Bishop Asser informs us that Alfred had a great love of jewelled ornaments. His crown, which unfortunately no longer survives, is listed in an inventory of jewels melted down by Oliver Cromwell at the establishment of the Protectorate, it is described as being studded with emeralds.

#AceBritishHistory – June 06 – English Monarchs – Kings and Queens of EnglandAlfred the Great.: http://englishmonarchs.co.uk/saxon_6.htm

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` Richard the Lion Heart ‘

#AceHistoryNews – Richard I (September 8, 1157 – April 6, 1199) was King of England from 1189 to 1199. He was often referred to as Richard the Lionheart, Coeur de Lion. He was considered a hero in his day and has often been portrayed as one in works of literature.

Richard I the Lionheart, King of England

Richard I the Lionheart, King of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Life: 

The third of King Henry II‘s legitimate sons, Richard was never expected to accede to the throne.

He was, however, the favourite son of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Although born in Oxford, England, he soon came to know France as his home. When his parents effectively separated, he remained in Eleanor’s care, and was invested with her duchy of Aquitaine in 1168, and of Poitiers in 1172.

This was his consolation prize for the fact that his eldest brother, Henry the Young King, was simultaneously crowned as his father’s successor. Richard and his other brother, Geoffrey, duke of Brittany, thus learned how to defend their property while still teenagers.

As well as being an educated man, able to compose poetry in French and Provençal, Richard was also a magnificent physical specimen, his height is estimated at six feet four inches (1.93 m) tall, and gloried in military activity.

From an early age he appeared to have significant political and military abilities, became noted for his chivalry and courage, and soon was able to control the unruly nobles of his territory.

As with all the true-born sons of Henry II, Richard had limited respect for his father and lacked foresight and a sense of responsibility.

In 1170, his elder brother Henry the Young King was crowned king of England as Henry III. Historians know him as Henry “the Young King” so as not to confuse him with the later king of this name who was his nephew.

Read More : Richard the Lion Heart

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“Lindisfarne Gospels”

#AceHistoryNews says the story of the “Lindisfarne Gospels” are part of our very fabric of Britain, this is how they came into being.    

LGStLukecarpetpg.jpg

The Lindisfarne Gospels, British Library

An Eight Century monk’s artistic legacy is one of Britain’s greatest literary and religious treasures.

The Lindisfarne Gospels were produced more than 1300 years ago at the monastery of Lindisfarne on the Northumbrian coast. The single volume manuscript consists of 500 pages of beautiful calligraphy and decorative symbols. An Anglo-Saxon translation of the Latin text was added two centuries later and is the earliest known English version of the gospels. The book survived the centuries in spectacular condition and is now held by the British Library.

Dr Michelle Brown, curator of illuminated manuscripts for the British Library, has researched the origins and craftsmanship of the work. Her findings are shared at an exhibition called Painted Labyrinth – the World of the Lindisfarne Gospels. The original manuscript is the centrepiece of the free event alongside an exact duplicate which visitors will be able to handle.

Dr Brown said: “The gospels hold a timeless universal appeal. It was made in an era of immense multiculturalism in England and the imagery is a mix of Roman British, Irish, Germanic, Mediterranean and even Middle Eastern influences. This was a deliberate attempt to include all aspects of society and faith resulting in a breathtaking piece of art.”

LGStLuke.jpg

The central text is the Christian gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with prefaces by Saint Jerome. Dr Brown said: “The Lindisfarne Gospels were made in memory of Saint Cuthbert who lived near the abbey and was Bishop of Lindisfarne for a time. He was canonised soon after his death in 687. The work was probably carried out from 715 to 720. The book was clearly made by one skilled artist unlike many medieval manuscripts which were made by a team of scholars.”

Bishop Eadfrith, leader of the monastery from 698 to 721, is credited as the creator of the work. Dr Brown said: “The monastery was responsible for the spiritual welfare of people living across the north of England and southern Scotland up to Edinburgh. Eadfrith administered this social service. He also attended church eight times every day as part of his duties. It is amazing he was able to dedicate time to the production of the Gospels.”

