Friday, 3 April 2015

C is for the Custard King and the Chough …




A custard millionaire, Frederick Thomas Glassock (d1934) realised and dedicated the indoor attraction, King Arthur’s Great Halls, to the Arthurian legend.

View of Tintagel Castle


He was a partner in Monk and Glass, a custard company, based in Clerkenwell, London, ultimately bought out by the rival Birds custard firm from Birmingham.




The Great Hall

Glassock after holidaying down near Tintagel Castle early in the 20th century became hooked on the Arthurian Legend, created the Halls. 



One of the 72 amazing stained
glass wndows


They have featured in many tv programmes and films: the halls include an authentic round table and granite thrones surrounded by 72 fabulous stained glass windows.  These windows were created by a member of the Arts and Crafts Movement telling the story of Arthur, and show the Coats of Arms and weapons of the knights.




This avid Arthurian supporter would be happy to be associated with the Chough – the national bird of Cornwall – according to legend did not die after his last battle but rather his soul migrated into the body of a red-billed chough – the red colour of its bill and legs being derived from the blood of the last battle and hence killing the bird was unlucky.


 
Incredible beak

Choughs have been recorded as part of Cornish history since at least the 13th century … their Cornish name is Palores, meaning ‘digger’ and that’s just what they do to find their invertebrate food.





Arms of Thomas Becket
(heraldic: argent three Cornish Choughs
proper two and one)
In heraldry, choughs are known as “beckits”.  Three red-billed choughs are depicted on the coat of arms of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.  The city of Canterbury also has choughs on its coat of arms, because of its connection to the saint.


Here's a link to my Tintagel Castle post I wrote during the 2012 A - Z, when I was writing about castles.

That is C for the Custard King captivated by the Arthurian legend, creating King Arthur’s Great Hall of Chivalry, Tintagel … and the chirpy chattering Choughs from Aspects of British Cornish …


For more information about the Beckit, Becket, Beckett name and thus the connection with Thomas a' Beckett please see Beckett Name History ...  or here The Heraldry Society (it's not easy to read!) 

The Stained Glass artist was very well known - Veronica Whall, whose father was very instrumental in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Veronica was a painter, an illustrator and very good at stained glass windows ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

55 comments:

Empty Nest Insider said...

What a captivating choice for C! As I was switching channels the other day, I saw the ending of Camelot on TV. I would've never known that I had the Custard King to thank for some of the spectacular scenery! Did Merlin also turn himself into a Chough when he didn't want to be seen? Thanks for another fascinating post, complete with beautiful pictures, Hilary!

Julie

Nilanjana Bose said...

Definitely an eye-catching beak! Great C post Hilary, and that pic of the stained glass window is just marvellous. Another one on my bucket list.

Best always,
Nila.
Madly-in-Verse

Nick Wilford said...

I like the idea of a Custard King sitting in his halls eating an endless supply of custard. Although maybe he didn't eat it too much himself. The chough could do some serious digging with that beak!

Bob Scotney said...

Chuffed with the Chough, Hilary.

Deniz Bevan said...

I found out about choughs on our last visit to the UK, had never seen them before! I didn't know about their Arthurian connection, how fascinating.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

Now I feel terrible because I've been to Cornwall many times and I never knew that a Chough was Cornish. I didn't know about them being on Thomas Becket's coat of arms either and I live next to Canterbury! I should try and remember these things :).
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Susan Scott said...

I'm such a lover of the Arthurian legends thank you Hilary for this lovely post and photographs. That stained glass window ..
p.s. I wish I could receive your posts automatically into my inbox! Sigh ..

Rosie Amber said...

Well, I never knew any of that about Custard, but I've been to Tintagel and love all thing Arthurian.

Bish Denham said...

I have never heard of choughs before. What an incredible beak. And who knew that custard could build a great hall?

Zannie Shaman said...

Fancy making your millions from custard!!
I moved to Cornwall in 2012- nice to find out more about this emblem...and good to see some more Brits in the A-Z challenge

Sara C. Snider said...

The choughs are beautiful! I love their long, orange beaks. And King Arthur's Great Hall sounds amazing. Would love to visit it someday.

Betsy Brock said...

Such interesting things...and all new to me! I would just love to see all 72 of those stained glass windows! Gorgeous!

and you know I love the bird...

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

First...wow...becoming a millionaire from custard!

I'm never very fond of black birds (they can be very rude here...especially the crows), but the choughs are truly amazing. What beautiful birds! I'm going to revise my opinion of black birds. :)

Diana Wilder said...

