Another Hundred Years’ Grudge

A few years ago, we showed that Robert Catesby, directly descended from Sir William Catesby, sought to kill James VI/I, a descendant of Henry VII, by gunpowder 120 years after Henry had Sir William hanged after Bosworth.This second case, of which I was reminded in Kathryn Warner‘s The Despensers, doesn’t involve direct ancestry on both… Continue reading Another Hundred Years’ Grudge

In the teeth of the evidence

Here, a little-known television journalist-historian named Dominic Selwood disputes the identity of Richard III’s remains, despite the mtDNA match with collateral descendants in Canada and Australia, their height, age of death, era of death, scoliosis, battle injuries, region of origin and the location of his original burial at the choir of the Greyfriars. In fact… Continue reading In the teeth of the evidence

The bells ring for Cardinal Wolsey

On Friday, I was in St. Lawrence’s Church, now a cafe, in the town centre when the meeting I was at was punctuated by the ringing of bells just above the front door. We assumed at the time that this was practice for the for the forthcoming coronation. However, as this article shows, it was… Continue reading The bells ring for Cardinal Wolsey

Breaking the code – Charles V

The Emperor Charles V was the grandson of Maximilian I (Richard III’s friend and step-nephew-in-law), a nephew of Catherine of Aragon (and thus by marriage to Henry VIII) and father-in-law of Mary I. In February 1547, he feared death at the hands of a Italian mercenary (Pierre Strozzi) and wrote a fiendishly coded letter to… Continue reading Breaking the code – Charles V

An Irish take on the British peerage system

Here is an article from Niall O’Dowd of “Irish Central” to mark the accession of Charles III. It makes a number of good points, although some others are debateable:1) Wessex may have ceased to be as a Kingdom when Athelstan took over the others (Mercia, Northumbria and East Anglia) but it had Earls in the… Continue reading An Irish take on the British peerage system

How to cast a “Richard III”

Here is a Guardian article about Arthur Hughes, who qualifies for the role in that he is male, disabled (in a subtle way) and was only thirty when chosen by the Royal Shakespeare Company, as was Richard III in June 1483 when chosen by the Three Estates. He isn’t an octogenarian, a woman or pretending… Continue reading How to cast a “Richard III”

The “awkward mediaeval cities” (3) : St. Alban’s

UnlikeĀ Northampton and Oxford, St. Alban’s (City) is on the Thameslink network and also has a branch line to Watford Junction. Accommodation can be expensive but the less historic Luton is surprisingly convenient as a base, being about fourteen minutes away on the same line and costing about five pounds for a day return. Turning right… Continue reading The “awkward mediaeval cities” (3) : St. Alban’s

Royal burial places

This post in the Times details the final resting place of every English and then British monarch since 1066, although Harold II (probably Waltham Abbey) is omitted. Note from the interactive map that there are four (plus the Empress Matilda) burials in France and one in Germany. There are none in Scotland, Wales, Ireland or… Continue reading Royal burial places

The Despensers: The Rise and fall of a mediaeval family

Here is another of Kathryn Warner‘s volumes in which the genealogy is central but there is plenty of history about the principal individuals that comprise the structure of the book. These range from Hugh Despenser the Justiciar, who fell at Evesham in 1265 opposing Henry III, to his son and grandson (the latter married to… Continue reading The Despensers: The Rise and fall of a mediaeval family