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Effigy of Geoffrey de Mandeville, 1st Earl of Essex

Geoffrey de Mandeville 1st Earl of Essex born 1092 in Rycott, Oxforshire, died 16 September 1144, Mildenhall, Suffolk, married 1119 to Rohese de Vere, born 1103, Saffron Walden, Essex, died 1166. Geoffrey succeeded his father William before 1130, and worked on restoring lands that Henry I had confiscated from his father. In 1140 he supported king Stephen and was made Earl of Essex, and had his father's lands in Essex restored, and in 1141 he was made custodian of the Tower of London, a position held by his father. In February 1141 King Stephen was taken captive in Lincoln and in February 1141 Geoffrey switched sides when Matilda entered London, recognising her as Queen, Matilda confirmed Geoffrey's position as custodian of the Tower, forgave the large debts his father had incurred to the crown, granted him the Norman lands of Eudo Dapifer, and appointed him sheriff of Essex, Middlesex and London, and Hertfordshire. But before the end of the year, learning that Stephen's release was imminent, he returned to his original allegiance. In 1142 Geoffrey had secret negotiations with Matilda, Geoffrey was deprived of his castles by the king in 1143 after he rebelled and used the Isle of Ely and Ramsey Abbey as headquarters, King Stephen could not afford to let the tower of London fall to Matilda. In 1144 he was hit by an arrow in a skirmish and died of the wound, but since he had been excommunicated he was refused burial so the body was wrapped in lead and taken to the Templar community in London where he was buried in the chapel.


p63, Knight - Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600 by Christopher Gravett.
Effigies of c.1250-60 in the Temple Church, London. The left figure is sometimes attributed to Geoffrey de Mandeville. The presumed difficulty of removing such a helmet has led to suggestions that the chin-defence is simply a pad, or a thick lace tie (unlikely on a detailed effigy) or else a padded arming cap with chin pad. The latter is unlikely since reinforcing bands are in evidence around the helmet, Stothard shows it as grey, and similar helmets are also seen on a late 12th/13th-century scene of the murder of Becket. (Author's collection)

Referenced on p58, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle
116 Effigy, England, late 12th to mid-l3th centuries
(in situ Temple Church, London, England)

Widely differing dates and identifications have been offered for this and other effigies in the Temple Church. Some have suggested that this figure represents Geoffrey, Earl of Essex. The position of the figure strongly indicates an early or mid-l3th-century date, whereas some features of the armour look earlier while the curved top of the large shield may be a result of damage. The man wears a mail hauberk with mittens, mail chausses and a mail coif. There is no indication of any padded protection beneath the long surcoat. His helmet is also particularly interesting, being flat-topped and either of a segmented construction or with vertical reinforcements. The helmet is not, however, a great helm. Rather it has what looks like a massive chin-strap around the face, this perhaps forming the foundation of a face-mask or visor, or it might have been part of a special arming cap.

See also other effigies from Temple Church, London, England
A Knight c.1175 in Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300 by Ian Heath, partially based on this effigy of Geoffrey de Mandeville, 1st Earl of Essex
12th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers