Saturday, January 7, 2017

Walter de Cantilupe: Bishop of Worcester

Walter de Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester was the leading ecclesiastical proponent of the attempts at church and governmental reform. Walter took de Montfort's part in rebellion during the second Barons War, taking the lead role as advocate from his high-minded and reforming mentor Robert Grosseteste, the former Bishop of Lincoln. The two churchmen had been at Oxford together in the 1220s, Walter was attaining his Master's Degree and Robert lectured there.
Formerly a clerk of the King's exchequer by 1215 and a one time justice, be entered holy orders and received consecration as Bishop of Worcester in 1237.  Between 1208 and 1236 Walter had held a total of thirteen benefices and ecclesiastical offices at one time or another but had not been consecrated until after his attainmet of his Bishopric. Some of these 'estates' had been royal but others were hereditary including Brailes at Kenilworth.

Moving from courtier to rebel, Walter became opposed to Papal policy and the political alliance between Rome and an unrelenting crown. He was both a champion of a nationally identifying clergy and religious reform, holding a synod in Worcester Cathedral (1240) which introduced rules governing Godparents, rest on holy days and disallowed the clergy from activities such as the playing of chess.

By 1254, through the untimely deaths of his brother William and in turn William's eldest son, Walter became head of the family whilst his nephew George was a minor.
By 1258, Walter became one of the Twenty Four committee members through the Provisions of Oxford and was a key baronial representative. He was at Lewes and blessed the army prior to the battle. Afterwards, he appears to have taken a back seat to affairs under de Montfort's government and was not a member of the Council of Nine - which included instead, Stephen Bersted, Bishop of Chichester. Walter was also at Evesham where heard Earl Simon's confession - his last. Walter avoided the consequent papal excommunication which his fellow reforming clergymen experienced, dying in February 1266.
Whilst I am unable to ascertain Walter de Cantilupe's age at Lewes he cannot have been a young man. I hazard that he was at least 15 when taking up a clerkship (could have been older) he must have been in his 60s at Lewes. He was nevertheless the head of his family and a family of the knightly class. Given his presence at the Battle I am including him as one of my two bishops, fully armoured and taking the field. He may not have been a fighting bishop in the fullest sense but I imagine him taking the field all the same; fully protected and leading his flock whom he deemed a crusading force like the good sheppard, invoking the spirit and blessing of Saint Thomas a Becket.
I have two choices with Bishops when it comes to their heraldry. I can either go with the ecclesiastical heraldry which I have done for my Bishop of London, or I can go with the office holder's own family blazon which I have done for Walter de Cantilupe. Given his status as head of the family by the time of the battle, it seemed more appropriate. In the above image there are all recorded bearings for those who held the Bishopric of Worcester including Walter's (top row, fifth from the left) and the Bishopric heraldry in the centre. Walter de Cantilupe's blazon is gules, three leopards' faces jessant-de-leys or reversed (below).

Above is a contemporary image of Thomas de Cantiplupe (sainted Bishop of Hereford) whom I took the colours from for my miniature. Whilst not Walter and of another bishopric, modern ecclesiastical apparel (including the mitre) of the Bishop of Worcester often has the same colour scheme including the mitre of yellow with red bands. Imagery throughout is not consistent with the above white mitre in the heraldic device for Worcester.
The above tomb and effigy is attributed to Walter de Cantilupe in Worcester Cathedral.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Rebel Centre Ward: Knights

LtoR: John de Grey, John de Vescy, John de Vipont, William of Birmingham, Squire to Hauteville, Thomas de Hauteville (Leader), Geoffrey de la Mar, Hughes de Bures, Thomas de Astley and Roger de Mohaut.

For the centre ward knights of my rebel army I adopted heavier lances by using a thicker gauge wire than I have used to date and gave each lance a graper which I have not done before. In comparison to previous knights in my army, these gents look far more the ticket for a mid to late thirteenth century knight. My last unit will be similarly equipped.

These figures are also from different ranges to my previous knights, coming from Crusader Miniatures 'Later Crusader' range (MCF010 and MCF012) as well as Gripping Beast 'Crusading Knights' (LCCO1 02 and 06) with some minor alterations. They are all solid sculpts and very animated and are all highly detailed which made for a demanding paint job. 
They took an unusual commitment and I have definitely developed a greater attention to detail in recent years. Caparisons are all weathered and all colours (especially in the cloth) are subdued. There's quite a bit of yellow amongst the heraldry which I suppress with light brown when I mix the Humbrol enamels. I paint the maille by undercoating with a mix of Gun Metal with Gloss Black (thinned) then dry brush with Gun Metal/Aluminium mixed and thinned. I left the maille dull this time - only applying highlight of thinned Humbrol Silver on the steel helms.I'm not at all happy with the Humbrol Brass any more and will be moving to Vallejo but I still love the Humbrol Gold and Silver.

