Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Warwick Castle - Posting 2; The Kingmaker Exhibition.

Who is the Kingmaker? 

We join the castle as it is preparing for war, and we follow the preparations as the Kingmaker, the Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville,  redies for the Battle of Barnet. 

It's the 25th March 1471. Warwick is now a middle aged man and the power behind the throne of England. We are nearing the end of the War of the Roses; a battle between the House of York whose badge was a white rose, and Lancaster (a red rose). 

The origins of war were growing discontent, and disagreements over the conduct of the Hundred Years' War.  Warwick had quarrelled with Edward and with French help restored Henry VI and Margaret to the throne of England.  Life became very violent.

Edward IV, the opposition, then marched on London where he met Warwick's army at Barnet. 

It was foggy and Warwick's troops attacked each other by accident and gave rise to cries of treason. Things weren't going well, and with another part of his army defeated elsewhere in the fog, co-ordination was lost and Warwick was overwhelmed. 

He was killed whilst looking for a horse. 

So Edward triumphed and went on to defeat Margaret at Tewkesbury. He then murdered Henry VI.
Being fitted with armour by a page.
The smells and sounds give quite an atmosphere of preparation.  Horses were kept inside, and this is Warwicks horse, Fortune, being prepared for battle. He is wearing armour, and you can just see a huge spike on the armour over the face. 

The horse was trained to use this spike in battle to gore opposing soldiers.
You walk through a series of rooms set out so you can see the various activities necessary for battle. Preparing armour, seeing the blacksmith at work, and the whitesmith (below) who is polishing a piece of armour.

The sign on the left explains the difference between a blacksmith and a whitesmith.

And yes, the plaque does mention a bollock dagger! Click here to find out what one is.

Preparing the long bows and arrows.  The art of the fletcher is explained here. (Chirk Castle posting)

This is the Porter Guard, explanation below.

The Scribe. Probably the only man in Warwickshire who could read and write. He stayed at the Castle. He's wearing a very early pair of glasses, and they are fixed to his hat to keep his hands free.
This chap depicts a cobbler, making and repairing shoes.

All shoes were stamped with a Ragged Bear and Staff which was the Earl of Warwick's emblem. If a soldier was killed in battle, a shoe was removed from the body, and that way a track could be kept of how many men had died.
What ails thee? (btw this lady is real not a wax work as in all the other photos)

This lady would have been in charge of medicine, using a wide range of herbs and spices. She would have learned the craft from her mother, by word of mouth. She would not have been able to read and write (see scribe)

She lived in the Castle. Both men and women were considered adult at 7 years old and could be hung for misdemeanours. They would be married at 11 or 12. If they were available for marriage, they wore a band around their head (like an Alice Band today), and when they were married, they wore a cap covering the head day and night.
This piece of quilting is on a felt underhat. It would normally be over an inch thick.  It is almost impossible, certainly very uncomfortable, to wear an armoured helmet without this padding. (DH tried)
The man who kept the pennies to pay for everything.

Below, the Earl of Warwick, makes his final preparations.

Finally, after all those preparations, and with the prospect of violent battle and probable death, I thought you'd understand the final photo.  The Dunny. The most essential part of the preparations! A straight drop to the outside, via the Castle walls. Only to be used by nobility, it was very draughty, very smelly, very necessary.

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