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Ely. Legend of Norman knights in Ely

Reference code
Ely. Legend of Norman knights in Ely
Mid-18th century copy
Level of description
Extent and format
Vellum roll.
Scope and content
The legend of the hospitality given by the abbey of St Etheldreda, Ely, to forty Norman knights quartered there by William the Conqueror to secure the Isle of Ely against further revolt, with the arms said to been painted on the walls of the refectory, where the knights had been entertained, after their recall by the king; mid 18th century copy. Text in Latin with an English translation on the dorse. In the margins 44 painted shields, arranged six at the head and foot, and eight pairs at each side, containing the arms of the forty knights, with the names of the monks who entertained them, and at the head of the text, those of William the Conqueror, the first two abbesses of Ely, St Sexburga (wrongly inscribed as St Ethelburga) and St Etheldreda (wrongly inscribed as St 'Ethelwardus' i.e. St Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester), and Robert Orford (wrongly inscribed 'Oxford'), whose arms combine those of SS Etheldreda and Sexburga. The present copy derives from an earlier roll, similar to but not identical with a 16th century roll formerly owned by Francis Blomefield, the Norfolk antiquary, now BL Add. MS 38164. The same legend is commemorated in the Tabula Eliensis, a painting of the late 15th-16th century, now in Ely Cathedral. For further details see J. Bentham, The History and Antiquities of.. Ely, I (1771), 104, pl. xiii, App. no. iv, 3-9. See also the longer (different) English translation of the text in BL Royal MS 18. C.i, fols. 14-15. A copy of another roll of arms of the forty knights, made from 'a painted table' in the possession of Dr Samuel Knight, FSA, of Bluntisham, Hunts. (see DNB), by Dr William Stukeley, with shields painted by his first wife, Frances (d. 1737), was presented to SA in January 1954 by Cregoe Donaldson Percy Nicolson, FSA (now in Ants. Corr. and Papers, Stukeley Box, Volume III); A.J., 34 (1954), 287. See also Proc., 2nd ser., 23 (1909-11), 255-63.
Previous reference number(s)
Latin; English