter, who depicted Lancaster’s execution, meant to rouse a similar feeling in the viewer, of a world turned upside down. In this marginalia, Lancaster is shown barefoot, wearing a simple robe, maybe even sackcloth. Other figures on this folio are two uncharacteristic archers, one of them a tonsured crossbowman, the other a longbowman, both dressed in daily clothes, not battle armour. The arrows of the archers lead the viewers’ eyes to Lancaster’s decapitation.74 The psalm verse just above the image (30:11: ‘Thou hast turned for me my mourning into joy: thou hast cut my sackcloth, and hast compassed me with gladness’) hints at the transformation of Lancaster not from powerful magnate to humiliated traitor, but rather from wearing earthly sackcloth to receiving heavenly livery; from his followers’ mourning for his premature death to their joy for his rebirth as God’s martyr. For Lancaster’s adherents his death begged for some kind of explanation. One of the ways to understand it was to compare Lancaster to earlier saints and martyrs. It has been argued that by juxtaposing the death of a leader to previous similar events individuals may better comprehend the loss they were experiencing.75 The repetition of historical or mythical patterns of suffering for a cause made the death of the new ‘martyr’ more understandable and helped his contemporaries cope with their sorrow. These links were forged in the period immediately following Lancaster’s death in order to better understand it; yet they lingered for the rest of the cult’s existence, becoming quasiattributes of this martyr in his depiction. Another reason for these affinities between ‘new’ and ‘old’ martyrs was the halo of legitimacy which the traditional, canonized saints projected on the popularly acclaimed ones. By linking the traditional martyrs and their iconic
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 35
status to the ‘new’ martyr, the latter’s ‘newness’ (with the religious uncertainty associated with it) was perceived as more established. By virtue of his first name, Lancaster was usually compared with other saints and martyrs named Thomas and seen to have a special connection with the English proto-political martyr Thomas Becket. The Brut continuator stressed this relationship between the two Thomases and depicted it as that between father and son: almost like Christ crying on his cross to God the father ‘Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani’ (Mark 15:34), Lancaster was said to have had cried after hearing his sentence ‘“Alas, saint Thomas, dear father! Alas! Shall I die this way?”’.76 Lancaster’s adherents believed he and Becket shared a similar death: the Earl’s execution scene is situated next to that of the Archbishop in a wall painting from c. 1330 in the village church of South Newington (Oxfordshire), and in an antiphon Lancaster and Becket were explicitly compared, stating that by death Lancaster imitated Thomas of Canterbury (‘Gaude Thoma, ducum decus, lucerna Lancastriae/ Qui per necem imitaris Thomam Cantuariae’).77 The Brut chronicler depicted how Lancaster was seized in a church while praying, much like his spiritual father.78 The association between the two was further developed, in terms of the causes for their violent deaths, although it never became the central explanation for Lancaster’s demise. Lancaster’s defence of the Church was mentioned several times in various sources, usually in chronicles, but not so much in the liturgy, where Lancaster is mentioned only briefly in an antiphon as ‘Anglicanae miles ecclesiae’.79 According to the composers of his suffrages and most of his followers, Lancaster’s death had more to do with his political activity as a whole, and less with the defence of the Church as such. Another English prelate called Thomas to whom Lancaster was seen to be linked through similar quasi-paternal ties was Thomas of Cantilupe, Bishop of Hereford (d. 1282, canonized 1320). In his Passio the infant Lancaster was presented as Cantilupe’s protégé; when this Bishop baptized Lancaster he had a premonition: the baby was to suffer martyrdom for the peace and justice of his Kingdom (‘pro pace et iustitia regni huius martyrium sit passurus’), to which the baby Thomas laughed.80 This link between Lancaster and the recently canonized English bishop could operate on several levels, simultaneously manifesting Lancaster’s merits, justifying his deeds and thus explaining his execution, and – hopefully – hastening his canonization. Lancaster had successfully petitioned the Pope for Cantilupe’s canonization in 1320; this further proved, though in retrospect, the Earl’s piety and special ties with the Bishop, a hero of the previous century’s reform movement.81 This act
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of leading the opposition to the monarch, which both men shared in different periods, was the reason why Cantilupe envisioned in this premonition Lancaster’s death for the peace and justice of England rather than for the liberty of its Church. Finally, Lancaster, Becket and Cantilupe were only three of six ‘Thomases’ mentioned in a prayer contained in a book of miscellaneous prayers, devotional treatises and hymns, alongside Thomas the Apostle, Thomas of Dover and Thomas Aquinas. Being the newest to join this acclaimed group, only in Lancaster’s case is the reason for his ‘beatification’ provided: Lancaster had died a martyr for the cause of justice (‘pro iusticia fieri voluisti’).82 Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester who died in the Battle of Evesham (Worcestershire) in 1265, was buried in the Benedictine abbey there, and later venerated as a martyr, also had many ties and parallels with Lancaster. The latter inherited from Edmund, his father, the lands of the Earldom of Leicester, formerly forfeited from de Montfort; the office of the Stewardship of England which Lancaster received from Edward II in 1308 was appurtenant to the Honour of Leicester and made him the successor of de Montfort in this capacity too; and Lancaster’s role as a leading Ordainer in 1311 echoed de Montfort’s insistence on Henry III’s acceptance of the Provisions of Oxford (in 1258). As argued by his biographer, Lancaster regarded himself as de Montfort’s political heir.83 There were similarities between Lancaster and de Montfort not only in the political sphere but also spiritually. His Franciscan hagiographer depicted Simon as a pious man who led an austere life of selfdenial, rising at midnight to pray, reciting from memory prayers from the primer and psalms, abstaining from relations with his wife, and even – like Becket – wearing a hair-shirt.84 The cults of these two political martyrs also shared many characteristics: in the chronicles, poems, liturgical offices and miracle stories through which the Earl of Leicester’s saintliness and martyrdom were conducted and celebrated, the writers saw him – much like Lancaster was seen later – as dying ‘for justice’, ‘to maintain peace and justice’, or ‘for the peace of the land and the reform of the Kingdom and the Church’. He too drew supporters from far and wide, and his adherents were of various ranks and occupations and, like Lancaster’s, mostly men.85 Despite these parallels de Montfort was not one of the saints with whom Lancaster was posthumously associated.86 The chronicles, liturgy and hagiography usually refrain from juxtaposing the two, and the abundant possibilities for comparison – to which was added, by 1322, their untimely, violent death – remained immaterialized in these sources.
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First and foremost, Lancaster’s followers were probably reluctant to associate their martyr with one who was not only never canonized, but also excommunicated by the Church prior to his death. Another reason was the state of de Montfort’s cult at the time when Lancaster’s cult was growing. Support for de Montfort’s cult did not last long, in spite of the prompt and wide appeal it had received; his last datable cure took place in 1279, and after 1280 evidence to his cult is hard to find.87 By the time Lancaster’s cult was emerging de Montfort’s was only a memory; there was no point associating with the no-longer active cult of an outdated, excommunicated ‘saint’, even if the resemblance between the two was indeed striking. Moreover, Lancaster’s adherents, for whom the martyr was celebrated as invoking peace in England instead of furthering political friction, shied away from associating him with a cult that had not managed to make a similar change and evolve from promoting political struggle to having a more general appeal.88
Chivalry The knightly ideal of the period was constructed and articulated in writings in which the chivalric ethos was a core issue, such as chansons de geste and romances. In these the knight was represented as having noble lineage, skilled in the art of war but also gentle, pious and generous, an accessible and adaptable model of fantasy and desire.89 In the fourteenth century we find growing interest in romance: new romances were written and old ones were translated into English.90 Roger Mortimer and Isabella were drawn to the Arthurian legends, and appeared in tournaments dressed as Arthur and Guinevere.91 During Edward III’s reign chivalry was used as the core image in literature and also in court life, with Edward III’s emphasis on Arthurian ideas, especially during the 1330s and 1340s.92 He deliberately encouraged the association between the English victories in France and King Arthur’s legendary achievements; in 1348, after the successful siege of Calais in the summer of 1347, the King founded the Order of the Garter. Although the order had practical political and military roles, it also highlighted the ethics of knightly endeavour and loyalty. Accordingly, most knights nominated between 1348 and 1461 were in fact soldiers of repute, a measure of the chivalric ethos of the order.93 In reality, however, the practice of war seldom abided by the chivalric ideals of the time, and much blood was shed in circumstances which challenged knightly notions – executions in the civil wars of Edward II’s reign, violent raids (chevauchées) in
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France during the Hundred Years War, usurpations involving regicide, and rebellions which ended in yet more bloodshed. Some degree of tension was thus bound to develop between the fictional ethos and the realities of knighthood. Many of the Englishmen involved in the various opportunities for combat offered in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were retainers of the high nobility and came from the lower ranks of the landed classes, the gentry. The major development of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries was the emergence of a political society, which included the landowners. In this period we see a rise in the gentry’s political, judicial, legislative and administrative involvement, mostly at the local level. County gentry acted as sheriffs, MPs, JPs, commissioners, coroners, hundred bailiffs, tax collectors, purveyors, local attorneys, solicitors, pleaders, land agents, and stewards. All these officers were ‘the channels along which government had to flow’.94 Lancaster’s political agenda, when still alive, set out an important role for this knightly class. The Modus Tenendi Parliamentum, dated to 1321 and linked to Lancaster, was a manifesto for parliamentary reform which would delegate power to the Commons – power they did not have in the period. One of its articles, for example, called for the Commons to be summoned de jure to every parliament. It was designed to draw the ‘middling people of the shire’ to Lancaster’s side, and its author highlighted the authority of the shire knights, the ones who were also to become, as we have seen, Lancaster’s posthumous followers.95 This process of social definition and demarcation, both hierarchically, within itself, and as distinguished from the bourgeois merchants, articulated itself through issues of class identity.96 In the late Middle Ages members of the gentry were creating new ways to present themselves and their newly acquired responsibilities. A miniature in the Luttrell Psalter, showing Sir Geoffrey Luttrell on a horseback with his coat of arms displayed several times, highlights this point; it has been interpreted as an ‘extraordinary lavish expression of identity’ which conveys, at the same time, Luttrell’s social standing, lineage and affinity with the families of his wife and daughter in law.97 Lancaster’s cult was another way in which men such as Geoffrey Luttrell could establish and enhance their social and individual identities. Thomas, Earl of Lancaster thus became a model of chivalry for his knightly adherents, the ideal knight, Christi miles. The cult and its chivalric discourse not only constructed the gentry’s identity, but also created a sense of belonging to a class, a ‘community of the mind’, which did not have to be based on geographical proximity.98
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 39
Lancaster’s posthumous representation was constructed by references to various aspects of chivalry, such as lineage, prowess and generosity. The martyr’s prestigious descent was highlighted in the text of his Passio, for example, where he was referred to as a descendant of King Henry III and the illustrious Blanche of Navarre.99 This emphasis on Lancaster’s royal pedigree not only served this construction of his chivalric image, but also justified his later political activity against Edward II, painting it not as a magnate’s opposition to his lawful ruler but rather as a struggle between equals. Lancaster’s ancestry was also mentioned several times in the office in his honour written c. 1322–27, contained in a commonplace book which belonged to a parish chaplain, perhaps under the patronage of Sir Laurence Ludlow of Stokesay.100 In this office, Lancaster was described as a royal vessel (‘vas regale’) with illustrious pedigree (‘stemmate egregio’), born from a royal bed (‘natus thoro regio’) and originating from royalty through both his parents.101 In this liturgical piece the terminology used and its repetition are consistent with the text of Lancaster’s Passio, presumably meant to serve similar ends. Generosity was another aspect of chivalric virtue, a desirable quality not only in secular but also in religious literature.102 Lancaster’s openhandedness was elaborated upon in his hagiography, and his good treatment of the poor and needy referred to time and again;103 in a prayer Lancaster was referred to as ‘generose miles Christi’, further highlighting the link between earthly and heavenly, generosity and chivalry; this theme appears also in his Passio.104 Fighting prowess was most important in a knight, together with courage, and the willingness and ability to protect his subordinates or dependents; Lancaster was repeatedly celebrated as such a warrior. He was seen as a soldier in the simple, military sense of the word; in one prayer he is titled a glorious knight of Christ (‘miles Christi gloriose’), in another the glory of leaders (‘ducum decus’), and in a third flower and gem of knighthood (‘flos et gemma militie’).105 Lancaster was seen, however, as a knightly model of the amalgamation of religious and secular ideas; he was not only a knight, but Christ’s knight (‘Christi miles’); he was denied his armour and instead donned ‘a robbe of Ray, |πat was his squyers liuery’, as described in the Brut, thus juxtaposing earthly humiliation with the receipt of a new, heavenly status.106 The popularity of the idea of crusading in fourteenth century England – embracing a wide social and geographical range of enthusiasts – may have contributed to this representation of Lancaster as a heavenly knight. Whereas the English high nobility not only went on
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crusades and donated substantial sums towards their financing, but also surrounded itself with tapestries, romances and relics linked to the notion of the crusade, less exalted folk too showed zeal towards the idea.107 Lancaster’s posthumous construction as Christi miles was shaped in the first half of the 1330s, when the possibility of a joint Anglo-French crusade to the Holy Land was discussed in parliament in March 1332 and again in September 1334. Interest in this option – though probably feigned – was still expressed by Edward III as late as November 1337, after the planned crusade was postponed indefinitely by Pope Benedict XII in 1336.108 The association between crusading and martyrdom was well established by the fourteenth century; the original model of God’s warrior as martyr reached its peak during the crusades. It was the first Crusade (1096), as Colin Morris suggested, that created ‘a new route to the status of martyr, which could be earned by those who fell in battle against the unbeliever, fighting for Christ and his people’.109 The late medieval Christi miles which Lancaster represented was a rather flexible symbol, which tapped into crusading imagery and discourse, on the one hand, and more general notions of knighthood, on the other. Lancaster was associated and compared with the symbol of crusading and model of heavenly knighthood – St George. The Earl stands alongside St George in a book of hours dated to c. 1325–30, both carrying their coats of arms and swords, looking at and apparently reflecting one another.110 Lancaster is on the left, wearing a sleeveless red tunic over armour, decorated with the Lancastrian coat of arms, his shield and armour decorated with the same theme. St George is on the right, wearing his traditional crusader’s garb of white tunic with a red cross. Neither is depicted with a halo, but both wear helmets, further emphasizing their resemblance. This juxtaposition alludes to Lancaster and St George’s affinity – as tormented martyrs, chivalrous knights and England’s warriors. Moreover, after having been regarded for years as a hymn to St George, it is now acknowledged that part of a prayer celebrating Lancaster’s martyrdom that begins with the words ‘Miles Christi gloriose’, with its musical notation, appears in a mid-fifteenth century book of carols.111 Although there is no direct reference to Lancaster in its folios (nor to any other saint), the text is very similar to that of one of the prayers for Lancaster. This indicates the extent to which Lancaster was associated, c. 1450, with the idea of God’s chivalric warrior and its prototype, St George. Already in his lifetime Lancaster sought association with this saint: for the christening of Thomas de Beauchamp, the future Earl
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 41
of Warwick (d. 1369), Lancaster presented him with a special relic, a bone of St George in a golden casket.112 The knight’s willingness to risk his life for a cause – often one which went beyond his private interest, as manifested in El Cid’s Reconquista or Roland’s war against the Saracens – represents the convergence of the ideals of chivalry and martyrdom. Lancaster’s death was explained and justified by his adherents who were seeking rationalization for this earl’s premature demise. Our sources offer several reasons for Lancaster’s death, all linking his deeds with protecting England’s common weal, portraying it as sacrificial and chivalrous, aimed at the wellbeing of the Kingdom’s subjects. He thus died for the state or public affairs of England (‘statum anglie’), law and justice (‘pro iusticia fuit decollatus’), or the peace and tranquillity of England’s inhabitants (‘pro pace et tranquillitate regnicolarum Angliae’; ‘optans pacem anglie’).113 Simon Walker argued that political cults could last only if they managed to overcome their initial political factionalism and grow to embody ideas of concord and harmony; indeed, Lancaster’s martyrological death was seen as curative for the Kingdom of England as a whole (‘Vas regale trucidatur regni pro remedio’), and particularly for the commons (‘acephalatur plebes pro juvamine’).114 Even if Lancaster was venerated first and foremost by knights, their concern was with healing England and establishing peace and justice. Lancaster’s posthumous importance as a model of knighthood was linked to the embodiment of English chivalry in the period, the Order of the Garter. The set of vestments given by Henry IV in 1401 to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the home of the order, was in a bright-blue shade (‘blodij coloris’) and its orphery depicted Lancaster’s life.115 This colour was also that of the mantles of the Knights Companions in the order; the vestments’ liturgical significance thus further enhanced Lancaster’s image not as a simple knight, but rather as God’s knight.116 Although it may be that Henry IV’s present was part of his political agenda at the time – to reconstitute the order on a Lancastrian basis – it also shows that at the beginning of the fifteenth century Lancaster was associated with this prestigious order, and that his representation remained stable throughout the cult’s first eighty years or so.117 It lasted well into the sixteenth century, when Lancaster was connected with the order in yet another way. Lancaster’s coat of arms was displayed in an ordinary of arms from c. 1520–34, compiled by the Garter King of Arms, Sir Thomas Wriothesley (or Wrythe). This volume, now in the College of Arms, contains coloured images of coats of arms
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(royal, papal, of European kings and of knights of the Garter) and identifies Lancaster’s arms as those of ‘Saint Thomas de Lancastre’.118 By the beginning of the sixteenth century, however, Lancaster’s role as a model of chivalry may have become a more distant memory, not of a real-life fighting hero but rather of a two-dimensional image, a coat of arms. This discourse of chivalry of which Lancaster was made a model was essentially masculine; younger and older knights alike sought first to construct and later to demonstrate their manhood through chivalry. They had different ways to explore and display it – tournaments, war, or romantic love; devotion to a valiant martyr was yet another. Note that one of the ways in which the pro-royalist chronicler of the Vita Edwardi Secundi scorns Lancaster and his men is by mocking their alleged prowess and masculinity.119 However, there were other aspects to chivalry too, amongst them the linking of ideal knighthood to purity and chastity. Virginity was associated with other saint-knights such as St George or Galahad, and in the aforementioned miniature comparing Lancaster and St George, this aspect is also present, albeit implicitly: whereas St George’s garments imply his purity (white tunic) and martyrdom (red cross), Lancaster’s white belt hints at his chastity.120 This may have been the reason for his belt’s appeal among women at a later stage, when it was used as a relic helping lying-in adherents of the cult. While chivalric ideals were naturally more attractive to a male audience, ideas on chastity and virginity could have drawn wider adherence to the cult, including female followers, as testified by the virgin-martyrs’ popularity at the time. In a similar vein, Lancaster’s wife was not mentioned in the hagiographical sources, although he was married to Alice de Lacy.121 Whereas his adherents may have deliberately played down this matrimony in order to highlight saintly chastity, the de Lacy family maintained their attachment to Lancaster’s holy memory even towards the end of the fifteenth century. In a family pedigree recorded during a heraldic visitation to the north of England c. 1480–1500, they referred to the marriage between Alice and ‘Beatus Thomas Comes Lancastrie’.122 The representation of Lancaster as an ideal knight was initially constructed in opposition to that of Edward II, who was seen by contemporaries, such as the Anonimalle chronicler, as a handsome, strong man, who did not have the strength of chivalry nor its prowess (‘beaus homme et fort de corps et de member…il ne fist force de chivalerie ne pruesce’).123 The political conflict between Lancaster and the King was articulated through similar imagery also before Lancaster’s death. King
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 43
Arthur, the most important symbol of chivalry in the period, became one of the foci of this struggle. The reference to Lancaster as King Arthur comes from a letter sent by the Scottish leader James Douglas that reached Edward II’s hands in 1321, and opened with the greeting ‘au Roi Arthur salutz’.124 Lancaster’s biographer, J.R. Maddicott, discussed the authenticity of this correspondence, and we may never know whether Lancaster indeed chose this pseudonym for himself, or whether it was a propaganda ploy by the King or his councillors. In any case, this particular symbol was laden with significance and left an impression on contemporaries; as Lancaster was led to his execution, according to the Brut chronicler, he was scorned and mocked: ‘O Kyng Arthur, most dredeful! Wel knowen now is |πin open traitery!’125 In this case, Lancaster’s pseudonym was interpreted as an arrogant, bold manifestation of intension to challenge the legitimacy of a lawful king and collaborate with the enemy, but it could also have been understood, by Lancaster’s followers, as that of a courageous leader, intent on bringing England the glorious golden age which the return of King Arthur signified, the ‘Briton Hope’ for his messianic arrival. Following a prophetic discourse from Edward I’s reign, Lancaster could have been seen not only as the potential unifier of Britain, but also as Edward I’s ‘true’ heir.126 In the pro-Lancastrian hands of the Brut chronicler, Lancaster’s association with King Arthur and his alleged wish to become king even received Christological meaning; when Lancaster is put on his head ‘an olde chapelet’ (some kind of head-dress, possibly a diadem) in order to mock his Arthurian plans of becoming a king, what springs to mind is Christ’s Crown of Thorns, alluding to His being the King of Jews.127 This may have been the same hat which later healed headaches at Pontefract. Whereas this association between decapitation and headache may seem ironic to the modern eye, to the late medieval follower of Lancaster it would have made perfect sense: thanks to Lancaster’s sacrificial suffering and decapitation he acquired the power to help folk suffering from ‘similar’ pain. In his own lifetime Lancaster was vying for power which would compete with the king’s also through the more conventional political means of the Stewardship of England, especially around 1319–20. A polemical tract on this office, linked to Lancaster and composed c. 1321, claimed that the Steward’s duty was ‘to supervise and regulate under and immediately after the king, the whole realm of England and all the officers of laws within the said kingdom in time of peace and war’; in effect, the aim was to grant Lancaster quasi-monarchical powers.128 Lancaster’s
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role as the Steward of England was stressed also by some of his posthumous adherents; in a prayer for him he was referred to as the glory, hope and guardian (or protector) of England (‘laus, spes, tutor Angliae’), and the obit of his martyrdom-day in a calendar was entered as ‘Thomas, once Earl of Lancaster, Seneschal of England’.129 In both cases, Lancaster’s Stewardship was linked to his death for England’s public affairs (‘pro pace et statu Angliae’; ‘propter statum Angliae’) and contributed to creating an image of a leader, defender and protector of the realm. This representation, however, was not the central one; he was depicted rather as the ideal knight, which implies also loyalty to one’s lord, be it earthly or heavenly. This was made in order not to limit the cult’s potential appeal by depicting it as ‘too’ politically oriented. Lancaster’s image as a model of chivalry persisted throughout the cult’s existence. It was a stable representation of chivalric masculinity and prowess which provided the gentry with a focus of individual and class identity. Chivalry was a core image of the late Middle Ages, not only in Edward III’s time – the heyday of Lancaster’s cult – but also during Henry V’s reign. Lancaster’s cult was relevant for two hundred years and hardly changed during this time – not even following the Black Death which created new saintly patrons – since it was linked above all to this ideal. Towards the end of this period, as chivalry changed with the increasing power of the state and Renaissance culture, Lancaster’s cult began to attract other adherents as well, among them women.130 Even if its message initially derived from a particular political struggle and milieu, it was gradually interpreted as universal. Lancaster’s representation as defender of justice and of his death as being for England could thus be appreciated and celebrated by many.
Justice and injustice The interpretation of Lancaster’s life and death as a fulfilment of chivalric ideals was only one aspect of his representation. Another emphasized the injustice of his death. Among the various explanations suggested by his adherents, some considered his condemnation and execution to be ‘with-outen cause and resoun’.131 Numerous images depicting Lancaster’s beheading – on the South Newington wall painting, in the Luttrell Psalter, or in a pilgrim badge – allude to the same idea. They present not an unfolding and contextualizing narrative, but merely a scene, divorced from the circumstances which had led to it and thus devoid of meaning.132
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Justice has several meanings: it is both a system of rules and procedures related to the law, as well as ideas of fairness and propriety.133 The supposed groundlessness of Lancaster’s death sentence had therefore both a legal and a metaphysical sense. Lancaster’s followers did not believe him guilty of any offence; they also referred to his condemnation and execution as defying common sense or the Law of Nature in being chaotic, lacking in heavenly order. When in March 1328 Edward III (or rather Isabella and Mortimer) annulled Lancaster’s sentence, acknowledging that he had been convicted unjustly and against the law of the Kingdom, Lancaster’s innocence and judicial victimization became not only his adherents’ stance, but the official position.134 In the popular mind as well, Lancaster was seen as innocent; his tomb miraculously exuded blood both in 1359 and in 1466, testifying to the unlawful shedding of his innocent blood and to its curative significance for the English realm.135 Thus, while many agreed that Lancaster fell victim to a perversion of justice, his death was paradoxically interpreted by his followers as being for England’s laws and for justice: Lancaster, claimed one of the prayers in his honour, was an innocent, just man, decapitated for the cause of justice (‘Iustus pro iusticia fuit decollatus’). In another, he was seen to have fought for the liberty of England’s law (‘pro lege libertatis decertasti Angliae’), and not to have eluded dying for it (‘Non pro jure morti spernit’).136 This view of Lancaster as defender of the English system of justice was expressed not only in liturgy, but also in chronicles: Geoffrey le Baker portrayed the Earl’s death as for the law of Church and Kingdom (‘pro iure ecclesie et regni decollatus’).137 As seen through the eyes of his hagiographers and adherents, Lancaster’s drama expressed criticism of the law and law-courts of his day, typical of fourteenth century England. Whether or not the period’s ‘complaint culture’ was more apparent than real, Lancaster’s image as martyr was closely linked to issues of justice and injustice.138 The miscellaneous volume which included the liturgical office to Lancaster (BL, Royal 12 C XII) is an interesting example of this association between the Earl and the law, in more than one way. Rhyming verses on the corruption of law-courts were written on the verso of the folio on which this office was copied, hailing as blessed those who ‘hunger and thirst and do justice, and hate and avoid the wickedness of injustice’, those not tempted by gold or jewels who rather judge what is just.139 The juxtaposition of the office for Lancaster and this criticism on the corruption of judges raised an important question: if the greatest, richest magnate of England was condemned unjustly,
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what were the chances of poorer folk for a fair sentence, or for a trial at all? This potential inaccessibility of law and justice was recognized by fourteenth century England’s judicial system. The need for fair treatment regardless of social and economic status was emphasized, and Edward III made a sincere effort to deal with complaints against royal justices through the Ordinance of Justices of 1346.140 This attempt to provide better law enforcement for all proves that problems, complaints and criticism were in fact common. The commons – represented in parliament also by the knights of the shire – were the ones who, during the fourteenth century, demanded equal accessibility of the judicial system to the less well-off. The gentry were gradually becoming more dominant as members of parliament and the judicial system. Both in the daily business of legal procedures, as justices of the peace in the counties, and as representatives of their shires as members of parliament, the gentry was gradually gaining access to and becoming an important part of the legal and political establishment. We have already seen how Lancaster was described as dying for the cause of England’s law and justice. However, even before his death Lancaster was identified with a political agenda which stressed the need to check the law-courts’ corruption. For example, in the tract on the office of Stewardship mentioned above, some of this office-holder’s responsibilities were to determine all cases in which a plaintiff suffered injustice and to replace or reproach corrupt officers of law.141 As in the well known Charter of Christ, the elaborate fifteenth century agreement between Christ and humanity, here we see again how the worlds of religion and law interlinked:142 through Lancaster’s cult, legal issues were highlighted, and Lancaster’s representation was constructed through reference to judicial issues. Some of the cult’s knightly followers were associated with the Commons in parliament or with judicial procedures in the counties; one such man was William Raunds from Raunds (Northamptonshire). Raunds’ family owned a psalter which included both a prayer to Lancaster and his obit in the calendar, which mentioned Lancaster’s role as England’s Steward, and William himself was issued the Commission of Peace for Rutlandshire between 1327 and 1331.143 Both before and after his death, Lancaster constituted a political and religious focal point through which individual gentlemen could crystallize some of their attitudes towards law and justice. Another item in the manuscript which contains the office in honour of Lancaster and the verses on the corruption of law courts was the romance of Fulk Fitz Warin. This legend highlights a similar protest against the judicial system of the day, but also refers to a different,
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 47
more metaphysical type of injustice of which Lancaster was victim.144 This narrative tells the story of the Baron Fulk, who was reared with the princes, sons of King Henry II. After a fight with Prince John the latter resented Fulk, and when he later became a king he presented his evil councillor the honour of White-Town that was Fulk’s inheritance. Wronged by the King, Fulk withdrew his homage and consequently became an outlaw, persecuted by the King’s officials. After various adventures in England and abroad (including the slaying of a dragon), the story ends with the King’s pardon and the restoration of Fulk’s lands.145 Outlawry literature, the genre to which this romance belongs, was part of the ‘satirical discourse’ of the period, aimed at satirizing the judicial system, albeit without any particular reformist agenda.146 It is doubtful, however, that a follower of Lancaster would have found this narrative satirical. Fulk’s and Lancaster’s stories were simply too similar, especially when included in the same volume. Both Fulk and Lancaster were barons, brought up within the royal family. Their initial good relations with their kings (who were also their relatives) turned sour at a later stage, partly due to evil royal councillors. In both cases, this resulted in loss of land and property, and finally in outlawry. Yet the juxtaposed reading of these two different genres – the liturgical office for Lancaster and the Fulk romance – highlighted not only the similarities, but also the differences between the two stories, first and foremost their endings. Whereas Fulk was pardoned, Lancaster did not receive absolution and was executed as a traitor to the King and Kingdom. This important dissimilarity can be seen as a criticism of the legal process in Lancaster’s case, which indeed was later found to be lacking. Whereas in outlawry literature the king was expected to acknowledge any deviation from the right order of things, Lancaster’s story highlighted Edward II’s incompetence as king, his inadequacy in his royal responsibility for justice.147 This criticism was articulated already before Lancaster’s beheading, as we have seen above, in the tract on the office of the Steward. Edward II’s failure to offer Lancaster justice was also stressed by the Brut chronicler, who depicted Lancaster on his way to his execution place, invoking God’s mercy: ‘“Now, the King of Heaven, give us mercy, because the earthly king has forsaken us!”’.148 This shift of judicial responsibility from King to God was treated indirectly also through the juxtaposition of the two stories, those of Fulk and Thomas. This way, Lancaster’s death was discussed within, and at the same time taken out of the initial context, that of men’s laws and human agency, invoking instead issues of
48 Martyrs in the Making
heavenly justice. The injustice perpetrated by royal law against Lancaster may have been seen by contemporaries as a breach of cosmic harmony, a human violation of justice that required not only explanation but also expiation. The explanation offered for this wrong, the claim that Lancaster was in fact a martyr playing a role in a heavenly plan, gave his death universal meaning. Whereas Lancaster’s death was represented in the sources as occurring ‘without cause and reason’, in effect due to this lack of sense, his demise was concurrently depicted as God’s direct will.149 Another way of showing God’s involvement in Lancaster’s martyrdom was depicting the Earl as His emulator. Similes, images and metaphors from Christ’s Passion were used to depict Lancaster’s trial and death, linking Lancaster’s demise and suffering to those of Christ and acknowledging the human injustice done to him, yet situating it in a wider context. Like Christ, Lancaster was betrayed by his ‘disciples’; first by Robert Holland, and later by Andrew Harclay.150 Like Christ, Lancaster predicted the evil death of his betrayer, and like His Crown of Thorns, Lancaster was made to wear ‘an olde chapelet’ that was suppose to symbolize his crowning as ‘Kyng Arthur’. Lancaster’s own passion, in which he was taken on a ‘lene white palfray’ from his castle to the execution place, could be associated with Christ’s Via Dolorosa, especially since on the way there he was mocked by bystanders who threw snowballs at him.151 Like Christ’s, Lancaster’s suffering was willed by God, for a greater purpose. This was, however, on smaller scale; Lancaster’s adherents stressed his death as curative not for humanity as a whole, but for England and its people. This motif was present in the construction of Lancaster’s posthumous image already from the cult’s first years; in a letter requesting Lancaster’s canonization, his martyr’s blood was likened both to a heavenly river flowing in different parts of England, and to the falling of heavenly dew, health-giving and fertilizing.152 The attempt to depict similarities between Lancaster and Christ gave the injustice done to the Earl a more portentous meaning and turned the miracles worked by the Earl’s body into signs of heavenly grace. His veneration imparted of this grace, and represented an effort to appease God for the unjust death of his chosen one. These two elements – the legal injustice suffered by Lancaster and its part in a providential plan of grace – were fused by the composer of the office in Lancaster’s honour. While he lamented the disappearance of equity, piety and truth, he was nevertheless assured that the goodness and sanctity of Lancaster increased daily, since at his tomb health was given to the sick and the truth was manifested.153
3 Archbishop Richard Scrope: Shepherd of the People
The good relations maintained by the Archbishop of York, Richard Scrope, with King Henry IV in 1399 and 1400 could hardly have foretold the events which were to unfold a few years later, when on 8 June, 1405, the Archbishop was executed for treason following a Yorkshire uprising which he had led. The revolt which ended with Scrope’s decapitation has already been exhaustively studied and will therefore not be discussed extensively here.1 Scrope seems to have taken upon himself to act as a mediator between his public – nobility, clergy and burgesses alike – and the Crown.2 His reformist program, written in English and hung on church-doors and on the city-gates of York, voiced certain complaints and abuses, to which remedies were suggested. It called for a London parliament with free elections, in which the following reforms would be discussed: (1) Removal of the burden of taxation from the clergy (following the Commons’ call for heavier taxation in the Unlearned Parliament of 1404); (2) A remedy for the subjection and annihilation suffered by lords when rightful claims to lands and titles were wrongfully denied to them (as the Earl Marshal, Thomas Mowbray, had reportedly complained to Scrope); (3) Emendation of the excessive taxes imposed on all estates (especially in York, which found itself burdened by the fiscal demands of Henry IV); and (4) Punishment for those who had put the wealth of the Commons to their own use.3 The idiom of protest used by Scrope, highlighting the three orders of society – fighters, prayers and workers – places this reformist agenda alongside other similar ‘risings of the commons’, such as that of 1381: the general dissent it expresses remains within a context of obedience, both to the ruler and to the social hierarchy.4 Whether or not the number of Yorkshire men who gathered on Shipton Moor did amount to eight or nine thousand, as claimed by the 49
50 Martyrs in the Making
Record and Process of the Long Parliament (March 1406), their leader, the Archbishop of York, was an independent actor, politically informed and intent on voicing the reformist message concerning his flock, religious and lay alike.5 Confrontation between the men under Scrope’s leadership and Prince John with the Earl of Westmorland was avoided for three days, after which – cunningly, as claimed by some chroniclers – the Archbishop and his companions were seized and led to Pontefract to be tried.6 Two different commissions for judging the rebels were appointed, the first on 4 June, and the second two days later, after Henry IV’s arrival in York, hinting at possible differences of opinion among members of the first commission.7 Scrope and his companions, Thomas Mowbray and William Plumpton, were finally sentenced to death by a lay tribunal, after which they were led to a field belonging to the nunnery of Clementhorpe and promptly executed.8 The Archbishop was buried in York Minster, to the right of St Stephen’s altar and next to that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where his body soon started to work miracles.
Cult chronology: saint or martyr? The first few years of Henry IV’s reign were rife with plots and uprisings, both real and imagined, which were portrayed by Lancastrian poets and writers as revealing God’s providential plans regarding the King and his family.9 The veneration of the lately executed rebel must have seemed to the Lancastrian king as yet another attempt to override his power and enable the dissenting agenda to linger on. Indeed, matters were dealt with as decisively as they had been in the aftermath of the rebellion: on 21 September Prince John, in his office as Constable of England, instructed the sub-treasurer of York Minster to replace the wooden barriers, initially laid at the shrine, with ones made of stones and logs.10 The people for whom these obstacles were laid in the first place, however, were not deterred; as a reaction to Henry IV’s political, religious and legal faux pas, the men and women who became Scrope’s posthumous adherents produced devotional prayers and images of the late Archbishop as martyr, emphasizing his suffering and innocent death. A book of hours of the Use of York, dated to c. 1405–1413, contains a prayer to Scrope which highlights his Christ-like manner of death by asking his executioner for five blows, as well as the willing acceptance of the death imposed on him, which killed him in body but not in spirit.11 Although his merits as a holy bishop were celebrated – in prayers and verses from this period he was seen to be rich in virtues
Archbishop Richard Scrope: Shepherd of the People 51
(‘Diues Uirtutibus’), pious (‘pastor pijssime’) and wise (‘The bysshop Scrope that was so wyse’) – it was his martyrological death which attracted most attention, rather than these advocated saintly qualities.12 Archbishop Scrope’s death as martyr and his posthumous miracles appear in two important texts from the cult’s early years. One is Decollatio Ricardi Scrope, attributed to Thomas Gascoigne (d. 1458), a Doctor of Theology and Chancellor of the University of Oxford.13 The other, Martyrium Ricardi Archiepiscopi, similar to but longer than the first, was written around 1413–15 by Clement Maidstone (d. 1456), priest at Syon Abbey.14 Gascoigne’s version seems to be the earlier account of the Archbishop’s death and miracles, but it has been suggested that both Gascoigne and Maidstone based their accounts on an earlier text, no longer existing or yet to be discovered, which could have been disseminated from Yorkshire southwards through monastic channels, and which may have been available to both hagiographers.15 Maidstone’s text survives in four manuscripts, all of them containing three elements – a manifesto of ten articles attributed to Scrope by the Yorkists later in the century, a list of seven reasons for Scrope’s execution, as well as a narrative of his martyrdom. Some of these volumes were owned by pro-Yorkists, such as John Benet (d. before 1474), vicar of Harlingdon (Bedfordshire), whose commonplace book included these texts.16 The narrative is a unique combination of memoir and hagiography; it adds a certain degree of historical authenticity to an otherwise generic hagiographical text.17 In both Maidstone’s and Gascoigne’s accounts, Scrope’s earlier ecclesiastical career is described very briefly, with few details on family, childhood or adolescence.18 Scrope’s role in the rebellion is neglected. Rather, the narratives begin with his trial. This omission was designed to downplay Scrope’s active political role, rendering his trial and execution inexplicably unjust, in accordance with martyrological interpretations which present the martyr as unjustly wronged. However, in most surviving manuscripts, Scrope’s martyrdom was presented alongside the background to his uprising and execution; this contextualized his death, and emphasized his political role, possibly in contrast to the original hagiographer’s intention. Archbishop Thomas Arundel and the King’s Chancellor and Dean of York, Thomas Langley, promptly joined the royal effort to check the nascent cult in the Minster. In reaction to the failure of the initial harder line, which tried to physically disrupt the venerators’ worship at the shrine, they employed, in December 1405, a different tactic: veneration was not forbidden but rather discouraged, by prohibiting the
52 Martyrs in the Making
circulation of news about miracles witnessed on site. Half a year later, after the adherents still insisted on leaving offerings at the shrine, they instructed the Dean and Chapter of the Minster to channel any such oblations to the shrines of other saints in the cathedral.19 We see here the gradual process in which the Crown, starting with an initial attempt to ban Scrope’s cult, came to terms with the cult’s existence, and sought instead to undermine it, and later merely to ignore it. After the initial political challenges of the first years of his reign, Henry IV adopted a milder approach towards the cult, especially after his reconciliation with the Holy See in 1408, in which Pope Gregory XII absolved all those involved in the prelate’s execution. In 1410 Henry IV even admitted Henry, 3rd Lord Scrope of Masham, the Archbishop’s kin, to the Order of the Garter, proving the irrelevance of past tensions, and the possibility of re-establishing political bridges between the Crown and the Scrope family.20 Whereas Henry IV had initially discouraged and later grew to tolerate Scrope’s cult, his son and heir adopted a different approach. Henry V, so reported the chronicler John Hardyng, allowed people to offer at the martyr’s shrine immediately following his coronation, and later tried to fulfil the penance which was believed to have been imposed on his father by Gregory XII, of founding three religious houses in memory of the Archbishop.21 These acts by the new king were interpreted by some historians as a political manipulation aimed at soothing Scrope’s adherents.22 Yet the King’s other deeds, first and foremost the reburial of Richard II, hint rather at broader political understanding and intent, of attempting to actively heal the old wounds of the body politic.23 Scrope was still venerated during Henry VI’s reign. In 1429, the Godstow chronicler described miracles performed by the saint’s body as a current phenomenon.24 His adherents in this period saw him, however, in a slightly different light than during the first twenty or so years after the execution. Although his suffering and death were still referred to, they no longer constituted the main theme of the devotional material dedicated to him. Instead, the depiction of Scrope’s suffering and execution on the one hand, and his exemplary virtues, such as truthfulness and chastity, on the other, were more equally balanced.25 This thematic shift throughout the Lancastrian period corresponded to – but was not necessarily manipulated or even influenced by – the changing attitudes of the rulers between 1405 and the 1460s. The adherents’ choice to gradually play down Scrope’s violent death, and to stress his model virtues instead, can be seen as a likely chronological process in which perceptions alter as time passes. Popes, Lancastrian
Archbishop Richard Scrope: Shepherd of the People 53
kings, as well as the Yorkshire adherents of the Archbishop, were influenced by the natural course of time; the present – with its political, religious, financial and even mundane demands – was more important than the past, although history and its lessons were not forgotten. The Yorkist challenge to Henry VI’s reign in the 1450s, 1460s and the early 1470s meant that the past was employed in order to change the political future of England: in contemporary Yorkist sources, Scrope is made into an anti-Lancastrian champion.26 His death following the rebellion is brought to the fore and celebrated once again for the purpose of highlighting the tyrannical nature of the Lancastrian reign in the past as well as in the present. The Yorkists stressed Henry IV’s usurpation of the English throne back in 1399 and, as a result, the illegitimacy of his grandson’s, Henry VI’s, reign; the conclusion was therefore that Richard, Duke of York and his heirs had a legitimate right to the throne.27 In 1471, during the conflict between Edward IV and Queen Margaret, Scrope’s image was propagated again by the Yorkists: in a letter written in April, seeking the sheriffs’ help against the Queen, Edward IV portrayed Scrope as a holy father who ‘dyed and suffred Deth and Martyrdome’ for the right and title of the King’s ancestry.28 The link between Henry IV’s usurpation, the Yorkist right to the Crown and Scrope’s death was expressed also in a set of ten articles attributed to Scrope in the Yorkist period, and was attached to the text of his martyrdom, which demanded the restoration of the true heir to the throne (although originally written by Ricardian loyalists between July 1403 and May 1405).29 There is no convincing reason to see Scrope’s saintly status as part of the Yorkist political claims as merely manipulative or devoid of piety and devotion. In a stained glass window installed c. 1461–75 in the church of Fotheringhay (Northamptonshire), the Yorkists’ dynastic mausoleum, Scrope appears as one of many saints.30 His image there, however, does not receive special attention, as we might have expected in this period: it does not depict the Archbishop’s martyrdom but rather shows him donning his episcopal vestments; it also juxtaposes him with other bishops, in a scheme that highlights not his death and suffering but rather his power to intercede as a patron saint at sea. Although Scrope’s cult held political importance for the Yorkists, this does not preclude a devotional meaning embedded in the choice. The Duchess of York, Cecily Neville (d. 1495) played a significant part in planning the scheme of which Scrope’s window was part; she was a pious woman for whom, as for many others in the period, inner devotional practices
54 Martyrs in the Making
and public function and display were not in disharmony.31 Another possible Yorkist adherent of the Archbishop may have been Cecily’s son, the future Richard III, whose spiritual heritage was mediated through his mother and her northern family, on the one hand, and his own northern neighbours and friends, such as the Scropes of Masham, on the other.32 Although some argue that Edward IV’s use of Scrope as a martyr for the Yorkist cause failed in the city of York, whose citizens were not keen on politicizing their civic martyr, we cannot overlook the influence which contemporary interest in Scrope’s death had on the cult’s (and Minster’s) activity.33 The prelate’s memory was certainly not neglected or forgotten between the 1430s and 1460s. In his will of 1449, for instance, the chaplain John Clerk left two red woollen armours or coverlets with the ecclesiastical arms of the late Archbishop to his chapel of the Blessed Mary Magdalene in the outskirts of York, together with other precious devotional objects.34 From around the late 1450s Scrope’s possible canonization was mentioned and discussed in various circles. John Dautree, a lawyer from York, left in his will of 1458, a rosary for Scrope’s future canonization; however, only in March 1462 – and following Edward IV’s prompting – a convocation was summoned to discuss ‘urgent and difficult matters’ – canonization and translation of Richard, sometime Archbishop of York.35 This phrasing did not indicate real urgency; it was rather the common rhetoric when summoning convocations at the time.36 After some consideration it was probably decided not to apply to the papal curia for canonization. Instead of seeking universal recognition of Scrope and through this, indirectly, aligning the Minster with the new regime, the Dean and Chapter of the Minster resolved to ‘anchor his cult still more firmly within the spiritual and physical context of the Minster’: they promoted the celebration of the Minster’s dedication to a double feast, and upgraded the already existing celebrations on the feast of St William (William FitzHerbert, Archbishop of York in the twelfth century, whose feast-day was on the same day as Scrope’s).37 Another reason for the decision not to pursue canonization could have been St William’s canonization back in 1226. Although his sainthood was officially recognized by the Papacy, the cult (and York Minster at its centre) did not gain the wide national (or even international) popularity it hoped for; St William remained a local saint despite the funds and administrative and diplomatic efforts invested in the canonization process. The northern clergy probably decided not to bother too much with Scrope’s official status, and instead to cultivate his cult
Archbishop Richard Scrope: Shepherd of the People 55
(as well as other cults) in the context of the Minster, not beyond it. This could allow them to invest the expenses of the canonization procedure in the ongoing building of the Minster’s fabric.38 Also around this time, money was bequeathed and precious objects left by adherents such as John Sendale from Ripon, or Robert Abbot of Kirkby Knoll (North Riding), in anticipation of future translation.39 Although translation would have been easier to achieve than canonization, less costly and, being an internal affair of the cathedral, would not have been interpreted as support for Edward IV’s regime, it probably never materialized.40 The last testimony to Scrope’s popularity as saint is from 1509, when the Treasurer of York Minster composed an inventory of his shrine. It mentioned wax and silver images of men, women, oxen, as well as hearts and ships; these prove the continuous importance of the Archbishop and his commemoration, and a belief in his power to protect and work miracles up to the beginning of the sixteenth century and possibly up until the 1530s.41
The bishop’s roles The biblical theme of pastor, or shepherd, as elaborated in Psalm 23, Ezekiel 34:11–24 and John 10, is used frequently in sources, particularly liturgical, referring to Scrope. The medieval idea of the good shepherd was attributed to bishops from early times, reflecting Christ’s own role as shepherd.42 In the later Middle Ages, this theme was still dominant in representing the ideal bishop: Archbishop Thomas Becket, the exemplar of episcopal sacrifice, was seen in the liturgy and sermons for his feast-day as the model bonus pastor who defended his flock to death.43 The shepherd-bishop, like the Magnus Pastor, Christ, is supposed to care, guide, teach and unify his flock. Like Christ, he leads his sheep, provides an example for them, and, if necessary, ‘giveth his life for the sheep’ (John 10:11).44 The frequent use of this term in association with Scrope suggests its importance in reconstructing Scrope’s representation and in its meaning. In the liturgy, the Archbishop was ‘Ricarde pastor clare’, ‘pastor populi’, ‘pastor piissime’, ‘pastor humilis’ and ‘felix pastor ouium’; even in a stained glass window in York Minster he was referred to as ‘O Ricarde pastor bone’.45 This indicates Scrope’s role as a shepherd: responsible for the souls in his care, protector of their rights and leader in protest, and intercessor before God. Hence, Scrope’s leadership is compared by a contemporary anonymous chronicler to that of a true
56 Martyrs in the Making
shepherd, ascending the field for his flock (‘pastor verus pro grege suorum campum ascendit’).46 The double meaning of campus as a place of grazing and a potential battlefield reflects Scrope’s double role as religious and political leader. Faced with the need to balance Scrope’s posthumous image between this and other models, and the acts and character of the historical Scrope, his hagiographers and venerators chose to highlight some aspects and ignore others. Scrope, for example, was not depicted as wearing a hair-shirt or fasting to mortify his flesh, despite devotional trends in the late Middle Ages which emphasized such behaviour. Several English bishops throughout the ages were posthumously depicted as living in great austerity, especially in contrast with the affluence surrounding them. Thus, St Dunstan (d. 988) wandered the city churches at night singing psalms, St Thomas of Hereford (d. 1282) slept at the foot of his bed, and Robert Winchelsey (d. 1313 and never canonized) secretly mortified his flesh.47 But ascetic behaviour was not a sine qua non of holy episcopate in the later Middle Ages; other lauded virtues – sobriety, moderation, discreteness, benevolence, learning, piety, devotion and generosity – were exalted on the one hand, while virility, active leadership and protection of Church privileges were lauded on the other.48
Spiritual authority The most immediate means of projecting power and creating an authoritative image, both while in office and posthumously, was to represent leaders with the emblems of their power. In Scrope’s case, too, an iconographical depiction was quickly established following his death, depicting him with the attributes of his status. With only one exception, this remained stable throughout the cult’s active years. In the stained glass window which Scrope’s nephew Stephen Scrope (d. 1418) commissioned in York Minster, in the Bolton Book of Hours of the Use of York, in the stained glass window in Fotheringhay Church, as well as in the Pageants of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick dated c. 1483–93, Scrope is presented in his episcopal glory, donning his vestments and either wearing his mitre, holding his staff, or both; in some of these images he is with a halo.49 His vestments are either blue – symbolizing purity following the traditional ‘Marian Blue’ – or red, the colour used for feasts of martyrs and for Whitsuntide.50 The red vestments are designed to remind the viewer of Scrope’s death in two ways: firstly, by linking him to other martyrs and to their martyrdoms; secondly, by reminding the viewers of the time of his death (‘Hay, hay, hay, hay, thynke on Whitsonmonday’).51
Archbishop Richard Scrope: Shepherd of the People 57
The mitre and pramatial cross were the common and obvious attributes of holy bishops; however, particular emblems were usually added in order to help the believer distinguish the bishop in question from other holy prelates. For example, whereas St Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, usually holds St Oswald’s head in his hands, St Clement, Bishop of Rome, was identified by an anchor.52 Scrope did not receive such special attributes; perhaps there was not enough time for them to develop iconographically, and for that reason Scrope was identified in most of the images in either the title or the adjoining text. It is possible, however, that the windmill held by the Archbishop in one of his representations was an attempt at developing an attribute which will identify him;53 conversely, other representations of Scrope may have existed, in which he was not yet identified. As Bishop of Lichfield (1386–98), Scrope seems to have been more concerned with the administrative aspects of his office than with pastoral guidance. Thus, for instance, whereas he was particularly active in guarding and extending his rights as bishop, he was not involved in heresy trials.54 The registers offer little information on Scrope’s spiritual leadership, and it is almost impossible to compare his real-life activities in this sphere with his posthumous representation. In the discussion that follows I shall concentrate on a number of religious and devotional topoi stressed by Scrope’s adherents when constructing the Archbishop’s image through the cult. One devotional idea referred to profusely in the sources treating Scrope’s martyrdom is Christ’s Five Wounds.55 Scrope is depicted as asking his executioner to be given five blows of the sword, ‘pro amore Domini nostri Jesu’, and in exchange for Christ’s and Scrope’s forgiveness for this deed.56 It is unlikely that all the writers of the various texts in which this theme occurs have copied from one another; it is rather more probable that they shared a process in which this martyrological attribute was developed, while believing it to be fact and not merely hagiographic fancy. No tradition existed in which the would-be martyr asked for a death similar to that suffered by Christ. The closest example is that of St Peter who, according to tradition, was crucified, but with his head down following his request. It is possible therefore that the historical Scrope ‘really’ requested to be decapitated by five strokes, and that he wished to manifest through this the cult of Five Wounds, and at least some of its various meanings. The cult of Christ’s Five Wounds had considerable importance in late medieval England, and it found expression in books of hours, vernacular sermons and prayers.57 This cult was part of the growing fascination,
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throughout the later Middle Ages, with Christ’s body and humanity, manifested through devotion towards the cults of the Virgin Mary and the holy family, Corpus Christi or the Arms of Christ. Both as a high clergyman and as a private person, Scrope shared this devotional milieu. He even contributed to its propagation: while still alive he presented the Minster with a silver reliquary for carrying the host (‘pro corpore Christi portando’), a gift which hints at Scrope’s interest, at least at a liturgical level, in Christ’s body.58 Scrope’s association with the Five Wounds gained further recognition in the years following his death: a memoria for Scrope in a book of hours from c. 1410–20 was immediately followed by a text dedicated to this theme.59 Other notions linked to the Five Wounds were those of sacrificial atonement for sins, obedience and charity. The symbolism of the Five Wounds as expiating for humanity’s sins was familiar in England; in York itself it was referred to in the city’s play of Judgment, when the character of Christ displays his wounds and explains their meaning: ‘Here you may see my wide wounds,/ which I suffered for your sin’.60 Scrope’s request for five wounds could have had a special meaning for the people of York, who were associated more intimately with the Archbishop’s death through their own involvement in the futile rising. In asking for five blows, Scrope’s death was linked to Christ’s Passion, and possibly seen as sacrificial for the sins of the people of York. Obedience, even to the point of death, was another notion related to the Five Wounds, at least in Scrope’s Martyrium. In Gascoigne’s and Maidstone’s texts, Christ’s obedience to God the Father (by suffering death as a man) is mentioned; in this way Scrope, too, is portrayed as obediently suffering his death, and the imitation of virtuous submission and compliance is thus encouraged.61 The cult of Five Wounds was associated in England also with acts of charity in multiples of five, which were bestowed on Fridays and especially on Good Friday. By attending to the poor the Wounds of Judgment could be turned into ones of Mercy.62 We see here that in Scrope’s request for five wounds his ‘personal’ devotional preferences (whether in the historical or hagiographical/fictional sense) were brought to the fore; however, social issues – such as charity, expiation for sins or obedience – were highlighted too. Through Scrope’s manifestation of the theme of Five Wounds a more general message was articulated: be it humanity as a whole or the people of York, society is an organic entity in which all parts are interlinked. Only by co-operating, helping one another and sharing the responsibility for its wellbeing would salvation and grace be achievable.
