Pontefract Castle was, in its day, the Windsor of the North. Large and seemingly impregnable , it had two massive tapering towers that rose up to over a hundred feet high, a landmark visible from miles away. It was the scene of many historical events–in 1322 Edward II executed his cousin, Thomas of Lancaster here,… Continue reading NEW DISCOVERIES AT PONTEFRACT CASTLE

The Treacherous ‘King of Carew’

  Recently I went on a little jaunt to visit some fine Welsh Castles. One of those happened to be Carew in Pembrokshire, an impressive limestone fortress overlong Carew inlet, which is part of the Milford Haven Waterway. Built by the Norman Gerald of Windsor, the site stands on the lands of his wife, the… Continue reading The Treacherous ‘King of Carew’

Scandal in Salisbury

Recently I had a rare opportunity to visit Church House in Salisbury. Used for administration of the diocese today, it is an attractive medieval/post-medieval building retaining many original features, and has an interesting but sometimes rather murky past. Originally it was built in the 15th century by a merchant called William Lightfoot, and was known… Continue reading Scandal in Salisbury

Figures Hidden in a Royal Book

BL Royal 19 E V is a medieval manuscript that once belonged to Edward IV. It was compiled for him in Bruges in 1480. The content is the Romuleon, a translation of a history of Rome, and amongst the tales of Emperors and Empresses, it contains the symbols of its royal owner–the Arms of England,… Continue reading Figures Hidden in a Royal Book

Elizabeth Woodville’s Wiltshire Retreat

Elizabeth Woodville left sanctuary with her daughters on March 1, 1484, after Richard III swore a public oath that she and her daughters would be unharmed and that he would find the girls suitable matches. But where did she go then? Her daughters were, at least part time, welcome at court, but ‘Dame Grey’ as… Continue reading Elizabeth Woodville’s Wiltshire Retreat

The Lost Plot (by the Guardian) and ‘The Lost King’ Exhibition

A number of film critics have now viewed the new Steve Coogan movie, THE LOST KING, about the finding of Richard III’s remains. Reviews have been mixed but generally quite positive; I imagine it might be one of those ‘marmite’ films, which viewers either love or loathe. A exhibition in The Wallace Collection had also… Continue reading The Lost Plot (by the Guardian) and ‘The Lost King’ Exhibition


  When anyone hears the name ‘Margaret Beaufort’, they always think instantly of the mother of Henry Tudor. However, there was another Margaret Beaufort, who also had a famous son called Henry, whose mother also bore the surname Beauchamp, who married one of the Staffords, and who was widowed young and remarried—although there her life… Continue reading The OTHER MARGARET BEAUFORT


When I saw that a new musical called THE HAUNTING OF RICHARD III was on at the Merlin Theatre in Frome, a mere 40 minutes away, how could I resist? I realise musical theatre is a bit of a ‘marmite’ subject for many, but in my own misspent youth, yes, I confess I tread the… Continue reading THE HAUNTING OF RICHARD III- A NEW MUSICAL

The Stanley Cup: Guess Who’s The Great Grandaddy

All ice hockey fans, especially Canadians, are aware of the famous Stanley Cup, awarded to Canadian amateur ice hockey teams from 1893 onwards (American teams now also participate). The cup is known variously as Lord Stanley’s Mug and The Holy Grail of Hockey. And yes, the Lord Stanley in question is, in fact, a direct… Continue reading The Stanley Cup: Guess Who’s The Great Grandaddy

EDWARD IV’S Magical Medicine

In this time of our own ‘plague’, it is interesting to see that Edward IV had his own concoction for an unpleasant disease recorded as ‘the rayning sickness’ (raining, reigning?–not sure what this word translates as– maybe the King’s Evil (scrofula?)) The recipe was a handful of rue, a handful of marigolds, half a handful… Continue reading EDWARD IV’S Magical Medicine