The Medieval River Ferry

A few days ago I had a need to describe a medieval ferry in my work-in-progress, albeit as a background, scenic item. I realised I had no idea how they were propelled, or even what they looked like. The answer seems to be rather like this one at Evesham. The vessel itself is rather like… Continue reading The Medieval River Ferry

Medieval locks – the sort found on rivers, not doors.

We are all familiar with modern locks of the sort found on canals and rivers today. Two sets of gates, and a space between from which, or into which, water can be removed or added by mechanical means. Once the water level has risen or fallen (as required) the vessel can proceed. Medieval (and early… Continue reading Medieval locks – the sort found on rivers, not doors.

The many wonders of medieval Caversham

Caversham is just across the Thames from Reading. The present bridge carrying the main road between the two places is modern, but it is more or less on the site of a medieval stone and timber bridge, dating from between 1163 and 1231. Sources vary as to whether it had one, two or three chapels,… Continue reading The many wonders of medieval Caversham

Philippa de Coucy

One of Edward III’s many grandchildren, Philippa de Coucy (born before April 1367) was the daughter of the important French nobleman Enguerrand, Lord of Coucy, by Isabella, eldest daughter of King Edward and Queen Philippa. Isabella was pretty much the definition of a spoiled princess, and contrary to the usual stereotype, pretty much did as… Continue reading Philippa de Coucy

The Audley Case of 1431 Redux

We originally posted on this issue here. In summary, in 1431 or thereabouts, Alianore, Lady Audley, and her husband James were trying to demonstrate in the Church court that Alianore was legitimate and thus the heiress of her father, Edmund, Earl of Kent by Constance of York. Kent’s surviving sisters and the heirs of the… Continue reading The Audley Case of 1431 Redux

Yet another C17 coincidence

The English Civil War often looked like Round Two of the Wars of the Roses with, geographically, Yorkists morphing into Parliamentarians and Lancastrians becoming Royalists. One parliamentary commander was a Richard Neville and another bore the name of Ralph Assheton, as we shall show, descended from the Vice-Constable of the 1480s: Colonel Assheton, of Middleton,… Continue reading Yet another C17 coincidence

The Earliest Roots of the Wars of the Roses: Edward II and Thomas of Lancaster?

  It may seem bizarre to go back to the reign of Edward II (reigned 1307-27) when talking about the Wars of the Roses, but bear with me. Edward and his cousin, Thomas Earl of Lancaster, got on together quite well in the early years of Edward’s reign. Gradually, though, a feud between them grew… Continue reading The Earliest Roots of the Wars of the Roses: Edward II and Thomas of Lancaster?

Elizabeth Hopton, Countess of Worcester, died 1498.

Elizabeth Hopton happens to be the present author’s 14th Great Grandmother, which prompted an interest in her. I think it is fair to say she is little-known. Of course, she did not (to our knowledge) involve herself in national politics, become the King’s mistress, murder the Princes in the Tower or get in trouble for… Continue reading Elizabeth Hopton, Countess of Worcester, died 1498.

Were the Wars of The Roses an Inevitability?

In my spare time I have been reading Henry IV by Chris Given-Wilson. It’s a massive book, full of information, probably the most complete work on Henry since Wylie’s four-volume effort in the 19th Century. Frankly, I’m finding it hard going. Not because it’s a bad book (it isn’t) or because Given-Wilson is a bad… Continue reading Were the Wars of The Roses an Inevitability?

The advantages of marrying young

Although the medieval practice of child marriage seems strange to us, if not repulsive, there were advantages that arose from it, particularly for the bride. For example, Anne of Gloucester, Richard II’s cousin and daughter of Thomas of Woodstock married the Earl of Stafford at a very early age. He died while she was still… Continue reading The advantages of marrying young