I was watching a documentary about the court of Richard II and it actually plunged me right back into speculating about medieval lives in a big way.
First of all, I think I’ve said it before but the angle they show here really strengthens my suspicions that the church with dark columns I saw was not Salisbury Cathedral in the 13th century, but Westminster Abbey in the 14th.
Second, the town of Lavenham they showed (while I can’t say for sure I remember that town specifically) really brought up some serious nostalgia when I looked up some additional photos of the place. In particular, this shop or house that looks to be pre-16th century really tugged at my heartstrings. It looked and felt like a type of building I was familiar with and had been to often though I can’t place it.
Third, the name Aubrey De Vere really got my attention! Maybe it was because I’d heard of a poet by the same name (there have been any number of Aubrey De Veres, but this one was the 10th Earl of Oxford). I wouldn’t have thought much of it except for one astonishing discovery: this Aubrey De Vere married William Longespee’s Great-Great-Great Granddaughter.
I suppose the odds of the two families intermarrying were pretty high considering the limited number of top-tier noble houses in England at the time, and it’s possible that this was the whole reason the name Aubrey de Vere struck a chord (Cryptomnesia), but nonetheless it’s fascinating that this line of inquiry lead me right back to Count William.
So if this is anything more than simply a response to a name I recalled in passing from my earlier readings, what does it mean exactly? Chronologically speaking, I could have been William Longespee (or his brother, King John) and still had time to have been Aubrey de Vere (or his wife, Alice FitzWalter). However, an ID of Aubrey de Vere or his wife might fly in the face of another possible ID of a contemporary figure that came up after I had an unexpected panic attack telling my fiance about an event in the 14th century.
I think if anything, the field of possibilities is widening and my suspicions of grandiosity have begun to kick in. I have a good feeling that at least twice in the Middle Ages I ran in some pretty high circles, though I’d feel better if I could remember all the lives I likely lived in abject poverty during that era which must almost certainly outnumber any noble lives I’ve had by a wide margin.
I’m still intrigued by the possibility that I could have lived multiple lives in the courts of medieval England, but for now I have no reason to believe this is anything more than a flight of fancy.