The Traitor’s Arms?

In 1840 workmen carrying out repairs to St Bartholomew’s Church, Ashperton, Herefordshire were collecting stones from the ruins of a nearby manor house when they discovered a heavy stone plaque, carved with an elaborate coat of arms, among the rubble. The stone was taken to the church for safekeeping and has hung on the wall… Continue reading The Traitor’s Arms?

The Tudors were a “typically Welsh family”….!

 Today in 1495 marked the death of Henry VII’s uncle, Jasper Tudor, and so seems an appropriate day for me to post the following extract, which is from The Country Gentry in the Fourteenth Century by N. Denholm-Young, published in 1969. “…It is a crying fault among English historians that they pay only lip-service to… Continue reading The Tudors were a “typically Welsh family”….!

Shadow King: the Life and Death of Henry VI

 Helen Rae Rants! Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI by Lauren Johnson Head of Zeus Publications, 2020, paperback, 700 pages, £12.00 ISBN 978-1784-979645 <img class=”i-amphtml-intrinsic-sizer” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important;” role=”presentation” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”” aria-hidden=”true” /> Henry VI has gone down in history as one of England’s worst kings. Not for being cruel… Continue reading Shadow King: the Life and Death of Henry VI

An Obscure Lady of the Garter

Recently, for the purposes of writing fiction, I had cause to check who was admitted to the Garter in 1387. (This is the sort of weird stuff I do all the time and helps explain why for me to write a book takes aeons.) Anyway, the simple answer is Edward of York (later 2nd Duke… Continue reading An Obscure Lady of the Garter

Richard III’s Prehistoric Foremother?

Recently I came across this fascinating blogpost by an archaeologist called Katharina, who was working on a Bronze Age burial site in Austria. The skeletons her team excavated have recently been DNA tested–and one of them carried the maternal haplogroup J1c2, which is part of the group to which Richard belonged. Richard’s Bronze Age foremother?… Continue reading Richard III’s Prehistoric Foremother?

Modern woman just would not kowtow as expected to in the past. . .!

  There are times when researching the past is, for a woman of today, a very insulting experience. This morning at the hairdresser I dipped into a book called Medieval Maidens: Young Women and Gender in England, 1270-1540. (No Hello, Heat or OK for me!) Yes, I knew before I started that I wouldn’t like… Continue reading Modern woman just would not kowtow as expected to in the past. . .!

The 10 greatest medieval royal romances? Some, maybe….

Well, my opinion only, of course, but where are John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford/de Roët? I don’t believe his first wife, Blanche, was his greatest love. That honour went to Katherine, for love of whom he went to extraordinary lengths, enduring scandal and opprobrium, but eventually making her his third duchess. And managing to… Continue reading The 10 greatest medieval royal romances? Some, maybe….

Henry VII’s “dubious” ancestress…?

According to Alison Weir, Henry VII was a little twitchy about his descent from John of Gaunt’s notorious mistress (and eventual wife) Katherine de Roët/Swynford. Between them, Gaunt and Katherine produced an illegitimate line of children, the Beauforts, which wasn’t/was/wasn’t legitimate/in line of succession, according to different monarchs. Henry VII was a Beaufort, so you… Continue reading Henry VII’s “dubious” ancestress…?

Henry VII’s iffy Beaufort claim….

There is always a howl of outrage if fingers are pointed at Katherine de Roet/Swynford and John of Gaunt, and the legitimacy of their Beaufort children is called into question. The matter is guaranteed to end up with someone’s digit jabbing toward Richard III. Why? Because in his proclamation against Henry Tudor, Richard derided the… Continue reading Henry VII’s iffy Beaufort claim….