Tuesday 29 August was a day for a drive. Harewood House near Leeds has some of the costumes from Victoria, the TV series which will bring beauty to my Sunday evenings now Demelza Poldark has finished. Julie was keen to go, and researched disabled access and ticket prices – it isn’t NT – website. The house itself has a disabled lift to get in, and then the whole place was on the flat. There was a sequence of rooms to follow, and lovely rooms they are too. Amazing ceilings, furniture, and so much to look at. Owls and chess pieces, Chinese wallpaper, portraits and a wonderful State Bed.
After several hours exploring, we found the second hand bookshop. After what seemed like several hours of my wife finding books, I left her to it and walked to All Saints’ church Harewood, which is in the grounds of the estate – SE313451. It is a Churches Conservation Trust church, open in the summer months, and access can be arranged in the winter – see this website for details. There is a also church page on the website of the main house – here. It is a C15 church, and not particular stunning outside. It was restored in 1862-3 by Sir George Gilbert Scott, of St Pancras fame, and is a lovely high church inside.
When the roof was replaced in the 18th century this inscription was found cut into a beam: “We adore and praise thee thou holy Jesus, because thou hast redeemed us by thy Holy Cross, 1116”, so we have a precise date for its foundation. The founder was William de Curcy, son-in-law of Robert de Romelli, the Norman Baron to whom the manor of Harewood was given by William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings.
In a moment we will start with the ruling classes, but first let us remember those who have died in two World Wars. A large number. There is a complete list of names here.
Time for wonderful alabaster tombs. This is Edward Redman (died 1510) of Levens, Westmorland and of Harewood, and his wife Elizabeth Huddlestone (died 1529) of Millom, Cumberland. He succeeded to the estates in 1482/3 when his elder brother William died childless. He had been a staunch Yorkist supporter. On Henry VII’s accession, he was included in the general pardon, and kept a low profile under the Tudors. Elizabeth was a widower whose father, Sir John was a prominent Yorkist and fought for the king at Bosworth Field. Ready for lots of photos?
Sir Richard Redman (died 1426) of Levens, Westmorland, Speaker of the House of Commons, and Elizabeth Aldburgh (died 1434) of Harewood Castle, his wife. He was Sheriff of Cumberland several times between 1390 and 1413, then Sheriff of Yorkshire, and an MP. He was elected Speaker in 1415, after helping to mobilise the English army before it sailed with Henry V to France and victory at Agincourt. Elizabeth was the eldest daughter of William de Aldburgh, Lord of the Manor of Harewood. In 1392 she and her sister Sybil jointly inherited the Castle and estate, and were responsible for building this church in 1410.
Sybil (died 1440) is here, with her husband Sir William Ryther (died c1426) of Ryther Castle, Yorkshire, between Selby and Tadcaster. Sybil’s family and Elizabeth’s families shared the house alternately or together more than 200 years – this kept the manorial possessions intact. I love the dog’s expression.
Sir William Gascoigne (1350?-1419) of Gawthorpe, sited where there is now a lake below Harewood House. According to the noticeboard he studied at Cambridge (other sources say Oxford – which reminds me of John Snagge and the Boat Race “it’s either Oxford or Cambridge in front”). He joined the Inner Temple, progressed in the law, and was made Lord Chief Justice by Henry IV in 1400. Even Shakespeare tells of his courage (Henry IV part 2). Elizabeth Mowbray was his first wife.
This is the tomb of Sir William Gascoigne (died c1465) of Gawthorpe, grandson of Judge Gascoigne. He had become a knight by 1436, was with the Lancastrians in the War of the Roses, but was pardoned by Edward IV in 1461. He married Margaret Clarell, after she had been twice widowed, in 1425/6. Margaret survived Sir William, and entered her third widowhood.
The final one is Sir William Gascoigne (died 1487) and Margaret Percy, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Northumberland, his wife. They had probably married by 1467, only a year or two after the deaths of both his father and grandfather. Margaret’s father had been killed at the Battle of Towton in 1461, possibly with his daughter’s future father-in-law fighting alongside him. After 1470 William received a number of appointments as a Commissioner in Yorkshire, and in 1478 was appointed a Knight of the Bath. In 1482 he campaigned in Scotland with the Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III, but after Richard’s death on Bosworth Field, he seems to have been reconciled with the House of Tudor.
The Harewood website says “The pale, glowing alabaster figures you see today are substantially different from how they would have first appeared. The originals would have been brightly coloured (you can still see traces of paint in the carved folds of their garments) and some would have been covered by canopies (removed in the 18th century). They were restored in the 1970’s with support from the Redundant Churches Fund and moved to their present positions. Looked at carefully they are full of character, portraits of real people, not just formal depictions of lords and ladies of rank and status.” I would love to know where these alabaster figures were made, how they transported them, and how carefully they had to bring them so as not to break the angels. Where do I find this information?
There are other memorials. This one is to Sir Thomas Denison, who died in 1765, aged 67. He was a Yorkshireman by birth, and became a Justice of the King’s Bench. A contemporary commented that “he rais’d himself chiefly by his own industry; his exaltation to the Bench was by the Interest of the Chief Justice, William, Lord Mansfield, always desirous of having some person of great skill on the Bench with him. It was said that he used to take Sir Thomas in his coach to Westminster, to take instruction by the way; or, to use a vulgar phrase, to suck his brains.” This monument was erected by his widow. It was by Nathaniel Hedges. His work is also found at Stourhead and Westminster Abbey.
Both the pulpit and the font are very marble!
Julie had spent lots of money in the second hand bookshop – we enjoyed Harewood. Well worth a visit.