The surnames of medieval noblemen’s illegitimate offspring….

Well, I thought I’d sussed a “tradition” for the illegitimate offspring of medieval noblemen to be named after their father’s title, not given his surname. The family surname was reserved for legitimate children only. Think of Sir Edmund Arundel, who ceased to be Sir Edmund Fitzalan (and heir to a great earldom) when his father,… Continue reading The surnames of medieval noblemen’s illegitimate offspring….

The Kingmaker’s Anger

I’m working on a biography of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick – the man best introduced as The Kingmaker. I have written on the Wars of the Roses, on Richard, Duke of York, and Richard III. Warwick has been a constant presence throughout. I spent some time in an earlier dispute over the throne of… Continue reading The Kingmaker’s Anger

The Rise of the Clans

Neil Oliver‘s latest history series has been shown through December on Monday evenings (BBC1 Scotland) and twenty-four hours later on BBC4. The first part, of three, showed how the power vacuum caused by the sudden deaths of Alexander III and his granddaughter was resolved through the clan system and John Balliol’s abdication so that alliances… Continue reading The Rise of the Clans

Found lurking at Arundel Castle….

Lurking? Well, apart from me, of course, and my camera (which I managed to mess up rather, so apologies for the quality of the two portrait-photos, which were taken on 9th June 2018. Richard and Elizabeth of York were among the many portraits. Of course, there having been so many Fitzalans and Howards at Arundel… Continue reading Found lurking at Arundel Castle….

Autumn dig at Chirk Castle promises to be exciting….

It seems that during the medieval period, no fewer than five holders of Chirk Castle were executed for treason. With that track record, I trust the National Trust intends to tread very carefully when it looks into the castle’s past and secrets this autumn. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, also held Chirk for a while, so… Continue reading Autumn dig at Chirk Castle promises to be exciting….


Here is an interesting article with some beautiful photography Note to my Ricardian friends.  Joan Neville, wife to William Fitzalan Earl of Arundel and sister to Warwick the Kingmaker  is buried in the Fitzalan Chapel, St Nicholas, Arundel.  Their tomb and monument can be counted as among the most exquisite from that period of English tomb building.… Continue reading THE STORY OF THE MEDIEVAL TOWN OF ARUNDEL

Why Castle Isabel became Castle Philipp….

There are numerous castles in the Welsh Marches. I was going to say countless, but I’m sure someone will have counted to the very last motte. Among the lesser known is Shrawardine (pronounced Shray-den), in Shropshire, not far from Shrewsbury. What remains of it overlooks the River Severn, and as there was another fortification of some sort on… Continue reading Why Castle Isabel became Castle Philipp….