14 June 2009

Cranmer, Dix, Sarum, 1549 ... (1)

The school in which I was educated, although in existence in the 12th century, was refounded by Henry VIII and rerefounded by Elizabeth I (who was it who said that the schools the Tudors 'founded' were the ones they left unsuppressed?). We were made to sing a School Song which included the words " ... for we are sons of men who marched/ beneath the Tudor banners". I never felt happy about this and I still don't. Apart from an occasional boader skirmish against the Scots, what glorious land battles did the Tudor armies ever win? As a teenager I already knew that the victories won by Tudor Arms were largely won in the suppression of insurrections by native Englishmen against the religious innovations for which the Tudors were guilty. And they were won largely by foreign mercenaries ... so did the School Song mean that we were all descended from the bastards begotten by these German and Italian soldiers in the raping sessions which will undoubtedly have followed their 'victories'? My queries were not well received; nor was my suggestion that if anybody gave me a Tudor Banner I would subject it to certain traditional indignities.

I suspect that, for most readers of this blog, the Banner of the Tudor period which they would most respect would have been the Banner of the Five Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which was carried at the head of the rebellions of the Catholic loyalists during the Tudor period; a banner which Protestants were most embarassed by. It was so Christocentric, yet the central PR lie of the Protestants was that they were the ones who were restoring Christocentricity to religion. I studied the medieval votive Mass of the Five Wounds when I was writing about a Scots priest who became an Archdeacon in Devon and Rector of one of my Seven churches there. He had these words carved on some choir stalls he put in one of the churches: Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo. I discovered that they were the opening words of the psalmus of the Introit of that Votive. And, in church after church in Devon and Cornwall there still survive bench ends, carvings, and stained glass representations of the Five wounds, sometimes known as the arma Christi, with the Sacred Heart in the middle and two pierced hands above and two pierced feet beneath.

So I jumped at the opportunity to celebrate a Sarum Votive of the Five Wounds in memory of those who died in the Western Rebellion of 1549. (Continues later.)

1 comment:

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

How incredibly apposite !

I am currently re-rereading Eamon Duffy's "The Stripping of the Altars"and its mentions of the Western Rebellion as well as in "The Voices of Morebath".

I have vivid memories of being reduced to tears when reading about the Rebellion and its brutal sequelae whilst studying it for my A level History, many moons ago......