Featured Medieval heraldic horse pendants

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by +VGO.DVCKS, Oct 1, 2020.


    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...No, really! People have been posting artifacts on this forum for as long as I’ve been paying any attention. They’re unfailingly cool, not least in the Ciceronian sense. Meanwhile, for those of us who spend more time in the Middle Ages than Antiquity, the progression from coins to (sorry to get all bilingual --especially in contrast to what I can do with Cicero) ‘artefacts’ can be no less compelling and seamless.

    Heraldic harness furniture has to be one collective instance. The commonest examples, conspicuously from detector finds in England, are little shield-shaped decorations (pendants or studs), mostly made of bronze (‘latten’). They depict real, historic coats of arms, originally with their tinctures (colors) rendered in enamel. The run of them date from around the mid-13th century to the mid-14th, with “the peak period for the larger, shield-shaped pendants …[apparently] around 1280 to 1350.” (Baker p. 22; cf. pp. 6; 2 and note 5 regarding the earlier side of the chronology, as well as the survival rate of the enamel, especially as found in the field.)

    This picture is from a mid-13th century English manuscript, showing how they were used. In the right foreground, they’re suspended from the horse’s neck, below the reins. Along with the quintessentially 13th-14th-c. shape of the little ‘shields,’ they depict coats of arms, as do the ‘full-scale’ ones.


    In virtual situ, from the website of Trinity College, Cambridge, you can click on this to enlarge the image:

    This is key to how cool they are. By the mid-13th century, the European take on heraldry was already a fully realized visual language --very intentionally denotive (in reference to specific families and feudal relationships, whether by marriage or subtenancy), rather than merely connotive. Along these lines, rules and, in effect, grammar were already in place. None of this was as formalized as it became in later centuries, when heraldry had already lost its original, distinctly utilitarian agendas. But the level of sophistication in place was very adequate to its initial context, with its more urgent martial and legal criteria. (Cf. esp. Keen 125-7, regarding both shields and armorial seals, from their origins in the 12th century. Some of the plates in Coss, between pp. 78 and 9, are especially good for showing early coats of arms, into the later 13th century, which were variously related by family and feudal subtenancy.)
    Thanks to this, in any given example, if enough of the enamelling survives to show one or both of the heraldic tinctures, it’s possible to reconstruct the coat of arms, and often to assign it (with however many or few caveats, in any given instance) to a specific contemporaneous family. ...And, voila! This is the nearest you might get, as a collector, to an affordable representation of the Anglo-Norman aristocracy. By going only this far into the heraldic and genealogical weeds, it’s possible to effect a relatively seamless complement to the feudal coin series, as known from France and neighboring parts of continental Europe. (...Issues from the reign of King Stephen? Can we just not go there, for this minute?)
    To begin with the easiest one ...which, being merely royal, already loses much of the appeal of the ones for the aristocracy and knightage. This is my best Edwardian one, with the gules [red], three leopards or [gold /yellow] of the Angevin dynasty, prior to Edward III’s adoption of the (quartered) French fleur-de-lis at the onset of the Hundred Years’ War. That alone narrows it down to Edward I, Edward II, or early in the reign of Edward III. This one has the mount that would have attached it to the horse’s livery. (And, sure, it could have belonged to any member of the king’s household ...of a certain, can we just say, class.) ARTEFACTS, ENGLAND, ANGEVIN HARNESS PENDANT, FRONT.JPG
    The next one, a particularly well-documented, if otherwise indifferent detector find, is missing one of the tinctures. But a number of factors triangulate to suggest that it’s likely to be of the Warenne earls of Surrey. (Is ‘compelling circumstantial evidence’ an oxymoron? there’s an essay question.) The Warenne arms are Checqy or and azure; in this case, the latter tincture (azure /blue) is missing.

    The Warenne arms show up at the end of the first line of this leaf from the Liber Additamentarum of Matthew Paris, c. 1244. (British Library, Cotton Nero D I fol 171verso.) Paris’s caption reads, in his inimitable Gothic cursive, ‘Comitis de Warenni.’ (Oh, right, then there's the Angevin coat of Henry III, as above.)

