Joan/Joanne/Joanna Holland, Duchess of York

  Joan Holland was born about 1380, one of the many children of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent and his wife Alice Arundel (aka Fitzalan) and the second-eldest daughter. It seems to have been Kent’s policy to marry his daughters into every family that could conceivably inherit the throne. Accordingly, towards the end of… Continue reading Joan/Joanne/Joanna Holland, Duchess of York

The Lancastrian daughter who walked like a man….

  We all know that Philippa of Lancaster—John of Gaunt’s eldest daughter by his much-loved first wife, Blanche of Lancaster—was the ancestress of a line of Portuguese monarchs (do we not?). But do we all know that Gaunt’s second wife, Costanza/Constance of Castile, gave Gaunt’s a claim to the throne of Castile? Costanza was the… Continue reading The Lancastrian daughter who walked like a man….

Matilda Burghersh – wife of Thomas Chaucer, mother of Alice, Duchess of Suffolk.

It has taken me a long time, but I have finally figured out how Matilda, wife of Thomas Chaucer, fits into the Burghersh family tree. I was confused because Matilda is sometimes called ‘the Burghersh heiress’. Odd that, I thought, given that Elizabeth, wife of Edward Despenser was ‘the Burghersh heiress.’ Truth is, they were… Continue reading Matilda Burghersh – wife of Thomas Chaucer, mother of Alice, Duchess of Suffolk.

Henry of Derby’s “family” wasn’t his family at all….

  Research has recently taken me all over 14th-century Europe, and in the course of this I happened upon the information that wives did not accompany embassies. Well, I’ve now acquired a book entitled Expeditions to Prussia and the Holy Land made by Henry Earl of Derby, published by The Camden Society. The future Henry… Continue reading Henry of Derby’s “family” wasn’t his family at all….

The true significance of posy rings….

Treasure buried in fields and discovered centuries later are always in the news these days. These are usually coins, of course, but also jewellery, including posy rings. A posy ring was found in Wales very recently so I was interested to then read about the true meaning of such rings in A Crisis of Truth… Continue reading The true significance of posy rings….

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?