Title Background

Wings Wingfields, Wingfields, and <i>Wynnere and Wastoure</i>

Wings Wingfields, Wingfields, and Wynnere and Wastoure

This chapter considers anew an article written nearly forty years ago by Elizabeth Salter: ‘The Timeliness of Wynnere and Wastoure‘. In it Salter had offered a close reading of the statements of earlier critics of the poem, particularly Sir Israel Gollancz. In particular, she reviewed the evidence for dating the poem to 1352 and for taking the First Knight to be the Garter Herald and the Second Knight to be the Black Prince. As a much more convincing alternative to the Black Prince, Salter argued that the ‘thre wynges inwith wroghte in the kynde / Vmbygon with a gold wyre’ (ed. by Trigg [1996], ll. 117-18), worn by the Second Knight on front and back of his jupon, were the arms of the Wingfields, not the ostrich feathers of the Prince of Wales. The present chapter reviews the evidence, providing revised close readings of the relevant passages, and critiquing the opinions of later editors, Stephanie Trigg and Thorlac Turville-Petre. In particular, it analyses the heraldry of the Second Knight and discusses the biography of Sir John Wingfield (c. 1307-61) in order (unlike Salter) to position him conclusively as the Wingfield represented in the poem. In considering Wingfield’s role as principal administrator to the Black Prince, and his dealings with the Prince’s earldom of Chester and with Sir William Shareshull (1289/90-1370), Chief Justice of the King’s Bench 1350-61, Gollancz’s dating is to some extent vindicated and the date 1352 established as at least the terminus post quem of the poem.