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Another socio-religious agenda expressed through Scrope’s cult was that of the need for pious forgiveness. The proto-martyr St Stephen was a model of such exemplary behaviour which Scrope was posthumously represented as emulating. In a variation on this first martyr’s prayer before his stoning, asking God to refrain from punishing his enemies (Acts 7:60: ‘lay not this sin to their charge’), Scrope, too, was depicted as asking bystanders, after being sentenced to death, to pray to God not to take vengeance on the King or his followers. While doing so Scrope was also praying to St Stephen.63 The Archbishop was buried to the right of St Stephen’s Altar in the Minster, in what had become, already by 1451, the Scrope Chapel, the Scropes’ family mausoleum. Other family members buried in the chapel were Richard’s younger brother (d. 1406) and his nephew, the Archdeacon of Richmond (d. 1418); both shared the name Stephen, hinting at the special affinity the family had with this saint. Richard shared this special connection too – he wished to be buried next to St Stephen’s altar long before his death, and he was the first of his kin to be laid to rest there.64 If Scrope was drawn to St Stephen and the notion of pardon associated with him while still alive, his adherents have adopted and further promoted it also after his execution. Scrope was not presented posthumously as a defiant figure, rebelling against authority and seeking revenge, but rather as a leader encouraging concord and harmony, even, and particularly, with one’s enemies.65 In this Scrope was also the spiritual heir of St William, his predecessor in office, who was depicted as promoting humility and peace with one’s adversaries, in his case the Cistercians at Fountains Abbey.66 Justice, however, needed to be done: even if Scrope was portrayed as forgiving, God nevertheless sought revenge. Soon after Scrope’s execution King Henry IV was believed to have been smitten with leprosy, a malady contemporaries saw as God’s special punishment of sinners.67 The construction of the Archbishop’s image throughout the cult’s existence emphasized his virtues of patience, truthfulness and virginity. This emphasis enhanced Scrope’s spiritual authority; he was now seen, in retrospect, as the exemplary bishop, and, moreover, as having the power to intercede with God not only by virtue of his martyr’s death, but also of his pious life. Scrope’s meekness and patience were highlighted by the biblical symbol of purity and victimization, that of the sheep. In their accounts of Scrope’s martyrdom, Gascoigne and Maidstone depicted the Archbishop as being led to his death ‘sicut ovis ad victimam’, in a paraphrase on Isaiah 53:7.68 This Old Testament text was seen as prophesizing Christ’s trial and sacrificial suffering, where
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‘He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth’. Here it indicated the unfairness of Scrope’s trial and, at the same time, made Scrope His imitator. The theme of Scrope’s death as atoning for the sins of the people of York, which was also mentioned above, was touched upon here too, using this biblical exegesis. The Lord, implied Scrope’s hagiographers, ‘hath laid on him the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53:6). While hailed as a shepherd leading his flock and suffering for them, Scrope was seen also as a sheep – innocent and wrongly victimized. This innocence and purity were linked through the cult to yet another discourse, that of virginity. From the twelfth century onwards, male celibacy was canonically required of bishops, driven by an attempt to ‘monasticize’ the episcopate. For prelates from noble families the preservation of chastity was a great challenge, especially so since they were nurtured from childhood in an environment which defined male identity through acts of military prowess and sexual virility. For this reason, men who lived abstinently redefined their masculinity ‘in such a way that they could be masculine without having to act masculine’, through self-mastery and the ‘battle for chastity’.69 In sources from the very beginning of the cult, Scrope is hailed ‘a bride of Christ’ who died a virgin, and as a virgin bridegroom (‘virgo sponsus’) who sacrificed his life for the laws of his wife (the Church). This approach is not unique to any particular period in the cult’s existence; a poem from Edward IV’s reign also celebrates Scrope’s sexual abstinence. Here, however, his acclaimed virginity is toned down to mildness in manners and in chastity, and purity.70 Towards the end of the Middle Ages, it becomes gradually more common to hail the purity of bishop-saints such as Thomas Cantilupe or Hugh of Lincoln; they are lauded not only for practicing virginity, but also for inspiring others around them to love it.71 Doing so in Scrope’s case contributed therefore to reinforcing his posthumous spiritual authority and leadership. It also set an example, not only for fellow-bishops, but for the lower clergy too, and even for laypeople. It is possible that virginity was a subject Scrope showed a special interest in – and devotion to – already in life: in 1401 he established in his province of York the feast of Eleven Thousand Virgins; he even composed a sequence for this celebration.72 Scrope’s virginity/celibacy was also linked to that of another symbol of perfect purity, the Virgin Mary. In the few sources which mention Scrope alongside the Virgin, a rather complex picture of the relations between these two saints arises. At times, the Archbishop is presented as almost challenging Mary, or at the least competing with her. Scrope is wearing blue in some of his visual repre-
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sentations, as well as according to the text of the Martyrium; this colour is traditionally associated with the Virgin, as an emblem of her purity.73 It is possible that the historical Scrope ‘really’ wore blue on his execution, and/or that his adherents wanted to posthumously represent the Archbishop as a follower of Him, and of Her too. However, a careful reading of some of the miracles reported in the sources shows that, through this juxtaposition with Mary, an image of Scrope as a rather competitive saint can be reconstructed. In one such miracle, John Sibson, an old man from Rocliff (probably Rawcliffe, west of York), managed to remove the logs which prevented worship at Scrope’s tomb. We are also told what exactly it was that Sibson did with the trunks: he left them in front of the altar of the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary), to the right of the tomb, enabling access to Scrope’s shrine, but making it harder to worship at the Virgin’s Altar.74 The Eulogium reports a miracle which occurred around St Katherine’s day (8 September) in 1413. A bell-tower (‘campanile’) in the vicinity of York burst into flame, but miraculously ceased to burn when an offering to Scrope was made. The saint’s power to work miracles was contrasted with a miracle that failed to happen, when a church dedicated to the Virgin in Sluys burned down on the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin of all days.75 Scrope’s adherents were trying to legitimize their martyr – not so much through traditional channels (first and foremost canonization), but through ‘public opinion’. By showing that Scrope sought to emulate the Virgin’s purity, and at times even matched or surpassed her in miracles, they sought to stress his spiritual authority and powers as saint and martyr. Although truthfulness was not valued as much as patience and virginity, presumably since it was easier to practice, it was nevertheless an important virtue, one which the composers of prayers in honour of Scrope chose to highlight. Scrope was seen as bishop of the way of truth (‘Praesul viae veritatis’) in the spiritual sense, but this merit had a political dimension too.76 In a long poem in Scrope’s honour, dated to Edward IV’s reign, some stanzas (omitted from another version of this text), rebuked kings harshly for acting foolishly, with no sense. The need for truth, which conquers all (‘Omnia vincit veritas’), and Scrope as a truthful man (‘vir verax’) are referred to throughout this poem, within a clearly political context.77 This truthfulness had particular significance in the narrative of the Yorkshire rising since it distinguished Scrope from his captors, especially the Earl of Westmorland, who had deceived him by fraudulently (‘fraudulenter’) pretending to celebrate the peaceful resolution of the crisis.78 This implied juxtaposition of the
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Archbishop and his captor also indirectly stressed Scrope’s honesty in presenting his reformist agenda, not in a subversive way but as an open expression of his people’s claims and needs. André Vauchez suggested that Scrope was the exceptional example of what he called the ‘Becket Model’, popular in Scandinavia and Britain in the Middle Ages, in that he was the only bishop who paid with his life for an attempt to protect his community against the Crown.79 Becket had spiritual authority both during his lifetime and after his murder. It is therefore not surprising that Scrope was associated with him, especially in the liturgy, where Becket’s example was used in some prayers for Scrope, and in a later poem their sufferings openly compared.80 We have seen above how, in Lancaster’s cult, the association between the Earl and St Thomas of Canterbury was elaborated on, and a quasi-paternal relationship described as having existed between the two. In Scrope’s case, the association with Becket was seen to be brotherly rather than parental; in spite of Becket’s long-established martyr’s status (and therefore his ‘superiority’), their faith and passion made them brothers in Christ (‘eadem fides & passio uere fecit esse germanos per christu, dominum’).81 As in Lancaster’s case, this provided a seal of legitimacy and approval to Scrope’s posthumous status, as well as meaning for his violent death. However, inherent to brotherly love is potential competition between siblings; the long- standing rivalry between the sees of Canterbury and York may have thus been expressed here as well, in presenting Scrope not as inferior to Becket, but as his equal.82 Scrope was declared martyr by the people of Yorkshire by virtue of his untimely death, but he was also hailed as an exemplary role model for the higher and lower clergy, as well as lay folk. Patient endurance of troubles, chastity and truthfulness were virtues that could be followed by any Christian, regardless of gender, social status or even age. In fact, it seems that Scrope was especially popular among parents concerned with the education of their offspring. A hymn for the Archbishop in a miscellaneous manuscript from early in the fifteenth century, stressing his wisdom and pious endurance of suffering, highlights this point: it follows couplets of advice by a father to his son and a mother to her daughter.83 The Bolton Hours of the Use of York, probably commissioned by Margaret Blackburn for the purpose of teaching her three daughters – Isabel, Alice and Agnes – to read, contains not only a suffrage for Scrope seeing in him ‘a gem of light and virtue’ (‘gemma lucis et virtutis’), but also two images of the Archbishop; in one of these, a young woman crowned with a garland of flowers kneels in front of the saint and asks him ‘ora pro nobis’.84
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Political authority In Henry IV Part II, Shakespeare recounts the 1405 insurrection, emphasizing Scrope’s role as its leader. As in the liturgy, the rhetoric used to describe Scrope relies on the pastor imagery, but concentrates on his transformation from peaceful religious leader to a bloodthirsty rebel.85 Peter McNiven also attempted to understand the ‘change’ in the Archbishop’s behaviour, from an ‘obscure and colourless figure’ to a cunning rebel; he resolved this apparent difficulty by portraying him as a tool in the hands of the Earl of Northumberland.86 Yet these readings assume too great a separation between political affairs and religious conduct, a presupposition that was far from true in twelfth to fifteenth century England, where bishops clashed with their kings on issues relating to the Church and defence of its rights. The clergy were obliged by canonical law to protect their churches’ rights; bishops in particular were expected to lead the militia Christi to protect justice and help the oppressed, clergy and laity alike.87 Conflicts between Church and Crown are a topos in the representation of holy bishops in English hagiography. The late medieval saintly prelate was presented as an active and virile leader, who protected the Church’s liberties from kings and powerful magnates. Interestingly, as André Vauchez commented, ‘even when the reality was rather different, the clergy attempted at the processes of canonization to make the bishops whose cult they wished to promote match up to this ideal model’.88 Although none of the English bishops-saints who died between Becket and Scrope were celebrated as martyrs – all died of natural causes and were hailed rather as confessors – the troubles they endured through such political conflicts were nevertheless depicted and emphasized. Archbishop Winchelsey, for example, was described in letters sent to the curia after his death (from the dioceses of Salisbury, Bath and Wells, and Worcester), as suffering patiently many persecutions for the Church’s laws and liberties, whereas St William of York was posthumously depicted as bearing all his humiliations patiently, including suspension from his office and exile.89 Although Scrope’s original political agenda was not factional or subversive, Henry IV probably interpreted it as such, or became concerned with its potential encouraging implications for Ricardian supporters. Like other landed and politically active figures, England’s bishops maintained households and were associated with political affinities. Despite a certain degree of laicization in the royal administration in the later Middle Ages, English prelates still played a meaningful administrative
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role as the king’s chancellors, keepers of the Privy Seal or treasurers. During Henry IV’s reign, for example, Edmund Stafford, Bishop of Exeter, acted as Chancellor, and Henry Bowet, Bishop of Bath and Wells, was Treasurer.90 Scrope too was active in the administration of the realm in the years before 1405, although to a lesser degree than his predecessors and fellow bishops; he mainly witnessed the signing of charters, and on the whole held a trusted position in the Lancastrian court.91 Contemporary chronicles did not view Scrope’s leadership of the rising as surprising, and did not linger in their discussions on any apparent transformation in his conduct, like Shakespeare was to do. Scrope’s right to defend the community of York was not disputed by contemporaries; his spiritual authority as prelate reinforced his political one and provided him with legitimacy to act, following historical reality and political commonplace in England – the example of earlier prelates who did not hesitate to assume political authority when they thought it appropriate. Many of the contemporary pro-Lancastrian chroniclers, not only religious ones like Thomas Walsingham, took a stand and criticized Henry IV for executing the Archbishop. While referring positively to Scrope’s intentions by citing the articles he had hung on churchdoors, they also indicated the peaceful manner in which he sought to achieve his stated purposes.92 So it was not so much Scrope who was the focus of rebuke for rebelliousness in the eyes of contemporary chroniclers, but rather Henry IV who was subtly chastised for executing him; the King’s leprosy was thus described as heavenly retribution for the Archbishop’s execution.93 Scrope’s political authority also originated in, and was posthumously backed by his family. His legitimacy and ability to act, at least in the eyes of his followers, may have originated not only in the responsibilities of his religious office, but also in the social and political background of his family. Within a single generation, the Scropes rose to the ranks of the baronage, and were well known and respected for their prowess and skill on the battlefield as in the law-courts.94 Being a Scrope in late medieval Yorkshire meant power, a network which the family was able to activate when needed: out of over two hundred witnesses who testified between 1385 and 1390 in support of the right of Richard Scrope of Bolton to bear the azure a bend or arms (in the ScropeGrosvenor controversy), more than two-thirds were from York and its surroundings, the most prominent landowners in the north, clergy and laity alike. Together they recreated an old fellowship, a social group that was reunited through the trial, and most probably still existed in its aftermath.95
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After the Archbishop’s execution his kin sought to pay their respects, justify his acts in retrospect and emphasize their family links, both publicly and in private. They played an active role in the development of his cult in the Minster.96 Stephen, Richard’s brother, was to join him in his resting place in 1406, and during the next half-century (up to the 1460s) other family members also joined the growing mausoleum in the chapel.97 The Scropes’ presence in the Minster was manifested in the many stone shields showing the family arms, dated to c. 1410–15; it was also expressed in the stained glass window which Stephen, Archdeacon of Richmond (d. 1418) and the Archbishop’s nephew installed in the south choir clerestory, showing the saint in his archiepiscopal regalia.98 Stephen Scrope also asked in his will for a chaplain to celebrate daily for the souls of perished family members and others (among them the Archbishop) at the altar of St Stephen for five years; in this way, as Christopher Norton has suggested, a liturgical focus was created for pilgrims, even if they did not always have ‘the knowledge of Latin nor the theological sophistication to distinguish between a mass for the soul of a deceased archbishop and a mass in honour of a saint’.99 In a book of hours from c. 1410, probably owned by the Scropes (either the Bolton or Masham branch of the family), the Archbishop’s political activity was not only commemorated or justified, but celebrated: he was hailed as a new Abel, who had died for the laws of his wife (the Church); this is also the only visual depiction of Scrope’s martyrdom, showing him kneeling on his knees, hands joined in prayer, while a sword is severing his neck. A red and gold geometrical ornament in the background creates a halo around Scrope’s tonsured head.100 Robert Mills has recently discussed the signification of the tonsure in the Middle Ages, suggesting that it symbolized both submissive and authoritarian masculinity. In depicting the tonsured Scrope his kin emphasized, on the one hand, his clerical status and therefore the right (overlooked in his case) to be sentenced by an ecclesiastical court; on the other hand, Scrope’s tonsure stressed his exemplary humility as well as his celibacy, and consequent fact: he did not produce any male heirs.101 By portraying Scrope with his tonsure his family attempted to laud his saintly status and commemorate him (since he had no sons or daughters to do so), but also to protest against the dangerous political transgression, in which the king could usurp certain rights, such as the trial of clergy. The tome in which this image of Richard Scrope appeared is a ‘family album’ of sorts for its commissioners, a man and a woman depicted on fol. 2v (regretfully, their arms have been erased); the play on the words ‘scopam’ and ‘scrobem’ in the
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prayer to the Archbishop further stresses the shared surname and family links.102 Scrope’s extended family was responsible for commemorating him, as well as the manner of his death and the reasons for it, especially since – like Thomas of Lancaster (though for different reasons) – he did not have direct heirs. Other aspects of the Archbishop’s death may have also worried his relatives, such as the family’s defamed name, or the possessions seized by the Crown immediately after the execution.103 Were Scrope’s reformist ideas mirrored in his posthumous representation as a saint? And if so, have they been altered in the process of martyr-making from the ones originally presented on the church-doors in York? The answer depends on the text. Although the liturgy indirectly refers to Scrope’s leadership, especially through the use of the pastor imagery, it nevertheless refrains, on the whole, from elaborating on the messages he promoted as a leader. Whereas the injustice of the trial and sentence are a recurring theme in these sources, Scrope’s martyrdom is usually divorced from the events which led to it, in a manner highlighting his sacrificial death but not the particular reasons for it. This helped moulding Scrope into the traditional representation of the saint/martyr, half devoid of historical context and eternal as a manifestation of Christian faith. The Martyrium digressed only briefly to mention, after the announcement of Scrope’s sentence, that the Archbishop’s initial intention was to redress the evils prevailing in the Kingdom, mainly the disagreement within the nobility.104 The only liturgical text to suggest a reason for Scrope’s death was the prayer in the manuscript that has been linked to the Scrope family, where the Archbishop was presented as fighting and dying for the rights and laws of the Church (‘pro sponse iuribus uincens occubuit’).105 The idea of the liberty of the Church referred, in late medieval England, not so much to the spiritual function of the clergy, but rather to jurisdictional privileges. These did not have to be associated exclusively with the Church (with capital C); it was more often related to particular churches – the English church, or a certain diocese, cathedral or even local church.106 Scrope’s defence of the Church could have therefore been a reference to his call for an alleviation of the taxes on the clergy; yet it is more probable that it referred to Scrope’s trial and beheading as an act against the Church, and in violation of the Kingdom’s laws. This subject was discussed also in the Martyrium, which referred to the refusal of William Gascoigne, the Chief Justice, to sentence Scrope; it was also mentioned in a chronicle in which Arundel was depicted as advising Henry IV to let the Pope or at least the parliament judge Scrope instead of doing it himself.107 Thus, Scrope was
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depicted as dying for the rights of the Church, not only because he tried to protect it when alive, but also because his trial and death following the King’s commands violated ecclesiastical authority. In one of the chronicles, another reason for Scrope’s martyrdom is suggested: Scrope is directly cited as saying he shall die for the laws and good government of England (‘pro legibus et bono regimine regni Angliae’).108 This declaration (whether or not it was ‘really’ voiced) was in accord with Scrope’s original agenda, which called, among other things, for parliament with free elections, or for the punishment of those who abused the commons’ wealth. Scrope’s agenda was not limited to the clergy, and the appeal it had for the townspeople, peasants and gentry who followed his leadership testified to the popularity of the message he had promoted.109 The other two sets of articles attached to the Martyrium in the manuscripts in which it was preserved (the seven reasons given for his decollation by the Earl of Northumberland after the execution, and the ten articles attributed to Scrope by the Yorkists) add to the ‘original’ York articles Scrope’s alleged support of the restoration of the ‘right’ line – that of Richard II and, later in the century, of the Yorkists.110 All this shows that some interest in the ideas leading to the Archbishop’s execution existed, especially in the 1460s and within Yorkist circles, which questioned Lancastrian legitimacy. Yet, despite the existence of different texts discussing Scrope’s political agenda, these have not entered the liturgy, which distanced itself from the political aspects of the affair. The composers of prayers and hagiographies chose instead, as we have seen, to highlight the more symbolic and traditional aspects of Scrope’s martyrdom and sanctity – his role as pastor, his suffering and his virtues.
Scrope and the city of York Most of Scrope’s adherents lived in York or its vicinity. John Sandale, for example, was a canon resident in Ripon who bequeathed money to Scrope’s shrine in his will of 1467; he held two prebends at York, and was chaplain and registrar of Archbishop William Booth and member of the Guild of Corpus Christi.111 Some of the adherents were clergymen from York and its environs. Among them were people such as Robert Abbot of Kirkby Knoll, who left in his will of 1472 his big silver spoon to be put on Scrope’s tomb after his translation, or Thomas Rothwell, a chaplain in the Minster who requested, in his will of 1475, a wax image worth 4 marks to be offered to Scrope.112 The rest of Scrope’s posthumous followers were lay folk from York and its area, many of
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gentry or mercantile background (but not exclusively so), who practiced a variety of crafts. Among them were John Dautree, a lawyer from York who left in his will of 1458 a rosary for Scrope’s future canonization and a torch to be burnt in Scrope’s chapel outside the walls of York; Nicholas Bowet, a knight from Lincolnshire who left, sometime before 1509, a golden collar ‘cum le esses’ (probably a Lancastrian collar of SS) for Scrope’s bier; and William Haiton, keeper of Scrope’s tomb, who instructed in his will of 1468 that his wife should offer money at the tomb after his death.113 Some of the adherents lived through the events leading to Scrope’s execution; one such man was John Sibson, to whom Scrope appeared in a vision immediately following the decapitation. Later adherents seem to have been second- or even third-generation cultists. Their interest was fostered in a family context as well as in the familia environment of a religious community, like that of York Minster, or the Clementhorpe Nunnery. Unlike Lancaster, Scrope was celebrated by male and female followers alike throughout the cult’s existence. Many women were involved in preserving Scrope’s memory: Margaret Blackburn probably commissioned a book of hours exalting Scrope; Agnes, widow of Henry Wyman, Mayor of York and a goldsmith, left a mazer once blessed by Scrope to the Guild of Corpus Christi sometime before her death in 1413; and Isabel Bruce, resident at the nunnery of Clementhorpe and a descendent of the Mowbray family, left a gold ring to Scrope’s chapel in 1477.114 Women were thus active in the commemoration of their saint. Female piety in the late Middle Ages had multiple manifestations, but it has been suggested that in cities such as York, where women were more independent and engaged in public affairs, they were also more involved in religious activity, and contributed to the development and promotion of cults and of other devotional practices.115 More specifically, women were drawn to Scrope’s cult because it related not so much to his political activity, in which they were probably less directly involved than their fellow men, but rather to issues which were as close to them as they were to male followers, such as care and social responsibility, virginity and truthfulness. Although prayers for Scrope survive in several books of hours, no obit appears in any of their calendars. The fact that Scrope was not canonized is not sufficient to explain this absence, since, as we have seen in the case of Thomas of Lancaster, popular ‘saints’ who were not officially canonized, did enter calendars. Nor can we deduce from this negative evidence that such obits of Scrope never existed, or that
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his day was not remembered in the Minster. Relatedly, it is perhaps no coincidence that there are no references to pilgrimage to Scrope’s shrine. We do not read, as in Lancaster’s case, of people coming from various counties, or even from abroad. The lack of evidence of pilgrimage to Scrope’s shrine can be explained by the fact that most of Scrope’s adherents were local men and women and not visitors from outside the region. For these people a visit to the tomb in the Minster was not a ‘pilgrimage’, but a more familiar and common activity. For the same reason no pilgrim badges were found depicting Scrope or his shrine. Yet relics related to the Archbishop were dear to his adherents, such as the book Scrope held in the hour of his death which was mentioned in Dautree’s will, or the mazer he had blessed, left by Agnes Wyman to the Corpus Christi Guild.116 Scrope’s death left its mark on the city of York, manifested and maintained through the cult which celebrated his sanctity and martyrdom. The rebellion may have been an incident which the people of York wished to forget, yet the Archbishop’s leadership thereof and his consequent death were duly commemorated. Mary Carruthers comments on the fact that the word ‘shrine’ originates from the Latin ‘scrinium’, a letter-case, a book-box, or any chest in which papers are kept for remembrance.117 Scrope’s relatives and followers kept his memory alive by venerating at his tomb; they also commissioned public images of him, books of hours with prayers in his honour, and bequeathed money and valuable objects to his tomb, his chapel outside the city walls, or his future canonization and translation. The cult’s liturgy and the poems celebrating Scrope – whether privately read or publicly performed – were the rituals through which Scrope, and the messages his life and death carried with them, were kept alive in the collective memory of the people of York. Through shared experience and its channelling into religious rituals, civic identity was enhanced. Initially, in the immediate aftermath of Scrope’s execution, a communitas (in the sense Victor Turner used) evolved through a spontaneous socializing process which created – temporarily – an unstructured, ‘open’ society.118 The feeling of unity and identity was facilitated by the pastor imagery, in which the many sheep Scrope had led became a flock, a people.119 Although over time the cohesion of Scrope’s adherents weakened, the cult still retained some of its early character, reinforcing York’s civic identity. Several groups in the city which were involved with Scrope’s cult – lawyers, clergy, and town council – acted to achieve a higher degree of municipal independence from central government.120
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During the fourteenth century York became a place of national importance, almost a ‘competing capital’ to London; the king’s court or its institutions occasionally resided there during this period.121 After receiving the royal charter giving it county status and various privileges and liberties in 1396, York gained even more autonomy and its people were in even greater control of their lives and fortunes.122 This relative independence was not only civic and political but also ecclesiastical. The two sees of York and Canterbury were separate institutions which, as R.N. Swanson put it, ‘challenged the very concept of an “English” church’.123 York’s citizens did not necessarily desire to overshadow London or Canterbury. This was also the case with Scrope’s cult. York may have wished to keep its martyr to itself; its people did not necessarily seek to propagate Scrope’s name or to make him into a new, northern Becket, who would attract pilgrims from far and wide. This may be linked to one of the roles Scrope’s cult had in York, of healing divisions and reconciling between individuals and governmental institutions within the city.124 There was an almost municipal effort (in the practical if not official sense) to keep the cult active though discreetly so, at least in the first few years of its existence, when it was forbidden and then discouraged. In February 1407, for example, four men were discharged from their office as sergeants of the city of York, probably by the Mayor or by the Council, because they had followed the King’s orders in tracking down people who made offerings at Scrope’s tomb.125 The decision to keep the cult local, by refraining from advocating canonization, for example, was a matter of deliberate choice, at least by the Minster; perhaps it was decided in spite of private wishes for Scrope’s future canonization, like that expressed by John Dautree in his will. Scrope joined the prestigious list of York’s civic saints which included St Blaise and St Christopher.126 The intercession and help of these two saints, the first a patron of wool-combers, the second a protector of travellers, were especially meaningful for the people of York, whose livelihood was linked to the production and export of textiles, mainly wool, and to the shipping of goods like lead or French wine.127 From some point during the cult’s existence, perhaps even from its very beginning, Scrope joined the ranks of the city’s saints in this sense too; he became a patron of seas, protecting his followers in troubled waters.128 Maidstone recounted an anecdote he had heard from his father, Thomas Maidstone, hinting at Scrope’s special powers in calming perilous waters, a miracle which, according to this hagiographer, declared the glory of Scrope. This occurred less than thirty days after Henry IV’s death,
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during the transfer of the late King’s body on the Thames, from Westminster to Canterbury, when a great tempest stopped only once the three men who navigated the boat dropped the dead King’s body into the water.129 Scrope was appeased only after receiving Henry IV’s body, calming the river’s waters in return. In the stained glass window in the church of Fotheringhay, Scrope’s representation as a saint is adjacent to those of St Clement and St Erasmus, who were not only martyred bishops like Scrope, but also protectors against the perils of the sea.130 Votive-offerings of ships appear in an inventory of the items in Scrope’s shrine in the Minster, composed by the Cathedral’s treasurer in 1509. Except for the silver images of men and women, oxen and hearts, a small navy of silver ships is recorded, including fifty two ships, a big ship with five small ones, as well as a silver anchor.131 These silver ships bear witness to the belief in Scrope’s power to protect and work miracles, especially for sailors and merchants in distress, and to the financial prosperity of at least some of his devotees, who chose to express their gratitude in expensive silver rather than the more common wax or lead. Among the lay people of York who were posthumous adherents of Scrope many were merchants, involved in shipping goods to and from York. One such person was Nicholas Blackburn Sr., nominated in 1406 by the merchants of the realm as Admiral of the Fleet from the mouth of the Thames to the north. He also exported wool and coal, imported iron, loaned money to King Henry V and to Archbishop Bowet, and donated a window in All Saints Church, North Street, York.132 His wife Margaret was linked to the book of hours with a prayer to Scrope as well as two images in which he was represented as saint. Another York merchant and cult member was the aforementioned Henry Wyman, who exported wool and imported miscellaneous goods.133 Both Henry Wyman and Nicholas Blackburn were also mayors of York, Wyman between 1407 and 1409, and Blackburn in 1412. In the beginning of the fifteenth century York was dominated by merchants, whose lives and financial well-being were occasionally at risk from conditions at sea.134 Scrope’s popularity as a saint protecting ships and travellers was therefore cherished in the mercantile community of the city of York, especially during the fifteenth century, which was a period of increased maritime difficulties and danger. Between 1408 and 1460 the war with France and Flanders changed travel and trading conditions for travellers from the English east-coast ports, when access to the Baltic became dangerous and restricted, after Burgundy had aligned with France. Harassment, piracy and seizures of ships and their goods were an all-too-familiar
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phenomenon, and although governments issued safe-conducts to individual travellers, much commercial loss was suffered.135 In many ways, York’s very own patron-saint, St William, was closer to Scrope than saints Blaise and Christopher.136 He too was depicted posthumously as an exemplary model of restraint, humility and patience in his private life and ecclesiastical office, and possibly a victim of death by poisoning. The chalice he used for his first mass after returning to his archbishopric from exile was rumoured to have been poisoned by his enemies, since the Archbishop was stricken with high fever while celebrating mass; he died eight days later, on 8 June 1154. The fact that Archbishop William was venerated as a saint only from the late 1170s was recently explained in reference to the competition with Canterbury and the successful cult which was created there immediately after the murder of Archbishop Becket in 1170. The successful canonization procedure, which concluded with the official recognition of William’s sainthood in 1226, seems to have been a somewhat ambivalent affair for his adherents. The clergy of the Northern Province showed ‘a characteristic indifference to novelties imposed from afar’ (meaning the new canonization procedures required at this time), and were doubtful as to the need to receive an official canonization to an already active cult of a popular saint. This attitude was changed with the election of Archbishop Walter de Gray to the See of York in 1215; he, and the likeminded, educated and experienced men around him, resolved to pursue William’s canonization. They also tried to make St William into a national figure by writing to England’s prelates and asking them to incorporate his feast-day into the liturgical calendars in their dioceses. In spite of the formal acknowledgment of William’s merits and miracles, however, response to the new saint was mild. The reasons for the lack of universal (or even national) enthusiasm and popularity were varied: shortly after William’s canonization St Francis of Assisi died, and the cult which developed around him, as the one centred on St Dominic (d. 1221), became very popular. Also, St William was an outdated, not particularly popular or colourful figure, and the cult had no institutional support outside York. By the time Scrope was executed, the cult around St William was no longer at its apogee, but it was still celebrated in York and its cathedral. Both the chronicles and liturgy mentioned that Scrope was beheaded on St William’s day, which was traditionally celebrated at York with minstrels and singing boys.137 It was no coincidence that Scrope was decapitated on this very day despite Henry IV’s arrival five days earlier, and the fact that once the second commission was appointed to try
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Scrope and his fellow-rebels, the death sentence and its execution were very prompt.138 This particular schedule was intended to boost Henry IV’s royal authority following this rising, which had challenged his power and joined a string of previous plots, some of which, like Hotspur’s rebellion of 1403, were also linked to northerners.139 The dramatic effect sought by Henry IV was achieved: one of the chroniclers described the striking alteration of that day, which turned from one of joy into one of sorrow (‘olim laetitiae, nunc in luctus convertuntur’).140 In choosing St William’s day for Scrope’s execution the King could have also been planning further ahead, to check in advance any potential ‘rebirth’ of Scrope as martyr. The later channelling of offerings from Scrope’s tomb to other shrines, first and foremost that of St William’s, hints at this policy designed to overshadow Scrope’s cult by highlighting his predecessor’s.141 Instead of ‘choosing’ one over the other, Scrope’s followers sought to venerate both archbishops; the new cult did not push aside the older one, rather contributed to its revival: St William’s window, a stained glass window in the Minster depicting his life and miracles, was installed around 1415.142 Scrope’s adherents juxtaposed their two saints, as in an image in the Minster showing Scrope in his episcopal regalia opposite St William. This association suggested an affinity between the two archbishops from which the city of York could only benefit – its citizens now had not one but two patrons, offering double intercession and protection. The association of Scrope and St William also suggested a tradition of saintly episcopal leadership: Scrope died on Whitsun Monday and an early fifteenth century poem encourages the reader to contemplate on the day, and ‘thynke on Whitsonmonday’.143 Whitsun carried an important message for every Christian believer: fifty days after Christ’s Resurrection, the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles in the form of flames, and they began to preach (Acts 2). This was therefore a celebration of the survival of the Apostles and Church without their leader, and it could have reminded the people of York that, despite their leader’s death, life and hope were still possible.144
4 King Henry VI: Glory of Innocence
Henry VI, King of England and France, met his death at the Tower of London, probably on the night of 21–22 May 1471. Several questions about his death remain to be convincingly answered: Who was his killer? How was he murdered? A dagger held in a chapel in Caversham (Berkshire) was still believed, in 1538, to be the murder weapon, ‘the holy dager that kylled kinge Henry’, and was presented to visitors as a holy relic.1 Yet one aspect of Henry VI’s death is beyond doubt: it made him a miracle-working saint and martyr throughout England. Unlike the executions of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and Archbishop Scrope, the murder of Henry VI was not a public event. The fact that there had been no eyewitnesses to his death, and that many questions related to his end remained unanswered played a central role in determining the hagiographical character of the nascent cult. Henry’s death did not become the core of the cult; rather, the dual foci were Henry’s virtuous life and the suffering which he had patiently experienced. His untimely death was not presented as the raison d’etre of his martyrdom, but as the culmination of his longer sufferings in life, especially in his last ten years, which consisted of dethronement, exile, partial separation from his wife and son, poverty, public humiliation, imprisonment, and finally death. But the years before that had not been easy either: between August 1453 and December 1454 Henry suffered a mental breakdown. It was said that ‘suddenly he was seized and smitten with a frenzy, and his wit and reason withdrew’, a condition that was explained by some as a reaction to the loss of English territories in France.2 Henry was also wounded by an arrow in his neck at the first Battle of St Albans of May 1455, in which Somerset was killed, after which began the Duke of York’s second protectorate.3 The coronation of the Duke’s 74
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son and heir, Edward IV, in June 1461, sent Henry to four years of exile, first in Scotland and then around the north-east border. Queen Margaret and Prince Edward were in exile too, though somewhere else: they spent the time between September 1463 and June 1470 in Koeur (Lorraine).4 After the Scots had opened negotiations with Edward IV and signed a truce on 9 December 1463, Henry VI was forced to leave his refuge in Scotland; he stayed in northern England until his capture in Lancashire, in July 1465. After his seizure he was confined to the Tower for the next five years.5 The agreement between Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and Queen Margaret, and the betrothal of his daughter and her son, enabled the Readeption of Henry as king of England, on 3 October 1470. Henry’s second reign, however, did not last long. When Edward IV arrived in London the following April, he imprisoned Henry at the Tower. In the Battle of Tewkesbury of 4 May Prince Edward was killed and Queen Margaret captured. Henry is believed to have died on the night following Edward IV’s triumphant entry into London, on 21 May 1471.6
Cult chronology: from Chertsey to Windsor The continuation to the Crowland chronicle (written in 1486) describes how Henry’s body was displayed at St Paul’s for a few days before it was carried on the Thames to Chertsey in an illuminated barge.7 This was meant to prove the late king’s death to his subjects; it was also an attempt to pre-empt future upheavals, either in the form of doubts as to Henry’s actual passing, or a veneration of him. But his fame spread far and wide: in 1473 a total of 40s. were offered to an image of Henry VI in York Minster, a practice that was forbidden six years later by Laurence Booth, Archbishop of York, who had close ties with Edward IV (he was first his confessor and later his chancellor), but had been a Lancastrian in his past, closely associated with Queen Margaret.8 He claimed that Henry VI’s veneration in York was in contempt of the Church as well as in disparagement of King Edward IV.9 In spite of the royal prohibition of the cult, Henry’s dual role as lay model of piety and a suffering Christ-like martyr developed in the first decade after his death. The miracles he started working at the time were attributed to a combination of his endurance of tribulations and the innocence of his life: he had the power to perform miracles thanks to his exemplary life and commitment to churchmen, as well as his lamb-like mildness in suffering.10 This duality is apparent also in John Blacman’s hagiographical Compilation of the Meekness and Good Life of King Henry VI (Collectarium
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Mansuetudinum et Bonorum Morum Regis Henrici VI), dated to c. 1480.11 In this text, Henry’s well-informed unofficial chaplain – who had studied and taught at Eton and knew many of the King’s men – lingers on Henry’s exemplary piety.12 Blacman highlights Henry’s charity, asceticism and devotion, rooted in his indifference for this world, creating an exemplary model for the educated layman.13 He also lingers on his chastity. When bare-bosomed dancers were presented for his entertainment Henry delivered his rebuke of ‘“Fy, fy, for shame, forsothe [forsooth] ye be to blame”’. His marriage vow to Margaret was kept ‘wholly and sincerely’ even, wrote Blacman, in her absences, which ‘were sometimes very long’.14 Blacman refrains from an extensive discussion of Henry’s death; his treatment of the late king’s suffering in a Passion-like manner rather highlights its interpretation as a continual martyrdom culminating in death. The ‘Passio henrici Regis & martiris’ was added to the calendar of a breviary made for a church in the West Midlands and probably celebrated liturgically. This obit, however, was entered under the wrong date (13 May), as in another calendar, where it was dated 16 May.15 Even if Henry’s adherents were not so well informed as to the precise date of his death, they were nevertheless confident in its interpretation as ‘passion’, and in their choice to commemorate it annually. Henry’s cult received royal approval after Edward IV’s death and Richard III’s usurpation in 1483. In August the following year, his burial place was transferred from the relatively obscure Thames-side abbey of Chertsey to Windsor, where he was reburied at St George’s Chapel, to the left of the high altar. We cannot be certain about Richard III’s motives. He may have wished to bring the cult closer under his control, having witnessed its flourishing despite his brother’s countermeasures, but it is also possible that he wished to be identified with the cult himself, for political or pious reasons, or perhaps a combination of both.16 The re-internment of Henry’s body inspired the addition of new prayers and memoriae to existing prayer books. The offering box still seen at St George’s Chapel in Windsor may also be from this period of renewed pilgrimage and miracles; it has a capital H on each side, and on the top are four keyholes with four slits for offerings, shaped as castles or towers, which may have meant to remind the pilgrim of Henry’s imprisonment and death at the Tower.17 The cult which had already existed before Henry VII rose to the throne in 1485 was encouraged and further promoted by the new king.18 Henry VII was Henry VI’s half-nephew; Henry VI was half-brother of
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Edmund Tudor (d. 1456), Henry VII’s father. According to his biographer, Henry VII was no great innovator, rather ‘a highly skilful builder on existing foundations, an eclectic adopter and adapter’.19 Yet his innovation in regard to his half-uncle’s saintly status consisted in an effort to secure papal recognition thereof. He tried to promote Henry VI’s canonization by applying to three popes – Innocent VIII, Alexander VI and Julius II – who responded favourably. Despite the fact that following his predecessor, Pope Alexander VI ordered further inquiry in 1494, and that Pope Julius II also encouraged further investigations both in 1504 and 1507, canonization was never accomplished.20 It might have been the death of Lady Margaret Beaufort, the King’s mother, in 1509, which closed the curtain on this effort, since she has been the real driving force behind it.21 Yet the ongoing failure on the papal front did not deter the Tudors from expressing their veneration of the popularly acclaimed Henry VI: in 1502 Queen Elizabeth of York, Henry VII’s Queen, offered at Henry’s shrine in Windsor not once but thrice.22 The twofold emphasis on Henry’s sanctity/martyrdom which characterized the cult from its inception was still apparent in this period.23 Yet, at times, this duality was neglected and Henry’s suffering ignored; this was especially the case in Henry VII’s letters to the popes involved in the failed canonization process. When Pope Alexander VI responded to the King’s request to consider the canonization of Henry VI in a bull from 1494, he referred to earlier letters sent by Henry VII, in which his half-uncle’s saintly life, charity, devotion and founding of colleges had been mentioned, as well as the many miracles he had performed before and after his death, as grounds for canonization.24 Henry’s suffering in life and unnatural death were not mentioned at all, and his power to work miracles was not linked to his martyrdom, as we have seen in an earlier period. In the two bulls written by Pope Julius II in 1504 and 1507 in response to Henry VII’s applications, Henry VI’s sufferings and death were similarly ignored.25 Henry VII chose to emphasize to the popes those qualities of his half-uncle which were most likely to gain their approval: charity, defence of the Church, mercy and piety. The suffering and death of Henry VI were irrelevant; bringing up old political grudges from the past may have seemed to be counterproductive. Yet in the English context, to an English audience, Henry VII employed a different strategy. In a Latin poem praising Henry VII and celebrating the birth of his son, Prince Arthur, in 1486, Henry VI’s troubles were recited, culminating in his murder by the man who later killed Edward V and his brother. Henry VII was presented in this poem as the cure to
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the sufferings endured by his uncle.26 These reinforced Henry VII’s dynastic claim and the need to expiate for the suffering brought upon his uncle by the Yorkists. Yet, as we have seen, Henry VII was not the original formulator of the dual representation of Henry VI as both a saint and martyr; this had existed before he came to the throne, and he merely used it in a way that was beneficial to himself and to the memory of his half-uncle. During Henry VIII’s reign, the cult around Henry VI was still active. In the late 1520s the King’s agents in the papal curia attempted to revive the process of canonization initiated by his father, and Henry VIII himself made an offering at the shrine in Windsor in June 1529.27 We will never know whether the disappointment with the failed canonization project played a role in the later rift between the English Crown and the Roman Church. Money for lights before images of Henry VI was still bequeathed in wills from the early 1530s, in East Kent for example, and the ‘moche ryches’ that belonged to the shrine in Windsor were mentioned in an inventory of St George’s Chapel from 1534.28 It seems that during Henry VIII’s reign the cult passed its heyday in the sense that prayers and artefacts were no longer commissioned as they had been in earlier periods. The dissolution of the monasteries brought a dramatic change in the devotional habits of the period, such as offering of lights before images and pilgrimage to shrines. The commissioners sent by Henry VIII to inquire into ‘superstitions’ current in monasteries described the presence of relics of Henry VI. In September 1538, Dr. John London wrote to Cromwell (the High Steward of Reading) on the archives of the warden of Caversham (Berkshire), who was supported by the offerings to the chapel, and had been accustomed to showing the visitors there ‘pretty relykes’, among them the dagger that killed Henry VI.29 It is difficult to know for how long before 1538 this dagger had been in Caversham. The fact that at the end of the 1530s the warden still presented it to pilgrims with the hope of augmenting the offerings indicates the continued popularity of Henry’s cult. In September 1538 access to this relic was denied since it was put in a chest ‘fast lockyd and naylede’, together with an image of the BVM and other relics.30 By c. 1577 the veneration of Henry in Windsor seemed to the antiquary William Lambarde to be vile and polluting; he did not think much of the ‘seely bewitched People’ who saw a relic in a chip from Henry’s bedstead, and put on their heads his red velvet hat that was believed to be a medicine for headache.31 Henry’s cult, which was active since the 1470s, reached its apogee during the 1480s and 1490s and finally declined in the late sixteenth
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century.32 Although it was much propagated by Richard III’s translation of Henry’s remains to Windsor, as by Henry VII’s encouragement and effort on canonization, it existed and thrived also before and since; its unique character was not necessarily influenced by them. From the 1530s onwards fewer people went on pilgrimage or practiced the cults of saints.33 Together with those of Lancaster, Scrope and many others, Henry’s cult also slowly dissolved.
