In Paris at the end of the 14th century the unfortunate Duchesse d’Orléans , Valentina Visconti, was accused of using witchcraft upon the mentally ill Charles VI, and of poisoning his Dauphin, Charles. I doubt she was guilty of either. It was all politics and sneaky enemies. Isn’t it always? Louis d’Orléans was himself… Continue reading Where did the poisoning witch the Duchesse d’Orléans take refuge….?
Henry V DRIVER (presses bell) BUTLER (opens door) DRIVER: Mr. Monmouth? BUTLER: Sorry, he is busy at the moment. DRIVER: Dauphin’s Sporting Goods here. I have a delivery for him; can he spare a moment to sign for it? Otherwise I’ll probably have to take it back to the warehouse. BUTLER: He is with some… Continue reading Some Shakespeare scenes re-written
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?
Preface This is the third of three articles charting the course of continual Anglo-French conflict from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. The first, covered the rise and fall of the Angevin Empire, and the Treaty of Paris (1259). The second, continued my narrative from the accession of Edward I until the Treaty of Bretigny… Continue reading THE THREE HUNDRED YEARS WAR – PART 3 : the dogs of war
On April 9 of 1445, a determined fifteen-year-old French girl arrived at Southampton. She had been ill before her departure and seasickness from the crossing added to her discomfort. Nonetheless, she ploughed on further inland with her entourage toward the house of the Premonstratensians at Titchfield in Hampshire. Whether she looked forward to the journey… Continue reading A WEDDING AT TITCHFIELD ABBEY
Joan of Arc means a great deal to France, but I’m afraid I have never really cottoned on to her. Perhaps because I’m a little uncomfortable when it comes to people who “hear voices”. Not that I’m saying she deserved her horrible death. Far from it. No one deserves that. But when it comes to… Continue reading Joan of Arc or Boudicca? Boudicca every time for me, I fear….
Not having Netflix myself, I went to my daughter’s house to watch The King. I enjoyed it very much, but have some gripes, not least a desire to keep scratching or wishing the characters would wash their hair…and the rest of themselves. I really don’t think the highest in the land went around looking… Continue reading “The King” and Agincourt in (almost) black and white….
A gentle and devotional life About seventy years ago, the historian John Harvey wrote this in an essay about King Henry VI: “The life and death, and the thwarting of his noble designs are one (sic) of the sorriest tragedies of English history. He was a victim of forces outside his control, for whose existence… Continue reading Henry VI: saint or sinner?
It was fortunate for Henry V that someone on the Orleanist side of politics decided to murder the Duke of Burgundy. This persuaded the new duke, Philippe the “Good” to take Henry’s side, a development which led to the Treaty of Troyes and Henry’s marriage to fair Catherine of France. Henry had by this time… Continue reading War, English Delusion, and the effect on the Economy (4)
Today marks the 587th anniversary of the death of Joan of Arc, burned at the stake at Rouen, France. As the flames engulfed her, she clutched a cross made of sticks to her bosom, fashioned by an ordinary English solder. “Jesus!” was her last word. She was 19 years old. In 1920, almost… Continue reading Joan of Arc and Les Soldats