Eadfrith was inventive and came up with modern solutions to problems he encountered. Dr Brown said: “We now understand the process used to generate the lavish pages. Each piece of vellum covered two pages, for example a spread of pages two and seven, which when folded and bound together created the book. The elaborate designs took up more space than the text in the Naples gospels he was copying from so it was a complex task to visualise the end design at the early stages. Eadfrith created test sheets using his own costly vellum to solve the problem. First he drew out his designs on one piece of vellum. Then he placed another piece over the top and carefully copied the markings. He rubbed the vellum in order to transfer the ‘pencil’ drawings onto the back of the sheet, as a reversed design.”

Images from the British Library

LGStMatthew.jpg

Dr Brown continued: “He then turned the sheet over and painted on the other side from the drawings, using candles to backlight, like a modern light box. This ensured his detailed drawings were not obscured by the first layers of pigment and could be followed and consulted throughout the painting process. He worked on the front of the second piece using a candle as a backlight. The finished work has no preparation markings on the painted side because the layout is all on the back.”

Research also shows Eadfrith adapted and expanded on existing artistic practice. Dr Brown said: “Pigment analysis reveals the gospels have 108 distinct shades. This is in an era when just three colours were generally used for work of this type. Eadfrith used a palette of six base colours made from locally available substances from which he expanded his range. We also believe Eadfrith may have been the inventor of the pencil. The traditional method of marking a design was to score the page using bone, it was difficult to read and paint was often trapped in the indentations. Eadfrith used a metal point with a lead graphite element so the grooves were not as deep. This is about 400 years before any other recorded use of a pencil.”

The exhibition features the different production styles used on the manuscript. It also looks at how the book has been passed down through the ages. Dr Brown said: “The Lindisfarne monks fled in 875 to escape Viking invaders and took the book with them to Chester-Le-Street, near Durham. A priest called Aldred added the Anglo-Saxon translation in about 950. He also made notes about what was known of Eadfrith. The monks and the book moved to Durham in 995 where they stayed until at least the time of Dissolution of the Monasteries. It came into the hands of Sir Robert Cotton in the Seventeenth Century and was part of the collection his heirs bequeathed to the nation.”

Painted Labyrinth – the World of the Lindisfarne Gospels is at the Pearson Gallery, British Library, London

#History2Research


www.bl.uk/collections/treasures/lindis.html
The British Library, 96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB

 

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Snapshot of History: Oswald Watt – Australian Aviator and British Businessman

Captain Oswald Watt, an English-born Australia...

Captain Oswald Watt, an English-born Australian aviator who was a member of the French Foreign Legion before joining the Australian Flying Corps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews says Oswald Watt (1878–1921) was an Australian aviator and businessman. He was born in England and came to Sydney when he was a year old, returning to England for his education. In 1900 he went back to Australia and enlisted in the Militia, before acquiring cattle stations in New South Wales and Queensland. He was also a partner in the family shipping firm. Becoming in 1911 the first Australian to qualify for a Royal Aero Club flying certificate, Watt joined the French Foreign Legion as a pilot on the outbreak of World War I. He transferred to the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) in 1916, quickly progressing to become commanding officer of No. 2 Squadron on the Western Front. By February 1918, he had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and taken command of the AFC’s 1st Training Wing in England. A recipient of France’s Legion of Honour and Croix de Guerre, Watt was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1919. He left the military to pursue business interests in Australia. In 1921, he drowned at Bilgola Beach, New South Wales. He is commemorated by the Oswald Watt Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in Australian aviation, and the Oswald Watt Fund at the University of Sydney.

Read More:  #History2Research

 

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The Magna Carta 1215

English: John of England signs Magna Carta. Im...

