Monday, October 17, 2011

Crusader who signed Magna Carta Buried at Entrance to Holy Sepulchre

Jerusalem Curiosities Abraham Ezra Millgram 1990 The Burial Place of one of the signers of the Magna Carta One of the surprising curiosities of Jerusalem is the tombstone at the entrance to the Holy Sepulchre which marks the burial place of Sir Philip D’Aubigny, one of the signers of the Magna Carta. He came to the Holy Land as a crusaderin 1222 and died in 1236. There is no record of the 14 years of his residence in Jerusalem except the slab between the entrances to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Reverend J. E. Hanauer researched this historic monument and describes it in his book Walks in and Around Jerusalem: Stretched in from of the clusters of columns, between the two great portals of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is a marble slab, bearing the epitaph of Philip D’Aubeny, and a Norman shield with his amorial bearings. In 1887, by reference to several ancient records, Tutor Henry III of Winchester, who, crowned when only a child of 8 years of age, was entrusted to his care during the protectorship of the able Earl of Pembroke. Before the accession of Henry III, however, and during the reign of King John, we find the name Sir Philip D’Aubeny amongst the barons who signed the Magna Carta. Sir Philip left England for the holy wars in Palestine in 1222. He resided in the country for 14 years and died in 1236. The identity of the personage buried here has been uncontestably proved by the amorial bearings, as well as by historical records, with the family D’Aubeny, still existing in England, the chief seat of which appears to have been the manor of South Petherton, Somersetshire. Philip I requested to be buried inside the Holy Sepulchre but his wish was not granted. He was fortunate. While Kings of the Kingdom of Jerusalem Geoffrey and Baldwin I were buried inside, their tomb raided and remains removed. In November 22 1977 an article in the Jerusalem Post by Judy Siegel “Family Reunion in Jerusalem After 770 Years.” An Englishwomen was reunited over the weekend with her 13th century Crusader forebearer at the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City, through the assistance of Mayor Teddy Kollek. Alisa Rushbrook had written to the mayor that one of her ancestors was Philip D’Aubigny, who took part in the Crusaders’ exploits in the Holy Land some 700 years ago. This fact, she wrote, was authenticated in 1925 by Sir Reginald Storrs, the military governor of Jerusalem, in an article he wrote for “The Times” of London. Archaeological excavations at the time uncovered Philip’s bones and tablets describing the family tree in the church, where, according to most Christian traditions, Jesus was buried. The Englishwoman had been to Jerusalem several times before an attempt to uncover the tablets in the grave and take photographs, but she had never been successful. Clergy of three of the sects in charge of the Church- Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian- had been involved in a disagreement and would not grant to approval to uncover the rubble. The mayor, who has an excellent relationship with the leaders of the various churches, proceeded to mediate among the clergymen, and Mrs. Rushbrook was invited to the church. Arriving with her husband, she found the tablets and took pictures to record the Latin script. The tomb of Sir Philip in front of the double entrance to the Holy Sepulchre is now covered with well worn planks to protect it from vandalism and from further deterioration due to the incessant footsteps of throngs of visitors to the church.

No comments: