Saturday, January 7, 2017

Walter de Cantilupe: Bishop of Worcester

Walter de Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester was the leading ecclesiastical proponent of the attempts at church and governmental reform. Walter took de Montfort's part in rebellion during the second Barons War, taking the lead role as advocate from his high-minded and reforming mentor Robert Grosseteste, the former Bishop of Lincoln. The two churchmen had been at Oxford together in the 1220s, Walter was attaining his Master's Degree and Robert lectured there.
Formerly a clerk of the King's exchequer by 1215 and a one time justice, be entered holy orders and received consecration as Bishop of Worcester in 1237.  Between 1208 and 1236 Walter had held a total of thirteen benefices and ecclesiastical offices at one time or another but had not been consecrated until after his attainmet of his Bishopric. Some of these 'estates' had been royal but others were hereditary including Brailes at Kenilworth.

Moving from courtier to rebel, Walter became opposed to Papal policy and the political alliance between Rome and an unrelenting crown. He was both a champion of a nationally identifying clergy and religious reform, holding a synod in Worcester Cathedral (1240) which introduced rules governing Godparents, rest on holy days and disallowed the clergy from activities such as the playing of chess.

By 1254, through the untimely deaths of his brother William and in turn William's eldest son, Walter became head of the family whilst his nephew George was a minor.
By 1258, Walter became one of the Twenty Four committee members through the Provisions of Oxford and was a key baronial representative. He was at Lewes and blessed the army prior to the battle. Afterwards, he appears to have taken a back seat to affairs under de Montfort's government and was not a member of the Council of Nine - which included instead, Stephen Bersted, Bishop of Chichester. Walter was also at Evesham where heard Earl Simon's confession - his last. Walter avoided the consequent papal excommunication which his fellow reforming clergymen experienced, dying in February 1266.
Whilst I am unable to ascertain Walter de Cantilupe's age at Lewes he cannot have been a young man. I hazard that he was at least 15 when taking up a clerkship (could have been older) he must have been in his 60s at Lewes. He was nevertheless the head of his family and a family of the knightly class. Given his presence at the Battle I am including him as one of my two bishops, fully armoured and taking the field. He may not have been a fighting bishop in the fullest sense but I imagine him taking the field all the same; fully protected and leading his flock whom he deemed a crusading force like the good sheppard, invoking the spirit and blessing of Saint Thomas a Becket.
I have two choices with Bishops when it comes to their heraldry. I can either go with the ecclesiastical heraldry which I have done for my Bishop of London, or I can go with the office holder's own family blazon which I have done for Walter de Cantilupe. Given his status as head of the family by the time of the battle, it seemed more appropriate. In the above image there are all recorded bearings for those who held the Bishopric of Worcester including Walter's (top row, fifth from the left) and the Bishopric heraldry in the centre. Walter de Cantilupe's blazon is gules, three leopards' faces jessant-de-leys or reversed (below).

Above is a contemporary image of Thomas de Cantiplupe (sainted Bishop of Hereford) whom I took the colours from for my miniature. Whilst not Walter and of another bishopric, modern ecclesiastical apparel (including the mitre) of the Bishop of Worcester often has the same colour scheme including the mitre of yellow with red bands. Imagery throughout is not consistent with the above white mitre in the heraldic device for Worcester.
The above tomb and effigy is attributed to Walter de Cantilupe in Worcester Cathedral.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Rebel Centre Ward: Knights

LtoR: John de Grey, John de Vescy, John de Vipont, William of Birmingham, Squire to Hauteville, Thomas de Hauteville (Leader), Geoffrey de la Mar, Hughes de Bures, Thomas de Astley and Roger de Mohaut.

For the centre ward knights of my rebel army I adopted heavier lances by using a thicker gauge wire than I have used to date and gave each lance a graper which I have not done before. In comparison to previous knights in my army, these gents look far more the ticket for a mid to late thirteenth century knight. My last unit will be similarly equipped.