That one stained glass window is splendid! I wonder if the Chough is distantly (very distantly, considering the thickness of the beak!) to the Curlew. Wonderful post. Reading your posts is rather like going into a shop that sells gemstones or handmade beads of all materials, all set in compartments to be savored and lifted and handled. Delicious!

Stephen Tremp said...

Now that's a beak! Looks like a genetically modified raven. And I love looking at coat of arms. We have one its two lions standing and facing each other. We have a Swiss history. Not sure why lions, but there it is.

Jo said...

If the chough is Cornish why on earth did Becket have them on his crest? I had never heard of the Halls Hilary, where are they? I have been to Tintagel of course, long climb, couldn't do it today. I too love the Arthurian legends. Never heard of the custard King either. Birds is the only name I ever associated with custard. Love Diane's description of your blogs.

Rosalind Adam said...

I never knew about any of that. Excellent!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Hillary, I'd like to take all of your posts from all time and put them into a book and read them slowly and thoughtfully, learning about the grand history of the UK as I go.

Mark Clough said...

Hm, would Monk and Glass's custard taste the same as Bird's. I think to be a custard millionaire would be a great thing.

Choughs are splendid birds although I've never seen one in the wild.

Cheers, Mark

Sue McPeak said...

Wonderful information on the Castle and the Arthurian Legend. To have the authentic round table and thrones is amazing and the stain glass is as they say...priceless. Yes..incredible beak and heraldry. Well done for Letter 'C'.
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
AtoZ 2015 Challenge
Minion for AJ's wHooligans

Trisha F said...

That is one special looking bird! Great beak :)

I love stained glass. Such an amazing artform.

Suzanne Furness said...

There is a magical Chough in my Cornish fantasy story and reference to this very legend. Very interesting as every, Hilary.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Great photos! I would love to see the stained glass windows someday.

betty said...

That chough bird is interesting. What a unique color for its beak! I think I would like to see one in person some day.

betty

Patsy said...

Choughs are cheeky, colourful Cornish corvids!

Chrys Fey said...

I always love stain glass windows and the artwork put into them.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Sometimes I wish Blogger would tell you - when your comments are too long - just lost my replies!! Frustrated to say the least!!

@ Julie - Camelot was a lovely movie - totally sentimental, but one I enjoyed. I don't think the Custard King had anything to do with the scenery - the gorse is too greeny-yellow in colour. I don't think Merlin did turn himself into a Chough .. didn't he use an owl? So pleased you enjoyed it ..

@ Nila - isn't it an amazing beak … and I too would love to see the Stained Glass windows sometime ..

@ Nick – yes the Custard King eating his curds and whey at the Great Round Table .. perhaps he did become tired of custard – probably. The Chough’s beak is appropriately named ‘digger’ isn’t it ..

@ Bob – so glad you’re chuffed with the Chough!

@ Deniz – that was clever finding out about Choughs … we only see them in Cornwall. I’m glad I’ve tied in the Arthurian connection for you ..

@ Natasha – live and learn and don’t we all do that. It looks like the name “beckit” was for a beak (a nose) and so Thomas’ father had a big nose .. hence Thomas (son of) a Becket. How and when in heraldry the Choughs became associated is not easy to ascertain ..

@ Susan – so pleased I’ve added a little to the Arthur story. And those stained glass windows are amazing .. Sorry about Google taking off the email link when it took over Blogger. I use a feed reader … and I’ve emailed you any way …

@ Rosie – ah ha custard to the fore .. it does seem a strange connection doesn’t it – but apparently true …

@ Bish – Cornish bird with that incredible beckit beak .. and it’s a funny fact isn’t it about the custard millionaire ..

@ Zannie – yes I wouldn’t mind how I made my millions though! That’s great I’ll be over to meet you … but am glad you found the Arms information interesting. The Brits are around .. but it’s a good mix of bloggers ..

@ Sara – the Chough is amazing isn’t it .. and I’d love like you to visit the Great Halls at some stage ..

@ Betsy – so pleased you were entertained .. and yes like many of us .. I’d join you looking at the stained glass windows – the must be incredible. And yes I know you love birds …

@ Elizabeth – I’d be happy to be millionaire from making custard! Our Crows, Jays etc are awful .. along with the magpies .. but the Chough is a different creature altogether … I don’t think he makes a nuisance of himself .. Delighted you’re revising your take on these blackbirds … mind you little hedgerow blackbirds are just beautiful and very sweet …


Thanks so much ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diana – The one photo I could get of the stained glass really doesn’t show it off sufficiently – I must get to visit sometime. The Curlew feeds in soft mud, while the Chough uses its strong beak to dig in the thin soil on the cliffs.

