Thursday, 12 July 2012

Extravagance and pomp ...

Dealings with the Dead
Vol 2

Project Gutenburg
The testamentary recognition of bastards, eo nomine, was very common, in the olden time. There were some, to whom funereal extravagance and pomp were offensive. Sir Ottro De Grandison says, in his will, dated Sept. 18, 1358—“I entreat, that no armed horse or armed man be allowed to go before my body, on my burial day, nor that my body be covered with any cloth, painted, or gilt, or signed with my arms; but that it be only of white cloth, marked with a red cross; and I give for the charges thereof XXl. and X. quarters of wheat: to a priest to celebrate divine service, in the church at Chellesfield for three years after my decease, XVl.: to Thomas, my son, all my armor, four horses, twelve oxen, and two hundred ewe sheep. * * * * To my bastard son,” &c. Henry, Duke of Lancaster, 1360, wills, “that our body be not buried for three weeks after the departure of our soul.”

Humphrey De Bohun, Earl of Hereford, 1361, bequeaths to his nephew Humphrey—“a nonche[13] of gold, surrounded with large pearls, with a ruby between four pearls, three diamonds, and a pair of gold paternosters of fifty pieces, with ornaments, together with a cross of gold, in which is a piece of the true cross of our Lord: to Elizabeth, our niece of Northampton, a bed with the arms of England. * * * * We will also that a chaplain of good condition be sent to Jerusalem, principally for my Lady my mother, my Lord my father, and for us; and that the chaplain be charged to say masses by the way, at all times that he can conveniently, for the souls.”

Agnes, Countess of Pembroke, daughter of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, wills, in 1367, that her body be buried, “within two days after my death, without any other cost than a blue cloth and two tapers of ten pound weight.”

Robert, Earl of Suffolk, 1368—“I will, that five square tapers and four mortars,[14] besides torches, shall burn about my corpse, at my funeral: To William my oldest son my sword, which the King gave me, in name of the Earldom, also my bed with the eagle, and my summer vestment, powdered with leopards.”

Charlotte Stracey
All Saints - Rackheath
 Roger, Lord de Warre, personally took John, King of France, prisoner, at the battle of Poictiers, and obtained the crampet or chape of his sword, as a memorial of his chivalry. His will bears date 1368—“My body to be buried without pomp, and I will that, on my funeral day, twenty-four torches be placed about my corpse, and two tapers, one at my head and one at my feet, and also that my best horse shall be my principal, without any armour or man armed, according to the custom of mean people.” He orders his estate to be divided into three parts—“one to be disposed of for the health of my soul.”

Joan, Lady Cobham, 1369—“I will that VII. thousand masses be said for my soul by the canons of Tunbrugge and Tanfugge and the four orders of Friars in London, viz. the Friars Preachers, Minors, Augustines, and Carmelites, who, for so doing shall have XXIXl. IIIs. IVd. Also I will that, on my funeral day, twelve poor persons, clothed in black gowns and hoods, shall carry twelve torches.”

Sir Walter Manney, 1371—“My body to be buried at God’s pleasure * * * but without any great pomp * * * twenty masses to be said for my soul, and that every poor person coming to my funeral shall have a penny to pray for me, and for the remission of my sins. * * * To my two bastard daughters, nuns, viz., Mailosel and Malplesant, the one cc. franks, the other c. franks. * * * To Margaret Mareschall, my dear wife, my plate, which I bought of Robert Francis; also a girdle of gold, and a hook for a mantle, and likewise a garter of gold, with all my girdles and knives, and all my beds and clossers in my wardrobe, excepting my folding bed, paly of blue and red, which I bequeath to my daughter of Pembroke.”

Harrold Stanley Frederick Cosens
 Thomas, Earl of Oxford, 1371—“For my funeral expenses CXXXIIIl. To Maud my wife all my reliques now in my own keeping, and a cross made of the very wood of Christ’s cross. To Sir Alberic de Vere, my brother, a coat of mail, which Sir William de Wingfield gave me, also a new helmet and a pair of gauntlets.”
Anne, Lady Maltravers, 1374—“No cloth of gold to be put upon my corpse, nor any more than five tapers, each weighing five pounds, be put about it.”

Edward, Lord Despencer, 1375—“To the Abbot and Convent of Tewksbury one whole suit of my best vestments, also two gilt chalices, one gilt hanap, likewise a ewer, wherein to put the body of Christ, on Corpus Christi day, which was given to me by the King of France. To Elizabeth, my wife, my great bed of blue camaka with griffins; also another bed of camaka, striped with white and black, with all the furniture, thereto belonging.”

Mary, Countess of Pembroke, 1376—“To the Abbey of Westminster a cross with a foot of gold and emeralds, which Sir William de Valence, Kt., brought from the Holy Land.”
Philipa, Countess of March, 1378—“To Edmond, my son, a bed, &c. Also a gold ring, with a piece of the true cross, with this writing, In nomine Patris, et Filii, el Spiritus Sancti, Amen. Which I charge him, on my blessing to keep.”

Sir John Northwood, Knight, 1378—“I will that two Pilgrims be sent to visit the shadow of St. Peter, Paul, and James, in Gallacia.”

