Tag Archives: Elizabeth Wydeville

The Bald Truth Behind the Execution of Clarence

George, Duke of Clarence, trying a bit too hard to compensate
George, Duke of Clarence, still alive at this point.

I have spent several years, now, musing on the reasons for the execution of George, Duke of Clarence. What that final act made Edward IV take the drastic, permanent action of executing his own brother?

He was convicted of treason.

Yes.

What did he do? What was the piece of straw that finally broke the camel’s back? What was that final, totally unforgivable crime that George committed? What was that one step too far?

  • Was it the fact George took the law into his own hands with the execution of Ankarette Twynho?
  • Was it the murder and witchcraft accusations that he levelled against Edward’s queen, Elizabeth Wydevile, following the death of his wife, Isabel?
  • Was it the rumours of Edward’s illegitimacy?
  • Was it George’s discovery of Edward’s previous secret marriages – to Eleanor Butler and Eleanor Talbot?

Or was it a deeper, more dangerous secret? Something that, if discovered, could have toppled the monarchy itself – nay England, even?

Sitting in a cafe this morning, quietly drinking my cappuccino, eating a toasted tea cake and playing an addictive, well-known game (involving sweets) on my phone, I overheard a little boy having a joke with his dad.

candle
15th Century light bulb

And I had a light bulb moment.

Once the waitress had changed the bulb – and I was no longer in the dark – I started writing, fleshing out my theory.

And I now know – beyond any unreasonable doubt – why George, Duke of Clarence, brother of the king and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (perfection personified), was executed.

We all know Edward was the golden child of the York family. He was the most courageous and dashing personification of manhood that ever walked the earth. He was the most glorious of the ‘3 Sons of York’ (forget Edmund, for the moment – otherwise the argument doesn’t work and Mortimer’s Cross was fought for all the wrong reasons).

And Edward’s wife, Elizabeth Wydevile, was the most beautiful woman in the realm – nay, Europe – nay, the known world.

4550226
The Perfect Princes

Their family was full of golden children; blonde-haired, blue-eyed angels who would not have looked out of place among the Gods of Olympus.

In short, the family was perfect.

Except.

As Edward grew older, one fatal, irreversible flaw appeared. No, it wasn’t his weight – that could have been easily solved with a sensible diet and exercise. And besides, kings had been overweight in the past – take Louis the Fat, for instance.

No, this was something that had never happened to a king – to God’s anointed – ever before.

It was at this point, on Facebook (the fount of all knowledge) that I saw a picture which totally convinced me of my theory.

11059657_1554665671470436_4651097333560421926_n
Richard, the true Golden Son of York

It was a sign that I was on the right track.

Edward wasn’t York’s Golden Boy.

He didn’t have the luscious locks.

And this is what Clarence had discovered.

One morning, walking in on Edward early and surprising him at his toilette, George was taken aback by what he saw.

A reflection of the sun shining from Edward’s head.

And George couldn’t resist the same joke I had heard the child say to his father this very morning:

‘Oh look! There’s a hair on your head. Fooled you!’

Edward’s Groom of the Stool was combing over the bald spot – and George’s fate was sealed.

Edward called the guard and George’s feet didn’t touch the ground – until he was safely locked in his prison cell.

This also explains an obscure comment I once found whilst perusing ‘The Children’s Guide to the Croydon Chronicle’. This stated that Edward’s residences were ‘sparsely thatched’. I have spent many a year trying to decipher the exact meaning of this phrase, but now I know.

comb
Edward’s comb-over would have looked something like this.

Edward was going bald and George discovering that truth was the final straw.

What else could Edward do? No king in history had ever gone bald.

Think on it. Name one – you can’t can you?

That’s because it has NEVER happened. It’s unheard of – and Edward had to protect his secret at all costs.

For England!

 

.

Sources:

Ellison Weird, The Children’s Guide to the Croydon Chronicle; Steve Cole, Cows in Action – the Pirate Mootiny; HP Spicy BBQ Sauce; Ivy Hair Issues, Washing Instructions for Wigs.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and Google Images.

After writing this post, Jeff R Sun has realised how grateful he is for his full head of luscious locks.

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Fifty Shades of Grey (Jefferty’s version)

Coat_of_Arms_of_Sir_Thomas_Grey,_1st_Marquess_of_Dorset,_KG
Coat of Arms of Sir Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset.

Thomas Grey, 7th Baron Ferrers of Groby, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, and 1st Marquess of Dorset (1455 – 20 September 1501), was a nobleman, courtier and the eldest son  of Elizabeth Wydeville and her first hubby, Lancastrian John Grey of Groby. Her second marriage was to Edward VI, improving Grey’s status at court and in the realm as the stepson, whoring partner and friend of the King.

Despite his inexhaustible sexual prowess with ladies of court and of the night (of the knight?), through his mother’s non stop endeavours, he made two materially advantageous marriages to wealthy heiresses – his first wife being Anne Holland, daughter of the King’s sister Anne of York and the second to Cecily Bonville,  by  whom he had 14 children.

Thomas later went on to become the great grandfather of the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey who completely lost her head over religious issues.

It's the chop for Jane
The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by the French painter Paul Delaroche, 1833. (Artist impression of Lady Jane playing Blind Man’s Buff* before her execution at the tower.) * See below.

As has already been mentioned, Grey – Dorset – is known to have many lovers, the best known being Elizabeth Shore. Others include Jane Shore a supposed sister of Elizabeth, Elizabeth Lambert, Jane Lambert and lots of other women who all also included Hastings  as their beau.

In his later life Grey was haunted by the memory of lovers whom he had thrown over and the ghosts of those who had died. He named fifty previous lovers as ghosts who would never leave him in peace night or day and was so troubled that he was constantly attended by priests, who performed exorcisms to rid him of these shades. This was described in great depth in the Wriothesley Chronicles – ‘A Chronicle of England During the Reigns of the Tudors’. Wriothesley’s Chronicle was written  by Charles Wriothesley (Call me Risley) of the College  of Arms in London and has a whole section devoted to the “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

Historical writers in the 21st century stole the title of this section for a book and subsequent film based very loosely on Thomas’ life and one particular love hate relationship with a  ‘lady’ and the rest, as they say, is history.

dulux

* Blind man’s buff Blind man’s buff or blind man’s bluff is a children’s game, a variant of tag in which the player who is “It” is blindfolded. The traditional name of the game is “blind man’s buff”, wherein the word buff is used in its older sense of a small push.

Jeff Jefferty Jeff is currently researching the history of internet dating by joining as many dating sites online as possible. Mrs JJ has indicated that she will be seeking a divorce and the two small people that hang around the house are currently eating blackberry and apple crumble from Sainsbury’s. Mrs Shonas is no longer in the picture, having gone to visit the late Arthur’s brother Jonas Shonas and found true love and happiness.

Sorcery, sources and sauces:

Wolf Hall (BBC2 TV drama)

Tandoori Raj Birmingham Take Away Menu

http://medievalchronicle.org

Wikipedia

Some book in the waiting room at Euston Station

Yellow Pages Telephone Directory UK 1978-79

A comment on a Facebook group

http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/thomasgrey2.htm

© Jeff ”Jefferty” Jeff February 16th 2015

10 Ways to Identify a Saint or a Sinner in the 15th Century

Religion was very important to people of the 15th Century. In many ways, it controlled their lives; told them what to eat and when they could eat it, who they could marry and when, who could get into heaven and who couldn’t.

Okay, perhaps religion should have a big say on that last one, at least.

Religious piety was given great prominence as a way of deciding who was ‘good’ and who was ‘bad’, especially on the stage that was the Wars of the Roses. So here are 10 ways to identify which is which.

220px-Cecily_neville1. You may have been involved in the highest level of politics in your younger years; such as being married to the country’s Lord Protector, being mother of 2 kings, and related to most of the protagonists in the Wars of the Roses, but following strict religious observance in your later years, will make you saintly. Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, springs to mind.

2. Being a Yorkist, of course, makes it easier to be saintly.  You could be mistaken for thinking that this is because, for the majority of the Wars of the Roses, they were on the winning side. However they were, eventually, the losers and yet still are considered highly pious, which highlights how incredibly remarkable a family they must have been.

3. You would have thought that being young and ‘disappeared’ may automatically make you saintly. However, Edward V and Richard Duke of York have a lot to overcome in order to make the saintly list. Yes, they were only children, imprisoned in the Tower of London and declared bastards by their uncle. However, they were a threat to that wonderful Uncle, who they would have had killed as soon as they reached adulthood. I have also heard say that they were ‘snivelling brprincessats’. And the fact we don’t actually know, for certain, that they are, as yet, in fact, well, DEAD makes it difficult to conclusively declare them saints. Plus, they were part of the despicable Woodville – or Wydeville – clan, which, unfortunately, is an instant disbarment from sainthood.

4. A way to become saintly is to die young in battle. Edmund Earl of Rutland was only 17 and killed by Clifford at – or after – the Battle of Wakefield and his head put on a spike above Micklegate Bar in York. Apparently Clifford justified this ‘murder’ as Edmund’s father – the Duke of York – had, apparently, killed Clifford’s father at the 1st Battle of St Albans. Of course it helps if you’re also a member of the York family as

5. Dying young is no defence against you being a sinner. Edward, Prince of Wales was only 17 when he was killed in battle at Tewkesbury. Of course, it doesn’t help that he was a Lancastrian, that his father was catatonic when he was born, that – at 7 years old – he ordered the beheadings of 2 of Warwick’s men after the 2nd Battle of St Albans, that he was married to Anne Neville first, nor that he fought to reclaim his father’s crown from the Yorkists.

III6. Founding religious houses and colleges almost automatically make you a saint. Richard III funded religious colleges at Middleham, and was in the process of setting one up at York Minster on his death. He was noted for his piety, so much so that his usurping of his nephew’s throne, the execution-without-trial of his brother’s friend, William Hastings, the subsequent disappearance – and possible murder – of his 2 nephews and the summary executions of his brother’s stepson and brother-in-law after a sham trial, doesn’t even put a dent in his piety. Of course, it does help if you are killed in an all-or-nothing battle for your life and crown.

DH17. Founding religious houses and colleges is not nearly enough to make you a saint if you are the Lancastrian mother of Henry VII. Margaret Beaufort had the gall to call herself ‘My Lady the King’s Mother’ when she was in fact – well – the king’s mother. She founded Christ’s College Cambridge and funded the restoration of churches. However, she helped to organise the royal household, supported her daughter-in-law’s sister when she fell out of favour with the king and supported her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth of York, in arguing against sending her granddaughter to a marriage in Scotland whilst still a child. Of course, it doesn’t help that Margaret Beaufort was a woman, a Lancastrian, adored by her son, the miserly Henry VII and loved by her grandson – the monstrous Henry VIII.

8. Of course, being a Lancastrian who married into the Yorkist, or a Yorkist who joined the Lancastrians, automatically prevents you from ever becoming a saint. To betray the Yorkists and fight for the Lancastrians in the last battle makes you the greatest traitor in history and a sinner beyond redemption – just ask the Stanleys. Conversely, having being married to a Lancastrian – who was killed in battle against the Yorkists – and then marrying the Yorkist king, and providing a male heir, automatically makes you the greatest traitor in history and a sinner beyond redemption – just ask Elizabeth Wydeville or Elizabeth Woodville (either should be able to confirm my point).

henry7bust9. Being an adult king murdered by your ‘replacement’ king automatically makes you saintly. Henry VI, alone, defies the rules. He failed at everything except being highly religious. His piety was so impressive that calls for his canonisation were made as soon as he was dead. And yet he was a Lancastrian.

10.  The final, most irredeemable example of a sinner in the 15th Century is, of course, Henry VII. That he was exiled from your home, and separated from his mother, from an early age. That he was Lancastrian heir following the deaths of – well – everyone else. That he was an able king who brought stability to a war-ravaged country. That he was a family man who loved his wife dearly and grieved for her deeply. All this is nothing compared to the fact he defeated Richard III and won the Wars of the Roses for the Lancastrians. What bigger sinner could there be in the 15th Century?

Jeff R Sun is continuously attempting to give clarity to the confusing parts of the Wars of the Roses. If you are still in doubt, please follow this basic premise: York, good; Lancaster, bad. Sticking with this simple rule, you won’t go far wrong, nor get shouted at, or be accused of trolling, on Facebook.

Sources: Wikipedia; Facebook groups galore; the Nile, which I live near; The Sunne in Splendour; The White Queen; The Red Queen; Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody; the Queen of Hearts; The Daughter of Time; Kind Hearts and Coronets.

Jacquetta, The White Queen and a look at Witchcraft

Much has been said in popular fiction about the claims that Jacquetta of Luxembourg was a witch and did witchy things, engendering a whole generation of believers in the magical power of this feisty woman. A TV series exploited these claims and took her spell making to a whole new level. Was Jacquetta capable of ‘blowing up a storm’ or ‘ensnaring Edward IV’’ for her daughter Elizabeth? Who was Jacquetta and why were these claims taken so seriously – claims still believed in some quarters and discussed today?

Jacquetta of Luxembourg was born in 1415 or 1416 and was the eldest daughter of Peter I of Luxembourg and his wife Margaret of Baux. The Luxembourgs claimed to be descended from the water deity Melusine through their ancestor Siegfried of Luxembourg (922-998).

Raymond rides off on a slope backed camel-horse cross breed when he finds Melusine  in magic water that does not pour out when the door is opened. Illustration from the Jean d'Arras work, Le livre de Mélusine (The Book of Melusine), 1478
Raymond rides off on a slope backed camel-horse cross breed when he finds Melusine in magic water that does not pour out when the door is opened. Illustration from the Jean d’Arras work, Le livre de Mélusine (The Book of Melusine), 1478

At the age of 17, Jacquetta was married to the much older John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, at Therouenne. The Duke, died in 1435, worn out after only two or three years of marriage to his beautiful young wife. He was the third son of King Henry IV of England.

Sir Richard Wydeville was commissioned by Henry VI of England to bring Bedford’s young widow to England. During the journey, the couple married in secret without seeking the king’s permission. Despite the king’s ire and the large fine they were made to pay, the marriage was long and very fruitful. Jacquetta and Richard had fourteen children, including the future wife of Edward IV, Elizabeth Wydeville. Richard was so exhausted by begetting children that in 1469 that he voluntarily threw his neck against the blade of one of the Kingmaker’s men severing his own head, ensuring that Warwick would get the blame for his decapitation.

Through her daughter Elizabeth, Jacquetta was the maternal grandmother of Elizabeth of York, wife and queen of Henry VII. She is, consequently, an ancestress of all subsequent English and British monarchs, including Elizabeth II, and seven other present-day European monarchs. It is unknown whether the present day descendants have inherited Jacquetta’s insatiable desire to ‘procreate children’ although the more tawdry of tabloids do speculate on the subject frequently. Shortly after her husband’s aforementioned suicide, Thomas Wake, a follower of Warwick’s, accused Jacquetta of witchcraft. Wake brought to Warwick Castle a lead image “made like a man of arms . . . broken in the middle and made fast with a wire,“ and alleged that Jacquetta had made it to use for witchy things and sourcery (sic). He claimed that John Daunger, a parish clerk in Northampton, could attest that Jacquetta had made two other images, one for the king and one for the queen. The case fell apart when Warwick released Edward IV from custody, and Jacquetta was cleared by the king’s great council of the charges on February 21, 1470.

In 1484, Richard III in the act known as Titulus Regius, brought the allegations of witchcraft against Jacquetta up again and claimed that she and Elizabeth had procured Elizabeth’s marriage to Edward IV through witchcraft. No proof or evidence was ever supplied by Richard to support these claims. The methods for them so doing were explored at length in a novel and popular TV series, which also claimed the witchy pair were able to blow up winds and storms.

''It was a dark and stormy night..."
”It was a dark and stormy night…”

Witchcraft in the Middle Ages was a controversial crime that in the eyes of the law was bad as poisoning, though given the choice of a belly full of arsenic or a few herbs and mystic words, I would go with the herbs and spells any day but that may be because I live in the 21st century.  If one was accused of witchcraft, the charges could be dropped by a relative’s defence in a trial by combat or by twelve people swearing an oath of the innocence of the accused .

With the rise of Christianity witchcraft became a superstition, and persecution of witches persisted through the Middle Ages. In the 5th century AD, Christian theologian St. Augustine of Hippo (that is Hippo the place; he was not a saint of hippopotamuses) had

No comment.
No comment.

said that all pagan magic and religion were invented by the devil and that the devil’s purpose in inventing magic was to lure humanity away from the truths of Christianity, a view still adhered to in the time of Jacquetta. Witchcraft was feared and was a part of every day life and the every day beliefs of most people.

If Jacquetta did embrace witchcraft, is this the type of practice she enjoyed?
If Jacquetta did embrace witchcraft, is this the type of practice she enjoyed?

Two “types” of magic were said to be practised during the Middle Ages, white or good magic and black – the “bad” type of magic (maleficium).  Black Magic had more of an association with the devil and satanic worship.  If someone fell ill of unknown causes, someone’s cow stopped giving milk, a hen went off the lay, a woman could not conceive, this was all said to be caused by a witch who practiced black magic. Not the same witch necessarily. No one could do all that much before breakfast and still go to the market unless they were really magical and indeed a witch. Witches were often portrayed as old, warty and ugly women, often with gigantic hooked noses, because the church wanted them to be the targets of dislike and hatred.  Of course, those who allegedly practiced witchcraft had a wide range of appearances. Jacquetta was said to be very beautiful, though it is not known if she had a huge hooked nose, warts and wore a black pointy hat.

But was witchcraft possible and did ‘witches’ genuinely exist then? It is possible that the effect of having a spell cast on one was enough to trigger the desired result. The placebo effect is a universally acknowledged phenomenon. In essence, if you think something is going to make you better, it probably will. The term placebo, meaning “I will please,” dates back to the 18th century By contrast, the placebo’s darker cousin, the nocebo and is taken from Latin for “I will harm”. It was first formally recognised in the 1960s to mean something that rationally should have no effect but actually causes a deterioration in health. There are many anecdotal examples of the nocebo effect at work. For example, a nocebo response may explain the phenomenon of the voodoo curse in which a victim dies only because a belief in the power of the witch doctor has been so ingrained that, after he has been hexed, the target simply cannot believe that he will live. Other cases have been reported in which a patient has died after having been given a terminal prognosis; only for a post-mortem to reveal no such fatal disease was present. Although not thoroughly understood, physiological explanations of the nocebo effect have been proposed. It has been shown, for example, that a patient’s anticipation of worsening pain causes an increase in anxiety which triggers the activation of cholecystokinin that, in turn, facilitates pain transmission. This response generates a vicious circle of anxiety and pain which may be one explanation of the nocebo effect.

I, therefore, suggest that the belief in magic in the Mediaeval period was so engrained as to make spells actually appear  to work, but that Witches and Witchcraft existed no more then than they do today. To get a broad view I petitioned various experts on the subject to see what their answer was to the question ‘Could witches and witchcraft have existed in the Mediaeval period?’ The results are in the table below together with my comments.

Expert Opinion My comment
James Randi, stage magician and scientific skeptic, best known for his challenges to paranormal claims and pseudoscience  ¿Qué ? James Randi was unable to comment personally as he is still trying to decide exactly what his husband’s name is. This comment was left by his husband.
David Blaine, American magician, illusionist and endurance artist What the f*** do you want, ar*e w*pe. F*** off and quit bothering people. Regrettably I telephoned the wrong David Blaine.  I should have realised by his address being at a notorious traveller site.
Doris Stokes, medium There is someone with me who is looking for his brother.  Initial  letter J. I had to contact Ms Stokes through a medium.  I was not satisfied by the response.
Meg (of Meg, Mog and Owl) Of course witches exist. Although I am only a character in a book I am a witch so that proves it. Words fail me.
Miranda Aldouse-Green   The Goods of the Celts No Oh
Jason Kingsley, my next door neighbour Jeff, what are you on? Can you get some for me (Oh!)
The ‘Magic Circle’ Representative I think you misunderstand the difference between magic and witchcraft.  If you want a one word answer then that word must be no. I’m losing the will to go one here.
The White Witch: the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe I think, therefore I am. Witches will always be here. That’s a bit better, except she is also a character in a book.
The three witches of Baelmore No comment That may be because they were part of a dream one of the small people who hang around the house once had.
Witchsmeller Pursuivant – character: first series fifth episode of Blackadder I was incinerated at the end of the episode which proves that I am actually a witch to be able to still talk.The play writers didn’t think of that cunning plan, did they? Brilliant, Witchsmeller, just brilliant. Now everyone is confused.
Dumbledore, character in Harry Potter. Naturally all magic people exist. I am getting the message now.
The Wicked Witch of the West: character in Oz How much will you pay me? Nothing.
Paul Daniels: magician I will ask the lovely Debbie McGee. No comment, no comment at all.
Spokesperson for the Fortean Times No That is succinct
My own late Aunt Rose (via a sceance) Is that really you, Jeff? You’ve got fat. Thanks Aunt Rose

Summing up it seems that the only people who believe that witches and witchcraft actually existed in the Mediaeval period are characters in books, TV series and films  so therefore I conclude that Jacquetta and all other people accused of witchcraft are ‘not guilty’ as charged and are free to leave this pseudo courtroom. It remains only for us to judge whether Jacquetta was a nymphomaniac, had a degree of erotophilia or was just simply highly sexed. Next week I will be holding a séance to see if I can contact either of her husbands to comment on this matter.

