The Sword in the Stone: The Land of Loon(ies) (2/2)

One of the other books I brought home from the library was a book about the counts of Loon. I’m not going into details here regarding this county because it’s quite complicated. There are some basic facts on the Wikipedia page here.

During my Burgundian research I came across Raes (van Linter, van Rivieren, van Heers, etc) who was born in 1418 so more of the age group of Anton the Bastard (1421) than Charles the Bold but who died in the same year as Charles, though not in the battle of Nancy. He was mayor of Liège and seems to have had a bit of a Boldesque though even more villainous personality. The book I borrowed has some info on him.I’m still reseaching this particular part of the history so I am not going to elaborate on this yet. However, I have already done some preparatory work and searched for maps. I am not sure what sort of maps the B used. Maps in books of that period are not very accurate in general and Mercator and Ortelius hadn’t been born yet, let alone Mr Michelin.

Here are parts of maps that were lying around in our archive, showing the area I plan to do first. The original maps date from around 1700 from what I found on the net, but these look like newer copies (newer, not brand new though, quite some stains on them and discoloured). I’m mostly interested in the old roads and movements of troops so additional research is required. There was another map of the area lying around but that was completely useless. I have added some squares with relevant areas.

By coincidence I spent the evening at St Truiden yesterday but I didn’t have time (or enough light) to visit battlegrounds.

Here is map 1. I have uploaded a large version but it doesn’t seem possible to zoom in on the published version.

This is the direct link for the large version.

Info provided is not yet thoroughly researched so corrections may follow.

From top to bottom and left to right:

Herkenrode: Nothing to do with the Bold but an ancestor may be buried there. More corpse digging to do?

Oirbeek: Square in the middle on the left. This is where that gravestone of Cathlijn van Oirbeek is located, the widow of a Liège knight that was killed in the battle of Monthléry. (see earlier posts).

St. Truiden: city around which the battlefields are located.

Brust(h)em: Right of St. Truiden. Area where the battle of 1467 against Raes took place.

Landen: Nothing to do with the Bold but Peppin of Landen may have been born in this area. He was an ancestor of Charlemagne who is an ancestor of many people around here. The Bold once visited his mausoleum in Aachen according to the biography. It’s indeed a stunning location but pictures inside are not allowed alas.

Montenaeken: where the battle of 1465 took place.

The scale and info at the top of the map:

Fixed cities. Demolished cities. Stains. Villages. Areas. Houses. Castles. Abbeys. Monasteries. Chappels. Entrenchments. Water mills.

1 1/2 common German miles of 15 in a grade, 1 1/2 French miles or marching hours of 20 in a grade.

Here is the second map (no scale this time). For orientation purposes: Liege is to the right and more to the south.

This is the direct link for the large version.

Linter: see Raes.

Ulbeek: Nothing to do with the Bold or Raes, but one of my ancestors lived in that area around 1580.

St. Truiden (see above).

Brust(h)em: see above regarding the battle of 1467.

Heers: see Raes of Heers. Also very close to the area my great grandfather was from (but much later, obviously). A possible ancestor who was about the same age as the Bold lived somewhat to the south from there. Got to look into that, who knows, maybe he took part in the battles.

Niel – Montenaeken: this is where the battle of 1465 took place and where the Roman graves are. This is also the area Egidius was from (supposedly born around 1647, so much later).

That’s all for now.

The Sword in the Stone – Update (1/2)

Post in 2 installments. The weather is much better but I’m incapacitated by a cold and an upset stomach and a very stubborn pinched nerve which makes it very painful to move about. AARRRHGGHHH! Also battling scammers and spammers as usual.

Yesterday I went to the library to pick up some books for the rest of my quest. Unfortunately, due to the success of B Van Loo’s Burgundian book the once neglected Burgundian section was raided, including the book about Charles the Bold with the Burgunderbeute. Nevertheless I dragged three interesting books home. Bad pictures on purpose in the light of ‘fair use’.

