Biddy gave this presentation to the Group at one of our winter meetings. Taking as the basis for her article the recent book by Thomas Penn - The Winter King, she compared and contrasted the characters, achievements and legacies of Richard III and Henry VII.
RICHARD III AND HENRY VII- HOW DIFFERENT WERE THEY?
by Biddy Brett Rookes
Neville says of his article on the Tale of Troy....."I produced my Tale of Troy to show one of the other great contributors to Romantic Literature, inspiring chivalry, which in turn inspired the Medieval knight. I gave the full story (or the early part of it !!!) just to show how much was involved.
For us, the most important section is the Medieval one, especially as “Guido Delle Colonne” was a book in Richard's library, signed and possibly annotated by him. So, there is a justification for something that seems outside the period. The same applies to most of the Romantic literature that remained pervasive for centuries in the Medieval period.
Much of that material has a Classical background and that is a topic that has been taken up by students, ancient and modern.
It is worthy of note that the greatest of C15th literature came from the pen of an ageing Lydgate, The Siege of Thebes, another descendant of an ancient past. In fact there is probably more Romance with very ancient background (Troy,Thebes,etc) in Richard's library than Arthurian material. That may mean absolutely nothing as having a book in a library does not necessarily mean it has been read!.
It provides food for thought as a possible variable in the differing attitudes between Edward IV Part 1 compared to those in Edward IV Part 2 and Richard III.
This is a period where there is a lack of reality and speculation reigns
THE TALE OF TROY
by Neville Sibery
Biddy treated us to a paper on Louis XI - often known as the Spider King or the Universal Spider. From her researches based upon Paul Murray Kendall's biography and snippets from the French chronicler Phillipe de Commines, Biddy sums Louis up as " A thoroughly going rotter, extremely clever, manipulative charming when he chose to be but overwhelmingly single minded in his desire to achieve the unification of France under his rule"
LOUIS XI KING OF FRANCE - THE UNIVERSAL SPIDER
by Biddy Brett Rookes
Biddy's interest in Medieval financial systems developed into this fascinating paper. She says that
"Delving into the relatively undocumented past is always fascinating. I had for a long time wondered how the lower sections of society managed their finances. This was the starting gun for the paper".
FINANCIAL SYSTEMS IN THE FOURTEENTH/FIFTEENTH CENTURIES FOR THE NON-NOBILITY
by Biddy Brett Rrookes
For our discussions on the Beaufort family, Mary sent us in this paper on the ancestress of them all! Mary says;
"I have always been fascinated by the times when History pulls back the curtain behind the big and important events, such as peace treaties and revolutions, and shows us the intimate, the private and the personal. I remember standing in front of a cabinet at Arundel Castle looking at the last few keepsakes handed to her waiting women by Mary Queen of Scots , crying with true distress. Similarly I loved the archaeological find, at Vindolanda, of a few old pieces of wood that turned out to be the scratched backs of some Roman writing tablets.
And what is more private, personal and intimate than two people falling in love? So Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt’s story has always moved and fascinated me and I was delighted to be able to write this paper."
by Mary Barratt
Our topic was medieval travel covering Crusades, Commerce, Courtly meanderings and Pilgrimages. Mary is particualrly interested in pilgrimages and gave us this paper on Walsingham - England's 'Nazereth'. Mary says:
"I first heard about Walsingham, the great medieval shrine in Norfolk, when I read ‘Katherine’ by Anya Seton. I may have mentioned before how much I love that book! There is no record of the real Katherine Swynford visiting Walsingham, but in the story Miss Seton imagines a distraught Katherine going on pilgrimage after the loss of her daughter, Blanche. Katherine hopes that her guilt and grief will be assuaged by the pilgrimage. Instead she is challenged to reform her life by renouncing her adulterous relationship with John of Gaunt."
THE WALSINGHAM PILGRIMAGE
by Mary Barratt