02 June, 2009

Possessions of the Losers of 1326

I finally got back from holiday last night after a truly nightmare journey of endlessly delayed trains and delayed planes. Hideous. Made me feel like I never ever want to get on a plane again, which is unfortunate, as I'm off to London on a research trip a week on Thursday. Several days of looking at Edward II's chamber accounts in the original French - woot, so exciting! (I mean that seriously, not sarcastically.)

I've had emails from a few people saying they haven't been able to comment on the blog as it keeps crashing - I've had the same problem myself on other blogs, and apparently it's something to do with the 'followers' widget. Hope Blogger fixes it soon. Until I get my act together and write a proper post, here's a quick one on some possessions of Edward II and Edmund Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, in 1326.

When Edward fled from London in early October 1326 after the arrival of Isabella and Mortimer's invasion force, he left some items behind with the merchant Simon Swanland. Swanland was a draper who occasionally provided cloth for the king's household, became mayor of London in the autumn of 1329, and was the recipient of his kinsman the archbishop of York's incredible letter in January 1329 or 1330 stating that Edward was "alive and in good health of body." The items Edward left with him included:

- a cloth-of-gold mantle edged with "diverse white pearls" and silver.

- three velvet garments with green stripes, and matching hat.

- four ells of ‘Tarse’ cloth with golden stripes.

- a green coverlet with three matching tapestries.

- a cushion cover of vermilion sendal.

- a silver cup with foot and cover.

- three "gilded acorn branches."

- a "piece of beautiful napery, which contains fifty-three ells."

- two "good and beautiful" Bibles (ij bibles bons et bels), one covered with red leather and the other with tanned leather, and a missal covered with black leather.

- this entry is partly damaged: "the sixth book of ...vel, well-glossed, covered with green leather."

- two coffers (or cases, or boxes), well-decorated.

- a "good and beautiful" chalice of silver which weighed four marks, and two matching pitchers.

- an encensq (incense-holder?) of silver which weighed sixteen shillings.

- an orfiller - not sure what that is - of silk, with golden birds.

- four mazers [entry damaged] with sorrels and silver-gilt.

- a piece of coarse black woollen cloth (i. neyr falding)

Edward's ally the earl of Arundel was executed in Hereford on 17 November 1326, and a week later, the possessions he had stored in the cathedral church of Chichester "pertaining to the king by the forfeiture of the earl" were delivered into the wardrobe of "Queen Isabel and of Edward the king's firstborn son," i.e. the soon to be Edward III. They were:

- £524, 2 shillings and 1p in 6 canvas sacks, labelled £533, 6 shillings and 8p.

- a silver-gilt cup, enamelled in parts, with a cover but without a foot, which weighed 7 marks.

- a silver-gilt cup, enamelled all over, with foot and cover and a basin to match, which weighed £11, 6 shillings and 8p.

- a silver-gilt cup, enamelled all over with foot and cover and a pint pot to match, which weighed 6 marks.

- a silver cup, gilt and partly enamelled, with a trivet, which weighed 103 shillings and 4p.

- a silver salt-cellar, enamelled all over, with a cover, which weighed 35 shillings.

- three silver-gilt cups, partly broken, with feet and covers, which weighed six pounds and 1 shilling.

- three silver-gilt cups, with feet and covers, which weighed 108 shillings and 4p.

- three cups of plain silver, with feet and covers, which weighed 101 shillings and 8p.

Evidently Arundel really liked silver things.

J. Harvey Bloom, ‘Simon de Swanland and King Edward II’, Notes and Queries, 11th series, 4 (1911), p. 2.
Calendar of Patent Rolls 1324-1327, p. 339.


Jules Frusher said...

You did well to get this up after your journey from hell! I would still be cowering under a table somewhere waiting for the men in white coats.

Interesting that the money in the sacks (Arundel) was less than labelled - miscounting or pilfering I wonder? He certainly did like silver, didn't he!

Ed's stuff all sounds beautiful - he had very good taste when it came to material things. Interesting too, that he trusted Swanland with all that stuff - says something of their relationship.

kate plantagenet said...

Welcome back! Sorry about your horrid trip. Oh well...

Love the sound of orfiller! Sounds 'awful' but was no doubt magnificent.

I am wondering what the different fabric names mean, and what their modern equivalents would be. Must check it out.....

Christy K Robinson said...

Cloth-of-gold mantle with pearls??? Awesome. My parents were never much into jewelry, but I must have some throwback genes -- all the way to Edward and Isabella. I love pearls. I could deck out like a Mardi Gras tramp, but all in pearls of white, blue, pink, caramel, black... (And I prefer gold to silver.)

Good to have you back, and I look forward to more of your terrific research. Besides, I like your writing voice: warm and personal, not didactic and dry. Thanks again for your dedication to breathing life and humor back into those dusty bones.

A Lee said...

Thank you so much for the work you do. I am addicted to your blog. I used to ignore this period of history and just accepted the stories of the weak king and the she-wolf. Recently, I found out that Edward II, Isabella, Roger Mortimer, and Robert the Bruce are my direct ancestors. I am giving Edward II and Isabella a chance and now I am obsessed with this period of history.

Kathryn Warner said...

Lady D: I'd love to kmow if someone filched a bit of Arundel's money at Chichester, or if his clerks couldn't count! :)

Kate: thanks! Let me know if you need any help figuring out the different fabrics.

Thank you for the kind words, Christy! I think your love of jewels must come directly from Edward. ;)

Great to see you here, A! Delighted to hear you've discovered this period of history and that you're enjoying the blog.

Anerje said...

Welcome back! Hope you and Lsdy D have a successful time in London!