Sources: Barsky AJ, Saintfort R, Rogers MP, Borus JF. Nonspecific medication side effects and the nocebo phenomenon. JAMA. 2002;287:622-7. DOI: 10.1001/jama.287.5.622

My phenomenal memory

A comment on Facebook

Philippa Gregory (author): ”The White Queen”

The White Queen (author) : ”The life and times of Philippa Gregory”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malleus_Maleficarum (very interesting!)

©Jeff Jefferty Jeff February 2015

Richard, Perkin and a genetic mutation.

Double History. Examining the similarities and differences of the physical characteristics of Perkin Warbeck, alleged pretender to the throne and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York.

This article begins in a nondescript bar in a nondescript village on yet another nondescript island in the Mediterranean. I will not name the island as :-

I had no interest in actually learning the name of it or anything more than the way to the nearest hostelry

and

It is a small place and I want to spare the blushes and the reputation of the man I am about to describe.

Mrs JJ and I were on a ‘round the Med cruise’, eighty four islands in seven days or something like that, accompanied by the two small people who hang around our house. That day the liner had put into the harbour of a whitely painted, aloe planted, domed and pointed, picturesque kind of place. Mrs JJ took the boys, (or was one a girl? I was never quite sure,) to buy what she described as souvenirs and mementos and what I described as overpriced plastic mass produced cr*p, while I ambled about town trying not to make it look too obvious that I was headed for the nearest glass of, mug of, plate of, kind of place.

Instinct (or was it desperation?) soon led me to the sort of place I desired and gratefully I sank into an outside chair and scanned the menu. My eyes took a while to acclimatize to the dim light filtering through the rubber tree canopy of the Taverna but then I saw a fierce Backgammon game was in progress between the smallest man I had ever seen and a loud dark haired Islander. I tried not to stare but the small man, who was obviously winning the Backgammon match, was so striking in appearance with stark white, long hair, pale, pale skin and when he removed his aviator shades, and I saw his opaque eyes, one out turning, almost pinkish in colouring  and seemingly lashless, my eyes could not help but be drawn to him.

He looked familiar, but I knew I did not know him.

I ate my food and drank my drink and pondered the strange pale man and later, talking with Mrs JJ, she suggested that he may have been an Albino and may also have the condition Dwarfism.

Mrs JJ is clever like that.

I didn’t think too much more about the unusual man and several years passed, years of working and saving and eighty four more islands in seven more days and then I was asked to write an article about one Perkin Warbeck. Despite my university lectures I could not for the life of me remember who Perkin was and, like everyone else, my first stop was Google and second stop was Wikipedia…… and there I saw HIM! Not the man in the Taverna, but all the features were the same, overlarge head on narrow shoulders, light, light hair, pale see-through eyes – eyes looking in different directions.

.Perkin_Warbeck

My immediate thought was Perkin is an Albino Dwarf! and, although I know it is not the correct way to do research, I began to look for original evidence, hitherto overlooked, to back my supposition.

Of course, I did not find any chroniclers saying ‘that Perkin kid was a pale midget of a bloke’ but tantalizing

clues I found aplenty :-Capture IMP (3)

The ‘picture’ is a screen shot I took one day. Sadly I did not make a note of what I had snipped it from, but you will see from the varying descriptions that Perkin seemed to be a small, fey, almost ethereal sort of man

The word Imp, used by Fabyan, I find particularly telling. The word imp traditionally has connotations of  something IMPlanted or grafted on, as can be seen in the screen shot (below) from an 1836 dictionary and what could be more implanted than a lookalike Richard of Shrewsbury. In addition, the word IMP is used for a mischievous small person. This usage has faded and risen throughout the centuries but was in common usage (together with the alternate versions, impi and impa,) in mediaeval period.

.Double history. 1836 dictionary clip IMP

From the electronic Middle English Dictionary. (The print MED, completed in 2001, has been described as “the greatest achievement in medieval scholarship in America. I am not going to argue with that! I wish that all historical fact writers (particularly those with double barrelled names) would actually bother to look stray and strange words up in there rather than positing whole theses on one word incorrectly understood. )

Imp, impa, impi, impe (n.) Also imppe, himpe & (in place names) im-. Pl. impes, impen.

1.(a) A branch of a tree; a shoot, sprig; a sucker shoot; (b) a scion, a graft; (c) a young tree; a sapling, a seedling; also fig.; (d) a tree; (e) ~ garth (yerd), a garden or nursery where seedlings or graftings are grown or cultivated; ~ tre, a grafted tree, an orchard tree.

