26 August, 2009

A Manor House, And Some Presents

I'm afraid this is kind of a random post today - I meant to post the second part of my biography of Henry of Grosmont, duke of Lancaster, but just as I was putting the finishing touches to that one, I pressed some random key and the whole wretched thing disappeared. And Blogger, cackling in evil fashion and rubbing its hands together, chose that precise second to auto-save and thus saved an acre of nothingness rather than my meanderings about Henry. Agh. So until I can summon up the will to write it again, here are some bits about a) a fourteenth-century royal manor and b) some presents Edward II gave to his friend Sir Roger Damory.

As I'm being pretty random today, here's a fun fact that doesn't fit anywhere else: although normally the vagueness of medieval records frustrates me (when, for instance, Robert Lewer was arrested in 1320 for unstated "trespasses, contempts and disobediences," what the heck had he done?), sometimes it's amusing. Such as the entry on the 'Household Roll of Lord Edward the King's Son' from 1293, where we learn that on Wednesday 2 September that year, the nine-year-old Edward of Caernarfon dined at Salisbury with "a monk and some other monks." The next day, he dined at Winchester with "some monks and a whole convent of monks."

I was browsing through the Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous 1308-1348 the other day, as you do, when I saw an interesting piece about the manor of Burgh in Suffolk. Edward II stayed at Burgh, a village north-east of Ipswich, from 26 to 31 January 1326, dining there on the 30th with his sister-in-law Alice, countess of Norfolk. He gave a very generous gift of a pound each to the two minstrels - Henry Newsom, harper, and Richardyn, citoler - who performed for them.

Anyway, an inquisition taken by Walter de Norwich and the sheriff of Norfolk in August 1313 found that the manor of Burgh needed £200 of repairs, which is fortunate as it gives the extent of the buildings at Burgh and thereby a fascinating insight into a royal manor and the kind of living space the king could expect. (Though bear in mind that 1326, when he stayed at Burgh, was the year that Edward II spent a considerable amount of time living in a hut at Westminster and watching a group of men clean the ditches. Voluntarily.)

In 1313, the manor-house of Burgh contained:

- a great hall, covered with shingles
- a chamber for the king, adjoining the hall
- a chamber for the queen, with its own chapel
- a chamber for the royal knights
- a kitchen adjoining the hall
- a larder
- a watchtower outside the moat
- a watchtower inside the moat
- a granary
- a great chapel
- a "little stable"
- a bakehouse with a brewhouse
- a "great chamber without the moat with two garderobes"
- a dairy
- a stable with a beasthouse adjoining, in length 61 feet and in breadth 20 feet
- a grange
- a watermill
- a "little stable for the servants." (??)

There was a bridge from the queen's chamber leading to a park - doesn't that sound lovely? - and another bridge to the park, which "is enclosed with a paling," near the bakehouse. The inquisition found that "the doors without are fairly good" but that "the walls made of earth round the manor are in bad condition." Finally, a great table worth six shillings and eight pence stood in the hall.

An entry on the Patent Roll of 21 August 1329 details an "acquittance to Edmund de Remmesbury, king's chaplain, for the following things, which by the late king's [Edward II] command he delivered to Roger Dammori, knight..." Damory was Edward's great court favourite from about 1315 to 1319, lost his position to Hugh Despenser, and died in rebellion against the king in March 1322. While he was in the king's favour, though, Edward gave him some rather splendid gifts for his chapel:

- "A chasuble of red cloth of Tarsus sprinkled with diverse flowers of Indian colour, together with alb and amesse, stole and maniple, and two frontals of the same sort, the gift of the queen." Interesting that Isabella was giving presents to Damory. According to this page, cloth of Tarsus was a "type of felt cloth from the wool of shaggy black goats," and the Turkish city where it comes from is the birthplace of St Paul.

- "one chalice silver-gilt, with the cross engraved in the foot and six enamelled knots in the centre, and in the paten, one cross engraved with extended hand."

- "a superaltar of black stone ornamented in the circumference with silver and gilded."

- "one cross of ivory painted with four images standing on each side, the base whereof was of ivory and cedar, and round the base six images of ivory, painted, standing in tabernacles."

- "one solemn cope with embroidered images of Christ and his mother in the shoulders of the crucifix, of John and Mary, and the flagellations of Jesus Christ, and the image of the Virgin Mary sitting in a chair with tiers, with diverse embroidered images of the apostles, martyrs, confessors and virgins."

- "one image of the Virgin Mary of ivory, standing and holding the Child in her arms."


Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous 1308-1348, p. 34.
Calendar of Patent Rolls 1327-1330, pp. 439-40.


Susan Higginbotham said...

Blogger can be truly evil, can't it? Love the substitute post, though!

Clement Glen said...

A stable for the peasants!!!! LOL

Classic Medieval 'Upstairs Downstairs'!

Carla said...

Bad luck about losing your post. I've learned to write anything longer than about two lines in Word first.

Given that the record specifies that the king's chamber adjoined the hall, does that imply that the queen's chamber and the knights' chamber didn't?

BeNotForgot said...

Oh, that is so annoying when that happens (something you're working on disappears)! Never-the-less, I DO like the substitute -- thanks for sharing this! Vickie in Texas

Caroline said...

One thing is for sure. It definitely pays to be in the king's favor. This was a great post of seemingly small but entertaining details. Of course, I believe all the interesting things to know are in the details.

Family Stories

Kathryn Warner said...

Susan: thanks!

Clement: brilliant, isn't it?? :)

Carla: fortunately, I remembered later that I'd saved my notes for the post in Word, so it's not the total disaster I'd thought!

To me, it sounds as though the queen's chamber - and the knights', I suppose - was in an another building, given the ref to the bridge from her chamber to the park. Interesting to try and imagine the layout of the manor.

Vickie: thanks for stopping by, and the kind words!

Caroline: welcome to the blog - great to see you here! You're absolutely right about the details, and I've learned so much about Ed II and those close to him from reading his chamber and wardrobe accounts.

Anerje said...

so sorry you lost your post! I enjoyed the alternative though - all those little details. And LOL at the 'monk and some monks' - what's the difference?!

Kate Plantagenet said...

I loved the "one monk and some monks" too. Perhaps the scribe had written one monk after hearing it, and then realised Edward had eaten with many of them, so added the change!

Unless the one monk was special. Or perhaps he took his cassock off to dig a ditch. Did they wear cassocks or is that modern version? *smiles*

Sorry you lost your post A. But this was a very worthy replacement.

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Anerje and Kate. Love the ditch-digging idea! :)

Gabriele Campbell said...

Fun replacement post.

And I second the safe version of writing everything in Word first, or even in an HTML editor (but leave out the paragraph breaks, Bloggers inserts those automatically when you copy/paste).

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Gabriele. At least I usually have something about Ed II I can pull out of the hat when technology lets me down. :) And thanks for the HTML editor tip.

Jules Frusher said...

Whoops, I thought I'd already commented! Sorry. I love these detailed posts because they really bring to life the everyday stuff (well, maybe not everyday for those who weren't born of noble blood!). It's also good to get an idea of what a manor house looked like - I am wondering about the stable for servants though!!!