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The Mother of All Witches - but what were her politics ?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had forgotten until just now when reading one how Jane ends all of her email circulars -

' World peace will come through the will of ordinary people like yourself ' - Lucy Behenna, founder of Mothers for Peace

' Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.' - Margaret Mead

Oh well - as a participant in various religious activities I still suffer from my teenage opinion : that most religious people do not practice what they preach, but they seem to me to be sincere hypocrites ... I thought aged sixteen that I had no further need of religion, that it is mostly positively misleading and definitely delusional if not actually dangerous - and I still think like this - but aged twenty one I decided that I needed to access some kind of agreed wisdom provided that it was not peddled to me in coercive ways and was clearly stated ... Quakerism seemed to me to be the best option back then but I now feel once again that there is something wrong with it : Quaker meetings are over-weighted with refugees from religious groups which they have fled there because of the authoritarianism practised by those they flee from - but they bring it with them, which results in a mutual fear of speaking which locks us into not-talking which is not the same as the pursuit of Silence which is the basis of Quaker worship ... this may just be Cardiff's Quaker Meeting - and I fully admit that as a member I am part of the problem and not yet part of the solution - but in recent years I have visited a handful of other Quaker meetings and I sense that they have the same problem. ...

... ( ... My encounters with Judaism in recent years have helped me to re-assert that I am merely a human being who thinks - that the individual's account of their life is the only legitimate basis for a qualified claim to any kind of authority - religious or political or culinary etc - and that our collective accounts as recorded in The Rule of Law are to be regarded as advisory - " This is our collective advice to the individuals who disregard these basic social principles and behave otherwise : we will respond in the following ways - we will take you aside and have a quiet word with you ... we will expose you to public ridicule ... we will prosecute you and fine or jail you ... we will chop your heads off - or even worse ... we will execute a cruel and unusual punishment and make you go and live in Australia ... ) ...

.. I deem it to be disastrous for Quaker worship to be turned into a middle-class coffee morning with like-minded people who are lonely i.e. those who are maintaining their mutual like-ness by concealing their differences out of the fear of others not lik-ing them ... this more or less exactly recreates what I fled from in synagogues, churches, mosques, temples etc but without even the thing which they offer - an account of human understanding which is clearly affirmed and strongly stated ... One part of " The Model " came out of my trying to remedy the decline of Quakerism into drivel because everybody involved is very hostile to anybody trying to restate it in plain language - despite there being a witness to " Simplicity " which demands that ... >sigh< ... I know that I do not live up to that one quite ... This is why I was so hungry for what the schul offers : to be able to stand with others and publicly affirm the correct things - albeit that there is nothing more than that to be got ... but that the necessary bare minimum which soothes and heals and is more or less to be found in all religions - except that every other religion presents problems to me : the required assertions in a synagogue about loyalty to The Queen and to that place pretending to be Israel gall me of course and I would have the place stripped of ceremony and symbolism and ... but ... um ... welll ... the Jewish synagogue provides that which my Quaker meeting is presently failing to do which is to provide a positive assertion of those values which all religions are of necessity built upon - Truth, Love, Freedom ( i.e. in the sense of non-attachment and giving to others what they need ) Peace which enable Life ... I have over my lifetime come to draw a lot on Torah anyway because in comparison to the Testament and Koran and most other religious texts it simply contains more that is of value to me - but ... my religious convictions remain as I declared in my contribution to " Godless for God's Sake " - Non-Theist, Hylo-zoist, Nomos-tic ... here-tical !


27 Quakers from 13 Yearly Meetings in four countries tell how they combine committed membership of the Religious Society of Friends with rejection of traditional belief in a transcendent, personal and supernatural God. For some of these 'nontheist' Friends, God is no more ( but no less ) than a symbol of the wholly human values of 'mercy, pity, peace and love'. For others, the idea of God and 'God-language' has become an archaism and a stumbling-block. Readers who seek a faith or world-view free of supernaturalism, whether they are Friends, members of other traditions or drop-outs from old-time religion, will find themselves in the company of a varied group whose search for an authentic 21st century understanding of religion and spirituality has led them to declare themselves 'Godless - for God's Sake'.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:34 pm    Post subject: The Matilda Effect Reply with quote

Wow, this thread is bounding along. To return to Margaret Murray, she was not the originator of the witch cult thesis. She picked it up from a Matilda Joslyn Gage who has already made a guest appearance on the Savita thread.

Gage was an American who campaigned against slavery, the extermination of Native Americans, and for women's suffrage. She became not only a naturalized member of the Iroquois nation but was given a status such as chief or mother of the tribe.

She noticed or at least believed that the Iroquois nation was a matriarchy. She stated that when Native American chiefs met with European American delegates to make treaties, they asked in surprise where their women were.

It may be that some Native American nations were ruled by women. She is not the only person to claim that. But others were not.

Mrs Gage drew the conclusion that this was a remnant of a formerly universal pattern. She popularized the witch cult hypothesis which had previously been heard of only in the senior common rooms in certain European universities. She also put forward the idea of the ancient 'Matriarchate' as she called it in 'Women, Church and State.'

In the first history book we had in the first year at secondary school, which was called 'The Ancient World', we read that ancient people saw God as female, and it was probably women who invented farming.

It's quite obvious from written records that women had more rights in Ancient Egypt than in present day Egypt. Some ancient burial sites show that women were sometimes revered.

So we could infer that there has been a decline in status since a Golden Age which we might call a Matriarchy. But it is at best speculative.

Margaret Murray has been criticized for tracing the Horned God cult back to paleolithic times. If you accept the Christ myth theory, for instance, you might link it to Horus in Egypt. You could say that the story goes back to the Stone Age.

But how can you know? Once you get back before writing, you're really scrabbling in the dark.

First of all, what are we to make of the Venus figurines found all over the place? How do we know they were goddesses, and not just sex objects?

They look like the female figurines that my adoptive father and his workmates made in the steel foundry. Did they worship them?

Yes, in the way that a bridegroom used to say 'With my body I thee worship'. Worship is a euphemism for sex. It is the 'with my body' part that gives it away.

Or as Neo-Pagans sing:

'Let us worship Aphrodite
In a flimsy nightie
It may look a bit flighty
But it's good enough for me.'

Aphrodite is a goddess of course. So what?

Let's accept that ancient people were keen on goddesses, something that later fell out of fashion altogether. Did this mean that women had a high position in society or were the rulers? Well, the chief vestal virgin in Rome was the only woman who could vote.

The only one? It's not that great then.

It may be that the rise of patriarchal religion contributed to oppressing women. The evidence is strong.

A woman called Francesca often appears on TV to talk about Biblical studies and ancient history. She has a Greek surname. She is sometimes seen on Sunday morning TV shows, battling with Richard Dawkins on the one hand and traditional religionists on the other.

She thinks that goddess centred religion was good for women. You would naturally think so.

