A Norman Knight and his Lady

A Norman Knight and his Lady
page 199 of Sex and Race Volume 1 shows an image of a Norman Knight with his lady. The Black man as a Norman Knight directly conflicts with the slave narrative we are presented of Black people. Who is this Knight? What is his name? How did he become a knight? Who is his lady? Where did they live? When did he become a knight? Why is he listed in the Wriothesley Garter Book? So many questions so few answers.

This image of a “Norman knight with his lady” is from page 199 of Joel August Rogers‘ book “Sex and Race, Volume I: Negro-Caucasian Mixing in All Ages and All Lands: The Old World.” It is found in the  eighteenth chapter entitled “The Mixing of Whites and Blacks in the British Isles.” The portrait originates from the The Wriothesley Garter book, a part of the British Royal Collection.  The book was gathered by Thomas Wriothesley, the son and successor of   Garter King of Arms John Writhe.

Is this an issue?

Seeking to name the knight, verify the image above with a clearer image and a direct link to the source the image below was discovered.

As can be seen from the text below the image makes no mention of a “Norman knight.” The caption gives us the knight’s name as Edmund D’Arundel and his “lady” as Sybl, daughter of William, Earl of Salisbury. The image above seems to be the result of modifications made to the drawing below. Most notable is the creature appearing to be a lion on Edmund’s head has been obscured. So too of the image on his breastplate and Sybl’s robe. Remove those two differences along with the face of the Norman knight in profile and we have what seem to be two identical images. Most notable among the differences is the text at the top of both, which is illegible.

From Flower, Robin. “The Wriothesley Manuscripts.” The British Museum Quarterly, vol. 12, no. 3, 1938, pp. 82–85. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4422077. Accessed 6 Oct. 2020.

The image above comes from an article by Robin Flower on the “Wriothesley Manuscripts” in the British Museum Quarterley. The text describing the image is as follows:

The most interesting and most miscellaneous of these volumes is Add. MS. 45133, which is composed of a number of more or less fragmentary manuscripts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries arbitrarily bound together. Of these the most important is a large fragment of a fifteenth-century Roll of Arms known as the Military Roll, a much larger portion of which is in Harley MS. 4205, bought by Harley from Christopher Bateman, a London bookseller, in 1720. This latter portion has been described by James Greenstreet in the Antiquarian Magazine and Bibliographer, vol. iv (1883), pp. 29-34, 140-5, 254-9. The arms in the roll are shown in colours on the tabards, and the housings of the horses, of pairs of knights engaged in tourney, alternately tilting with lances and fighting with swords. The figures are drawn with great spirit and the heraldic devices are displayed in very effective colouring. On the first leaf of the Harley portion appear the arms of Sir Thomas Holme, Clarencieux King of Arms 1476-93, Sir Thomas Wriothesley’s godfatbher, and the whole manuscript no doubt originally belonged to him. Another Roll of Arms follows later in the volume, comprising 114 coloured coats of arms of Scottish nobility and gentry. An addition of three sketches of standards following on the next page, headed ‘Thes ii standartz taken by Sir William Molineux at the batayall of Branxston More’ (i.e. Flodden Field), certainly suggests that this roll is to be dated before 1518. It is at any rate earlier than the Booke and Register of Arms of Sir David Lyndsay, Lyon King of Arms, compiled c. 1542, which has hitherto been regarded as the earliest existing Scottish Roll of Arms. This is followed (on paper with the same watermark, three fleurs-de-lis on a shield topped with a crown) by a series of five (originally six) full-page coloured pictures of members of the family of the first Earl of Salisbury. The series originally began with the first Earl himself, but this page is now lost. The priory of Bisham or Bustleham Montagu, co. Berks., was founded in 1337 by this William de Montagu, first Earl of Salisbury, and the second Earl and other members of the family were buried there. The headings here show that the pictures are to be connected with the priory. The men are shown in full plate armour with tabards of their arms and elaborate closed helms with their crests; the women (who are represented as attached to their husbands by a chain) are clothed in mantles of their own and their husbands’ arms (Pl. XXXII).


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