    Back to the pendant, the record from the BM’s Portable Antiquities Scheme notes the findspot as Tadcaster, near Leeds, in West Yorkshire. It goes on to discuss the range of candidates for families that could be represented, in the absence of one of the two tinctures.
    https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/209541 . (For the operant blazons, see also Humphery pp. 232 and 233.)
    The salient geographic and heraldic details seem to triangulate, however circumstantially, with more anecdotal ones. Suggesting, in turn, that the pendant could have been from the retinue not only of the Warenne earls of Surrey, but, perhaps, more specifically, of John de Warenne, earl from 1240-1304.
    He was the grandfather of Henry de Percy, Lord of Topcliffe (later Alnwick; fl. 1272-1314), having been a cohort of Henry’s eponymous father, in the inner circle of Prince Edward, from the 1250’s (Rose 95).
    (Yes, these are same Percys, Shakespeare and all that, but well before they fell into the earldom of Northumberland, in the later 14th century. The operant genealogy is shown in Charles Cawley’s online document, Medieval Lands (Warenne, followed by Percy: )
    https://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLISH NOBILITY MEDIEVAL.htm#_Toc21106869
    https://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLISHNOBILITYMEDIEVAL3P-S.htm#HenryPercydied1272 )
    John and grandson Henry were associated in Edward I’s Scottish campaigns. Both were in the occupying administration from the capture of Berwick in 1296 (Prestwich (473-) 474), going on to see action at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, and the siege of Caerlaverock in 1300 (Denholm-Young 103-5).
    Meanwhile, Henry held land in the pendant’s findspot, Tadcaster, as Percys had done since Domesday. In 1295, he was given “free warren” there. This amounted to a standing license to hunt in the adjoining royal forests; as such, a significant concession to any lord’s local autonomy (Speight (241-) 244). This far north, the Warrene earls’ principal castle was Conisbrough, maybe 35 miles due south of Tadcaster (from an old Shell road atlas).
    ...Right, lots of Percys up in this house. Back to, er, the harness pendants. There’s this one, fun for having significant traces of both tinctures. Including some of the unmistakably genuine gilding for the or, as in the first, facilely royal one that this more or less started with. (...Speaking of which, and whom --only especially in reference to Berwick-- is it just me, or is the best part of the movie, “Braveheart,” the arresting similarity of Edward I to Darth Vader? Tell me if I’m making it up. ...Something is telling me that none of these people would make good next-door neighbors.)
    GENEALOGY, ENGLAND, HARNESS PENDANT, PERCY 1.jpg The arms are or, a lion rampant azure (Denholm Young p. 103; cf. Humphery-Smith p. 64).
    Members are cordially invited to post, what, we might start with actual (oops) coins of the period, especially from either side of any of the frontiers of Angevin - Plantagenet England, whether British, Irish or French. ...Or, What? (--not a merely rhetorical question--) maybe any medieval coins, especially c. late 12th -14th centuries, featuring coats of arms. ...Or heraldry more broadly considered; for one random instance, the lion on some of the dirhams of Baybars.

    Stuff I looked at.
    Ashley, Steven. Medieval Armorial Horse Furniture in Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology Report No. 101 (2002). Also available as a free .pdf from the publication’s website: https://tinyurl.com/ycj5u5hg
    Baker, John. “The Earliest Armorial Harness Pendants.” The Coat of Arms 3rd series, vol. 11 (2015), no. 229, pp. 1-24.
    Coss, Peter. The Knight in Medieval England: 1000-1400. (1993/) 1996.
    Denholm-Young, N. History and Heraldry 1254-1310: A Study of the Historical Value of the Rolls of Arms. Oxford, 1965.
    Humphery-Smith, Cecil. Anglo-Normany Armory Two: An Ordinary of Thirteenth-Century Armorials. Canterbury, 1984.
    Keen, Maurice. Chivalry. New Haven, 1984.
    Prestwich, Michael. Edward I. 1988 /New Haven, 1997.
    Rose, Alexander. Kings in the North: The House of Percy in British History. London, 2002.
    Speight, Harry. Lower Wharfdale. London, 1902. (Accessed via Google Books: https://tinyurl.com/y6hmrprc .)

    The article, “Harness Pendants,” on the UK Detector Finds Database (UKDFD) website, under “C J’s Metal Detecting Pages:”
    is also of considerable value.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
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  3. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I have seen these and have often thought about buying some. Never got around to it though! Very cool
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  4. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Great post and really cool artifacts.

    Never knew anything about those until now.

    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  5. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Very interesting post and artifacts. I have come across all sorts of medieval religious and heraldic badges, but horse pendants are new to me. I learned something!

