Gaye Mack’s Blog

DISCOVERY OF 14THC DEVOTIONAL PANEL DEPICTING THE EXECUTION OF THOMAS, EARL OF LANCASTER

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Uncategorized Leave a comment

 

I recently came across the following article,(lightly edited here for readability) posted by the Facebook site, Medieval Histories Magazine. The discovery of this devotional panel depicting the 14th c execution of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster is an extraordinary find, worth the read and certainly worth the visit if you are, or plan to be in London before the end of September, 2015.

 

In 2009, Archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology(MOLA)  discovered a devotional panel, venerating Thomas, Earl of Lancaster in remarkable condition by the River Thames. The devotional Panel of Thomas of Lancaster found by MOLA on the riverside, is a 14th century lead-alloy devotional panel depicting the capture, trial and execution of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, political rebel turned martyr.  

A fascinating piece of political propaganda and religious art, it’s one of the largest and finest examples of its kind. Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster (c. 1278 – 1322) was a junior member of the Plantagenet family. From his father he inherited the earldoms of Lancaster, Leicester and Ferrers earldom of Derby. By his marriage to Alice de Lacy, countess of Lincoln he became Earl of Lincoln and Salisbury, 11th Baron of Halton and 7th Lord of Bowland and played a significant role in the reign of Edward II, at whose coronation he served. After the disaster at Bannockburn he became ruler of England. However, the Barons rose against him and at 1321 he was defeated at Battle of Boroughbridge, and taken prisoner.

In 1322 he was tried by a tribunal, but was not allowed to speak for himself, nor was anyone allowed to defend him. In the end he was convicted of treason and executed by beheading near Pontefract. Soon after Thomas’s death, miracles were reported at his tomb at Pontefract, and he became venerated as a martyr and saint.

In 1327 the Commons petitioned Edward III to ask for his canonization and popular veneration continued until the reformation. The newly found devotional panel is cast in metal and measures approximately 13 x 9 cm. The panel includes scenes that depict a cautionary tale for ambitious politicians, and reveals that Lancaster was elevated to an almost saintly status after his death. The panel tells the story of Lancaster’s imprisonment and execution and in slightly garbled French, is read clockwise from the top left: ‘here I am taken prisoner’; ‘I am judged’; ‘I am under threat’ and lastly ‘la mort’ (death).

The Virgin Mary and Christ look down from heaven, ready to receive Lancaster’s soul. Although a rare find today, the panel would have been mass produced at the time. A small number of parallels exist but these are fragmentary or in a poorer style. Sophie Jackson, MOLA archaeologist, said: “It’s thanks to the wet ground of the Thames waterfront that this beautiful metal object survived in such remarkable condition. It has an intriguing story and reveals a great deal about the political climate of the day.”

The panel is on display at the Museum of London until 

September 28, 2015.

 

EARL-O~1

 DEVOTIONAL PANEL DEPICTING 14TH C EXECUTION OF THOMAS, EARL OF LANCASTER

 

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A PILGRIM RETURNING HOME

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Ancient Legends of Great Britain, Writer's Work Leave a comment

Later today I’ll be boarding an overnight flight to London, returning to my ‘soul home’ one more time.  Although this trip will include seeing friends and extended family, I have a specific purpose for this journey.  The focus this time will be on northern Scotland–up near Aberdeen, oddly an area of Scotland I’ve never before visited .  I want to explore the ruins and history of Dunnottar Castle, which like Whitby Abbey(profiled in my last post), sits on a eerie precipice overlooking the wild sea surrounded by sheer cliffs.   

And then there are multitudes of other castles in the area that warrant exploration…many with fascinating stories within their stones like Dunnottar.  Too many castles and stone circles, never enough time!(sigh) At the risk of putting the cart before the horse, I’ll just say that Dunnottar has a checkered history and one which I hope to incorporate in a new book which is taking form in my imagination.

So this post is short…much to do yet.  However, I intend to blog from the road with pictures, so stay tuned!

Photography©gaye f. mack, inc.