Posthumous popularity Like other ‘successful’ late medieval English political martyr cults, Henry VI’s also highlighted messages of harmony, concord and unity.34 It flourished in fifteenth century England, reaching levels of popularity which other political martyrs, such as Scrope and Lancaster, could only dream of. It may have even surpassed Becket’s cult: when a ninemonth-old baby from London choked on a pilgrim badge of St Thomas of Canterbury and appeared to be lifeless, his father’s prayer to the Virgin and to Henry VI helped resuscitate him.35 Becket’s shrine in Canterbury was on the descent while Henry’s cult was celebrated, not only by Londoners but by people all over the country.36 Henry’s devotees came from various parts of England and even from Wales and Ireland. In a Welsh poem by the bard Lewys Glyn Cothi (d. 1489) that praised John ap Thomas (whose brother was with Henry VII in Bosworth), Henry VI was referred to as ‘Harri Sant’, St Henry. Moreover, a prayer in his honour was added to a volume of Dublin provenance, in which he was beseeched to help in delivering his adherents from the plague.37 A collection of Henry VI’s posthumous miracles, translated from Middle English to Latin for or at the request of John Morgan, Dean of Windsor (1485–96), seems to indicate that most adherents came from the South-East; no miracles were recorded in Yorkshire, Northumberland or Cumberland.38 The fact that these miracles were recorded in Windsor may explain the scarcity of northern devotees: perhaps Henry’s adherents in the far north made offerings in York Minster or elsewhere nearby instead of travelling to Windsor for this purpose. Surviving artefacts and wills also attest to a slightly different, broader range of locations in which Henry was venerated: his image was worshiped in York Minster in 1479, and a statue of his still stands in Alnwick parish church in Northumberland, two counties that contributed no miracles to the collection. No images from the Midlands have survived, nor have references of previously existing artefacts reached us; yet Henry’s obit was added to the calendar of a breviary made for a
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church in the West Midlands.39 Many of Henry VI’s adherents lived in East Anglia, where numerous artefacts, especially rood screens, commemorated him. This region, prosperous in the late Middle Ages thanks to a flourishing wool industry, experienced an artistic revival in 1470–1520, during which large sums were invested in the building and decoration of churches.40 The East Angles have also had a traditional attachment to royal saints: ever since the ninth century, they have been venerating their king and martyr, St Edmund, whose connection to Henry VI will be discussed below. The social status, occupations and political affiliations of Henry’s adherents were also varied. He appealed to monks, friars and priests, to field labourers and household servants, to gentry and nobility, men, women and even children. This popularity, unique for a political martyr, was linked to his manifold representations during the existence of the cult, some inherent to his status and personality, others influenced by current events. This meant that very different people could see in him a saint and martyr, someone they could admire, emulate, identify with or wish to be helped by.
Royal imagery In his posthumous representation Henry was depicted as he was best known in life: a king. On rood screens in East Anglia, which have been dated to the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, he was depicted as a saintly king, wearing a crown, clothed in ermine, holding a sceptre in one hand, an orb in the other.41 The sceptre and orb were common emblems of English kings over the centuries, yet usually they were neither fixed nor stable as attributes of monarchy. Whereas King Henry II was depicted on his great seal holding a sword and an orb, both Edward II and his son and heir Edward III were shown holding a sceptre only. The combination of orb and sceptre was gradually becoming common in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as can be seen in an image depicting King Richard II enthroned, or Henry VI’s representation on his great silver seal.42 The regality of saintly kings was usually acknowledged in their iconography by depicting their crowns; however, their special attributes, linked to their life, death or miracles, were more central to their overall depiction. So, for example, although saints Edmund, Edward the Confessor, or Oswald were all shown as crowned monarchs, the special attributes that helped identifying them were the arrows that killed St Edmund, the ring given by St Edward to a beggar who turned out to
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be John the Apostle, and the wooden cross St Oswald had set up before he won a battle against all odds. Henry VI’s royal imagery was devoid of such addenda; it included only the emblems of the crown, sceptre and orb. Although these were not permanent features – occasionally, the sceptre was held in the right hand and the orb in the left, or vice versa, while at times he would be holding only a sceptre – the overall depiction was quite stable. In his royal representations Henry VI was often depicted alongside figures of other saintly kings, especially Edmund and Edward the Confessor, who were seen in the late Middle Ages as England’s patronsaints, together with St George. In the famous Wilton Diptych King Richard II is presented to the Virgin and Child by these two royal saints, accompanied by John the Baptist, while one of the angels is holding St George’s flag, emphasizing the ‘national’ aspect of this devotional piece. Thus Henry’s juxtaposition with these two kingly saints was linked not only to their unique individual qualities, but also to an understanding that Henry, like Edmund and Edward the Confessor, should be perceived as a national figure, one which any person in the Kingdom could relate to, a new patron of England. On a rood screen dated to after 1480 which still stands in Barton Turf’s Church in Norfolk, a boyish Henry VI with no halo is juxtaposed with the canonized, nimbed and bearded kings Edmund (right next to Henry’s right-hand side), Olaf and Edward the Confessor.43 On a somewhat later rood screen in Ludham Church (Norfolk), Henry VI, crowned and nimbed, holding both a sceptre and an orb, is identified by the legend ‘Rex Henricus Sextus’; he is situated to the right of St Edmund. This pair of royal martyrs creates a mirror-image of sorts, where the young, beardless Henry is a reflection of the older, bearded, canonized virgin-martyr-king, St Edmund. Although veneration of St Edmund had originated in the East Anglian political and religious conflicts of the ninth and tenth centuries, by the fifteenth century he was seen as a national figure, a symbol of an ideal Christian kingship.44 St Edmund’s image was so embedded with monarchic qualities that he was made an example for the twelve-year-old King Henry in a Vita composed by John Lydgate. St Edmund’s conduct and behaviour, both spiritual and temporal, were deemed exemplary, as was the type of masculinity he embodied, that of a ‘manly knight’. This modelling was particularly important for the young king since it was presumably felt that he had not had the chance to witness the functioning of a real king, due to the premature death of his father, Henry V.45
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Like in other juxtapositions of new martyrs and other, more established ones (such as Lancaster and St George or Scrope and St William of York), the posthumous juxtaposition of saints Edmund and Henry inspired reflection on the two royal-saints and comparisons between them: both were kings, martyrs and ‘virgins’. Indeed, already in Lydgate’s text, predating Henry’s death, St Edmund’s three crowns of Kingship, Martyrdom and Virginity were compared to Henry’s three crowns of England, France and the one he was certain to receive in Heaven, ‘For his meritis’.46 This juxtaposition helped refine the representation of the ‘new’ martyr; in Henry’s case, it further stressed the characteristics which had been attributed to him from the beginning of the cult, namely his chastity and patient endurance of suffering. Yet the differences between the two were also made apparent through comparison: whereas Edmund was represented as a grownup who was also canonized, Henry was depicted as a young man, his saintliness yet to be recognized; also, Henry’s sufferings had a different nature from that experienced by Edmund, since the first endured them daily, for a long time, and the later ‘only’ once, in the hour of his death. On the Ludham and Barton Turf rood screens another English saintly king is depicted alongside Henry VI – St Edward the Confessor. Whereas St Edmund was seen as a king who had managed to balance spiritual and temporal responsibilities and was therefore the perfect model for the young Henry to follow, St Edward the Confessor was another type of exemplar, one which Henry had grown to emulate more closely. Although, like St Edmund, St Edward too was seen to have been chaste, humble and patient in adversity, he despised this world, dedicating himself instead to the service of God.47 Much like other English kings, such as Henry II, Edward the Confessor was deemed capable of healing his subjects from scrofula through his royal touch. The religious element inherent in the ritual when practiced by the rightful ruler was given an extra sacerdotal aura when combined with the piety of a saintly king like Edward the Confessor or Louis IX.48 Henry, as we shall see below, was also seen posthumously as healer and protector, especially against epidemics. Yet healing powers which were linked to his regality were attributed to him also before his death: while John Fortescue was exiled in Scotland he polemically commented on the fact that only Henry VI – the true king – and not Edward IV, had the power to heal.49 Scrope was not chastised by his contemporaries for leading an uprising, since it was interpreted as part of his right and responsibility as archbishop to guard and protect his flock. The king’s duty toward his subjects was even greater: the medieval monarch was seen as responsible
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for his subjects’ common weal; the ‘just king’ was supposed to provide defence, justice, peace, health and joy. This was the case during the 1450s and the escalating struggle between Lancastrians and Yorkists, but this responsibility of the ruler was acknowledged long before the Wars of the Roses; in an organic model which was influential from John of Salisbury (d. 1180) onwards, the fact that the king was seen as the head of the body politic obliged him to rule in harmony with the other members, for the benefit of the entire persona publica.50 One of the explanations for Henry VI’s posthumous royal iconography stressed Henry VII’s effort to emphasize the legitimacy of his rule by accentuating his half-uncle’s royalty.51 This is a valid interpretation; we can assume, for example, that it was Henry VII’s request to have, among the many statues decorating Prince Arthur’s Chantry at Worcester Cathedral (built in 1504), one which depicted the regally crowned Henry VI with his emblems of orb and sceptre.52 Yet, this explanation tends to neglect the fact that although much of this iconography was commissioned during Henry VII’s reign, it was not always or even often made to his order or under his supervision, like it may have been in Worcester; it was rather the people of England, perhaps influenced by their ruler, who chose to depict Henry VI as king. They could have had additional reasons for this preference, other than direct or indirect dictate or influence by Henry VII. The first and most obvious is that Henry VI was, at some point, their king, even if an incompetent one. Both before and after his death, this was his representation and these were his emblems. In that sense, Henry’s saintly appearance and role were directly linked to the ones he had had in his lifetime, and ‘continuity’, at least in this sense, was thus maintained. This connection can also be perceived if we think about it using E.H. Kantorowicz’s ideas on the two bodies of the king: through the posthumous iconographical representation of his regalia Henry’s body politic – albeit not his body natural – was kept alive even after death. Ironically, it is possible that John Fortescue’s modelling of the idea that the king’s body politic is superior to his body natural was based on his experience during Henry’s reign, and the problems that his king’s mental illness and incapacity caused at the time.53 Henry’s ineptitude as ruler did not weaken his posthumous image as one; it rather turned his royal representation into a reassertion of the right order of things, proof that sacred monarchy can overcome its enemies.54 The emphasis on Henry VI’s royal attributes is also evident in the liturgy of the cult, although here it represented a different idea: instead of celebrating Henry’s regality during his lifetime – the fact that he was
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king of both England and France – the imperial power he gained following his death was hailed. In a book of hours containing a vernacular prayer to Henry, his crown and sceptre are mentioned, but he is claimed to have conquered not an earthly land, but ‘A hevynly kyngdome most imperyall’.55 On one occasion his regality was depicted as twofold: in a book of statutes dated to c. 1488, all the miniatures of the kings who issued the statutes in the book (Edward III to Henry VII) show them enthroned, carrying their sceptre and orb. The one depicting Henry VI represents him sitting on his throne, wearing a crown and holding his sceptre and orb, while two angels descend on his right and left, carrying with them yet another, heavenly set of crown and sceptre.56 Representing Henry in his regal capacity was meant, on the one hand, to highlight continuity and resemblance between his kingships in life and posthumously, and, on the other, to stress the superiority of his heavenly merits and powers over his earthly ones. Blacman also found it essential to play down (or even ignore) Henry VI’s earthly achievements (or lack thereof) and to concentrate instead on his merits which had secured him a place in Heaven; the idea was to highlight his spiritual agenda using Henry as a role model for educated laymen.57 We have already mentioned that Henry’s regality was apparent especially in rood screens in East Anglia, but it was not exclusively so. A flyleaf inserted at the beginning of a late fifteenth century book of medicine offers a crude sketch of a king, crowned and holding a sceptre. A legend identifies him as ‘Henricus vi Rex Anglie’. The insertion of this fly-leaf with Henry’s image into a volume which contains ‘A treatise of all different infirmities of men’s bodies…and their remedies, if God wishes so’, as well as medicinal recipes in English and Latin, suggests that Henry VI was seen as a thaumaturgic saint.58 The commissioner or owner of this manuscript may have been a surgeon who combined medicines with advice to pray for spiritual succour from Henry by using an image presenting him as king, perhaps in accordance with a tradition linking sanctity, kingship and healing powers. The Ashetons from Ashton-under-Lyne (Lancashire) commissioned the stained glass window in their parish church, showing a nimbed Henry VI holding his sceptre and orb, alongside saints Edmund and Edward the Confessor. Sir Thomas Asheton (d. c. 1460) practiced alchemy for Henry VI; it is his successors who commissioned this window which, again, presents Henry in a royal capacity.59 Unlike the Ashetons, the maidens of the parish church of Walberswick (Suffolk), who in 1497 gathered money for the ‘peytyng of kyng herry tabyll [decorated panel]’, did not have ties with the late king, but we can nevertheless assume
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that this painting they were planning would have shown Henry VI in regal glory.60 Henry’s posthumous task as heavenly intercessor was a continuation of his earthly role as a king – to care for the wellbeing of his people. These ideas were linked together in the pageant which the people of Worcester planned for Henry VII’s visit of May 1486. The surviving text (which was never performed) contains the character of a saintly Henry VI, who was to intercede with the king, following a failed insurrection. In his lines ‘Henry VI’ presents himself as ‘Thy great Uncle, sumtyme of England King/…Martir by great Tormenting’.61 Here, ‘Henry VI’ is a holy mediator by virtue of his kingship, sanctity and suffering, as well as family relation. Henry VII was already in Hereford on 15 May, after visiting Worcester. It could be that its citizens were hoping to perform their pageant as close as possible to 21 May (or the misconceived 13 or 16 May), associating the celebration of Henry VI’s death with a plea for mercy on behalf of the rebelling city.62 This association between Henry’s kingship and his posthumous intercession powers is at the core of a woodcut showing a kingly Henry VI in his Windsor shrine. It also attests to his widespread popularity among men and women from diverse backgrounds, which are depicted as kneeling in prayer around him.63
Protector against the plague Another reason for Henry VI’s popularity as saint and martyr was more urgent and linked to contemporary natural events, in the form of outbreaks of epidemics. Although his iconographical attributes remained the same (crown, sceptre and orb), some contexts and juxtapositions imply to his role as patron with power to protect from plague, sweating sickness and pestilence. On the rood screen in the church of Whimple (Devon) Henry is represented alongside two saintly companions different than those mentioned above: instead of being represented alongside Edmund and Edward the Confessor he is portrayed next to the two main plague-saints, Sebastian and Roch.64 Also some of the miracles attributed to Henry describe delivery from death by plague, as in the case of Richard Vyvian from Penzance (Cornwall) who was thought to be at death’s door, but was delivered through Henry’s intercession.65 Several prayers to Henry refer directly to the plague and request his assistance. Such is the memoria to Henry which appears in two manuscripts, and is dated to the later part of the fifteenth century and to c. 1500. In this prayer he is asked to help his adherents with their wish
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to die without exertion or sorrow (‘Non sudore vel dolore moriamur subito’). On a more general note, but still within the framework of this prayer, the adherents ask the saints (all of them) for protection from all ‘peste, febre morbo, ac improvisa morte’.66 At the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth century some printed books of hours which included a certain prayer to Henry usually placed it between ‘Oratis contra mortalitatem homini ac pestem’ and a prayer to St Roch, the plague-saint.67 This printed suffrage did not specifically mention plague or any other disease, but was nevertheless placed between other prayers which were perceived as helpful against these illnesses, and the death they brought with them. Henry was seen as a protector against infectious diseases even outside England. In a portable breviary of Dublin provenance a prayer to Henry was added alongside charms against fever. In this memoria the saint, ‘rex Anglorum piissime,/ Martyr et confessor Christi mitissime’, was asked to help deliver his adherents from a sudden epidemic of plague.68 Henry’s importance as patron of physical suffering is evident also in a book of hours which, in the sixteenth century, belonged to the Fincham family of Norfolk. Here, Henry was beseeched to help in restoring bodily health, as well as to ‘bring health to the spirit through your compassion’ (‘shew gostly helthe thro thi pete’), emphasizing the need for both spiritual and physical protection and help. The obits of Ela and John Fincham and their daughter Ela were added to the calendar in 1540 and 1541, and may indicate their death by plague.69 The black birds, perhaps ravens, seen flying behind Henry in Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 55 (fol. 141v), symbolize misfortune and death.70 They, too, stand for his protection against plague and pestilence, but they also indicate Henry’s own tribulations, and thus link his role as a protector against the plague to his martyrological suffering and death, creating what was recently referred to as ‘bonds of sympathy’ between Henry and his devotees; a reciprocal relationship in which, on the one hand, the adherents sympathized with the adversity Henry had undergone, and on the other, Henry felt compassion towards his adherents, and therefore came to their help when they requested it.71 For many, lay and religious folk alike, Henry’s trials – physical and mental – meant his adherents could not only identify with him; he could also understand and feel pity for their sufferings, and therefore help deliver them from trouble. Plagues broke out in Britain at the end of the fifteenth century and in the first decades of the sixteenth century. Like the 1430s, the 1470s too were a decade which suffered epidemics on a national scale; two
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were probably plague, a third may have been dysentery. The initial trigger for the emergence of Henry’s role as protector against the plague and other infectious diseases may have been an outbreak in August 1471, after four epidemic-free years; in East Anglia adult mortality was estimated at twenty percent, and the effect on the rest of the country was overwhelming.72 This could have been seen by contemporaries as a ‘reaction’ to the unjust shedding of Henry VI’s innocent blood about three months earlier, signifying heavenly displeasure with his murder, which required expiation. The epidemic of 1479–80 also hit hard nationwide, but for two decades after 1480 there were no major outbreaks. In 1499, 1509–10, 1516–17 and 1527–30, however, severe outbreaks re-afflicted Britain, promoting Henry VI’s status as a protecting and healing saint.73 Although crowded and unhygienic urban dwellings were hit worse by epidemics, infectious diseases of various kinds also targeted the countryside. People from different walks of life found themselves praying for help and protection and one of their patron-saints, alongside Roch and Sebastian, was Henry VI. Often these epidemics did not discriminate between people of different gender, political affiliation or financial prosperity. This was a factor in Henry’s ascent to celebrity, since his help could be beseeched by anyone who needed it; in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century there were many who needed this guardianship and protection. The posthumous emphasis on Henry VI’s regality may have contributed to his role as a patron-saint, since it stressed, inter alia, his commitment to the wellbeing of the English people.
Patron of learning Henry VI’s saintliness and interceding powers were also reflected in representations emphasizing his patronage of learning. On a wall painting in the church of Alton (Hampshire), three saints are represented on a pillar: a pope, holding his staff in one hand and a book in the other; a king, probably Henry VI, holding a sceptre and a book; and an archbishop, holding attributes similar to that of the first figure. Henry is depicted here as a saint in a more scholarly guise. Although this representation was not very common, it was to last throughout his cult: in an illuminated initial in a book of statutes issued by the kings of England, dated to c. 1488, Henry is shown with an open book on his lap, while two angels descend towards him, holding a crown and sceptre. Almost forty years later he was still represented with a book as one of his attributes: a woodcut contained in a printed book of hours from
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1526 shows Henry on the same folio as that of the prayer in his honour, where he was showed to be crowned and nimbed, holding his sceptre in one hand and an open book in the other.74 This patronage of learning was no doubt something King Henry, whether driven by personal interest or the initiative of his councillors, promoted already during his reign. Henry’s foundation of Eton and King’s (St Nicholas) College in Winchester and Cambridge respectively, in 1440–41, was his greatest achievement, but other enterprises also testify to the association between Henry and the world of learning.75 Such were, for example, the dispersal of a considerable proportion of his books to Oxford and Cambridge, or the failed attempt to canonize King Alfred in 1442. It has been suggested that this latter effort was driven by Henry’s private interest, since Alfred was commonly seen as a wise and bookish king, an exemplary ruler who founded colleges and promoted education.76 But Henry probably sought association with King Alfred not only for their shared scholarly interest (Alfred had been involved in the production of several substantial texts, among them the Soliloquies of Augustine and Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy; he was also widely believed, in the fifteenth century, to have been the founder of Oxford University), but also because Alfred was considered an exceptional king who, like Solomon, despised the renown and wealth of this world and aspired for heavenly wisdom instead, and, consequently, gained both wisdom and worldly renown. In a Life written posthumously, Alfred is also described as reading books of private prayer, practicing chastity (in his wedding feast, we are told, he publicly suffered agonizing pain), and, on the whole, managing to balance the demands of the secular world with those of the spiritual one.77 During his reign Henry sought association with symbols of knowledge and education – universities, libraries and wise kings; his posthumous representation reconstructed this image as a patron of learning by depicting him with a book as one of his emblems. For the educated laymen this image of Henry stressed his piety and heavenly wisdom, thus presenting him as a model of devotion, as in Blacman’s text;78 whereas to a wider audience, less inclined to imitate the late king’s spirituality, it was rather a kingly power to be tapped, by highlighting the most (and only) successful project of his reign, the foundation of the two colleges. *** Henry’s popularity as a saint is evident from the abundance of sources – textual and visual – which have survived. The fact that he was a king, a
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public persona seen on processions, represented on coins, and proclaimed in town squares, undoubtedly contributed to his posthumous popularity. Even if to some Henry was a weak ruler – politically and mentally – he was nevertheless a king. Mass production contributed to this popularity – printed books of hours with images and prayers in his honour were becoming gradually more available for his less well-off followers, who could not afford the expensively illuminated books of hours. At the same time, it proves that there was demand for devotional material celebrating Henry VI. A combination of man-made and natural causes, both before Henry’s death and after, thus contributed to his success as saint and martyr throughout Britain.
A holy innocent One of the main characteristics attributed to political martyrs in late medieval England was innocence. We have seen how both Lancaster and Scrope were perceived as innocent by their followers, both in the legal sense and in a wider, moral context. Their sufferings were linked to this innocence and to the fact that they were seen as victimized and wronged. In Henry’s case, as we shall see, this became a central motif in the construction of his image, especially after, but even before his death. The word ‘innocence’ in late medieval England had several meanings, not all positive. It was linked to sinfulness, guiltlessness and purity; it also meant candour, simplicity and even naivety. But it had a more negative sense, of ignorance, incompetence or forbearance.79 The two qualities of innocence and martyrdom merged in the devotional habits of late medieval religion. As illustrated in Chapter 1, the contemporary language of martyrdom was used to describe and explain situations of suffering which were often not chosen, but imposed on people who were considered blameless, innocent. References to Henry’s innocent life are found in some of the prayers for him, as in Blacman’s hagiographical memoir. It was described as ‘most innocent’ (‘innocentissime vite’) in a memoria in his honour; Henry was also hailed as the glory of innocence (‘Decus innocentie’), and God was seen to have chosen to oppress his servant, King Henry VI, with tribulations which he suffered patiently.80 The author of the continuation of the Crowland Chronicle also referred to Henry’s innocence of life (‘vitae innocentia’), and interpreted his ability to work miracles as stemming from the love he had had for God and Church, as well as from his patience in adversity.81 The most patent, yet
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symbolic, manifestation of Henry’s innocence is a description of his funeral procession, written by John Warkworth, Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge (1473–98). Warkworth narrated the carrying of Henry’s body to St Paul’s, where his face was publicly presented: in hys lyinge he bledde one the pament [pavement] ther; and afterward at the Blake Fryres was broughte, and ther he blede new and fresche;82 Such miraculous bleeding was perceived by contemporaries as a sign of the victim’s innocence and a direct accusation against the murderer, as in the case of the bleeding of Lancaster’s tomb in 1359 and 1466.83 Henry’s innocence was asserted also through contemporary motifs which represented similar ideas of sinlessness and purity. One such theme was Henry’s resemblance to the biblical Job. Blacman likened Henry’s simplicity, righteousness, fear of God and departure from evil to those of another Job (‘quasi alter Job’). Another association between these two innocent sufferers was made in the 1492 A Remembrance of Henry VI, where it was said on (and to) Henry that ‘In thy gesture thou were like Iobe’.84 Job’s innocence is central to the biblical story, as it is emphasized repeatedly by his friends (Job 19:1–4); despite knowing that he does not deserve his tribulations, Job’s faith in God is total. Indeed, God’s reward to Job at the end is a sort of acknowledgement of his innocence and steadfastness: ‘so the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning’.85 Henry’s depiction as another Job therefore underscored Henry’s innocence and sinlessness in the face of adversity, and suggested that his reward was yet to come. For Henry it came indeed, in the form of admittance in Heaven, to the company of saints and martyrs of old. This affinity with the theme of innocence was stressed in other ways as well. In some miracles Henry was seen as responsible for liberating prisoners, rescuing people on their deathbed, or reviving the wrongfully executed. When in 1484 Thomas Fullar from Hammersmith was wrongly judged guilty and hung as a sheep robber, Henry revived him, ‘since no distinction was made between just and unjust, innocent and guilty’ – an innocent man was wrongly executed.86 Another miracle in which Henry saved an innocent man is more gruesome. Unlike the previous case, this miracle tells the story of a planned mutilation of a priest on his way to church on All Saints’ Day, and illustrates both Henry’s protection of innocents and his love of the Church.87 Henry’s help in such cases was seen by contemporaries as deriving from his own experience of wrongful imprisonment and death. He was
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posthumously portrayed as a saviour of innocents also on other occasions, by helping children, both during his life and after his death. While he was imprisoned at the Tower, writes Blacman, Henry saw a woman trying to drown a little child. He sent a messenger to stop her from committing such a crime, and so she desisted.88 Plentiful posthumous miracles attest to Henry’s affinity with children, the epitome of innocence, which he protected. Such was the case of John Robynson, a little boy restored to life by Henry after falling off a roof, or the very young girl (‘tenerrima puella’) Agnes Alyn, who was healed by Henry from madness caused by an evil spirit.89 His special relationship with children fused with his own childlike innocence; and in his representation he was indeed portrayed as young and boyish-looking. Posthumous representations of the saintly Henry VI, both in visual and written sources, relate to his childlike appearance and behaviour. In most images Henry was depicted as childlike; he is usually shown to be young in posture and in expression, and he is beardless.90 Henry was almost always portrayed as a young man; only once, on a rood screen in Stambourne (Essex) is he depicted as bearded.91 As for other occasions in which Henry was posthumously described as bearded, several explanations may be suggested for this unique iconography. Firstly, it may be attributed to Henry VI’s ‘real’ likeness before his death: in the 1484 exhumation of his body his hair and beard were found to be incorrupt, and a seventeenth-century drawing of his tomb shows a bearded effigy. Secondly, it may have been that the Stambourne image represented a bold (yet futile) attempt to create a different type of iconography, one which emphasized his suffering in life; the beard described by Henry Walter, in his vision of 1483, was not a trimmed one, rather ‘a rough black beard…as if it had been fifteen days uncared for’. Finally, the Liber Niger of the Order of the Garter (c. 1534), which showed Henry bearded, also juxtaposed him with St Edward the Confessor, here bearded too, hinting at the resemblance between the two pious English kings.92 Yet this image was extraordinary, since when Henry was portrayed alongside other saints, especially other saintly kings, the juxtaposition rather led to an enhancement of Henry’s childish appearance, compared to the others’ maturity.93 In view of the fact that Henry lived to be fifty, and that he may have sported a beard, the commonplace representation of him as a young, almost childlike man must convey some meaning. Blacman repeatedly referred to Henry’s childhood, and to the devotional piety Henry had shown from a tender age. Praising Henry’s extreme sinlessness, he makes it seem even more distinguished in light of Henry’s youth; when Henry
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had been asked by a chaplain in the Tower on the state of his soul, he testified that he calls and cries to the Kingdom of Heaven, ‘unto which I have devoted myself always from a child’ (‘cui me semper ab infantia mea devoti’).94 As we have seen in the earlier discussion of the affinity between King Henry and saints Edmund and Edward the Confessor, Henry VI’s purity was highlighted; his chastity, Blacman claimed, was maintained ‘from the beginning of his days’ (‘ab ineunte aetate sua’);95 it was presented as an almost child-like virginity, despite the common knowledge that Henry could not have been ‘chaste’ throughout his life, since he was married and had a son. This multi-layered portrayal of Henry as an innocent child suggests a possible link with a contemporary martyrological topos, that of the pure and virginal boy-martyr who was cruelly killed by Jews, like the one for whom John Lydgate composed a prayer. In this prayer to Robert of Bury, allegedly crucified by Jews in the twelfth century, Lydgate, like Chaucer before him, elaborated on the child’s purity and innocence.96 Henry, in spite of his years, became a quasi boy-martyr who was portrayed in hagiographical sources as an innocent, pious and pure child. As John Watts has observed, both Henry’s personal traits as well as his long minority played a part in shaping his reign. Ambivalence and paradox were especially inherent in this minority rule and the period which followed; although Henry VI’s minority ended when he was ten, the rest of the reign was a prolonged struggle to manage his personal rule, and contemporaries were often not entirely convinced that the king was in charge of policymaking.97 In the paragraphs that follow I will discuss the possibility that Henry’s posthumous depiction as an innocent child was developed already before his death. Henry’s minority began with positive expectations. The ballade composed by John Lydgate to celebrate Henry’s English coronation in 1429, when he was eight years old, hailed the new king’s youth; the first verses praised his ‘Flouring [flowering] in youπe | and vertuous [virtuous] innocence’. Another one of Lydgate’s poems, depicting the King’s entry into London in 1432, claims that St Edward’s sceptre was ‘longe, large, and off grete weyht [weight]’ – as was the burden of kingship, presumably; Henry nevertheless ‘bare it on heyht [high]’.98 Despite Henry’s tender age Lydgate presented him as managing to bear the weight of monarchy. A slightly different view of the coronation was voiced by a Londoner, probably the skinner William Gregory, who wrote his chronicle sometime before 1467. At his coronation Henry sat, ‘looking gravely and firmly at the people all around’ (‘beholdyng the pepylle alle a-boute saddely and wysely’); when his turn came to
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carry the crown, and with it the symbolic weight of royalty, ‘hyt was ovyr [too] hevy for hym, for he was of a tendyr age’.99 Henry’s devotional tastes were noted already before his death. In the early part of A Chronicle of London, the two-year-old Henry was portrayed as a pious baby who shrieked, cried, sprang and refused to be carried further, since it was Sunday.100 In his Book of the Illustrious Henries (Liber de Illustribus Henricis), compiled during Henry VI’s reign, John Capgrave also referred to his youth and innocence. The etymology he offered for the king’s name was based on construing cus (the third syllable in Henricus) as ‘dark’: I believe our king to be pure from the worst defilements and therefore innocent and exempt, and not stained with the smoky hue of any dark colour.101 Like Henry’s future hagiographer, Capgrave also compared Henry to Job. In this earlier association between the two figures a link was established between Job’s devotion and Henry’s infancy.102 Yet, unlike Lydgate and the abovementioned chronicler, Capgrave did not overlook the potential problems that a child-king posed. In response to contemporary criticism based on words attributed to Solomon – ‘Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!’ – Capgrave argued that this saying was to apply not to the number of years, but rather to the immaturity of manners.103 This view that Capgrave tried to counter was, it seems, quite common in the period. It was voiced during Henry’s infancy, but lingered also after his biological and legal maturity.104 The severe punishment for treason which Thomas Kerver of Reading was subjected to on 3 August 1444, following ‘πe | seyeng of thees wordes “Ve regno ubi puer est rex”’, testifies to the harshness with which such comments and ideas were treated in the period. His conviction was meant to serve as a warning for the people of Reading and the area.105 It also attests to the fact that in 1444 Henry was still seen, for better or worse, as a child, although he was by then in his twenty-second year. Despite, or perhaps because of such criticisms, Henry’s political failures were often blamed not on him – he was but a child who could not have known better – but on his councillors. Henry himself was usually seen, also in political context, as blameless and innocent. His councillors were to blame for making ‘the peple to gruge ageyns [complain against] hym, and alle bycause of his false lordes, and nevere of hym’.106 Yet Henry’s innocence was interpreted differently by his critics. Instead of referring to it as a virtue, they saw in it a sign of weakness of mind. The chronicler
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John Hardyng relates how Richard, Earl of Warwick, who had been Henry’s tutor between June 1428 and May 1436, conceived, after Bedford’s death in September 1435, of Henry’s ‘symplesse and great innocence’. These were perceived as the cause of the Earl of Warwick’s desire to be discharged of his responsibility as the King’s tutor. Similarly, Henry’s ‘benigne innocence’ was immediately followed in this chronicle by the expression ‘By Goddes dome [sentence, judgment] of small intelligence’.107 Fifteen years later, in 1450 (and therefore before Henry’s mental breakdown of 1453–54), a yeoman of Brightling (Sussex) named John Merfeld took this ‘small intelligence’ one step further, and claimed that ‘the kyng was a naturell Fooll’, who often held in his hands a staff with a bird on its end, ‘pleyng therwith [with it] as a Fooll’.108 No doubt this comment meant to mock the king, but it is nevertheless interesting in this context to notice that a sceptre and orb were not only imperial emblems; a sceptre-like stick and a round white disk were also the attributes of the medieval fool.109 I am not suggesting here that Henry VI’s images were meant to represent him as a fool; however, I would like to speculate that some of Henry’s supporters and posthumous adherents could have interpreted his day-to-day extreme spirituality and other worldliness (if we are to believe Blacman’s description) and his mental incapacity of 1453–54 as signs of holy folly. In this Byzantine model of sainthood the holy fool is a performer who feigns his foolishness as a way of serving God.110 It may be that this model of holiness was too foreign for late medieval English people, or that they were not even aware of its existence. But it is also possible that this did not become Henry’s image because the essential characteristic of holy folly – of choosing to become a fool ‘for Christ’s sake’ – did not match the depiction of Henry as a Job-like figure, who did not choose to suffer, but was rather afflicted by countless troubles. To conclude, the image of Henry VI as childlike or innocent was accepted by contemporaries on both sides of the political divide, and used both before and after his death. This makes it different from the one-dimensional image of Richard II, constructed exclusively by his enemies, which stressed his unmanliness and young age.111 While for the Yorkists, Henry VI’s innocence was merely small intelligence, to his supporters and, posthumously, to his adherents, it was rather a mark of piety and of his martyrological suffering.
The political idiom of suffering We have seen in Chapter 1 how martyrological language was used in late medieval England in devotional, social or even mundane contexts.
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It gradually entered also into the political discourse of the time, reaching a peak during the Lancastrian-Yorkist struggle, with both sides choosing to employ it in order to strengthen their position and convince people of their right to govern. It was noted above how, from the immediate aftermath of Henry’s death, he was perceived as a martyr who suffered tribulations throughout his life. But interestingly, Henry was seen as suffering also before he actually died; his hardships were acknowledged even while he was still alive. The Somnium Vigilantis is a polemical Lancastrian text of the dreampoem genre dated to 1459 and probably composed by a lawyer, perhaps a member of the Queen’s faction. Probably written prior to the Coventry Parliament of 1459, in which the attainder of the Duke of York and his supporters was demanded, the Somnium was designed to prevent Henry VI from reconciliation with the Yorkists. One of the textual means to that end was to remind the readers of the ills caused by those challenging the Crown. As part of the ‘so grete lamentacion’ they had been responsible for was also ‘the longe vexacion and inquitablenes [anxiety]’ they caused Henry.112 Henry VI was portrayed in quasi-sacerdotal terms in the verses of Knyghthode and Bataile, a mid fifteenth century version of Flavius Vegetius Renatus’ treatise De Re Militari, where he was seen as ‘Goddes Son’, or ‘kyng Emanuel’. When treating the theme of perjury the author digressed to strike at contemporary perjurers, the Yorkists. By using a biblical metaphor he put the Yorkist oath-breaking in a more meaningful, religious, context, which manifested not only the act of perjury, but also its broader symbolic meaning and consequences. Thus, while identifying the Yorkists as Judas, Henry became a modern-day Christ. Like Christ, he too suffered as a result of perjury and betrayal.113 While the Somnium was aimed at Lancastrian policy-makers, and Knyghthode and Bataile targeted a broader, albeit literate audience, the next example is of a text which had an even wider potential reception. In a letter addressed by Queen Margaret to the city of London in early 1461, she tried to win its backing for the Lancastrians by emphasizing the late Duke of York’s intentions to ruin the king, and requesting the Londoners’ support, ‘So that he [the King] would no longer be troubled, vexed or endangered by the malice of his enemies’.114 Margaret tried to stress that Henry, the rightful King, needed the Londoners’ help in order to avoid further suffering. Although Henry VI was the obvious subject of the political discourse of suffering in this period his wife was also part of it.115 George Chastelain (d. 1475), historian and diplomat of the Burgundian court under dukes
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Philip the Good and Charles the Bold, dedicated his Le Temple de Bocace (preserved in sixteen manuscripts) to the exiled Margaret, and presented it to her in 1465. One of the chapters of this continuation of Boccaccio’s De Casibus Illustrium Virorum tells of Margaret’s sufferings, and, not coincidentally, is followed by a chapter on ‘patient Job’. The English Queen presents her complaints to the dead Boccaccio, urging him to include her among his other ill-fortuned women since, as she states, she is a hundred fold times more of a martyr on the inside than [can be seen] on the outside (‘jue suis cent fois plus en dedens que par dehors’).116 Another French writer, the chronicler Thomas Basin, writing in 1471 and 1472, dealt with Henry’s suffering, but was intrigued much more by the suffering of his own countrywoman, Queen Margaret. Before turning to narrate her miseries he cited Seneca’s famous lament on the changing nature of life: ‘No state of life endures: pleasure and pain/ Take each their turn; and pleasure’s turn is shorter’ (‘Nulla sors longa est: dolor et voluptas/ Invicem cedunt, brevior voluptas’).117 It acknowledged her suffering, but was meant, at the same time, to offer consolation: if change was indeed the essence of the world then the pain she endured was soon to change into pleasure, even if that was to be shorter in scope. An unexpected acknowledgment of Henry VI’s suffering came from Yorkist writers. In his chronicle John Hardyng advised Edward IV to bring back from Scotland the exiled royal family, and thus avoid attacks from Scottish soil. Another reason to do so, according to Hardyng, was the loyalty which Prince Edward and Queen Margaret showed Henry during his exile. He thus urged Edward IV to love them better ‘for theyr great lewte [loyalty?]’, since they were willing to forsake their lands and heritage and join Henry ‘in adversity,/ To remain [with him] in pain, sorrow and servitude’.118 Henry was portrayed as making ‘his mon’ in a Yorkist ballade dated to 1464, which described his tribulations as resulting mainly from wicked counsel. Although Queen Margaret was blamed for Henry’s suffering, recognition of these tribulations nevertheless existed on the Yorkist side, even if the Yorkists’ only aim was to purge themselves of responsibility for them.119 Not surprisingly, Henry VI’s death was not represented as a murder in Yorkist sources. The author of the 1471 Historie of the Arrivall of Edward IV in England offered a unique version of its cause: Henry died of displeasure and melancholy. He simply could not cope with yet more suffering; and so when he was told of Prince Edward’s death, the executions of the remaining Lancastrians, and the capture of Queen Margaret, ‘he toke it to so great dispite, ire, and indignation, that, of pure displeasure, and
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melencoly, he dyed’.120 Although no one in the fifteenth century (or since then) would have been persuaded by this explanation, in the context of Henry’s portrayal as a sufferer in his lifetime, which was accepted by Lancastrians and Yorkists alike (although the causes for this suffering were controversial), this interpretation made some sense, at least symbolically; it was a reasonable outcome of a decade of tribulations experienced by Henry VI. Richard, Duke of York, and his son Edward IV after him, often used the language of martyrdom, not only to depict Henry’s sufferings, but to illustrate their own sufferings as well. Description of the Yorkists’ tribulations began already in the 1450s and culminated in 1471.121 Since Richard, Duke of York’s suffering and death will be treated in the next chapter, the discussion which follows will concentrate rather on Edward IV’s employment of the martyrological discourse which his father had used before him. The text which best demonstrates this deliberate use of martyrological terminology is a verse version of Edward’s arrival in England in 1471, On the Recovery of the Throne by Edward IV. In contrast to the representation of his father’s sufferings, Edward IV’s woe was shown to be a submission to God’s will, pious acceptance of it as punishment for sins. The stanzas’ ending – ‘Lorde, thy wille be doo’ – is a Job-like acceptance of God’s deeds.122 This was meant to match the hardships seen to be suffered by Henry; yet here, Edward created for himself an image different than Henry’s – not an innocent man, but rather a reformed sinner, which the ‘average’ believer could more easily identify with than the perfect piety of the previous king. From the outset, the author expanded on Edward’s sufferings – the peril, trouble, pain, great woe and adversity in which he had found himself. However, his arrival in England and these trials had a greater meaning, along with the purging of his sins, that of bringing his subjects ‘owte of payne and woo’.123 Edward’s suffering was not only penance; it also enabled him to create affinity between his difficulties and those experienced by the people of England. Indeed, the Commons were also versed in the martyrological language of the period: in the Westminster Parliament of November 1461 they noted the sufferings Edward IV had undergone for the realm, first by coming to the defence of England without enough time to lament ‘the pitouse and dolorouse Deth’ of his father, and then by advancing on London immediately following his arrival in England despite his ‘grete laboure [hardship] and peyne’.124 Similarly to the empathy French writers show for Queen Margaret, Edward’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, was also seen to have shared his
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sufferings. The pain, languor, anguish and woe she endured were not independent; she was described as weeping so much that it was great pity to hear her. This was caused by the thoughts and memories of the sufferings her husband had to endure.125 The Yorkist usage of the theme of suffering and martyrdom differed from that of the Lancastrians. Henry’s sufferings were represented as forced upon him; in the sources written while he was still alive they were imposed by the Yorkists, whereas in his posthumous hagiography they were presented as God’s will, for mysterious ends only He knew. His endurance was therefore especially hailed, since he had been truly innocent. The Yorkist suffering, on the other hand, was portrayed as voluntary, for the sake of England’s people or the cleansing of sins. Following Paul Strohm’s reading of the Arrivall, the Yorkist representation of suffering may be perceived as a practical use of the sacred for the expression of political desires.126 This further emphasizes the fact that the discourse of suffering was a prominent feature of the period, especially in 1450–71. Suffering was one of the core ideas of fifteenth century life, one of the ‘underlying realities’, not only of its politics but of its whole cultural milieu.127
5 ‘A Death Worth a Martyr’s Crown’: Other Martyrs and Their Cults
The three cults which we have encountered were not the only manifestation of ‘holy’ death in the course of late medieval English politics. Various responses to murder, execution, or defeat in battle existed, ranging from successful cults – with prayers and hymns, Vitae, church images and miracle stories – to no posthumous following whatsoever. Only three figures – Lancaster, Scrope and Henry VI – became the centre of substantial political cults in late medieval England; a few others attracted some veneration. They may even have been referred to as martyrs, but only briefly or in passing. This chapter will describe several political deaths which produced cults, together with others that did not.