2.(a) The offspring of a noble family; (b) ?a representative

  1. 3. A small, fey and mischievous person of doubtful origin.

The more I looked at the facts the more the facts shouted back at me that Perkin was small and very pale. Everywhere he went he was looked at, stared at and pointed out for the fairness of his face and then it hit me. Not many people ever doubted seriously that he was Richard, the sixth child and second son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydeville.

That was when my mind froze. If Perkin was an Albino Dwarf then Richard of Shrewsbury must also have been an Albino Dwarf. Immediately I started sifting facts, looking through books, searching the internet and reference section of the library for any mention of Richard’s appearance, any contemporary picture – learning all about Dwarfism, Albinism, anything I could lay my hands on – noting, jotting, drinking tea and puzzling.

Albinism (from Latin albus, “white”; also called achromia, achromasia, or achromatosis) is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of tyrosinase a copper-containing enzyme involved in the production of melanin.

Albinism results from inheritance of recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates. While an organism with complete absence of melanin is called an albino an organism with only a diminished amount of melanin is described as albinoid.

Albinism is associated with a number of vision defects, such as photophobia, nystagmus and astygmatism.

Dwarfism is a medical disorder. In men and women, the sole requirement is having an adult height under 147 cm (4 ft 10 in) and it is almost always classified with respect to the underlying condition that is the cause of the short stature. Dwarfism is usually caused by a genetic disorder; achondroplasia is caused by a mutation on chromosome four. If dwarfism is caused by a medical disorder, the person is referred to by the underlying diagnosed disorder. Disorders causing dwarfism are often classified by proportionality. Disproportionate dwarfism describes disorders that cause unusual proportions of the body parts, while proportionate dwarfism results in a generally uniform stunting of the body. Disorders that cause dwarfism may be classified according to one of hundreds of names, which are usually permutations of the following roots:

rhizomelic = root, e.g., bones of the upper arm or thigh

mesomelic = middle, e.g., bones of the forearm or lower leg

acromelic = end, e.g., bones of hands and feet.

micromelic = entire limbs are shortened

But what of Richard of Shrewsbury? Was there any evidence or hint that he could also be short? Did he also have pinkish eyes or white hair? There are no contemporary pictures of Richard but a stained glass window in Canterbury Cathedral does show him with bright gold hair and what appears to be a squint. He also looks unusually short against the lectern.Richard_of_Shrewsbury_Royal_Window_Canterbury

I searched in vain for a contemporary reference to his appearance, but as with Perkin, I found little concrete evidence to back my thesis and concluded that even the most outspoken and daring of chroniclers is unlikely to have put ‘King Eddie and Liz Double U’s second son was a bit of a squirt who could easily be mistaken in candlelight for a miniature ghost’.

Rui De Sousa, a nobleman who had seen him in 1482, later said of him, ‘he had seen him singing with his mother and one of his sisters and that he sang very well and that he was very pretty and the most beautiful creature he had ever seen…’

Then it hit me! (I was getting bruises from all of these things hitting me!) There was evidence but of a circumstantial type. Richard of Shrewsbury was still with his mother and sisters at an age when most strong and healthy young lads had been sent to do knightly training in another household. His mother had the principal say in his upbringing, unlike all other royal sons who had a living father or elder brother who were more paternally reared. Cloth for the clothes of ‘The Right high and myghty Prynce the Duke of Yorke’ are recorded in the Calendar of Patent Rolls, cloth whose measurements do not increase throughout the years as if the prince stayed the same size. (Similar records of cloth for growing children show a greater yardage year by year indicating growth in the child, but Richard’s yardages remain constant.) His ‘beauty’…….

I may never be able to find the one piece of evidence proving beyond all reasonable doubt that Perkin Warbeck and Richard of Shrewsbury were Albino Dwarfs, but I am satisfied in my own mind that this is at least a reasonable supposition.

Jeff ‘Jefferty’ Jeff is tired now and wants a cup of tea and a nice home made biscuit.

Happy 2015 to you all and happy reading.

Source material:

The Perkin Warbeck Conspiracy Ian Arthurson   The History Press, 2009

http://www.web-books.com/Classics/ON/B0/B869/TudorsC03.html

“Ocular straylight in albinism”. Kruijt B et al. 2011.