What a wonderful description you’ve given my blog posts – thank you so much .. I’m honoured with your comment.

@ Steve – it’s is a beak isn’t it .. genetically modified raven – I feel a horror story there somewhere .. !! I hope someday you can find out about the Tremp coat of arms .. sounds like Switzerland and Lions go together then ..

@ Jo – As I mentioned to Natasha above .. beckit means a nose – hence Thomas a Beckett’s name (his father had a big conch I gather!) … and at some stage the Choughs were added in to the heraldry (Coat of Arms). I think Monk and Glass were taken over in the 1950s .. so we’d have grown up with Birds Custard. Thanks re Diana’s description of my blog posts – they are eclectic that’s for sure ..

@ Ros – that’s good you’ve got some Cornish snippet to pass on .. Custard all the way!

@ Karen – that’s a great honour – thank you so much .. amazing comment … I’m just delighted people are happy to read and contribute to the comments …

@ Mark – I honestly don’t know .. but I guess so – however now we don’t need to worry. I agree I’d be happy to go around as a custard millionaire …

Choughs are incredible aren’t they and seeing them on the cliffs is a treat … I’ve only seen them at a distance ..

@ Sue – the Castle is even more special .. but the round table and thrones are recreations – but must be pretty magnificent. I’d love to see them and to see the stained glass windows – they must be incredible.

As you say incredible beak and the link to the heraldry .. I’ve added in links to the post now ..

@ Trisha – the beak is extraordinary isn’t it .. I can quite see why ‘it’s for digging’ .. well we have lots of stained glass here –and some fabulous modern ones too ..

@ Suzanne – how lovely to have built in a magical Chough into your Cornish fantasy story .. and that you referenced this legend – could add a bloody dimension ..

@ Jennifer – thank you .. and yes I should make an effort to see the stained glass windows next time I’m down ..

@ Betty - isn't it a fascinating bird. I'm not sure what colour you'd call it - terracotta perhaps? It would be an interesting day out seeing the Cornish birds in a Sanctuary somewhere ..

@ Chrys - Stained Glass has a way of telling stories of its own ... and the art work is as you mention quite extraordinary ..

Cheers to you all .. and I will try and not let blogger eat this comment ..

Thanks everyone - Hilary

Annalisa Crawford said...

That's a good looking bird in real life!

Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

loverofwords said...

When I was in Winchester, there was a place that was supposed to be the location of King Arthur's Round Table but I understand many towns claim the same thing.

Rhodesia said...

I have heard of Choughs but have never read anything about them before. I am amazed at the size of their beaks.
Happy Easter, Diane

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't realize those weren't ravens on the coat of arms.
And that is a lot of stained glass windows.

Paula Kaye said...

I absolutely love stained glass windows!!

Clarabelle Rant said...

Just when you think there isn't anything new to learn about Arthurian legend, you've taught me about the Chough. I'm with Alex, I thought the birds on the coats of arms were ravens. The red bill is striking!

You can find me at
ClarabelleRant

David P. King said...

Impressive. Kind of reminds me of Hearst Castle. Amazing how such a small commodity can make a millionaire out of someone. :)

Ann Best said...

So very fascinating. Custard, Choughs, Castles, Stained glass windows...a visual treat as always.

Sharon Marie Himsl said...

Fascinating, Hilary. Brits reading this will not look at the chough's blood red beaks the same again.

Sophie Duncan said...

I've been to Tintagel many times, but never went in the Halls. The coast around there is so beautiful.

I'm from Canterbury, and I had no idea about Thomas Becket's coat of arms, or in fact Canterbury's coat of arms - I really must look closer at my local information!
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Mary Montague Sikes said...

That hall is amazing. I'm sure I've seen it in TV or movie productions somewhere. So much interesting information. Thank you, Hilary!

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely info, I want to be a custard king. Made me hungry for a good dessert.

Mark Koopmans said...

I just think it's awesome that their were Custard millionaires... that is one English food product I could never eat growing up in Dublin:)

However, he obviously knew what he was doing... what a great legacy... built on the wobbly legs of custard.

How fun!

Jean Davis said...

That's a lot of stained glass windows! Now I'm hungry for custard. :)

LD Masterson said...

I had never heard of the chough. Fascinating.

Danielle L Zecher said...

Beautiful pictures! Those windows are very impressive.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Annalisa – I’m sure you’ve seen them wheeling over the cliffs, and perched on the rocks … lucky you!

@ Nat – Winchester is probably where Arthur is best remembered … so the round here etc would an authentic copy …
@ Diane – the Choughs are relatively unknown … as I’m gathering .. and I definitely had to put that picture in showing the Chough’s beak – it is extraordinary isn’t it ..

