The idea was, now spring and summer are approaching, to do a physical tour of the old Duchy of Burgundy, not just for the quest but as a source of inspiration for paintings. Many places are not too far away and can be reached in less than half a day. This B tour needs a lot of research though. There are plenty of history books but none of them has the complete story. So if I make mistakes, just tell me so I can correct them and don’t take everything I say for granted. Mistakes will be made.
The first thing I visited, last week was a nearby graveyard. When I was looking for the route the Burgundian troops followed on their way to Liège I came across a story on the website of the village of Oorbeek about the gravestone of Cathlyn van Oirbeeck. Cathlyn died in 1475, when Charles the Bold was still Duke of Burgundy and not rotting away in Nancy. But what’s even more interesting is that Cathlyn was the widow of Gerard de Ryckel aka Geert van Rijkel, a nobleman from the Liège area. Gerard died in the battle of Monthléry in 1465 (Ligue du Bien Public vs Louis XI). I am not going to recount the whole story of that battle, but it was an important one (imho) where the B almost got killed. The information about the circumstances of Gerard’s death is not chiseled into the stone. It is on an old engraving of a picture, commissioned by Cathlyn, which used to be in the church that was destroyed and which shows the couple kneeling down in prayer.
Here is a bigger picture of the stone:
The current St. George church is obviously not Burgundian. These regions have been ravaged and pillaged numerous times in the course of history. The original church was destroyed by soldiers in 1582 during the religious wars. A new church was built in 1778.
The gravestone is damaged. It used to be inside the church as the top part of a monument/ mausoleum for Cathlyn. The stone was later enclosed in the wall of the new church.
With the help of the info on the Oorbeek site and some digging around in my bookcase I found a catalogue that came from the family collection which shows the engraving with the source where it came from (Le Grand Theatre Sacré du Duché de Brabant) and with this info I found a scanned copy on e-rara. Just to show that often the night is dark and full of winding roads.
So – drumroll – here is what Gérard and Cathlyn looked like:
It’s always more interesting when names get a face. Note that the date of the battle is not correct in the engraving. It reads 1460 instead of 1465.
Next up will be the Bruges trip, me thinks; I am researching some anti-Burgundian dude from Limburg who is mightily interesting and and some obscure self-proclaimed knights but I need more time for that one. And I still need to make a wax doll.