Monday, December 31, 2012

Today's research snippet: Messengers and a tryptych

I'm going to work up a full blog post on medieval messengers when I get a moment, but here are one or two details about them.

Messengers and other servants of the royal household received gifts from time to time, either traditional to their position or because of particular personal service. It was customary for the king and the heads of the lesser royal households to provide New Year presents for all their servants. These gifts usually took the form of clothing, but could include other items. The Black Prince gave one of his messengers some ribbon and an enamelled silver gilt box. Another time messenger John Dagonet was given a grey sumpter horse along with his New year clothing.
Eleanor of Provence had a messenger called Robert Long who was given 'one good robe' for bringing the good news to Henry III that his daughter Katherine had recovered from an illness in 1256.
During Henry III's minority when my Marshal men were still abounding, the court messengers have left their names in the record. Brice Bongarsun (Goodman) for example, Patrick Pluckhenn, Adam son of Pluckhenn, William Nusquam, William Cherl, William le Vilein. Names such as Ramage (Wild) and Carbonel (Firebrand), make one hope they weren't employed on diplomatic missions!

Today's research photo. 
Gorgeous enamelled tryptych 1350-1370 telling the story of Christ's life and featuring saints to whom the owner was attached, especially Saint Edmund. Can be seen in the V&A Museum.
click to enlarge

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