Kings Medieval kings exuded an aura of sacredness and legitimacy which stemmed from the idea of the ruler as God’s elect and anointed. Late medieval English kings were aware of this aspect of kingship and used it in various ways in order to promote their rule. Personal piety mixed with political awareness to strengthen and legitimate royal power, especially when challenged or threatened. Thus, the fourteen-year-old Richard II visited Westminster Abbey for prayers and offerings on his way to meet the rebels at Smithfield in June 1381, and Edward IV witnessed a miracle performed by an image of St Anne on Palm Sunday of 1471, upon his return from exile in Burgundy.1 Although medieval traditions, especially in England, linked royalty and saintliness, no king was seen as a saint simply because he ruled well. To be considered a saint he had to have led a pious life, or to have suffered violent death.2 In the treatise Dives and Pauper (c. 1405–10), the character of Pauper criticized the English for ‘sparing neither their king nor their bishops’.3 99
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The king alluded to was probably Richard II, but there were many others like him: no less than five English monarchs suffered premature and unnatural deaths in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries – Edward II, Richard II, Henry VI, Edward V, and Richard III; yet only one – Henry VI – received wide posthumous acclamation as saint and martyr. A cult centred on Edward II was active in Gloucester, yet it is hard to appreciate its broader significance, since surviving evidence of its activity is very limited.4 Following contemporary sources, Edward’s death is often interpreted as murder, but recent work hints at the possibility that the king escaped this fate, and was still alive at least around 1330, if not later.5 What was believed to be the late king’s body was brought from Berkeley in procession, on a carriage provided by the Abbot of St Peter’s, Gloucester; it was publicly displayed there on a hearse for two months before finally being laid to rest.6 The cult around Edward II is characterized by a discrepancy between the impression created by contemporary sources that a popular, nationwide cult was established in the aftermath of his death on the one hand, and the scarcity of evidence to support these claims on the other. The chronicler of St Peter’s Abbey reported that Edward II attracted a multitude of common people (‘plebis frequentatio’; ‘multitudinem populorum’) who flocked to Gloucester from all over England to offer at the tomb, and that these offerings helped to build the cathedral.7 The Book of the Miracles of Edward late King of England whose Body was buried at the Town of Gloucester, presented to Pope Urban VI in 1394, did not survive, though it may be discovered some day.8 Yet other evidence shows that the cult was a regional phenomenon, confined mainly to West England.9 Thus, for example, a representation depicting Edward II as king, titled ‘Sanctus Edwardus’, is contained in a Tewkesbury chronicle from c. 1420, and if indeed the roof boss at Bristol Cathedral depicting a naked king pointing towards his rear, dated to the last quarter of the fifteenth century, is really a posthumous depiction of the king, this is further testimony to the cult’s regional nature.10 A cult did not develop in Gloucester immediately after Edward II’s death in 1327, but only after Abbot Wigmore’s election in 1329. There was only slight opposition to the new de facto rulers – Isabella and Mortimer – or to Edward III, the legitimate heir and sole ruler from 1330.11 Even if a spontaneous wish to venerate Edward II had existed immediately after his death, it would have proved hard to realize. Isabella and Mortimer’s power was strong; they were ruthless in dealing with enemies, and this probably made the development of a cult more difficult. In March 1330 they executed Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent,
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for allegedly conspiring to restore Edward II – this was only the latest example of their attitude towards opposition. Indeed, the chronicler of St Peter’s Abbey reported how three neighbouring monasteries had refused to accept the late king’s body for burial, for fear of Isabella and Mortimer’s reprisal.12 Yet, as seen in other cases, political cults were often created despite opposition by the Crown. Another reason for the absence of immediate veneration of Edward II as martyr, and perhaps for the possible failure of the cult in general, was the uncertainty surrounding the circumstances of his death. No chronicler had access to any first-hand account of Edward’s demise. Rumours and hearsay filled the gap between the official pronouncement of September 1327, which claimed that the king had died of natural causes, and that of November 1330, reporting his murder.13 Death shrouded in mystery was not an auspicious starting point for a martyr’s cult, because of its diminished immediacy compared to any detailed eyewitness account. The public display of Edward’s body contributed further to the confusion surrounding his death, as it manifested no sign of violence. For this reason, stories of Edward’s survival, from 1329 and into the 1340s, only contributed to a blurred and uncertain picture of his demise.14 Despite the lack of genuine enthusiasm among Englishmen, and only lukewarm support by Edward III, the cult survived until the end of Richard II’s reign. When Edward III visited his father’s tomb during his pilgrimage of 1343, he offered a golden ship to the high altar in Gloucester, which was later transferred by the monks to Edward II’s shrine.15 Edward III’s promotion of his father’s cult was confined to patchy and half-hearted public commemoration. He did not try to have his father canonized; this initiative was to be taken up by Richard II only some thirty years later. While John Theilmann suggested that if Edward III believed his father had not actually been murdered in Berkeley in 1327 veneration would have been sacrilegious, Mark Ormrod convincingly proved that Edward III showed interest in his father’s tomb whenever rumours were about (as in 1330, 1337 and 1343), that Edward II was alive and about to reclaim his crown.16 Edward III’s devotion to and patronage of English saints such as Thomas Becket, Thomas of Cantilupe, Edmund King and Martyr or Edward the Confessor is seen by Ormrod as nationalistic devotion ‘carefully coordinated with his official propaganda machine’, aimed at bolstering his own popularity and advertising England’s superiority.17 Consequently, the inclusion of his father, the Rex inutilis Edward II, in this devotional scheme might have been politically unwise.18 Edward III’s intention was to downplay his predecessor’s personal and political
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inadequacies, but the desire of Gloucester Abbey to encourage pilgrimage to Edward II’s tomb forced some degree of cooperation by the royal family.19 Evidence does not allow us to offer a deep analysis of the cult’s significance, nor of Edward II’s image represented by it, but one aspect emerges clearly: the commemoration of Edward II was linked to ideas on suffering, repentance and penance. The discourse of penitence and confession was an important part of religious life in the fourteenth century and it seems to have found an expression in the story and posthumous representation of Edward II. The ‘Omnis utriusque sexus’ decree of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) enjoined every man and woman to confess to a priest at least once a year, do penance and receive absolution. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries a gradual shift may be traced, away from the early medieval emphasis on external performance of penance and towards contrition – the true sorrow enhanced by knowledge of sin.20 This approach is manifested throughout the later Middle Ages in texts stressing the foulness of the sinner’s state, like Henry, Duke of Lancaster’s Livre de Seyntz Medicines. Theologians and prelates responded with anxiety, lest contrition and resignation of sin degenerate into despair, and encouraged instead a balance between discipline and consolation.21 The two texts that stress Edward II’s suffering and penance appraise his life in two different ways and for different reasons. The earlier of the two links Edward’s future ‘martyrdom’ to ideas of humility and penitence. It is a series of five dreams, attributed to Adam Davy, written in 1307–8.22 Although the ‘dreams’ may have been composed by a Londoner, possibly a friar, at the beginning of Edward II’s reign, they have been preserved in a late fourteenth century manuscript from the West Midlands, where Edward’s posthumous cult flourished.23 The dreams contain several martyrological symbols. In the first, Edward, like Christ, resigns himself to suffering; rays of white and red light (symbolizing purity and blood) radiate like a halo from his ears after his attackers leave. In the second dream, the king is on a pilgrimage to Rome, dressed in grey like a penitent, his feet apparently bleeding.24 Finally, the fifth dream has Edward standing in Canterbury Cathedral covered in blood-red like a latter-day Becket; this may have been added to the dream sequence only after Edward II’s death.25 The second text, the Anglo-Norman ‘Lament of Edward II’, has ‘Edward’ mourning his fall, caused through the betrayal of his friends and wife, and begging Christ for forgiveness. This religious and didactic text was probably composed around 1330, the year Edward III assumed personal rule, by a supporter of the new king.26 Edward’s personal and political
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inadequacies, his errors in choosing favourites and lapses of judgment brought much tribulation to himself and to the realm. The ‘Lament’ amalgamated the suffering public figure and the private penitent seeking forgiveness. The lamenting ‘Edward’ feels in the poem that the hardships he suffers are ‘well deserved’ (‘bien… disservi’);27 it is ‘the cry of a penitent sinner as much as a political victim’.28 The didactic message is thus manifold: it stresses personal responsibility for flaws and sins, the route to penance, and hope for heavenly forgiveness. The ‘Lament’ emphasizes ideas of suffering and penitence similar to those expressed in ‘Adam Davy’s Dreams’. But Edward’s humility in ‘The Lament’ follows tribulation, whereas in the dreams it is the gravity of the man about to suffer that is stressed. Edward’s cult also linked pilgrimage and penance. In 1347 a penitent was sent ‘to King Edward at Gloucester’ by the Bishop of Rochester, Hamo de Hethe (1317–52). Although this Benedictine monk was not one of those who believed that Edward was still alive around 1330, he nevertheless wished to preserve the memory of the king with whom he had been on good terms.29 His sending of the penitent to Gloucester was a way of commemorating Edward II while stressing ideas of penance, and particularly royal contrition. The theme of royal penance, with King David as a biblical model, was present in medieval writings on kingship; it linked humility and royalty, which came to be associated with Edward II.30 It has been suggested recently that the letter attributed to Manuel Fieschi may have been part of the attempt to establish his cult: Edward was made to adopt the holiness of a hermit in expiation of his sins.31 We may never know who crafted this depiction of Edward II – whether Edward III or the monks of Gloucester – but its message would have had broad appeal: ‘he that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso conffeseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy’ (Proverbs 28:13). Unlike his grandfather Edward III, Richard II strove, from the early 1380s and throughout his reign, to propagate Edward II’s cult and secure his canonization. Richard may have identified with the political hardships suffered by his great-grandfather, and wished to use the memory of Edward’s martyrdom as a weapon against his own unruly barons, especially after the Appellant Crisis of 1386–88.32 Richard II applied to the papal court repeatedly between 1385 and 1398, requesting an inquiry into a canonization of Edward II. In June 1397, no other than the Bishop of Lichfield, Richard Scrope presented the case for Edward’s canonization in the curia.33 In a letter sent to Pope Urban VI, Richard II treated Edward II’s canonization as an administrative task, referring only to the miracles wrought at Edward’s tomb.34
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Despite royal encouragement, Edward II’s cult failed to flourish as others have. From the little evidence we have it seems that although the cult stressed ideas of penance, it did not offer a message of harmony and concord for the English polity, an essential requirement for the survival of political cults at the time.35 Conversely, Richard II’s promotion of the cult seems to have stemmed partly from clashes with the nobility. Edward II was acclaimed neither by the English people (as in Henry VI’s case) nor by any political group or faction (as with Lancaster and the gentry, or Scrope and the people of York). His canonization was never accomplished, and his cult seems to have dwindled after Henry IV’s usurpation in 1399. It is rather surprising that the boy-king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York (d. 1483?) have not become the centre of a martyrdom cult. Their death fascinated many – not least Shakespeare in his play Richard III, as well as historians, amateur sleuths, and generations of readers. Speculations have been aired since their disappearance from the Tower of London in the summer of 1483.36 The manner of their death triggered debate among contemporaries, many of whom believed they were strangled in bed, drowned in Malmsey wine, or poisoned.37 The first surviving speculation on the princes was penned by Dominic Mancini, Emissary of Angelo Cato, Archbishop of Vienne, who travelled in England between the end of 1482 and July 1483. In a report submitted to the Archbishop in December he described having ‘seen many men burst forth into tears and lamentations when mention was made of him [Edward V] after his removal from men’s sight; and already there was a suspicion that he had been done away with’.38 He also cited the physician John Argentine to the effect that the young king, ‘like a victim prepared for sacrifice’ (‘regulum tanquam victimam sacrificio paratam’), believed his death was near, and therefore sought remission of his sins by daily confession and penance.39 In 1483 some believed that Edward V should be lamented for his suffering and death. Since the idea of martyrdom was by then linked to innocent victimization, we might have expected an intense and immediate response in the form of a cult. The princes’ innocence would have been a major catalyst for a martyrdom cult. Sure enough, the association between the princes’ suffering and probable death and their innocence was elaborated by near contemporaries, especially by those who narrated their misfortune. In a prophetic ode on the outcome of the Battle of Bosworth (c. 1485–86) the Welsh bard Dafydd Llwyd ap Llewelyn linked Richard III’s (‘the sadlipped Saracen’) slaughter of ‘Christ’s angels’ and the disgrace he caused by doing so to ‘the bravery of cruel Herod’.40 Marginal notes narrating the
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princes’ tale written around that time in two London chronicles were titled ‘Mors innocentium’ and ‘The Deth of the Innocentes’. Moreover, William Parron, Henry VII’s astrologer, who studied the princes’ disappearance as part of an astrological inquiry dedicated to the King, titled the section on the children’s fate as ‘De innocentibus’.41 The Holy Innocents were held in awe; their feast day (28 December) was deemed unlucky.42 Despite having offered a ready occasion for commemoration, a cult did not emerge around the princes. Perhaps some efforts were made, but evidence thereof has failed to reach us;43 given the shocked reaction to their killing, we are forced to wonder why. Like their royal forerunners Edward II, Richard II and Henry VI, Edward V and his brother Richard were probably murdered. Yet there was no clear evidence, nor any judicial determination. Conversely, their memory was clouded by acts of impostors such as Lambert Simnel, who was crowned in Dublin Cathedral in May 1487 as Edward VI, or Perkin Warbeck who around 1491 pretended to be Richard, Duke of York.44 Such claimants contributed to the confusion surrounding the princes’ fate. Skeletal remains were accidentally discovered in the Tower in 1674, transferred to Westminster Abbey by Charles II in 1678, and laid to rest in an urn.45 These may have belonged to Edward IV’s sons, but there was no tomb, nor a cult. Many suspected the usurper Richard III of instigating the princes’ murder. True or false, Richard III had no interest in promoting a cult around them, one which could only have drawn attention to their rightful claims to the throne. Henry VII may have been interested in them, but was too preoccupied with other challenges to his reign to rake over past events.46 Since there was no cult in 1485, Henry VII probably preferred to avoid dealing with questions of legitimacy and inheritance related to Edward IV. Instead, he enthusiastically promoted his own saintly half-uncle Henry VI. The Woodvilles, and especially the princes’ mother Elizabeth, were in no position to promote a cult; Elizabeth Woodville took sanctuary and worried about the protection of her remaining children. Her submission to Richard III in 1484 should be seen, as A.J. Pollard commented, as ‘a piece of pragmatism’.47 Her children were not commemorated through a cult; yet they were never forgotten.
Bishops Following Queen Isabella’s landing in Suffolk towards the end of September 1326, and her request for London’s support, the capital’s inhabitants, led by Mayor Hamo Chigwell, swore an oath to imprison
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and execute whoever posed a threat to the Queen and the city’s liberties, amongst them Walter Stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter. This resolution led to the looting of the Bishop’s London house and eventually to his murder on 15 October 1326. The prelate was ambushed and caught while seeking sanctuary at St Paul’s; he was dragged through the city’s streets to Cheapside, struck and then beheaded with a bread knife by Robert de Hatfield and John Lawrence. In 1329 they confessed, made penance and were absolved for his death.48 As the first prelate to be killed violently since Becket’s murder in 1170, Stapeldon certainly could have prompted a cult. Yet all we know of is an annual commemoration of Stapeldon’s obit both in Harland Abbey and in Frithelstock Priory, two Augustinian houses in Devon, during the 1330s; in the latter, a list of gifts given by Stapeldon to the house was entered in its martyrology and recited on his anniversary.49 To some of the canons of Frithelstock c. 1334 the bishop’s death seemed to carry martyrological tones. This sentiment was local, and seems confined to the beneficiaries of the bishop’s largess. Unlike Becket’s or Scrope’s, Stapeldon’s violent end prompted no lament or protest. The confusion surrounding the treatment of Stapeldon’s body may explain why. After having been decapitated, Stapeldon’s head was sent to Isabella at Gloucester, his body thrown to the dogs, and the remains then thrown unceremoniously into a pit in a cemetery of a church referred to as ‘le Laweles chirche’. The canons of St Paul’s refused to bury the body, as did the rector of St Clement Danes Church, the advowson of which had been possessed by Stapeldon since two years earlier.50 Stapeldon’s remains were ultimately buried with due solemnity in March 1327, just north to the high altar at Exeter Cathedral.51 The doubts about his sentence of excommunication and refusal to allow his burial discouraged devotion to the dead Bishop. Unpopular in life, he was without friends and followers also in death. As Edward II’s Treasurer (1320–21 and 1322–25) the Bishop of Exeter was held responsible for several unpopular acts. His unexpected elevation to the office of treasurer, and the fact that this promotion was made by the king alone, inspired animosity among both spiritual and temporal elites.52 During the 1320s Stapeldon was held responsible for the stringent policy of auditing accounts and collecting debts. As treasurer he was held accountable for acts like the confiscation of Isabella’s lands in England in 1324, or the refusal to pay her expenses in France in 1325.53 Although support for Isabella in London was by no means unanimous,54 the macabre gesture of sending Stapeldon’s head to the Queen reflects the animosity felt towards the Bishop among her supporters.
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Potential adherents to Stapeldon’s memory were few and lacking in influence. Stapeldon’s family was not noble; he rose thanks to Edward II’s influence and his scholarship and hard work.55 Several English bishops, like those of Hereford, Lincoln and Ely, backed the Queen; others, according to John Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter (1327–69), were bribed by the Londoners to give the Pope a false account of the murder.56 Only Bishop Grandisson, Stapeldon’s successor, protested to the Pope, although not in vehement terms. Stapeldon’s only possible adherents were members of religious houses in his diocese to whom he had been a generous benefactor, like the Augustinians in Devon, mentioned above. The response to Stapeldon’s death was restricted in scope, short-lived and probably rather discreet. The chronicler Thomas Walsingham denounced Stapeldon’s death as sacrilege, but stopped short of referring to it as martyrdom. Yet in his lengthy description of the decapitation of Archbishop of Canterbury Simon Sudbury on 14 June 1381, in the course of the Peasants’ Revolt, this chronicler concluded that ‘he died a death worth a martyr’s crown’.57 Walsingham’s rendition of the story contained all the essential martyrological elements: the rebels’ desecration of the sanctity of clergy, chapel and sacrament; Sudbury’s composure in face of danger, kindness to his enemies and forgiveness to his executioner; the offering of his neck to the sword, and his willing acceptance of prolonged suffering.58 A ‘monk of Westminster’ described Sudbury’s ‘red mitre’ as nailed to the Archbishop’s head on London Bridge.59 Were these his enemies mocking a traitorous archbishop? Or, alternatively, were these his followers describing an act of imitatio Christi? Miracles around Sudbury’s body were recorded: divine vengeance upon the executioner, restoration of eyesight for two men, and the safe delivery of triplets.60 Sudbury’s death was depicted in an image in a Nederlandish manuscript of Froissart’s chronicles dated to c. 1460–80 (BL, Royal 18 E. I, fol. 172). It follows the traditional iconography of martyrdom by beheading, showing the tonsured Archbishop kneeling in prayer on the right, with an armoured soldier/executioner to his left, about to deliver a blow. This conventional composition juxtaposed Sudbury with two other casualties of the day: a Franciscan friar and the treasurer, Sir Robert Hales.61 Sudbury’s sufferings were also linked to those of other English bishops. In a Latin poem of the fifteenth century on Scrope’s death, Sudbury was presented as a link between Becket and Richard Scrope: all three were anointed men of Christ, lamented this poem, all three beheaded.62 No prayers have survived, but it is tempting to speculate that a minor cult
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did exist, perhaps in St Gregory’s Church, Sudbury (Suffolk), where his skull is still kept.63 The reaction to Sudbury’s death differed from that to Stapeldon’s, only half a century earlier. While former Treasurer Stapeldon was disliked by the Queen and her supporters (nobility, clergy and commons alike), hostility towards Sudbury as Chancellor was limited to the commons, who saw in him ‘the personification of the “Caesarean” clergy, the clerics who mingled the affairs of the Church and realm’.64 Sudbury was considered a traitor, responsible for the granting of the third poll-tax which triggered the Revolt in the first place.65 Yet this animosity did not prevent the wider public from interpreting his death as martyrdom. The rebels were unpopular among opinion shapers, like the many chroniclers who reported events. In Walsingham’s hand the confrontation between Sudbury and the rebels was turned into a cosmic struggle between God’s representative and Satan’s agents.66 Sudbury’s reputation was not flawless: in 1370 he had clashed with pilgrims on the way to Canterbury for sounding less than respectful towards St Thomas of Canterbury.67 Furthermore, tension with Pope Gregory XI and several fellow bishops on the subject of John Wycliffe and his heretical doctrines marked the Archbishop’s career during the late 1370s, as did accusations of excessive pliancy towards the Crown.68 Yet he generally enjoyed good relations with his clergy and attempted to enforce high standards of clerical discipline. Walsingham considered him ‘a most eloquent man and incomparably the wisest in the kingdom’.69 The laity also seems to have approved of him, at least in London during the early 1360s, when the capital’s citizens testified on his behalf that he was a gracious, kind and affable pastor.70 Yet, despite such sympathy for Sudbury, it was not ‘transformed into an effective cause’.71 It is difficult to trace any theme arising around the Archbishop’s death, and his martyrdom was not associated with the common weal, defence of the Church, or any political group. Although the chronicler Henry Knighton remarked on the murders of the Chancellor and Treasurer that ‘the two morning-stars of the kingdom…were executed’, a sign of political appreciation, Sudbury was not made into a political champion, but remained a clerical victim of violence.72
Barons By acting defiantly in parliament, leading rebellions, challenging the king, and generally involving themselves in bellicose activities, late medieval English nobles proved to be fine candidates for premature
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death in political contexts. Though various parameters determined the creation and success of political martyr cults, the posthumous popularity of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster was particularly instrumental in shaping the mould of the late medieval English baron-martyr. As discussed in Chapter 2, Lancaster’s supporters saw in him an ideal knight who had been unjustly wronged, and his cult stressed ideas linked to chivalry, manliness and innocence. His case raises several interesting questions: How crucial was masculinity in baronial martyr-making? Did a contender to the throne stand a chance of being venerated as a martyr if killed in the process? How important was the championing of an agenda focused on the common weal as opposed to private complaints? The posthumous hagiographical portrayal of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, tried and executed on 21 September 1397 seems to follow that mode.73 Richard II ordered the arrest of the three senior Appellants that year (the Duke of Gloucester, and earls of Arundel and Warwick). This may have been an act of revenge for their appeal for treason in the Merciless Parliament of 1388, and an act against political threat. Arundel alone was both tried and executed; Gloucester was murdered before his appearance before parliament, and Warwick was sentenced to life imprisonment on the Isle of Man.74 As for Arundel, acts of veneration took place in the Augustinian Priory in Bread Street, London, where he was buried. These continued until the spring of 1401, when Adam Usk wrote that the Earl of Arundel’s body ‘is now venerated with great reverence and glory, and people continually make offerings there’.75 As we have seen in other cases, the cult that had sprung up did not last long despite an immediate, broad and emotional reaction and its articulation in martyrological language.76 Despite reports of miracles, offerings and pilgrimage to his tomb, no prayers or liturgical offerings to this martyr have survived.77 In the immediate aftermath of Arundel’s execution, conditions were ripe for the prompt emergence of a martyrdom cult. Many were present in the procession that led Arundel to his execution on Tower Hill. According to the monk of Evesham, this ‘great crowd of citizens mourned him as much as they dared’, and were presumably witnesses to his decapitation.78 The first of many miracles occurred after the Earl’s beheading: his trunk stood erect and unsupported on his feet for the time it took to say the Lord’s Prayer.79 Arundel’s body disobeyed, through God’s miracle, the laws of king and nature alike. During the 1380s Arundel was popular among the parliamentary Commons who, like him, objected to Richard II’s blatant favouritism, aversion to war with France, and inept administration.80 In the
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Wonderful Parliament of 1386 Arundel was reappointed as Admiral, and this enhanced his popularity; following his victory over the FrancoFlemish fleet in March 1387 (in which around 8000 tuns of wine were captured), wine was sold cheaply in England, and this too contributed to Arundel’s acclaim.81 Nigel Saul remarked that Arundel, especially when compared with the other Lords Appellant, voiced his oppositional views out of general concern and principles, not solely for personal grievance.82 In the Salisbury Parliament of April–May 1384 Arundel was rebuked by Richard II, who sent him to the Devil (‘Vadas ad diabolum!’) after the Earl warned against imprudent government and urged remedies to this state.83 Despite some disappointment with the Appellants’ regime of 1387–89,84 Arundel’s political behaviour seems to have been respected. He was seen as a public figure that held dear the Kingdom’s interests, a trait shared by political martyrs. If Arundel was indeed seen in this light by contemporaries this may help explain his posthumous success as martyr. Baronial leaders who were seen as factional and driven by political ambitions, like Richard, Duke of York in 1460, rarely attracted broad-based posthumous sympathy. Arundel’s trial of 1397 played an important part in creating his martyrological representation, since it manifested the theme of innocence and victimhood.85 The accusation of treason posed a legal problem since Arundel had already received pardon for his acts back in 1394; this pardon was now revoked.86 When Arundel protested against his renewed accusation he was allegedly answered by the Speaker of the Commons, Sir John Bushy, that the pardon has been revoked by the King, the Lords ‘and us, the faithful commons’. The Earl’s response, ‘Where are those faithful commons?’ perhaps contributes to the explanation of the commons’ posthumous veneration of Arundel, especially in the politically-conscious capital. The Earl’s rhetorical question was followed by his opinion that they were not present. If they were, he claimed – ‘they would without doubt be on my side, trying to help me from falling into your clutches. They, I know, are grieving greatly for me; while you [Bushy and perhaps also the parliamentary Commons], I know, have always been false’.87 The account of the Earl’s trial impresses us with his wit and valour. This image is enhanced by comparison with the behaviour of his erstwhile accomplice, the Earl of Warwick. While Arundel acted bravely and ‘grew no paler than if he had been asked out to dinner’, Warwick
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broke down and tearfully confessed his misdeeds, weeping, sobbing and wailing ‘like a wretched old woman’, according to Adam Usk. Walsingham’s explanation for this reaction highlighted Arundel’s traits: Warwick ‘lacked the firmness that was part of the earl of Arundel’s character’.88 As Mary-Ann Stouck has commented, Warwick’s actions did not fit the paradigm of saintly opposition. Arundel’s, in contrast, did: on his way to execution he even asked for his hands to be untied, so that he could distribute money to the poor.89 According to the monk of Evesham, at his trial Arundel ‘hotly denied’ the accusation of treason no less than five times. This echoes similar accusations of treason against Thomas of Lancaster and their similar denial.90 In his wish to avenge his enemies Richard II altered the Statute of Treasons of 1352: he declared void all annuities and fees granted by those accused of treason, to the outrage of the nobility.91 Richard was alienating many of his loyal subjects.92 Seen from this perspective, the cult of Arundel was a protest not only on his behalf, but also against a newly tyrannical Richard II. Richard II must have felt threatened by the nascent cult. Walsingham wrote that he suffered from nightmares in which Arundel’s ghost appeared before him, and that ten days after Arundel’s burial Richard ordered the exhumation of the Earl’s remains only to verify that body and head were indeed severed. Richard is also claimed to have ordered that the tomb be covered and the markers of its site removed. Later on, Richard II even exiled several canons from the Austin priory in Bread Street, where Arundel was buried.93 The urge to honour and commemorate Arundel was keenly felt by his heirs. Chris Given-Wilson estimated Arundel’s moveable goods at more than £50,000, his estates at £4500 per annum.94 All this was in jeopardy following the treason trial; the King was quick to redistribute the forfeited titles and lands of the convicted traitors.95 Arundel’s heirs lost land and title, and their future male issue was debarred from parliament or council.96 All this meant that a rehabilitation of Arundel with the help of a cult was attractive, indeed expedient. Reversal of Arundel’s trial in 1399, and the restoration of his son and heir, Thomas Fitzalan, may have in turn diminished the urgency of the cult in the years that followed.97 Arundel’s case shows that around the year 1400 the violent death of an English baron could have been seen as martyrdom of sorts, if it manifested ideas of innocent suffering combined with manliness and chivalry. None of the magnates who were executed, murdered or killed in battle in the first half of the fifteenth century came to be seen as martyrs:
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neither Henry Percy (Hotspur), killed in the Battle of Shrewsbury of 1403; nor Henry Lord Scrope, executed following his involvement in the 1415 Southampton plot; nor William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, murdered by the shipmen of Nicholas of the Tower in 1450. A particularly interesting case is that of ‘Good Duke Humphrey’. Depiction of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester as a murdered political martyr originated, to a large extent, with Tudor chroniclers and writers like Holinshed, Shakespeare and Foxe. Being fully aware, in retrospect, of the years of turmoil England experienced after (or, as they saw it, following) Gloucester’s death in 1447, the Duke gradually became for these writers ‘their symbol of true nobility grievously wronged’.98 But was Humphrey seen that way by contemporaries? And if he was, how can we explain the fact that no cult developed in the aftermath of his death? In the parliament which opened on 10 February 1447 at Bury St Edmunds Gloucester was seized upon arrival, on 18 February.99 The pretext for his arrest was treason, yet it was probably the fact that he was the only powerful enough magnate of royal blood to oppose the appeasement policy shown towards France at the time that brought about his final downfall.100 A few days later, on 23 February, the Duke died; his body was exhibited the next day, showing no signs of violence. It was a mysterious death, which no doubt made things easier for his political enemies. It has been suggested that he died of depression or stroke, or murdered by strangulation or smothering.101 He was buried in St Albans Abbey, of which he was a special benefactor during his lifetime, in a tomb which had already been dug near the shrine of St Alban.102 No evidence survived of his veneration as martyr in the aftermath of these events. The epithet ‘Good Duke Humphrey’, it was recently claimed, was given to him posthumously, yet during his early career he was esteemed by many, first and foremost by London’s middle classes.103 His popular image as courageous and manly was based on his fighting in France, even if, according to a modern observer, his ‘chivalric pretensions…proved hollow’.104 His death horrified many, reinforcing, as John Watts suggested, ‘a growing concern that all was not well in the government [of Henry VI]’.105 By 1450 murder accusations were openly voiced: in one of their petitions to the King, Jack Cade’s rebels demanded that Humphrey’s murderers be punished.106 After the Yorkist victory in the first Battle of St Albans in 1455, the Commons presented a petition in parliament, formally declaring Gloucester to have been a loyal subject,107 and a few years later, in a poem from the early 1460s which praised Edward IV, it
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was claimed that ‘The Good Duke of Gloucester…was put to death; and since then great mourning has been in England’.108 At least in these two last cases, Humphrey’s death was brought up in an attempt to prove Henry VI’s inadequacy, as part of anti-Lancastrian Yorkist propaganda. Despite this sympathy no veneration of Gloucester as a wronged martyr developed in the immediate aftermath of his demise, perhaps because there was no certainty as to the manner of his death. The popular murmur reported in chronicles, if it was indeed contemporary and not coloured by retrospective comment, did not turn into a cult.109 In the years which preceded his demise, Duke Humphrey’s popularity was in steady decline. Initially there was no dramatic fall from favour, only gradual retirement (or exclusion) from politics. During most of the 1440s and until his death Gloucester lived in his palace or at St Alban’s Abbey. It was rather the trial of his wife, Eleanor Cobham, for treason in 1441 that brought about his final political ruin.110 In the Bury St Edmunds Parliament, assembled in the region where Gloucester’s adversary, the Duke of Suffolk, was strongest, the Duke was politically ostracized. Despite becoming ‘hero of the 1450s’ later on, during the 1440s – and particularly in 1447 – Gloucester received only little support from the magnates.111 The Commons were powerless in the face of decisive royal action, even if they wished to help him, which is doubtful. It seems that even if Gloucester’s death caused discontent among many Englishmen, this displeasure, which reached its peak in the 1450s, was only starting to manifest at the time. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester’s memory was propagated through Yorkist channels during the 1450s and 1460s, and probably contributed to the development of his posthumous image as ‘Good Duke Humphrey’. It was not, however, in itself, a powerful enough tool to initiate devotional enthusiasm if it was not there in the first place. From mid-century onwards, a new martyrological language was emerging alongside the more traditional mode of martyr-making. It was now possible to proclaim oneself a suffering martyr already during one’s lifetime. During the 1450s, Richard, Duke of York, made conscious use of martyrological ideas of victimhood, persecution and innocence. These became part of the political culture and language of the period, as we have seen in the previous chapter, used by Yorkists and Lancastrians alike.112 Yorkist propaganda was never ‘a single, coherent campaign of persuasion’, but rather a reaction to changing circumstances,113 and the theme of suffering was dominant therein. Description of Yorkist tribulations began already in the 1450s, but it culminated in 1471, with the return of Edward IV to England.
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Richard, Duke of York, promoted an image in his manifestos, which quickly took hold. The person who added marginal notes in John Benet’s Chronicle made reference to the Duke’s future pain: below the text of the Battle of Blackheath of 1452, a marginal note was added, identifying Blackheath (‘Nigrum Bruarium’) as the place where the Duke’s hardship and pain had started.114 The Duke of York’s unjustified sufferings during the 31st year of Henry VI (between September 1452 and August 1453) were described in the continuation of William Gregory’s chronicle: ‘sum sayde’, reveals the writer, ‘that the Duke of Yorke hadde grete wronge [injustice or wrongdoing], but what wronge there was noo man that darste say’.115 No doubt there existed around the early 1450s an understanding, encouraged by the Duke himself, of his political victimhood. By the early 1460s Richard of York’s status as political victim had already been well established. In the Ballade set on the gates of Canterbury of 1460 Duke Richard was portrayed as the traditional martyr in life, the biblical ‘Job, your worthy servant,/ Whom Satan does not cease to put through misfortune and disdain’.116 York’s manliness, might and righteousness were stressed in another Yorkist poem from this period, Twelve Letters save England; yet two important elements were added to this manifestation of prowess, aimed at widening York’s popularity and appeal. One was his depiction as suffering vexation; the other was the altruistic reason for enduring it – ‘for oure sakes’.117 This theme of suffering and affliction for the sake of the people of England was broadened to include, in this poem, not only the Duke of York, but also his counterparts, the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick: The Rs [stand] for three Richards that are of noble fame, Who for England’s just claim [in France?] have suffered much woe – …That all England is indebted to.118 The common weal – ‘that emergent term of political art so prominent in the 1450s’ – was one of the ‘accepted principles’ of the time, aired explicitly and widely during the Wars of the Roses.119 When, after ten years of opposition to the Crown based on this ideology, York attempted to publicly pursue the throne, he lost credibility, and paid a heavy price.120 The accord finally reached on 31 October 1460 in parliament promised York the throne after Henry VI’s death, but soon afterwards the Duke was killed in the Battle of Wakefield.121 Richard’s tribulations continued after his death, when a paper crown was allegedly laid on his severed head as it hung from the city walls of
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York.122 In the register of John Wethamsted, Abbot of St Albans (d. 1465), this posthumous crowning was elaborated into a Passion-like narrative of the events before York’s death, depicting his humiliation when mocked with cries of ‘Hail, king without kingdom. Hail, king, without inheritance. Hail, duke and prince, without a people, or possessions’, and ending with his beheading.123 Paul Strohm interpreted this mockcoronation of a claimant to the crown through another frame, that of the mock-crucifixion: ‘the victim is rescued from opprobrium…via association with Christ’s despiteful crowning by his tormentors in the Gospels’.124 Through this association Richard of York was made into a martyr of sorts. Much later, during the eight-day procession in which York’s body was translated from Pontefract to Fotheringhay at the end of July 1476, an effigy of Duke Richard was carried on a hearse, showing an angel in white holding a crown over York’s head. This time it represented his right to the crown, supported and manifested by the present King, his son Edward IV.125 Despite the martyrological image carefully cultivated by York and his followers, both before and after his death, he was never venerated as martyr in the framework of a religious cult. The epitaph that was probably hung on his hearse in 1476 referred only briefly to his death at Wakefield, where ‘evil rushed upon him’ (‘maleur sur luy courut’).126 York’s change of emphasis, from championing common interests during the 1450s to aspiring openly for the crown in 1460, must have suggested to some contemporaries that he had been seeking individual and material gain all along.127 Even amongst supporters, such as composers of pro-Yorkist poems celebrating York’s claim, some embarrassment was felt which expressed itself ‘as an uneasy obscurantism around the moment of kingship’s reclamation and reconsecration’.128 York’s aspirations resulted in his demise in (or immediately following) battle, and this could be understood as divine punishment. In the manner of his death York proved that despite the representation he had nurtured in his lifetime, he was not a wronged, innocent party, but rather an ambitious magnate who challenged the crown and paid the price. Despite some martyrological emphasis Richard, Duke of York was not venerated as a political martyr. Closely linked to Richard’s fortunes are those of Edward, Prince of Wales, the son and heir of Henry VI and Queen Margaret who was killed in the Battle of Tewkesbury in 4 May 1471. This eighteen-year-old was the subject of an exclusive posthumous cult.129 The chronicle of Tewkesbury Abbey tells of the Prince’s death in battle and of his burial ‘in the mydste of the covent quiere in the monastery ther’; the short
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paragraph describing his death ends with the words ‘for whom god worketh’, a reference to miracles performed at the tomb.130 Further evidence of interest in the Prince includes an annual commemoration, bequests at his tomb, and pilgrimage to it. Queen Elizabeth of York offered, in March 1502, ‘to Prince Edward 5s.’, though it was not indicated where exactly she offered them.131 The saintly Henry VI was of course being promoted in those years; indeed, on that year she offered three times at Henry VI’s shrine in Windsor.132 There is no reason to assume that Henry VII opposed Prince Edward’s cult; Queen Elizabeth of York offered at the tomb, presumably with her husband’s permission, if not encouragement. Edward, Duke of Buckingham (d. 1521) may have been influenced by Queen Elizabeth’s attention to Prince Edward, when in 1508 he visited the tomb at Tewkesbury.133 Buckingham also obtained a license to endow Tewkesbury with land worth £60 a year, and provided it with alms throughout his life.134 By honouring Prince Edward Buckingham may have hoped to advertise his Lancastrian connections, which made him a potential claimant to the throne.135 The fact that Buckingham’s first name was also Edward may have also attracted him to the cult at Tewkesbury. There are further indications of a cult. The prince’s obit (4 May) was added in red ink during the fifteenth century to a psalter commissioned by the de Bohun family c. 1380.136 During the fifteenth century, however, the manuscript was probably in possession of one of Buckinghm’s predecessors, John Stafford, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1452), whose arms were added on the first folio, next to those of Henry VI and Queen Margaret.137 Support and then commemoration of the last Lancastrians seem to have run down the Stafford family: Edward Stafford’s offerings at Tewkesbury should be seen as familial as much as political. Despite the apparent dominance of exalted folk amongst the cult’s adherents, however, less aristocratic followers existed too: in his will from 1513, one Richard Cokkes from East Harptree (Somerset) asked his wife Alice to offer 4d. to ‘Prince Edward at Tewkisbury’.138 In the years before his death Prince Edward gradually came to symbolize Lancastrian hopes: Lancastrian troops bore not only the King’s but also the Prince’s livery, of crimson and black with ostrich feathers.139 Although in the agreement of October 1460 between Henry VI and Richard, Duke of York, Prince Edward was denied the right of inheritance in favour of York himself, Edward could have been venerated as the ‘natural’, legitimate heir of Henry VI. He was the only and last Lancastrian descendant: Henry VI had no other children or siblings, and all his uncles were dead by then.140 Edward’s reputation required
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that rumours about his parentage be opposed and that his military prowess, courage and leadership be emphasized.141 Sir John Fortescue, Edward’s tutor during the exile in France and formerly Chief Justice, wrote for him c. 1468–71 a treatise on the laws and customs of England, De Laudibus Legum Angliae. In it, Fortescue appears to see Edward as heir to the throne – as soldier and provider of justice. Fortescue refers meaningfully and at length to Edward’s quality as soldier: I do indeed rejoice, most fair prince, at your noble disposition, perceiving as I do with how much eagerness you embrace military exercises, which are fitting for you to take such delight in, not merely because you are a knight, but all the more because you are going to be king. For the office of king is to fight the battles of his people and to judge them rightfully, as you may very clearly learn in I Kings, chapter viii [italics in the original].142 Prince Edward’s image as soldier and leader was cultivated from a young age. In letters sent in 1460 by Margaret and Edward to the city of London, the seven-year-old Prince was presented as the rightful heir, capable of raising an army and freeing his father from captivity.143 Fortescue had an interest both in encouraging and highlighting these traits, since they could contribute to Lancastrian hopes and plans. The following anecdote shows that Edward made this impression even on those who met him only briefly: when the Milanese envoy visited France in 1467 and met the seventeen-year-old, he remarked that Edward ‘already talks of nothing but of cutting off heads or making war, as if he had everything in his hands or was the god of battle or the peaceful occupant of that [English] throne’.144 From the several accounts of Edward’s death at Tewkesbury only one, the Yorkist Historie of The Arrivall, claimed that Prince Edward was killed not in combat, but while fleeing the battlefield.145 This could have been an attempt to diminish the young Lancastrian Prince’s valour, and to contrast him with the courageous and manly Edward IV.146 Whereas Edward IV attempted to check the cult around Henry VI, there is no evidence that he did the same in the case of Prince Edward. Perhaps this was not necessary since it took a while after the Battle of Tewkesbury for a cult to emerge; the first testimony we have of it is indeed of 1502. For Edward IV it was much more pressing to restrain the spreading cult around Henry VI, which proved attractive to many; the air of otherworldliness which characterized Henry’s rule was quickly transformed into the piety of a suffering martyr.
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Political martyr cults originated, as we have seen, in the responses and acts of a wide range of people and were only later backed by royalty or aristocracy. In Prince Edward’s case there is little evidence that the cult was created by popular desire, as in the case of other political martyrs such as Lancaster, Arundel, or Scrope. Nor was there any powerful figure in position to encourage the emergence of a cult at this initial stage: Edward’s father, Henry VI, was soon to die; his mother, Queen Margaret, was first imprisoned, then attended the custody of the Duchess of Suffolk, and later was in exile in France, where she remained the prisoner of Louis XI until her death in 1482.147 Together with Edward were slain at (and after) Tewkesbury the Duke of Somerset and other die-hard Lancastrians. Between 1471 and 1502 a minor cult may have developed at Tewkesbury, with some backing during Henry VII’s reign, but it was essentially secondary to that of Henry VI. At the beginning of the sixteenth century Prince Edward was not forgotten, but nor was he widely championed as a Lancastrian martyr. *** Premature death, in battle, by execution or murder, was not by itself a sufficient trigger for the development of a political cult of martyrdom. Neither was lay or religious high office – no king, bishop or baron gained posthumous veneration due to status alone, though high birth and office certainly added to the martyr’s charisma. Kings often set an example. Those among them who were perceived as deficient in their lifetime, like Edward II, could be recreated by a cult; Henry VI was similarly reborn as a model of piety. Cults around bishops, on the other hand, were not necessarily linked to the success or failure with which they had fulfilled their religious office per se. It was the amalgamation of their temporal and spiritual responsibilities that influenced the way they were perceived after death. Finally, the involvement of high nobility in national politics, through parliament or in battle, determined more than anything else their future attraction as martyrs. They not only had to be seen as champions of justice, but were expected to do so in a manly and chivalrous manner, worthy of their birth.
