Sir Bevis – Hero of Southampton

Josian & The Lions from the Hours of England illuminations.
Josian & The Lions from the Hours of England illuminations.
Southampton Bargate, the city's gatehouse and a remnant of the Medieval wall that surrounds the city centre of Southampton. Legend has it that Sr Bevois Earl of Southampton was its founder. The bronze lions (in honour of Josian) replaced the wooden ones in 1743.
Southampton Bargate, the city’s gatehouse and a remnant of the Medieval wall that surrounds the city centre of Southampton. Legend has it that Sr Bevois Earl of Southampton was its founder. The bronze lions (in honour of Josian) replaced the wooden ones in 1743.

beviscover2Place names are all over Southampton with characters from the Bevis legend: Bevis (a slave turned hero), Josian (the independant Princess) the Lions and the giant Ascupart.

Lynn Forest-Hill is launching her new book Bevis of Hampton as a ‘limited festival edition’ for Southampton’s first literary festival SO: To Speak, which takes place in October 2015.

I am so looking forward reading this translation of the story of Sir Bevis (Hero of Southampton) from Middle English into modern English. I had a sneak preview when I was shown a few of the pages for layout purposes. It has excellent explanatory notes under each page of text. Lynn Forest-Hill is a literary scholar specializing in Medievalism, she is a Fellow of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at the University of Southampton and is the Education Officer for the Tolkien Society.

This is a Southampton brass coin I have. It was used as a token with the head of Sir Bevois
This is a Southampton brass coin I have. It was used as a token with the head of Sir Bevois

Lynn has written multiple papers regarding J.R.R. Tolkien’s works and her research has been used in articles featured in the Times Literary Supplement. For the last nine years, She has been leading three local reading groups; one studies Shakespeare’s work and the other two focus on the examination of poetry.
I have been following her research on this book on her blog, where she has wonderful links to this legend including a film and even one on how middle english sounds: https://bevisofhampton.wordpress.com
so to speak roundFor more about the SO: To Speak festival:

http://www.sotospeakfestival.org

For more about the legend of Bevis and the Romance poem:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bevis_of_Hampton   +

http://www.tudorrevels.co.uk/articles.php?itemId=58

The Book of Hours forms part of the British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts.
To view the illuminations:
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13 thoughts on “Sir Bevis – Hero of Southampton

  1. Thanks! Yes, I suspect my blog may need a little more explanation about “Why the memoirs of an Elizabethan cat?” (apart from the discovery of the old documents, of course) so I’m thinking about how to do this without detracting from the cats’ story…

    Cheers. (Love your photographs, BTW.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was originally Bevis, then because of all the French merchants that lived in Southampton (English was considered just for peasants until Chaucer) it became Beue, Bevois or Beavous for the upperclass French speakers. Many place names were changed to a French spelling: Lepe (the beach), Belmont road etc. Southampton had a French Street and an English Street (the High Street or QE2 Mile). After the French Raid on Southampton in 1338, the town’s citizens Anglocised the sound of all the French names, it was a great revolution. So that now Bevois and Bevis is pronounced in exactly the same way. When people pronounce the names the French Way – it is a tell-tale sign that the person speaking was not born and raised here.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I knew about French Street and English Street. I didn’t realise that the French raid made everyone start pronouncing everything differently.
        It took me quite a while as a child to realise that Beaulieu and ‘Bewley’ were the same place and I was quite old before I even saw Bevois written down. I think St Denys is my favourite anglicised place name.

        Liked by 1 person

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