These figures are also from different ranges to my previous knights, coming from Crusader Miniatures 'Later Crusader' range (MCF010 and MCF012) as well as Gripping Beast 'Crusading Knights' (LCCO1 02 and 06) with some minor alterations. They are all solid sculpts and very animated and are all highly detailed which made for a demanding paint job. 
They took an unusual commitment and I have definitely developed a greater attention to detail in recent years. Caparisons are all weathered and all colours (especially in the cloth) are subdued. There's quite a bit of yellow amongst the heraldry which I suppress with light brown when I mix the Humbrol enamels. I paint the maille by undercoating with a mix of Gun Metal with Gloss Black (thinned) then dry brush with Gun Metal/Aluminium mixed and thinned. I left the maille dull this time - only applying highlight of thinned Humbrol Silver on the steel helms.I'm not at all happy with the Humbrol Brass any more and will be moving to Vallejo but I still love the Humbrol Gold and Silver.

The trumpeter carries the Banner of Thomas de Hauteville (full heraldry) whom I elevated to the unit leader. The banner is made of cloth (fine cotton) cut, glued to the steel wire shaft, wrapped and dipped in a white glue solution and glued to the miniature after drying ready for the whole miniature undercoat. Of all the knight to chose as leader, I seem to have set myself the most difficult heraldry to paint. I sketched the design only after undercoating the figure. I must have been off my chops!
I gave only the leader a pennon - made of heavy foil. I've used paper pennon before and reckon cotton to be too fiddly for such a small device. I use foil for later period lance pennons and they work a treat, furl easily and effectively as well as hold their form. I recommend it. I fix them before undercoating.
This is the second unit of the army to be based on the thicker 5mm MDF bases and I've moved away from single bases of any kind. I prefer using numbered tiles to represent casualties until an equivalent element is removed. Consequently I have based this unit on two three figure bases and a command base of four figures. I'm also moving to a standard depth of 70mm to allow for charged lances and staggered, more natural alignments of the figures. The 5mm bases will also allow for labeling of the units and identifications of some of the knights and earls.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rebel Centre Ward: Commander - Gilbert de Clare

Gilbert de Clare the "Red" Earl of Hertford and Gloucestershire had by the time of Lewes attained the age of 21 and his earldom after the death if his father, Richard in 1262. He had been married aged ten to the King's niece, Alice de Lusignan (also known as Alice de Valence). By Lewes, he had fathered two daughters - Isabella and Joan.
We are told that Gilbert was called the "Red" due to his hair or his temper. Gilbert's powerful marcher earldom was said to be exceeded in wealth and estates only by the King. His grandfather Richard was a leader in the first Baron's War against King John and Gilbert continued a tradition of prosecuting the interests of his family similarly.

Gilbert either initiated, lead or at the very least allowed the massacre of the Canterbury Jews consistent with the Montfortian pogrom, the actions for which confirm his capability for brutality. Prior to the battle of Lewes, Gilbert and his brother Thomas were knighted by Earl Simon. He survived Lewes, successfully leading the Centre Ward from the Downs and accepted the surrender of Richard of Cornwall from his refuge in the windmill at battle's end. Sharing in Simon de Montfort's victory and subsequent excommunication, Gilbert abandoned the Montfortian cause at least in part for Simon's alliance with de Clare traditional enemies and rivals in Wales. Perhaps more significantly, the two great earls were rivals and in the dispensing of estates, offices and gifts following Lewes Gilbert was left unsatisfied sufficiently to turn. Gilbert took up arms vigorously for the Crown and contributed in no small way to de Montfort's downfall and the loss of the baronial cause.

So, we have a young, presumably fit, aggressive and skilled knight of the highest birth at the start of his prime. The first image is Gilbert de Clare's seal (reverse) with the seal depicted immediately above. As you may have read in my earlier postings on the subject, I regard these artifacts as best evidence for how these famous people sought to portray themselves and therefore most likely represent how they took the field.

A study of the seal images indicated either a plate armour face guard for the horse or at least a break in colour from the rest of the caparison. The forepart of the caparison indicated the gules chevrons of the earls blazon for which there should be three as the shield bearing displays. In contrast and interestingly the rear section does not repeat this but is suggestive to me of bands of alternating colour - presumably or and gules consistent with the earls arms.

