Archive for the ‘News’ Category

11
Jan

Astronomy in the Middle Ages

   Posted by: Rhonda Bentley

The Plantagent Society has planned and exciting talk for their January 2020 meeting.  They have kindly invited members and friends of our branch to share this event:

The Plantagenet Society of Australia welcomes visitors to their next meeting on Saturday, January 18 at 2pm at St John’s Church, Gordon.

 We have been fortunate to book Professor Fred Watson who will speak about “Astronomy in the Middle Ages”.

 Entry $5. Afternoon tea supplied.

“A Closer Look at the Roses Used as Symbols During the Wars of the Roses”

presented by Dianne Herbert

Dianne Herbert, a long standing member of the Richard III Society, introduced us to the Alba Semi-Plena, the rose we know of as the White Rose of York. It is not like the mass produced roses we know today, being much simpler but more perfumed. Roses are thought to have originated in Persia (Iran) about 35 million years old and were brought to the west by the Crusaders. The Middle East was a major producer of rosewater, rose attar (rose essence or rose oil) and rose petals, for use in medicine, as food and in cosmetics. The Alba doesn’t interbreed successfully with other roses.

Review of 14 December 2019 Meeting

Rosa ‘Semi-plena’ (Photo by A. Barra via Wikimedia Commons)

There are a number of stories associated with roses. Apparently, roses only started to produce thorns when evil appeared in the world. At the Feast of Heliogabalus (204 – 222), guests died after being smothered in rose petals. The oldest rose bush alive today was established by King Louis the Pious (King of the Franks) in 815, and is at Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. In the Middle Ages, a rose suspended from the ceiling meant that those present were sworn to secrecy.

Review of 14 December 2019 Meeting

Thousand-year-old rose, Hildesheim (Photo by Bischöfliche Pressestelle Hildesheim via Wikimedia Commons)

Edmund Langley, 1st Duke of York was the first nobleman to use the White Rose of York. Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster used the red rose (Rosa gallica). Margaret of Anjou was known as the Red Rose of Anjou. Edward IV’s wife, Elizabeth Woodville used a white rose. Edward IV’s mistress, Jane Shore was known as the Rose of London. And it was not until 1829 that the term “Wars of the Roses” was used, when Sir Walter Scott included the term in his novel Anne of Geierstein.

White Rose of York

There is a “Jacobite” or “Bonny Prince Charlie’s” rose, as well as a rose called “York and Lancaster”. Roses have been cultivated in China since the 11th century, and a Rose Museum has recently been opened in Beijing. Unfortunately, there are no native roses in the Southern Hemisphere.

It was interesting to learn about the history of roses and the white rose in particular. We could hear Dianne’s love of roses in her talk. Amongst other roses, she grows “Mr Lincoln”, “Duchess of Provence”, and the “Peace Rose”. I’m sure her garden is spectacular.

The NSW Branch held its 1st Book Club at the Members’ Meeting on 8 June 2019 and it was a very lively and stimulating discussion.  It was so successful the Committee decided that the Book Club will become an annual event.

The books reviewed at our Book Club this year were: –

  1. “Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England” by Thomas Penn
  2. “The Devil in Ermine” by Isolde Martyn
NSW Branch meets for a Book Club

Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

The “Winter King” was acknowledged as not an easy read due to the writing style and terminology used by Penn.  The book was a more scholarly read and the narrative was not necessarily chronological, however Members persevered, and a very interesting picture of Henry VII arose, one that we may not have previously understood.  Henry VII emerged as a paranoid, secretive, devious and duplicitous individual who would stop at nothing to hold on to his crown and fill his treasury – he was unsentimental towards those who had served him well and subsequently, had fallen from favour.  Henry was avaricious and Penn’s narrative about how this was enacted was revealing.  Although it was hard going, the majority of the book club members finished the book, and all acknowledged they found it interesting and learnt from the experience.