    The reciprocal influence of heraldry, seals, and coins in the Middle Ages deserves closer study. It's a complicated topic, especially since heraldry in the strict sense evolves only in the 12th century and in the beginning often repurposes devices known from earlier sphragistic material. Yet, the influence soon changes direction and coats of arms become a popular motif on coins and seals. Below are some examples.

    This coin is only heraldic at second sight. Yet, the lion is the lion of house Hohenstaufen. It is Frederick's way of saying "This is my mint!":
    MA – Deutschland etc, Nürnberg, Reichsmünzstätte, Löwen u. Kreuz.png
    Nuremberg, imperial mint, under Frederick II, AR pfennig (group 6), c. 1245–1250 AD. Obv: lion walking l. within high ring; roses around. Rev: cross between two standing lions, ring and roses around (weak strike as usual). 20mm, 0.94g. Ref: Slg. Erlanger 32, Fd. Hersbruck 19, Slg. Bonhoff 2015.

    The fleur-de-lis first appears as a crown ornament on the seal of Robert II of France (r. 987–1031). Later seals show the French kings with a lily sceptre and even holding a lily. Under Louis VIII, it morphs into the French coat of arms and after a while is also found on coins:
    MA – Frankreich, Karl VI der Wahnsinnige, Gros Blanc guenar, 1411.png
    Kingdom of France, Charles VI "the Well Liked" or "the Mad," AR blanc guénar, 1411 AD, Paris mint, 4th emission. Obv: +KAROLVS:FRANCORV:REX; French coat of arms; ringlet under cross in legend. Rev: +SIT:NOME: DNI:BENEDICTV, Cantoned cross with two crowns and two fleurs de lis in angles; ringlet under cross in legend. 25.5mm, 2.98g. Ref: Duplessy 377C.

    As I wrote in another thread, the Knights Hospitaller used the seal of their grand masters as the obverse of their gigliati. Yet, they also added the personal arms of the respective grand master:
    MA – Kreuzfahrer, Johanniter auf Rhodos, Raymond Berenger, Gigliato (neues Foto).png
    Knights Hospitaller (Order of S. John) at Rhodes, under Raymond Bérenger, AR Gigliato, 1365-1374. Obv: + F RAIMUNDVS BERENGERII D GRA M; Grand Master, wearing cloak with Maltese cross on shoulder, kneeling l. in prayer before patriarchal cross set on steps; arms of Raymond Bérenger to r. Rev: + OSPITAL ♣ S • IOhS • IRLNI : QTS • RODI •; cross fleury with arms of the Knights Hospitaller at the end of each arm. 28 mm, 3.64g. Ref: Metcalf 1208–1210; CCS 22.

    All two-sided coins of the Teutonic Order show the heraldic shield of the grand master on the obverse and the shield of the order on the reverse:
    MA – Deutschland etc., Deutscher Orden, Wynrich von Knyprode.png
    Teutonic Order, under Grand Master Winrich von Kniprode, AR schilling,1351–1382, Thorn or Danzig mint (?). Obv: + MAGST WVNRICS PRIMS; eagle shield of the Grand Master. Rev: + MONETA DNORVM PRUCI; shield of the Teutonic Order. 21mm, 1.64g. Ref: Neumann 4.
    Bayern, +VGO.DVCKS, TheRed and 5 others like this.
  6. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Another field I considered getting to know better but alas no money-growing tree nor time-growing fields around here.
  7. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I’ve often thought about the similarities between coins and seals, and thought there could be an interesting study here (perhaps there already is). After all, they both perform the same function, and in some ways the same materiality. Both coins and seals have an image stamped into a material (metal or wax) which then gives a legitimacy to the item. I also think there are a few cases where the design elements overlap. I admit that my limitations of seeks I have seen have been primarily English and Scottish, but a common design element is to have the enthroned king on one side (as head of state), and the long on horseback on the other (signifying his military role).

