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The Death of Hilary Mantel


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In memoriam.


I was very saddened to learn today of the sudden passing of author Hilary Mantel, age 70, who wrote the Wolf Hall tribology and  other notable works.  For those interested in the period of Henry VIII's reign through 1540, the three novels comprising the trilogy, Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies and The Mirror and the Light are well worth reading.

Oh, and here's my Henry VIII groat.



Edited by robinjojo
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  • robinjojo changed the title to The Death of Hillary Mantel

Regrettably enough, I've never read any of Mantel's historical fiction.  Despite being well acquainted with the evocative power that the juvenile side of the genre is capable of (notably Henry Treece's novels about Harald Hardraada and the close of the Viking Age in the Northern Isles and the Irish Sea).  ...Right, then there was Robert Graves's I, Claudius, read at a family friend's suggestion, well before I was ready to absorb the richness of its nuance.  Thank you, it's ridiculously forward of me to defend an entire literary form, especially given my ignorance of it.

Here are my two less than great examples relating to Henry VIII.  Both of the coins are reposts from the other forum.



Half groat, first coinage.  York, under Archbishop /Cardinal Wolsey, 1514-1526.  Spink 2326.  The portrait very evidently continues issues of Henry VII.



Tournai, c. late 15th c.  AE jeton.  Obv. The royal  French coat of arms; three fleurs de lis.  'AVE MARIA [flower] GRATIA.'

Rev.  A floral cross, very common among French jetons of the 14th (--?) and 15th centuries.  

The last of my known lineal ancestors to have been a knight, never mind to have acted as such in a military capacity, was this guy, Lionel Dymoke.  He was knighted following his participation in the campaign that eventuated in the siege of Tournai in 1513.  (A photograph of his brass, in a small parish church in Lincolnshire, followed by a late Victorian reconstuction:)




Lionel was knighted after the "Battle of the Spurs" in 1513, in the middle of Henry VIII's equally ill-advised and ill-fated attempt to regain some of France, following the end of the Hundred Years' War in 1453.  (Here's the Wiki article, en anglais; far, far better than I could do: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Spurs .)

Immediately prior to this, Lionel composed the first draft of his will, some of which is as follows.

"I leon Dymoke [...] being of good and hoole mynde make and ordigne my testament and Last will in forme following [.... F]orasmoch as no man is certein of the houre of dethe nor what place he shall die and nothyng so certein as dethe[,] and for as moch as I by the kynges pleasure shall goo in hys warrys in the parties be yond the see[:] Therefore my body to be buryed where it shall please almyghty god [...]."   

(From an extract of the will quoted by James Conway Walter, as "a good speciment of the orthography of the period," in his History of Horncastle (Horncastle [Lincs.]: Morton, 1908), p. 184.)

...Honestly, at a safe distance --especially since this is prior to much of any English transcontinental colonial expletive of choice activity-- I have to kind of, well, like this stuff. 

Edited by JeandAcre
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