NSW Branch meets for a Book Club

The Devil in Ermine

“The Devil in Ermine” was acknowledged as excellent, as we have all come to expect from Isolde.  Isolde’s story on the Duke of Buckingham and his revolt was well researched and very informative about this troubling and treasonous event during the reign of Richard III.  Isolde made this complex event into an easy to read and understand narrative that brought to light a treacherous, inexperienced, reactive and emotional character in Buckingham that seriously threatened Richard III and his reign.

We look forward to the next Book Club, to be held on Saturday 4 April 2020.  The Books we will be reading are:

  1. “Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses” by Sarah Gristwood
  2. “Women of the Cousins’ War: The Real White Queen and Her Rivals” by Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin and Michael Jones

Please join us!

7
Dec

December 2019 General Meeting

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley

Our last general meeting of the year will be on the 14th of December 2019 at 2pm at the Sydney Mechanics Institute, as usual.

The featured speaker will be our long-time member Dianne Herbert on the topic of “A Closer Look at the Roses used as symbols for the Wars of the Roses.”

Looking forward to seeing you there!

30
Nov

Book Discussion 4 April 2020

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley

Announcing the books selected

to read for next April

I am excited to tell you about the two books that the committee has approved for the Book Discussion at our branch meeting 4 April 2020, in order to give everyone plenty of time to obtain and read them. The intention is to look more closely at the fascinating women of the Lancasters and Yorks. Both titles are nonfiction and come highly recommended.

Sarah Gristwood, Blood Sisters

Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin & Michael Jones, The Women of the Cousins’ War

If you prefer, you can, of course, choose any Ricardian or English History book, fiction or nonfiction, to read instead and share your opinion with us at the meeting. In our first discussion meeting this past June several members introduced the group to wonderful new titles to add to their ever-lengthening reading lists!

Book Depository.com has the best prices I have seen along with free shipping, but of course if you can find them second-hand or at the library that would be even better. The SMSA library has The Women of the Cousins’ War by Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin & Michael Jones, and the City of Sydney library system has a copy of Blood Sisters by Sarah Gristwood.

Happy Reading!

26
Nov

BIENNIAL CONFERENCE IN ALBURY

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis

The Biennial Conference in Albury

Back by popular demand!

The highly popular Biennial Conference is on again!  After consultation with other branches, the date has been set for Friday, 11 September 2020.  So pack your bags to join us at the Albury Manor Hotel for a day of fun and interesting talks – not to forget Ricardian fellowship!

The Biennial Conference started out as a one-day event of the NSW Branch to give also its members from further afield the chance to meet up.  However, over time it has grown and is now equally popular with members from all the other branches of the Richard III Society in Australia and New Zealand.  (It is not to be confused with the Australasian Conventions, which also take place every second year, but is a 2-day event. The next one will be in Adelaide, SA, 21-22 Aug. 2021.)

The Biennial Conference will be organised by Helen and Denise, who did outstanding work on the two previous Albury Conferences in 2016 and 2018.  The Albury Manor Hotel offers not only comfortable rooms, but also has a medieval inspired ambience.

We would be happy if you can join us for a Welcome on Thursday, 10 September.  Friday will be a full day of talks with dinner in the evening.  Departure will be on 12 September, but of course you are welcome to take part in a tour with other attendees.

At present this is just to keep you informed so that you can keep the dates free in your diary for 2020.  We will share further details as they become available.

 

5
Oct

Annual General Meeting 2019

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley

An invitation for all Members and Friends of the

NSW Branch of the Richard III Society

Annual General Meeting 2019

Our Annual General Meeting for 2019 will take place on Saturday, 12 October 2019,at 2.00 pm at the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts280 Pitt Street, Sydney CBD.  

We will be electing new (or returning) members of the Executive Committee. The program will be our Scrabble Speakers, with selected members presenting their offerings on various Ricardian topics of interest.

Please remember that renewals for membership of the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society are due by 1 October 2019.  However, should you prefer to pay your renewal for the 2019/2010 Ricardian Year in person, you may do so at the meeting.  Please come prepared with the membership form completed to accompany your payment.

 

31
Aug

Preparing for the AGM on 12 October 2019

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: ,

A note to all members and friends of the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society.

