Two Short Articles from pages 12 - 15 of Dickon Independent issue 67

Haddon Hall And Three Derbyshire Churches

Last summer I finally made it to Haddon Hall and three churches in Derbyshire connected with Richard III. The Church of St Matthew at Morley contains the brass of John Sacheverell who died at the battle of Bosworth. It is one of only three such mentions of Bosworth on tombs in Britain. (1)

Thomas Cockayne lies in All Saints Church Youlgreave. He was one of Hastings’ men. (2) A member of an important local family from Ashbourne, he died in 1488 following a fight. His effigy is small because he predeceased his father, though he was married with children of his own. Around his neck is a Yorkist collar of suns and roses.

On the cover you can see Ralph Fitzherbert whose family were lords of the manor of Norbury for centuries. Ralph’s father built the south tower, nave and chapel of the church, and Ralph added the north aisle. He also extended the family home by adding a hall. Ralph is wearing a collar of suns and roses with a boar pendant for Richard III. His father Nicholas wears the same collar with a lion pendant, for Edward IV.

Haddon Hall was occupied by the Vernon family in Richard’s time. It had been their home since 1170. Their crest was a boar’s head, which can be seen on the outside of the house, decorating the lead rain-water heads.

In the banqueting hall is a fifteenth century tapestry showing the royal arms of England. (3) The style of the tapestry suggests it was made during the reign of King Edward IV, although it was supposedly given to the Vernon family by King Henry VIII. Sir Henry Vernon was governor, comptroller and treasurer of Prince Arthur’s household. Arthur stayed at Haddon Hall in 1501.

Henry Vernon was Lord of Haddon from 1467 to 1515, beginning the building of the north-west gate tower, adding the buildings along the west front, and giving the rooms known as the dining room and great chamber their present form. He married Lady Anne Talbot, daughter of the second Earl of Shrewsbury. Her father was step-brother to Lady Eleanor Talbot, Edward IV’s wife.

When Henry died, he was buried in Tong Church Shropshire. There’s a picture of his effigy with the wrong date of death in Michael K. Jones’ book. (4) Michael says that Richard wrote to him before Bosworth about using cavalry against Henry Tudor.

(1) The other tombs are William Sheldon’s at Beoley, and Rhys-Ap-Thomas in Carmarthen.

(2) MICHAEL HICKS Richard III page 49.

(3) MICHAEL K. JONES Bosworth 1485 page 175.

(4) MICHAEL K. JONES Bosworth 1485 page 139.

Mystery In A Derbyshire Farmhouse

A friend sent me an article from a magazine about an old beam in a Derbyshire farmhouse. The carvings on the beam might be Plantagenet or Tudor. The beam itself came from another unknown building.

One carving is of the royal arms used by both Richard III and Henry VII. Another is a rose-en-soleil, but it could be a Tudor rose. The Catherine wheel and eagle are both Lancastrian devices - the wheel used by Katherine Swynford, and the eagle by her husband John of Gaunt.

There’s also a dog, possibly a talbot, heraldic symbol of the Earls of Shrewsbury who used to own most of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. Another carving of a shield shows only a chevron, which could be the Staffords.

The farmhouse near Clowne is on the Renishaw estate. It was bought by the late Sir Osbert Sitwell from the Butler-Bowden family of Barlborough Hall. The Sitwells can trace their family tree back to John of Gaunt.

Of course without carbon dating or knowing where the beam originally came from it’s all guesswork as to what the carvings represent.

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