    There are only a few coins I can think of which portray the long on horseback (foremost in my mind would be this one):
    Med-14-INCal-1098-Roger I-TFol-Mileto-3789.jpg Norman Italy - Calabria
    Roger I, r. 1072-1101 (1098-1101)
    Mileto Mint, AE Trifollaro, 28.04 mm x 8.3 grams
    Obv.: ROG [ERVS] COME +S. Roger, mounted left wearing Norman helm, holding kite shield and striped banner
    Rev.: + MARIA [MATE]R DNI (’N’ retrograde). Enthroned nimbate Virgin Mary holding on lap Christ child, nimbate and in swaddling clothes right
    Ref.: NCKS 131var., MEC 14.93, De Wit 3789

    by the enthroned king I believe is a more common design (here is a much later coin from England):
    Med-09b-Eng-1494-Henry VII-D-II-Durham-1731.jpg England
    Henry VII, r. 1485-1509 (Bishop Richard Fox, 1494-1501)
    Durham Mint, ‘Sovereign’ type AR Penny, 14.88mm x 0.63 grams
    Obv.: [HENR]IC DI GR[A REX] AN. King enthroned holding orb and sceptre
    Rev.: CIVITAS [DE .:.] RAM. Coat-of-arms over long cross pattée, mitre above, R left, D right
    Ref.: North 1731, SCBS 2234, De Witt 3298, (Allen, Classification 3iii)
    Ex. R.D. Frederick, Ex. Tradewinds Collection, Ex. CNG Auction 280, Lot 481

    there was also a common practice where those without seals would bite the wax on parchment to act as their seals, and I have often wondered if there might be a similar design element to the earliest Electrum coins of Ionia which merely have lines and scratches in them (perhaps imitating a tooth bite?). Mere speculation of course
  8. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    The fashion of wearing these small horse pendants (I have heard them being referred to as vervelle in French quarters) was not restricted to Britain and France. It also came South and East with the expansion of Charles d'Anjou's suzerainty over Frankish Greece in the 1270s and the integration of Albania-Epirus-Achaea into his own version of the "Angevin Empire" at the end of the 13th century.

    An interesting hint would be a denier tournois of Lepanto in Epirus for Philippe de Taranto, Angevin Prince and Despot in Epirus and Corfu, from ca. 1297-1304:

    epirus 2.JPG
    AR19x18mm 0.81g Lepanto/Nepanti/Naupaktas
    + shield/vervelle Ph'S P ' TAR DESP ⚜; cross pattee
    + ⚜ NЄPANTI CIVIS ' ; chateau tournois
    cf. Malloy 111b, Saulcy XV, 13.

    This series began as Philippe was still just Despot of Lepanto/Naupaktas, before acceding to the Principality of Achaea -- after the annulment of the wedding of Isabella de Villehardouin to Philippe de Savoia by Charles II d'Anjou, who was the suzerain of Achaea, in 1306.

    Philippe started wearing the title of Despot Romaniae after the death of his father in law Nikephoros I Komnenos-Dukas around 1297 and lost the city of Nepanti/Naupaktas/Lepanto to the Komnenos-Dukas faction around 1304/5. In 1307 he had his possessions restored but it's unlikely that he restored a coinage operation at Lepanto.

    Malloy mentions the small figure at the beginning of the obv. legend as being a "leaf" but it is supposed to appear as a stop only on the reverse. This type might be unrecorded thus in CCS, or there might be an error in the description of 111b. Considering that there are many mark at the beginning of the obverse legend, it is most likely an error in the catalog.

    epirus 1.JPG
    AR17x15mm 0.87g
    + shield/vervelle Ph'S P ' TAR DЄSP ⚜; cross pattee
    + ❚ NЄPANTI CIVIS '; chateau tournois
    cf. Malloy 111b, Saulcy XV, 12.

    The nature of the figure is also intriguing. Malloy only mentions it in passing as being a "leaf" (a fleuron maybe?) but its shape is reminiscent of the armorial pendant/vervelle (often decorated with a coat of arms, that is the focus here), a very popular harness decoration by the 14th century. Showing coats of arms was apparently popular or at least not unheard of in the coinage of Frankish Greece -- the very rare denier of Thomas III de Stromoncourt from Salona (Malloy 108) for instance, or the fractionary coinage of Guillaume de la Roche (Malloy 81), or the fractionary of Philippe de Savoia (Malloy 23) etc. Although the small detail seen on this issue does not appear on other Greek deniers -- not even Philippe's coinage from later on at Glarentza -- there are other coins from the 14th century which show small shields with coats of arms in the legends from the West, like for instance the denier tournois of Philippe de Vienne or the gros tournois of Remagen -- but unlike these Greek fleurons/armorial pendants/vervelles, those shields actually show a coat of arms.