Cult creation Difficult as it is to make sense of political deaths and their significance to contemporaries, attempting to identify the multiple elements essential to the creation of a political cult is even harder: no single factor can explain the emergence or non-emergence of a cult. Manner of death and burial place were two essentials in cult creation and development. Transparency of death, particularly in the form of public decapitation – as in the cases of Thomas of Lancaster, Richard Fitzalan Earl of Arundel and Archbishop Scrope – was an important element in the creation of cults, providing them with unique martyrological emphasis and immediacy.1 Public executions, it was argued, were spectacles that created simultaneously different narratives for the authorities, the victim, and the spectators; moreover, the audience, ‘whose real and immediate presence was required for the performance’ was, as Michel Foucault commented, ‘the main character’.2 Only few could remain indifferent to this type of drama; presumably many, especially those who respected the executed person or were connected to him somehow, experienced an urge to honour him posthumously through a cult in the aftermath of such violent humiliation. Public execution also enabled the victim to display martyrological qualities such as piety, stoicism or charity, by praying to God or forgiving the executioner. It may be argued that the hugely popular cult of King Henry VI was created even without public death, since Henry died in the Tower in circumstances which remain mysterious to this day (although he was assumed, then and since, to have been murdered). Yet, perhaps as a consequence of this ambiguity, his death was not at the core of his 119
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cult. Rather, Henry’s sanctity and martyrdom consisted of his piety, innocence, and suffering endured in life rather than in death. Similarly, the less popular cult of Edward II, another victim of mysterious murder, highlighted not so much the King’s death but rather a more spiritual suffering associated with confession and contrition. At the same time, uncertainty as to the manner of his death could be one of the explanations for the lack of immediate emergence of a cult. The intense experience of attending a public execution – especially that of a popular political figure, and even more so if the legal process preceding it was questionable – was more likely to trigger an immediate response in the shape of a cult than a mysterious murder or fatal injury on the battlefield. Another sine qua non for a cult to emerge was a body. If there were no body to be shown, several difficulties could prevent a cult from materializing. Rumours of people who supposedly died but were actually alive – with a new identity or in hiding – could linger for years, making it rather difficult to venerate the dead. Another potential difficulty with the absence of a corpse was the lack of a physical focal point around which the cult could flourish. The shrines of Lancaster, Scrope, Henry VI, Edward II, Arundel and Prince Edward were all created around their tombs, and even when a chapel was later founded in the place of execution (as with both Lancaster and Scrope) the most important religious locus for martyr veneration remained his sepulchre. When the bodies of potential political martyrs were not entombed, the probability for the establishment of a cult diminished, as with Edward V and his brother Richard. The tomb’s location was another important factor: in order for a cult to develop the martyr had to be laid to rest in the church of a religious house which could promote such a cult, or in an area in which a pool of potential adherents existed, preferably lands under the potential martyr’s former lordship. We have seen in the previous chapters to what extent the process of creating and maintaining a cult around a political martyr involved religious, as well as social and cultural notions. At the same time, realpolitik, power struggles and changing influences contributed significantly to the development and shaping of a cult. Rich and powerful supporters – political allies, direct heirs or members of the extended family – contributed greatly to the emergence and prosperity of cults, mainly by investing time and money in their propagation and pressing for the martyrs’ canonization. The discouragement and even hostility shown by the Crown towards cults such as those of Lancaster and Scrope did not usually help in checking them; it may even have encouraged adherents to venerate some political martyrs as another form of manifesting opposition
to the Crown, as J.C. Russell suggested in his seminal article of 1929.3 On some occasions, when the ruler was particularly harsh in his treatment of political challenges to his authority, this could impede a cult’s development; it rarely, however, prevented it from emerging in the first place. Even if some cults had an initial element of political resistance, they also needed to represent, as shown by Simon Walker, ideas of political harmony and concord for them to last.4 Political leaders who died while promoting factional messages had less of a chance to develop popular or long-lasting posthumous cults, or even create them ab initio. It may be that Lancaster not only had posthumous following, but that his cult spread so wide and survived for so long because his adherents succeeded in reformulating his originally factional appeal into a message that attracted a wider audience, highlighting ideas related to the common weal. Conversely, one of the reasons for the lack of a cult around Richard Duke of York could have been the fact that contemporaries found his claim to the throne self-driven and inappropriate, unlike other ideas he promoted up to that point. Popularity was another important factor. The period just before death was particularly crucial, since the popularity of political figures, particularly in the more turbulent years of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, tended to wax and wane. Social and political standing also increased one’s popularity, for instance by providing influential cult supporters. It is clear, in any case, that even the most prestigious office holders, such as kings and archbishops, were never seen as saints and martyrs merely thanks to their title, but that other variables were essential for the establishment of cults following their untimely death.
Cult purposes Cults of political martyrs were created thanks to a combination of multiple reasons, but if they were to last they had to be meaningful to their adherents. Martyrdom cults were lenses through which contemporaries could reinterpret their world, enabling different readings of reality and playing various roles in the lives of the people who founded, maintained and participated in them. Similarly to cults of other, non-political saints and martyrs, these cults contributed to the crystallization of discourses around certain issues, shaped identities, offered protection and guidance, made sense of hardships and facilitated collective memories. Discourse around gender, society, politics and religion was reflected and represented by cultic activity, yet it was also crystallized and
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constructed through it.5 Martyr cults formed a terrain for discussion, a way for devotees to rethink familiar notions through a different prism. Notions of knighthood, for example, were manifested and explored through Lancaster’s representation as Christi miles, and his unfair trial crystallized, for some of his devotees, ideas on the availability of justice. Similarly, Scrope’s image as pastor populi promoted discussion of the bishop’s roles and responsibilities, while King Henry’s depiction as an innocent, almost boyish martyr was related to the question of his ability to rule. In the multi-vocal dialogue within the communities that provided cult adherents, representations were established and sometimes altered, and ideas negotiated and brought to the fore. These discourses contributed also to forging particular identity positions for the individuals and communities engaged in them.6 Cults of political martyrs played an important role in shaping and defining social, local and even gender identities. Communities celebrated their distinctiveness by relating to a martyr in particular ways, one of which was turning him into a civic patron-saint, interceding on its behalf and protecting citizens, as in Scrope’s cult in the city of York. Another way in which a cult helped shape identities was by constructing a model defining one’s social group and even gender, as in the case of Lancaster’s cult and its many male armigerous adherents. Adherents found in the martyrs they venerated protection from life’s hardships. Martyrs cured various illnesses and afflictions, freed prisoners, saved from death, protected buildings and goods, and generally provided hope for security and a better future. More than with traditional saints, the new martyrs’ special expertise in the field of miracle-working was flexible and easier to shape in reaction to current needs: whereas Henry VI protected his devotees from outbursts of plague, Scrope guarded his adherents – among them many merchants – from the perils of the sea. The new martyrs not only offered protection but also acted as role models. Submission to God’s will was an important message that all martyrs were seen to propagate, one that could be followed by their adherents also in more mundane circumstances, such as illness or poverty. Lancaster and Arundel’s knightly prowess and courage were emphasized through their cults and constituted an ideal, especially for noblemen. Edward II was portrayed posthumously as an example of the need – and possibility – to repent and pay for one’s sins, whereas Henry VI, especially in Blacman’s text, was a model of lay piety. Scrope’s cult set a model of socially-responsible behaviour on the one hand, and truthfulness and chastity on the other, which could be emulated
by his religious as well as lay followers, and even by a younger generation. For some of the adherents, at times for the public as a whole, the martyr’s death was difficult to come to terms with, especially if he had been publicly executed. Since martyrs had been widely perceived as authority figures, upsetting rumours of their death were liable to circulate rapidly, causing distress, concern, and a sense of chaos.7 The cults enabled individuals and communities to process and make sense of these feelings. By re-narrating a leader’s death through the spectacle of martyrdom, contemporaries interpreted its unexpectedness and violence as part of a heavenly design they could not fathom, one with a higher purpose than they could imagine.8 In a similar vein, juxtaposing the new martyrs with traditional examples of martyrdom and saintliness, such as St Thomas of Canterbury, St William of York or St Edmund, enabled further understanding of the pattern and continuity of this heavenly plan. This served other purposes as well: providing legitimacy to the new cults (especially since no official canonization was available), and underpinning the new martyr’s identity – his piety, abstinence, courage, or willingness to suffer tribulation. This juxtaposition of old and new martyrs (or saints) facilitated several interpretations of the relationship between them: firstly, the new martyr as a follower of an older one; secondly, the new martyr as a modernized, perhaps even an improved version of his predecessor; and finally, the new martyr as a mirror image of the earlier model, highlighting dissimilarities between them. Whichever relationship existed between the old and new martyrs, these juxtapositions always manifested the continuity and wholeness of the divine scheme. Finally, martyr cults facilitated commemoration. A cult offered not only a space in which active remembering could take place – the martyr’s tomb or shrine – but also narratives, prayers and images of the martyr in which his memory was cherished, albeit transformed. The urge to commemorate the dead political leader came from followers and dependents, as well as living relatives. Requests for canonization were initiated by family members, as in the cases of Edward II (by Richard II), Lancaster (by Henry of Lancaster, Thomas’s younger brother and heir) and Henry VI (by King Henry VII), while Scrope’s relatives commissioned a devotional manuscript and a stained glass window in remembrance of him.9 This remembering, it is suggested, was an active process of construction, which created a consensual version of the past. It emerged from the heterogeneity of collective memory, revealing in the process ‘much about the ways in which the groups
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that constructed them [these versions of the past] define[d] and project[ed] themselves’.10
Martyrdom: ‘old’ versus ‘new’? Reflection on suffering was common in late medieval England, not only in religious, but also in political contexts. The very term ‘martyrdom’ was used to describe mundane suffering (caused by illness, social exclusion, or imprisonment), as well as death following a seemingly unjust trial. We can trace a change in the content of the idea of martyrdom in the period: from being associated more or less exclusively with violent death, we find it shifting, throughout the later Middle Ages, towards greater emphasis on patient endurance of suffering. This ‘new’ martyrdom did not necessarily culminate in death; rather it was the prolonged suffering that was appreciated and valued. This endurance of tribulations offered more possibilities than the traditional view of martyrdom: whereas the ‘old’ martyrdom, that of violent death, was almost always enforced from the outside, the ‘new’ martyrdom could be either externally imposed or willfully chosen; whereas the ‘old’ version involved only a brief moment of suffering, the ‘new’ one meant prolonged torments, even a lifetime of patient endurance; finally, whereas the ‘old’ one was usually public, the ‘new’ could be either public or private, such as wearing hair-shirt under one’s garments. Political martyrdom was part of this culture in which ongoing suffering or death for a just cause could be highly valued. The shift from the more traditional concept to the new one can be appreciated when we examine the three main cults studied here: whereas Lancaster’s martyrdom is of the traditional type, focused on his violent execution, Henry VI’s martyrdom is rather different, emphasizing not his abrupt death but the suffering of hardships in the last ten years of his life. As we have seen with both Richard Duke of York and Henry VI, over the second half of the fifteenth century martyrdom gradually shifted from referring to a singular, cataclysmic event, as Lancaster’s death was depicted, to being part of the political language, a terminology describing persecution and injustice, and not only violent death. Representation of the martyr as an innocent and wronged victim was crucial to the idea of political martyrdom, both ‘old’ and ‘new’. The concept of the suffering victim lies at the heart of any martyrdom cult, and provides the immediate impulse for its establishment. Narratives of virgin-martyrs and boy-martyrs were part of this late medieval fascination with martyrdom. It was ‘the shedding of blood and the glaring
injustice of their death’, as André Vauchez put it, that prompted the creation of new martyrdom cults.11 Although the political martyrs studied here were neither female virgins nor young boys, they were seen by their adherents as suffering victims who met unjust death. In Henry VI’s case this notion of innocence was energetically applied, becoming a central theme in his martyrological representation. His cult drew on ideas of chastity and youth, while the depiction of Archbishop Scrope employed the image of a virginal bridegroom. The interpretation of the martyrs’ deaths as unjust was a vital element in the creation of their cults, as well as in the shaping of contemporary political culture; articulation of political violence in martyrological language helped contemporaries come to terms with dramatic, violent, and disruptive events.
Shared and distinctive traits The cults discussed herein had much in common. Their lifespan was similar: they had all originated in the immediate aftermath of their martyrs’ unnatural, premature death. Thus, St Paul’s Cathedral witnessed a miracle attributed to Lancaster as early as 1323; Arundel’s body performed a miracle even before his execution ended; and Scrope’s shrine in York Minster attracted followers in the immediate aftermath of his death, as John Sibson’s miracle testifies. Much of the imagery and devotional material connected with the cults were commissioned and composed in the first decade following the martyr’s death, if not immediately thereafter. The cults’ demise (at least that of the main three) was also similar: they all lasted until the 1530s, when Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries disrupted this type of cultic activity. Another shared characteristic of the cults was their construction around a single, predominant martyr representation. Even if additional representations were superimposed over time, the central image was always there, defining the cult and identifying the martyr. Such is the case with Edward II’s image as a penitent, Lancaster’s core representation as the ideal knight, Scrope’s image as pastor, and Henry VI’s as child-like and innocent. To this main representation of Henry was added, for example, his image as founder of colleges, but this aspect remained secondary. A third common attribute of these cults, especially when discussed in the political or diplomatic context, is the changing emphasis on martyrdom, as opposed to sanctity. Thus certain agents chose to depict a perished political figure either as saint or as martyr, depending on their audience. This was especially true in canonization attempts: Lancaster’s
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martyrdom was emphasized in Edward III’s 1327 letter to the Pope; three years later, however, in a letter sent for the same purpose, Lancaster’s martyrdom was played down and hardly referred to. Henry VII acted similarly in his efforts towards the canonization of Henry VI: in his letters to the popes he did not refer to his uncle’s trials and tribulations; when addressing the English people, however, he chose to highlight Henry VI’s martyrological suffering. On the whole, all cults were highly contextualized. They reacted to changing circumstances, needs and requirements, and were consequently neither static nor stagnant. The meaning they held for their followers – thematic emphases, the martyr’s representation, or his miracles – shifted in accordance with factors related to time and place. These were either man-made, such as new devotional trends or changing political pressures, or natural, like plague outbreaks. Not all cults reacted to changes with the same swiftness or intensity. Lancaster’s cult was less variable than those of Scrope and Henry VI. It maintained its emphasis on ideals of male chivalry throughout the fifteenth century; by the 1530s, however, it either lost this accent altogether, or integrated a new, feminine aspect – an example of a slow semantic shift in reaction to longue durée cultural changes, possibly the change in the knighthood discourse between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. This transformation in cultic thematic emphasis and practice may also represent a self-preservation mechanism: cults did not disintegrate when becoming less relevant to their original adherents; instead, they created new emphases and found new audiences. The cult around Archbishop Scrope also changed its meaning in reaction to new circumstances. These were more immediate than in Lancaster’s case. Emphasis on Scrope’s martyrological death characterized the cult at its initial stages, and from the 1450s onwards. One of the main triggers for the emergence of Scrope’s cult was the intimate involvement of Yorkshiremen in the uprising he had led, whereas his depiction as martyr in the latter part of the fifteenth century can be more easily understood if we bear in mind the Yorkist search for political legitimacy, in which Scrope’s death was reinterpreted as resulting from his opposition to Lancastrian usurpation. In-between these two periods, Scrope’s representation focused rather on his exemplary virtues, as on his intercession and help. Thus, new political conditions influenced the cult and its emphasis in certain periods. Finally, one of the main meanings which the cult around Henry VI held for contemporaries – protecting them from outbreaks of plague and sweat sickness – originated in a completely different set of circumstances.
The last decades of the fifteenth century, a period that witnessed recurrent waves of epidemics, contributed to shaping Henry VI’s representation as a patron-saint who guards his followers from the pain and death brought about by such affliction. This representation lasted throughout most of the cult’s lifespan. Conversely, in Edward II’s case it was rather the penitential discourse of the time which contributed to his image. In conclusion, various changing circumstances – political, social, cultural and natural, either gradual or immediate – were reflected in the cults in different degrees, contributing to shaping their meanings over time. *** Distinctions between the cults can be identified in the social characteristics of their founders and adherents. The establishers of the three cults on which we have sufficient information were canons or monks connected to each martyr’s resting place (the Cluniac Priory of St John the Evangelist in Pontefract, York Minster and Chertsey Abbey). However, cultic initiative involved some degree of reaction to and response from a local lay audience; regrettably, these crucial founding agents are hard to trace in the available sources. In Lancaster’s case we know that the cult initially operated in Pontefract despite attempts to repress it. We do not know, however, who its first followers were, and whether they were gentlefolk, as its later adherents. With Scrope’s cult these issues are clearer: the laity involved in creating the cult was local – citizens of York – some may even have taken part in the events leading to the uprising and in the uprising itself. Even for the well documented cult of Henry VI we remain ignorant of the initial stage; we cannot ascertain whether it was established locally or in few locations simultaneously, to which extent the laity was involved in its foundation, or whether the lower ranks of society (whom we encounter later as adherents) contributed to the cult’s initial formation. Another major difference between the cults was the extent of their influence. Whereas Lancaster’s and Henry VI’s cults were propagated – through pilgrim badges, for example – throughout the country and even abroad, Scrope’s cult was more local, as may also have been those of Edward II and Archbishop Sudbury.
The English Church As Simon Walker noted, changing definitions of sanctity ‘provide an important collective representation…; properly understood, they can
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help to make an important point about the nature of late medieval polity’.12 Moreover, the cults of political martyrs studied here were part of a ‘fruitful conjunction’ of religious and political ideas which Miri Rubin identified in the political culture of fifteenth-century England.13 What follows is an examination of the ways in which our martyr cults broaden our understanding of late medieval English worship and belief, shedding light on the religious culture of the period and expanding our understanding of the late medieval English Church. First and foremost, the study of late medieval political martyr cults supports Eamon Duffy’s thesis that ‘no substantial gulf existed between the religion of the clergy and the educated elite, on the one hand and that of the people at large on the other’.14 In all cults – especially that of Henry VI – we find that adherents included secular and regular clergy, ‘the literate elite’ (magnates, gentry, merchants), as well as more popular elements. Although we do not always know who their founders were, various social elements became involved in the cults over the years, some better off or educated than others. The more popular among them, however, are harder to trace in surviving sources, except for Henry VI’s, for which an extensive collection of miracles has survived, in which humbler folk are mentioned. Yet the cults could have held different meanings, at different times, for different groups and individuals; a baron, for instance, could be attracted to a certain cult for reasons different than those motivating a commoner, or one living in a different part of the kingdom. Henry VI, for example, was a protective patron against the plague for the parishioners of Whimple Church (Devon), where his image was adjacent to those of Sts. Roch and Sebastian; he was also a model of piety and contemplation for the Carthusians of the London Charterhouse, and a bookish king, founder of colleges, for his adherents at Alton Church (Hampshire). The cults of Scrope and Henry VI (much less Lancaster’s) demonstrate broad female participation in the veneration of political martyrs. We have encountered female devotees who were wives and widows of kings, dukes and earls, burgesses, maidens and servants, lay as well as religious. Like their male counterparts, they prayed for the martyrs’ intercession and protection from books of hours, commissioned devotional artefacts, and bequeathed money to their shrines. Women contributed to the shaping of political cults by taking part in cultic activity; they were sufficiently involved to be able to make such a contribution. Even if, as pointed out by Christine Peters, ‘the devotional priorities of both sexes were almost identical’, saints were nevertheless
‘polysemic symbols’,15 and could therefore have held different meanings for female and male adherents. We have seen, for example, how Margaret Blackburn’s veneration of Scrope was presumably interwoven with teaching her daughters to read. The present study also contributes to our understanding of power relations within the late medieval English Church, and of the shaping of its priorities. It indicates that the English Church as an institution, far from being the homogeneous, hierarchical establishment it pretended to be, especially when confronting heresy and sedition, was, in fact, fragmented and continually challenged from within.16 We have seen that although the nascent martyrdom cults were initially banned by high ecclesiastical authorities – in conjunction with royal wishes – they were nevertheless followed, not only by the laity but also by the local clergy. It even seems that some degree of initial local cooperation between the laity and members of the religious communities in whose churches the tombs were located was essential to the cults’ survival. Thus we can conclude that local practices in the late medieval English Church were probably more important in determining cultic activity than central orders. Scholars who examined the emergence of new cults have concluded that their motivating force was usually local, consisting of both lay and religious elements.17 It is difficult, however, to determine the exact degree of lay versus clerical involvement in the creation of new cults. In the cases studied here the clergy contributed to the formation of religious practices – including liturgical activity – at the localities: in Pontefract, York Minster, Gloucester and Chertsey, the local clergy allowed – if not encouraged – growing devotion to the new cults, usually in defiance of instructions from above. It seems, however, that it was the laity that was gaining influence in shaping religious, especially devotional, practices in late medieval England. R.N. Swanson enumerated the ways in which lay people exerted authority in the Church: by being responsible for providing vessels for liturgical practice, employing priests in chantries, or commissioning decorative projects, for example.18 These responsibilities ‘facilitated the development of parish cohesion, lay organization, and ultimately community identity’.19 To this lay involvement we may add the work of adopting and integrating new cults of political martyrs, through the foundation of chapels, commission of works of art on a small and grand scale, and contribution to the cult’s propagation through music and liturgy. Kathleen Kamerick pointed out that the laity in late medieval England ‘became energetically engaged in creating the material culture of their
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religion’.20 We find this development in the field of martyr cults too, where this ‘energetic engagement’ reflected and created new devotional practices. Whether private or public, devotional images were an important part of this devotional activity, as manifested in the cults discussed here. In the private sphere, representations in books of hours were an important vehicle, although accessible (prior to the advent of print) only to affluent adherents. In the public arena – in parish churches or cathedrals – depictions of political martyrs, as of saints in general, were more readily available to the less privileged. Even if, in some cases, individuals and their families commissioned a stained-glass window or a wall painting depicting a martyr, in most cases images were joint endeavours by groups of parishioners of varied social situations.21 For example, the maidens of the parish church of Walberswick (Suffolk) collected money for painting King Henry VI’s image. In this way public images of a martyr or saint could become ‘a source of local identification’, an element around which communality was enhanced.22 By collecting the money required (perhaps through a festivity of sorts), accompanying the process of fashioning or installing the image, and finally celebrating the martyr and the communal achievement, local pride and sense of togetherness were enhanced. The lighting of candles before images was a ritualistic commemoration, linked to expiation for the martyr’s death. Adherents commiserated with their martyr, and invested time and goodwill in commemoration. Religious texts associated with those martyrs appeared in various genres: hagiography, liturgical offices, memoriae, and simple short prayers. Although we have few details about their uses, we may assume that these texts formed part of private or public celebration in honour of the martyr; for some of the martyrs studied here obits in calendars have survived, indicating the existence of a dedicated feast day. These texts and images, whether part of a public ritual or designed for private use, inform us also on lay involvement in shaping religious experience. The model suggested by Richard Pfaff for the distribution of new, approved, liturgical feasts does not fully match our findings. Pfaff argued that a new feast will first appear in martyrologies; then in calendars of psalters or missals; and finally in calendars of books of hours, which, ‘perhaps because they are not concerned with liturgical observances, tended to have sometimes the most sparse and/or conservative (i.e. outdated) calendars’.23 Despite the occasional dating difficulties, it seems that this ‘gradual process’ was one in which the laity was not a passive recipient, but rather a catalyst. The laity did not receive the feast at the end of a process; rather, it was a significant part of it.
Late medieval English liturgy represented, especially through the bridge which books of hours created between lay piety and liturgical observance, ‘a mirror of the devotional changes…of the age’, responding ‘to pressure from below’.24 The reliance of new cults on older traditions had multiple manifestations. Iconographic representations were occasionally modelled on pre-existing traditions. Execution scenes, for example, seem to continue an earlier medieval tradition by usually depicting the executioner to the left and the martyr to the right; the sword always hanging in the air, ready to deliver the fatal blow; and the martyr often portrayed as kneeling in prayer. We have encountered this iconographic model in the martyrological depictions of the executions of Lancaster, Sudbury and Scrope. Another iconographic tradition which the cults followed at times was representing the martyrs with their status symbols: Lancaster was depicted with his shield and coat of arms; Sudbury and Scrope with their archiepiscopal vestments; Henry VI crowned, holding a sceptre and an orb. Continuity with earlier traditions existed in liturgy also. One that has been identified is the use made by the author of the office to Lancaster of an existing hymn for Easter, the Pange lingua, which Lancaster’s adherents were presumably familiar with. This facilitated the composition of a hymn: slightly adjusting the words of a familiar tune while endowing it with an additional layer of meaning.25 In these ways – comparison to earlier figures, iconography and liturgy – new cults mingled with older ones; while contributing to the continued relevance of religious symbols, they also created new meanings and representations. Although the cults differed from one another they all relied, to varying extents, on traditional role models. The most important martyrological tradition was, of course, that invoked by Christ and his Passion. By drawing on the similarities between a martyr’s sufferings and those of Christ, as we have seen so often in the cults studied in this book, hagiographers were employing the most important devotional idea of the later Middle Ages – that of Christ’s redemptive suffering for humanity. *** The historical phenomenon studied in this book took place in a world inspired by Christ’s suffering and Passion, but martyrdom was and still is cherished in other religions as well. By understanding the reasons, immediate as well as more diffuse, for the emergence of cults centred
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on men who died in the course of political conflict, we may better understand not only late medieval sensibilities, but also those of other societies, and, hopefully, our own. We live in a world in which men and women still choose to die for ideological and political causes, or suffer death as a result of political conflicts forced upon them. Understanding the causes and practices of political martyrdom is thus more important than ever before. By shedding light on the martyr’s allure to the community of the living, we may better cope with unnecessary deaths, and perhaps also prevent new ones.
Notes Introduction 1 ‘Why be now no martyris as were wone to ben?’; ‘We han |πese dayys martyris al to manye in |πis lond’; ‘For |πe mor martyris |πe mor morde and manslaute & |πe mor schadyng of innocentis blood… And now Englych nacioun hat mad many martyris; |πey sparyn neyπer | here owyn kyng ne her buschopys, no dignyte, non ordre, no stat, no degree’. Dives et Pauper, P.H. Barnum (ed.) 2 vols., EETS o.s. 275 (London, 1976), vol. I, pp. 208–9. 2 J.C. Russell, ‘The Canonization of Opposition to the King in Angevin England’, in Anniversary Essays in Medieval History: By Students of Charles Homer Haskins, Presented in His Completion of Forty Years of Teaching, C.H. Taylor and J.L. Monte (eds) (Boston and NY, 1929), pp. 279–90. 3 For reactions to J.F. Kennedy’s assassination and his posthumous portrayal as martyr see E.J. Naveh, Crown of Thorns: Political Martyrdom in America from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King Jr. (NY and London, 1990), pp. 172–4. 4 J.W. McKenna, ‘Popular Canonization As Political Propaganda: The Cult of Archbishop Scrope’, Speculum 45 (1970), pp. 608–23; J.W. McKenna, ‘Piety and Propaganda: The Cult of King Henry VI’, in Chaucer and Middle English Studies in Honour of Rossell Hope Robbins, B. Rowland (ed.) (London, 1974), pp. 72–88. Also J.M. Theilmann, ‘A Study of the Canonization of Political Figures in England by Popular Opinion, 1066–1509’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Georgia, 1978); J.M. Theilmann, ‘Political Canonization and Political Symbolism in Medieval England’, Journal of British Studies 29 (1990), pp. 241–66; A.R. Echerd, ‘Canonization and Politics in Late Medieval England: The Cult of Thomas of Lancaster’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1983). 5 S. Walker, ‘Political Saints in Later Medieval England’, in The McFarlane Legacy: Studies in Late Medieval Politics and Society, R.H. Britnell and A.J. Pollard (eds) (Stroud, 1995), pp. 77–106. 6 C. Carpenter, ‘Introduction: Political Culture, Politics and Cultural History’, in The Fifteenth Century IV: Political Culture in Late Medieval Britain, L. Clark and C. Carpenter (eds) (Woodbridge, 2004), pp. 1–19 (p. 19). 7 M. Rubin, ‘What is Cultural History Now?’, in What is History Now? D. Cannadine (ed.) (Basingstoke, 2002), pp. 80–94 (p. 81). 8 P. Strohm, Theory and the Premodern Text (Minneapolis and London, 2000), p. 33. 9 Rubin, ‘What is Cultural History Now?’, p. 90. 10 P. Strohm, Hochon’s Arrow: The Social Imagination of Fourteenth-Century Texts (Princeton, NJ, 1992), pp. 3–4.
Chapter 1 Mapping Martyrdom 1 R. Kieckhefer, Unquiet Souls: Fourteenth-Century Saints and Their Religious Milieu (Chicago and London, 1984), p. 111; G. Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, 133
3 4 5 6
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
vol. II: The Passion of Jesus Christ, J. Seligman (trans.) (London, 1972), pp. 189–91. Also R.W. Pfaff, New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1970), pp. 84–96; R.H. Robbins, ‘The “Arma Christi” Rolls’, The Modern Language Review 34 (1939), pp. 415–21. On the Immaculate Conception see, for example, M. Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (London, 1976), pp. 236–54. E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c. 1400– c. 1580 (New Haven and London, 1992), pp. 259–65; Warner, Alone, chapter 14. Nicholas Love, The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ: A Reading Text, M.G. Sargent (ed.) (Exeter, 2004), p. 176 (lines 28–9). Duffy, The Stripping, p. 264. D.S. Ellington, ‘Impassioned Mother or Passive Icon: The Virgin’s Role in Late Medieval and Early Modern Passion Sermons’, Renaissance Quarterly 48 (1995), pp. 227–61 (pp. 237–41). Julian of Norwich, A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich, E. Colledge and J. Walsh (eds) 2 vols., Studies and Texts 35 (Toronto, 1978), vol. II, chapter 17, p. 365 (lines 61–3). The Book of Margery Kempe, B. Windeatt (ed.) (Harlow, 2000), chapter 45, p. 223 (lines 3546–59). Kieckhefer, Unquiet Souls, p. 105. D. Gray, Themes and Images in the Medieval English Religious Lyric (London, 1972), p. 37. On the Sherborne Missal (BL, MS Add. 74236) see M. Rickert, Painting in Britain: The Middle Ages (London, 1954), pp. 179–80, plate 161. Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, vol. II, pp. 151–2. Richard Rolle: Prose and Verse, S.J. Ogilvie-Thomson, EETS 293 (Oxford, 1988), pp. 66–7 (lines 107–24). J.A.W. Bennett, Poetry of the Passion: Studies in Twelve Centuries of English Verse (Oxford, 1982), p. 36; Walter Hilton, The Ladder of Perfection, L. Sherley-Price (trans.) (London, 1988), Book I, chapter 35, p. 39. Ibid., Book II, chapter 38, p. 218. Ibid., Book II, chapter 35, p. 206. R. Kieckhefer, ‘Radical Tendencies in the Flagellant Movement of the Mid Fourteenth Century’, Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (1974), pp. 157–77; J. Henderson, ‘The Flagellant Movement and Flagellant Confraternities in Central Italy, 1260–1400’, in Religious Motivation: Biographical and Social Problems for the Church, D. Baker (ed.) Studies in Church History 15 (Oxford, 1978), pp. 147–60. E. Duffy’s already canonical study of religious attitudes and practices in pre-Reformation England is wide ranging and full of examples. Duffy, The Stripping, part I. J. Murray, ‘Masculinizing Religious Life: Sexual Prowess, the Battle for Chastity and Monastic Identity’, in Holiness and Masculinity in the Middle Ages, P.H. Cullum and K.J. Lewis (eds) (Cardiff, 2005), pp. 24–42 (p. 27); J.H. Arnold, ‘The Labour of Continence: Masculinity and Clerical Virginity’, in Medieval Virginities, A. Bernau, R. Evans and S. Salih (eds) (Cardiff, 2003), pp. 102–18. The term was used by J. Wogan-Browne, Saints’ Lives and Women’s Literary Culture c. 1150–1300: Virginity and its Authorization (Oxford, 2001), for exam-
23 24 25 26
30 31 32
ple, pp. 41 and 48. On the different experiences of virginity see also S. Salih, Versions of Virginity in Late Medieval England (Cambridge, 2001); M.C. Erler, ‘English Vowed Women at the End of the Middle Ages’, Mediaeval Studies 57 (1995), pp. 155–203; P.H. Cullum, ‘Vowesses and Female Lay Piety in the Province of York, 1300–1500’, Northern History 32 (1996), pp. 21–41. Ancrene Wisse: Edited from MS. Corpus Christi College Cambridge 402, J.R.R. Tolkien (ed.) EETS 249 (Oxford, 1962), p. 30. Translation in Ancrene Riwle, M.B. Salu (trans.) (London, 1955), p. 22. ‘Hali MiDhad’ (‘A Letter on Virginity’), in Medieval English Prose for Women: Selections from the Katherine Group and Ancrene Wisse, B. Millett and J. WoganBrowne (eds and trans.) (Oxford, 1990), pp. 2–43 (p. 42). On this liturgy see A.K. Warren, Anchorites and Their Patrons in Medieval England (Berkeley and London, 1985), pp. 97–9; M. Rubin, ‘An English Anchorite: The Making, Unmaking , and Remaking of Christine Carpenter’, in Pragmatic Utopias: Ideals and Communities, 1200–1630, R. Horrox and S. Rees Jones (eds) (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 204–23 (pp. 209–10). Wogan-Browne, Saints’ Lives, p. 29. Warren, Anchorites, p. 120. Ancrene Wisse, p. 57; Ancrene Riwle, p. 46. The South English Legendary, C. D’Evelyn and A.J. Mill (eds) 3 vols., EETS 235, 236 and 244 (London, 1956 and 1959); ‘Die Nordenglische Legendensammlung’, in Altenglische Legenden Neue Folge, C. Horstmann (ed.) (Henninger, 1881), pp. 1–173; Mirk’s Festial: A Collection of Homilies, T. Erbe (ed.) EETS o.s. 96 (London, 1905); Osbern Bokenham, Legendys of Hooly Wummen, M.S. Serjeanston (ed.) EETS o.s. 206 (London, 1938); Speculum Sacerdotale, E.H. Weatherly (ed.) EETS o.s. 200 (London, 1936). Speculum Sacerdotale, p. 1. William Paris, ‘Christine’, in Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden, C. Horstmann (ed.) (Heilbronn, 1878), pp. 183–90; The Minor Poems of John Lydgate, H.N. MacCracken (ed.) EETS 107 (London, 1911), pp. 173–92; John Capgrave, The Life of St Katharine of Alexandria, C. Horstmann (ed.) EETS o.s. 100 (London, 1893). M. Rubin, ‘Religious Symbols and Political Culture in Fifteenth-Century England’, in The Fifteenth Century IV: Political Culture in Late Medieval Britain, L. Clark and C. Carpenter (eds) (Woodbridge, 2004), pp. 97–111 (p. 105). On the role of the virgin-martyrs see also K.J. Lewis, ‘Model Girls? VirginMartyrs and the Training of Young Women in Late Medieval England’, in Young Medieval Women, K.J. Lewis, N.J. Menuge and K.M. Phillips (eds) (Stroud, 1999), pp. 25–46; E. Duffy, ‘Holy Maydens, Holy Wyfes: The Cult of Women Saints in Fifteenth-and Sixteenth-Century England’, in Women in the Church, W.J. Sheils and D. Wood (eds) Studies in Church History 27 (Oxford, 1990), pp. 175–96 (p. 189). Duffy, The Stripping, p. 279. The Commonplace Book of Robert Reynes of Acle: An Edition of Tanner MS 407, C. Louis (ed.) (NY, 1980), pp. 24–7. Thomas More, A Dialogue Concerning Heresies, T.M.C. Lawler, G. Marc’hadour and R.C. Marius (eds) The Yale Edition of the Complete Works of St. Thomas More, vol. 6 (New Haven and London, 1981), part I, pp. 226–7. Duffy, The Stripping, p. 278.
136 Notes 34 P.M. Jones and L.T. Olsan, ‘Middleham Jewel: Ritual, Power, and Devotion’, Viator 31 (2000), pp. 249–90. 35 P.B. Roberts, Thomas Becket in the Medieval Latin Tradition (Steenbrugis, 1990), pp. 11–12. 36 D. Webb, Pilgrimage in Medieval England (London, 2000), p. 46. 37 Ibid., p. 49. 38 Ibid., p. 50. 39 Roberts, Thomas Becket, pp. 30–5. 40 For Becket’s blood see Webb, Pilgrimage, p. 47; P. Binski, Becket’s Crown: Art and Imagination in Gothic England, 1170–1350 (New Haven, 2004), pp. 1–12. 41 S. Walker, ‘Political Saints in Later Medieval England’, in The McFarlane Legacy: Studies in Late Medieval Politics and Society, R.H. Britnell and A.J. Pollard (eds) (Stroud, 1995), pp. 77–106 (pp. 91–2). 42 Webb, Pilgrimage, pp. 52, 61. 43 Duffy, The Stripping, p. 195. 44 The Brut, or The Chronicles of England, F.W.D. Brie (ed.) 2 vols., EETS o.s. 131, 136 (London, 1906, 1908), p. 222; Cambridge, St John’s College, MS E. 26, fol. 54r. 45 Duffy, The Stripping, p. 412. 46 M. Rubin, ‘Choosing Death? Experiences of Martyrdom in Late Medieval Europe’, in Martyrs and Martyrologies, D. Wood (ed.) Studies in Church History 30 (Oxford, 1993), pp. 153–83 (p. 183). 47 R. Rex, ‘Which is Wyche? Lollardy and Sanctity in Lancastrian London’, in Martyrs and Martyrdom in England c. 1400–1700, T.S. Freeman and T.F. Mayer (eds) (Woodbridge, 2007). His conclusion, of finding no martyrological tradition in Lollardy, is too sweeping. See also A. Hudson, The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History (Oxford, 1988), p. 172; A. Hudson, ‘Which Wyche? The Framing of the Lollard Heretic and/or Saint’, in Texts and the Repression of Medieval Heresy, C. Bruschi and P. Biller (eds) (Woodbridge, 2003), pp. 221–37; J.A.F. Thomson, The Later Lollards, 1414–1520 (London, 1965), pp. 148–51. 48 Thomson, The Later Lollards, p. 156. The Great Chronicle of London, A.H. Thomas and I.D. Thornley (eds) (London, 1938), p. 252. 49 The Register of John Stafford Bishop of Bath and Wells, 1425–1443, T.S. Holmes (ed.) (London, 1915), pp. 76–80 (no. 263); Hudson, The Premature Reformation, p. 172; Thomson, The Later Lollards, pp. 29, 240. John Oldcastle was burnt in St Giles’s field in 1417 after being in hiding for several years; William Taylor, the Oxford preacher, was burnt in 1423; the priest William Sawtre was burnt in 1401; and John Beverly was a priest who was executed after the 1414 rising. ‘Sir James’ may have been William James, the Oxford Lollard who was tried before Archbishop Chichele in 1420 after many years in prison for his Lollardic views; he later abjured, and was therefore probably not burnt. Hudson, The Premature Reformation, pp. 90, 172. 50 The Register of Thomas Bekynton Bishop of Bath and Wells 1443–1465, H.C. Maxwell-Lyte and M.C.B. Dawes (eds) 2 vols., Somerset Record Society 49–50 (London, 1934), vol. I, p. 283 (no. 1044). William Smith was a Lollard teacher from Bristol who was probably executed after 1448. Thomson, The Later Lollards, pp. 34–5.
Notes 137 51 C. von Nolcken, ‘Another Kind of Saint: A Lollard Reception of John Wyclif’, in From Ockham to Wyclif: Oxford Scholarship in the Later Fourteenth Century: Conference Papers, A. Hudson and M. Wilks (eds) (Oxford, 1987), pp. 429–43 (pp. 441–3). 52 Hudson, The Premature Reformation, pp. 301–7. 53 Heresy Trials in the Diocese of Norwich, 1428–31, N.P. Tanner (ed.) Camden Society 4th ser. 20 (London, 1977), p. 47. See also Hudson, The Premature Reformation, p. 313. 54 Hudson, The Premature Reformation, for example p. 279. 55 von Nolcken, ‘Another Kind of Saint’, p. 434. 56 W. Scase, Reginald Pecock, Authors of the Middle Ages 8, vol. III (Aldershot, 1996), pp. 29–37; E.F. Jacob, Reynold Pecock Bishop of Chichester, Proceedings of the British Academy 37 (London, 1953), pp. 135–8; M. Bose, ‘Reginald Pecock’s Vernacular Voice’, in Lollards and Their Influence in Late Medieval England, F. Somerset, J.C. Havens and D.G. Pitard (eds) (Woodbridge, 2003), pp. 217–36. 57 Reginald Pecock’s Book of Faith: A Fifteenth Century Theological Tractate, J.L. Morison (ed.) (Glasgow, 1909), Part I, chapter VII, pp. 191–2. See also Thomson, The Later Lollards, p. 240; Hudson, The Premature Reformation, p. 172. 58 E. Knapp, The Bureaucratic Muse: Thomas Hoccleve and the Literature of Late Medieval England (University Park, Pa., 2001), pp. 129, 139. 59 J. Mitchell, Thomas Hoccleve: A Study in Early Fifteenth-Century English Poetic (London, 1968), p. 49. 60 Hoccleve’s Works: The Minor Poems, F.J. Furnivall and I. Gollancz (eds) EETS 61, 73 (Oxford, 1970), p. 23 (lines 473–6). 61 See S.L. Einbinder, Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France (Princeton, NJ and Oxford, 2002), for example p. 18. 62 A. Pettegree, Marian Protestantism: Six Studies (Aldershot, 1996), pp. 86–117; T. Freeman, ‘“The Good Ministrye of Godlye and Vertuose Women”: The Elizabethan Martyrologists and the Female Supporters of the Marian Martyrs’, Journal of British Studies 39 (2000), pp. 8–33 (p. 12); S. Brigden, London and the Reformation (Oxford, 1989), p. 189. 63 Hudson, The Premature Reformation, pp. 158–61 (p. 161). 64 English Wycliffite Sermons, A. Hudson (ed.) 5 vols. (Oxford, 1983–96), vol. I, sermon E34, p. 625 (lines 66–9); also B.S. Gregory, Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1999), p. 71. 65 P. McNiven, Heresy and Politics in the Reign of Henry IV: The Burning of John Badby (Woodbridge, 1987), pp. 214–16. 66 The text was edited in Two Wycliffite Texts: The Sermon of William Taylor 1406: The Testimony of William Thorpe 1407, A. Hudson (ed.) EETS o.s. 301 (Oxford, 1993), pp. 193–8. This text has survived in four manuscripts. Ibid., p. xxvi. 67 R. Copeland, Pedagogy, Intellectuals and Dissent in the Later Middle Ages: Lollardy and Ideas of Learning (Cambridge, 2001), p. 142. 68 Two Wycliffite Texts, p. 36. 69 ‘For no doute whoeuere wolen lyue here piteously, |πat is cheritabli in Crist Iesu, schulen suffre now heere in |πis liif persecucioun in o [sic] wise or in oπere – |πat is, [if] we schulen be saued’. Ibid., p. 26. |
138 Notes 70 Copeland, Pedagogy, p. 143. Copeland uses the term ‘pedagogical drama of inquisition’ on p. 201. 71 P. Strohm, England’s Empty Throne: Usurpation and the Language of Legitimation, 1399–1422 (New Haven and London, 1998), pp. 57, 34. On Sawtre’s trial and execution see Ibid. pp. 40–62; McNiven, Heresy and Politics, pp. 81–91. 72 Two Wycliffite Texts, pp. 92–3. 73 Hudson, The Premature Reformation, pp. 196, 302. 74 The Great Chronicle of London, p. 252. 75 Bokenham, Legendys of Hooly Wummen, pp. 112–29 and 203–25. 76 Two Wycliffite Texts, pp. 36, 59. 77 L.P. Fairfield, ‘John Bale and the Development of Protestant Hagiography in England’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 24 (1973), pp. 145–60 (p. 146). 78 L.L. Besserman, The Legend of Job in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1979), pp. 57–65, 75–9. 79 K.A. Winstead, Virgin Martyrs: Legends of Sainthood in Late Medieval England (Ithaca and London, 1997), pp. 126–7. 80 The Kingis Quair and Other Prison Poems, L.R. Mooney and M.-J. Arn (eds) (Kalamazoo, 2005), text on pp. 153–63; see also p. 3. 81 Hoccleve’s Works, p. 103 (lines 232–3). 82 Ibid., p. 97 (lines 62–6). 83 G. McMurray Gibson, ‘St Margery: The Book of Margery Kempe’, in Equally in God’s Image: Women in the Middle Ages, J. Bolton Holloway, C.S. Wright and J. Bechtold (eds) (NY, 1990), pp. 144–63 (p. 144). 84 The Book of Margery Kempe, chapter 53, pp. 258–9 (lines 4327–38). 85 Ibid., chapter 84, p. 365 (lines 6889–94). 86 Salih, Versions of Virginity, pp. 214–15; J. Fredell, ‘Margery Kempe: Spectacle and Spiritual Governance’, Philological Quarterly 75 (1996), pp. 137–66 (p. 158). 87 The Book of Margery Kempe, p. 62 (lines 346–50); p. 67 (lines 432–3). 88 Salih, Versions of Virginity, p. 211. 89 The Book of Margery Kempe, p. 131 (lines 1560–5). 90 Ibid., p. 249 (lines 4130–2). 91 Lydgate, The Minor Poems, vol. II, pp. 456–61, quote on p. 458 (lines 64–7). For Walter Map’s original version see The Latin Poems Commonly Attributed to Walter Mapes, T. Wright (ed.) Camden Society o.s. 16 (London, 1841), pp. 77–85. 92 Geoffrey Chaucer The Wife of Bath: Complete, Authoritative Text with Biographical and Historical Contexts, Critical History, and Essays from Five Contemporary Critical Perspectives, P.G. Beidler (ed.) (NY and Boston, 1996), p. 44 (line 3). 93 Ibid., p. 57 (line 384). 94 Ibid., p. 61 (line 489). On the ‘wo’ in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue see L. Patterson, ‘“Experience woot well it is noght so”: Marriage and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale’, in Ibid., pp. 133–54, esp. 140–1. 95 www.weddingguide.co.uk/articles/ceremonies/greekorthodox.asp 96 R.M. Haines, Ecclesia Anglicana: Studies in the English Church of the Later Middle Ages (Toronto, 1989), pp. 156–79 (p. 163).