Sir Roger Beauchamp, Kt., 1379—“My body to be buried in the church of the Friars Preachers, near to the grave, where Sybil, my wife resteth. And I desire, that, at my funeral, there be a placebo and dirige with note, and, on the morrow after, two masses, one of our Lady, and another of Requiem. And whereas I am bound to do a service on the Infidels, by devise of my grandsire, Sir Walter Beauchamp, to the expense of two hundred marks, I will, that Roger, son to Roger, my son, shall perform the same, when he comes of age. To my Chauntrey of Bletnesho one hundred pounds, for the maintenance of one priest, to sing there perpetually, for my soul, and also for the soul of Sybil, late my wife, and for all Christian souls.”

William, Lord Latimer, 1380—“I will that my house in the parish of St. Mary’s be sold, to found prayers for King Edward’s soul.”

Guichard, Earl of Huntington, 1380—“I will that my heart be taken out of my body and preserved with spices, and deposited in the said church of Engle. I will that the expenses of my funeral, if celebrated with pomp, be bestowed in masses for my soul.”

14th Century grave cover
 Edmond, Earl of March, was a man of great note. His will is dated May 1, 1380—“To the Abbey of Wigmore a large cross of gold, set with stones with a relique of the cross of our Lord, a bone of St. Richard the Confessor, Bishop of Chicester, and a finger of St. Thomas de Cantelowe, Bishop of Hereford, and the reliques of St. Thomas, Bishop of Canterbury. To Roger, our son and heir, the cup of gold with a cover called Benesonne, and our sword, garnished with gold, which belonged to the good King Edward, with God’s blessing and ours. * * * Also our large bed of black satin, embroidered with white lions and gold roses.”

William, Earl of Suffolk, 1381—“I will that, on the eve and day of my funeral, there shall be five square tapers of the height, which my nearest of kin shall think fit, and four morters; also forty-eight torches borne by forty-eight poor men, clothed in white. * * * I will that a picture of a horse and man, armed with my arms, be made in silver, and offered to the altar of our Lady of Walsingham; and another the like be made and offered at Bromeholme.”

One of the most interesting, among the olden wills, is that of John, Duke of Lancaster—the famous John of Gaunt. He died in February, 1399. His will bears date Feb. 3, 1397—“My body to be buried, in the Cathedral church of St. Paul of London, near the principal altar, beside my most dear wife, Blanch, who is there interred. If I die out of London, I desire that the night my body arrives there, it be carried direct to the Friars Carmelites, in Fleet Street, and the next day taken strait to St. Paul’s, and that it be not buried for forty days, during which I charge my executors, that there be no cering or embalming my corpse. * * * I desire that chauntries and obits be founded for the souls of my late dear wives Blanch and Constance, whom God pardon; to the altar of St. Paul’s my vestment of satin embroidered, which I bought of Courtnay, embroider of London. * * * To my most dear wife, Katherine, my two best nonches, which I have, excepting that, which I have allowed to my Lord and nephew, the King, and my large cup of gold, which the Earl of Wilts gave to the King, my Lord, upon my going into Guienne, together with all the buckles, rings, diamonds, rubies and other things, that will be found, in a little box of cypress wood, of which I carry the key myself, and all the robes, which I bought of my dear cousin, the Duchess of Norfolk;[15] also my large bed of black velvet, embroidered with a circle of fetter locks[16] and garters, all the beds, made for my body, called trussing beds, my best stay with a good ruby, my best collar, all which my said wife had before her marriage with me, also all the goods and jewels, which I have given her, since my marriage. To my Lord and nephew, the king,[17] the best nonche, which I have, on the day of my death, my best cup of gold, which my dear wife Katherine gave me, on New Year’s day last, my gold salt-cellar with a garter, and the piece of arras, which the Duke of Burgoyne gave me, when I was in Calais.” This is a mere extract. The will bequeaths numerous legacies of nonches, beds, and cups of gold; and abundantly provides for chauntries, masses, and obits.
Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, 1399—“To the Abbess and Convent of the Sisters Minoresses, near London, without Aldgate, VIl. XIIIs. IIIId. and a tonel of good wine. * * * To my Lady and mother, the Countess of Hereford, a pair of paternosters of coral.”

Buried before the altar a 14th C Knight
Thomas Mussenden, 1402—“I will, that all my arms, swords, bastard,[18] and dagger be sold, and disposed of, for my soul.”

William Heron, Lord Say, 1404—“Whereas I have been a soldier, and taken wages from King Richard and the Realm, as well by land as by water, and peradventure received more than my desert, I will that my Executor pay six score marks to the most needful men, unto whom King Richard was debtor, in discharge of his soul.”

Sir Lewis Clifford, Kt.—“I, Lewis Clifford, false and traitor to my Lord God, and to all the blessed company of Heaven, and unworthy to be called a Christian man, make and ordaine my testament and my last will the 17th of September, 1404. At the beginning, I, most unworthy and God’s traitor, recommend my wretched and sinful soul to the grace and to the mercy of the blissful Trinity, and my wretched carrion to be buried in the furthest corner of the churchyard, in which parish my wretched soul departeth from my body. And I pray and charge my executors, as they will answer before God, that on my stinking carrion be neither laid cloth of gold nor of silk, but a black cloth,and a taper at my head and another at my feet; no stone nor other thing, whereby any man may know where my stinking carrion lieth.” In the original, this word is written careyne.

The reader will be amused to know the cause of all this humility. Sir Lewis had joined the Lollards, who rejected the doctrines of the mass, penance for sins, extreme unction, &c.; but was brought back to the church of Rome; and thus records his penitence.

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