One of the most interesting historical monuments on the Island of Jersey is Gorey Castle. -After the separation of Jersey from Normandy in 1204, King John visited the Island 1213 and strengthened its fortifications. It was for long the seat of the island government and the residence of the governors. - In 1907 it was handed over to the States of Jersey.
"The perfect knight"
Meet Sir Hugh Calveley, the ideal medieval knight. This impressive soldier became Keeper of the Channel Islands in 1376, but was already one of the most famous military commanders of his time. He had won several campaigns in the Hundred Years War and been awarded numerous titles, including Admiral of the English Fleet. Captain of Brest and Sénéschal of Calais.
As the King's representative, the Warden would have visited the castle at least once every three years to collect royal taxes, hear cases in the court and ensure the island's defences were being maintained.
This mounted figure by artist Owen Cunningham shows Sir Hugh as a noble warrior, and is the perfect romantic image of medieval warfare. The sculpture, which is 10 per cent larger than actual size, shows a medieval knight's armour in great detail. Very few suits have survived from that period, but a carving on Sir Hugh's tomb in Cheshire provided a template for this statue, which shows the various separate pieces he probably would have worn. His horse, an important accessory for a knight, would have been powerful, expensive and much sought after.
For much of the early Middle Ages being a knight was, first and foremost, a soldier's occupation. They were fighting men whose social rank and chivalry was less important than their ability to kill the enemy on the battlefield. The best knights simply needed the correct equipment, skill and the strength to ride into battle wielding a sword and lance. Any soldier who fought well could become a knight.
However by the 13th century the cost of the equipment transformed knighthood into a military elite, and by the 14th century virtually all knights were drawn from the nobility. The armour alone had become a complex item, with a vocabulary all of its own that has slipped from modern usage". (From the information panel, Gorey Castle).
How exiting, that on Sir Hugh's shirt is depicted two calves on his breast!