But the facts don't entirely bear that out. Hinduism has loads of goddesses. It even glorified female cattle.

This has co-existed with Sati, dowry deaths and female foeticide and infanticide. Well educated Roman Catholics will tell you that they give Mary 'superdulia' or 'hyperdulia' or something, great reverence, but not worship.

This is, of course, nonsense. They are just playing with words.

Mary fills the role of a goddess although this is not acknowledged. To judge if this is compatible with oppressing women, check out our popular Savita thread.

We can tell ourselves that the ancients once had a matriarchy if we like. It may even be true, but the jury is out on that one.

I don't know if any jury would be fit to find a verdict. People fit the evidence to what they want to believe.

I mentioned at home something I'd learnt at school. Polygamy means having more than one husband or wife, polygyny means having plural wives, and polyandry plural husbands.

My adoptive father started shouting brutally that no such thing existed. In some countries it was permitted to have more than one wife, but there was no such thing as having more than one husband.

I thought the teacher probably knew better than he did. Polyandry is rare on a global scale, but it's traditional in Nepal, Tibet, Plymouth, and maybe some other places.

Obviously, he felt threatened by this information. That's the problem.

It's hard to be objective on the subject. Is a Matriarchate a desirable situation anyway?

Matilda Joslyn Gage was enlightened on race but ruled her easy going husband and her children with a rod of iron. She wrote that nature showed that the mother not the father is the real head of the family. It sounds as if she believed in family values either way. We would say that each individual in the family has rights.

Matilda Joslyn Gage has given her name to the 'Matilda effect', the tendency for women's achievements to be forgotten or overlooked. Her work has been influential but her name is almost totally forgotten.

Margaret Murray has not suffered from the Matilda effect. Her work has not been forgotten but ridiculed.

It is easy to make any statement about prehistory. The convention of blue for a boy and pink for a girl goes back less than a hundred years, but its origins are claimed to lie in our hunter gatherer past.

Apparently men needed a blue sky for a good day's hunting. Women needed to be good at detecting pink and red as their job was to gather ripe fruit.

Bushmen, of all modern people, live lives closest to those of our hunter gatherer ancestors. In the 70s, we heard that they only needed to work for a few days a week, and they had great sexual equality.

If it wasn't that their present environment was so arid, they would be living an idyll. They were even called 'the gentle people.'

Now we hear that their rate of murder, manslaughter and other anti-social acts is higher that in any urban environment. It's much the same in all non state societies.

Sometimes, we have to accept that we don't have enough evidence to enable us to know what we're talking about.

Last edited by marianneh on Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


= YALE COURSES - 14 - Witchcraft and Magic

I suppose that this might be more informative ... I wonder what you think of YYYY's ripost to me in rhyme ( without perhaps mentioning her name ) ...

PWNCO = http://repwblic.informe.com/viewtopic.php?t=1319

What did Voltaire and Rousseau etc think of witchcraft and things like that e.g. Mesmerism ?
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let us worship Aphrodite
She wears a flimsy nighty
Though it might look very flighty
It's good enough for me

scans better

SALLY: In the ancient Matriarchies, they didn't have patriarchal penile penetrative intercourse

DAFYDD: Maybe that's why the ancient Matriarchies died out.
Liberty - Equality - Fraternity : Aux armes, Citoyens !

War is Politics by other Methods - General von Clausewitz
Politics is War by other Methods - Some guy on the Internet
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:54 pm    Post subject: More witchy stuff Reply with quote

I recommend very much the video put up by Dai of the lecture on 'Witchcraft and Magic', which starts with the discovery of the body of poor old Ursula Kemp in 1921. The corpse was originally thought to be that of a recent murder victim. But of course the poor thing had been executed for witchcraft in the sixteenth century.

The lecture's really interesting and measured. I'm not 100 % sure I know who YYY is, so I won't jump into that at the moment, It might be inflammatory to do so.

I'll just make three observations. On a TV show some years ago, we heard of the discovery of a corpse of a person who had died an unnatural death. His corpse came from the early Middle Ages, and it was found in or near the outer circle of stones at Stonehenge.

The idea put forward by the programme makers was that he had been executed shortly after Anglo Saxon society had gone Christian. He had been buried in a Pagan place, as it were, because his enemies hated him so much that they wanted to destroy not only his body but his soul.

But for all the revulsion for Paganism, customary beliefs continued. Our history teacher told us en passant that there was something that could be called 'popular religion' that was particularly associated with women and this was thriving as late as the sixteenth century.

We cannot be sure that this amounted to a cult that met for organised sessions that could be designated a coven. Of course, we can't disprove it either.

But one thing the lecturer who expounded 'Witchcraft and Magic' confirmed is that wise women and cunning men had a useful function as medical practitioners in their communities. The consultations with patients may also have featured incantations and spells.

This might have been a bit of humbug to give the patient faith in their alleged mystical powers. Or the practitioners may have believed their own propaganda as it were.

The incantation may genuinely have been useful if it had a placebo effect. After all, until very recently doctors dished out medically worthless sugar pills to their patients, allowing them to think they were medically potent, just for the placebo effect. Apparently, this is no longer permitted.

The conversation quoted by Moritz above shows the limitations of talk about prehistory. Sally was temporarily repulsed by sex so she wanted to believe it didn't happen in ancient matriarchies. In that case, they can't have lasted for longer than one generation.

As we can't even be confident that ancient matriarchies existed, we are not in any position to lay down the law about what did or didn't happen in them. If present day Pagans could travel by tardis to that fabled time, they would probably be sad to find that sex was not on the menu.

For so many of our Pagan friends, the whole point of Old Time Religion is to get the chance to perform the Great Rite in front of an invited audience of voyeurs.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I had in mind here is the fact that now Neo-Paganism is a common thing it is being treated as merely another option in The Supermarket of Spirituality : something viewed as a harmless eccentric private matter - but note how hostile The United Kingdom has been in the past towards Jews, Witches, Lollards, Protestants, Quakers, Catholics, Muslims, Catholics, Jews and etc etc ad infinitum ... And in the 1790s the religious belief being targeted was ... Neo-Druidism - but ehy ? ... Because it was challenging the ideology which explained and supported and justified the injustices perpetrated under the banner of The United Kingdom - as had Protestantism before it was decided that Catholicism was proving inconvenient for the purposes of those whom it served - I think that the link above is part of a Yale Course series of lectures which describe and debate these related issues in the 17c : the 18c Republicans were acutely aware of how those who were inventing and propagating new belief systems were threatening The Monocracies especially The Kingdom of France which was absolutist.

B-T-W my joke with Sally was that in The Ancient Matriarchies women could read maps and run faster than men - and so the present gender imbalance in these matters must surely be the result of Devolution ...
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:53 pm    Post subject: woo Reply with quote

The hatred and revulsion to witches and Pagans were alive and kicking in the late twentieth century. On two separate occasions, Dafydd and I and some urban Pagans you know, went for Pagan weekend festivals at different locations in the English Midlands.