Note once again the flat topped classic great helm. 

The image left is also of Gilbert but from much later than Lewes. The Red Earl lived to 1295 and armour evolved considerably over the 31 years subsequent to Lewes. The stained glass effigy is in Tewkesbury Abbey where Gilbert is buried, it was installed circa 1340 and clearly post dates our period. The seal; however, has the surcoat obscured by the earl's shield leaving the design open to conjecture. If I hazard that in 1340 a similar style of surcoat was maintained from previous generations, then I may be at liberty to apply something very similar to my depiction of the Red earl. The figure I have chosen for my earl has no shield but a long cloak which I may make red to enhance the Red earls identification. As a command figure for the centre ward, he will be based with an escort (perhaps a squire) with his banner and carrying his shield.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rebel Army: Centre Ward Archers

I have no idea what's come over me, but it's a good thing. I'm on a roll with my Lewes Project - I think it happens the same time each year. Having just finished John Fitzjohn's foot unit, an order for archer arrived just in time and I've turned them around quick-smart
They are from the Crusader Miniatures range of archers for early 100 years war - specifically MEH002 and MCF028 packs and for me these particular sculpts fit in just perfectly for my period, giving me yet more variety.
For this unit I adopted a new technique of layering for the faces and hands using Vallejo paints shading up and down with about six applications for the skin tones. I am more than happy with the results and can only get better at it over time. I've been happy with my previous techniques of washing but the use of Flesh Wash doesn't seem to have come up as well under the macro lens. For the rest of the figures the song remains the same using wash method and good old Humbrol matte enamels.
Normally I tend to string my bows with my partners hair (mine isn't long enough) but these models just didn't lend themselves to that particular process. I also decided after much deliberating to go for 5 millimeter MDF bases as I am using now for all my 28 millimeter figures. I will be going back over all my units now and double base them with 3 millimeter MDF to boost them up: tedious but it's preferable to handling the units by the figures.
As usual, all figures have the rebel white cross somewhere about their person. I just love the range of hoods available for these yeomen. I have included a series of three progressive shots next to show how I build up my static grass blends. The first is the initial application of a mid-green blend I used to match with the Sap Green you can see mixed with a little Raw Sienna on the base edges.
Underneath is clearly shown my pre-mixed putty basing, painted Raw Sienna.
Then I add a lighter dry blend.
In the remaining gaps I fixed two blends of a rich, bright green and a dark, dry blend. As my terrain boards are heavily grassed so too must be my bases.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Lances and Grapers

For my next unit of mounted knights I've changed things a little from previous practice. After re-watching a favourite documentary on the lance I noted the move toward a heavier lance by the time of Lewes and the introduction of the 'graper'. So I decided that I too would follow suite. It was one of those experiments where everything I did just worked. I upped the gauge of my steel wire I make my lances from 1.25mm to 1.57mm - the former being in-shot without the graper. It takes bit more beating when I hammer the ends on my anvil to make the points. When beaten flat they flange or fan out at the ends which I then snip with cutters to make the points. I opt for a broader diamond with my spears but made them much sleeker for a lance. Once filed it was then onto the graper.
 The graper needs to feature more toward the butt end of the lance shaft and was introduced to stop the lance from sliding rearward under the couched arm after impact. It enabled the whole body to take the impact of the contact and drove the lance with greater force inflicting more damage. Of either steel, wood or leather, my miniature versions are of tube aluminium and plastic card. The tubular aluminium is easily cut with a scalpel and the thin plastic card created with an office paper hole punch which was the drilled out to slide over the wire.
The tubular aluminium was a perfect fit; not bad for an out-and-out guess. A couple of drops of Selley's Quick-Fix Supa Glue Gel and I'm done. Perhaps ironic but the next unit of ten knights only has one figure charging his lance ... typical.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

First Base Test

I decided to complete the basing for my latest unit of Fitzjohn's foot in an experiment to try as best I can to match my basing with the battlefield. I broke from personal practice and edged my MDF bases in Jo Sonja's Sap Green, being the same base coat for spraying my synthetic fur terrain. As it turned out, I had to mix it with some Folk Art Raw Sienna to tone down the brightness which is pretty well what happens when the diluted spray-gunned Sap Green hit the camel coloured fur in the first place.
I apply my own blended static grass by dotting the bases and building up an uneven textured field of tufts. I started by matching with the terrain - by eye-balling it. I haven't bothered to measure proportions - I'll keep matching by eye. I applied the second series of static grass dots in the gaps left from the first round and then the last series in the few gaps left. Due to the covering on my terrain boards, I didn't bother with including stones or showing much of my exposed base textures. The second series of static grass dots were an older faded green mix I had made for my summer grass (Quebec Project) and I think I overdid it a little. The last application was a rich, verdant and darker green.
These days I have moved to 5 millimeter thick MDF bases but as I've been working on this project for so long, for consistency's sake I have returned to 3 millimeter - not too sure about that wisdom actually. Anyway, my aim is that my army blends into the terrain. I've seen fabulous armies in demo games on wonderful terrain but it's aesthetically confronting (to me) when the bases clash. I'm keen to avoid that.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Rebel Cenre Ward - Foot: John Fitzjohn spear (2)

At long last, another unit of my Baronial Rebel Army is painted. This time I've complete a 30 man spear armed unit under the command of John Fitzjohn.

John Fitzjohn
John followed his father John Fitzgeoffrey into rebellion, who was a former Justiciar of Ireland and a leading magnate. Fitzgeoffrey opposed the King in 1258 after a loss of influence in Prince Edward 'court' and position in the face of rough justice (or no justice) when attacked over his disputed Shere manor (Surrey) by the royal relative and favorite Aymer de Valence. Again, these foreign relatives of the royal family placed another family, this time the Johns in opposition to the royal regime. As a leading magnate, Fitzgeoffrey was a leading rebel so his 'sudden' and untimely death placed his son and heir Fitzjohn as a leading partner with de Montfort.

He had married Margery de Basset making him the son-in-law of Phillip de Basset, the Justiciar of England and his opponent in the war. Yet another unfortunate familial divide in a very personal conflict.
Born around 1240, Fitzjohn must have been 24 at Lewes so very much in his fighting prime with a chief command at the Battle of Lewes. Surviving the battle, he reduced Ricard's Castle (the Chief Seat of Hugh de Mortimer), and took the Castle of Ludlow (Shropshire) for de Montfort. William Blaauw (The Baron's War, London, 1844) has it that Fitzjohn was zealous and fierce in his prosecution of the rebel cause and his loyalty to it. He was installed as the baronial Sheriff of Westmorland, and 'keeper of the Castles in those parts'. He was also made governor of Windsor Castle.

Surviving the battle of Evesham, he was nevertheless taken prisoner and lost it all. Again, according to Blaauw, Fitzjohn 'wilfuly forbore to make his peace or compound for his estates' and thus the inheritance of his lands appears to have been given over to de Clare, Earl of Gloucester.  Later, through the Dictum of Kenilworth he does seem to have been afforded a further opportunity to do so. Fitzjohn's misfortunes after the demise of the baronial cause were short lived; however, as he died in 1265 of unknown causes and with no issue.
The Unit
I selected a colour range for the shields taken from the basic field colours of the leading barons I am representing in the Centre ward - red, blue and yellow. Others are natural timber and all are painted with their baronial white crosses. This will be the second last unit of foot I need for the army.
There are several Mirliton figures who carry their long spears over their shoulders in marching pose which I love but were problematic to base. So one stand of six appear to be moving across the rear to take up position and extend the right flank when their stand is positioned length-wise. Alternatively they can be positioned breadth-wise and appear to be taking up position from the rear. I actually don't mind how this has turned out. 
This is my first banner of cloth for this army and you can make out the weave in some of the shots.The next unit will be the Centre Ward archers (12) which are already primed and ready to go with a new experiment for me in painting faces about to be embarked upon.