Nicholas Jone was an Italian merchant during the fifteenth century married to an Englishwoman. Like most men of his time he realised that patronage was essential. In 1442 or early in 1443 he went to Turkey and he came home with gifts – three camels and a turkey (bet he was popular during the voyage.). Henry VI was delighted with the new additions to the royal menagerie and gifted Jone the office of the brokerage of the exchanges and securities of carracks, ships, and galleys coming to England – if I’m honest I think I can see who got the better end of the deal.
They were not the only camels and ostriches to be given as gifts. Edward IV was presented with a camel and in 1472 sent to Ulster, ‘She resembled a mare and was of a yellow colour’.1
1 The Irish Digest, vol 36, issues 1-3, 1950, p.84
Henry v1 was a fruit cake who would have seen his gifted camels and turkey as a sign from God to pray. Poor man had his head bashed in by Edward 1V. Cruel indeed but what choice did he really have .He did not recon on the wrath of Henrys wife either . The Castle at Appleby in Westmorland had many animals gifted from Royal circles even camels. I recall as a child attending a pageant there for my ancestor Lady Ann Clifford and seeing all the birds and animals and what is said to be Queen Ann Bullens garden sundial there. My sister used the castle as offices as accountant for owner then.She still lives in the town. We think of all the things that went on in history as far away from us now but they are not really you know. They are all around us.