On both occasions, we were threatened with death by the local Christians. And on both occasions there was a newspaper campaign against us. On the second occasion at least, this caused material harm to law abiding Pagans who were named and shamed in the papers. Some lost their jobs. Others had heart attacks or strokes because of the stress.

As I don't believe in the supernatural and had only gone along for fun, I'm sure it wasn't malificium that caused Unity Hall, one of the journalists who 'exposed' us to also have a stroke shortly afterwards, and go into a coma from which she never emerged.

You might think the locals would have realized that threatening us with death didn't say much for Christianity. But most people are sheep.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:01 am    Post subject: the queen is a witch Reply with quote

The Burning Times did not really start until the late fifteenth century, but they had a curious hors d'oeuvre in the English ruling dynasty. After marrying a French princess, Isabelle de Valois , Richard ii became dutifully concerned about the well being of his father-in-law, Charles vi.

Charles vi now believed he was made of glass and that his name was George. Richard truly believed that Charles had been sent mad by the sorcery of his brother the Duke of Orleans. Richard offered Isabelle's secretary, Pierre Salmon, a handsome reward if he could make a 'drink' for Orleans that would render him harmless.

Isabelle's cousin Joanna, a Basque princess married the Duke of Brittany as a young adult. Joanna was probably proud of her blue blood but she had her share of teenage angst. Like Isaballe, she had an embarrassing father.

A year after the wedding, Joanna's father, Charles the Bad, was sewn up in a sack and set on fire for murder and sorcery. It would be nice to think that by the time she was a widowed mother of nine, Joanna had come to terms with the trauma and had lived down the shame.

By this time, Richard ii had been deposed and starved to death by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke, veteran slayer of Lithuanian Pagans, persecutor of heretics and all round shitbag.

Henry iv as he now was had been a disgusting husband and father to his first wife and two daughters. But as a usurper, he needed all the friends he could get. He was now prepared t treat women with outward respect.

He invited the writer and feminist Christine de Pizan to his court. She declined.

But when he began to flatter Joanna and invited her to be his queen, she jumped at it. Her coronation in 1403 was 'unusually extravagant.'

Although Henry iv was an exemplary husband this time, she took the side of her eldest stepson 'Prince Hal' in his terrible quarrels with his father. She also hit it off with Hal's brother Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester.

After Henry iv died of leprosy, Joanna must have had mixed feelings about
the victory of Hal, now Henry v, at Agincourt. But she took part in his triumphalist victory parade.

When she was arrested for trying to kill the king by witchcraft, she didn't know what had hit her. The Archbishop of Canterbury publicly implored God to save Henry v from necromancy.

The official line was that Joanna had 'compacted the death and destruction of our lord the king in the most high and horrible manner that could be imagined.' The 'witnesses' Peronelle Brocart and Roger Colles were themselves imprisoned. No one got to hear the evidence.

Hal seized all Joanna's property and used it to finance his wedding to a French princess, Catherine de Valois, the younger sister of Isabelle.

As sorcery was held to be hereditary, Joanna didn't have much of a leg to stand on. Her guilt was held to be self evident.

She was never put on trial. This was a relief in one way. Without a conviction, she would not meet the fiery death her father had suffered. But neither was there a possibility of acquittal. One of the few people to visit Joanna in prison was her younger stepson Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester.

Joanna was suddenly released just before Hal's death from dysentery. He didn't want her any longer to be a 'charge on our conscience.'

Joanna was unusual in sticking up for Humphrey of Gloucester when he left his wife Jacqueline of Hainault for Eleanor Cobham whom most people thought terribly common. Joanna found Eleanor vivacious and witty. She left her chalices and stuff in her will.

In the same year that Humphrey divorced Jacqueline to marry Eleanor, hos brother John Duke of Bedford bought Joan of Arc from his brother-in-law the Duke of Burgundy who had captured her in battle.

John's wife Anne of Burgundy was initially very pro-Joan. She had tested her virginity and was inclined to accept the validity of her voices. Who could doubt the Pucelle's purity? Through some biological quirk, she never 'paid the tribute that other women pay to the moon.'

Finally the show trial went ahead. Nine year old Henry vi was given a chance to spy on Joan in her cell.

Joan was tried for heresy, wearing men's clothes and - rather unfairly - disobeying her parents. It's quite hard to get through life without doing that.

The trial also strayed into territory that smacked of witchcraft or sorcery. She was accused of dancing round a sacred tree.

Joan, as we all know, was burnt at the stake aged 19. The following year, Anne of Burgundy died of plague. John Duke of Bedford made himself extremely unpopular and earned the everlasting hatred of his former brother-in-law by almost immediately marrying 19 year old Jaquetta of Luxembourg.

He threw away the Burgundian alliance by this rash act. Jacquetta was thought to be unworthy to take Anne's place. Her status was infra dig. She was a descendant of Charlemagne, but was also supposed to be descended from the goddess Melusine who had been a part time sea serpent or mermaid depending on whom you consulted.

Henry vi grew up to be extremely averse to women and sex. When dancing girls with bouncy bare breasts were brought before him, he ran away, exclaiming, ''Fie, fie, for shame!''

But he was quite nice to his stepgrandmother Joanna as a fifteen year old youth. He probably didn't believe she was a witch.

In 1437, he gave her 'a fine tablet of gold' and when she died later that year, he gave her a state funeral. But a precedent had been set.

Witchcraft was an easy accusation to make. It was just about impossible to disprove as the usual standards of evidence did not apply.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Witchcraft was an easy accusation to make. It was just about impossible to disprove as the usual standards of evidence did not apply.

Inquisitor: Confess!
Victim: I plead innocent.
Inquisitor: That proves your Guilt. Infallible Ayatollah set up Inquisition. If we, the Inquisition arrested an innocent citizen, then the Infallible Ayatollah would have made a mistake. You are proven to be guilty.

The opposite of that's logical captain is that's ecumenical ayatollah.

Joan's voices told her to save France from the Brits.
Ifn it had truly been the Voice of God, she would have saved France from the French
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:35 pm    Post subject: retrial Reply with quote

But you do know, don't you, that Joan was posthumously retried in the lifetime of her mother and brothers who were allowed to give evidence, and she was acquitted? Apparently, they were quite upset about the first trial.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:09 am    Post subject: An Image In Wax Reply with quote

Did anyone understand science at this time? Did wise women and cunning men know their stuff? If so, they weren't sharing it.

Most people relied on magical or religious explanations of ordinary phenomena.
Humphrey Duke of Gloucester happily dabbled in alchemy.

His wife Eleanor Cobham consulted Margery Jourdemayne, a wise woman and herbalist, as did many at court. In French,to this day, 'sage femme', wise woman, means midwife. It was fertility treatment that Eleanor wanted.

She had never been able to give Humphrey a child. His ex-wife Jacqueline had had just one unsuccessful pregnancy.

