This weeks Footsore Baron’s War figure is a nice little sculpt of Peter Des Roches, Bishop of Winchester. Now I’m not going to pretend I know anything about this particular little chap and what little I have learnt thus far is confined to Wikipedia which I have copied and posted below. Clearly he was a significant personality of his age.
As far as the painting goes for this figure I elected to go with a scheme similar if not identical to that shown on the Footsore website. I assume it to be a pretty accurate depiction but even if it isn’t I quite liked the look anyway. A mostly straight forward paint job but the shield did offer a freehand challenge. The heraldry for the Bishop is shown as two keys and a crossed sword.
Hard to know just how pious the clergy were back in these days. I presume the mace he is carrying wasn’t just for show and that he was an accomplished fighter. Makes me wonder what people would make of today’s clergy if they took to the pulpit wielding AK47’s or something similar? I reckon it it would make for an interesting sermon. It would certainly grab my attention!
Wikipedia narrative below followed by images of Peter des Roches.
Towards the end of Richard I‘s reign, Peter became Lord Chamberlain and an influential counsellor. He held the ecclesiastical offices of Archdeacon of Poitiers, treasurer of Poitiers, and was a precentor of the diocese of Lincoln in 1204.
In early 1205, through John’s influence, Peter was elected to the see of Winchester. His election was disputed but, on appeal, confirmed on 25 September 1205 by Pope Innocent III. Peter was consecrated on 24 March 1206. Nonetheless, the new bishop stood by John’s side during the whole period of the papal interdict set upon him due to John’s refusal to accept Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury despite Papal warning.
In 1213 Peter was made Chief Justiciar in succession to Geoffrey Fitz Peter. This promotion was justified by the fidelity with which Peter supported the king through the First Barons’ War. However, by 1215, Hubert de Burgh was Chief Justiciar. In 1216, Peter was named Sheriff of Hampshire.
At the battle of Lincoln in 1217 Peter led a division of the royal army and earned some distinction by his valour; but he played a secondary part in the government so long as William Marshal held the regency. After Marshal’s death in 1219 Peter led the baronial opposition to Hubert de Burgh, with varying success. At first the justiciar was successful.
Peter was responsible for founding several monasteries in England and France, including Titchfield Abbey and Netley Abbey, both in Hampshire, England, and La Clarté-Dieu in Poitou, France. He gave his protection to the first group of Dominican friars to come to England in 1221.
In 1225 a plot to ship Eleanor of Brittany, who as cousin to Henry III always posed a potential threat to the crown and was thus viewed as a state prisoner and then confined at Bristol Castle, away to France, was reported. The plot might have been false and only fabricated to discredit Peter, and he eventually fell out of royal favor in spring 1234.
Peter participated in the Sixth Crusade alongside William Briwere, who was Bishop of Exeter. An army of other crusaders accompanied them to the East, although whether they were English or mercenaries recruited on the Continent is unclear. The contingent left from Brindisi in August 1227. Both bishops were influential advisors to Frederick II the Holy Roman Emperor even though Pope Gregory IX had ordered that no one collaborate with Frederick, who was at the time excommunicated. Both bishops ignored the papal orders and worked closely with Frederick’s agents and Frederick himself. The financial resources both bishops brought were especially appreciated by the crusaders. Both bishops witnessed the treaty on 18 February 1229 with the Sultan of Cairo that restored Jerusalem to the Christians, the Treaty of Jaffa. After the crusade, he spent time in Italy.
Peter died on 9 June 1238.