Thursday, 19 July 2012

Roger's Gals

A fine survivor
  Cute little hamlet, Reepham, full of picturesque corners and winding back ways, echoes of Merrye Olde Blyghty everywhere.  Even a pukka piece of Tudor close-stud beam work, surviving rare & proud amongst all those Georgian brick facades.

  Pudding Pie Alley, eh?  Wondered if Parson Woodforde ever counted his pennies there, before splashing out on a pastry, the tight old codger.  No bakers there now, dash it, could have done with a hot mouthful meself.
  Another rare survival was a splendid big tomb in St Mary’s Church, for local bigwig, Sir Roger De Kerdiston, kicked his casque at Crecy in 1331. Which means he probably never saw what his own tomb looked like.  Funny, that, given the chap's lying there on top of the thing in his armour, to this very day.
  Some blighter’s had his nose, but otherwise he’s The Full Roger, so to speak.  Got his feet on a fat little foot-rest lion, but otherwise can't be too darned comfortable, lying on a bed of large cobbles.  Cobbles?  Heaven only knows, some story there undoubtedly, but it was his lovely ladies who caught my eye.
  Gorgeous creatures, look at them in their beautiful dresses, each one different and individual.  They are amongst ten figures, carved around the base, a tomb-fashion in those days known as “weepers”, supposed to represent friends & relatives, praying in eternity for the dead.  There are some chaps, too, but it's the ladies that stand out.
  Remarkable detail, look closely and you can even make out buttons running up tight cuffs.  Expensive glad-rags, these, what's it called nowadays, couture..?
Heard somewhere that a well-informed eye can even discern the younger folk in later "couture" than the older lot.  Difficult for an ignorant old codger like me, of course.
  Don’t come across too many representations of Mediaeval ladies, I find, that aren't saints of some sort, or the wives of armoured knights on brass, alongside their husbands.  They're idealised, more like symbols of what wealth-clad wives should be, rather than real flesh n' blood gals. Except here, with Roger's friends, seems a little different.
  Got the feeling they're more like actual observed people, with their individual differences.  Still posh totty, no everyday folk with mud under their nails here, no by jingo we're still talking privileged, landed class; Roger's set, after all.  But maybe just a tad closer to individual portraits than you'd get a hundred years before.  Splendid stuff.

  I've stuck in this pic of another dapper gal, just to illuminate the sort of headwear a lady aspired to, as you can only just make out lines around faces otherwise.  This is from a much older, larger piece of work from Suffield, an almost full size tomb figure, Lady Gerbygge, 1280's they think.
  Now her wimple is highly elaborate, look at the pins on the sides, lovely detail,that.  It's more of a palaver than for Roger's lot, but it shows the fashion was always to wrap up, hide, a married lady's hair.  Less hairdressing bills, but then there's all this cloth to spend their chap's money on instead…  Elaborate get-up, no wonder they needed maids.
  Oh well, there you are, as dapper a parade of lovelies as you could get in 1300’s Blyghty.  And what lady wouldn’t want that, eh, to be seen at her best, model perfect, for all eternity…



  1. I like the look of that first lady up there. What I wouldn't have given to have set her upon me beer barrels with her clothes up and me in my naked shirt. Well worth the risk of a whipping at the carts tail that one.

    1. Now look here Symmonds, you're a disgrace to both your professions, and don't think hiding in the 16th century will matter a toad's wink. I know every Dean from '39 onwards, and it will be more than the cart's tail for you, you flap-mouthed barmeal.

    2. Well said Bumper. The rogue is a whoremasterly knave. A rampant, gorbellied, bedpresser who should have his nose slit and his innards cast upon the bonfire,

      The Devil take him!

  2. There is nothing quite as stimulating as a nice bit of Tudor Close-Stud Beam Work is there Bumper? So much nicer than the Loose-Stud Work. It really gets a mans pulse racing - All that strong Oak, made hard by time. You touched it didn't you Bumper. I know you did, for I too could not have resisted its tight grain polished smooth by four hundred years of feeling. They should make Stroking the Oak an Olympic sport and while they are about it, bring back the tug of war.

    1. All that wood is nothing more than an example of conspicuous consumption so prevalent in Tudor times. Clearly more wood there than was needed to make the house structurally sound. In other words nothing more than some gentrified yeoman showing off. Demonstrating his new found wealth, most likely made at the expense of his neighbours. In the words of the Ragged Rambler of old, John Stow, 'many hearths, but little heat'. He has enclosed their land and is now thumbing his nose whilst saying, 'I've got wood'.


    2. Look, Many Coats old boy, we've had words about taking the stopper off the decanter before mid-day previous to this, but obviously they've a' fallen on stony ground. Sad day, MC, sad day...
      PS and no, I didn't. Still had me driving gloves on.

    3. Were they leather gloves Bumper or the type that look like they were crocheted by your Nan?