    vervelle.jpg Detail with the pendant-vervelle at the beginning of the obverse legend and the Angevin fleur-de-lis at the end.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your conspicuously incisive comments, @Orielensis, and the terrific coins. Your schilling of Winrich von Kniprode is that much better than mine, both for toning and strike.
    ...As far as collecting, I don't venture too far into the 14th century, or much later. But the exceptions are, to paraphrase Leonard Cohen, 'the cracks where the light comes in.' ...For people tuning in late to this broadcast, Winrich encouraged 'crusaders' from further west to fight on behalf of the Teutonic Order; in 'Pruce' and 'Ruce,' as Chaucer puts it. (Description of the Knight in the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales.) He did this by means of a by then common ploy; in this case the Eretisch, or Table of Honor. (Cf. Keen, Chivalry (1984), 171-4, 179.) This was a natural extension of the prototypical, faux-Arthurian 'Round Table' of Edward I (https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/winchester-round-table), and the secular 'Orders of Chivalry' which ensued over the 14th century, sponsored by kings and upper aristocracy. (Cf. Keen, 179 ff.) Tuchman characterizes the collective phenomenon, with its cloyingly revisionist trappings --relying, as they did, on the already extensive Arthurian literature, rather than on historical precedent-- in this way:
    "The orders of chivalry, with all their display and ritual and vows, were essentially a way of trying to secure a loyal body of military support on which the sovereign could rely." (A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (1978), p. 130.)
    Huizinga offers a still resonant diagnosis of the underlying communal sensibility on which such expediences relied: "The men who made the history of those times, princes, nobles, prelates, or burghers, were no romantic dreamers, but dealt in solid facts. Still, nearly all paid homage to the chivalrous bias." He goes on to describe the political uses to which the surrounding rhetoric could be put. Lacking Tuchman's concision or cogency, he still manages to cover some of the distance, on a more generalized level:
    "Were the rules of chivalry taken into account in the councils of kings and in those of war? [....] Without any doubt. If medieval politics were not governed for the better by the idea of chivalry, surely they were so sometimes for the worse. Chivalry during the [is this legal? let's say, Later] Middle Ages was, on the one hand, the great source of tragic political errors, exactly as are nationalism and racial pride at the present day. On the other, it tended to disguise well-adjusted calculations under the apprearace of generous aspirations." (The Waning of the Middle Ages, 1949 /1954, pp. 93-4 (/ff.); cf. 85 ff. on specific orders of chivalry as of the 14th century --the Teutonic Knights are mentioned on p.85.)
    ...I guess you kind of got me started, or something.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  10. Bardolph

    Bardolph Member

    Very interesting indeed. A large number of these triangular horse pendants are dug up every year in the UK by metal detectorists.
    Just a small correction to Seth's note. A vervel or varvel (both are correct) is the term used in falconry for a flat ring usually of silver, originally attached to the jess around the leg of a bird. It was a quick release device and also allowed the falconer to give initial impetus to the bird as it started to fly. They were of course engraved with the arms of the owner.
    Vervels are much smaller than horse pendants so much harder to find by metal detectorists who frequently find pendants. Vervels of course were also specifically designed so as not to be lost since losing a bird was a major disaster.
    Vervels as first used dropped out of fashion as they could become entangled on bushes and trees and trap a bird, so owners applied the ring directly around the leg - making the finding of one even harder still.
    Bayern and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  11. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    There are other things called vervelles too -- for instance the riveted pins used to fasten the camail to the helmet and, surely, these small pendants used to mark not just the falcons but hunting dogs too. And as a colloquialism at the very least, the same term is also used, at least in french literature and speech, to encompass these pendants too.

    Some very interesting and well preserved french types: https://chasseurdetresor.forumgratuit.org/t1902-vervelles-dossier
    +VGO.DVCKS and Bayern like this.
  12. Bardolph

    Bardolph Member

    The term vervelles may be used as you say, and in fact is, but it is incorrectly applied. I am a member of several metal detectorist websites, and many members make the same mistake. A vervelle, vervel or varvel, however you want to spell it, is in 99% of cases a flat ring with the owner's name inscribed or occasionally his arms. Harness pendants are generally triangular but can be square and in the post medieval time, circular.
    In the UK's PAS scheme where detectorists register their finds, there are 7776 harness pendants, mainly medieval. There are only 134 vervels if which 80% or more are from the 16th to early
    Bayern and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  13. Bardolph

    Bardolph Member

    (Pressed the send button in error).
    ... 16th to 18th Century. The average weight for a vervel is just under 1 gram while harness pendants are anywhere between 7 and 14 gms.
    Finally the only definition of a 'vervelle' in the Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française is a ring use in falconry
    Bayern and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  14. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @Bardolph, First, could your member name just possibly be from the surname, Bardolf --with the typical, interminable Anglo-Norman orthographic variants? That would make us cousins ...if we weren't already, on a merely, as such staggering statistical basis.
    ...And I've done that too many times. 'Oops! Wrong Button!' Entire computers (fortunately all bought used) died that way. I kind of knew something like that happened in your next to last post.
  15. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    This sounds a bit pedantic.