As frustrating as this was, Humphrey and Eleanor were probably happy together. They had fun parties at their castle Pleasaunce.

They were both attractive and outgoing. But not everyone liked them.

It had been a scandal when Humphrey divorced the 'resilient' Jacqueline who had been fighting for her inheritance in Holland since she was 16. How unchivalrous !

It was forgotten that it had also been a scandal when he married Jacqueline as her divorce from her previous husband was arguably not valid, and she was then believed to be pregnant by somebody else.

Humphrey's half uncle Cardinal Henry Beaufort disagreed with him over continuing the war in France. Humphrey thought he should be regent while Henry vi was a minor. The Cardinal wanted power himself.

He determined to destroy Humphrey. The easiest way was through a woman.

Since the death of John Duke of Bedford, Humphrey had been heir to the throne.

Joanna and Catherine de Valois had died in the same year. Jacquetta of Luxembourg had been rusticated for an indiscretion.

Eleanor was now the senior female figure at court. There was a lot of trouble making gossip about how this arrant pleb had ideas above her station. It would be insufferable and nauseating if she became queen.

In 1441 a whispering campaign began that Eleanor had used witchcraft to seduce Humphrey in the first place.

Eleanor was arrested and accused of commissioning a horoscope that foretold ill health for Henry vi. This was itself a capital offence.

Her friend the lecturer and famous astrologer, Roger Bolingbroke was also arrested and almost certainly tortured. He pleaded guilty to sorcery. He said he had only been obeying Eleanor's orders.

He did penance in front of the court. He was placed in a chair 'curiously painted' which was supposed to be one of his implements of necromancy, and dressed in 'mystical attire.'

He was exhibited with his 'divining gear' and a human effigy in wax. This was alleged to represent Henry vi. According to mystical lore, as the wax model melted, the king would waste away. This was the prosecutions's interpretation.

Eleanor pleaded that the wax image was only a charm in the form of a baby. She had hoped it would enable her to conceive a child. It sounds quite sad.

Eleanor's personal doctor was convicted of 'saying mass unlawfully' - perhaps in a sarcastic tone of voice as as a spell instead of a religious ceremony. It was alleged that this was with the aim to weaken the king and bring about his death.

Eleanor would admit only to commissioning her own birth chart and consulting Margery Jourdemayne in her gynecological capacity. It didn't make any difference. She wasn't given a trial but found guilty by royal decree.

Poor old Roger Bolingbroke was hanged, drawn and quartered.

Thomas Southwell may have been the only person ever sentenced to death for saying mass. But he was not executed.

He was said to have died of sorrow in his cell the night before. He had probably managed to top himself.

Margery Jourdemayne 'the witch of Eye' had form. She had been found making effigies a decade earlier.

There was no hope for her, She was burnt at the stake. Perhaps it was for treason as witches were not normally burnt in England.

Henry vi was deeply disturbed by what he did not doubt to be a real attempt on his life by his own aunt. It probably made him wonder if there were any more witches at court. Alternative horoscopes were drawn up, showing him to be in robust health.

The royal council found it a pain deciding waht to do with Eleanor. They finally chose a three pronged approach.

Firstly, she was condemned to parade around the city barefoot in a linen shift, and holding a candle in front of a prurient crowd. This penalty was more often meted out to women judged to be promiscuous, as 'Jane' Shore would find out in Richard iii's reign.

Humphrey was forced to confess that he had been lured into the marriage by witchcraft. He repudiated it.

Eleanor was kept under perpetual imprisonment in a castle on the Isle of Man for about ten years. She had just been moved to Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey when she died in 1452.

The superstitious believe that she haunts both places in the form of a big black dog. They appear to accept the myth that she really was a shape shifting sorceress.

She was an eloquent and perhaps talented individual who made the common mistake of believing in the efficacy of sympathetic magic - oh and lacked the guile to defend herself against a venomous cardinal.

But perhaps that was not how Shakespeare's audience saw it. One of his characters says:

'Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloucester's wife
In sight of us and God your guilt is great
Receive the sentence of the law for sins
Such as by God's book are judged to death....'
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:39 pm    Post subject: the witch's glamour Reply with quote

Rumour had it that like his brother Humphrey, John of Bedford had an alchemy laboratory. He definitely had a collection of mainly mystical books.

He might have given Joan her just deserts, said gossip, only to fall for an enchantress in his dotage. It had obviously been to his tangible disadvantage to marry Jacquetta of Luxembourg, so why did he do it unless she had bewitched him?

It was as if there was no concept of love outside fiction. That personality or sexual chemistry with no supernatural connotations could have anything to do with it, wouldn't have crossed anyone's mind. Love should be the last thing on the mind of a noble or royal person when it came to marriage.

When he died childless in 1435 Jacquetta was his sole heir. She was now the legal owner of his bubbling alchemy cauldrons and his misty mystical volumes.

The royal council had taken due note of Catherine de Valois' affair with Edmund Beaufort Duke of Somerset. Afraid that he would become stepfather to the boy king, and effectively regent, they forbade princes' widows to remarry without their permission.

This was a bit of a poser for Jacquetta. She had become pregnant by Sir Richard Wydvil, he who had held Calais against the Duke of Burgundy.

The council had just woken up to the news that the chaste widowed queen as they supposed her, Catherine de Valois had recently died in childbirth. Their investigations revealed that this was the sixth child she had had by a Welshman Owen Tudor, an outrage on racial purity,

No English subject was permitted to marry a Welshman. Perhaps the ban extended to unsanctified interracial sex.

They were asking themselves how in the name of sanity, Catherine had been able to slip six 'great bellies' past them without anyone even suspecting. Jacquetta had no confidence in her own power to conceal her great belly.

She faced disgrace whatever she did, She married Richard Wydvil secretly. The marriage was illegal but valid.

She confessed and threw herself on the Council's mercy just before the birth of her child Elizabeth Wydvil.

Jacquetta was fined £1,000 but later pardoned by Henry vi. In the 1440s, her little sister Isabelle married Charles du Maine. It was at the time that Charles' niece Marguerite d'Anjou was chosen to be Henry vi's queen.

Jacquetta and Richard Wydvil were part of the deputation sent to France to greet Marguerite and escort her to England.

Henry vi may have become a bit paranoid. He had become convinced that Humphrey was plotting to assassinate him.

Parliament was sitting in Bury St Edmunds. Humphrey was put under house arrest in his lodgings in the town, where a few days later he was found dead for no obvious reason.

One of the people most critical of Henry for not investigating his uncle's death was Richard Duke of York. York was always whingeing about something. He disliked the whole political set up.

A clue to his true grievance soon surfaced. York's servant John Davies was accused of saying that his employer had a better claim to the throne than Henry himself.

Davies rejected jury trial in favour of trial by combat. He and his accuser's champion fenced with sticks in front of Henry vi and Marguerite d'Anjou.

Davies lost so he was hanged on the spot and his body burnt to ashes. It shows that rationality had made little headway in public life.