@ Alex – the beckits after Thomas a Becket’s father with his large nose .. and it certainly matches that beak. Yes the windows (all 72 of them) must be amazing .. I must check them out next time I’m in Cornwall ..

@ Paula – stained glass windows are special aren’t they and I too love them

@ Clarabelle – it’s fascinating history and how many things tie in – I’m glad you appreciated the information. Ravens have a black beak and black legs. The red bill is extraordinary isn’t it …

@ David – I don’t think Glassock lived in a castle wherever his house was in London or nearby – but custard (as that small commodity) supplied his dollars/pounds! Hearst was a paper magnate wasn’t he .. and his mansion was for living in.

@ Ann – so pleased you enjoyed it … and always lots happening around here.

@ Sharon – it’s just interesting snippets of history – and that red beak should appeal (or horrify with its mythical lore) to many.

@ Sophie – I visited once and too never knew about the Halls. The coast is staggering .. that drive down to St Ives is special for me. I didn’t know about the à Beckett connection or the meaning of it – ie ‘nose’ (beak) …

@ Montie – the hall does look incredible doesn’t it and I’m sure you would have seen it featured in a tv or movie somewhere along the lines – probably Camelot for one.

@ OOTP – ah yes I’d come and have fresh trout with you, followed by apple pie and custard! – is that a good dessert .. I think so ..

@ Mark – someone has to be a custard millionaire I guess! Really you didn’t like it .. oh I loved custard, preferably thin and runny .. delicious! Glassock appeared to know his custard mix …

@ Jean – certainly a great many stained glass windows … and I’d love some custard after my lunch – but I’ll resist!

@ LD – it’s great I can let blogger friends know about Choughs …

@ Danielle – thank you re the images .. and the windows (all 72 of them) must be very impressive …

Cheers everyone – thanks so much for visiting and commenting - Hilary

Jerralea said...

How interesting! Love the stained glass window and the beckit coat of arms.

Lisa said...

What a varied "past" for a bird! Seems even if deemed unlucky, a lot of folks like to use it and be associated with it. I've never heard of the Halls. Sounds like a fun place to visit! In the legend, who was it that didn't die but migrated into the chough?

Marja said...

We live close to a quarry as well and the slate looks simular. The quarry is closed however and there is now a track over the top. Beautiful bird with the red beak, looks handy for digging.
I didn't know that Canterbury was a city. We have a lot of English names here and we live in the provence of Canterbury

suesconsideredtrifles said...

Interesting about choughs and Beckett. Heraldry includes a wealth of information. Sue

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jerralea - it's a fun idea - a custard king creating this wonderful place. The stained glass windows I imagine are stunning - I must get to look sometime! The beckits were an interesting find ..

@ Lisa - yes poor Chough - but on the other hand he has Arthur's soul in him .. well Thomas a Beckett was Archbishop of Canterbury .. and he was named after his father - hence beckit for big nose!!

When I went the Halls might have been closed, or even not open at that stage .. it was a foul day .. very misty, cold and damp!

Arthur's soul is said to lie within a Chough ..

@ Marja - I'm sure Christchurch would have had some quarrying works .. but on the other hand, as it's now closed, you have a lovely nature area to walk in.

Canterbury is the home to the Christian Church in England .. the Archbishop of Canterbury is based there. I'm sure there are lots of English names - I often recognise them ..

@ Sue - Heraldry does include a huge amount of information ... I can't really fathom it .. still learn a little at a time ..

Cheers to you four - thanks so much for commenting and visiting .. Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

I love the stained glass windows... (one of my upcoming posts mentions stained glass)
The chough has a huge beak - looks like it can do some serious damage.
Don't know when last I had vanilla custard...

J Lenni Dorner said...

Fascinating stuff!

Sara said...

I love how you weave together different things -- from custard to King Arthur to Choughs. I was fascinated by these birds and how they got their red bills.

I love the view of Tintagel castle in the hillside or better yet, the cliffside:~)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

This really makes me want to visit the Isles of Scilly, as it would be such a wonderful place to enjoy nature and feel connected to all the history of the place as well.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Michelle - I've just added in the link to Veronica Whall, who was responsible for the stained glass windows ..

.. the chough has an incredible beak - so I had to put that photo in .. I'm just happy with custard .. but I also don't have it very often ...

@ J - good to see you ..

@ Sara - thanks I enjoy and prefer to write things that join together or weave as you say ... and yes Tintagel has a stunning setting ..

@ Karen - I think this was meant to be on I .. but thanks for visiting and I'm glad I'm enticing you across for a visit ..

Cheers to you all - thanks - Hilary