30 March-5 April 1415: Easter Sunday, the Priory at Syon and the London Guildhall

Syon Seal

By Dan Spencer

This week saw the end of Holy Week with the celebration of Easter Sunday, a payment for the new Priory at Sheen and a licence for the London Guildhall.

31 March 1415 was Easter Sunday, which began in the morning in churches with the opening of the sepulchre, a small tomb in which a figure of Christ was placed. The crucifix bearing the host would then be carried in procession to the high altar, with the anthem ‘Christ is Risen’ being sung. Easter Day also marked the end of Lent, which meant that everyone, aside from those in religious orders, could freely consume meat when they wanted to. Easter was also a time for celebrating spring, through activities such as the cleaning of houses and the eating and blessing of eggs in church. In Cheshire the day was also celebrated through archery competitions; later on in the year some of these men would put this practice to good use at the battle of Agincourt.

The following day Henry V paid the prior of the Charterhouse of Mount Grace £100 for copying books for the new monastery of Syon.  Then on 4 April, the king granted a licence to the mayor and aldermen of London to make use of four boats by water and four carts by land to transport stone and lime for construction work on the Guildhall in the city.

This information came from Ronald Hutton, The Rise and Fall of Merry England: The Ritual Year 1400-1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 25; Ian Mortimer, 1415: Henry V’s Year of Glory (London: The Bodley Head, 2009), pp. 134-8; Calendar of the Patent Rolls 1413-1416, p. 296.

This image is of a drawing of the original seal of the Abbess and Convent of Syon Monastry, Isleworth, taken from Wikipedia and is in the Public Domain