May 15, 2012

0208 UNITED KINGDOM (England) - The map of Leicestershire

I received this postcard from a Romanian girl / woman named Ana, who I don't know who is. How do I know that is Romanian, since the text is in English? From the way it's written the address, with Dest. (shortening of destinatar - which means recipient) and loc. (localitate - locality), plus the diacritics. There is no doubt: she is Romanian. Mulţumesc Ana, oricine-ai fi.

Leicestershire is a landlocked county in the Midlands, a kind of kernel of England. It took its name from the Leicester, one of the oldest cities in England, with a history going back at least 2,000 years. Until the English to become English, in county's history have mixed (as in most of England, by the way), Celts, Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans, each bringing its own cultural and genetic contribution.

The wonderful map, made after a painting by Arthur Veasey, contains several important landmarks of the county:
Leicester Cathedral
Belvoir Castle
Butter Cross of Oakham
Rutland Water
Old Grammar School in Market Harborough
Foxton Locks
• St Mary's Parish Church in Lutterworth
Bosworth Battlefield
Croft Hill
Old John Bradgate Park
Coal mine of Coalville
Twycross Zoo
Ashby de la Zouch Castle
Loughborough Carillon

Also appear two animals specific to the area, a domestic one (the sheep) and a wild one (the fox). Leicestershire has a long history of livestock farming, especially of sheep. English Leicester (a breed of sheep obtained by Robert Bakewell in 18th century) is today a heritage breed admired all over the world. Leicestershire is also considered to be the birthplace of fox hunting as it's known today. A windmill couldn't miss from such a map. Around 1300 in Leicestershire were 61 windmills, the peak being in 1835, with 152.

In the upper right is the county coat of arms, actually only the escutcheon (the shield), divided into four quarters, the first and fourth white, and the second and third red.  Each quarter shows the Arms of one of the four important county's families. The first quarter is a cinquefolium within a red circle, which belonged to the Beaumont family. In 1103 Robert de Beaumont was the first Earl of Leicester. The Earldom passed through the sister of the fourth Earl to her husband, Simon de Montfort (1206-1264), whose Arms were a white lion with two tails on a red ground which is shown on the second quarter. The third quarter shows the badge of John of Gaunt (another Earl of Leicester) which is an ermine plume on a red ground. The fourth quarter shows a black sleeve of a medieval lady’s dress, which is the badge of the Hastings family, who built castles at Kirby Muxloe and Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the 15th century. As crest is a fox.

The stamp is part of Machin definitive series about which I wrote here.

sender: Ana
sent from Leicester (England / United Kingdom), on 25.04.2012
from a painting by Arthur Veasey

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