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Sir John Clanvowe & Sir William Neville

Sir William Neville and Sir John Clanvowe, two knights who were buried in the same tomb after dying at Constantinople in 1391.

They have a monument depicting their heraldic shields impaled as if they were married, in the iconography of the time, the two helms, or helmets, surmounting them placed close together in the stylised depiction of a kiss.

Sir John Clanvowe (1341–1391) was a Welsh diplomat, soldier and poet.

Clanvowe was born to a Welsh Marcher family in an area that would later become part of Radnorshire, but took up residence in Wigmore, Herefordshire.

He was a personal friend of Geoffrey Chaucer. In 1386 they were both deponents in the Scrope v. Grosvenor case in the Court of Chivalry, in which Lord Scrope of Bolton and Sir Robert Grosvenor fought over the right to bear a particular coat of arms. Chaucer and Clanvowe testified in favour of Scrope.

He was one of the 'Lollard knights' (with supposedly heretical views) at the court of King Richard II.

In 1390 he was campaigning with Louis II, Duke of Bourbon against Tunis. He was buried with Sir William Neville in a joint tomb discovered in 1913 in Istanbul's Arap Mosque in a way (helmets facing each other as if kissing, shields overlapping, impaled coats of arms), which would suggest a homosexual relationship between the two men.


Sir John Clanvowe was a Welsh diplomat, soldier and poet. He was a personal friend of Geoffrey Chaucer. He was one of the 'Lollard knights' at the court of King Richard II. In 1390 he was campaigning with Louis II, Duke of Bourbon against Tunis. He was buried with Sir William Neville in a joint tomb discovered in 1913 in Istanbul's Arap Mosque in a way (helmets facing each other as if kissing, shields overlapping, impaled coats of arms), which would suggest a homosexual relationship between the two men.

His best-known work was The Book of Cupid, God of Love or The Cuckoo and the Nightingale, a fourteenth-century debate poem influenced by Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls. In the poem, the nightingale praises love but the cuckoo mocks it for causing more trouble than joy. The poem is written as a literary dream vision and is an example of medieval debate poetry. A concerto inspired by the poem was composed by George Frederick Handel. It apparently also influenced works by both John Milton and William Wordsworth.

Clanvowe also wrote The Two Ways, a penitential treatise.

He is first mentioned in the History of English Literature by F. S. Ellis in 1896. The Cuckoo and the Nightingale had previously been attributed to Chaucer but the Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature notes the absence of direct evidence linking Clanvowe with the work.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Clanvowe

Further Readings:

A Time to Embrace: Same-Sex Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics, 2nd edition by William Stacy Johnson
Paperback: 390 pages
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; 2 edition (June 30, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802866956
ISBN-13: 978-0802866950
Amazon: A Time to Embrace: Same-Sex Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics
Amazon Kindle: A Time to Embrace: Same-Sex Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics

In A Time to Embrace William Stacy Johnson brilliantly analyzes the religious, legal, and political debates about gay marriage, civil unions, and committed gay couples. This new edition includes updates that reflect the many changes in laws pertaining to civil unions / same-sex marriage since 2006.

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Tags: days of love tb
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