Medieval Movers and Shakers

While I was working on William, my Mam passed to me her copy of Current Archaelogy, which included an article about the church founded by Rahere, jester to Henry I, then pilgrim and monk, founder of of St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Now, Rahere is a major character in one of the tales in Kipling’s “Rewards and Fairies”, which as a child I loved, and suddenly I found myself with an idea for some companions for William Marshall.

One of my early gouache designs for the embroidery of William Marshal

William Marshall, 1st Earl of Pembroke, jouster, statesman, guardian of kings, re-issuer of Magna Carta, subject of the first biography in English not concerning royalty or sainthood.

Early medival image depicting Athelflaed, Lady of the Mercians.
Image from Wikipedia
Image from Wikipedia

Athelflaed, daugther of Wessex, Lady of the Mercians, war leader and peaceweaver, guardian of Athelstan, she refortified Chester, and refounded the Minster which became, in due course, Chester Cathedral.

A very nineteenth-century looking depiction of Rahere as a jester, in cap, bells, and particoloured garments.
Image from Wikipedia
Image from Wikipedia

Rahere, jester, minstrel, courtier, pilgrim and monk, founder of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which exists to this day.

David Holgate's statue of Julian of Norwich, outside Norwich Cathedral, completed in 2000
David Holgate’s statue of Julian of Norwich, outside Norwich Cathedral, completed in 2000

Dame Julian Of Norwich, anchoress, mystic, author of the the first book in English known to be written by a woman.

In all these cases, some vestige of their activities still echoes down the ages, and between them they cover both the political and religious life of medieval period. Their activities are scattered across the country, providing some excuse for some visits and much reading.

I wonder what images I could put in their borders?

I think this could be interesting!


  1. You find such interesting projects that will keep you quite busy! Enjoy!

  2. Sue Jones says:

    Those sound excellent choices. Happy planning!

  3. Meredithe says:

    You really are a glutton for punishment! They all sound great ……and heaps of work!! Enjoy and looking forward to seeing your progress.

  4. Lin says:

    Great ideas – lots for us to be following along with! xx

  5. Jillayne says:

    A very interesting idea, and an ambitious one, but the best ones often are. I look forward to seeing how this develops!

  6. Linda C says:

    Interesting facts

  7. Pence says:

    Sounds like fun to research. I loved Rewards and Fairies as a child. I look forward to seeing what you do with him.

  8. Alex Hall says:

    Not just interesting, fascinating!

  9. Carolyn Foley says:

    It is quite remarkable how these characters have inspired people down through the ages. I like them all, although I do have a preference of Julian of Norwich but then Athelflaed has always fascinated me. Was she good, was she bad? This should keep you busy for some time.

  10. Susan Nixon says:

    That’s a fabulous idea! You’ve just introduced me to the idea that jesters could be more than a jester! Thank you for the education.