Book one is about people in Burgundian times who wrote letters to ask for mercy regarding the punishment of their crimes. Checked the index and the B gets mentioned a lot. Haven’t read it yet.

Book two is just for fun. It’s about daily life in Burgundian times and it’s full of miniatures. I have become a huge fan of Loyset Liedet who was a comic artist ‘avant-la-lettre’. Not all drawings are by his hand but there quite a few, including many with men with mighty hats. Here are a few examples by various artists:

Cover of the book
Illustration for Roman de la Rose
Philip the Good pays a visit to the writer of the manuscript he’s commissioned. Look at the shoes and the spindly legs, the crazy clothes. And those hats.
Medieval Bathing house aka brothel. Eating and bathing was a thing in those days. But what I find most hilarious is that most of them kept their hats on LOLHAHAHA.

I finished Minois’ biography about Charles the Bold. To summarise:

It was fairly easy to read, even for a non-native speaker like me, with some ironic/witty remarks. The e-book had the additional advantage that it’s possible to look up words. The disadvantage is that once the software is no longer available the book is no longer accessible as with normal books. I am thinking about getting a physical copy of the book too.

The biography is well documented, especially the part about Neuss, Morat, Nancy etc, with small maps of the battlefields but there are also (quite big sometimes) gaps and some dubious timelines. I also encountered some mistakes/typos. Minois tries to psychoanalyse the Bold but that’s a hit and miss. The role of Anton is a little neglected, but not as much as in other documentation I’ve read so far.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, we probably think we’ve evolved but it seems not too much has changed since Burgundian times: useless wars, powercrazy billionaires, treason and deceit, raping and pillaging, random violence, taxes, etc. Just less forests to escape into. And not enough mighty hats.

End of part I.

Quick update

The weather has been so bad the past two weeks, that I had to postpone my tour of the battlefields. Too much wind, rain and hail. I hope it will get a little better in the coming weeks.

I’ve been working on paintings instead, mostly new ones. I lost confidence halfway through the Bold’s panel,Antoine and Oscar so I painted small sketches of various things on paper; been trying out new brushes and other colours. Also worked on Ilion, Nemrut Dagi and a small modern one. Started a fairly large painting ‘Monthléry”, loosely based on a collage of silent movie stills. Plus I’m working on something with a very short submission deadline. I have to finish it this week. Not going to go into detail in case it doesn’t work out.

I have posted a lot of this stuff on Instagram, which seems an unavoidable evil these days but it’s also dirty, quick and easy. In case you want to have a look at it, my account is isabellehiding, where isabelle is my alternative real first name and hiding is short for hiding in the duchy. There are also weird pictures on it and other people’s doodles and such.

Anyway, still completely immersed in the B’s antics. Been reading about Lorenzo and other renaissance Italians. Accidentally saw something on Youtube about a room in a castle where the B slept and which is for rent. Very tempting but also very expensive so I’ll try to find a free version. Unless it’s haunted with a guarenteed ghost.

Been reading about Yolande and Pentecote. Had some fairly sleepless nights and as such had too much time to think. Suddenly realised that some of the clues I came across in the Eleven part of my quest actually are also valid for the B, especially his burial place. That can’t be a coincidence. Must look into that. But I’m running out of time.

My head is full of cotton and I keep running after my shadow. To bring order to chaos, I make lists. Endless lists. So many lists I have ended up in a maze. I need to get Theseus out again. It’s better to wear some armour when facing an undead lion.

Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale – Time the physician

The Sword in the Stone: Brugge III

The last one about Bruges, just random stuff connected to the Dukes.

After the tombs, I went to the museum (see Brugge I), where I spent quite some time looking at the paintings and some more time in the shop looking at all the weird touristy objects. By the time I was done, I was thirsty and hungry so I had a snack and a coffee which are not difficult to come by. After that I went to the basilica of the Holy Blood. I was just in time for the opening of the doors of the chapel at 1400 hours, which meant this time I was also able to witness the small ceremony when the blood is brought out.

