3.434 displaced hearts, cont. (39)

Tue, 5 Sep 89 21:20:01 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 434. Tuesday, 5 Sep 1989.

Date: Tue, 5 Sep 89 06:08:00 EDT
From: Joe Stoy <stoy@prg.oxford.ac.uk>
Subject: 3.420 strayed hearts (125)

Since you seem amiably disposed to let the "displaced hearts" discussion
continue for another round or two, I hope you'll allow me to contribute
my two penn'orth stimulated by the list quoted by Jim O'Donnell, which
appears to play fast and loose with the heart of our Founder.

When John Balliol died in 1268, his wife, the Lady Dervorguilla, had his
heart embalmed (in honey, some say) and carried it around in an ivory
casket -- she used to place it beside her at dinner, and treat it as
though her husband were still presiding over the table. When she died
(700 years ago next January) she was buried with his heart in her bosom,
in the Cistercian abbey she had founded near Dumfries, called Sweetheart

J.R. Scott (1876) suggested that the heart was moved to Brabourne during
the early fourteenth century, Sweetheart Abbey being in an insecure
state through war and poverty. According to my colleague JHJ, "this is
plausible, because Brabourne church had close connections with the
Balliols, and a heart shrine of the period survives in it. It is not
supported by any evidence, however, and B.J. Scott (... 1914 ...)
states, albeit without giving any authority, that the Brabourne shrine
was made for the heart of Aymer de Valence, who died in 1324."

(Ref.: J.H.Jones, Balliol College: a history, 1263--1939; OUP 1988.)

joe stoy
Balliol College