Jacquetta gave Richard Wydvil 14 children in all. She still had quite a few sessions on the birthing stool to go when her eldest child Elizabeth Wydvil married Sir John Grey of Groby, a village in Leicestershire, which became famous as a meeting place of persecuted witches in 1989.

Marguerite, on the other hand, appeared to be barren. But had she been given a chance?

Henry was not the imbecile his subjects derided him as in pub talk. He was intelligent in some ways but naive in an autistic sort of way. It was to be feared that he had inherited the madness of his grandfather Charles vi of France.

Henry was creeped out by the thought of having sex. It was impossible to persuade him that he had a responsibility to father children. Since Humphrey's death, there was no obvious heir to the throne.

In 1452 Henry became inert and unresponsive while being apparently conscious. He was like a bendy toy.

He would passively allow himself to be twisted into any shape and maintain that position without apparent discomfort until someone moulded him into another shape. York became protector of the realm by right of blood.

Had Henry iv not usurped the throne, Richard of York would have been king. He was descended from a senior cousin.

He obviously did have hopes to be king if he outlived the flexible but catatonic incumbent. It was at this inopportune moment that Marguerite announced her long hoped for pregnancy.

After the birth of her son Edward of Lancaster, Henry did not even appear to be aware of his presence when urged to acknowledge him as Prince of Wales.

For once, cruel court gossip may have been on to something in alleging there was something fishy about this boy's provenance. What were the chances, realistically, that Henry had fathered him? I don't know who started the story that when Henry began to recover his faculties, he said that the baby must have been conceived by the Holy Ghost.

York was a bit of a stolid blob himself but his cousin and sidekick, Richard Nevill, Earl of Warwick, was made of much flashier stuff, charismatic, ruthless, pragmatic.

Richard Wydvil was deputy captain of Calais. York thought he should be captain there. Warwick bombarded, captured and occupied the garrison town.

Wydvil, Jacquetta and their son Anthony aged 17 were staying in Sandwich where they were trying to recruit men to reconquer Calais. Warwick's deputy swooped down on Sandwich with 800 men early in the morning while Jacquetta and her husband and son were still in bed.

All three were kidnapped and bundled into a boat. When they were dragged ashore at Calais, Jacquetta and her loved ones were furious. Paraded in front of the York faction's inner core, they were supposed to feel humiliated.

Instead they turned on their captors, calling them traitors. The only way Warwick and his groupies, including York's teenage son Edward Earl of March could save face was by shouting them down with non sequiters.

Who were plebs like the Wydvils to call their betters traitors? Who did they think they were? Warwick and March had 'king's blood.' They hadn't come out of the gutter like some not a million miles away.

Jacquetta was not best pleased at being deluged in snobbish abuse by a teenager of the same age as her son Anthony in front of an invited audience. But while Wydvil and Anthony were kept in prison in Calais until 1460, Jacquetta was allowed to return to England.

York now wanted the throne and wouldn't wait. But he gave battle in vain in Wakefield, Yorkshire just before New Year's Eve 1460. After Marguerite had stuck his severed head wearing a paper crown on the walls of York, she thought she had won.

She didn't know how much Londoners feared and hated her rabble of undisciplined soldiers, some of whom were northerners and Scots. They believed they were barbarians. They would put nothing past them.

As Marguerite's horde moved south to the capital, Londoners closed the gates. Jacquetta bravely slipped out of the gates to parley, with Anne Duchess of Buckingham for moral support.

Jacquetta's burghers of Calais moment was difficult to pull off. She had to give Marguerite the bad news that London would not declare for her, and at the same time beg her not to let her dogs of war ransack the city.

She had nothing to bring to the table as a sweetener. Yet she won.

Marguerite could have secured London at that moment. But she hesitated.

While she dithered, the Londoners crowned York's 18 year old son Edward Earl of March as king. The 'glorious son of York' had a bloody but decisive victory at Towton in Yorkshire. Marguerite and her son fled to Scotland.

Jacquetta arranged her son Anthony's marriage to Lady Scales. But she had her daughter Elizabeth on her hands again.

Elizabeth Wydvil's mother-in-law had thrown her and her children out of the house in Groby after her husband John Grey had been killed in an otherwise victorious charge while fighting for Henry vi.

While Elizabeth and her boys Thomas and Richard Grey were staying with her parents, Jacquetta probably gave her a pep talk on how the solution to her problems was in her own hands. She had beauty and wit. She should let them work for her.

In early summer, Elizabeth went out into a forest holding a cute son by each hand. She knew Edward iv was going to be hunting there. Positioning herself and her sons as an appealing tableau under a tree, she begged Edward to be on her side in her feud with her mother-in-law.

She looked ravishing.Within weeks, Edward had secretly married Elizabeth Wydvil. Jacquetta made all the arrangements.

Hardly anyone was present at the ceremony except herself, the priest, and a boy 'to help the priest sing.' She arranged for Edward to be smuggled into Elizabeth's bedroom every night.

Jacquetta probably thought this coup de foudre would be the making of herself and her relatives in England. She had forgotten how easy it was for jealous and powerful men to destroy inconvenient women by raising the hue and cry, ''There's a witch!''
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:14 pm    Post subject: reckoning Reply with quote

Warwick was publicly nagging Edward at a council meeting that he should marry. He knew just the woman for him, Bona of Savoy,

Edward replied that he preferred Elizabeth Wydvil. The councillors pooh poohed that. She was not good enough for him.

He then told them that he had already married her. It had been three months ago.

Warwick was not just stung that Edward had let him continue with his Savoyard negotiations for three months, and then showed him up in front of the council.

His ego was wounded. He was not the only one to call himself the Kingmaker. There were jokes to the effect that he was the real ruler of the country, and, he for one, took them seriously.

He had seen Edward as his meat puppet. He could hardly believe he had acted on his own initiative.

Jacquetta had never ceased to use the title Duchess of Bedford, but her second husband was now Lord Rivers. Her remaining 12 children mopped up all the titled, wealthy spouses except Lionel who became a bishop.

Who would be left to marry Warwick's two daughters and co-heiresses, Isabel and Ann Nevill? Slowly but surely, Warwick was becoming alienated from Edward.

Jacquetta's brother Jacques of Luxembourg came to Elizabeth Wydvil's coronation at which Jacuetta relieved her of the weight of the crown which gave her a headache by standing behind her and partly supporting it with both hands.

Jacques was representing the Duke of Burgundy. Within two years, Edward's sister Margaret of York had married the incoming Duke of Burgundy instead of the French candidate Warwick had set his heart on.

Warwick was especially incensed when Jacquetta's twenty year old son John married his own aunt the Duchess of Norfolk who was sixty.

Warwick fomented discontent in the countryside. Edward had specifically forbidden the marriage Warwick hankered for, between his elder daughter Isabel Nevill and Edward's brother George Duke of Clarence.