Clumber Spaniel Keeping, Showing and Breeding (1984)

Littell’s Living Age, Volume 75 edited by Eliakim Littell, Robert S. Littell

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/perkin_warbeck_rebellion.htm

Fabyan’s Chronicle: Robert Fabyan (a cloth-merchant who liked colourful stories) Circa 1460- Circa 1512.

Bolognaise source/sauce

On the Tudor Trail (blog): Natalie Grueninger

“Saucy girls” Calendar: 1984

Hastings, the man, the myth and legend: Jeff Jefferty Jeff. (Manuscript still to be written.)

The Lost Prince: David Baldwin

A New English Dictionary of the English Language: A to K, Volume 1 1836 Charles Richardson

‘Onken’ family size yoghurt pot

The British Occupation of Iraq: Andrew Lycett

Henry the Seventh by James Gairdner (pub. 1899)

Five go Adventuring Again: Enid Byton

Mutation in and Lack of Expression of Tyrosinase-Related Protein-1 (TRP-1) in     Melanocytes from an Individual with Brown Oculotaneous Albinism: A New Subtype of  Albinism Classified as ‘OCA3’ Raymond E Boissy et al 2014

Smoking seriously harms you and others around you

Scouting for Boys (1939 edition)

The Burial of Edward V: Jeff Jefferty Jeff. (A work in progress.)

Cucumber sauce recipe: Delia Smith

Cumberland source

Anne Boleyn, the myth, the legend, the superstar. Jeff Jefferty Jeff. (Manuscript still to be written.)

Cumberbatch, Benedict

Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G., ed. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families IV (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City.

https://doublehistory.wordpress.com/category/duchess-of-york/  

The Maligned King: Annette Carson

© Jeff ‘Jefferty Jeff January 3rd 2015

Elizabeth Wydeville, Bigamist

Elizabeth Wydeville, looking particularly devious, cunning, sly, and already married
Elizabeth Wydeville, looking particularly devious, cunning, sly, and already married


Before Elizabeth Wydeville married John Grey, supposedly her first ‘husband’, both Richard, Duke of York, and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (I refer, of course, to the ‘Kingmaker’), had urged the young woman to marry one Hugh John. It is often supposed that Elizabeth ignored their advice, as Lancastrian women usually did, but in fact, there is no evidence to suggest this. Rather, it appears that Elizabeth entered into a contract of marriage with Hugh John and then, craving greater wealth, married John Grey. Sensing that an even better match lay within her grasp, Elizabeth later used her magical powers to make John Grey die in battle, and then used love potions to snare the ultimate catch: Edward IV.

But alas, witches do not always think to read canon law or to tie up loose ends, and Hugh John was still very much alive. Thus, just as Edward IV was still the husband of Eleanor Butler when he and Elizabeth entered into their ‘marriage’, Elizabeth was still the wife of Hugh John.

As Hugh John was a rather obscure person, Elizabeth thought that her guilty secret was safe. But one person had found out–young Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the frail young boy with the misshapen back whom Elizabeth had always treated with haughtiness and scorn. How he found out we cannot know; perhaps he heard Elizabeth babbling the truth during one of the satanic rituals she regularly engaged in. All we do know is that he learned the truth, because when he fathered his own bastard child (long before he married Anne, and long before he had even thought of marrying Anne), he decided to name him ‘John’–an unmistakable signal to Elizabeth that he knew of her marriage to Hugh John. Yet he was too loyal to his beloved brother Edward to speak the truth aloud during Edward’s lifetime.

You may ask: Why does history not mention the precontract between Elizabeth Wydeville and Hugh John, which surely impelled Richard to assume his rightful crown? The answer is elegantly simple: it did, but when Henry Tudor usurped the throne, Hugh John, now in his employ, took care to eradicate all mention of his precontract from history during one of the popular ‘Destroying Evidence Favourable to Richard III’ bonfire parties that took place during the early years of Henry Tudor’s reign. Thus, Elizabeth’s shameful secret–about a precontract which she could have easily ended simply by writing a ‘Dear Hugh John’ letter–has been covered up until now. But as my granny always said, better late than never.

Sources:

John Ashdown-Hill, Eleanor the Secret Queen

Paul Murray Kendall, Richard the Third

David Macgibbon, Elizabeth Woodville

My Gut Instinct

Jeff Borden still grieves about the fact that Edward IV chose to marry an English commoner instead of a French princess, since such marriages usually worked out so well.