As a writer, editor, blogger, and book author, I'd like to flatter myself that people visit my blogs to read my golden prose. [Insert angel choir here.] Blog stats tell a different story than what my ego would like: people find my photos in image searches and come to my stories. They download my photos and without so much as a bye-bye, they're gone, to post in their own pedigrees or blogs. That's why I've been keeping this project secret until now.
In September 2015, I'll release my latest book,
It will be available in paperback (I haven't yet decided about Kindle), with about 60 high-resolution grayscale images, and more importantly, tables of more than 900 names and burial places of your and my medieval ancestors, plus historical sketches about some of them--all in about 200 pages.
The chapters and their tables cover England (by county), Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and a chapter on crusader and pilgrim burials.
This is the Foreword to the book:
Is this book a travelogue? A bucket list of where to go if you’re an effigy hunter? An aid to genealogy research? A nonfiction history of human beings whose lives are mostly forgotten now? A lesson in religious symbols and what they meant to the people who made them? The fruit of decades of research and the desire to chart it so there could be a simple way to unravel and understand the mysteries of five hundred to twelve hundred years ago?
Is this book morbid, scary, or depressing, listing (as it does) burial places for so many people who have gone before us?
Some of the anecdotes are humorous, and when I was doing the research, I was surprised many times at the absurdities and coincidences I found.
There are 60 images and more than 900 names in the charts of this book, and references to hundreds more in places like Westminster Abbey and St. Denis, which are royal mausoleums. I found the burial places in genealogy records, history books, guidebooks at the churches, online articles, and by personal visits to many of the places you’ll find in this book. I collected the images, most of which came from my camera, on several educational, vacation, and business trips to the UK and Europe. The historical information came from site visits, books (some of them digitized from 19th-century histories), and websites.
A few of the articles were edited from my research blog, Rooting for Ancestors, where readers have expressed their appreciation for the images and informal, conversational writing style, and for the subjects I’ve raised. Some of the subjects may be obscure, but those were the articles that received the most interested and informed comments.
“History is best understood by walking the ground where it happened,” said documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. “You feel the presence of what went on before. We go to these places because we're aware that the ghosts and echoes of an almost inexpressibly wise past summon us.”
I hope you’ll find this book entertaining and enlightening, and that it will inspire you to not only take a virtual tour through its pages, but save your shekels for your own effigy hunts. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, more effigies and burials to be discovered or identified. As extensive as my research is, it’s a fraction of what’s left to be hunted and photographed.
Remember, it’s not about the blank stare of the 700-year-old marble effigy—it’s the reminder of the person it represents. Go on, I dare you: learn who they were. And remember.
|Joan (Siwan) Plantagenet, 1191-1237, Lady of Wales, |
consort of Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Wales.
She was buried at Llanfaes, but her empty tomb is at
Beaumaris parish church.
The English counties are listed in alphabetical order. If there is an anecdote, commentary, or image, it will accompany the chart.
Burial place or church
Style of monument if known
UPDATE: EFFIGY HUNTER, in paperback, is now available for purchase at this highlighted link: Effigy Hunter, by Christy K Robinson.
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