But the Nevills sailed for Calais where Warwick's brother George Nevill Archbishop of York conducted the wedding anyway. Warwick then issued a manifesto complaining about the 'malign influence' on Edward of 'certain seditious persons.'

They told Edward what to do, so he no longer listened to his highly born and rightly guided counsellors. Warwick was too modest to say whom he meant.

Jacquetta was mentioned by name as a seditious person as was Rivers. The manifesto effectively warned them: be very afraid!

Edward rode out to confront rebels at home. He thought he had enough outriders. He sent Rivers and his son John Wydvil home for their own safety. Everyone knew Warwick had John's card marked.

They went home but after a consultation with Jacquetta, decided that they were more at risk where Warwick expected to find them. They rode for the Welsh border.

They thought they were safe once they were over the Wye. But some of Warwick's armed retainers waylaid them in Chepstow. They were taken to Coventry where Warwick presided as their heads were cut off and used to decorate the city walls.

Warwick also took Edward prisoner and sent him to the Nevill family home, Middleham Castle in Wensleydale.

Jacquetta found out that she was not safe in her own home either, when Warwick's squire Thomas Wake came with an armed guard to arrest her for witchcraft.

Jacquetta had made herself unpopular. She had admired a piece of embroidery hanging on the wall in the home of the Lord Mayor of London. It depicted the siege of Jerusalem in gold and silver thread. It looked lovely in candlelight.

Jacquetta offered to buy it 'at her own cost.' The Lord Mayor refused to sell.

When his house was ransacked and the tapestry was one of the things that disappeared, Jacqetta was blamed.

Jacquetta had long been suspected of witchcraft. Did not the king marry her daughter on May Day - or as witches called it - Beltane? It was the day that summer was ycumen in, a day for love, fertility rites and the time when the other world was very close.

For a certain kind of mentality, there is no such thing as coincidence. In England now, there was no such thing as justice or civil society. Warwick had murdered her husband and son and it was he who was taking her to court. Historians must have been thinking of him when they coined the terms, bastard feudalism and overmighty subject.

Jacquetta appeared in court, Witnesses were called,

Her home had been searched. Exhibit A was 'an image of lead made like a man at arms of the length of a man's finger, broken in the middle and made fast with a wire.' The court heard that Jacquetta had made it,

Exhibits B and C were two small images resembling a king and queen. they were fastened together with gold thread. The accusation that Jacquetta had made them in order to kill the king and queen, the latter her daughter, lacked plausibility. It would not be in her interests.

It was feasible that she had made them and bound them together as a form of sympathetic magic to bring about their marriage. It is equally possible that the evidence had been planted.

Things were not looking good. But almost unbelievably, the witnesses began to indulge in mutual recriminations. The case fell apart.

In any case Warwick had lost his nerve. A few days later he let Edward ride away from Middleham and didn't put up a fight.

Jacquetta appealed to the king, the Great Council and the Archbishop of Canterbury to clear her name of the taint of witchcraft. But mud sticks, and it remains to this day.

Warwick couldn't get the York family to do what he wanted. So he met Marguerite d'Anjou and her son Edward of Lancaster in exile in France, and offered to restore Henry vi to the throne. He even persuaded Marguerite that Edward of Lancaster should marry his younger daughter Ann Nevill.

He induced Edward's brother George of Clarence to support him. They invaded England, taking Edward unawares.

He and Anthony Wydvil escaped dramatically in a small boat. They landed in the Low Countries. The Duke of Burgundy gave them refuge.

Jacquetta, her daughter Elizabeth Wydvil, and her three small granddaughters aged between one and five sought sanctuary in Westminster Abbey.

The church was independent of the state. It operated as a franchise in England. It was like being in a foreign embassy.

Elizabeth was pregnant and near her due date. She looked ready to pop as she fled, waddling from the palace to the Abbey.

Henry vi, now restored, allowed a midwife Margery Cobbe into sanctuary when the time came. So Jacquetta did not need to rise to the occasion, but she could keep the other children amused.

In medieval fashion, the baby boy was known for some time as Edward of the Sanctuary after his birthplace. To those who know his later history, there is an awful irony in his being born in sanctuary. He would later reign -ever so briefly - as Edward v.

Elizabeth often expressed the fear to Jacquetta that Warwick would break into sanctuary and kill them.

Something diametrically opposed happened. Edward invaded England. George of Clarence changed sides again.

They fought together against Warwick. Warwick lost his life at the battle of Barnet outside London.

Jacquetta, her daughter and the kids were able to come out of sanctuary.

Edward went off to confront Marguerite and her son at Tewkesbury. 17 year old Edward of Lancaster was treacherously slain after the battle.

Jacquetta was now besieged in the Tower of London by supporters of Henry vi. Anthony Wydvil fought off the insurgents.

Edward triumphantly entered London, with Marguerite a prisoner. That night, some one knocked Henry vi on the head in the Tower of London and relieved him of the burden of existence.

Jacquetta died of natural causes in 1472, a month after the birth of Edward and Elizabeth's second son, Richard of Shrewsbury, later Prince Richard Duke of York.

maybe her mystic library encouraged Anthony's love of books. He became keen on the new fangled printing press technology.But Jacquetta woudl also leave a darker legacy.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phew ... that was a tour de farce ... All out of memory ? ... Thinking about that - given that in many respects that the difference between Illegal Witchcraft and Legal Religion often boils down to the choice of words made because the beliefs used are identical and much of what passes for officially sanctioned practices are exactly the same as what was practised before e.g. most early saints seem to be pagan deities ... What parallels exist today ? The obvious one is the villification of Communists in America in the 1950s but I feel that at least in The USA there is not the smug anti-intellectualism that we are subjected to by The Democrats in Wales who think that just asking questions is heresy.

Surely - given the number of Neo-Pagans involved in it - Republicanism is The New Witchcraft in Wales ?
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:42 pm    Post subject: what's the difference? Reply with quote

Well no, I'm an awful history anorak, and I'm sure loads of people think I should be in a glass case in a museum myself, after being suitably treated by a taxidermist. But the Lancastrian kings and their brothers and sisters-in-law are not people I usually obsess over.

I acknowledge the help of the historians, David Baldwin, Michael Jones, Lisa Hilton and the novelist Philippa Gregory whose fiction has made the later Wars of the Roses an era people want to know about. I don't agree with them about everything though.

I see your point about shared beliefs. It was a bit rich of John of Bedford to be so cruel to poor Joan who was only a teenager when he himself was trying to transmute base metal into gold and had all sorts of arcane beliefs. Some would say he was guilty of witchcraft himself.

I think there's evidence that Joan was a very religious girl in a totally conventional way. She spoke against certain alleged heretics herself.

The only unconventional thing was that she listened to her voices instead of accepting that divine instructions should only be trusted when mediated through a priest as good Catholics generally do. Even so, had circumstances been different she would have been seen as a saint, and she was finally canonised in 1920. I think it's a bit of a cheek of the Church to lay claim to someone they had murdered.

People shared certain folk beliefs. Whether they were acceptable or not depended on external factors. It was all about power really.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PL1Zj7i9H4blheyyV9c1NFpDiTUe-XGX3z&v=uJbeQjGwRLs - A SERIES OF TALKS & DISCUSSION ABOUT ...

" The Real White Queen & Her Rivals " is on BBC4 again this evening - I have seen it before but I find it hard to retain lists of arbitrary facts : I need a significant story to help me remember things e.g. are you aware that Woodville Road in Cardiff really has no connection with the Wydfils? The real connection is with the Marquis of Bute's estate agent Mr Crooked Wood With Pretensions who - in return for driving Cardiff's peasants off Cardiff's Common which they got by indebting The Labour & Cooperative Party Of The 1790s who then sold it to them cheaply - got a large piece of land cheaply and built a house on it which he named " Woodville " in imitation of the other historical families of South Wales e.g. The Beauforts - none of them Welsh of course : such families carved up England, Scotland, Ireland and France - oh, and Wales ... Now somewhere I have a text in this phone which demonstrates that - about the parish church in Cowbridge ...

( Mid April ? )

Holy Cross Church Cowbridge has a panel about a priest being requested for it by Richard III who became " Lord of Glamorgan AND Morgan " by marrying Anne Neville daughter of Richard Neville Earl of Salisbury and Warwick i.e. " Warwick the Kingmaker " who died 1471 having become " Lord of Glamorgan AND Morgan " by marrying Anne Beauchamp who was daughter ( and heiress ) to Richard Beauchamp the previous Earl of Warwick and his wife Isabel the daughter ( and heiress ) of Mohammed Despenser ... What is all this about " The Lord of Glamorgan AND Morgan " then ? Never heard of that before - have any of you ?

Of course we have to be wary of projecting our own ideologies into the lives of various Monarchs : that is how they acquire their power over us ... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m0XnFqsMQDg
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:19 am    Post subject: aftermath Reply with quote

Warwick hadn't found it difficult to persuade George of Clarence to commit treason after treason. Shakespeare made George of Clarence say:

'He stole my heart that erst unsteady was
For I was witless, wanton, fond and young
Whole bent to pleasure, brittle as the glass.'

If George had been unstable before, he was raving paranoid after the death of his wife Isabel Nevill aged only 25.

It's likely that she had had a long standing illness such as TB. Her resistance to it would have been weakened as she had recently given birth. Then the baby, Richard died only months later. Given the high infant mortality of the time, there was no particular reason to suspect foul play.

But George convinced himself that Isabel's servant Ankerette Twynhoe had poisoned both her and the baby. He kidnapped Ankerette and took her to Warwick where he convened a packed jury. They dared do no other than find her guilty. She and her alleged accomplice John Thursby were hanged on the spot.

Edward iv allowed the verdict to be overturned, but may not have been very bothered. But within a month, he was intensely interested in the trial of John Stacey, Thomas Blake and Thomas Burdett for trying to destroy himself and his elder son by sorcery.

Blake was pardoned. The others were hanged, proclaiming their innocence to the last.

Burdett had been a close associate and retainer of George. George angrily burst into the king's council with a Franciscan friar William Goddard at his side.At George's urging, Goddard read out the proclamation of innocence made by the condemned men. They then stormed out.

George may, for once, have been acting out of loyalty. In the argot of the time, Burdett would have hoped that George would be 'a good lord' to him, even after death.

Given George's record, it is more likely that he was just making trouble. George was arrested himself.

Edward led the prosecution in person. He had been a generous brother to George. He had forgiven him many past treasons, and would like to be able to do so again.

But George was incorrigible. He had said the king was a bastard. He had accused him of dabbling in the black arts, necromancy and other variants on witchcraft.

I'm not sure if it was also part of the arraignment that George had also accused Elizabeth Wydvil of witchcraft. But it has been said, rightly or wrongly, that she 'feared her offspring by the king would never come to the throne' while George was alive.

She gave birth to a third son while the trial was in progress. Surprisingly, he was to be called George. The child was to die in infancy.

The adult George was 'privately executed' in the Tower of London. Although it sounds like an urban myth, he probably really was held upside down in a barrel of Madeira wine until he drowned. In those days, the beverage was called malmsey. Poor old 'butt of malmsey' Clarence has become a bit of a joke.

God knows if it was guilt that drove Edward to drink. But he became an alcoholic or an alcolimic. It was alleged that he binged on food and then induced vomiting.

He had paid so heavily for his marriage to Elizabeth Wydvil that you might expect he would be faithful. In fact he was a womaniser and sex addict. It is thought that Elizabeth Wydvil was unable to prevent her grown up son Thomas Grey from having three in a bed romps with Edward and his favourite concubine, Elizabeth 'Jane' Shore, although she was not at all happy about it.

Otherwise, she was able to keep the Wydvils and Greys onside. He son Prince Edward was brought up at Ludlow, then considered part of 'his' principality of Wales. Anthony and Lionel Wydvil and his grown up half brother Richard Grey presided over his education and upbringing.

No one knows why Edward iv died suddenly aged 40 after a fishing trip, but it may have been that he had a mini stroke followed by a major stroke.

His younger brother Richard Duke of Gloucester was rumoured by the good folk of York to do nothing for the city but 'grinning at it' which in contemporary slang, meant taking it for a ride.

Warwick's home had functioned as a boarding school for Richard of Gloucester. He had married Warwick's younger daughter Ann Nevill, possibly after slaying her first husband Edward of Lancaster in person!

But to Edward, this brother had seemed reliable, a sharp contrast to George.Even Elizabeth may have believed at one point that her younger brother-in-law was a loyal if rather colourless character.

Richard's son Edward of Middleham even had a book of advice in verse which warned against trusting in Fortune which seems to mean reckless ambition:

'Shining as glass that soon is broken...
Beware of that maid, for she is unstable,
Flee from her fast, and trust her never...
She is flattering and false and double of deed
And faileth a man ever at his most need.'

In reality, Richard of Gloucester was just as treacherous as George. He was just better at hiding it.

It looks as if he learnt his tactics from Warwick. On Edward's death, he staged a stunning series of coups.

He secured the person of the 12 year old Edward v, and took Anthony Wydvil and Richard Grey into custody. Edward v was a promising and precocious child but no match for his 'wicked uncle.'

Thomas Grey was safely overseas. For the second time, Elizabeth fled into Westminster Sanctuary. This time, she took with her her nine year old son Prince Richard and her daughters.

With great cunning, Richard of Gloucester wrested the younger boy out of sanctuary without resorting to violence. He sent him to join his brother in the Tower of London.

According to Thomas More, Richard of Gloucester alleged that Elizabeth Wydvil conspired with 'that sorceress' 'Jane' Shore to wither his arm by witchcraft.More wrote that Elizabeth was too wise to do any such thing. and, in any case, she would not have made common cause with 'Jane' Shore, 'whom of all women she most hated.'

