Monday, 25 February 2013

History In Sheffield: Pt 10

Early this morning I was granted access to the chapter house of Sheffield Cathedral. It is off-limits to the public which is a shame because it contains some wonderful stained glass windows on Sheffield's history. Like all the glass in the cathedral, it is 19th century or newer. I myself needed pictures of just one panel for my dissertation but I managed to get a shot of each window anyways. The pictures are mine but were taken by the kind permission of the cathedral.

The chapter house. Looks old, but the church only became a cathedral in 1914. The room was dedicated in 1939.

Glass above the chapter house entrance which depicts a specific scene from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The miller is mentioned to have a meat knife made in Sheffield.

One of the "Six Sheffield Worthies", Lord of the manor William de Lovetot builds the first Norman church on this site in 1101. The foundations are shown on the paper in his hands. The bottom left square is the first link to Sheffield's industry with the monks receiving permission to smelt iron. On the right, Thomas de Furnivall (another Lord of the manor) presents a charter of rights to his tenants.

This is the panel I came to photograph. It shows George Talbot, 4th earl of Shrewsbury, welcoming Cardinal Wolsey as a defacto prisoner to his manor lodge residence. Wolsey spent 18 days at the lodge in constant fear for what Henry had in store for him. At this time, Wolsey also became ill and would only last a few more days before dying at Leicester Abbey. A complete first hand account on Wolsey's stay can be read in The Life Of Wolsey by William Cavendish.
On the bottom right, Mary Queen of Scots sits imprisoned at the manor lodge. More details below!

Remembered here is Mary I granting a charter to the Burgesses of Sheffield in 1554.

Now some close ups...

Keen eyes will spot the Turret House fireplace in the background which bears the arms of the Talbot family. Thus the myth that Mary was actually kept in the Turret house continues!

Mary I enthroned.

For anyone planning to see the interior of Sheffield Cathedral, I am afraid you must wait 14 months as the church is undergoing a massive renovation and expansion. The flooring is being ripped up to replace pipes and the underground heating system. A new entrance room is being built as well which will see the original outer gates placed back in their preliminary position (as evidenced by 19th century prints).
Unfortunately, the floor repair will not attempt to locate the Shrewsbury vault. Not only has its exact entrance been lost, but its contents (or lack thereof) remain a mystery. Burial documents suggest that 16 or 17 coffins were placed in the vault. When it was last opened in 1809, only two were found. Neither belong to the two earls of Shrewsbury who are memorialized above ground. Based on my research, there may be a second vault attached to the first but this was already bricked up by 1809. This second vault would, in fact, lie under the founder's memorial and I suspect that is where we can find George Talbot and the rest of his family. I have contacted the Reverend of the cathedral and he finds the idea quite interesting! Despite archeology lately batting a thousand when it comes to finding dead nobility, I don't think a search will occur anytime soon.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Friday, 22 February 2013

So Busy!

I've been neglecting this blog and that's no good!

One reason for that was blogger getting on my nerves. I'm already spending a whopping $3.00 per month to maintain the pictures I've uploaded (apparently only so many are free). Then I find out that I can only create 20 pages on the right hand side. So, I had to consolidate several pages into one. For example, the Palace of Holyrood and Edinburgh Castle have been merged into one page called Edinburgh. All the content remains the same.

The second reason for neglect is due to my time spent on dissertation research. I put myself on a strict timetable to have my research done by mid May so I can get ready to go home and work my job prospects. I've spent the past two weeks in one of our university libraries. Its the stereotypical one where its concrete flooring and just endless rows of books on metal shelves. No windows either (at least on the underground levels where I tend to find myself). The end result thus far is 30+ sources but I am still a bit unsure on my focus. I need to get that cleared in the next week so I can press forward.

In terms of blog content, I have posts about the Leeds Armories and Rotherham coming up as well as several more "History In Sheffield" items. More visits are planned so stay tuned! Next post either later today or tomorrow!

Friday, 15 February 2013

900 Years of Care...and Holy War

Today marks the 900th anniversary of the founding of the Knights Hospitaller. Also known as the Knights of St. John, the Hospitallers were a military order founded in the Holy Land after the First Crusade. Pope Paschal II confirmed the founding via a papal bull in 1113.

(image in public domain)

The order has its roots in the founding of a hospital, dedicated to St. John, in Jerusalem in 1023. Only after the First Crusade did officials realize that the ever growing number of pilgrims needed safe passage to the capital. To stave off muslim raids on the caravans, several military orders came into existence. The most notable are the Knights Templar. These orders consisted of warrior monks dedicated to both God and war. In the case of the Hospitallers, they were also caregivers, taking in the sick and wounded. It is primarily for this reason that the Hospitallers survived longer than any of the other orders. With the fall of the Crusader States and Acre in 1291, the justification for military orders dropped. Many orders folded into one another (Such as the Sword Brothers incorporation into the Teutonic Knights) and the fall of the Templars to a wiley king is well documented.

To avoid mix-up, a Knight Hospitaller was identified by a black tunic and white cross. The Knights Templar wore a white tunic and a red cross (their sergeants were black with a red cross).

The Hospitallers managed to carve a niche for themselves at Rhodes where they continued to harass the Turks in daring sea raids. Eventually, Rhodes fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1522. The Knights retreated to Malta only to defend it in what is now called "The Great Siege of 1565". It is at Malta where the Hospitallers are reborn and become the Knights of Malta. Their legacy is imprinted on the island to this day. Ironically, the Knights fell not to a muslim force, but a christian one in the form of Napoleon's French army.

It was then that the Knights lost their military purpose and devoted themselves full time to hospital work. Still, their current name reminds us of their past lineage: "The Sovereign Military Order of Malta". There are cadet branches everywhere such at the Malteser, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Johanniter and St. John Ambulance.

In England, the Knights Hospitaller had a dominating presence up until Henry VIII's dissolution of the monestaries. They had members who fought for England in various battles and were the original owners of Hampton Court (the property and an early building complex). You can still find them in London in the suburb of Clerkenwell where they have a musem and the remains of their priory. The Tudor period gatehouse is still there and contains many great artifacts of their long history. If you show up for a tour, you'll be taken into the order's crypt which lies buried across the street and holds the bodies of its last English priors.

I, for one, have Malta on my list of places to visit. You cannot miss the influence of the order anywhere on the island! I would also love to visit Krak de Chevalliers, the most iconic crusader castle still in existance. Unfortunately, it resides in Syria. Antioch, Acre and Jerusalem are all on my list as well.

Friday, 8 February 2013

History In Sheffield: Pt 9

With today being the anniversary of Mary Queen of Scots execution, there is no better time than now to post about a site in Sheffield linked to her English captivity!
This one is important so I have made it a UK Tour page. You can find it on the right side under UK Tour: Sheffield Manor Lodge.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

York Revisited

I got to spend another clear, but windswept day at York. This was to track down some additional sites that I had missed previously. The city is quite nice and requires, I think, at least three or four trips to complete.
Firstly, I expanded upon my UK Tour: St. Mary's Abbey entry. There are more pictures of the structure and foundations which were hidden in the lawn last time I was there. The biggest significance was the inclusion of at least six chapels dedicated to different saints. If interested, you might want to cross reference my Kirkstall Abbey entry as there is a picture showing what a series of these small chapels looked like.
Secondly, I added another York page which is now designated UK Tour: York (2). Unfortunately I think my camera work was not too good on this day as the sky still managed to bleach the colors.

I did managed to capture one of my favorite photographs of the journey thus far: the interior of York Minster with the sunset through the glass: