Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Rebel Knight - Familia de Montfort

My first knight is off and racing. In actual fact, it's the commander of the first or Right Ward of the Rebel Army, Henry de Monfort (eldest son of Simon de Montfort) who at the age of 26 fought with his father and brothers at Lewes. The images (left) depict the seals of the three brothers who fought that day in their father's cause. The illustrations are taken from images reproduced in J.R.Maddicott's Simon de Monfort (Canbridge University Press, 1994) from 18th century drawing of the originals now lost to us. If you click on the image you will get a better view of Guy's arms with what I reckon to be a label (5).  Guy was a fighting man also at Lewes and given that he was the fourth son with a label (5). To date, other than their ages and dates of death, I know little of de Monfort's sons and whilst my army list has all three brothers within the Right Ward of the army, it seems likely to have been Henry who commanded the whole ward and his younger brothers, Guy and Simon divisions within it. I do know that Henry died at Evesham the following year with his father. Simon was a trusted son and lieutenant and operated independently during the Evesham campaign, failing to unite with his father and elder brother's forces which may have assisted in guaranteeing their fate but certainly saved young Simon's life.

It's clearly early days with the painting of my Henry. This is a Gripping Beast figure and I elected to have one of the few mail barded horses with this command figure to help him stand out as such. Also, his caprison would otherwise have been too similar to his fathers for my liking. As you will have observed, I intend hand painting the shield (as I always do) and have sketched the detail prior to applying the background colour or field of the shield which will be a bold red (gules). 

The lion is white (argent) and due to the ligher contrast of this device, if I can paint around it with the red, rather than painting white over the top of an entirely red background, the one white coat for my lion will suffice. The arms of de Montfort vary from sources. Some such as the St Georges roll on line have the divided field of red and white only which I believe is his personal standard rather than his blazon. The colours of the lion and the field are also in doubt thanks to the illustration by Matthew Paris in 1244 of Simin de Montfort's banner in tinchers changed - black lion on a red field. J.R. Maddicott's Simon De Montfort (or at least his publishers) also identifies the earls arms as a red lion on a white field being the reverse of that most commonly identified. So, we have choices. I will elect the usual white lion on a red field; however, as the Paris rendition is suspect due to the allegorical nature of the depiction. The inclusions of the device on Maddicott's dust cover are unreferenced and the determination upon white lion on red field is in Joseph Fosters Dictionary of Heraldry which draws upon many of the rolls of arms from the thirteenth century and this option does make repeated appearances.

I am dismissing the abovementioned reference for Henry de Montfort's blazon as the details and explanation for the seal appears non-existent, I don't know how the first born son would have differenced from his father and brothers in such a radical departure, and it bears an uncanny resemblence to those of Hugh le Despenser (pictured left) as cited in the Golver's Roll (1252).  Hugh did fight for the rebels at Lewes and as a prominant baron, whoever sketched the seals seems to have confused Hugh's with Henry's. For Henry, therefore, I will opt for the same arms as Simon de Montfort with a label also. According to James Parker's Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry, there can be no attempt made to establish a standardised system of applying labels to differentiate sons in our period if the Prince's Edward and Edmund of England are anything to go by. Both of them freely interchanged a label (3) and (5) azure with only inclusions of fleur de lys by Edmund to identify one from the other. So ... how to differentiate the de Montfort sons?

I have decided to retain the label (5) for Guy as mentioned previously, placing trust in it's inclusion on his seal. As the detail is from a seal impression only and therefore shading indicates depth, not colour, I am going to make his label black. I will give Herny a label (3) azure and Simon the younger a label (5) azure. I would welcome any comments or suggestions which makes for a more accurate or more logical representation which will further our understanding of the arms of the brothers de Monfort.


Bluewillow said...

looking good mate


Swampster said...

In the Lance and Longbow publication they say the differences for the Montfort boys were:
Henry - label
Simon the younger - crescent
Guy - molet

Hope that's useful

Unlucky General said...

Thanks Swamster. I'm now definitely going to buy the Lance and Longbow release. I hope the author cites the reference for the bearings as I'm about to start the next brother. By the way, I love your Blog - I've looked into it before but am now following with interest.