I am adding, along with Hawkers ballad, a small excerpt from the first draft of my "Blanchminster of Binamy" the story of my medieval maternal ancestors who were prominent in England from 1086 to 1289. Ralph was in fact Reginald who was the Blanchminster heir and born around the middle of the thirteenth century. Reginald Blanchminster was the brother of my 20th great grandmother who both have a very very special place in my heart.
Reginald’s wife in Hawkers ballad is named Bertha in fact she was Isabel, a woman who we know little about. At this point Reginald had been married only a few years and between 1262 and 1265 Isabel had given Reginald a son who they named Ralph. During the next five years Reginald became increasingly unhappy and his family think that this was due to the discontent he felt on having heard of the decision of the young prince Edward and Edmund of Cornwall leaving on a crusade to the Holy Land, but we now know is that this could not be further from the truth. At prayer and his frequent times spent alone he struggled with his conscience, asking himself whether he should he remain at his Cornish manor or if he should take up the cross himself. Ralph’s decision to journey to the Holy Land would have been seen by people around him as either his duty or religious sentiment. Of course both of these would have undoubtedly influenced him as it had done large masses of people who enthusiastically set out for the east to meet the Muslims in battle. Finally with his mind made up Reginald set forth in 1270 to join Prince Edward and the Earl of Cornwall on crusade.
Islam had spread as far as France by 732 and by 1095 the Saracens had refused to allow the Christians to continue their pilgrimages to the Holy City. The Christian world considered this as an act of aggression, so it was inevitable that warfare between the civilisation of Christianity and Islam followed. Having left Isabel and Ralph behind Reginald probably arrived in Palestine shortly after Prince Edward and joined others to relieve the Christian forces in Acre, but by the time they had arrived in Tunis he found the French king had signed a peace treaty just before his death and Edward's crusading army was forced to return to Sicily to wait the arrival of the forces of the French kings successor Phillip III. Phillip never arrived and Edward and his troops continued to Acre alone finally landing at on the 9th May 1271. Jerusalem had fallen in 1244 and Acre was now the centre of the Christianity. Reginald and his fellow crusaders, although they were an important addition to the garrison at Acre, stood little chance against the Muslim superior forces and they would have soon realised that their position was increasingly desperate, by the middle of 1272 they had seen the Cypriot army join forces against them. Reginald was either killed outright in one of the many battles with Muslim forces but as the aforementioned Hawker suggests he was fatally wounded. Before we go on to reveal the real reason of Sir Reginald Blanchminster’s sad death in Syria we must read the Reverend Hawker’s ballad entitled Sir Ralph de Blancminster of Bien Amie......."