    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  16. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Nothing scary about anything with the appearance of pedantry; just the real thing. You're in the clear.
    Of the vervelles, the one on the right has an arresting similarity to the arms of the counts of Bar, as of the 13th century. It would take a minute --and who has time, or money-- to determine the likely genealogical relationship. But here's my example of Bar.
    Lorraine. County of Bar. Henri II, 1214-1240. AR denier.
    Obv. The (conspicuously canting) comital coat of arms: 2 bars (fish) between a star. +BARRI DVCIS. ('Frontier' of Bar --i. e., directly on the border of the county of Champagne, while what was left of Lorraine at this point was still part of the Staufen empire.)
    Rev. Cross with two fleurs-de-lis. XhENRICVS COMES. (Henri, the Count.)
    (Boudeau 1425.)
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2020
    DonnaML and Bing like this.
  17. Bardolph

    Bardolph Member

    Hi VGO-DVCKS - No, I'm afraid there's almost certainly no family relationship.
    I chose the name Bardolph for two reasons: first, I once played the part of Bardolph in my school's end of year production of Shakespeare's Henry V - a very minor role. As a non-gifted amateur I also played a few other parts in my youth, never good enough to have more than a few lines, but a little better than being 1st Soldier, a Herald or Innkeeper!

    Secondly, during the Second World War, I was born in the back of an RAF ambulance rushing my mother and me to the emergency hospital in Stow Bardolph, Norfolk, where my birth was registered. The register still stands, the hospital was torn down over 50 years ago.
    DonnaML and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  18. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Incredible story, @Bardoph, easily better than any (known) lineal descent. The Shakespearian Bardoph was indeed based on a member of the family I was thinking of, at least in 2 Hen. IV. I'm not 100% sure that he's the same character, reappearing in Hen. V. (...It's still morning here, and I'm cheating with Who's Who in Shakespeare. ...Should I have told you that?) But no, amazing story.
    DonnaML likes this.
  19. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    @+VGO.DVCKS: so how far back do you trace your ancestry? Have you been an aristocrat all this time without telling us? Should we call you Sir Vgo? Do you have your own family coat of arms?
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  20. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML, Thanks for that. The timing, unfortunately, is optimally bad. I was just powering this down before going out the door with the garbage, followed by picking up the mail. I mentioned this somewhere, once, though, fleetingly. Since you already speak Charles Cawley (right, Medieval Lands) fluently, you'll be fun to yammer at about it. I'll be back to this as soon as as I can.
    DonnaML likes this.
  21. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML, Okay, all the way back. ...Can I tell you some of the story?
    From when I was Really low to the ground, I was always Really Into two groups of things: mummies & pyramids, and knights & castles. Afterward, with a long, leisurely detour into ancient western history (predominantly Roman, emphatically including lower-end coins), the medieval period settled in as my more permanent, functioning center of gravity. (One draw being that this was the last major interval of European history to remain effectively innocent of racism in any recognizably modern, ideological, pseudo-scientific form. --Right, with classism and religious craziness rushing into the vacuum --human nature, and so forth-- but Still. ...That can be another conversation.)
    This went on for years. Fast forward to Christmas Eve, 2005. I'd gotten into the genealogy of my dad's relentlessly New England WASP family. (With a generation's hiatus on two sides of the family, c. later 19th c., in Chicago and San Antonio, Texas. ...Grandpa made a beeline back to Mass. as soon as he could.) Mayflower, Winthrop Fleet, one definite minuteman (Concord and Bunker Hill), yada yada.* If Mom wasn't from the Ozarks, I'd be crosseyed.
    Right, it's Christmas Eve, and I'm staying overnight with my folks. They've just opened an early present from my uncle (aka Dad's Smarter Younger Brother --family's only academic), an abridged edition of an ancestor's diary, 1860-1863, from the manuscript. He included a family tree, operant parts taken directly from the manuscript, with continuations on several different branches from his own primary research. On our side, this netted two surnames in the direct line, neither of which was known to me. ...Doing this stuff from the wrong end of the country, my Achilles' heel, however ironically, had always been the 19th century. Well into the 18th, I had access to enough in print to stay busy. Beyond that, I had to rely on what was already known (with adequate documentation, largely by way of, may we (<--Not the royal kind) say, other primary sources of an informal nature).
