What does a horner do….?

In recent days I’ve been happily trawling my way through the Calendar of Patent Rolls concerned with the reign of Richard II, and came upon the 1389 entry below. My curiosity was pricked. What sort of horn did a horner deal with? The musical instrument? Animal horn? So I did a little investigation, and discovered… Continue reading What does a horner do….?

What did the Kingmaker look like….?

Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, known to posterity as the Kingmaker, was a very prominent figure in the 15th century and featured in one of my very early books. He was born today, 22 November, in 1428. I’ve seen numerous depictions of him, but have just happened upon a drawing (see above) that I… Continue reading What did the Kingmaker look like….?

Richard III meets Philippa and Harry at the Wallace Collection….

We’ve been deluged with reviews and information about The Lost King, and we’re flocking to see it wherever we can. But one thing has always been thin on the ground, and that’s publicity photographs. We’ve had the same few, so finding another (not actually from the film itself) with Philippa Langley and Harry Lloyd looking… Continue reading Richard III meets Philippa and Harry at the Wallace Collection….

Who crossed the Mont Cenis Alpine pass in 1077….?

  Correct me if I’m wrong, but something’s wrong here. I quote: “…The Via Francigena* included two alternative crossings of the Alps, either via Mont Cenis or the pass of Mont Joux (Mons Iovis), and a crossing of the Apennines, usually by the pass known as Mons Bardonis….” I’m with it so far, but then… Continue reading Who crossed the Mont Cenis Alpine pass in 1077….?

Charles the Bold and his hairy throat….

  I know, the title is a little reminiscent of Father Jack’s “hairy hands syndrome”, but this is definitely a hairy throat. Maybe I’m being forgetful here, but I have never before seen a beard that consists of a hairy throat and that’s it, apart from a tiny tuft under the lower lip. But now… Continue reading Charles the Bold and his hairy throat….

The art that made us

This is another fascinating BBC2 series, illustrating English and British history through the evolution of our art. The eight one-hour episodes, narrated by David Threlfall (Men of the World), feature:The Roman and pre-Roman periods, Beowulf, the Norman conquest and the Bayeux Tapestry;     The Black Death, Wilton Diptych, Piers Plowman, Chaucer, Julian of Norwich,… Continue reading The art that made us

Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered one hundred years ago today….

  The Pharaoh Tutankhamun seems to have been part of our lives forever, so it’s hard to believe that his tomb was found just hundred years ago on 4th November 1922. Even the discoverer, Howard Carter, had no idea what lay within the tomb, only that it didn’t seem to have been got at by… Continue reading Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered one hundred years ago today….

Edward IV’s “weird” death is listed…but his pointy shoes are even weirder…!

  An interesting article  which includes George of Clarence and that butt of Malmsley. It also includes a (modernish) illustration of Edward IV that I hadn’t seen. I know I’ve written about pointy shoes before, but boy, those are SOME examples he’s wearing!

The prompt medieval response to the Kos earthquake of 1493….

  “….a spectacular rescue operation. They sent a fleet from the islands of Leros and Kalimnos to transport doctors and surgeons from the order to the island along with a significant provision of medicine and timber for temporary shelters. They also delivered tools to grind flour to counteract the lack of essential foodstuffs during the… Continue reading The prompt medieval response to the Kos earthquake of 1493….

The end of much of historic Westminster Palace…..

The above illustration marks the terrible scene on 16 October 1834 when fire consumed the Palace of Westminster, which had been there, gradually expanding in various styles, since the 11th century. Then, in one night, it was destroyed. The cause, it’s believed, was the careless disposal of tally sticks in a furnace; the result was… Continue reading The end of much of historic Westminster Palace…..