The trumpeter carries the Banner of Thomas de Hauteville (full heraldry) whom I elevated to the unit leader. The banner is made of cloth (fine cotton) cut, glued to the steel wire shaft, wrapped and dipped in a white glue solution and glued to the miniature after drying ready for the whole miniature undercoat. Of all the knight to chose as leader, I seem to have set myself the most difficult heraldry to paint. I sketched the design only after undercoating the figure. I must have been off my chops!
I gave only the leader a pennon - made of heavy foil. I've used paper pennon before and reckon cotton to be too fiddly for such a small device. I use foil for later period lance pennons and they work a treat, furl easily and effectively as well as hold their form. I recommend it. I fix them before undercoating.
This is the second unit of the army to be based on the thicker 5mm MDF bases and I've moved away from single bases of any kind. I prefer using numbered tiles to represent casualties until an equivalent element is removed. Consequently I have based this unit on two three figure bases and a command base of four figures. I'm also moving to a standard depth of 70mm to allow for charged lances and staggered, more natural alignments of the figures. The 5mm bases will also allow for labeling of the units and identifications of some of the knights and earls.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rebel Centre Ward: Commander - Gilbert de Clare

Gilbert de Clare the "Red" Earl of Hertford and Gloucestershire had by the time of Lewes attained the age of 21 and his earldom after the death if his father, Richard in 1262. He had been married aged ten to the King's niece, Alice de Lusignan (also known as Alice de Valence). By Lewes, he had fathered two daughters - Isabella and Joan.
We are told that Gilbert was called the "Red" due to his hair or his temper. Gilbert's powerful marcher earldom was said to be exceeded in wealth and estates only by the King. His grandfather Richard was a leader in the first Baron's War against King John and Gilbert continued a tradition of prosecuting the interests of his family similarly.

Gilbert either initiated, lead or at the very least allowed the massacre of the Canterbury Jews consistent with the Montfortian pogrom, the actions for which confirm his capability for brutality. Prior to the battle of Lewes, Gilbert and his brother Thomas were knighted by Earl Simon. He survived Lewes, successfully leading the Centre Ward from the Downs and accepted the surrender of Richard of Cornwall from his refuge in the windmill at battle's end. Sharing in Simon de Montfort's victory and subsequent excommunication, Gilbert abandoned the Montfortian cause at least in part for Simon's alliance with de Clare traditional enemies and rivals in Wales. Perhaps more significantly, the two great earls were rivals and in the dispensing of estates, offices and gifts following Lewes Gilbert was left unsatisfied sufficiently to turn. Gilbert took up arms vigorously for the Crown and contributed in no small way to de Montfort's downfall and the loss of the baronial cause.

So, we have a young, presumably fit, aggressive and skilled knight of the highest birth at the start of his prime. The first image is Gilbert de Clare's seal (reverse) with the seal depicted immediately above. As you may have read in my earlier postings on the subject, I regard these artifacts as best evidence for how these famous people sought to portray themselves and therefore most likely represent how they took the field.

A study of the seal images indicated either a plate armour face guard for the horse or at least a break in colour from the rest of the caparison. The forepart of the caparison indicated the gules chevrons of the earls blazon for which there should be three as the shield bearing displays. In contrast and interestingly the rear section does not repeat this but is suggestive to me of bands of alternating colour - presumably or and gules consistent with the earls arms.

Note once again the flat topped classic great helm. 

The image left is also of Gilbert but from much later than Lewes. The Red Earl lived to 1295 and armour evolved considerably over the 31 years subsequent to Lewes. The stained glass effigy is in Tewkesbury Abbey where Gilbert is buried, it was installed circa 1340 and clearly post dates our period. The seal; however, has the surcoat obscured by the earl's shield leaving the design open to conjecture. If I hazard that in 1340 a similar style of surcoat was maintained from previous generations, then I may be at liberty to apply something very similar to my depiction of the Red earl. The figure I have chosen for my earl has no shield but a long cloak which I may make red to enhance the Red earls identification. As a command figure for the centre ward, he will be based with an escort (perhaps a squire) with his banner and carrying his shield.