Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Entertaining Eleanor

Monday 16th March
The Eleanor in question was Eleanor of Aquitaine and her story has captivated Wyn Ingham for the last ten years.  A natural story-teller, Wyn regaled us with tales of medieval politics and rivalry worthy of any soap opera.

Eleanor was a well educated woman who had wealth, land and an army at her disposal.  At 15, she was married to a prince who later became Louis VII of France. Their marriage was annulled after she failed to produce any sons and at 30 she married Henry II of England and went on to have eight children with him.  She was imprisoned by Henry for supporting their son's revolt against the king. Two of her younger sons, Richard and John went on to become kings of England.  At 79, this remarkable woman set off to Spain, travelling over the Pyrenees, to make an alliance through marriage for her grand children to secure the future of the English crown.

Wyn's love of history and stitching has resulted in some remarkable work.  She has studied the churches around Poitiers and the Abbey at Fontevraud where Eleanor is buried.  Her most ambitious piece is a 3m panel depicting Eleanor and her son Richard in a hunting party just before her imprisonment. The work is based on a mural found in a hermit's cave near Fontevraud.  It's work in progress at the moment but we can't wait to see the finished piece.

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