Chapter 2 Thomas, Earl of Lancaster: Christ’s Knight 1 2
3 4 5
6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15
17 18 19 20 21 22
The Chronicle of Lanercost 1272–1346, R. Maxwell (trans.) (Glasgow, 1913), p. 234. Vita Edwardi Secundi: The Life of Edward the Second: By the So-Called Monk of Malmesbury, N. Denholm-Young (ed. and trans.) (London, 1957), p. 123. J.R. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, 1307–1322: A Study in the Reign of Edward II (London, 1970), p. 48. The Life of Edward, pp. 115–25. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, pp. 315–16; J.C. Davies, The Baronial Opposition to Edward II: Its Character and Policy: A Study in Administrative History (London, 1967), pp. 498–510. Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II, W. Stubbs (ed.) 2 vols., RS 76 (London, 1882–83), pp. 77, 302. Johannis de Trokelowe: et Henrici de Blaneforde, Monachorum S. Albani, H.T. Riley (ed.) RS 28 (London, 1886), pp. 112–24. ‘Gesta Edwardi de Carnarvan’, in Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II, p. 77. W.R.J. Barron, ‘The Penalties for Treason in Medieval Life and Literature’, Journal of Medieval History 7 (1981), pp. 187–202 (p. 190); S. Kay, ‘The Sublime Body of the Martyr: Violence in Early Romance Saints’ Lives’, in Violence in Medieval Society, R.W. Kaeuper (ed.) (Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 3–20 (p. 18). The Anonimalle Chronicle, 1307 to 1334, W.R. Childs and J. Taylor (eds) Yorkshire Archaeological Society 147 (Leeds, 1991), p. 108. Anonimalle, p. 108. Ibid., p. 115. The Brut, or The Chronicles of England, F.W.D. Brie (ed.) 2 vols., EETS o.s. 131, 136 (London, 1906, 1908), p. 230. N. Fryde, The Tyranny and Fall of Edward II 1321–1326 (Cambridge, 1979), pp. 162–4. M. McKisack, The Fourteenth Century 1307–1399 (Oxford, 1959), pp. 85–7; J. Taylor, ‘The Judgment on Hugh Despenser, the Younger’, Medievalia et Humanistica 12 (1958), pp. 70–7. The Chronicle of Lanercost, p. 234; see Latin origin in Chronicon de Lanercost (Edinborough, 1839), p. 244. Similar views were expressed in The Life of Edward, p. 126; Anonimalle, p. 108. M. Rubin, The Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages (London, 2005), p. 33. Foedera, vol. II, part I, p. 525. Anonimalle, p. 114. Historical Papers and Letters from the Northern Registers, J. Raine (ed.) RS 61 (London, 1873), pp. 323–5. Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous, Preserved in the Public Record Office, 7 vols., RS 155 (London, 1916–68), vol. II, pp. 528–9. A.R. Echerd, ‘Canonization and Politics in Late Medieval England: The Cult of Thomas of Lancaster’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1983), p. 140; P. Doherty, Isabella and the
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
32 33 34 35 36 37
Strange Death of Edward II (London, 2003), pp. 114–15. For further discussion of the cult around Edward II see below, Chapter 5. W.M. Ormrod, The Reign of Edward III: Crown and Political Society in England 1327–1377 (New Haven and London, 1990), p. 3. RP, vol. II, pp. 7, 11. Foedera, vol. II, part II, p. 695. Historical Papers and Letters, pp. 340–2. CPR (Edward III A.D. 1327–1330) (London, 1891), p. 194. Foedera, vol. II, part II, p. 707. Ibid., p. 726. BM, Department of British and Medieval Antiquities, 1954, 5–2,1. H. Tait, ‘Pilgrim-Signs and Thomas, Earl of Lancaster’, British Museum Quarterly 20 (1955–56), pp. 39–47. Another pilgrims badge from approximately the same period is BM, M.L.A. 1984, 5–5.2, which portrays the execution of Lancaster as well as his ascent to heaven. See Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England 1200–1400, J. Alexander and P. Binski (eds) (London, 1987), p. 223. Ormrod, The Reign of Edward III, p. 3. Foedera, vol. II, part II, p. 731. Ibid., p. 782. Ormrod, The Reign of Edward III, p. 5. Foedera, vol. II, part II, p. 814. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, 18 vols., RS 159 (London, 1893–), vol. II; Ormrod, The Reign of Edward III, pp. 7–11. Thomas Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, H.T. Riley (ed.) 2 vols., RS 28 (London, 1862, 1864), vol. II, p. 195. John Capgrave repeated this error in mid-fifteenth century, with reference to the year 1389. John Capgrave’s Abbreuiacion of Cronicles, P.J. Lucas (ed.) EETS 285 (Oxford, 1983), p. 198. S. Walker, ‘Political Saints in Later Medieval England’, in The McFarlane Legacy: Studies in Late Medieval Politics and Society, R.H. Britnell and A.J. Pollard (eds) (Stroud, 1995), pp. 77–106 (p. 83). The Inventories of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, 1384–1667, M.F. Bond (ed.) (Windsor, 1947), p. 44. Greven’s manuscript containing saints’ legends is now Berlin Stadtbibliothek MS Theol. Lat. Fol. 706 (fols. 109r–111r); Gielemans’s collection of saints’ lives is Vienna, Osterreichischen Nationalbibliothek, MS Ser. N. 12.708 (fols. 38r–40r), and was printed in Anecdota ex Codicibus Hagiographicis Iohannis Gielemans Canonici Regularis in Rubea, Societe des Bollandistes, Subsidia Hagiographica 3 (Brussels, 1895). Quote in Ibid., p. 98. ‘Wills of Leeds and District’, R.B. Cook (ed.) Publications of the Thoresby Society Miscellanea 26 (1919), p. 215; An Old York Church, All Hollows in North Street, P.J. Shaw (ed.) (York, 1908), p. 89. London Consistory Wills, 1492–1547, I. Darlington (ed.) London Record Society 3 (London, 1967), p. 9; R. de Salis, Hillingdon Through Eleven Centuries (Uxbridge, 1927), pp. 52–3; London, Guildhall Library, MS 9171, Register 10, fol. 17; National Archives, PRO B11/22, Porch 33, fols. 260v–261r.
Notes 141 44
45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57
58 59 60 61
62 63 64
Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, J. Gairdner, S. Brewer and R.H. Brodie (eds) 38 vols., RS 120 (London, 1862–1932), vol. 10, pp. 137, 141. A.R. Echerd saw it mainly as a focus of anti-royal sentiment. Echerd, ‘Canonization and Politics’, p. 21. The seals are attached to two grants of lands: National Archives, PRO E329/47 and E329/20. P.D.A. Harvey and A. McGuinness, A Guide to British Medieval Seals (London, 1996), pp. 88–93. The Court Rolls of Walsham le Willows, R. Lock (ed.) 2 vols., Suffolk Records Society 41, 45 (Woodbridge, 1998–2002), vol. I, pp. 19, 135. An Old York Church, p. 89; Fifth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, H.T. Riley (ed.) (London, 1876), part 1, p. 544. Cambridge, King’s College, MS 31; Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, pp. 26, 269. BL, MS Add. 38819; Catalogue of the Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the Year 1911–1915 (Oxford, 1969), pp. 255–6. Oxford, Bodleian, MS e Mus. 139, fol. 85r; Echerd, ‘Canonization and Politics’, pp. 257–8. William Worcester, William Worcester Itineraries, J.H. Harvey (ed.) (Oxford, 1969), pp. 78–81. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, p. 320. BL, MS Add. 42310, fol. 56r. For its dating see E.G. Millar, The Luttrell Psalter (London, 1932), pp. 1–3. Cambridge, Clare College, MS 6, the prayer on fol. 145r, the obit on fol. 2r. Norwich, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, MS 158.926/4f, fol. 152rv; N.R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, 4 vols. (Oxford, 1969–1992), vol. III, pp. 517–19. Anecdota ex Codicibus, pp. 98–9. Letters and Papers…Henry VIII, vol. 10, pp. 137, 141. S. Walker, The Lancastrian Affinity 1361–1399 (Oxford, 1990), pp. 286–91. See, for example, the case of Sussex, pp. 127–41. Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, MS W. 105 (The Butler Hours), fol. 13v; Age of Chivalry, p. 255. The memoria was transcribed in J.T. Micklethwaite, ‘Antiquities and Works of Art Exhibited’, Archaeological Journal 36 (1879), pp. 103–4. de Salis, Hillingdon, p. 29. W. Rye, The False Pedigree & Arms of the Family of Bacon of Suffolk (Norwich, 1919), pp. 24–5. E.W. Tristram, English Wall Painting of the Fourteenth Century (London, 1955), pp. 227–8; E.W. Tristram, ‘The Wall Painting of South Newington’, Burlingtone Magazine 62 (1933), pp. 114–29 (p. 123). For John Gifford see ‘A Chronicle of the Civil Wars of Edward II’, G.L. Haskins (ed.), Speculum 14 (1939), pp. 73–81 (p. 80); A. CaigerSmith, English Medieval Mural Paintings (Oxford, 1963), p. 94, n. 1; G.L. Haskins, ‘Judicial Proceedings Against a Traitor after Boroughbridge, 1322’, Speculum 12 (1937), pp. 509–11. G.E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom: Extant, Extinct, or Dormant, 13 vols.
68 69 70
71 72 73 74
76 77 78 79
80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89
(London, 1910–40), vol. VIII, pp. 286–7; J. Backhouse, The Luttrell Psalter (London, 1989), pp. 16–40; J. Coleman, ‘New Evidence about Sir Geoffrey Luttrell’s Raid on Sempringham Priory, 1312’, The British Library Journal 25 (1999), pp. 103–28. W.W.H. Dixon, Festi Eboracenses, J. Raine (ed.) (London, 1863), p. 407; R. Somerville, History of the Duchy of Lancaster, 2 vols. (London, 1953), vol. I, pp. 47, 363. A Collection of the Wills of the Kings and Queens of England, J. Nichols (ed.) (London, 1780), pp. 44–5, 54. Backhouse, The Luttrell Psalter, p. 60. J. Raine, St Cuthbert (Durham, 1828), pp. 120–2; D.M. Stuart, A Book of Birds and Beasts: Legendary, Literary and Historical (London, 1957), p. 20. I did not manage to establish, however, whether there were ongoing relations of patronage between the de Bohuns and this convent. The Brut, vol. I, p. 229. Berlin, Stadtbibliothek, MS Theol. Lat. Fol. 706, fols. 109r–111r; Cologne, Cologne Historisches Archiv, MS W. 28, fol. 84v. The Life of Edward, pp. 124–5. M. Camille, Mirror in Parchment: The Luttrell Psalter and the Making of Medieval England (London, 1998), pp. 72–3; M. Camille, Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art (London, 1992), p. 107. E. Witztum and R. Malkinson, ‘Death of a Leader: The Social Construction of Bereavement’, in When a Community Weeps: Case Studies in Group Survivorship, E.S. Zinner and M.B. Williams (eds) (London, 1998), pp. 119–37 (p. 123). ‘“Allas, Seint Thomas, faire fader! Allas! Shal y be dede |πus?”’ The Brut, p. 222. BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r. The Brut, pp. 219–20. Some chronicles are mentioned in McKisack, The Fourteenth Century, p. 69: Trokelwe, pp. 72–3; ‘pro justicia ecclesiae et regni’, Henry Knighton, Chronicon Henrici Knighton, J.R. Lumby (ed.) 2 vols., RS 92 (London, 1889), vol. I, p. 426; ‘pro Ecclesiae jure et statu regni’, Flores Historiarum, H.R. Luard (ed.) 3 vols., RS 95 (London, 1890), vol. III, p. 204. Also ‘pro…defensione libertatis ecclesiae’, Foedera, vol. II, part II, p. 695. The prayer is in Cologne, Cologne Historisches Archiv, MS W 28, fol. 84v. Anecdota ex Codicibus, p. 98. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, p. 321. BL, MS Harley 211, fols. 176rv. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, pp. 1, 9, 76, 321. J.R. Maddicott, Simon de Montfort (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 87–8. Ibid., p. 347; R.C. Finucane, Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England (London, 1977), p. 125. Quoting Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, p. 321. Walker, ‘Political Saints’, pp. 82, 97. Ibid., pp. 96–7. F. Riddy, ‘Middle English Romance: Family, Marriage, Intimacy’, in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance, R.L. Krueger (ed.) (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 235–52 (p. 239).
Notes 143 90
91 92 93
94 95 96 97
98 99 100
101 102 103 104 105 106
108 109 110
R.L. Krueger, ‘Introduction’, in Ibid., pp. 1–9 (p. 4); D. Mehl, The Middle English Romances of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (London, 1968), p. 2. Rubin, The Hollow Crown, p. 56. Ormrod, The Reign of Edward III, p. 45; M. Biddle et al., King Arthur’s Round Table: An Archaeological Investigation (Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 399–400. Ormrod, The Reign of Edward III, p. 45; H.E.L. Collins, The Order of the Garter 1348–1461: Chivalry and Politics in Late Medieval England (Oxford, 2000), pp. 20, 83–4. G. Harriss, ‘Political Society and the Growth of Government in Late Medieval England’, Past and Present 138 (1993), pp. 28–57 (pp. 33–4). Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, pp. 288–92. R. Mazo Karras, From Boys to Men: Formations of Masculinity in Late Medieval Europe (Pennsylvania, 2003), p. 24. P. Coss, ‘Knighthood, Heraldry and Social Exclusion in Edwardian England’, in Heraldry, Pageantry and Social Display in Medieval England, P. Coss and M. Keen (eds) (Woodbridge, 2002), pp. 39–68 (pp. 41–3). C. Carpenter, ‘Gentry and Community in Medieval England’, Journal of British Studies 33 (1994), pp. 340–80 (p. 367). Anecdota ex Codicibus, p. 93. BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r. The office was transcribed and translated in Wright, pp. 268–72. For its scribe, dating and patronage see C. Revard, ‘Scribe and Provenance’, in Studies in the Harley Manuscript: The Scribes, Contents, and Social Contexts of British Library MS Harley 2253, S. Fein (ed.) (Kalamazoo, 2000), pp. 21–109 (pp. 21–6, 58, 69–73, 77–81). BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r. On the ‘religious mentality of knighthood’ see M. Keen, Chivalry (New Haven and London, 1984), pp. 55–7. Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, MS W. 105, fol. 13v; Cambridge, Clare College, MS 6, fol. 144r. Norwich, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, MS 158.926/4f, fol. 152r; Anecdota ex Codicibus, p. 94. Cologne, Cologne Historisches Archiv, MS W 28, fol. 84v; BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r; Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, MS W. 105, fol. 13v. Norfolk, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, MS 158.926/4f, fol. 152r; BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r; Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, MS W. 105, fol. 13v; The Brut, p. 220. For the popularity of ideas on crusading in England in the fourteenth century see C. Tyerman, England and the Crusades: 1095–1588 (Chicago and London, 1988), pp. 259–61. Ibid., pp. 247–50. C. Morris, ‘Martyrs on the Field of Battle before and during the First Crusade’, in Martyrs and Martyrologies, pp. 93–104 (p. 93). Oxford, Bodleian, MS Douce 231, fol. 1r. Age of Chivalry, pp. 254–5; L.F. Sandler, Gothic Manuscripts: 1285–1385, 2 vols. (A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles vol. 5) (London, 1986), vol. II, cat. no. 87, pp. 95–6. The prayer for Lancaster is in Cologne Historisches Archiv, MS W 28, fol. 84v; the book of carols is Oxford, Bodleian, MS Arch. Selden B. 26,
114 115 116 117 118
119 120 121
123 124 125 126
127 128 129 130
131 132 133
the hymn is on fols. 8v–9r. R.L. Greene, ‘Two Medieval Manuscripts: Egerton 3307 Some University of Chicago Fragments’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 7 (1954), pp. 1–34. For a modern musical notation see Fifteenth Century Liturgical Music, A. Hughes (ed.) Early English Church Music 8 (London, 1964), pp. 10–11. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, p. 196. Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, MS W. 105, fol. 13v; Oxford, Bodleian, MS e. Mus 139, fol. 85r; BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r; Norwich, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, MS 158.926/4f, fol. 152v. BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r; Walker, ‘Political Saints’. The Inventories of St George’s Chapel, p. 44. W.S.J. Hope and E.G.C.F. Atchley, English Liturgical Colours (London, 1918), p. 252. Collins, The Order of the Garter, p. 152. London, College of Arms, MS Vincent 152, fol. 39v. A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the College of Arms Collections, L. Campbell and F. Steer (eds) (London, 1988), pp. 387–91. An earlier Ordinary, from c. 1380, is also preserved at the College of Arms and depicts the arms of ‘Saint Thomas de Lancastre’: MS ‘Jenyns’ Ordinary, fol. 3v. I would like to thank Mr. Robert Yorke from the College of Arms for drawing my attention to this manuscript. The Life of Edward, pp. 122, 125. Mazo Karras, From Boys to Men, p. 42. Although this could have been disregarded also because of her apparently willful ‘abduction’ by the Earl of Warrene in 1317, and Lancaster’s lack of sons to inherit him. McKisack, The Fourteenth Century, p. 51. Visitations of the North, F.W. Dendy and C.H. Hunter Blair (eds) 4 parts, Surtees Society 122, 133, 144, 146 (Durham, 1920–32), part III, pp. 63–4. Anonimalle, p. 80. Foedera, vol. II, part I, p. 474. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, p. 302. The Brut, p. 222. Also Thomas Walsingham refers to this byname, Historia Anglicana, vol. I, p. 164. R. Morris, The Character of King Arthur in Medieval Literature (Woodbridge, 1982), pp. 134, 138; L.A. Coote, Prophecy and Public Affairs in Later Medieval England (Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 43, 81–2. The Brut, pp. 222–3. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, pp. 241–3. Cologne, Cologne Historisches Archiv, MS W 28, fol. 84v; Cambridge, Clare College, MS 6, fol. 2r. D.J.B. Trim, ‘“Knights of Christ”? Chivalric Culture in England, c. 1400– c. 1550’, in Cross, Crown and Community: Religion, Government and Culture in Early Modern England 1400–1800, D.J.B. Trim and P.J. Balderstone (eds) (Oxford, 2004), pp. 77–112. The Brut, p. 223; BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r. BL, MS Add. 42310, fol. 56r; BM, M.L.A. 1984. 5–5.2. A. Musson, ‘Social Exclusivity or Justice for All? Access to Justice in Fourteenth-Century England’, in Pragmatic Utopias: Ideals and Commun-
136 137 138
140 141 142
145 146 147 148 149
150 151 152
ities, 1200–1630, R. Horrox and S. Rees Jones (eds) (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 136–55 (p. 136). Foedera, vol. II, part II, p. 731. On these miracles and their interpretation see D. Piroyansky, ‘Bloody Miracles of a Political Martyr: The Case of Thomas Earl of Lancaster’, in Signs, Wonders, Miracles: Representations of Divine Power in the Life of the Church, K. Cooper and J. Gregory (eds) Studies in Church History 41 (Woodbridge, 2005), pp. 228–38. Oxford, Bodleain, MS e Mus. 139, fol. 85r; BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r. Geoffrey le Baker, Chronicon Galfridi le Baker de Swynebroke, E.M. Thompson (ed.) (Oxford, 1889), p. 171. A. Musson and W.M. Ormrod, The Evolution of English Justice: Law, Politics and Society in the Fourteenth Century (Basingstoke, 1999), pp. 175–90. Starting ‘Beati qui esuriunt iusticiam,/et odiunt et fugiunt iniuriae nequitiam;/ quos nec auri copia nec divitum exhennia trahunt a rigore/ set que iusta et aure non claudicant’. BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1v. Printed and translated in Wright, pp. 224–8. Musson, ‘Social Exclusivity’, pp. 137, 145–7. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, p. 242. M. Rubin, ‘Religious Symbols and Political Culture in Fifteenth-Century England’, in The Fifteenth Century IV: Political Culture in Late Medieval Britain, L. Clark and C. Carpenter (eds) (Woodbridge, 2004), pp. 97–111 (pp. 99–100). Cambridge, Clare College, MS 6. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts in the Library of Clare College, Cambridge, M.R. James (ed.) (Cambridge, 1905), p. 12. BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fols. 33r–60v. All references and quotations which will follow are from The History of Fulk Fitz Warine, An Outlawed Baron in the Reign of King John, T. Wright (ed. and trans.) (London, 1855). Ibid., pp. 62–3, 66–9, 172–3. Musson and Ormrod, The Evolution, pp. 166–70. Ibid., p. 170. ‘“Now |πe Kyng of Heuen Zeue vs mercy, for |πe erπely Kyng haπ | vs | forsak!”’, The Brut, p. 223. See, for example, in Cologne, Cologne Historisches Archiv, MS W 28, fol. 84v: ‘Deus, qui beatum Thomam, militem tuum inclitum, pro pace statu anglie dirae decollationis martyrium subire voluisti’. The Brut, pp. 216, 219. Ibid., pp. 217, 223. ‘Qui jam, velut fluvius, de loco voluptatis, ad irrigandum egrediens paradisum, in partes divisus, terram Angliae, sancti sui sanguinis effusione rubricatam, rore coelesti temperat salubriter & foecundat’, Foedera, vol. II, part II, p. 695. ‘Heu! Nunc languet equitas/ viget et impietas,/ veritas vilessit./ Nempe Thome bonitas/ eius atque sanctitas/ indies acressit,/ Ad cuius tumbam sospitas/ egris datur/ ut veritas/ cunctis nunc claressit.’ BL, MS Royal 12 C XII, fol. 1r.
Chapter 3 Archbishop Richard Scrope: Shepherd of the People 1
4 5 6
7 8 9 10
P. McNiven, ‘The Betrayal of Archbishop Scrope’, BJRL 54 (1971), pp. 173–213; S. Walker, ‘The Yorkshire Rising of 1405: Texts and Contexts’, in Henry IV: The Establishment of the Regime, 1399–1406, G. Dodd and D. Biggs (eds) (Woodbridge, 2003), pp. 161–84. Walker, ‘Yorkshire Rising’, p. 184. Some of the chroniclers who referred to these articles were, for example, Incerti Scriptoris Chronicon Angliae: De Regnis Trium Regum Lancastrensium Henrici IV, Henrici V, et Henrici VI, J.A. Giles (ed.) (London, 1848), pp. 44–5; ‘Annales Ricardi Secundi et Henrici Quarti, Regum Angliae’, in Johannis de Trokelowe: et Henrici de Blaneforde, Monachorum S. Albani, H.T. Riley (ed.) RS 28 (London, 1886), pp. 155–420 (pp. 403–5); Eulogium Historiarum sive Temporis, F.S. Haydon (ed.) 3 vols., RS 9 (London, 1858–68), vol. III, pp. 405–6. Also McNiven, ‘The Betrayal’, pp. 180–6; Walker, ‘Yorkshire Rising’, p. 172. Walker, ‘Yorkshire Rising’, p. 174. RP, vol. III, pp. 604–5 (article 5); Walker, ‘Yorkshire Rising’, p. 163. For example, Thomas Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, H.T. Riley (ed.) 2 vols., RS 28 (London, 1862, 1864), vol. II, p. 269; ‘Annales Ricardi Secundi’, pp. 406–7; Eulogium, vol. III, pp. 406–7; Incerti Scriptoris, p. 45. Their names appear in J.H. Wylie, History of England Under Henry the Fourth, 4 vols. (London, 1884–98), vol. II, pp. 230–2. Incerti Scriptoris, pp. 45–7; Eulogium, vol. III, p. 408; ‘Annales Ricardi Secundi’, pp. 409–10. P. Strohm, England’s Empty Throne: Usurpation and the Language of Legitimation, 1399–1422 (New Haven and London, 1998), chapter 3 (pp. 63–5). The Historians of the Church of York and Its Archbishops, J. Raine (ed.) 3 vols., RS 71 (London, 1879–94), vol. III, pp. 293–4; also The Fabric Rolls of York Minster, J. Raine (ed.) Surtees Society 35 (Durham, 1859), p. 196. YML, MS XVI. K. 6, fol. 27v. For its dating see J.B. Friedman, Northern English Books, Owners and Makers in the Late Middle Ages (Syracuse, NY, 1995), p. 89. The prayer was transcribed in Horae Eboracenses, C. Wordsworth (ed.) Surtees Society 132 (Durham and London, 1920), p. 181. Oxford, Bodleian, MS Lat. Liturg. f. 2, fol. 147rv, printed in F. Madan, ‘Beatus Ricardus Martyr atque Pontifex’, The Athenaeum 4 August 1888, pp. 161–2; Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.S.20, fol. 171r, printed in Robbins, p. 90. Oxford, Bodleian, MS Auctar IV 5, fols. 99r–103r contains the texts of Scrope’s martyrdom and the reasons for his decollation in Gascoigne’s own hand, with his corrections; it was transcribed in Thomas Gascoigne, Loci e Libro Veritatum, J.E.T. Rogers (ed.) (Oxford, 1881) [hereafter Gascoigne], pp. 225–9. On Gascoigne see W.A. Pronger, ‘Thomas Gascoigne’, EHR 53 (1938), pp. 606–26. Also Wylie, History of England, vol. II, pp. 358–60. Transcribed in The Historians of the Church of York, vol. II, pp. 306–11 [hereafter Maidstone]. See also S.K. Wright, ‘Paradigmatic Ambiguity in
17 18 19 20
23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30
Monastic Historiography: The Case of Clement Maidstone’s Martyrium Ricardi Archiepiscopi’, Studia Monastica 28 (1986), pp. 311–42; S.K. Wright, ‘The Provenance and Manuscript Tradition of the Martyrium Ricardi Archiepiscopi’, Manuscripta 28 (1984), pp. 92–102. Wright, ‘The Provenance’, esp. pp. 98–102. On the three different sets of articles see Walker, ‘Yorkshire Rising’, pp. 172–3. The four manuscripts are Dublin, Trinity College, MS 516, fol. 200v (John Benet’s commonplace book); Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 197, fols. 93–8; BL, MS Cotton Vespasian E VII, fols. 101r– 104v; London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 1742, fols. 118r– 127v. On John Benet and his book see A. Gransden, Historical Writing in England II: c. 1307 to the Early Sixteenth Century (London, 1982), pp. 254–7. Wright, ‘Paradigmatic Ambiguity’. Gascoigne, p. 225; Maidstone, p. 306. The Historians of the Church of York, vol. III, pp. 291–3; The Fabric Rolls, pp. 193–5. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland, Papal Letters, vol. VI (1404–1415) (London, 1904), p. 98; M. Rubin, The Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages (London, 2005), p. 184. The Chronicle of John Hardyng, H. Ellis (ed.) (London, 1812), pp. 371–2; Maidstone, p. 310. Henry V founded Sheen and Syon in 1415, and petitioned the Pope, unsuccessfully, for the founding of a Brigittine house in York itself. N.B. Warren, Spiritual Economies: Female Monasticism in Later Medieval England (Philadelphia, 2001), p. 122. For example J.W. McKenna, ‘Popular Canonization as Political Propaganda: The Cult of Archbishop Scrope’, Speculum 45 (1970), pp. 608–23 (p. 617). Rubin, The Hollow Crown, p. 215. ‘Godstow Chronicle’, in G. Roperti Vita D. Thomae Mori, W. Roper (ed.) (1716), pp. 180–246 (p. 239). Cambridge, St John’s College, MS E. 26, fol. 54r. A similar prayer appears in another book of hours, YML, MS Add. 54 (The Mountenay Hours), on p. 3. On the Yorkist political manipulation of Scrope’s cult see McKenna, ‘Political Canonization’, pp. 618–19. London, Society of Antiquaries, MS 101, fol. 98r; printed in Robbins, pp. 222–5, and Wright, vol. II, p. 267. CCR, Edward IV (London, 1953), vol. II, pp. 189–90. Walker, ‘Yorkshire Rising’, p. 173. R. Marks, ‘The Glazing of Fotheringhay Church and College’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association 131 (1978), pp. 79–109. See also illustration in p. 90, where Scrope is identified as number 7. Marks, ‘Glazing of Fotheringhay’, p. 108; C.A.J. Armstrong, ‘The Piety of Cicely, Duchess of York’, in For Hilaire Belloc: Essays in Honour of His 72nd Birthday, D. Woodruff (ed.) (London, 1942), pp. 73–94. J. Hughes, The Religious Life of Richard III: Piety and Prayer in the North of England (Stroud, 1997), pp. 84, 86, 95.
148 Notes 33
40 41 42 43
S. Walker, ‘Political Saints in Later Medieval England’ in The McFarlane Legacy: Studies in Late Medieval Politics and Society, R.H. Britnell and A.J. Pollard (eds) (Stroud, 1995), pp. 77–106 (p. 94). Testamenta Eboracensia or Wills Registered at York, J. Raine and J.W. Clay (eds) 6 vols., Surtees Society 4, 30, 45 (London and Durham, 1836–1902), vol. II, pp. 149–52. Ibid., vol. II, pp. 230–4 (pp. 231–2); J. Browne, The History of the Metropolitan Church of St Peter, York (London, 1847), pp. 244–5; Latin origin in YML, M2 (1) F, fols. 70r–72v; see also Walker, ‘Political Saints’, p. 85. B. Thompson, ‘Prelates and Politics from Winchelsey to Warham’, in The Fifteenth Century IV: Political Culture in Late Medieval Britain, L. Clark and C. Carpenter (eds) (Woodbridge, 2004), pp. 69–95 (p. 76). Walker, ‘Political Saints’, p. 94; see also C. Norton, ‘Richard Scrope and York Minster’, in Richard Scrope: Archbishop, Rebel, Martyr, J. Goldberg (ed.) (Shaun Tyas, forthcoming 2007). Norton, ‘Richard Scrope’. Acts of the Chapter of the Collegiate Church of SS. Peter and Wilfrid, Ripon, A.D. 1452 to A.D. 1506, J.T. Fowler (ed.) Surtees Society 64 (Durham, 1875), p. 132, n. 91; Testamenta Eboracensia, vol. III, p. 232. For a discussion on the possibilities of translation see Norton, ‘Richard Scrope’. The Fabric Rolls, pp. 225–6; Also Historians of the Church, vol. III, pp. 389–90. J.C. Smith, ‘Christ as “Pastor”, “Ostium” and “Agnus” in St. Thomas’, Angelicum 56 (1979), pp. 93–118 (p. 95). P.B. Roberts, Thomas Becket in the Medieval Latin Preaching Tradition: An Inventory of Sermons About St Thomas Becket c. 1170–c. 1400 (Steenbrugis, 1992), pp. 32–4. Smith, ‘Christ as “Pastor”’, pp. 96, 99. Cambridge, St John’s College, MS E. 26, fol. 54r; Oxford, Bodleian, Lat. Liturg. f. 2, fol. 147r; Oxford, Bodleian, MS Bodl. 851, fol. 74v and BL, MS Cotton Faustina B ix, fol. 243v; YML, MS XVI.K.6, fol. 27v; D.E. O’Connor and J. Haselock, ‘The Stained and Painted Glass’, in A History of York Minster, G.E. Aylmer and R. Cant (eds) (Oxford, 1977), pp. 313–93 (p. 378). Incerti Scriptoris, pp. 44–5. D. Rollason, ‘The Concept of Sanctity in the Early Lives of St Dunstan’, in St Dunstan: His Life, Times and Cult, N. Ramsay, M. Sparks and T. TattonBrown (eds) (Woodbridge, 1992), pp. 261–72 (p. 268); A. Vauchez, Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, J. Birrell (trans.) (Cambridge, 1997), p. 301; J.H. Denton, Robert Winchelsey and the Crown 1294–1313: A Study in the Defence of Ecclesiastical Liberty (Cambridge, 1980), p. 24. Vauchez, Sainthood, pp. 285–304. O’Connor and Haselock, ‘The Stained and Painted Glass’, p. 378; YML, MS Add. 2, fols. 100v and 202v; Marks, ‘Glazing of Fotheringhay’, p. 90; BL, MS Cotton Julius E IV (article 6), fol. 1v. The Beauchamp Pageant, A. Sinclair (ed.) (Richard III and Yorkist History Trust in association with Paul Watkins, 2003) includes biographical details on the Earl, a facsimile of the Pageants and a short explanation for each drawing. Scrope was
50 51 52 53
60 61 62 63
64 65 66
depicted with a halo in the windows in York Minster and Fotheringhay Church. H. Norris, Church Vestments: Their Origin & Development (London, 1949), p. 70. Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.S.20, fol. 171r. P. Dirsztay, Inside Churches: A Guide to Church Furnishings (London, 2001) 3rd edn., p. 15. YML, MS Add. 2, fol. 202v. The windmill held by ‘S. Ricardus’ may refer to that of Clementhorpe Nunnery, in whose field Scrope had been executed. A miracle was believed to have happened there: both Gascoigne and Maidstone tell of the miraculous crop produced the following autumn in the barley field where Scrope had been executed. Gascoigne, p. 228; Maidstone, p. 308. On the Clementhorpe windmills, still there in 1524, see A. Raine, Medieval York: A Topographical Survey based on Original Sources (London, 1955), p. 309. B. Vale, ‘The Scropes of Bolton and of Masham, c. 1300–c. 1450: A Study of a Northern Noble Family with a Calendar of the Scrope of Bolton Cartulary’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of York, 1987), pp. 153–4. Oxford, Bodleian, MS Lat. Liturg. f. 2, fol. 147rv; YML, MS XVI.K.6, fol. 27v; Oxford, Bodleian, MS Bodl. 851, fol. 75r and BL, MS Cotton Faustina B ix, fol. 244r; Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.S.20, fol. 171r; Gascoigne, p. 227; Maidstone, pp. 307–8; An English Chronicle of the Reigns of Richard II., Henry IV., Henry V., and Henry VI., J.S. Davies (ed.) Camden Society o.s. 64 (London, 1856), p. 32; Incerti Scriptoris, p. 47. Gascoigne, p. 227. E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c. 1400–c. 1580 (New Haven and London, 1992), pp. 238–48. See also D. Gray, ‘The Five Wounds of Our Lord’, Notes and Queries 208 (1963), pp. 50–1, 82–9, 127–34, 163–8; R.W. Pfaff, New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1970), pp. 84–91. The Fabric Rolls, p. 221. On the Scropes’ association with Corpus Christi see Norton, ‘Richard Scrope’. YML, MS Add. 2, fols. 100v–102r. For the dating of this manuscript see Gothic: Art for England 1400–1547, R. Marks and P. Williamson (eds) (London, 2003), p. 278. ‘Here may ye see my woundes wide,/ The whilke I tholed for youre mysdede’. Duffy, The Stripping, p. 247. Gascoigne, p. 227; Maidstone, pp. 307–8. Duffy, The Stripping, p. 248. Gascoigne, pp. 226–7; Maidstone, p. 307; see also Wright, vol. II, pp. 115, 116 (‘Sed prothomartyris exemplo geminat/ Ne Christe noxam statuas’; ‘Ad sancti Stephani altaris titulum/ Cuius prouerij sumpsit capitulum/ Preperat presuli sepulcri lectulum’). On the Scropes’ mausoleum at St Stephen’s Chapel, and on the Archbishop’s wish to be buried there see Norton, ‘Richard Scrope’. The idea of political saints as encouraging appeasement and harmony is, of course, in Walker, ‘Political Saints’. C. Norton, St William of York (Woodbridge, 2006), p. 140.
150 Notes 67
70 71 72 73
74 75 76 77
78 79 80
81 82 83 84
85 86 87
P. McNiven, ‘The Problem of Henry IV’s Health, 1405–1413’, EHR 397 (1985), pp. 747–72 (p. 751). For the different approaches to the link between the King’s malady and his execution of the Archbishop see Gascoigne, p. 228; Maidstone, p. 308; Eulogium, vol. III, p. 405; An English Chronicle, p. 33, Incerti Scriptoris, pp. 47–8. Gascoigne, p. 227; Maidstone, p. 307. Vauchez, Sainthood, p. 287; J. Murray, ‘Masculinizing Religious Life: Sexual Prowess, the Battle for Chastity and Monastic Identity’, in Holiness and Masculinity in the Middle Ages, P.H. Cullum and K.J. Lewis (eds) (Cardiff, 2005), pp. 24–42 (p. 27). ‘Mitis in moribus, in pudicitia/ Castus, virtutibus clarus, scientia’. Wright, vol. II, p. 116; Oxford, Bodleian, MS Bodl. 851, fol. 75r. Vauchez, Sainthood, p. 296. P. Cullum, ‘Clerical Masculinity: Virginity, Sex and the Upper Clergy in Late Medieval England’, in Richard Scrope: Archbishop, Rebel , Martyr. Oxford, Bodleian, MS Lat. Liturg. f. 2, fol. 146v; YML, MS Add. 2, fols. 100v, 202v; Gascoigne, p. 227; Maidstone, p. 307. On ‘Marian blue’ see M. Pastoureau, Blue: The History of Color (Princeton, NJ, 2001), pp. 50–5. Gascoigne, p. 229; Maidstone, p. 309. Eulogium, vol. III, p. 421. YML, MS Add. 2, fol. 100v; see also Cambridge, St John’s College, MS E. 26, fol. 54r. Oxford, Bodleian, MS Bodl. 851, fols. 74v, 75r and 76v, stanzas 18 and 25. The shorter version, transcribed from BL, MS Cotton Faustina B ix, fols. 243v–244v. Eulogium, vol. III, pp. 406–7; also Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, vol. II, p. 270; ‘Annales Ricardi Secundi’, p. 407; Incerti Scriptoris, p. 45. Vauchez, Sainthood, pp. 167–73, esp. p. 170. ‘et gloriosissimo Martyri tuo Thomae, per Martyrii palam meritis coaequasti’. YML, MS Add. 2, fol. 101v; ‘Ast thomam militum audax attrocitas’ Oxford, Bodleian, MS Bodl. 851, fol. 75r and BL, MS Cotton Faustina B ix, fol. 244r (also Wright, vol. II, p. 116). Cambridge, St John’s College, MS E. 26, fol. 54r. R.B. Dobson, Church and Society in the Medieval North of England (London, 1996), pp. 177–9. Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.S.20, fol. 171r. YML, MS Add. 2, fols. 100v–101v, 202v; P. Cullum and J. Goldberg, ‘How Margaret Blackburn Taught her Daughters: Reading Devotional Instructions in a Book of Hours’, in Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts in Late Medieval Britain, Essays for Felicity Riddy, J. Wogan-Browne et al. (eds) (Turnhout, 2000), pp. 217–36. William Shakespeare, The Second Part of King Henry IV, G. Melchiori (ed.) (Cambridge, 1989), Act 4.1 (lines 232–8). McNiven, ‘The Betrayal’, quote on p. 177. R.N. Swanson, Church and Society in Late Medieval England (Oxford, 1989), p. 103; Thompson, ‘Prelates and Politics’, pp. 72–3; Vauchez, Sainthood, pp. 292–4. Vauchez, Sainthood, p. 295. Denton, Robert Winchelsey, p. 25; Norton, St William, p. 127.
Notes 151 90 91 92
94 95 96 97 98 99 100
101 102 103
104 105 106 107 108 109
110 111 112 113
Thompson, ‘Prelates and Politics’, p. 76; J.L. Kirby, Henry IV of England (London, 1970), pp. 113, 133. G. Dodd, ‘Henry IV’s Council, 1399–1405’, in Henry IV: The Establishment of the Regime, pp. 95–115 (p. 104); Vale, ‘The Scropes’, p. 177. C.L. Kingsford, English Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century (Oxford, 1913), p. 43; Eulogium, vol. III, pp. 405–6; An English Chronicle, p. 31; John Capgrave’s Abbreuiacion of Cronicles, P.J. Lucas (ed.) EETS 285 (Oxford, 1983), pp. 227–8; ‘Annales Ricardi Secundi’, pp. 403–6; Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, vol. II, p. 269. ‘A Northern Chronicle 1399–1430’, in English Historical Literature, pp. 279–91 (p. 282); Abbreviata Cronica ab Anno 1377 usque ad Annum 1469, J.J. Smith (ed.) Cambridge Antiquarian Society Publications 1 (Cambridge, 1840), p. 4; Capgrave’s Abbreuiacion, p. 229; Eulogium, vol. III, p. 408. Wylie, History of England, pp. 192–9. Vale, ‘The Scropes’, p. 101; J.T. Rosenthal, Telling Tales: Sources and Narration in Late Medieval England (Pennsylvania, 2003), p. 88. See also Norton, ‘Richard Scrope’. Ibid. The window has been dated to c. 1440 on stylistic grounds. Ibid. Ibid. Oxford, Bodleian, MS Lat. Liturg. f.2, fols. 147rv and 146v. For its dating and ownership see A Summary Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, F. Maiden (ed.) 7 vols. (Oxford, 1895–1953), vol. III, p. 682 and K.L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390–1490, 2 vols. (London, 1996), vol. II, cat. no. 22, pp. 89–92; Chris Norton recently suggested Henry, 3rd Lord Scrope of Masham and his wife Philippa as commissioners. Norton, ‘Richard Scrope’. R. Mills, ‘The Signification of the Tonsure’, in Holiness and Masculinity, pp. 109–26. ‘Scrobem purificat a sorde criminum/ Et scopam ordinat sanguinem proprium’. Oxford, Bodleian, MS Lat. Liturg. f.2, fol. 147r. Wylie, History of England, p. 246. This confiscation of Scrope’s goods was elaborated upon in Oxford, Bodleian, MS Bodl. 851, fols. 75r (stanzas 27–9), Wright, vol. II, p. 117. Gascoigne, p. 226; Maidstone, p. 307. Oxford, Bodleian, MS Lat. Liturg. f. 2, fol. 147r. Thompson, ‘Prelates and Politics’, p. 72. Maidstone, p. 306; Gascoigne, pp. 225–6; Eulogium, vol. III, p. 407. Eulogium, vol. III, p. 408; An English Chronicle, p. 33. Simon Walker discussed the particular appeal Scrope’s agenda had for the clergy, the people of York and the gentry. Walker, ‘Yorkshire Rising’, pp. 176–83. Ibid., p. 173. Acts of the Chapter, pp. 229–30, p. 132, n. 91. Testamenta Eboracensia, vol. III, p. 232; York, Register of Wills 1321–1493 (YML, L 2/4), vol. I, fol. 332v. John Dautree: Testamenta Eboracensia, vol. II, pp. 230–4 (pp. 231–2); Wylie, History of England, vol. II, p. 240; Nicholas Bowet: The Fabric Rolls, p. 235; William Haiton: Testamenta Eboracensia, vol. III, p. 232.
152 Notes 114
115 116 117 118 119
126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136
Margaret Blackburn: Cullum and Goldberg, ‘How Margaret Blackburn Taught her Daughters’; Agnes Wyman: The Register of the Guild of Corpus Christi in the City of York, R.H. Skaife (ed.) Surtees Society 57 (Durham, 1872), pp. 291–2; 239–40. For a drawing of this mazer – which is kept today in an exhibition in the Minster’s crypt – see G.A. Poole and J.W. Hugall, An Historical and Descriptive Guide to York Cathedral and Its Antiquities (York, 1850), between pp. 194–5; Isabel Bruce: Testamenta Eboracensia, vol. III, pp. 231–2. J. Kermode, Medieval Merchants: York, Beverly and Hull in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1998), p. 97. Testamenta Eboracensia, vol. II, p. 231; The Register of the Guild of Corpus Christi, pp. 291–2. M.J. Carruthers, The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture (Cambridge, 1990), p. 39. V. Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (London, 1969), chapters 3 and 4, esp. pp. 112, 126, 132, 140. For the biblical flock as a people see E. Bosetti, Yahweh Shepherd of the People: Pastoral Symbolism in the Old Testament, G. La Spina (trans.) (Mynooth, Ireland, 1993), pp. 129–30. J. Hughes, Pastors and Visionaries: Religion and Secular Life in Late Medieval Yorkshire (Woodbridge, 1988), pp. 307–14. W.M. Ormrod, ‘Competing Capitals? York and London in the Fourteenth Century’, in Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe, S. Rees Jones, R. Marks and A.J. Minnis (eds) (Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 75–98. R.B. Dobson, ‘The Crown, the Charter and the City, 1396–1461’, in The Government of Medieval York: Essays in Commemoration of the 1396 Royal Charter, S. Rees Jones (ed.) (York, 1997), pp. 34–55 (pp. 35–6, 44). Swanson, Church and Society, p. 6. S. Rees Jones, ‘Richard Scrope, the Bolton Hours and the Church of St Martin in Micklegate: Reconstructing a Holy Neighbourhood in Later Medieval York’, in Richard Scrope: Archbishop, Rebel, Martyr. York Memorandum Book, M. Sellers and J.W. Perry (eds) 2 pts., Surtees Society 120, 125, 186 (Durham, 1912–73), vol. I, pp. 236–8. See also Ibid., p. lx. S. Rees Jones, ‘York’s Civic Administration, 1354–1464’, in The Government of Medieval York, pp. 108–40 (pp. 137–8). On the geography of trade and the goods shipped see Kermode, Medieval Merchants, pp. 159–90. This idea was firstly proposed in Hughes, Pastors and Visionaries, p. 322. Maidstone, pp. 310–11. Marks, ‘Glazing of Fotheringhay’, illustration in p. 90. Scrope is identified as no. 7, Erasmus as no. 5 and St Clement as no. 6. The Fabric Rolls, pp. 225–6; Also Historians of the Church, vol. III, pp. 389–90. Kermode, Medieval Merchants, p. 335. Also CPR (1406–1408), p. 171. Kermode, Medieval Merchants, p. 346. Ibid., p. 40. Ibid., pp. 188, 217. For the following passage I have used Norton, St William, chapter 5, esp. pp. 144–9, 195–9, 202.
Notes 153 137
138 139 140 141 142 143 144
See, for example, Oxford, Bodleian, MS Lat. Liturg. f. 2, fol. 147r; Oxford, Bodleian, MS Bodl. 851, fol. 74v (and Wright, vol. II, p. 114); Eulogium, p. 408; Incerti Scriptoris, pp. 45–6. On St William’s day celebrations see N.K. Tringham, ‘The Whitsuntide Commemoration of St William of York’, Records of Early English Drama Newsletter 14 (1989), pp. 10–12. Wylie, History of England, pp. 229–33. For plots and risings, real and imagined, in the first years of Henry IV’s reign, see Strohm, England’s Empty Throne, chapter 3. Incerti Scriptoris, p. 46. The Historians of the Church, vol. III, pp. 292–3; The Fabric Rolls, pp. 194–5. Hughes, Pastors and Visionaries, p. 315; Norton, St William, p. 202. Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.S.20, fol. 171r. S.K. Wright, ‘Genres of Sanctity: Literary Representations of Archbishop Scrope’, in Richard Scrope: Archbishop, Rebel, Martyr.
