Christmas parties have a bit of a reputation in the land of sitcom and stand-up for unfortunate goings on. Nothing, it turns out, is new.
In 1484 the Croyland Chronicler, a monk – so perhaps not the best judge of party excess, announced that he couldn’t possibly describe the goings-on at Richard III’s Christmas court because they were just too shocking for words. Of course, he then went on to mention the dancing, the singing and the frocks (belonging to Queen Anne and Elizabeth of York and which they apparently swapped for a giggle.)
Essentially the key points are that firstly the merriment caused much head shaking (and presumably head holding the next morning) and that secondly the swapping of the dresses was partially responsible for the idea that Richard III had an inappropriate interest in his young niece.
It is to be wondered how genuine Richard and Anne’s merriment really was in 1484 as their only child Prince Edward (Edward of Middleham) had died in April that year.
Having read the Croyland chronicles it becomes clear that he knows more than a common monk could have ever known of court life and gossips. It was written by someone with real power to have been privy to all that went on in Royal circles. Most of it is the work of a high ranking church man. Who had the over power at Crowland but Morton. Archbishop and politician and who used the chronicles to vent his anger knowing it would remain in secret and if ever found could easily be denounced as the work of a monk whom had just died. The passage that deals with the beheading of Hastings brought me to this decision as how could anyone but those who witnessed the act have described it so well. It must have been Morton who lived and served Edward Richard and Henry and now into the service of Henry V111. Richard had sent Morton packing and so he had so much hate that when he returned to power he wrote a diary. What better place to keep the dates and facts for proof if ever needed than in a place so far off the beaten track even for those days. It must be Crowland Abbey that is the clue to all of this and near to London as a days ride . Morton was clever and crafty and left nothing to chance as he lived so near the heat of power anything could topple him. That is my case for the reading. You may of course dig further or agree. Happy Christmas and thanks for the good reads over this year.Giving me food for thought and happy relaxation amongst the building of my house.
An interesting idea – which I like very much. Didn’t Bishop Langton also disapprove? Happy Christmas to you and I hope the house building is progressing according to plan.