, by the musically distinctive ‘Forest’, seems, as proposed by Robert Nosow, to be a rare further survival of a motet for Edmund, who met his end at the hands of the Danes in 869 for refusing to renounce Christianity. Edmund’s status as an early English royal martyr clearly made him a focus of Lancastrian veneration, as revealed by John Lydgate’s presentation, in 1433, to Henry VI of a sumptuous manuscript Life of St Edmund
. The two texts of the motet are read here as an allegory both of Henry V, ‘clothed in purple and crowned with victory’, and also of his young son Henry VI, for whom Edmund, who was crowned at fourteen, would have presented a model of princely fortitude and probity to a child monarch. The motet also invokes other kingly saints, including the nordic St Olaf/Olave and St Magnus. Nosow suggests, as an occasion for the motet, the knighting of the four-year-old Henry by his protector-uncle John Duke of Bedford, at the (still surviving) church of St Mary de Castro in Leicester on 19 May 1426, an occasion intended to cement aristocratic loyalty, in a divided country, to the young king.
from notes by Andrew Kirkman & Philip Weller © 2017