Reading the Body in Le Livre de Seyntz Medecines
Essays in Medieval Studies, vol. 11 (1994)
A body, unless it be but a bodiless abstraction, must be the body of someone. Let us consider then, the figure of Henry Grosmont, first duke of Lancaster, earl of Derby, Lincoln, and Leicester, steward of England, and lord of Bergerac and Beaufort, as he appears in the glory of his Garter robes on a page from the Bruggys Garter Book (plate one). The uncle of Richard II, father-in-law of John of Gaunt, and possibly the richest man in England after the King, he spent the bulk of his career in France as one of Edward III’s chief negotiators and leading generals and as his Lieutenant in Brittany. Not content with the war in France, Lancaster also campaigned in Prussia with the Teutonic Knights, fought against the Moors in Spain and Morocco, and was an enthusiastic participant in tournaments and jousts, issuing numerous personal challenges. Both courageous and courteous, he was an exemplar of the chivalric values enshrined in the Order of the Garter, of which he was a founding member.