Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

In Days Of Old...

I've been feeling a little sorry for knights in armour. Our churches are full of them- and they make a lovely show- and I'm always happy to see them- but isn't there something rather sad about chaps who thought it the height of human glory to go round sheathed in metal- shutting out so much of the sensual world- with the sole aim of battering other metal-sheathed persons and intimidating and killing those who couldn't afford the gear? I don't suppose many of them were "parfit and gentil" and, whew, but they must have sweated a lot.

And what a lot of noise they must have made, clanking through the countryside. Imagine a whole bunch of them on horseback. Or did they oil their joints? There's a poem by A.A. Milne about Sir Thomas Tom of Appledore, the knight whose armour didn't squeak- but it doesn't say how he achieved that distinction...

Anyway, I was sorting through my photo folders the other day and there were an awful lot of knights in there and I thought it a shame they weren't being viewed, so here are three of them...

This first fellow is nameless- as are so many. He'd have been painted once and the painted heraldry would have told people exactly who he was but the paint flaked off and no-one renewed it and he's been reduced to nothing more than a typical specimen of the genus. He's reaching for his sword but he's got a pleasant face. He's to be found at Dilwyn in Herofordshire.

This next fellow is also reaching for his sword. He's quite well known because his action pose is unusual. The latest scholarship identifies him as William de Valence the Younger who died, fighting the Welsh, at the Battle of Llandeilo in 1282. He lies in Dorchester Abbey which- confusingly- is in Oxfordshire not Dorset.

And here's one in full colour- an ancestor (one of several, all derived from a single template) who are pictured in the chancel windows of Tewkesbury Abbey. They date from the 1330s and were the self-aggrandising gift of Eleanor Despenser, nee De Clare. If I knew my heraldry I could probably tell you exactly who he's meant to be- but I don't and it's debatable whether anyone apart from Eleanor ever really cared...

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