It’s going to be some while before I can start stitching on the other Medieval Movers and Shakers (I’m going to have to find a better title for that quartet, they’re going to drive me demented if I don’t!), but given I have much research to do, that’s no great difficulty.
I have been accumulating books – which is also rather a delight in any case.
The history of the church Rahere founded duly arrived a week or so after our visit, and proved very interesting indeed. It included among the illustrations this engraving of the tomb effigy on Rahere’s tomb. The tomb was not made for Rahere when he died, but about four hundred years later, so one should take the likeness of the face with a pinch of salt, but I’m sure it will have got his Dominican robes right, so it may be useful in planning how I depict him. (I’ve just double checked – white cassock and black cloak, so for the purposes of the embroidery I can go for the look of undyed wool for the cassock, and dark greys and browns for the cloak).
I also found a reference to an epic poem called The Romance of Rahere, thinking it might at least be atmospheric.
Well, no. It’s set in the Civil War, about the orphan daughter of the vicar of St Bartholomew the Great who is named after the founder (poor lass) and who dies in the church during a thunderstorm, leaving the boy who wants to marry her absolutely distraught, and becoming a soldier to seek death, but surviving and returning home to right the wrongs caused by his greedy and abusive father.
So not even remotely helpful!
In the Kipling tale in which he appears, “The Tree of Justice”, Rahere, the Kings’ Jester, is described as: “more of a priest than a fool and more of a wizard than either“, and his jester’s outfit as parti-coloured in black and red. There is so little information about the person that I’m going to be using that as the basis for my characterisation. My current idea for the embroidery design is to have Rahere in his Dominican Robes, with a model of St Bartholomew the Great in his hands, and his jester’s cap at his feet. The border – well, maybe the flower London Pride, maybe bells (for the jester) and scallop shells (for pilgrimage). We’ll just have to wait and see!