We will be going to: Colchester (for a talk), Thetford, Rayleigh or the Essex Hadleigh, Stoke by Nayland and Ipswich for the AGM
We know Richard III was first buried (and exhumed many years later) on 25 August and it seems logical, although we don’t know exactly, that John Howard, Duke of Norfolk was interred on the same day. So, it seemed to be the ideal date to visit the 1107 Cluniac Priory, which lies only five minutes from the station. It was a dry day, which is very helpful because Thomas Cromwell’s commissioners were ruthless in implementing the Dissolution and so is the Priory today. The foundations and first foot of the walls remain as well as more at the north end, away from the entrance gate. Norfolk was moved here to join his family a few years after 1485 but before about 1540, when they were taken to St. Michael’s, Framlingham.
The local Wetherspoon, in the market place, bears the Howard heraldic name of the Red Lion and I lunched in there. The walls were festooned with local history – from the Iceni, the Priory building to the Dissolution and the local factories – but I couldn’t photograph these because there were diners in the way. There was a poster about Ayrton Senna, who lived in Attleborough during his Lotus days.
Just round the back was the Dads’ Army Museum, which gave me two ideas about Edward IV. He had a brother with an apparent drink problem and, whilst married, had feelings towards a widow named Grey, both of which apply to Captain Mainwaring.
We all know by now that the Red Lion in Colchester was originally the White Lion because this was the emblem of the Howards but was renamed because the family was out of favour at James I’s accession.
History definitely wasn’t on my mind today but fish and chips in Ipswich town centre was. I chose the Golden Lion, a well-known Wetherspoon by the Cornhill, and read the above note on my menu. Again, it is a former White Lion in Howard country and is unrecorded before 1571, unlike the Colchester venue which is established as the home of Sir John Howard in the years before the Mowbray Dukes of Norfolk became extinct in 1482.
The latter date is significant because the fourth Howard Duke of Norfolk, Thomas, was executed in 1572 for treason that encompassed marrying Mary of Scotland. His attainder was not reversed until the Restoration, perhaps because Mary’s son and grandson were the next two Kings of England, although another Thomas Howard was Earl of Arundel and Norwich during the Civil War years. As early as July 1603, the fourth Duke’s second but eldest surviving son, inevitably nThomas, was raised to the Earldom of Suffolk.
Cheers and a Happy Easter to all. Hope to see you all at Stowmarket and Gipping tomorrow.