Questions about a helm

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Questions about a helm

Postby Dixie Dean » Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:38 pm

I would like to reproduce an English great helm and liked the style of the helm of William de Lanvalei displayed on your site. Can I assume he was an Englishman? Also, another site stated the visor is drawn down the face, but it appears to me that this is a great helm and has no visor. Any help appreciated. :?
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Postby Graham Field » Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:32 am

From what I recall looking at the effigy, and looking now at additional photographs, it appears to be a great helm with no movable visor, and nothing to suggest otherwise. Perhaps the reference to a drawn visor may be referring to 13th Century effigies where the face is rarely covered.

Was he English? Well that could be a huge can of worms. Firstly I think that a lot of historians ascribed the local effigy to a local lord that fitted, but that may not necessarily be the case and without acurate heraldry or surviving wills etc, it may be difficult to tell. Secondly Lanvalei sounds Welsh, but could he perhaps have come from somewhere such as Lanvallay in France?? or perhaps an earlier generation, and the question may be was he regarded at the time as English?

The following information is given at the Church:

William de Lanvalei of Walkern

This remarkably fine stone effigy of a knight in a suit of chain armour is one of only three known instances in England in which the visor is drawn down the face.

Cussans dates the monument 1160-1220 AD, and states that in 1200 William de Lanvalei was appointed Governer of Colchester Castle and died in 1211. His son, also William, succeeded him in the governor-ship and died in 1217.

Whichever of these two the effigy represents, there is no evidence, as has been sugested that he was a crusader. The theory that cross-legged figures denoted a visit to the Holy Land has long since been disproved. It may be well, briefly to state the reasons why this idea is an impossibility: several effigies of known Crusaders are not represented cross-legged; several effigies of knoghts who did not go to the Holy Land are thus modelled; the effigies of various ladies are cross-legged; many of the figures represented in this way are of later date than the crusades, some even as late as the 17th Century. The fact is that this attitude was purely a conventional one and was for some time in vogue with English scuptors. It is also known on the Continent and, if it had been a crusading symbol, it would surelybe found throughout Christendom.

With regard to this figure, there would be aappear to be a tradition that it does not represent a knight buried here, but was brought from either Temple Disney or Baldock. This is highly improbable. The only shred of evidence that favours this throry being that the figures base does not fit the recess but, in all probability originally stood on the floor of the chancel, as do those effigies in the Temple Church, London. Subsequently, when that part of the church was rebuilt, a recess was made in the wall of the south aisle and the figure placed therein.

If the earthworks known as Walkern Castle are post norman, their constructionmay reasonably be assumed to be the work of one of the Lanvaleis, probably the earlier of the two. On the other hand, the site has long been known as the Bury, and usuakly denotes a Saxon homestead. The Manor House has always been on or near the site of the present house at Walkern Park, and more probably, seems to have been the residence of the lords of the Manor, both Saxon and Plantagenet.

[Adapted from the writings of W.B. Gerish]

The style, workanship and choice of Purbeck marble for the figure support a theory that the effigy could have been made in the same workshop, near the present St. Pauls Cathedral, as the figures in the 12th Century Temple Church, London.
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Postby Wendymj » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:29 am

Don't know if this may give any leads on the name ... ry=Lanvale

"Agnes de Lanvale alias de Lanvelay.
Mandate from the abbot of Pershore to J. de Tubervill, escheator of Berks, with transcript of writ, 19 Oct. 36 Hen. III. Inq. Thursday before the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, 37 Hen. III.
She died on the feast of St. Giles, 36 Hen. III. Her sisters, Agnes, married to John de Marisco, and Juliana, married to Geoffrey de Workeshale, are her heirs and of full age.
Berks. Estbury, 1/6 knight's fee held of the king in chief; a mill and 2a. land held of Henry de Sewelle, rendering 40d.; and a pasture held of Richard de Lagha, rendering 12d. yearly. (See No. 190.)"

BH also suggest a further corruption - Lamvalay ... y=Lamvalay

"Maud de Lamvalay.
Writ (missing). Inq. (undated.)
Ralph, son of Richard le Waleys and the said Maud, aged 24 and more, is her heir.
Berks. Estbiri. 1 carucate land and 6 marks 4s. 8d. rent of assize, held of the king by service of ½ knight's fee. (See No. 190.)"

and the "190" gives a yet another variant ... pid=108006

" Ralph le Waleys.
Writ to Henry de Wengham and his co-escheator in co. Berks, 15 March, 34 Hen. III. Inq. (undated.)
His sisters, Agnes married to John de Mareys, and Juliena married to Geoffrey de Wrokeselle, are his heirs: there is a third sister from the same mother by her last husband, named Agnes, but the jury know not whether she has any right in this inheritance; all are of full age.
Berks. Estbiri, 1 carucate land and 70s. 3½d. rent, held of the king in chief, and a mill and 1 acre meadow of the fee of Henry de Sewelle, held of the king in chief for ½ knight's fee. (See Nos. 244 and 857.)"
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Postby Dixie Dean » Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:54 pm

First, thank you for the replies. I have been blacksmithing for about seven years and wanted to branch out a little into other historical metalworking areas. Studying armor and, the middle ages in general, are new to me and therefore very interesting. I believe my father's ancestry is Scottish or English, hence my favoring English armor.
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Re: Questions about a helm

Postby alan63 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:17 pm

wow; interesting facts on this page!
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Re: Questions about a helm

Postby janetweeks » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:47 pm

why not join us at one of the last two events or at a training day (look at the date section on the web site)
you need to hear the discussions that go on when the knights get together and discuss armor, nothing like it it goes on for hours. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Questions about a helm

Postby William Montacute » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:15 pm

janetweeks wrote:Dixie
why not join us at one of the last two events or at a training day (look at the date section on the web site)
you need to hear the discussions that go on when the knights get together and discuss armor, nothing like it it goes on for hours. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Well it is important ya know.... That particular 1 inch square bit of pauldron that goes "OUCH"when it is hit by a war hammer really is important you know :D

The delicate juxtaposition of linen or cotton (I know cotton is wrong) against sensitive skin under 40kilo of metal is an important discussion point around the camp fire. We are little petals of manhood you know....

Actually Dixie you would be welcome. To be honest the changes to a harness of armour from use is quite spectacular when you see it for real. Leg armour, for example, either has a left slant at the knees, a right one, knobbly knees or spread knees depending on the person wearing them and this only happens over time with use.... Everyone is different within those four differences...

Ermmm stop me now Janet :roll:

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