31 January 2009

Two Magnates

Offstage during the Cadfael novels but exerting powerful influences are two magnates: Ranulf de Gernon, the earl of Chester, and Henry de Blois, the Bishop of Westminster. (leaf showing King David from the Winchester Bible, image in the public domain, via wiki commons)

For information about Ranulf de Gernon I cannot do better than refer you to the excellent article at Chester Wiki, which quotes extensively from contemporary historians and sets Ranulf's life not just in the context of the struggle between Stephen and Matilda but also against events in other parts of Britain. As wiki articles can always be changed I have to say caveat quaerens, but certainly at the time of this post the article is an fine example of what wikis are capable of.

Farnham Castle was built by Henry de Blois, Stephen's brother and the Bishop of Westminster. The castle's website has an article on the life of Henry. The British Museum has some altar plaques presented by Henry the Bishop, who was most likely Henry de Blois. Henry de Blois was also the most likely patron for the production of the Winchester Psalter, one page from which shows the resurrected Christ. For other illustrations from the Winchester Psalter, click the Winchester Psalter link in the right-hand column on this page. Also due to Henry de Blois’s patronage is the Winchester Bible (scroll down and click on thumbnails), still in the library of Winchester Cathedral.


Winchester whisperer said...

And he's buried in Winchester cathedral

RWMG said...

Well, the notice on this picture says "may contain the remains of Henry of Blois". Map of tombs in cathedral with clickable thumbnails.