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

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?

History and cultural history (III)

We have already shown how Shakespeare was inadvertently influenced by contemporary or earlier events in setting details – names, events, badges or physical resemblance – for his Hamlet, King Lear and Richard III. What of Romeo and Juliet, thought to have been written between 1591-5 and first published, in quarto form, in 1597? The most… Continue reading History and cultural history (III)

THE EARLS IN THE TENNIS COURT: A VISIT TO BISHAM ABBEY

Bisham Abbey was the burial place of the Earls of Salisbury, and also Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the ‘Kingmaker’ and his unfortunate grandson Edward of Warwick, executed on a trumped-up charge by Henry VII. The Abbey was destroyed in the Reformation, and on the grounds now stands the National Sports Centre, where many professional… Continue reading THE EARLS IN THE TENNIS COURT: A VISIT TO BISHAM ABBEY