English: John of England signs Magna Carta. Image from Cassell’s History of England – Century Edition – published circa 1902 Scan by Tagishsimon, 23rd June 2004 Português: João Sem Terra Assina a Carta Magna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews says On June 15, 1215, in a field at Runnymede, King John affixed his seal to Magna Carta. Confronted by 40 rebellious barons, he consented to their demands in order to avert civil war. Just 10 weeks later, Pope Innocent III nullified the agreement, and England plunged into internal war.

Magna Carta, 1297:   Widely viewed as one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy. On display in the West Rotunda Gallery at the National Archives. Presented courtesy of David M. Rubenstein.
Magna Carta

“The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history . . . It was written in Magna Carta.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941 Inaugural address

Although Magna Carta failed to resolve the conflict between King John and his barons, it was reissued several times after his death. On display at the National Archives, courtesy of David M. Rubenstein, is one of four surviving originals of the 1297 Magna Carta. This version was entered into the official Statute Rolls of England.

Enduring Principles of Liberty:

Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. It is concerned with many practical matters and specific grievances relevant to the feudal system under which they lived. The interests of the common man were hardly apparent in the minds of the men who brokered the agreement. But there are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day:

“No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

“To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice.”

Inspiration for Americans:

During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution (“no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”) is a direct descendent of Magna Carta’s guarantee of proceedings according to the “law of the land.”


More Magna Carta Resources

You can view a short video about the Magna Carta conservation treatment and the Magna Carta encasement.

You can read a translation of the 1297 version of Magna Carta, which was issued as part of Edward I’s Confirmation of the Charters.

“Magna Carta and Its American Legacy” provides a more in-depth look at the history of Magna Carta and the influence it had on American constitutionalism.

You can also view a larger image of the Magna Carta.

 

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History of Walter de Coutances

Coat of arms of Coutances (Normandy) drawn by ...

Coat of arms of Coutances (Normandy) drawn by Aroche for Blazon Project of French-speaking Wikipedia, with Inkscape. Source: own drawing – Blazon: unspecified (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews – Snapshot of History

Walter de Coutances was a medieval Anglo-Norman Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of Rouen.

He began his royal service in the government of Henry II, serving as a vice-chancellor. He also accumulated a number of ecclesiastical offices, becoming successively canon of Rouen Cathedral (pictured), treasurer of Rouen, and Archdeacon of Oxford. King Henry sent him on a number of diplomatic missions, and finally rewarded him with the Bishopric of Lincoln in 1183. He did not remain there long, for he was translated to the archbishopric of Rouen in late 1184.

When Richard I, King Henry’s son, became king in 1189, Coutances absolved Richard for his rebellion against his father and invested him as Duke of Normandy. He then accompanied Richard to Sicily as the king began the Third Crusade, but events in England prompted Richard to send the archbishop back to England to mediate between William Longchamps, the justiciar whom Richard had left in charge of the kingdom, and Prince John, Richard’s younger brother. Coutances succeeded in securing a peace between Longchamps and John, but further actions by Longchamps led to the Justiciar’s expulsion from England. Coutances died in November 1207 and was buried in his cathedral.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_de_Coutances>

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History of the Grand Order of Masons

The Square and Compasses. The symbols employed...

The Square and Compasses. The symbols employed in Co-Freemasonry are mostly identical with those in other orders of Freemasonry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The earliest official English documents to refer to masons are written in Latin or Norman French. Thus we have “sculptores lapidum liberorum” (London 1212), “magister lathomus liberarum petrarum” (Oxford 1391), and “mestre mason de franche peer” (Statute of Labourers 1351). These all signify a worker in freestone, a grainless sandstone or limestone suitable for ornamental masonry. In the 17th century building accounts of Wadham College the terms freemason and freestone mason are used interchangeably. Freemason also contrasts with “Rough Mason” or “Layer”, as a more skilled worker who worked or laid dressed stone.

The adjective “free” in this context may also be taken to infer that the mason is not enslavedindentured or feudally bound. While this is difficult to reconcile with medieval English masons, it apparently became important to Scottish operative lodges.