Nomination Forms for the committee and Subscription Renewal Forms have just been emailed to all members and friends of the NSW Branch who have supplied email addresses.

Should you not have received yours – or wish to join the NSW Branch – please contact the Membership Secretary and we will come back to you.

29
Aug

Classic Ricardian Convention

   Posted by: Julia Redlich

As promised, here is a full review of the recent Australasian Convention of the Richard III Society.

The biennial convention for the Australasian Branches of the Richard III Society was hosted in 2019 by the Victoria Branch of the Richard III Society. The venue was the Beau Monde International Hotel in Doncaster East and it was there that delegates convened on Friday, August 9, to enjoy an evening of reuniting with old friends and making new ones. Registration was accompanied by inspection of very desirable gift bags, a choice of drinks and canapes before most enjoyed dinner at the hotel.

Classic Ricardian Convention

Julia telling Shakespeare what he could have done better – quite emphatically!

Saturday began early with a welcome from Victoria Branch chairman Ron and a message from Society chairman Phil Stone. Then began the two-day programme of presentations that included David (Vic) on John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Dorothea (NSW) on Hertford, its castle and charm and place in history, and Julia (NSW) with her thoughts that Shakespeare could have done better. In this context she mentioned The Final Act of Mr Shakespeare by Robert Winder, which she had reviewed for this website.

We were privileged to see a video of Professor Jane Evans of Leicester analysing the skeleton of Richard III to reveal much about him as a person. Then it was the turn of Dr Jenny Spinks from Melbourne University on renaissance men and books, metalwork and art in 15th century Nuremberg.

Classic Ricardian Convention

JOAS demonstration of medieval arms and armour

This was followed by members of the JOAS (Juvenis of Accendo Sarcalogos) Living History Society from Ballarat, who gave a splendid demonstration of medieval arms and armour – and after some of us tested the weight of some items, even “small” ones such as gloves, understood why war horses had to be so powerfully built.

Classic Ricardian Convention

Testing the weight of some pieces of armour

Anne (Vic) spoke on the medieval story “Ipomedon”, a copy that was found in in Richard III’s possession after his death with his signature and approving comment: tant le desire. Louise (WA) spoke on Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham – “the most untrue person living” and Helen and Denise (NSW and ACT) explained how study of the revised portrait and reconstruction of Richard’s head could give us an idea of how he would have sounded.

Classic Ricardian Convention

Getting ready for the banquet

Saturday evening and it was time for the banquet, with many in medieval costume posing for some cameras and enjoying some mulled wine and canapes. Then the traditional Candle Ceremony took place when representatives of all branches lit a candle on behalf of their members.

Michael and Yvonne (Vic) were responsible for the Subtlety – a massive and superbly iced and decorated confection. Loyal toasts were proposed to The Queen (Ron), King Richard III (Louise) and Friends of the Society (Rob, Australasian Vice President and NZ secretary).

Classic Ricardian Convention

The subtlety

Sunday morning started with a video from Mark (Qld), unable to attend, on his search for Richard III. Robert (Vic) followed with a worthy consideration of Polydore Vergil’s Memoir of Richard III. Rob (Australasian Vice President and NZ secretary) then conducted a business session in which Sue’s offer on behalf of the South Australia Branch to host the 2021 Convention was warmly welcomed.

After morning tea break Mercia spoke on medieval courts and the legal profession of the times, before a final offering from Ron and some of his Victoria branch associates, plus Rob (NZ) explaining how Richard got his hump. Unbelievable! But incredibly amusing.

Then it was wrap-up time: the raffle was drawn for a wide selection of prizes and the quiz answers given before delegates formed a circle of farewells and singing of Auld Lang Syne – until the next time (20-22 August 2021 in Adelaide).

16
Aug

Bosworth Service: 25 August 2019

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley Tags:

St James’ Church

Our annual service at Anglican Church of St James on King Street, commemorating the Battle of Bosworth, will be held this year on Sunday, 25 August 2019 at 11 am.  NSW branch members Rhonda and David will be reading the lessons.

Members will convene for lunch nearby afterwards.

We hope you will be there to honour Richard III.