Chapter 4 King Henry VI: Glory of Innocence 1
5 6 7 8 9
W.J. White, ‘The Death and Burial of Henry VI: A Review of the Facts and Theories, Part I’, The Ricardian 6:78 (1982), pp. 70–80; Three Chapters of Letters Relating to the Suppression of Monasteries, T. Wright (ed.) Camden Society o.s. 26 (London, 1843), p. 222. ‘sodenly was take and smyten with a ffransy and his wit and reson with drawen’. For Henry’s frenzy as caused by the loss of territories see, for example, R.A. Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI (Stroud, 1998), p. 715 [hereafter Griffiths]; B. Wolffe, Henry VI (London, 1981), p. 270 [hereafter Wolffe]; C. Carpenter, The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England, c. 1437–1509 (Cambridge, 1997), p. 129. C.A.J. Armstrong, ‘Politics and the Battle of St Albans’, BIHR 33 (1960), pp. 1–72. M.L. Kekewich, ‘The Lancastrian Court in Exile’, in The Lancastrian Court: Proceedings of the 2001 Harlaxton Symposium, J. Stratford (ed.) (Stamford, 2003), pp. 95–110. Griffiths, pp. 885–8; Wolffe, pp. 333–9. Griffiths, pp. 890–2; Wolffe, pp. 341–8; C. Ross, Edward IV (London, 1974), 161–6 and 171–2. The Crowland Chronicle Continuations: 1459–1486, N. Pronay and J. Cox (eds) (London, 1986), p. 130. Ross, Edward IV, pp. 45, 318. The Historians of the Church of York and Its Archbishops, J. Raine (ed.) 3 vols., RS 71 (London, 1879–94), vol. III, pp. 336–7; also The Fabric Rolls of York Minster, J. Raine (ed.) Surtees Society 35 (Durham, 1859), vol. I, pp. 208–10. The Miracles of King Henry VI, R. Knox and S. Lesley (eds and trans.) (Cambridge, 1923), p. 8 [hereafter The Miracles]. Henry the Sixth: A Reprint of John Blacman’s Memoir, M.R. James (ed. and trans.) (Cambridge, 1919) [hereafter Blacman]. On Blacman and his text see R. Lovatt, ‘John Blacman: Biographer of Henry VI’, in The Writing of
12 13 14 15 16
21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28
History in the Middle Ages: Essays Presented to Richard William Southern, R.H.C. Davis and J.M. Wallace-Hadrill (eds) (Oxford, 1981), pp. 415–44 (pp. 431–3); R. Lovatt, ‘A Collector of Apocryphal Anecdotes: John Blacman Revisited’, in Property and Politics: Essays in Later Medieval English History, A.J. Pollard (ed.) (Gloucester, 1984), pp. 172–97 (pp. 176–81); T.S. Freeman, ‘“Ut Verus Christi Sequenter”: John Blacman and the Cult of Henry VI’, in The Fifteenth Century V: Of Mice and Men: Image, Belief and Regulation in Late Medieval England, L. Clark (ed.) (Woodbridge, 2005), pp. 127–42. For Blacman’s biography see Lovatt, ‘John Blacman’, pp. 417–22. Freeman, ‘“Ut Verus Christi Sequenter”’. Blacman, pp. 7–8 (translation on pp. 29–30). Worcester, Worcester Cathedral Library, MS Q. 10, fol. 160r; Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS Add. 38–1950. J.W. McKenna, ‘Piety and Propaganda: The Cult of King Henry VI’, in Chaucer and Middle English Studies in Honour of Rossell Hope Robbins, B. Rowland (ed.) (London, 1974), pp. 72–88 (p. 75). On Richard III’s piety see J. Hughes, The Religious Life of Richard III: Piety and Prayer in the North of England (Stroud, 1997), esp. chapter 4. For its dating see Wolffe, p. 352. J.N. King, Tudor Royal Iconography: Literature and Art in an Age of Religious Crisis (Princeton, NJ, 1989), pp. 23–4; S. Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy (Oxford, 1997), pp. 37–43; McKenna, ‘Piety and Propaganda’, pp. 76–8. S.B. Chrimes, Henry VII (London, 1972), p. 319. Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae, 446–1717, D. Wilkins (ed.) 4 vols. (Brussels, 1964), vol. III, p. 640; Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, Papal Letters, 18 vols., RS 159, vol. XVIII, M.J. Haren (ed.) (Dublin, 1989), pp. 150 and 566–7. On the process of canonization see also Henrici VI Angliae Regis Miracula Postuma: Ex Codice Musei Britannici Regio 13 C VIII, P. Grosjean (ed.) Subsidia Hagiographica 22 (Brussels, 1935) [hereafter Henrici VI], chapter VII; F.A. Gasquet, The Religious Life of King Henry VI (London, 1923), pp. 75–80, 87. McKenna, ‘Piety and Propaganda’, p. 83. Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York and Wardrobe Accounts of Edward the Fourth, N.H. Nicolas (ed.) (London, 1830), pp. 3, 29 and 42. See, for example, a prayer in a book of hours which hailed Henry VI’s mercy, grace and charity, as well as his patient suffering. Durham, Ushaw College, MS 10, fols. 1rv, printed in The Miracles, pp. 9–11. Concilia Magnae, vol. III, p. 640. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers, vol. XVIII, pp. 150 and 566–7. BL, MS Add. 33736, fols. 2r–6v, especially 5rv. McKenna, ‘Piety and Propaganda’, p. 84; Henrici VI, p. *230. Testamenta Cantiana: A Series of Extracts from Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century Wills, East Kent, A. Hussey (ed.) (London, 1907), pp. 25, 30; The Inventories of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, 1384–1667, M.F. Bond (ed.) (Windsor, 1947), p. 179. Three Chapters of Letters, p. 222.
Notes 155 30 31
38 39 40 41
Ibid., p. 224. William Lambard, Dictionarium Angliae Topographicum et Historioricum: Alphabetical Description of the Chief Places in England and Wales (London, 1730), p. 422. Whereas Robert Swanson claimed that Henry VI’s cult ‘had effectively died out by around 1510’ in all places but Windsor, Tom Freeman has suggested that ‘the decline of other sites devoted to Henry may well have been due to the success of the shrine at Windsor rather than the general decline of Henry’s thaumaturgic reputation’. Freeman, ‘“Ut Verus Christi Sequenter”’, note 4. E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c. 1400–c. 1580 (New Haven and London, 1992), pp. 385, 398, 407. S. Walker, ‘Political Saints in Later Medieval England’, in The McFarlane Legacy: Studies in Late Medieval Politics and Society, R.H. Britnell and A.J. Pollard (eds) (Stroud, 1995), pp. 77–106. Miracle no. 113: Henrici VI, pp. 205–6. B. Spencer, ‘King Henry of Windsor and the London Pilgrim’, in Collectanea Londiniensia: Studies in London Archaeology and History presented to Ralph Merrifield, J. Bird, H. Chapman and J. Clark (eds) London and Middlesex Archaeological Society 2 (1978), pp. 235–64 (pp. 237–8). Gwaith Lewys Glyn Cothi, D. Johnston (ed.) (Cardiff, 1995), pp. 66–7; translated in Gwaith Lewis Glyn Cothi: The Poetic Works of Lewis Glyn Cothi, W. Davies and J. Jones (eds) Cymmrodorian Society (Oxford, 1837), pp. 160–2; Dublin, Trinity College, MS 88. The prayer was added on fol. 289r. The Miracles, p. 16; R. Marks, ‘Images of Henry VI’, in The Lancastrian Court, pp. 111–24 (pp. 116–17). Ibid., p. 114; Worcester, Worcester Cathedral Library, MS Q. 10, fol. 160r. Medieval Art in East Anglia 1300–1520, P. Lasko and N.J. Morgan (eds) (Norwich, 1973), pp. 5, 57. Marks, ‘Images of Henry VI’, p. 118. For these and other images of Henry see Henrici VI, pp. 251–60; Marks, ‘Images of Henry VI’, pp. 114–16; and A. Nichols, The Early Art of Norfolk: A Subject List of Extant and Lost Art (Kalamazoo, 2002), p. 203. For these images see The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, A. Fraser (ed.) (Berkeley, 1995)[originally published in 1975], pp. 44, 89, 99; Wolffe, plate 10 (a). W.G. Constable, ‘Some East Anglian Rood Screen Paintings’, The Connoisseur 84 (1929), pp. 211–20; W.W. Williamson, ‘Saints on Norfolk Rood-Screens and Pulpits’, Norfolk Archaeology 31 (1955–57), pp. 299–346 (pp. 319–20). On the origin and development of St Edmund’s cult see S.J. Ridyard, The Royal Saints of Anglo-Saxon England: A Study of West Saxon and East Anglian Cults (Cambridge, 1988), chapter 7. K.J. Lewis, ‘Edmund of East Anglia, Henry VI and Ideals of Kingly Masculinity’, in Holiness and Masculinity in the Middle Ages, P.H. Cullum and K.J. Lewis (eds) (Cardiff, 2005), pp. 158–73. ‘S. Edmund und Fremund’, in Altenglische Legenden Neue Folge, C. Horstmann (ed.) (Henninger, 1881), pp. 376–445 (lines 65–72); D. Pearsall, John Lydgate (London, 1970), pp. 280–3.
156 Notes 47 48 49 50
53 54 55 56 57 58
Lewis, ‘Edmund of East Anglia’, p. 161; F. Barlow, Edward the Confessor (Berkeley, 1970), pp. 259, 265, 318. M. Bloch, The Royal Touch: Sacred Monarchy and Scrofula in England and France, J.E. Anderson (trans.) (London, 1973), pp. 22–4. Ibid., p. 65. P. Strohm, Politique: Languages of Statecraft between Chaucer and Shakespeare (Notre Dame, 2005), pp. 13–14; J. Watts, Henry VI and the Politics of Kingship (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 21–3. Marks, ‘Images of Henry VI’, pp. 119–20. For a description of Prince Arthur’s Chantry in the cathedral see VCH, Worcester, p. 401. The identification of this statue as representing Henry VI is my suggestion, based on his iconographical attributes, and on Henry VII’s association with the chantry dedicated to his son. E.H. Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology (Princeton, NJ, 1997). For Fortescue’s ideas see p. 8. Walker, ‘Political Saints’, p. 96. Durham, Ushaw College, MS 10, fols. 1r–2r. BL, Hargrave MS 274, fol. 204v. Freeman, ‘“Ut Verus Christi Sequenter”’, p. 138. ‘a tretys of al manere of infirmitees of mannys body…And the remedies therwith if god wol’. Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.8.35. I wish to thank Julian Luxford for drawing my attention to this manuscript. For its description see The Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge: A Descriptive Catalogue, M.R. James (ed.) 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1901), vol. II, pp. 436–7. A.E. Radcliffe, A History and Guide of Ashton Parish Church: To Celebrate 700th Anniversary of Our Parish 1281–1981 (Ashton-under-Lyne, 1981), p. 22; also P.H. Andrew, The Asheton Windows in Ashton-under-Lyne Parish Church: The Medieaeval Windows Depicting Members of the Asheton Family (Late 15th Century) (Ashton-under-Lyne, 2001); W.M. Bowman, England in Ashton-under-Lyne (Altrincham, Cheshire, 1960), pp. 105–6. Walberswick Churchwardens’ Accounts A.D. 1450–1499, R.W.M. Lewis (transcription) (London, 1947), p. 261; also K. Kamerick, Popular Piety in the Late Middle Ages: Image Worship and Idolatry in England 1350–1500 (NY, 2002), p. 113. John Leland, De Rebus Britannicis Collectanae, T. Hearne (ed.) 6 vols. (London, 1770), vol. IV, pp. 192–5 (p. 192). On this rebellion of April 1486 see C.H. Williams, ‘The Rebellion of Humphrey Stafford in 1486’, EHR 43 (1928), pp. 181–9 (pp. 181–4); Chrimes, Henry VII, pp. 71–2. Oxford, Bodleian, MS Bodl. 277, fol. 376v. On this image see E. Ettlinger, ‘Notes on a Woodcut Depicting King Henry VI Being Invoked as a Saint’, Folklore 84 (1973), pp. 115–19. The other saints in the painting are John the Baptist, Barbara, Apollonia, Clement and Sidwell. M. Summers, ‘The Cultus of King Henry VI’, Notes and Queries, ser. 12, vol. I (February 1916), pp. 161–2. This is miracle no. 88: Henrici VI, pp. 153–4; The Miracles, p. 129. For other miracles of saving from plague or sweat sickness, see, for example, miracles 5, 82, 128, 132, 146, 147.
Notes 157 66 67
73 74 75
78 79 80 81 82
Oxford, Bodleian, MS Jones 46, fols. 117rv, and MS Gough Liturg. 7, fols. 118v–119v. BL, C. 41.e.8; BL, C.35.h.7; BL, C.35.d.13. The prayer was printed in Monumenta Ritualia Ecclesiae Anglicanae: The Occasional Offices of the Church of England According to the Old Use of Salisbury, W. Maskell (ed.) 3 vols. (Oxford, 1882), vol. III, p. 369. Dublin, Trinity College, MS 88. The prayer was added on fol. 289r; charms against fever can be found on fols. 218v–219r and 466v. The suffrage was printed in Trinity College Library Dublin: Descriptive Catalogue of the Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Manuscripts, M.L. Colker (ed.) 2 vols. (Aldershot, 1991), vol. I, p. 159. London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Reid MS 44, fol. 18v. C. Richmond, ‘Margins and Marginality: English Devotion in the Later Middle Ages’, in England in the Fifteenth Century: Proceedings of the 1992 Harlaxton Symposium, N. Rogers (ed.) (Stamford, 1994), pp. 242–52. On the symbolism of ravens see W.L. Clouston, ‘Folk-Lore of the Raven and the Owl’, in Saxby, J.M.E., Birds of Omen in Shetland (1893), pp. 17–32 (pp. 17, 21–2); E.A. Armstrong, The Folklore of Birds: An Inquiry into the Origin and Distribution of some Magico-Religious Traditions (NY, 1973), pp. 71–3. L.A. Craig, ‘Royalty, Virtue, and Adversity: The Cult of King Henry VI’, Albion 35 (2003), pp. 187–209. R.S. Gottfried, Epidemic Disease in Fifteenth Century England: The Medical Response and the Demographic Consequences (NJ, 1978), p. 43; R.S. Gottfried, The Black Death: Natural and Human Disaster in Medieval Europe (London, 1983), p. 132; J.F.D. Shrewsbury, A History of Bubonic Plague in the British Isles (Cambridge, 1970), p. 147. Gottfried, The Black Death, pp. 133, 156. BL, Hargrave MS 274, fol. 204v; BL, C.35.h.7, fol. lxxxxiiii recto. On the foundation of Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, see Griffiths, pp. 243–8; Wolffe, chapter 8; Watts, Henry VI, pp. 167–71; C. Carpenter, The Wars of the Roses, p. 108. J. Stratford, ‘The Royal Library in England Before the Reign of Edward IV’, in England in the Fifteenth Century, pp. 187–97 (p. 196); N. Rogers, ‘Henry VI and the Proposed Canonization of King Alfred’, in The Lancastrian Court, pp. 211–20, esp. p. 216. J.L. Nelson, ‘The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex’, in Kings and Kingship in Medieval Europe, A.J. Duggan (ed.) (London, 1993), pp. 125–58, esp. pp. 130, 137–8, 157. Freeman, ‘“Ut Verus Christi Sequenter”’, esp. p. 138. Middle English Dictionary on the internet: http://ets.umdl.umich.edu/ m/med The Miracles, p. 30 (translation on pp. 31–2). The Crowland Chronicle, p. 130 (translation on p. 131). John Warkworth, A Chronicle of the First Thirteen Years of the Reign of King Edward the Fourth, J.O. Halliwell (ed.) Camden Society o.s. 10 (London, 1839), p. 21. D. Piroyansky, ‘Bloody Miracles of a Political Martyr: The Case of Thomas Earl of Lancaster’, in Signs, Wonders, Miracles: Representations of Divine
84 85 86
87 88 89
93 94 95 96 97
98 99 100 101 102 103 104
Power in the Life of the Church, K. Cooper and J. Gregory (eds) Studies in Church History 41 (Woodbridge, 2005), pp. 228–38. Blacman, p. 4 (translation on p. 26); see also Job 1:1. Robbins, pp. 199–201. Job 42:12. See also Job 27:5–6. This miracle is no. 40: Henrici VI, pp. 106–12; The Miracles, pp. 89–98. For another miracle of saving an innocent person see no. 106: Henrici VI, pp. 185–90; The Miracles, pp. 149–56. Miracle no. 8: Henrici VI, pp. 26–31; The Miracles, pp. 41–9. Blacman, p. 21 (translation on pp. 43–4). Miracle no. 84: Henrici VI, p. 74; The Miracles, p. 127; miracle no. 39: Henrici VI, pp. 103–6; The Miracles, pp. 87–8. For Henry’s special care of children see also The Miracles, p. 26; Spencer, ‘King Henry of Windsor’, p. 243; Helen Forrest, ‘The Miracles of King Henry VI in Northamptonshire’, Northamptonshire Past and Present 4 (1971–2), pp. 363–5 (p. 363). This is the case, for example, in the manuscript BL, Hargrave MS 274, fol. 204v; on the rood screen in Barton Turf Church (Norfolk); on the rood screen in Binham Priory (Norfolk); on the rood screen in Eye Church (Suffolk), where he is crowned and nimbed, holding a sceptre. This painting is dated to c. 1485. See L. Smith, ‘The Canonization of King Henry VI’, The Dublin Review 168 (1921), pp. 41–53 (p. 44). Also H.S. Cuming, ‘On a Portrait of Henry VI in Eye Church, Suffolk’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association 36 (1880), pp. 432–4 (p. 434). See Marks, ‘Images of Henry VI’, pp. 115, 118, 119 and plate 22. I would like to thank Mr. Nicholas Rogers for his permission to quote from his unpublished paper, ‘The Cultus and Iconography of Henry VI’, in which these references appear. For example, in Barton Turf Church, where Henry is juxtaposed with St Edmund. Blacman, pp. 5, 20 (translation on pp. 27, 42). Ibid., p. 7 (translation on p. 29). The Minor Poems of John Lydgate, H.N. MacCracken (ed.) EETS e.s. 107, o.s. 192 (London, 1911 and 1934), part 1, pp. 138–9. Watts, Henry VI, pp. 102, 111, 113–17; J. Watts, ‘When Did Henry VI’s Minority End?’, in Trade, Devotion and Governance: Papers in Later Medieval History, D.J. Clayton, R.G. Davies and P. McNiven (eds) (Stroud, 1994), pp. 116–39. The Minor Poems of John Lydgate, part 2, p. 625 (line 2), p. 646 (lines 480–1). The Historical Collections of A Citizen of London in the Fifteenth Century, J. Gairdner (ed.) Camden Society n.s. 17 (London, 1876), p. 165. A Chronicle of London from 1089 to 1483, E. Tyrrell and N.H. Nicolas (eds) (London, 1827), p. 112. John Capgrave, The Book of the Illustrious Henries, F.C. Hingeston (trans.) (London, 1858), p. 4. Ibid., p. 2. Eccle. 10:16; The Book of the Illustrious Henries, pp. 148–9. For examples of Henry’s child-like image during the later half of the 1440s see R.L. Storey, The End of the House of Lancaster (Gloucester, 1986), pp. 34–5.
Notes 159 105
118 119 120
Henry saved Kerver when the rope was already on his neck. Six Town Chronicles of England, R. Flenley (ed.) (Oxford, 1911), p. 118. This story was told also in the continuation of the Brut, where the man’s first name was given as John. The Brut, or the Chronicles of England, F.W.D. Brie (ed.) 2 vols., EETS o.s. 131, 136 (London, 1906, 1908), vol. II, p. 485. On this episode see C.A.F. Meekings, ‘Thomas Kerver’s Case, 1444’, EHR 90 (1975), pp. 331–46 (p. 343). Warkworth, A Chronicle, p. 12. For complaints on dominating counselors see Watts, Henry VI, pp. 206, 233. The Chronicle of John Hardyng, H. Ellis (ed.) (London, 1812), pp. 396, 410. On Warwick’s guardianship see Griffiths, pp. 52, 59–60; Wolffe, pp. 45–7, 69, 88. R.F. Hunnisett, ‘Treason by Words’, Sussex Notes and Queries 14 (1954–57), pp. 116–20 (p. 119), quoted in Storey, The End, p. 35. D.J. Gifford, ‘Iconographical Notes Towards a Definition of the Medieval Fool’, in The Fool and the Trickster: Studies in Honour of Enid Welsford, P.V.A. Williams (ed.) (Cambridge, 1979), pp. 18–35 (p. 18, and images on pp. 25–6). On the Holy Fool see D. Krueger, ‘Tales of Holy Fools’, in Religions of Late Antiquity in Practice, R. Valantasis (ed.) (NJ, 2000), pp. 177–86; L. Ryden, ‘The Holy Fool’, in The Byzantine Saint, S. Hackel (ed.) (San Bernardino, Calif., 1981), pp. 106–13. C. Fletcher, ‘Manhood and Politics in the Reign of Richard II’, Past and Present 189 (2005), pp. 3–39. ‘A Defence of the Proscription of the Yorkists in 1459’, J.P. Gilson (ed.), EHR 26 (1911), pp. 512–25 (p. 519). For the text and its dating and background see pp. 512–13; also M. Kekewich, ‘The Attainder of the Yorkists in 1459: Two Contemporary Accounts’, BIHR 55 (1982), pp. 25–34. Knyghthode and Bataile: A XVth Century Verse Paraphrase of Flavius Vegetius Renatus’ Treatise “De Re Militari”, R. Dyboski and Z.M. Arend (eds) EETS o.s. 201 (London, 1935), p. 1 (lines 17–20), p. 43 (lines 1170–2). ‘So that thoroughe malice of his saide ennemye hebe [the king] no more troubled, vexed ne jeoparded’. Quoted in The Politics of Fifteenth-Century England: John Vale’s Book, M.L. Kekewich et al. (eds) (Stroud, 1995), p. 142. The cult around Prince Edward is discussed in Chapter 5. Georges Chastelain, Le Temple de Bocace, S. Bliggenstorfer (ed.) Romanica Helvetica 104 (Berne, 1988), p. 47, quote on p. 89. Margaret’s chapter is on pp. 79–107, Job’s chapter on pp. 107–9. Thomas Basin, Histoire de Charles VII, C. Samaran (ed. and trans.) 2 vols., Les Classiques de l’histoire de France au moyen âge 15, 21 (Paris, 1933, 1944), vol. I, p. 296; English translation in Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Four Tragedies and Octavia, E.F. Watling (trans.) (Harmondsworth, 1966), ‘Thyestes’ (lines 596–7). ‘in aduersyte,/ To byde in payne, sorowe, and seruage’. The Chronicle of John Hardyng, p. 410. Robbins, pp. 196–8. Historie of the Arrivall of Edward IV in England and the Final Recovery of His Kingdoms from Henry VI A.D. 1471, J. Bruce (ed.) Camden Society 1 (London, 1838), p. 38.
160 Notes 121
122 123 124 125 126 127
Michael Hicks commented briefly on the image of sufferers that the Yorkists adopted in 1460. M.A. Hicks, Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford, 1998), p. 193. A.R. Allan also treated this issue: A.R. Allan, ‘Political Propaganda Employed by the House of York in England in the midFifteenth Century, 1450–1471’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Swansea, 1981), p. 376. Wright, vol. II, p. 275. Ibid., vol. II, pp. 271, 275. RP, vol. V, pp. 462–3. Wright, vol. II, pp. 271, 281. Strohm, Politique, p. 35. John Watts used this term in Watts, Henry VI, p. 7.
Chapter 5 ‘A Death Worth a Martyr’s Crown’: Other Martyrs and Their Cults 1
2 3 4
The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, R.B. Dobson (ed.) (London, 1970), p. 163; Historie of the Arrivall of Edward IV in England and the Final Recovery of His Kingdoms from Henry VI A.D. 1471, J. Bruce (ed.) Camden Society 1 (London, 1838), pp. 13–14. More on this miracle in W. Scase, ‘Writing and the “Poetics of Spectacle”: Political Epiphanies in The Arrival of Edward IV and some Contemporary Lancastrian and Yorkist Texts’, in Images, Idolatry, and Iconoclasm in Late Medieval England: Textuality and Visual Image, J. Dimmick, J. Simpson and N. Zeeman (eds) (Oxford, 2002), pp. 172–84. S.J. Ridyard, The Royal Saints of Anglo-Saxon England: A Study of West Saxon and East Anglian Cults (Cambridge, 1988), p. 81. ‘sparyn neyπer | here owyn kyng ne her buschopys’. Dives and Pauper, P.H. Barnum (ed.) 2 vols., EETS o.s. 275 (London, 1976), vol. I, pp. 208–9. On the cult see S. Walker, ‘Political Saints in Later Medieval England’, in The McFarlane Legacy: Studies in Late Medieval Politics and Society, R.H. Britnell and A.J. Pollard (eds) (Stroud, 1995), pp. 77–106 (pp. 83–4); J.M. Theilmann, ‘Political Canonization and Political Symbolism in Medieval England’ Journal of British Studies 29 (1990), pp. 241–66 (pp. 252–7); A. Vauchez, Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, J. Birrell (trans.) (Cambridge, 1997), p. 160; D. Webb, Pilgrimage in Medieval England (London, 2000), pp. 171–2. See, among others, T.F. Tout, ‘The Captivity and Death of Edward of Carnarvon’, BJRL 6 (1921), pp. 69–113; G.P. Cuttino and T.W. Lyman, ‘Where Is Edward II?’, Speculum 53 (1978), pp. 522–44; R.M. Haines, ‘Edwardus Revividus: The “Afterlife” of Edward of Caernarvon’, Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 115 (1996), pp. 65–86; R.M. Haines, King Edward II: His Life, His Reign, and Its Aftermath, 1284–1330 (Montreal, 2003), chapter 8; I. Mortimer, ‘The Death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle’, EHR 120 (2005), pp. 1175–214; S. Phillips, ‘“Edward II” in Italy: English and Welsh Political Exiles and Fugitives in Continental Europe, 1322–1364’, in Thirteenth Century England X: Proceedings of the Durham Conference 2003, M. Prestwich, R. Britnell and R. Frame (eds) (Woodbridge, 2005), pp. 209–26.
Notes 161 6 7 8
11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23
24 25 26
27 28 29
Mortimer, ‘The Death of Edward II’, pp. 1181–3. Historia et Cartularium Monasterii Sancti Petri Gloucestriae, W.H. Hart (ed.) RS 33 (London, 1863–67), part I, p. 46. See also Webb, Pilgrimage, p. 172. Theilmann, ‘Political Canonization’, p. 257. Already in October 1390 Richard II sent a list of the alleged miracles to the Pope, who asked the Bishop of London to further investigate this matter. Walker, ‘Political Saints’, p. 84. The Tewkesbury chronicle is preserved in the Bodleian as Bodl. L. Ms Lat. Misc. b 2 (R); see Walker, ‘Political Saints’, p. 84. Bristol was one of the places which turned down the offer to bury Edward II’s body. On this roof boss see C.J.P. Cave, The Roof Bosses of Bristol Cathedral (Bristol, 1935), pp. 8, 13–14. Walker, ‘Political Saints’, p. 84. Historia et Cartularium, part I, p. 44. Mortimer, ‘The Death of Edward II’, p. 1180. W.M. Ormrod, ‘The Personal Religion of Edward III’, Speculum 64 (1989), pp. 849–77 (p. 871). This was one of five golden ships offered at Becket’s shrine and Lady Chapel at Canterbury, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s, in order to celebrate the naval victory at Sluys. Ormrod, ‘Personal Religion’, p. 860. Theilmann, ‘Political Canonization’, p. 253; Ormrod, ‘Personal Religion’, p. 871. Ormrod, ‘Personal Religion’, pp. 858–60 (quote on p. 860). Ibid., pp. 869–70. Ibid., pp. 870–1. S. Hamilton, The Practice of Penance: 900–1050 (Woodbridge, 2001), p. 7; W.D. Myers, ‘Poor, Sinning Folk’: Confession and Conscience in CounterReformation Germany (London and Ithaca, 1996), pp. 15–26. L. Patterson, Chaucer and the Subject of History (London, 1991), pp. 374–84 (esp. pp. 377–8). For the text see Adam Davy’s Dreams about Edward the Second, F.J. Furnivall (ed.) EETS o.s. 69 (London, 1878). On this text see L.A. Coote, Prophecy and Public Affairs in Later Medieval England (Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 84–91; its provenance is discussed on p. 90. Ibid., pp. 85–7. Ibid., p. 89. In my discussion of this poem I rely on C. Valente, ‘The “Lament of Edward II”: Religious Lyric, Political Propaganda’, Speculum 77 (2002), pp. 422–39. For the text see ‘The Lament of Edward II’, T.M. Smallwood (ed.), Modern Language Review 68 (1973), pp. 521–9. ‘The Lament’ (line 18). Valente, ‘The “Lament of Edward II”’, p. 435. Webb, Pilgrimage, p. 172; R.M. Haines, ‘Bishops and Politics in the Reign of Edward II: Hamo de Hethe, Henry Wharton, and the “Historia Roffensis”’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 44 (1993), pp. 586–609; R.M. Haines, ‘The Episcopate of a Benedictine Monk: Hamo de Hethe, Bishop of Rochester (1317–1352), Revue Bénédictine 102 (1992), pp. 192–207. He may have had a special interest in the practice of penitence, since among the books
33 34 35 36
39 40 41 42 43
44 45 46 47 48 49 50
he donated to the use of his diocesan clergy were several penitentiaries. Ibid., p. 206. Hamilton, The Practice of Penance, pp. 174–82. Haines, King Edward II, p. 237. On the Fieschi Letter see Ibid., pp. 221–6. All the writers who treated the possibility that Edward was not murdered in 1327 referred, in this way or another, to this letter. Theilmann, ‘Political Canonization’, pp. 253–6. See also W.M. Ormrod, ‘Monarchy, Martyrdom and Masculinity: England in the Later Middle Ages’, in Holiness and Masculinity in the Middle Ages, P.H. Cullum and K.J. Lewis (eds) (Cardiff, 2005), pp. 174–91, esp. pp. 180–2. On Richard’s attempt to canonize Edward see Theilmann, ‘Political Canonization’, p. 257. The Diplomatic Correspondence of Richard II, E. Perroy (ed.) Camden Society 3rd ser. 48 (London, 1933), pp. 62–3. As suggested in Walker, ‘Political Saints’, pp. 90–1. For a manuscript indicating a specific date for Edward V’s murder (22 June) see P. Morgan, ‘The Death of Edward V and the Rebellion of 1483’, Historical Research 68 (1995), pp. 229–32. The Great Chronicle of London, A.H. Thomas and I.D. Thornley (eds) (London, 1938), pp. 236–7. For an overview of the various speculations see, for example, P.W. Hammond and W.J. White, ‘The Sons of Edward IV: A Re-examination of the Evidence on Their Deaths and on the Bones in Westminster Abbey’, in Loyalty, Lordship and Law, P.W. Hammond (ed.) (London, 1986), pp. 104–47; A. Weir, The Princes in the Tower (NY, 1992), chapter 13; A.J. Pollard, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower (NY, 1991), chapter 5. Many articles on the subject of the princes’ fate have been published in The Ricardian (the publication of the Richard III Society) along the years. The Usurpation of Richard the Third: Dominicus Mancinus ad Angelum Catonem De Occupatione Regni Anglie per Riccardum Tercium Libellus, C.A.J. Armstrong (trans. and introduction) (Oxford, 1969), p. 93. Ibid. P. Tudor-Craig, Richard III (London, 1973), p. 95. Pollard, Richard III, pp. 135, 137; The Usurpation of Richard the Third, p. 21. The Usurpation of Richard the Third, p. 21. With one possible exception: the crown hovering over Edward V’s head in his posthumous depiction on a screen in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, was meant to show that he was an uncrowned king. However, it could have also represented a nimbus of sorts. Weir, The Princes, chapter 19; also Pollard, Richard III, pp. 130–1. Weir, The Princes, chapter 21. Pollard, Richard III, p. 127. Ibid., pp. 132–3. M. Buck, Politics, Finance and the Church in the Reign of Edward II: Walter Stapeldon, Treasurer of England (Cambridge, 1983), pp. 220–1. Ibid., pp. 34–5. Flores Historiarum, H.R. Luard (ed.) 3 vols., RS 95 (London, 1890), part III, p. 234; Croniques de London, depuis l’an 44 Hen. III. Jusqu’ a l’an 17 Edw.
51 52 53 54 55 56
64 65 66
III, G.J. Aungier (ed.) Camden Society o.s. 28 (London, 1844), p. 52; ‘Annales Paulini’, in Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II, W. Stubbs (ed.) 2 vols., RS 76 (London, 1882–83), vol. I, pp. 316–17 (where it is reported that Stapeldon’s head was sent to Isabella in Bristol and not Gloucester, and his body left at the derelict church of the Holy Innocents). See also Buck, Politics, p. 221. Croniques de London, p. 53; ‘Annales Paulini’, p. 317. Buck, Politics, p. 89. Ibid., pp. 156–8, 176–7. Ibid., p. 215. Ibid., pp. 36–7. Ibid., pp. 217, 215: quoting The Register of John Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter, 1327–69, F.C. Hingeston-Randolph (ed.) (London and Exeter, 1894–98), p. 94. Thomas Walsingham, Historia Brevis (London, 1574), p. 104, quoted in G. Oliver, Lives of the Bishops of Exeter (Exeter, 1861); The Chronica Maiora of Thomas Walsingham 1376–1422, D. Preest (trans.) (Woodbridge, 2005), p. 126. The Chronica Maiora, pp. 125–7. The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, p. 201; see also Henry Knighton, who lamented Sudbury’s death and described how the Archbishop and his companions ‘offered themselves like lambs to the shearer’. Ibid., p. 183; the Anonimalle chronicler gave a detailed description of the liturgy celebrated by Sudbury prior to his execution. Ibid., pp. 183, 161. The Chronica Maiora, p. 127. In his chronicle Froissart mentions four victims: Sudbury, Hales, a friar minor, and a sergeant at arms named John Leg; the friar was probably one William Appelton. The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, pp. 162, 210. ‘Ast thomam militum audax attrocitas/ Symonem plebium furens ferocitas/ Ricardum callide seua crudelitas/ Obtruncant Christos domini’. Oxford, Bodleian, Bodl. MS 851, fol. 75r and BL, MS Cotton Faustina B ix, fol. 244v. G.M.G. Cullum, ‘Skull of Simon Sudbury’, Notes and Queries (1892), p. 256. A picture of what is believed to be Sudbury’s skull is displayed in a website dedicated to British history which lists Canterbury’s archbishops: http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/England-History/Arch bishopsof Canterbury.htm N. Saul, Richard II (New Haven and London, 1997), p. 58. Ibid., p. 58; also The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, pp. 161, 173, 199. Henry Knighton, for example, referred to them as ‘criminal mob’, marching ‘in ever-increasing malice’, climbing ‘as though they were rats’ and ‘neither fearing God nor revering the honour of mother church’ (The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, pp. 183–5); the ‘monk of Westminster’ thought the rebels from Kent ‘ran wild like the most rabid dogs’, and their behaviour towards the king insulting, disloyal and vehement (Ibid., pp. 199–200); Walsingham saw them as ‘doomed ribalds and whores of the devil’, and he mentioned their ‘limbs of Satan’, and ‘devilish voices of peacocks’ (Ibid., pp. 172–3). Webb, Pilgrimage, p. 241. S. Walker, ‘Sudbury, Simon’, ODNB.
164 Notes 69 70 71 72 73
75 76 77 78 79
80 81 82 83 84 85
87 88 89 90
91 92 93
The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, p. 174. Walker, ‘Sudbury, Simon’, ODNB. Walker, ‘Political Saints’, pp. 81–2. The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, p. 183. M.-A. Stouck, ‘Saints and Rebels: Hagiography and Opposition to the King in Late Fourteenth-Century England’, Medievalia et Humanistica 24 (1997), pp. 75–94 (pp. 76, 78). On the parliamentary appeal of treason, and Richard’s reprisal in 1397 see Saul, Richard II, pp. 182–93, 366; also A. Goodman, The Loyal Conspiracy: The Lords Appellant Under Richard II (London, 1971). The Chronicle of Adam Usk 1377–1421, C. Given-Wilson (ed. and trans.) (Oxford, 1997), p. 31. For the dating of Usk’s writing see Ibid., p. xlvi. Walker dates the last reference to Arundel’s cult to c. 1404. Walker, ‘Political Saints’, p. 81. On the cult see ‘Annales Ricardi Secundi’, pp. 217–18; The Chronicle of Adam Usk, p. 31. Chronicles of the Revolution, 1397–1400: The Reign of Richard II, C. GivenWilson (ed. and trans.) (Manchester and NY, 1993), p. 60. ‘Annales Ricardi Secundi’, p. 218. Chris Given-Wilson has concluded that despite Arundel’s ‘irascible and violent nature, and his tempestuous and often ill-judged political career, he was apparently a man of considerable piety’. C. Given-Wilson, ‘Fitzalan, Richard (III)’, ODNB. Ibid. Saul, Richard II, p. 168; Given-Wilson, ‘Fitzalan, Richard (III)’, ODNB. Saul, Richard II, pp. 178–81. The Westminster Chronicle, 1381–1394, L.C. Hector and B.F. Harvey (eds and trans.) (Oxford, 1982), pp. 66–8. Saul, Richard II, p. 199. On Arundel’s trial and its description as modeled in the hagiographical tradition of the Legenda Aurea see Stouck, ‘Saints and Rebels’, pp. 78–9. The reports of Adam Usk and the Monk of Evesham draw on a third account, which was probably written by an eye witness present at the trial. Saul, Richard II, p. 378, n. 46. Chronicles of the Revolution, p. 56; The Chronicle of Adam Usk, p. 23. See also Given-Wilson, ‘Fitzalan, Richard (III)’, ODNB. For the differences between the essentially similar accounts of Walsingham and the monk of Evesham see The Chronicle of Adam Usk, p. lii. Chronicles of the Revolution, p. 59; The Chronicle of Adam Usk, p. 29. The Chronica Maiora, pp. 300–1; The Chronicle of Adam Usk, p. 35. Stouck, ‘Saints and Rebels’, pp. 81, 79. Chronicles of the Revolution, pp. 58–60. For Lancaster’s accusations of treason see The Brut, or The Chronicles of England, F.W.D. Brie (ed.) 2 vols., EETS o.s. 131, 136 (London, 1906, 1908), pp. 217–23; the allegations in his trial were discussed in J.G. Bellamy, The Law of Treason in England in the Later Middle Ages (London, 1970), pp. 49–51. C.D. Ross, ‘Forfeiture for Treason in the Reign of Richard II’, EHR 71 (1956), pp. 560–75 (pp. 574–5). Saul, Richard II, p. 388. Stouck, ‘Saints and Rebels’, p. 79.
Notes 165 94 95 96 97 98 99 100
102 103 104 105 106 107 108
C. Given-Wilson, ‘Wealth and Credit, Public and Private’, EHR 106 (1991), pp. 1–26. Saul, Richard II, p. 382. Ibid., p. 379. Given-Wilson, ‘Fitzalan, Richard (III)’, ODNB. S.M. Pratt, ‘Shakespeare and Humphrey Duke of Gloucester: A Study in Myth’, Shakespeare Quarterly 16 (1965), pp. 201–16 (p. 210). On the dealings of the Bury Parliament see J. Watts, Henry VI and the Politics of Kingship (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 228–31. B. Wolffe, Henry VI (London, 1981), pp. 131–2; A. Petrina, Cultural Politics in Fifteenth Century England: The Case of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (Leiden, 2004), p. 150; R.A. Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI (Stroud, 1998), p. 496. For example, see Griffiths, The Reign, p. 497; Wolffe, Henry VI, p. 131; G.L. Harriss, ‘Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1390–1447)’, ODNB; Pratt, ‘Shakespeare and Humphrey’, p. 210; Petrina, Cultural Politics, p. 151. Griffiths, The Reign, p. 498. Petrina, Cultural Politics, p. 102. Ibid., pp. 106–9; Harriss, ‘Humphrey Duke of Gloucester (1390–1447)’, ODNB. Watts, Henry VI, p. 231. I.M.W. Harvey, Jack Cade’s Rebellion of 1450 (Oxford, 1991), p. 83. Griffiths, The Reign, p. 748. ‘The good duc of Gloucestre…Was put to dethe; and ay sithe gret mournyng/ Hathe ben in Inglande’. Wright, pp. 267–70 (p. 267); also Robbins, pp. 222–6 (pp. 223–4). On the problem of assessing public opinion in the short period between 1447 and 1450 see Watts, Henry VI, p. 231, n. 116. Petrina, Cultural Politics, pp. 143–50. On the trial see R.A. Griffiths, ‘The Trial of Eleanor Cobham: An Episode in the Fall of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester’, BJRL 51 (1969), pp. 381–99; H.M. Carey, Courting Disaster: Astrology at the English Court and University in the Later Middle Ages (London, 1992), chapter 8. Watts, Henry VI, p. 231. On the theme of Yorkist suffering see also M. Hicks, Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford, 1998), p. 193; A.R. Allan, ‘Political Propaganda Employed by the House of York in England in the mid-Fifteenth Century, 1450–1471’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Swansea, 1981), p. 376. Ibid., p. 373. ‘…incipiebat eo tempore labor et dolor’. John Benet’s Chronicle: For the Years 1400 to 1462, G.L. Harriss and M.A. Harriss (eds) Camden Miscellany 24, 4th ser., vol. 9 (London, 1972), p. 207. John Benet, vicar of Harlington (Bedfordshire) between 1461 and 1471, died sometime before November 1474. However, even if John Benet was not the author of the narrative after 1440, the transcription of the chronicle’s manuscript is nevertheless dated to c. 1462–8. Ibid., pp. 153–72. On the Battle of Blackheath see Griffiths, The Reign, p. 695; Wolffe, Henry VI, p. 255. The Historical Collections of A Citizen of London in the Fifteenth Century, J. Gairdner (ed.) Camden Society n.s. 17 (London, 1876), p. 198.
166 Notes 116
124 125 126
127 128 129
‘Job thy seruant insygne,/ Whom Sathan not cesethe to sette at care and dysdeyne’. Robbins, pp. 207–10 (lines 59–60). On this ballade see P. Strohm, Politique: Languages of Statecraft between Chaucer and Shakespeare (Notre Dame, 2005), pp. 177–92. ‘Z for Zorke |πat is manly and myZtful,/ |πat be grace of god & gret reuelacion,/ Reynyng with rules resonable and tight-full,/ |πe which for oure sakes haπe | suffred vexacion’. Robbins, pp. 218–21 (lines 25–8). ‘The arris for thre Richard |πat be of noble fames,/ |πat for |πe riZt of englond haue suffred moche wo-/ …πat | all englond is be-holden to.’ Ibid., pp. 218–21 (lines 21–4). Strohm, Politique, p. 13; J. Watts, ‘Ideas, Principles and Politics’, in The Wars of the Roses, A.J. Pollard (ed.) (London, 1995), pp. 110–33 (pp. 112, 118). Watts, ‘Ideas, Principles and Politics’, p. 118. On the accord of 1460 see P.A. Johnson, Duke Richard of York, 1411–1460 (Oxford, 1988), pp. 212–18; T.B. Pugh, ‘The Estates, Finances and Regal Aspirations of Richard Plantagenet (1411–1460), Duke of York’, in Revolution and Consumption in Late Medieval England, M. Hicks (ed.) (Woodbridge, 2001), pp. 71–88 (pp. 82–3); Griffiths, The Reign, p. 869, and Wolffe, Henry VI, p. 325. On the Battle of Wakefield see Johnson, Duke Richard, pp. 222–3. Citing Gregory’s Chronicle Paul Strohm has concluded that York, like the Earl of Salisbury and others, was not killed in battle, but beheaded – ‘take a slayne’ (which he interprets as ‘taken and slain’) – only after losing in the battle. Strohm, Politique, p. 207. Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Wars of the English in France, During the Reign of Henry the Sixth, J. Stevenson (ed.) 2 vols., RS 22 (London, 1861–64), vol. II, part II, p. 775. Registrum Abbatiae Iohannis Wethamsted, H.T. Riley (ed.) 2 vols., RS 28 (London, 1872–73), vol. I, p. 382. This paragraph is quoted, translated and discussed in Strohm, Politique, pp. 215–18. Strohm, Politique, chapter 5, quote in p. 213. R.F. Green, ‘An Epitaph for Richard, Duke of York’, Studies in Bibliography 41 (1988), pp. 218–24 (p. 219). P.W. Hammond, A.F. Sutton and L. Visser-Fuchs, ‘The Reburial of Richard, Duke of York, 21–30 July 1476’, The Ricardian 10:127 (1994), pp. 122–65 (pp. 145–7); Green, ‘An Epitaph’, pp. 222–3. Watts, ‘Ideas, Principles and Politics’, pp. 113–14. Strohm, Politique, pp. 193–4; also Johnson, Duke Richard, p. 215. Nicholas Rogers commented on the probability of a cult around Prince Edward, although he acknowledged the fact that the evidence to this is somewhat slight. N.J. Rogers, ‘The Cult of Prince Edward at Tewkesbury’, Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 101 (1983), pp. 187–9. On the battle see J.D. Blyth, ‘The Battle of Tewkesbury’, Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 80 (1961), pp. 99–120. ‘From a Chronicle of Tewkesbury Abbey’, in C.L. Kingsford, English Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century (Oxford, 1913), appendix XIV, pp. 376–8 (quote on p. 377). For a brief discussion and description of Prince Edward’s burial place see H.J.L.S. Massé, The Abbey Church of
131 132 133 134 135 136
138 139 140 141
142 143 144 145 146 147
Tewkesbury (London, 1911), pp. 78–9. When this was written flowers were still being laid annually on the site of the grave. Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York and Wardrobe Accounts of Edward the Fourth, N.H. Nicolas (ed.) (London, 1830), p. 3. Ibid., pp. 3, 29 and 42. S. Brigden, New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors 1485–1603 (London and NY, 2000), p. 74. C. Rawcliffe, The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham 1394–1521 (Cambridge, 1978), p. 39. Ibid., p. 98; B.J. Harris, Edward Stafford: Third Duke of Buckingham, 1478–1521 (Stanford, Calif., 1986), pp. 154, 206. Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS Add. 38–1950, fol. 240r: ‘iiij mensis Maij A.D. mcccclxxi fuit obitus Edwardi primogeniti Henrici Sexti Regis Angliae & ffranc’. The obit of Henry VI was added with the same ink on 16 May; those of Queen Margaret and of John, Duke of Bedford, were also entered, in black ink. For the dating see L.F. Sandler, ‘A Note on the Illuminators of the Bohun Manuscripts’, Speculum 60 (1985), pp. 364–72 (p. 367). A Descriptive Catalogue of the Additional Illuminated Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum, F. Wormald and P.M. Giles (eds) (Cambridge, 1982), p. 431. Rogers, ‘The Cult of Prince Edward’, p. 188. The Historical Collections, p. 212; H.E. Maurer, Margaret of Anjou: Queenship and Power in Late Medieval England (Woodbridge, 2003), p. 191. Griffiths, The Reign, p. 885. On these rumours see Maurer, Margaret of Anjou, pp. 45–8; J.L. Laynesmith, The Last Medieval Queens: English Queenship 1445–1503 (Oxford, 2004), pp. 136–9. John Fortescue, De Laudibus Legum Angliae, S.B. Chrimes (ed. and trans.) (Cambridge, 1949), p. 3. Maurer, Margaret of Anjou, p. 190. Quoted in Griffiths, The Reign, p. 891. Historie of the Arrivall, p. 30. For different versions of Prince Edward’s death see Wolffe, Henry VI, p. 346. For example, ‘The Kynge, full manly, set for the…’. Historie of the Arrivall, p. 29. Maurer, Margaret of Anjou, p. 208. J.L Laynesmith has argued that after 1471 Margaret in fact lived at Edward IV’s expense since she posed no threat to the Yorkists. Laynesmith, Last Medieval Queens, pp. 171–2.
