The Duke of Suffolk Has an Accident, And Odds and Ends

As part of my research for my novel in progress, I’ve been looking into the question of whether William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, wrote the poems attributed to him. (Short answer: no one knows for sure.) Anyway, in researching this (and trying to be careful that my novel doesn’t turn into The Tragical History of the Duke of Suffolk, with a Little Bit About Margaret of Anjou Also), I came across this headache-inducing tidbit from a 1915 article by C. Rutherford entitled “The Forgeries of Guillaume Benoit” published in the English Historical Review:

We know that Suffolk set out from Paris with Ralf Boteler, the abbot of Fecamp, and Giles Clamecy, on or about 12 November [in 1424]. On the following Tuesday he met with an accident in a certain village near Amiens, a beam falling on his head as he lay in bed.

Ouch! Suffolk was taken by litter to recuperate in Paris, where, according to Guillaume Benoit, the then-unmarried Suffolk was pining for love. To cheer him, Benoit read him love poetry (which to me would have the opposite effect, but what do I know?) and summoned the musician Gilles Binchois, to whom Suffolk gave two ells of scarlet cloth in exchange for writing a rondeau.

I do hope I’ll get to work this into my novel somehow, as aside from the poetry, it’s not every day that the ceiling falls in upon a man lying in bed.

Now for some odds and ends. Having finally finished reading some books for review, I’ve had a chance to start Michelle Moran’s Cleopatra’s Daughter, which I’m enjoying thoroughly. Pick up a copy!

And thanks to my darling daughter and thoughtful husband, I am now the proud owner of a Snuggie (“the blanket with sleeves”). Mine is blue, and I can hardly wait for winter to come so I can bedazzle my neighbors by walking Boswell in it. (I can even buy Boswell a matching one.)

10 thoughts on “The Duke of Suffolk Has an Accident, And Odds and Ends”

  1. Allie ~ Hist-Fic Chick

    Susan, that is a great tidbit on the Duke of Suffolk! The imagery that such a scene conjures is straight out of a cartoon. I couldn't help but snicker as I read that. I just finished Cleopatra's Daughter; my review is up on my site and I'm also interviewing Michelle this coming week. I quite enjoyed the novel! Michelle Moran is great at writing about ancient time periods; I look forward to her novel on Madame Tussauda. It will be interesting to see how she tackles the 18th century.

    My sisters both have snuggies–I've told them I'm very jealous and I want one for myself! It is now on my birthday wishlist, among the multitude of books I'm also asking for from my family. One of my pet peeves in the winter months is the act of trying to read while snuggling up under a blanket…it never works because the pages can't turn themselves! I have a feeling that whomever thought to invent such a blanket just must be an avid reader!

  2. Caroline Coopersmith

    Great post! Hope you enjoy your snuggie. Boswell is just adorable…I'm a big terrier fan and grew up with two (cream colored) Cairns. I can't tell for sure from the picture…is Boswell a Cairn or a Yorkie?

  3. Susan Higginbotham

    Thanks, Allie! Yes, I'm looking forward to keyboarding in my Snuggie!

    Thanks, Caroline, and welcome! Boswell is a cairn. He's my sweetie.

  4. Here's one I hope will make you laugh Sue. I decided to broaden my horizons on the De la Pole family, typed in 'De La Pole' in the BL Catalogue search and up came 70 titles all in French about expeditions to the North Pole!

  5. Susan Higginbotham

    Trish, I know what you mean! Like getting information on Pez dispensers when I Google "Despenser."

    Carla, in the spirit of #9, I would finger Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester as the culprit. It would certainly explain later events handily!

  6. Fun tidbit about the ceiling, I hope it fits into your storyline =)
    And I second Allie re:Michelle Moran, I was very surprised how much I enjoyed it.

  7. Susan Higginbotham

    Marie, I'll try my best!

    Gabriele, now I have to go back to work thinking of Suffolk/Benoit slash! (And Suffolk was young and probably still in pretty good shape at the time. No–must get back to work!)

  8. I concur about Duke Humphrey about whom I have deep dark thoughts – he's already under suspicion for being behind the death of his elder brother John of Bedford -Ist husband of Jacquette. Humphrey was power-mad even going so far as to bring in a law without John's consent to prevent their sister-in-law Catherine de Valois from marrying Edmund Beaufort – this was before Owen Tudor – because he didn't want his half brother to become Henry VI's stepfather. His other problem was not being fit enough even to be in charge of a castle never mind a kingdom and it was all his fault that the war in France went so badly wrong.

    Thanks for the bit about the Snuggie. We have a distributor in the UK and it solves my problem for my daughter's Christmas present – ideal for someone who spends the wee hours hunched over her laptop. Think I might treat myself as well – the price of energy this side of the pond is astronomic!

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