    One of the surnames was Chadbourne. Staying up late in the office /guest bedroom, I was trolling for them online. Stumbled onto, Oops, the website of the Chadbourne Family Association.
    --As Charles Cawley's monumental Medieval Families website (right, http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/index.htm) aptly demonstrates,
    there are two kinds of online genealogy: the ones that use the internet as a medium, after the fact, and the ones that Belong on the internet, along with the 3 Ps: pop-up ads, plane tickets, and porn. (...In a world reeking of false dichotomies, this Ain't One of 'em.)
    The Chadbourne website is emphatically in the former category.
    From this page, a Ctrl-F search for "Tux" (for the surname "Tuxbury," a Puritanization of "Tewkesbury") will net you two of my great x3 grandparents. (Where's the superscript function on this?) From there, forward, the lineal progression is seamlessly documented.
    If you click on the operant ancestors from that page, and click on them etc., the website will take you back, a generation at a time, to the 17th century and the descent from Edward I. --Or, as an alternative, you could just go to this website, which gives you the gist of it, in a much more fun way.
    This is by way of Thomas of Brotherton, one of Edward's notoriously underachieving children by his second, late, record-brakingly cradle-robbing marriage to Marguerite Capet, a daughter of Philippe III. (--Aunt, Yikes, of Edward II's wife. ...The trend that gives you the Habsburgs, especially as of the 17th-19th centuries, is already starting....)
    For comparison, Meghan Sussex is descended from Edward III, beating me by two generations. (During the pregnancy, I was praying, 'Jesus, Put some Black on him!' --TMI? Sorry....)
    What's so fun about this, especially with help from Charles Cawley (and, for one especially conspicuous instance in print, the Complete Peerage, at the local public library in a reduced, eye-busting facsimile reprint), is effectively twofold. On one hand, in most of the operant marriages, diplomacy was a, if not (why lie?) the primary criterion. Generation by generation, you can see geographic as well as chronological sequences. One favorite instance is the progression from a couple of later Byzantine emperors (Alexius Comnenus and Isaac /Isaakios II Angelos (who had maternal descent from Alexius), to Philipp von Schwaben, a son of Friedrich Barbarossa, to 13th-c. dukes of Brabant, to Philippe III Capet, to Edward I.
    On the other hand, during this whole interval, the royals were also marrying into the upper levels of the aristocracy (much of that in a similarly diplomatic capacity, largely within their own borders). And from c. Edward I onward, I personally get descent from Anglo-Norman aristocracy, sputtering and flickering out as of the early 16th century. (Thing to remember about social mobility in England during the late medieval and Tudor eras: much of it was downward. That's how some statistical genealogists have estimated that, as of the mid-20th century or so, most or all people with continuous English descent can safely count Edward I, at least, among their ancestors. ...C. S. Lewis said something or other once, to the effect that, for that demographic, the only real difference between aristocracy and commoners was that the former knew who they were descended from.
    ...Maybe, in light of the extant records, it's effectively the sheer novelty value. But I gravitate first to the aristocratic, instead of the royal sides of this.
    As a collector, there's nothing I love quite so much as a French feudal coin, c. 11th-13h centuries, in the name of the issuing count or seigneur. (No, this is Not about immobilizations. Been there before you were; public service anouncement.) ...Leaving dukes (like my avatar) out of the picture for a minute. Because from the above, some real triangulation takes place. In any given instance, the smaller the polity, starting with geography, and the (very relatively) more primary documentation there is about the individual in question, the more compelling it is.
    ...Right, time to shut up for a minute. Thanks again, @DonnaML, for being brave enough to ask about it. Hope you don't regret it! :<}

    *The minuteman's father-in-law was the only known slaveowner (Typo: 'slaveower' --should've kept it) on either side of the family. Of record as such as of, Just Wait for it, 1775. Yeah, In Massa-freaking-Chusetts. Just try that on, for a minute. Kind of why there's, let's say, a commensurate chronological lull in my interest in American history.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2020
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