Conclusion 1 On the theme of punishment and spectatorship see, for example, E.A. Castelli, Martyrdom and Memory: Early Christian Culture Making (NY, 2004); M.B. Merback, The Thief, the Cross and the Wheel: Pain and the Spectacle of Punishment in Medieval and Renaissance Europe (London, 1999). 2 Merback, The Thief, p. 137; M. Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, A. Lane (trans.) (Harmandsworth, 1977), p. 57.
168 Notes 3 J.C. Russell, ‘The Canonization of Opposition to the King in Angevin England’, in Anniversary Essays in Medieval History, C.H. Taylor and J.L. Monte (eds) (Boston and NY, 1929), pp. 279–90. 4 S. Walker, ‘Political Saints in Later Medieval England’, in The McFarlane Legacy: Studies in Late Medieval Politics and Society, R.H. Britnell and A.J. Pollard (eds) (Stroud, 1995), pp. 77–106. 5 On this double nature of discourse see N. Fairclough, Discourse and Social Change (Cambridge, 1992), p. 3. 6 S. Mills, Discourse (London, 1997), p. 91. 7 On the illusiveness of the traumatic event see A. Douglas and T.A. Volger, ‘Introduction’, in Witness and Memory: The Discourse of Trauma, A. Douglas and T.A. Volger (eds) (NY and London, 2003), pp. 1–53 (p. 5). 8 For the link between traumatic events and martyrdom narratives see also R.L. LeVine, ‘Epilogue’, in Cultures Under Siege: Collective Violence and Trauma, A.C.G.M. Robben and M. Suárez-Orozco (eds) (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 272–5 (p. 274). 9 Christine Carpenter emphasized the wider kin’s responsibility of protecting the family’s wealth and political power when a member of the family dies. C. Carpenter, Locality and Polity: A Study of Warwickshire Landed Society, 1401–1499 (Cambridge, 1992), p. 621. On the centrality of commemoration in the dynastic milieu see N. Saul, Death, Art and Memory in Medieval England: The Cobham Family and Their Monuments, 1300–1500 (Oxford, 2001). 10 S. Walker, ‘Remembering Richard: History and Memory in Lancastrian England’, in The Fifteenth Century IV: Political Culture in Late Medieval Britain, pp. 21–31 (p. 22). 11 A. Vauchez, Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, J. Birrell (trans.) (Cambridge, 1997), p. 151. 12 Simon Walker, ‘Political Saints’, p. 77. 13 M. Rubin, ‘Religious Symbols and Political Culture in Fifteenth-Century England’, in The Fifteenth Century IV: Political Culture in Late Medieval Britain, pp. 97–111. 14 E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c. 1400– c. 1580 (New Haven and London, 1992), p. 2. See also R.N. Swanson, Church and Society in Late Medieval England (Oxford, 1989), p. 275. 15 C. Peters, Patterns of Piety: Women, Gender and Religion in Late Medieval and Reformation England (Cambridge, 2003), esp. p. 97. 16 Swanson, Church and Society, p. 18. 17 Vauchez, Sainthood, for example, p. 142; also D. Weinstein and R.M. Bell, Saints and Society: Two Worlds of Western Christendom, 1000–1700 (Chicago and London, 1982), p. 142. Local and regional studies reached the same conclusion: K.L. French, The People of the Parish: Community Life in a Late Medieval English Diocese (Philadelphia, 2001), p. 176; J. Hughes, Pastors and Visionaries: Religion and Secular Life in Late Medieval Yorkshire (Woodbridge, 1988), pp. 298–9; A.D. Brown, Popular Piety in Late Medieval England: The Diocese of Salisbury 1250–1550 (Oxford, 1995), p. 251. 18 Swanson, Church and Society, pp. 255–8. 19 French, The People of the Parish, pp. 30–1. French also referred to the ‘rise of churchwardens’ as an office which evolved in the later Middle Ages in order to oversee these obligations of the laity. Ibid., p. 68.
Notes 169 20 K. Kamerick, Popular Piety and Art in the Late Middle ages: Image Worship and Idolatry in England 1350–1500 (NY, 2002), p. 8. 21 R. Marks, Images and Devotion in Late Medieval England (Stroud, 2004), p. 180; Duffy, The Stripping, p. 159. 22 Kamerick, Popular Piety, p. 114. Lay parochial activity as enhancing communal identity is discussed and emphasized in French, The People of the Parish, for example pp. 174, 176. 23 R.W. Pfaff, New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1970), p. 11. 24 Duffy, The Stripping, pp. 231, 45. 25 C. Page, ‘The Rhymed Office for St Thomas of Lancaster: Poetry, Politics and Liturgy in Fourteenth-Century England’, Leeds Studies in English 14 (1983), pp. 134–51.
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192 Bibliography Wogan-Browne, J., Saints’ Lives and Women’s Literary Culture c. 1150–1300: Virginity and its Authorizations (Oxford, 2001) Wolffe, B., Henry VI (London, 1981) Women in the Church, W.J. Sheils and D. Wood (eds) Studies in Church History 27 (Oxford, 1990) Wright, S.K., ‘The Provenance and Manuscript Tradition of the Martyrium Ricardi Archiepiscopi’, Manuscripta 28 (1984), pp. 92–102 ——, ‘Paradigmatic Ambiguity in Monastic Historiography: The Case of Clement Maidstone’s Martyrium Ricardi Archiepiscopi’, Studia Monastica 28 (1986), pp. 311–42 ——, ‘Genres of Sanctity: Literary Representations of Archbishop Scrope’, in Richard Scrope: Archbishop, Rebel, Martyr, J. Goldberg (ed.) (Shaun Tyas, forthcoming 2007) The Writing of History in the Middle Ages: Essays Presented to Richard William Southern, R.H.C. Davis and J.M. Wallace-Hadrill (eds) (Oxford, 1981) Wylie, J.H., History of England Under Henry the Fourth, 4 vols. (London, 1884–98) Young Medieval Women, K.J. Lewis, N.J. Menuge and K.M. Phillips (eds) (Stroud, 1999)
Index Abbot, Robert 55, 67 Acle (Norfolk) 11 Act of Accord (1460) 114, 116 Adam Davy’s Dreams of Edward II (1307–8) 102, 103 Alexander VI, Pope 77, 126 Alfred, King of England 88 All Saints’ Church, North Street, York 71 Alnwick Church (Northumberland) 79 Alton Church (Hampshire) 87, 128 Alyn, Agnes 91 anchoresses 10 Ancrene Wisse 10 Anonimalle chronicle 42 Appellant, Lords 19, 103, 109, 110 see also Fizalan, Richard, Earl of Arundel; Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester archbishops see under individual archbishops: Arundel, Thomas; Becket, Thomas; Booth, Laurence; Booth, William; Chichele, Henry; FitzHerbert, William; de Gray, Walter; Melton, William; Scrope, Richard; Stafford, John; Sudbury, Simon; Winchelsey, Robert Argentine, John 104 aristocracy 6, 19, 38, 39, 66, 80, 104, 108–9, 111, 118 Arthur, King 37, 43 Arthur, Prince, son of Henry VII 77, 83 Arundel, Thomas, Arc. of Canterbury 17, 18, 51, 66 asceticism 36, 56, 76, 124 Ashby, George 19 Asheton, Sir Thomas 84 Ashton-under-Lyne Church (Lancashire) 84 astrology 105
Bacon family 31 Bacon, Adam 32 Bacon, Thomas 32 Bacon, William 32 Badby, John 16 Badlesmere, Bartholomew 23 Bale, John 18 Ballade set on the gates of Canterbury (1460) 114 Barton Turf Church (Norfolk) 81, 82, 158 n.90, 158 n.93 Basin, Thomas 96 Baxter, Margery 15 Beauchamp, Richard, Earl of Warwick (d. 1439) 94 Pageants of 56 Beauchamp, Thomas, Earl of Warwick (d. 1369) 40–1 Beauchamp, Thomas, Earl of Warwick (d. 1401) 19, 109–11 see also Appellant, Lords Beaufort, Edmund, Duke of Somerset (d. 1455) 74 Beaufort, Edmund, Duke of Somerset (d. 1471) 118 Beaufort, Lady Margaret 77 Becket, Thomas, Arc. of Canterbury 36, 106, 107, 108 ‘Becket model’, the 62 canonization of 12 defender of Church liberties 12, 13 model political martyr 13 posthumous cult of 12–13, 63, 70, 72, 79, 101, 102 as shepherd 55 and Arc. Scrope’s cult 62 and Thomas of Lancaster’s cult 13, 32, 35, 62 Bedford, John, Duke of 50, 94 Bell, Alexander 29 Benedict XII, Pope 40 Benet, John 51, 114, 165 n.114
194 Index Berkeley 100, 101 Beverly, Sir John 14 Binham Priory (Norfolk) 158 n.93 Binski, Paul 13 bishops English 63–4, 118 see also under individual bishops: Gravesend, Stephen, Bishop of London; Bowet, Henry, Bishop of Bath and Wells; Hamo de Hethe, Bishop of Rochester; Stapeldon, Walter, Bishop of Exeter; Grandisson, John, Bishop of Exeter; Cantilupe, Thomas, Bishop of Hereford; Hugh of Lincoln, Bishop of Lincoln; Stafford, John, Bishop of Bath and Wells; Stafford, Edmund, Bishop of Exeter; Pecock, Reginald, Bishop of Chichester holy 57, 60, 63 Black Notley Church (Essex) 29 Blackburn, Margaret 62, 68, 71, 129 Blackburn, Nicholas 71 Blackheath, battle of (1452) 114 Blacman, John 75–6, 84, 88, 89, 90, 91–2, 94 Blanche of Navarre 24, 32, 39 Blessed Mary Magdalene Chapel, York 54 blood 13, 45, 48, 87, 102 Boccaccio, Giovanni 34, 96 body natural 83 body politic 52, 83 de Bohun family 28, 32–3, 116, 142 n.70 de Bohun, Humphrey, Earl of Hereford and Essex (d. 1322) 23, 32 de Bohun, Humphrey, Earl of Hereford and Essex (d. 1361) 32–3 de Bohun, Joan, Countess of Hereford 33 Bokenham, Osbern 11 Bolton Book of Hours, the 56, 62, 68, 71 Book of Faith 15 Book of the Illustrious Henries 93
Book of the Miracles of Edward… 100 Books of Hours general 7, 11, 89, 128, 130, 131 individual 31, 40, 50, 56, 58, 62, 65–6, 68, 71, 84, 86, 87–8, 154 n.23 Booth, Laurence, Arc. of York 75 Booth, William, Arc. of York 67 Boroubridge, battle of (1322) 23, 27, 32 Bosworth, battle of (1485) 71, 104 Boughton, Joan 14, 17 Bourn Priory (Lincolnshire) 30 Bowet, Henry, Bishop of Bath and Wells 64, 71 Bowet, Sir Nicholas 68 Bread Street, London, Augustinian Priory on 109, 111 Brightling (Sussex) 94 Brimsfield (Gloucestershire) 32 Bristol 14, 163 n.50 Bristol Cathedral 100, 161 n.10 Bruce, Isabel 68 Brut, continuation of the 35, 39, 43, 47 Bukherst, John 30 Burgundy 71, 95, 99 dukes of 96 Burning of Heretics, On the (1401) 14 Burton (Staffordshire) 23 de Burton, Sir John 29–30 Burton, Robert 21 Bury St Edmunds 112, 113 Bushy, Sir John 110 Butler family, lords of Wem 31 Cade’s Rebellion 112 Calais, siege of (1347) 37 Cambridge University 88 canonization 2, 63 see also in individual cults under attempted canonization Canterbury (province) 62, 70, 71 Canterbury Cathedral 13, 23, 71, 79, 102, 108, 161 n.15 Cantilupe, Thomas, Bishop of Hereford 35–6, 60, 101 Capgrave, John 11, 93, 140 n.38 Carpenter, Christine 3
Index 195 Carruthers, Mary 69 Cato, Angelo, Arc. of Vienne 104 Caversham (Berkshire) 74, 78 celibacy see chastity Chanson de Roland, La 41 charity 58, 76, 77, 111, 119 Charles II, King of England 105 Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy 96 Charter of Christ 46 Chastelain, George 95–6 chastity 10, 20, 42, 52, 60, 62, 76, 88, 92 Chaucer, Geoffrey 11, 13, 21 Cheapside, London 106 Chertsey Abbey 75, 76, 127, 129 Chichele, Henry, Arc. of Canterbury 136 n.49 Chigwell, Hamo 105–6 chivalry 37–44, 81, 109, 111, 118, 117 in literature 37 and chivalric virtues 39 and martyrdom 41 and reality 37–8 Christ 6–10, 16, 17, 20, 28, 35, 39, 40, 43, 46, 48, 57, 58, 60, 62, 75, 94, 95, 102, 104, 107, 131 Arma Christi 7, 58 Calvary 7, 8–9, 35 Christi miles 28, 38, 39–44, 109, 122, 125 Corpus Christi 8, 58, 149 n.58 Crown of Thorns 7, 9, 43, 48, 115 Five Wounds 50, 57, 58 humanity of 6–7, 58 militia Christi 63 suffering and Passion of 6, 7–10, 20, 22, 35, 48, 58, 59, 115, 131 Resurrection 73 imitatio Christi 8, 13, 17, 20, 48, 50, 59, 60, 75, 102, 107, 131 meditation on 7–10 as shepherd 55 and Mary’s suffering 7–8 Chronicle of London, A 93 Church liberties 2, 56, 63, 66, 108 Clement VI, Pope 9
Clementhorpe Nunnery, York 50, 68, 149 n.53 clergy, the 12, 13, 49, 54, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 72, 107, 108, 128, 129 Clerk, John 54 Cobham, Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester 2, 113 Cokkes, Richard and Alice 116 Comber, Walter 14, 15 common weal 2, 82–3, 98, 108, 110, 114, 115, 109 commonplace books 21, 39, 51 commons, the 41, 46, 100, 108, 110, 128 Commons, the parliamentary 26, 38, 46, 49, 109–10, 112, 113 communitas 69 Compilation of the Meekness and Good Life of King Henry VI 75–6, 84, 88, 89, 90, 91–2, 94 Complaint of a Prisoner in the Fleet (1463) 19 confession 9, 102, 104, 120 Constitutions of Clarendon (1164) 12 contrition 8, 9, 102, 103, 120 Corpus Christi, guild of, in York 67, 68, 69 Cothi, Lewys Glyn 79 Coventry 25 Crowland chronicle, continuation of 75, 89 crusading 39–40 cults see martyrdom cults cultural turn, the 4 Cumberland 79 Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne 13 Dance of Isaiah 21 Dautree, John 54, 68, 69, 70 David, King 103 De Casibus Illustrium Virorum 34, 96 De Heretico Cumburendo (1401) 14 De Laudibus Legum Angliae 117 De Re Militari 95 Decollatio Ricardi Scrope 51, 58, 59, 61, 66, 67, 149 n.53
196 Index Despensers, the (Hugh the Elder and Younger) 23, 25, 26, 32 [D]euout meditacioun vp /pe passioun of Christ 9 dioceses Bath and Wells 63 Exeter 107 Salisbury 62 Worcester 63 devotion see piety dissolution of the monasteries 78, 125 Dives and Pauper 1, 99–100 Dublin 105 Duffy, Eamon 128 East Anglia 80, 81, 84, 87 East Harptree (Somerset) 116 Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent 100–1 Edward I, King of England 24, 43 Edward II, King of England 24, 25, 37, 42, 43, 80, 106, 107 deposition of 26 death and burial 100, 101, 105, 120 escape of 100 relations of with Thomas of Lancaster 23, 39 opposition of to Lancaster’s cult 24, 25 incompetence of 47, 101, 103–4, 118 and Piers Gaveston 25 posthumous cult 100–4, 118: support of 101, 103, 104; opposition to 100–1; popularity of 100–1, 127; adherents 100; attempted canonization 101–2, 103, 104, 123; as highlighting ideas on penitence and suffering 102–3, 122, 125, 127; Edward as a penitent and sufferer 102–3, 120 Edward III, King of England 26, 27, 45, 46, 80, 84, 100, 101–2 attempted canonization of Thomas of Lancaster 26–8, 126
and Arthurian imagery 37 and chivalry 44 and crusading 40 and cult around Edward II 101–2, 103 and the Order of the Garter 37 Edward IV, King of England 19, 53, 54, 55, 60, 61, 74, 76, 82, 96, 99, 105, 112, 113, 115, 117 as suffering 97–8 Edward V, King of England 77, 104–5, 162 n.43 Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI 74, 75, 96, 115–18 posthumous cult 116–18 El Cid 41 Eleven Thousand Virgins, feast of 60 Elizabeth of York, Queen of Henry VII 77, 116 Emayn, William 14, 15 endurance see suffering, endurance of English Church, the 128–31 epidemics 85–7, 126–7 Eton College, Winchester 76, 88 Eulogium, the 61 Evesham, battle of (1265) 36 execution by beheading 24, 25 public 119–20 iconography of 131 Exeter Cathedral 106 exile (as martyrdom) 19–20 expiation 9, 48, 58, 87, 103, 130 Eye Church (Suffolk) 158 n.93 Fincham, Ela and John 85 Fitzalan, Richard, Earl of Arundel 1, 109–11, 118, 119, 120, 125 posthumous cult 109–11, 122, 125 Fitzalan, Thomas, Earl of Arundel 111 FitzHerbert, William, Arc. of York 54, 59, 63, 72–3, 82 Flagellants 9 Flanders 71 Flavius Vegetius Renatus 95 Fortescue, Sir John 82, 83, 117
Index 197 Fortune’s Wheel 34 Fotheringhay Church (Northamptonshire) 53, 56, 71, 115 Foucault, Michel 119 Fountains Abbey (Yorkshire) 59 Fourth Lateran Council, the (1215) 102 Foxe, John 112 France 12, 32, 37, 38, 71, 74, 82, 84, 106, 109, 112, 114, 117, 118 Friars of St Francis Church, Bridgewater (Somerset) 30 Frithelstock Priory (Devon) 106, 107 Froissart, Jean 107 Fulk Fitz Warin (romance) 46–7 Fullar, Thomas 90 Galahad, Sir 42 Gascoigne, Thomas 51, 58, 59, 61, 66, 67, 149 n.53 Gascoigne, William 66 Gaveston, Piers 25, 32 generosity 39 gentry 19, 30–2, 38, 44, 46, 67, 68, 80, 104, 128 Geoffrey le Baker 45 Gieleman, John 29 Gifford, Sir John, Lord of Brimsfield 32 Gifford, Sir Thomas 32 Given-Wilson, Chris 111 Gloucester 106, 163 n.50 Gloucester Cathedral 100, 101, 103, 129 Gloucester, Humphrey, Duke of 112–13 Godstow chronicle, the 52 ‘Good Duke Humphrey’ 112–13 Grandisson, John, Bishop of Exeter 107 Gravesend, Stephen, Bishop of London 25 de Gray, Walter, Arc. of York 72 Great Chronicle of London, the 17 Gregory XI, Pope 108 Gregory XII, Pope 52 Greven, Herman 29, 33 Guinevere, Queen 37
Hagiography 18, 63, 109, 130, 131 see also in individual cults; also under martyrdom in literature Haiton, William 68 Hales, Sir Robert 107 Hamo de Hethe, Bishop of Rochester 103 Harcley, Andrew 23, 48 Hardyng, John 52, 94, 96 Harland Abbey (Devon) 106, 107 de Hatfield, Robert 106 Henry II, King of England 12, 47, 80, 82 Henry III, King of England 24, 36, 39 Henry IV, King of England 14, 49, 50, 53, 59, 63, 64, 66, 70–1, 72–3, 104 and Arc. Scrope’s cult 52, 59, 64, 70–1, 72–3 and Thomas of Lancaster’s cult 28, 41 Henry IV (play) 63 Henry V, King of England 44, 71, 147 n.21 as Prince of Wales 16 and Arc. Scrope’s cult 52 Henry VI, King of England 52, 53, 115, 116, 118 coronation 92–3 minority and personal rule 92, 93 foundation of colleges 88 mental breakdown 74, 83, 94 dethronement 74 Readeption 75 exile 74, 75, 96 imprisonment 74, 75, 76, 90, 91 death 74, 75, 76, 85, 87, 90, 96–7, 100, 105, 114, 119–20 display of body 75 burial, reburial and tomb 75, 76, 77, 79, 90, 91, 120 and France 74 ineptitude of as king 83, 89, 92, 94, 113 contemporary views of 92–4, 96–7
198 Index Henry VI, King of England – continued posthumous cult 116, 117, 118, 126 prohibition of 75; encouragement of 76–8, 79, 116; popularity of 75, 78, 79, 119–20, 127; adherents 79–80, 86, 104, 128; attempted canonization 77, 78, 79, 123, 126; images and iconography 75, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87–8, 91, 130, 131; miracles 75, 77, 79, 85, 89–90, 91, 128; obits 76, 79–80, 85; pilgrimage 78; poems 90; prayers 76, 79, 83–4, 85–6, 89; relics 74, 78; vita 75–6, 84, 88, 89, 90, 91–2, 94; emphasizing virtuous life and patient suffering 85, 86, 87, 88–9; as highlighting ideas of political harmony 79; and his blood 90; and children 91; and King Alfred 88; and St Edward the Confessor 81, 82, 91, 92; and St Edmund 81–2, 92; and Job 90, 93, 94; Henry VI as chaste 76, 82, 92, 125; model of piety 75–6, 77, 78, 84, 88, 89, 93, 94, 97, 118, 120, 122, 128; as a fool 94; innocent 87, 89–94, 97, 98, 122, 125; as king 80–5, 87, 88–9, 131; patron of learning 87–8, 125, 128; protector against plague 79, 82, 85–7, 122, 126–7, 128; suffering in life 75–6, 77–8, 82, 85, 86, 89, 91, 94, 95, 96–7, 98, 117, 120, 124, 126 Henry VII, King of England 76–8, 79, 83, 84, 85, 105, 116, 118 and Henry VI’s cult 77–8, 79, 83, 105 Henry VIII, King of England 13, 29, 31, 78, 125 Hereford 85
Hillingdon Church, London 29, 31 Hilton, Walter 9, 10 Historie of the Arrivall of Edward IV in England (1471) 96–7, 98, 117 Hoccleve, Thomas 16, 19 Holinshed, Raphael 112 Holland, Sir Robert 23, 48 holy fool, the 94 Holy Innocents, the 105 Holy Land, the 40 Hugh of Lincoln, Bishop of Lincoln 13, 60 humility 103 Hundred Years War, the 37–8 images, devotional 130 see also in individual cults under images and iconography Innocent VIII, Pope 77, 126 Irnham (Lincolnshire) 31, 32 Isabella of France, Queen of Edward II 2, 24, 26–7, 37, 45, 100–1, 102, 105–6, 107, 108 Isle of Man 109 James Douglas 43 James, Sir (possibly Sir William James) 14, 136 n.49 Job 18–19, 90, 93, 94, 96, 97, 114 John XXII, Pope 26, 28, 126 John the Baptist 81, 156 n.64 John Mirk’s Festial 11 John of Salisbury 12, 83 Julian of Norwich 8, 10 Julius II, Pope 77, 126 justice 45–8, 118 Kamerick, Kathleen 129 Kantorowicz, E.H. 83 Kempe, John 20 Kempe, Margery 8, 20 Kennedy, assassinations 3 Kerver, Thomas 93 King’s College, Cambridge 87 see also Henry VI’s foundations kingship 80, 82–3, 88, 92–3, 99, 103, 117, 118 royal attributes 80–94 royal contrition 103
Index 199 royal saints 80–2, 84, 99–100 see also St Edmund; St Edward the Confessor royal touch, the 82, 84 Kirkby Knoll (North Riding) 55, 67 knighthood see chivalry Knyghthode and Bataile 95 Koeur (Lorraine) 75 de Lacy, Alice, Countess of Lancaster and Leicester 42 laity, the 3, 9, 11, 60, 62, 63, 64, 67, 71, 76, 84, 86, 88, 108, 123, 127, 128, 129–31 ‘Lament of Edward II’ 102–3 Lancashire 30, 75 Lancaster, Duchy of 31, 32 Lancaster, Henry, Duke of 32, 33, 102 Lancaster, Henry, Earl of 26–7, 28 Lancaster, Thomas, Earl of rebellion 23–4 trial 24, 25, 27, 29, 34, 45, 111, 122; and annulation of 27, 45 execution and execution place 24, 25, 27, 29, 31, 32, 33–4, 35, 41, 43, 44, 47, 119, 124, 131 burial and tomb 24, 25, 26, 48, 120 parentage 24, 39 patronage of religious houses 30 political activity 23, 25, 38, 43–4, 46 relations with King Edward II 23 contemporary views of 23 and Stewardship of England 31, 36, 43–4, 46, 47 and lordship 31 and his wife, Alice de Lacy 42 posthumous cult: 66, 68, 69, 74, 79, 82, 99, 109, 126: encouragement of 24, 26–8; prohibition of 24, 25, 120, 127; propagation of 28, 29, 31, 33; popularity of outside Britain 29, 33; adherents 28, 30–3, 36, 42, 44, 118; gentry adherents 30–2, 38, 44, 46,
104, 122, 127; attempted canonization 24, 26, 27–8, 48, 123, 125–6, 140 n.38; images and iconography 27, 28, 29–30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 44, 131, 140 n.31; miracles 24–5, 26, 29, 31, 33, 42, 43, 45, 48, 90, 125; obits 30, 31, 46; passio 28–9, 33, 35, 39; pilgrimage 25, 26, 27; poems 30; prayers 31, 32, 33, 35, 39, 40, 44, 45, 46, 48, 131; relics 29, 31, 42, 43; as providing explanation for death 43; enhancing identities 38, 42, 44, 69–73; and blood 45, 48, 90; and chivalry 37–44, 109, 122, 126; and law and justice 45–8, 122; and King Arthur 43, 48; and Thomas Becket 13, 32, 35; and Thomas Cantilupe 35–6; and Christ 48; and St George 40–1; and Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester 36–7; ‘Blessed Thomas of Lancaster’, guild of 29, 30; Lancaster as chaste 42; Christi miles 28, 38, 39–44, 109, 122, 125, 131; generous 39; innocent 27, 45, 89, 109; dying for England 24, 26, 31, 35–6, 41, 43, 48, 121; dying in defence of Church 26, 35–6, 45; dying for justice 30, 35–6, 41, 45, 46 Lanercost chronicle 25 Langley, Thomas 51 law 45–6 Lawrence, John 106 ‘le Laweles chirch’, London 106 Le Temple de Bocace 95–6 Leeds Castle (Kent) 23 Legenda Aurea, the 164 n.85 Legendys of Hooly Wummen 11 Leicester Abbey 30
200 Index Leicestershire 30, 31 Lene, William 30 leprosy 59, 64 Lincolnshire 31, 32, 68 literature romance 37, 40 outlawry 47 chansons de geste 37 liturgy 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 18, 65, 72, 76, 109, 129, 130–1 see also in individual cults under prayers Livre de Seyntz Medicines 102 Llewelyn, Dafydd Llwyd up 104 Lollardy 14–18 Lombarde, William 78 London 12, 17, 49, 70, 75, 92, 95, 97, 105–6, 108, 110, 112, 117 London Bridge 107 Louis IX, King of France 82 Love, Nicholas 7 Ludham Church (Norfolk) 81, 82 Ludlow, Sir Laurence 39 Luttrell, Sir Geoffrey 31, 32, 38 Luttrell Psalter, the 31, 32, 33, 34, 38, 44 Lydgate, John 11, 20–1, 81, 82, 92, 93 Maddicott, J.R. 43 Maidstone, Clement 51, 58, 59, 61, 66, 67, 70, 149 n.53 Maidstone, Thomas 70 Mancini, Dominic 104 manliness see masculinity Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI 2, 53, 74, 75, 76, 95, 97, 115, 116, 117, 118 as suffering 95–6 Martham (Norfolk) 15 martyrdom as innocent suffering 6, 104 as metaphor 18–21 in life 10, 18–21, 124 in literature 10–11, 82, 124, 125 ‘old’ versus ‘new’ 124–5 spiritual 8, 10 martyrdom cults general: Anglo-Saxon 1; Protestant and Catholic 2, 16;
Jewish 16; Lollard 14–18; virgin-martyrs 11, 16, 18, 19, 124, 125; boy-martyrs 92, 124, 125 political: based on old traditions 17–18, 34–5, 123, 131; consoling and rationalizing events 16, 34, 41, 48, 123; constructing and enhancing identities 38, 42, 44, 69–73, 122, 130; contextualized 2, 4, 6, 14, 120, 126–7; creation of 119–21; enabling commemoration 65–6, 69, 123–4, 130; enabling discourse 37–44, 45–8, 55–6, 121–2; expressing resistance to the king 3, 29, 111, 120–1; highlighting the martyr’s innocence and victimization 45, 59–60, 89–94, 104–5, 110–11, 124–5; offering intercession and protection 13, 31, 33, 48, 70–1, 85–7, 122 see also in individual cults under miracles; political manipulation by individual players 3, 29, 52, 120; providing role-models 11, 13, 38–44, 59–62, 75–6, 102–3, 122; representing ideas of political harmony 3, 13, 41, 59, 70, 79, 104, 121; and death in defence of the common weal 24, 26, 31, 35–6, 41, 48, 67, 109–10, 121, 114; and death in defence of the Church 12–13, 26, 35–6, 60, 65, 66–7; and death in defence of law and justice 30, 35–6, 41, 45, 46, 67; and the English Church 128–31 Martyrium Ricardi Archiepiscopi 51, 58, 59, 61, 66, 67, 70, 149 n.53 martyrological language 6, 14, 20, 94–8, 113, 124
Index 201 as available to all 22 as explaining suffering 18, 22, 89 martyrologies 30, 106, 130 Mary 7–8, 50, 58, 60–1, 78, 79, 81 compassion of 7–8 Immaculate Conception 7 Joys and Sorrows 7 Pietà, the 7 as Mater Dolorosa 7 masculinity 42, 60, 65, 81, 109, 111, 114, 117, 118 matrimony (as martyrdom) 20–1 McNiven, Peter 63 Melton, William, Arc. of York 25, 26 merchants 71–2 Merfeld, John 94 methodology 4 Middleham Jewel, the 12 Midlands, the 79, 102 Mills, Robert 65 Mirrour of the Blessed Lyf of Jesu Christ 7 Modus Tenendi Parliamentum (1321) 38 ‘monk of Evesham’ 109, 111, 164 n.85 ‘monk of Westminster’ 107 de Montfort, Simon, Earl of Leicester 36–7 More, Thomas 11–12 Morgan, John 79 Mortayne, Lady Margaret 32 Mortimer, Ann, Lady March 11 Mortimer, Sir Roger 26–7, 37, 45, 100–1 de Moseleye, Richard 25–6 Mowbray family 68 Mowbray, Thomas, Earl Marshal 49, 50 Neville, Cecily, Duchess of York 54 Neville, Ralph, Earl of Westmorland 50, 61 Neville, Richard, Earl of Salisbury 114
Neville, Richard, Earl of Warwick (‘the Kingmaker’) 114 Neville, Richard, Earl of Warwick 75 Nicholas of the Tower, the 112 Norfolk 31, 81, 86 North English Legendary, the 10–11 Northern Rising, the (1405) 49–50, 61, 63, 66, 67, 69 Northumberland 79 Norton, Christopher 65 Norwich 15 Nottinghamshire 30 Nycolas, Thomas 29 obedience 58 ‘Obsecro Te’ (prayer) 7 Oldcastle, Sir John 14, 16, 136 n.49 On the Recovery of the Throne by Edward IV 97 Order of the Garter, the 37, 41, 91 Ordinance of Justices (1346) 46 Ordinances of 1311, the 23, 24, 25, 36 Ormrod, Mark 101 Oxford University 88 Oxfordshire 32 Pange lingua (hymn) 131 Paris, William 11, 19 parliaments 38, 49 individual parliaments: ‘pseudo-parliaments’ (1321) 23, 30; (1327) 27; (1332) 40; (1334) 40; (1384) 110; (1386) 110; (1388) 109; (1404) 49; (1406) 50; (1447) 112, 113; (1459) 95; (1461) 97 Parron, William 105 pastor populi 55–6, 59, 63, 66, 67, 69, 122, 125, 131 patience see suffering, endurance of Peasants’ Revolt, the (1381) 49, 99, 107–8 Pecock, Reginald, Bishop of Chichester 15 penance 13, 20, 52, 97, 102–3, 104, 106, 127 see also confession, penitence
202 Index penitence 102–3, 104, 125, 127, 161 n.29 see also confession, penance Penzance (Cornwall) 85 Percy, Henry, Earl of Northumberland 63, 67 Percy, Sir Henry (Hotspur) 73, 112 perjury 95 persona publica 83, 89 pestilence 85–7 Peters, Christine 128 Pety Job 18–19 Pfaff, Richard 130 Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy 96 piety 13, 16, 35, 48, 53, 56, 75, 76, 77, 82, 88, 91, 94, 97, 99, 117, 118, 119, 120, 123, 128 lay 7, 122, 131 female 68, 128 plague 85–7, 126–7 Plumpton, Sir William 50 de la Pole, William, Duke of Suffolk 112 political culture 3, 5, 29, 113, 125, 128 political martyrs see under individual cults: Becket, Thomas, Arc. of Canterbury; Edward II, King of England; Edward, Prince of Wales; Fitzalan, Richard, Earl of Arundel; Henry VI, King of England; Lancaster, Thomas, Earl of; Scrope, Richard, Arc. of York; Sudbury, Simon, Arc. of Canterbury Pollard, A.J. 105 Pontefract 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 31, 43, 50, 115, 127, 129 Prince Arthur’s Chantry, Worcester Cathedral 83 Princes in the Tower, the 77, 104–5 see Edward V, King of England; York, Richard, Duke of (d. 1483?) providence 48, 98 Provisions of Oxford (1258) 36 prowess 39, 42, 44, 60, 114, 117
psalters general 130 individual 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 38, 44, 46, 116 purgatory 21 Pyncocke, Sir James 29, 31 Raunds (Northumptonshire) 31, 46 Raunds family 31, 46 Raunds, William 46 Rawcliffe (Yorkshire) 61 Reading 93 Reformation 2, 29 Reynes, Robert 11 Richard II, King of England 1, 19, 52, 67, 80, 81, 94, 99, 100, 101, 103, 104, 105, 109, 110, 111 Richard III, King of England 54, 76, 79, 100, 104, 105 Richard III (play) 104 Ripon (Yorkshire) 55, 67 Robert Bruce, King of Scotland 24 Robynson, John 91 Rolle, Richard 9 Rome 102 Romney (Kent) 30 rood screens 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 91, 158 n.93 Rothwell, Thomas 67 Rubin, Miri 4, 128 Russell, J.C. 3 Rutlandshire 46 saintly kings 80–2, 84 see also kingship saints St Agatha 11, 12 St Agnes 17 St Alban 112 St Anne 99 St Apollonia 11, 12, 156 n.64 St Barbara 156 n.64 St Blaise 70, 72 St Cecily 11, 17 St Christine 11, 19 St Christopher 70, 72 St Clement 57, 71, 156 n.64 St Cuthbert 13
Index 203 St Dominic 72 St Dunstan 56 St Edmund 80, 81–2, 84, 85, 92, 101 St Edward the Confessor 80–1, 82, 84, 85, 91, 92, 101 St Erasmus 71 St Francis of Assisi 72 St George 33, 40–1, 42, 81, 82 St Hugh of Lincoln see Hugh of Lincoln, Bishop of Lincoln St Julian 11 St Katherine 11, 61 St Louis 82 St Lucy 12 St Margaret 11 St Olaf 81 St Oswald 57, 80–1 St Peter 57 ‘St’ Robert of Bury 92 St Roch 11, 85, 86, 87, 128 St Sebastian 12, 85, 87, 128 St Sidwell 156 n.64 St Stephen 50, 59, 65 St Thomas Aquinas 36 St Thomas Becket see Becket, Thomas, Arc. of Canterbury St Thomas of Dover 36 St Thomas of Hereford see Cantilupe, Thomas, Bishop of Hereford St Thomas the Apostle 36 St William of York see FitzHerbert William, Arc. of York Saul, Nigel 110 Sawtre, Sir William 14, 17, 136 n.49 Scale of Perfection 9 Scotland 28, 75, 82, 96 Scrope Chapel, York Minster 59, 65 Scrope family 52, 54, 59, 64–6 Scrope, Henry, 3rd Lord of Masham (d. 1415) 52, 112, 151 n.100 Scrope, Richard, Arc. of York trial 50, 51, 59–60, 65, 66, 67, 72–3 execution and execution place 50, 53, 56, 60, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 72–3, 106, 107, 119, 131, 149 n.53
burial and tomb 50, 59, 61, 67, 69, 73, 120, 125 leadership of rising 49–50, 58, 61, 63, 64, 66, 67, 69, 126, 127 articles hung in York 49, 63, 66, 67 articles attributed to by Yorkists 51, 53, 67 reasons for decollation of 51, 67 relations of with King Henry IV 49 as bishop of Lichfield 57, 103 as Arc. of York 58, 60, 64 posthumous cult 74, 79, 82, 99, 126 opposition to 50, 51–2, 70, 73, 120; encouragement of 53, 54; propagation of 70, 127; adherents 54–5, 61, 67–8, 69, 71, 104, 118, 127, 128–9; proposed canonization and translation 54–5, 61, 67, 70; images and iconography 53, 56–7, 62, 65, 71, 73, 131; miracles 51, 52, 61, 125, 149 n.53; obits 68–9; pilgrimage 65, 69; poems 60, 61, 62; prayers 50, 58, 60, 61, 62, 65–6, 68, 71, 72; relics 54, 68, 69; shrine, inventory of 55, 71; texts of Martyrium 51, 58, 59, 61, 66, 67, 70; cult as enabling commemoration 65–6, 69; encouraging political harmony 59, 70; enhancing civic identity 69–73; propagating social messages 58–9, 68, 122; and the city of York 67–73; and emphasis on martyrdom 50–1, 52, 66, 67; and emphasis on saintly virtues 50–1, 52, 59, 67, and the Five Wounds 50, 57–8; and Christ 57–8, 59–60; and Mary 60–1; and the Scrope family 65–6; and
204 Index Scrope, Richard, Arc. of York – cont’d St Stephen 59; and St Thomas Becket 62; and St William of York 59, 72–3, death for England and its laws 67; death in defence of the Church 60, 65, 66–7; Scrope as an anti-Lancastrian champion 53, 67, 126; chaste 52, 60, 65, 68, 122, 125; innocent 59–60, 89; model for younger generations 62; pastor populi 55–6, 59, 63, 66, 67, 69, 122, 125, 131; patron-saint as sea 53, 54, 70–1, 122; political leader 63–7, 73; spiritual leader 56–62, 63, 64, 73; truthful 52, 61–2, 68, 122 Scrope, Richard, Baron of Bolton (d. 1403) 64 Scrope, Stephen (d. 1406) 59, 65 Scrope, Stephen (d. 1418) 56, 59, 65 Scrope-Grosvenor Controversy, the 64 Second Nun’s Tale, the 11 Sempringhem Priory (Lincolnshire) 32 Sendale, John 55, 67 Seneca, Lucius Annaeus 96 Shakespeare, William 63, 64, 104, 112 Sheen Priory 147 n.21 Sherborne Missal, the 8 Shipton Moor (Yorkshire) 49 Shrewsbury, battle of (1403) 112 Sibson, John 61, 68, 125 silence (as a martyrological motif) 17, 59–60 Simnel, Lambert (‘Edward VI’) 105 Smith, William 14, 136 n.49 Smithfield, London 14, 16, 99 Solomon, King 88, 93 Somnium Vigilantis, the (1459) 95 South English Legendary, the 10–11 Southampton plot, the 112 Speculum Sacerdotale 11
St Albans, first battle of (1455) 74, 112 St Albans Abbey 112, 113, 115 St Clement Danes Church, London 106 St Cuthbert Monastery, Durham 33 St George’s Chapel, Windsor 28, 41, 76, 77, 78, 79, 85, 116, 162 n.43 St Gregory’s Church, Sudbury (Suffolk) 108 St John the Evangelist Priory, Pontefract 24, 25, 127 St Paul’s Cathedral 24, 25, 75, 90, 106, 125, 161 n.15 St Peter ad Vincula Church, South Newington (Oxfordshire) 32, 35, 44 St Peter’s Abbey, Gloucester 100, 102 Stafford, Edmund, Bishop of Exeter 64 Stafford, Edward, Duke of Buckingham 116 Stafford, John, Bishop of Bath and Wells 14; Arc. of Canterbury 116 Stambourne Church (Essex) 91 Stapeldon, Walter, Bishop of Exeter 106–7, 108 Statute of Treasons (1352) 111 Stele, John 29, 30 Stephen, William Fitz 12 Stouck, Mary-Ann 111 Strohm, Paul 4, 98, 115 Sudbury, Simon, Arc. of Canterbury 1, 107–8, 131 posthumous cult 107–8, 127, 131 suffering, endurance of 10, 19, 20, 21, 59–60, 62, 63, 74, 89, 96, 97–8, 103, 113–15 Suffolk 31, 32, 105 Swanson, R.N. 70, 129 sweat sickness 85, 126 Symeon, Simon 32 Syon Abbey 51, 147 n.21 taxation 49, 66 Taylor, William 14, 136 n.49
Index 205 Tewkesbury Abbey (Gloucestershire) 115, 116 Tewkesbury, battle of (1471) 75, 115, 117, 118 Theilmann, John 101 Thomas, John ap 79 Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester 103, 109 see also Appellant, Lords Thorpe, William 16–17, 18 tonsure 65 Tower Hill, London 109 Tower, the, London 74, 75, 76, 91, 92, 104, 105, 119 treason accusations 24, 25, 110, 111, 112 truthfulness 52, 59, 61–2, 68 Tudor, Edmund, Earl of Richmond 77 Turner, Victor 69 Tutbury (Staffordshire) 23 Twelve Letters save England 114 Urban VI, Pope 100, 103 Usk, Adam 109, 111, 164 n.85 Vauchez, André 62, 63, 125 violence 19, 25, 35, 36, 37, 52, 62, 99, 101, 109, 111, 112, 119, 123, 124, 125 virginity 10, 42, 59, 60, 61, 68, 82, 92 as martyrdom 10 and virgin-martyrs 11, 16, 18, 19, 124, 125 Vita Edward Secundi 34, 42 Vyvian, Richard 85 Wakefield, battle of (1460) 114, 115 Walberswick Church (Suffolk) 84–5, 130 Walker, Simon 3, 41 Walsham le Willows (Suffolk) 30 Walsingham, Thomas 28, 64, 107, 108, 111 Walter, Henry 91 Warbeck, Perkin 105 Warkworth, John 90
Wars of the Roses, the 83, 95, 114 Watts, John 92, 112 Wem (Shropshire) 31 Westminster Abbey, London 71, 99, 105, 161 n.15 Wethamsted, John 115 Whimple Church (Devon) 85, 128 White, William 15 Wife of Bath 21 Wigmore, Abbot of St Peter’s Abbey, Gloucester 100 William Gregory’s chronicle 92, 114 William of Northfolk 29 Wilton Diptych, the 81 Winchelsey, Robert, Arc. of Canterbury 56, 63 Woodville, Elizabeth, Queen of Edward IV 97–8, 105 Worcester 84 Worcester Cathedral 83 Wriothesley (or Wrythe), Sir Thomas 41 Wyche, Richard 14 Wycliffe, John 14–15, 108 Wyman, Agnes 68, 69 Wyman, Henry 68, 71 York (city) 24, 27, 49, 50, 54, 58, 60, 64, 67–73, 115 civic identity in 67–73 civic saints of 70–3 mercantile community in 71–2 York (province) 60, 72 York Minster 50, 51, 52, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 61, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 75, 79, 125, 127, 129 York, Richard, Duke of (d. 1483?) 77, 104–5 York, Richard, Duke of (d. 1460) 74, 95, 97, 116 claim for throne 53, 110, 114, 115 as suffering 97, 113–14, 115 York, use of 50, 56, 62 Yorkist suffering 97–8, 113–15 Yorkshire Rising see Northern Rising, the Yorkshire 7, 31, 49, 51, 53, 62, 64, 79, 126