You are warmly invited to attend the first of our programme of volunteer talks for the year, which will take place on Wednesday 5 February from 10.30am-12pm.
Emily Naish, archivist at Salisbury Cathedral, will be giving a talk entitled: ‘Why move Salisbury Cathedral? Evidence from the archives’.
2020 marks the 800th anniversary of the move of Salisbury Cathedral from Old Sarum to its present day site – or rather, as our 13th century predecessors considered, from the dry and barren hill to the rich and verdant valley. There are several surviving manuscripts in the Cathedral Archives and also at Cambridge University Library which tell us why this momentous decision was made. It is these manuscripts on which the talk will be based.
In connection with Salisbury Museum’s ‘Tudor Christmas’ activities I was intrigued, while watching ‘A Merry Tudor Christmas with Lucy Worsley’, on BBC2 TV, to note that they described the role of the ‘Lord of Misrule’. Also known as the Lord of the Revels, the Lord of Misrule was the ringleader of all the mayhem and revelry that constituted an enactment of the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ in court and in aristocratic households around the country, this being a high point of Tudor entertainment. Often the Lord of Misrule was appointed from among the courtiers but may also have been one of the servants as, during the festivities, the strict hierarchy of Tudor England was briefly turned upside down.
Regular readers of this blog site will be aware that I believe the astrological physician, Simon Forman, is a valid candidate to be the alchemist of St Thomas Church, mainly because he wrote in his Diary for 1584 that “The first of August I toke the house in St. Thomas Churchyerd, and entered there to dwell ther the 7. of September”. I was intrigued by Worsley’s description of the Lord of Misrule because Forman wrote in his Diary for December 1583 that, “This Christmas I was made lord of the revells…”. At first I was somewhat bewildered by this as the Master of the Revels headed the Revels Office – the department of the Royal Household responsible for the coordination of theatrical entertainment at court from Tudor times until the Licensing Act of 1737. The Master of the Revels between 1579 and 1610 was Sir Edmund Tilney and I could find no record of Simon Forman ever holding this position. However, as Dr Worsley explained in her programme, the Lord of Misrule was not just a ‘court thing’, there are records of Lords of Misrule from aristocratic houses in towns and villages around the country. In this context, Simon Forman was employed as schoolmaster to the children of John Penruddock MP1 from October 1582 to about Michelmas (September) 1584, and so it is probable that Forman was Lord of Misrule in this household.
In the TV programme, Lucy Worsley explained that the ‘Lord of Misrule’ was also sometimes referred to as Lord Christmas, the Christmas Prince or the King of Christmas. This has led some historians to speculate that the Lord of Misrule was a forerunner of our present day Father Christmas. It is certainly diverting to consider the colourful character of Simon Forman, known as the notorious astrological physician of London, in such a role.
Occasionally the activities of the Lord of Misrule got out of hand and there is a record of a Lord of Misrule accidentally killing somebody in 1523!
1 John Penruddock MP (1564-1614) was a Parliamentarian with constituencies in Wilton and Southampton. He had nine children, four sons and five daughters. A number of sources state that Forman’s employer, John Penruddock, was the father of the Cavalier Colonel Penruddock of the famous 1655 Penruddock Uprising against Cromwell. This however cannot be correct as Col. Penruddock’s father was Sir John Penruddock, who was not born until 1591. In fact, Forman’s John Penruddock was the grandson of Edward Penruddock of Arklebury (1500-1541) who was the great great grandfather of Col. John Penruddock through a different line.
John Penruddock MP had a house at Hale and two houses in Salisbury; one by the Close Gate and the other the Dolphin in New Street. It is interesting to note than in his Diary for 1582, Forman writes, “The 28th of December I toke a house in New Street”
One of our Trustees, John Perry, has arranged for this wonderful uplighting which will adorn the museum frontage until the new year.
If you haven’t seen it, it is worth coming out in the late afternoon to enjoy the effect.
John has been working with Southampton-based company Evolve Technical Services from whom we have hired the lights and who have done a very efficient job. They have also been very generous with the museum.
If you have been in to the museum recently you will have seen it beginning to be transformed, forward in time to Christmas, and back to Tudor times.
Volunteers are in the museum each morning, before opening time, to start putting the decorations up. Sophia Sample and Sally Brown have been paramount in creating the green swags, table and window decorations. Mary Crane and an enormous team of stitchers have produced Tudor Roses which now find their moment, as you can see…
A regular contributor, Alan Crooks, has sent us this:
“This is a fascinating piece by Alex (see ‘Clarendon’ from last week). Perhaps this is a good point to post this photograph of a model of the palace made for Mary (one of the ‘friends of Clarendon’) by her son for a Mother’s Day. This has been displayed at the Museum in the past. “
This lovely lace (or is it crochet?) Remembrance poppy has appeared from amongst the Tudor roses which Volunteers have been contributing for our Christmas display (end of November, beginning of December). We don’t know who made it! If it was you, or you know who made it, please let us know.
Just published is a novel written by one of our volunteers to give to Salisbury for the 800th anniversary of its founding in 1220. Elias: a story of the founding of Salisbury – the cathedral and the city together – is based on historical research from the sparse source material available. Sue Allenby is also able, however, to draw conclusions from other architectural projects with which Elias of Dereham was involved, as well as from all that would have influenced the lives of those people in the story.
Sue writes this novel with real and imagined characters, their outlook and thinking distinctly thirteenth century, showing that the resilience and optimism of this lovely city was there right from the beginning. The museum’s own drainage collection is a testament to life in the medieval city, and the crafts and skills and willingness to innovate is celebrated today in the Salisbury gallery in our museum. The King’s House itself, of course, is a significant part in the history of The Cathedral Close. Together with the cathedral, the museum will benefit from profits from the novel.
Sue Allenby at the recent launch of her novel.
A wonderful undertaking and generous gift to cathedral and museum!
Cleggett, from Wessex Archaeology, will be giving a fascinating talk entitled ‘Wonderful
things: the army basing programme and the Stonehenge Landscape’. This is a
repeat of the wonderful talk that Simon gave at this year’s Festival of
Archaeology. For five years, Wessex Archaeology has
excavated Bulford, Larkhill and Tidworth in preparation for the Army Basing
Programme. International media has followed the discovery of henges, a
causewayed enclosure, Neolithic pits, prehistoric burials, Anglo Saxon burial
grounds, a WWI practice battlefield and WWII anti-tank devices. Simon’s talk
details the revelation of some truly wonderful things.
There is no need to RSVP for either the above talk. Please just turn up on the day.
I recall the excited reaction of those who attended this talk at ArchFest in July. A brilliant speaker and thoughtful and sensitive archaeologist… If you didn’t hear Simon speak then, grab this opportunity next month.