Lodge and the Guild: 

The historical record shows two levels of organisation in medieval masonry, the lodge and the “guild”. The original use of the word lodge indicates a workshop erected on the site of a major work, the first mention being Vale Royal Abbey in 1278. Later, it gained the secondary meaning of the community of masons in a particular place. The earliest surviving records of these are the laws and ordinances of the lodge at York Minster in 1352. It should be noted that these regulations were imposed by the Dean and Chapter of the Minster

Earliest Masonic History: 

Anderson's Constitutions, 1723

Anderson’s Constitutions, 1723 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The earliest masonic texts each contain some sort of history of the craft, or mystery, of masonry. The oldest known work of this type, The Halliwell Manuscript, or Regius Poem, dating from between 1390 and 1425, has a brief history in its introduction, stating that the “craft of masonry” began with Euclid in Egypt, and came to England in the reign of King Athelstan.[2] Shortly afterwards, the Cooke Manuscripttraces masonry to Jabal son of Lamech (Genesis 4: 20-22), and tells how this knowledge came to Euclid, from him to the Children of Israel (while they were in Egypt), and so on through an elaborate path to Athelstan. This myth formed the basis for subsequent manuscript constitutions, all tracing masonry back to biblical times, and fixing its institutional establishment in England during the reign of Athelstan (927-939).

Shortly after the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge of EnglandJames Anderson was commissioned to digest these “Gothic Constitutions” in a palatable, modern form. The resulting constitutions are prefaced by a history more extensive than any before, again tracing the history of what was now freemasonry back to biblical roots, again forging Euclid into the chain. True to his material, Anderson fixes the first grand assembly of English Masons at York, under Athelstan’s son, Edwin, who is otherwise unknown to history.Expanded, revised, and republished, Anderson’s 1738 constitutions listed the Grand Masters since Augustine of Canterbury, listed as Austin the MonkWilliam Preston’s Illustrations of Freemasonry enlarged and expanded on this masonic creation myth.

Seal of Premier Grand Lodge of England

Seal of Premier Grand Lodge of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In France, the 1737 lecture of Chevalier Ramsay added the crusaders to the lineage. He maintained that Crusader Masons had revived the craft with secrets recovered in the Holy Land, under the patronage of the Knights Hospitaller. At this point, the “history” of the craft in Continental Freemasonry diverged from that in England.

The first record of the degree is in 1769, when Thomas Dunckerley, as Provincial Grand Superintendent, conferred the degrees of Mark Man and Mark Master Mason at a Royal Arch Chapter in Portsmouth.

Following the Union of the Antients and Moderns Grand Lodges and the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813, the articles of union stated that there would be three Craft degrees only, including the Royal Arch, excluding the Mark degree. For this reason, while in the rest of the world Mark Masonry became attached to Royal Arch chapters, in England it was actually proscribed from the Union until the 1850s. It was a group of Scottish masons who procured an illegal warrant from Bon Accord Chapter in Aberdeen to set up a Mark lodge in London. An attempt to add Mark Masonry to the approved craft workings was defeated in 1856, and a Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons was created in response.

As Freemasonry spread around the globe in the 18th and 19th centuries, Mark Masonry became well established and now has a worldwide presence, with six daughter Grand Lodges and the degree being worked under alternative administrative structures elsewhere. In England, the current Mark Grand Master, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, is the younger brother of the Craft Grand Master, HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.

Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas speculate in their 1996 book The Hiram Key that the construction of the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland (1440–1490) provided the interface between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry. Accordingly, the first degree and Mark Masonry was introduced by William Sinclair, whom they claim was the first Grand Master and founder of Freemasonry.

Modern Day Freemasonry:

Many twentieth century totalitarian regimes, both Fascist and Communist have treated Freemasonry as a potential source of opposition due to its secret nature and international connections (not to mention its promotion of religious and political tolerance through its symbolism). It has been alleged by Masonic scholars that the language used by the totalitarian regimes is like that used by some modern critics of Freemasonry. 

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