'Jane' Shore was forced to parade through the London streets holding a candle and perhaps topless, not unlike the ordeal of Eleanor Cobham.

The Cockneys who watched the fun sympathised but did enjoy the free show. To this day, 'Jane Shore' is rhyming slang for whore.

It was now that Richard of Gloucester showed his hand, deposing Edward v, and taking the throne as Richard iii.

Titulus Regius would be published the following year, setting out all sorts of specious reasons as to why Edward v and his siblings were illegitimate.

The marriage between Edward and Elizabeth had not been valid as it was made 'by sorcery and witchcraft, committed by the said Elizabeth and her mother Jacquerr[a] Duchess of Bedford, as the common opinion of the people and the public voice and fame is throughout the land.'

It had been celebrated in 'a profane place', not openly in the face of the Church as it should have been,

In fact before Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act in 1753, weddings could be celebrated anywhere. There was no need for witnesses, a marriage certificate or even a priest.

Seduction by witchcraft had been enough to declare invalid Humphrey's marriage to Eleanor. Yet Richard felt the need to throw even more mud. He added that Edward iv had been a bigamist. He had married another woman secretly before Elizabeth. But by his logic, that clandestine marriage would also have been invalid.

In the year of Titulus Regius, a notorious book came out with the endorsement of the Pope. This was 'The Hammer of Witches' which launched the Burning Times in Europe.

Richard beheaded Anthony Wydvil and Richard Grey without trial just as Warwick had Rivers and John Wydvil.

The night before his death, Anthony wrote a poem. The last verse was :

'My life was lent
Me to one intent
It is nigh spent
Welcome Fortune!
But I ne went
Thus to be shent
But she it meant
Such is her won.'

It doesn't look as if poetry was his forte at all, but the circumstances were not propitious.

As for Elizabeth's youngest sons, they were seen playing in the Tower gardens and practising their archery. Then they were withdrawn inside the Tower. They appeared at the barred windows less and less, and finally ceased to appear altogether.

We can guess what happened. Skeletons of kids of the right age were found buried secretly in a chest in the Tower 191 years later.

The writer Arlene Okerlund can be a bore when she insists that Elizabeth was not a witch, but a pious conventional Christian. I'm not interested in her piety.

I agree with her about one thing though. She wrote, '[T]his woman fought for family and life with intelligence and persistence against men who used swords, power and propaganda to eliminate their enemies. Her victories were few, her losses eternal.'

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:35 am    Post subject: Gloucester addenda Reply with quote

Eleanor was kept on permanent suicide watch on the Isle of Man. But maybe she finally managed it.

It's also thought that Humphrey may have topped himself while under house arrest in his lodgings in Bury St Edmunds. Although murder is another possibility, he may have had a stroke.

According to Sir Thomas More, Richard of Gloucester accused Elizabeth Wydvil and Jane Shore of conspiring together to wither his arm - by sorcery.

Sir Thomas More is not a reliable source, but it is true that he was educated in the household of John Morton who was present at the council meeting where Richard notoriously demanded the arrest of Edward iv's best friend Hastings, and the latter was beheaded within the hour. John Morton was arrested in the same purge, but later released.

Elizabeth Wydvil died in 1492 just months before Columbus 'discovered' America if that is what he did. So she could be seen as England's last medieval queen. That's not how people at the time saw it.

Apparently, they didn't know they were living in the Middle Ages. They thought they were living in the present.

Richard's wife Ann Nevill became queen later than Elizabeth chronologically but predeceased her by seven years, living only to the age of 28. At least Ann was thought to be queen at the time.

The historian Michael Hicks has quietly shown up Richard's hypocrisy. Richard's own marriage to Ann Nevill was invalid, and his actions and words show that he was aware of it.

This didn't stop him making his son Edward of Middleham Prince of Wales. The boy died suddenly a year to the day after the death of Edward iv. His parents were in a state 'bordering on madness by reason of their sudden grief.'

It is obvious now that after the death of her son, Ann became aware of the invalidity of her marriage, and 'it troubled her greatly.' But no one else was aware of it. Hicks says it is 'a modern discovery' for which, I think, he takes credit himself.

After Richard was dug up in the car park, the emotionally leaky amateur historian Philippa Langley drooled over his reconstructed face. ''He doesn't look like a tyrant'', she cooed, ruffling his artificial hair, ''You could talk to him!''

You can't trust appearance as a guide to personality but Philippa doesn't know that, any more than if she had been alive in the Middle Ages herself.

She was defensive about the discovery from his skeleton that Richard had scoliosis. This had been a surprise as, for long enough, we had believed that it was a 'slur' that he had a deformed back.

Phiiippa Langley tells us that scoliosis is not a disability but a condition. It sounds as if she believes, with our medieval ancestors, that a crooked body denotes a crooked soul, and that it would be a disgrace if he was disabled.

As if that was not mad enough, she is manifestly in love with a child murderer who died in 1485. Phiippa Langley is a ridiculous woman!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those two posts made me smile ... You can edit a post two different ways : if you have just posted you can click the " back " button twice and simply adjust what you have written and post over it again. Or you can use the " edit " button on the top right of what you have posted.


I took a further look at that : I wonder whether witchcraft only really means imagining or describing the world differently ? E.g. is Socialism really only a sort of Sourcery ? Is Liberalism merely Saucery ?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anna Nevilla was the last medieval queen.

In fourteen hundred and eighty two
Fernando Po discovered Fernando Poo.

That aint't the cut off point of Medieval versus Renaissance. The cut off point is when the Heathens conquered Constantinople.

And ever since Brexit, the Imperial measure of the cut off point uses Imperial seconds and minutes and years so 1485, Tudor with the Sword in the Car-park.

Yes, I saw White Queen, I am sympathetic to both Beth and Anna.

You say Anna was NOT the rightful queen.

There are 5 ways to determine the lawful queen:
Blood-line, Divine Grace, Parliament, Victory etc.

Anna was queen by Victory, deny it if ye will.
There was an Act of Parliament to make Edward V not the king and to make Richard the king. The National Assembly, corrupt as it is, is the best comite to choose the king because the comites of priest and aristos are more corrupt.

There was a Coronation, Anna was anointed with the Holy Oils. Are you saying the Bishop missed?
Or are you saying that it was an invalid marriage because they were 19th cousins and it is an infallible papish doctrine that when 19th cousins marry they must bribe the pope and get a receipt? Have you forgotten that Richard was Head of the Church?
Or are you saying that Richard was not the king? He lacked Divine Grace because he was a cripple and God hates cripples.

I can do better Divine Grace than that. Harry was Mab Darogan, the rightful queen was Margaret Beaufort although nobody knew it.
Liberty - Equality - Fraternity : Aux armes, Citoyens !

War is Politics by other Methods - General von Clausewitz
Politics is War by other Methods - Some guy on the Internet
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