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Now for something that every fashion-conscious  Lancastrian/Tudorite lady will SURELY want–a tight fitting  mini skirt emblazoned with the smiling…no, make that sucked-lemon… mug of none other than Henry Tudor! A Henry skirt is guaranteed to chase off unwanted suitors; in fact, as thus depicted, he’ll scare off pretty much anyone, really. Although I dare say if you wore this in the high street you would get many stares (and sniggers) indeed! Added bonus is that his watchful wandering eye will move as you do, no doubt keeping a careful eye on your purse as you shop….

If you are of Yorkist persuasion, you might instead go for a skirt featuring Edward IV, looking much more benign and less moody than Henry. I am sure Edward would also quite approve of clinging tightly to the hips of as many ladies as possible….Ahem…

There is a similar mini skirt featuring Richard III as well, but in my opinion he looks just a little teed off and perhaps even  somewhat disapproving. I think he’d rather just skirt around the whole issue…




Columbus didn’t discover America, Henry Tudor got there first . . . !

Caption before my fiddling: The explorer set sail from Spain to find a direct water route from Europe to Asia. Credit: Getty Images – Getty

I know this book (cover pictured below) is serious, well researched and is no doubt an excellent read . . . but come ON, forget Columbus, the Vikings and early Irish holy men, we all know Henry VII got there first, on his way to settle the small obstacle of Richard III.

The Tudor proboscis sniffed the Atlantic air, and detected G.O.L.D. Argh! His nose was infallible, so off he went. America was only a small detour, of course. Nothing much for the first Tudor, who was saviour of the entire world. He even invented the US dollar! It’s true, I tell you.

He and his sprogs were the discoverers of absolutely everything, and were solely responsible for the Renaissance, whereas the Plantagenets never got beyond the Big Bang and living in caves!

Just ask any Tudorite.

As for Columbus, well, he was just another tiresome Yorkist imposter trying to steal Henry’s thunder.

Further travels in enemy territory

Oxford (Oxenford) is obviously a compact and historic city although visiting specific buildings at short notice is difficult at present. Christ Church Cathedral (England’s smallest for the largest diocese) and the Ashmolean Museum (currently organising a Rembrandt exhibition) were unbookable whilst the Pitt-Rivers Museum didn’t open until September.

I went for the Bank Holiday weekend and stayed in Headington, opposite the former football ground (left), where a long parade of shops and cafes now lies.

I was able to visit the outdoor parts of Oxford Castle and Prison, where our 45-minute tour was led by the “Empress Matilda” (Natalia, left). The entrance will be familiar to those who have viewed The Wench is Dead, where two of the boatmen were hanged and a third reprieved. The prison (right), where real executions took place, closed in 1996, just in time for filming an episode first shown in 1998.

Oxford’ oldest surviving building, dating from c.1040, is St. Michael at the North Gate (left), on the east side of Cornmarket Street. Visitors can climb the Tower which incorporated the Bocarno Prison, where Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were held. The place of their execution is now the Martyrs’ Memorial (right).

The most accessible parts of the city were those with a twentieth century theme. The former Oxford High School for Boys on George Street, of which Ronnie Barker was an alumnus, inspired the Four Candles pub (left). Morse sites are ubiquitous, particularly the Randolph Hotel, whilst the Eagle and Child (below) was frequented by the likes of Tolkein and Lewis (C.S., not Robbie), as Crick and Watson did its Cambridge namesake during their DNA research. I was able to verify that the “Last Bus to Woodstock” leaves Magdalen Street at 00:16.

This central plaque (left), around the corner from the Pitt-Rivers Museum, remembers Dorothy Hodgkin, the renowned chemist from Beccles.

Finally, here (right) is Oxford station, where murder suspects would often alight, although I saw no red Jaguar in the car park.

Pooh to the rescue in 1066….?

From Ticia Verveer – Archaeologist

Here’s a real giggle. Just imagine if, on that day in 1066, these little friends had turned up to interrupt the proceedings. The Battle of Hastings would definitely not gone in William the Bastard‘s favour, and we’d have kept our King Harold Godwinson. No brutal interference from across the Channel!

But, alas, it didn’t happen.

The “new” Bayeux Tapestry is the work of Ticia Verveer.

A very witty, slightly rude take on the BBC’s The Hollow Crown series….

The caption of the above illustration gives a mild flavour of what follows in this review and this one and  of the BBC’s The Hollow Crown series. The reviews are the work of Hello Tailor, and really had me giggling. They’re sharp and witty, but naughty too, so be warned.

They’re also the work of a Scottish gentleman, and include all the expected digs at the English, but we can deal with them. Just remember Old Longshanks, right? 😁

Oh, and in the picture above, James Purefoy is the one on the right, Bolingbroke is on the left! (Just being picky!)


A matter of Norman logistics…?


Here’s an amusing typo:

“….Earl Ranulph III in his Magna Carter gave many of Mondrem’s inhabitants, including free tenants, increased liberties which allowed them to exploit the natural landscape….”

I won’t say where I found it, but it provided me with a welcome laugh. Is the author implying that Earl Ranulph was the Eddie Stobart of his day???

Who was old Hick Heavyhead then….?


We all know that our royals have had nicknames – Longshanks, Rufus, Crouchback, Good Queen Bess, Prinny and, of course, Tricky Dicky. But HICK HEAVYHEAD????? 😲

And who was it? Richard II. Apparently because he was opposed to war when his barons wanted to swarm over to France and kick seven shades out of the place. Oh, well, I guess Hick Heavyhead meant something truly awful and insulting back in the 14th century….

PS: I found the above reference in an excellent book called Names for Boys & Girls by Charles Johnson and Linwood Sleigh. It was published in 1962, and gives a lot of information about the history of names, and when they came into use etc. It’s a bit dated for today’s babies, but as a writer, I wouldn’t be without it, and have already had to buy a replacement because the first one fell apart! Recommended.

Sometimes, it is hard …

… to know whether to take certain images at face value. Although we have often been told that snooker was actually invented in India during the late Victorian era, here is Phillip II with a cue in hand.

Furthermore, the cue extension known as a “swan-neck” must surely have been named after Harold II’s wife. Another piece of apparatus is the spider, obviously named after Louis XI.

So Master Porker picked up his bagpipes and let rip….!

taken from the site below

We’re all accustomed to the wonderful gargoyles adorning our churches, abbeys and cathedrals, illuminations on manuscripts and the beautiful carvings on misericords, but sometimes they are truly amusing.

On this occasion the apparently comedial figures are pigs playing the bagpipes. Yes, really. And not only in Scotland, I hasten to point out, because bagpipes are not the sole preserve of that country.

Thank you to the Facebook British Medieval History group for drawing attention to  this site which deals at delightful length with these highly intelligent, astonishingly talented pigs! Do they all derive from a living original? It’s a thought. Perhaps one day there strolled into town a Master Porker, complete with pipes, who proceeded to entertain everyone with his delightful music.

Oh, alright, that’s probably complete fantasy, but someone somewhere associated pigs with bagpipes. And other animals with other strange activities too, of course. But we’ll start with the pigs!

More truthful about Richard III than they realise….!


The Penny Dreadfuls

Well, the Penny Dreadfuls, a comedy group, may only be having fun and poking fun at Shakespeare’s Richard, but they’ve actually come closer to the truth than may be realised. Their version of Richard is more accurate than the Bard’s parody!


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