[Paper:] Heraldic Display on the Castles of “New Men” in the Late Middle Ages (Audrey Thorstad)
Past scholarship has argued that the new men of the Tudor dynasty represented themselves through to use of newly acquired heraldic devices to match their newly bestowed titles. Recently, however it has been shown that these newly created men were using royal heraldry on their residences. This identified them as loyal subjects to the king, but there is more to these outward displays of loyalty. Men such as Sir Rhys ap Thomas in Wales and Sir William Fitzwilliam in England were creating – or, in fact, emblazoning – a Tudor origin story by placing royal heraldry in and around the great halls of their castles. This Tudor origin story, often starting with the heraldic devise of Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s mother, is an important narrative for sixteenth-century England and Wales. This paper will explore a number of case studies from England and Wales of sixteenth-century great halls owned by the nobility that have detailed sequential heraldic displays. All of the case studies examined in this paper have heraldry emblazoned in great halls or above the ceremonial entrance to the great hall making them highly visible to all in the castle grounds and highly decorative. Ultimately, this paper will argue that instead of representing themselves through their own heraldic devices, these new men wanted to be represented through a royal narrative. In a way, much of the nobility were expressing their identity through Tudor heraldry, therefore, forcing their way into the Tudor narrative.
Audrey Thorstad is a research assistant on medieval and early modern material culture at the University of Huddersfield, UK. She is currently turning her PhD thesis into a monograph to be published with Boydell Press. Her next major project will be examining the material culture of masculinity in early Tudor England.
|The paper will be given at the international workshop: Heraldry in Medieval and Early Modern State-Rooms: Towards a Typology of Heraldic Programmes in Spaces of Self-Representation – Münster, Germany, 16-18 March 2016|