THIS OBJECT IS PART OF THE PROJECT 'A HISTORY OF CORNWALL IN 100 OBJECTS'.
LAWRENCE HOUSE MUSEUM, LAUNCESTON. Richard Earl of Cornwall was one of the most powerful men in medieval Europe. He was King Henry III's younger brother and Earl of Cornwall 1227-72. Launceston Castle was his Cornish base.
This glazed earthenware tile from a former decorative floor at Launceston Priory shows Richard's coat of arms - a playful looking lion rampart. Richard was a great benefactor of Launceston giving rights and liberties to the priory, and a charter to the leper hospital of Gillmartin just outside the town. He also made Launceston a free borough with the right to elect magistrates and hold courts.
Richard was also King of the Romans - the heir apparent to the Holy Roman Emperor. His Cornish adventures included a lucky escape from a storm at Mousehole in 1242 which led to religious foundations there and at Hayles Abbey in Gloucestershire. The Earldom of Cornwall lasted from 1066 to 1337 when the Duchy of Cornwall replaced it.
Photo: Bernie Pettersen