A medieval mystery in Stamford….

I love it when local historians delve into their area’s past and start unearthing curious things. This is what retired academic Linda Ball has done for the part of Stamford in which she grew up. St Paul’s Street, Stamford, was on the site of what was once either Greyfriars or Whitefriars. The medieval mystery of… Continue reading A medieval mystery in Stamford….

Spreading propaganda works both ways, as John of Gaunt discovered….

As we all know, the Tudors were masters of propaganda. The lies about Richard III poured forth throughout their usurpation, and still persist to this day. If they could say something unpleasant and derogatory about him, they did. Perhaps it was in their blood, of course, because they were descended (one way or another) from… Continue reading Spreading propaganda works both ways, as John of Gaunt discovered….

Two Lancastrian King Henrys and their use of prophecies….

  “Today it is hard to credit the importance that the Middle Ages attached to prophecies, at that time taken so seriously that King Henry VII was to declare them against the law on the grounds of political danger.” The above quote is taken from The Usurper King by Marie Louise Bruce, the usurper of… Continue reading Two Lancastrian King Henrys and their use of prophecies….

Ela of Salisbury, Sheriff, Abbess, and Ancestor of Kings

Ela of Salisbury has been called a ‘towering female figure of the 13th’ century by historian Linda  Elizabeth Mitchell. However, outside of some quarters in Wiltshire, she is not terribly well known. What is even less commented on than her accomplishments is her genealogy. She is a foremother to Richard III and Edward IV in… Continue reading Ela of Salisbury, Sheriff, Abbess, and Ancestor of Kings

Was it a spring tide in 1607? Was it a storm? No, it was a tsunami! Or was it….?

  “….But the yeere 1606, the fourth of King James, the ryver of Severn rose upon a sodeyn Tuesday mornyng the 20 of January beyng the full pryme day and hyghest tyde after the change of the moone by reason of a myghty strong western wynde….” John Paul, Vicar of Almondsbury In ‘A True Report of… Continue reading Was it a spring tide in 1607? Was it a storm? No, it was a tsunami! Or was it….?

Eleanor the Crusader

My next book – due for release in October, all being well – is about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. They were one of Europe’s most fabulous power couples, ruling lands that spread from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. Eleanor was nine years Henry’s senior. When they married in 1152, he was a… Continue reading Eleanor the Crusader

Anne Boleyn’s grandfather? Or John Howard’s son….!

I prefer to think of the 2nd (Howard) Duke of Norfolk as the great John Howard’s son…Anne Boleyn, fascinating as she was, is not of such great interest to devotees of the House of York, and Richard III in particular. John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, was, of course, killed at Bosworth, and Thomas Howard… Continue reading Anne Boleyn’s grandfather? Or John Howard’s son….!

The legend of Fowlescombe Manor….

It is a fact that in this modern age most of us frown upon the ancient practice of hunting with hounds, whether on horseback or not, but in times gone by, such things were commonplace and accepted. I’m not here to promote a debate on the rights and wrongs of hunting, but to mention a… Continue reading The legend of Fowlescombe Manor….

Maldon

Following an unsuccesful Viking raid in 924, the battle of Maldon took place in August 991 and the result was a victory for the Norse invaders. Byrthnoth, the Essex earldorman who led the Saxons that day, was among those killed and Ethelred II instituted payment of the “Danegeld” to pacify the Vikings. This Byrthnoth statue… Continue reading Maldon

The Death of Robert, Earl of Gloucester

In writing Stephen and Matilda: Cousins of Anarchy, I was keen to apply the same narrow-eyed pursuit of solid facts that I hope comes across in my books on the Wars of the Roses. More than being about battles and, well, anarchy, I wanted to discover the real personalities behind the stories, the people who… Continue reading The Death of Robert, Earl of Gloucester