Intro

Intro

Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham. A Medieval Warrior Priest!

Anthony Bek was one of those characters peculiar to the medieval world, who combined the roles of warrior knight, politician and bishop of the Catholic church. He was born into a family of Lincolnshire knights and, after attending Oxford University and joining the clergy, he came to the attention of the heir to King Henry III, Prince Edward. As part of Edward's entourage, he rapidly rose through the ranks of the Church and accompanied the Prince when he went on crusade in 1270.   As one of Edward's councillors, he was sent on political missions to Wales, Germany and Aragon and played an important role in the negotiations which resulted in John Balliol being enthroned as King of Scotland in 1292. In 1298, he led one of the divisions in Edward's army at the Battle of Falkirk. Later in Edward's reign, Bek was involved in a series of disputes with the Prior and Cathedral Chapter of Durham, which rumbled on for a number of years but he was supported
by Pope Clement V, who ultimately appointed him Patriarch of Jerusalem. In 1307, Bek officiated at the funeral of Edward I and received the support of Edward II in his dispute with the Prior of Durham. When he died in 1310, he was honoured by burial in Durham Cathedral. He was massively wealthy and lived a life of great splendour and extravagance, keeping a huge retinue which travelled with him on all his political missions. Bek was also renowned for his bravery and chastity and was, without doubt, one of the outstanding personalities of his age.
My Bishop of Durham is from a set produced by Curteys Miniatures, which includes the bishop, a standard bearer and a musician for £9. He comes armed to the teeth and bedecked with religious paraphernalia, which perfectly reflects the character of Anthony Bek himself. Curteys' horses are chunky and easy to paint, with most of the great beast covered by the caparison. For the heraldry, I decided to have a go with one of the transfer sets produced by Citadel Six Custom Design. I had tried to use some of their livery badge transfers on some Wars of the Roses figures I was painting last year and failed so miserably that I just gave up, so I was a little apprehensive about using them for this project. As you can see from the finished  figure, the transfers
appear to have worked pretty well. However, I should point out that using Citadel Six transfers is not something to be attempted lightly. When you open the transfer pack and take out the instructions, you know that using them is not going to be straightforward! When you only have one instruction to follow, only one thing can go wrong, when you have this
many instructions to follow... In summary, I found the transfers to be incredibly unstable, with the slightest touch causing the ink to disintegrate. The instructions are a little bit like reading a brain surgery manual, but you really do need to follow them to the letter and, even then, be prepared for things to go disastrously wrong. What you get at the end of a stressed filled session with these transfers very much depends on luck and an ability to cover up the gaping wounds in the transfer where the ink has disappeared. You do get more transfers than you need and there is a very good reason for that... my second attempt ended up in a crumpled heap fit only for the bin! If you are going to have a go, make sure you put plenty of washing up liquid in your lukewarm water, use a really sharp blade to cut round the transfer and don't panic when the colour starts to disappear; you can rescue them with some judicious painting later on. If you don't have any Micro Sol transfer softener, then I would definitely acquire some before you have a go with these transfers. Incidentally, I applied my Citadel Six transfers on Assumption of Mary Day, which I think may have worked in my favour!
In spite of all of this, I'm pretty pleased with the way the Bishop has turned out; the heraldry does look good, even though the transfers intended for the front half of the trapper were way too big, so I had to use the ones intended for the rider's jupon instead! If my Bishop is half as successful as the original then I'll be pretty happy. I also, by the way, bought a set of Citadel Six transfers for my Henry Percy figure... now do I wait for next year's Assumption of Mary Day before I tackle that little job?