The Blood wasn’t my main goal but as I was there anyway, I queued up to have another look at it. As I wrote last August, it is not allowed to take pictures of the Holy Blood. I also seem to have misplaced the leaflet I got, which has some info.

This time I managed to spot the dukes in the main part of the chapel, on the not so old stained glass windows. It took a bit of experimenting with the settings of the camera to take a decent picture, and avoid the glare of the sun. The B is quite far away as well. He is pictured with his second wife, not the third, for some reason.

And these are Maximillian and Mary of Burgundy. Well I suppose, it’s them, they definitely look like them in any case:

Then I went down to the old St. Basil chapel underneath. There were no relics on show, so a magical sword is still out of the question.

After that I did ‘the Burgundian walk’ I found on the internet, more or less anyway. I ended up in the Prinsenhof where the Dukes had their residence in the city. Now, from what I gather it is a big hotel and a smaller hotel on the side. The buildings look new to me, but then a lot in Bruges is not as old or as old as it looks. According to the info on the website the Karel de Stoute hotel is located where his old town house was, it’s a hard to tell, though.

The somewhat ridiculous The Dukes Palace (not sure what public they’re aiming at):

And the smaller Karel de Stoute:

Then I wandered around a bit until it was time for my train.

The Sword in the Stone: Brugge II

The first thing I did was head towards the O.L.Vrouwkerk which is situated in the middle of Bruges. Restoration works have been going on for years and at the moment the chapel where the Madonna by Michelangelo is normally located is inaccessible so the sculpture is not on display, just a cast. There was a lot of noise and dust so the entrance fee for the ‘museum’ was only 2 Euro instead of 6.

Apart from the things mentioned above there is large altarpiece by van Orley, a few medieval tombs and some not so great paintings. Unless you’ve never seen the choir of an old church or are very into Michelangelo and the B & C°, its probably not worth getting a ticket for the ‘museum’ (flog me if you think I deserve it). The outside is not very spectacular either.

This is the church interior, the tombs are at the back, behind the grate in the middle.

Mary’s tomb dates from just some years after her death, around 1500. The B’s tomb is much newer, from the middle of the 16th century. In 1979, when restoration works were going on (yeah, it’s a local tradition), Mary’s coffin and skeleton were discovered by accident. It turns out, the tombs were moved during the course of the centuries.

They are now back in their original positions. An autopsy of the skeleton revealed that it matches the injuries Mary sustained when she fell of her horse during a hunting trip. She was only 25. There was a small box with her, which contained the heart of Philip II, her son, who died of an illness or poisoning at 28. Charles was killed/committed virtual suicide at Nancy at 43. That’s three generations of tragic deaths at a (relatively) young age. With that in mind, the wide open, staring eyes of the effigies, are rather creepy.

According to Wikipedia the coffin with her skeleton is visible but I couldn’t see it though I crawled around on my knees (it was very calm that day and hardly any visitors came by). There was a bad reflection on the glass, so maybe that’s why. I saw some pictures of the skeleton somewhere but I think it was in a library book.

Here are some pictures of her tomb. Unfortunately, because I’m on the short side, it turned out to be impossible to take picture from a above. Eg. for the first one I stood on my toes with my arm high up and it’s still not high enough.

Also according to Wikipedia, Charles the Bold was originally buried in the St. Donaas church, which was demolished later on. But somewhere else I read that when they brought his remains to Bruges, they put the casket in Mary’s tomb as a temporary solution, until there was room for him, so I’ll have to look into that. In any case, he’s not home. First of all, the skeleton has disappeared, maybe during a revolution when the church was pillaged and thrashed. Secondly, the bones, or at least the skull, that were brought to Bruges, were probably not his. His heart is probably still somewhere in the soil of Nancy.

Engraving of the tomb in its previous location:

The graves below:

Now if this is a real Carravaggio I’ll eat my hat:


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