Hanley Castle

Hanley Castle is located in the south-western part of Worcestershire, only a short distance from the Gloucestershire border. Today it is a small, agreeable village, notable for a school, an excellent pub, The Three Kings and an interesting church, consecrated in 1325. As the place name implies, there was once a castle here, although all… Continue reading Hanley Castle

The Coronation Chair and the Stone of Destiny….

With the first coronation in seventy years looming fast, there is naturally a lot of discussion about various aspects of the ancient ceremony. I don’t know what the new king’s wish to “modernise” might finally entail, but I do know the proceedings will have to include the Coronation Chair (now a shadow of its former… Continue reading The Coronation Chair and the Stone of Destiny….

Another Hundred Years’ Grudge

A few years ago, we showed that Robert Catesby, directly descended from Sir William Catesby, sought to kill James VI/I, a descendant of Henry VII, by gunpowder 120 years after Henry had Sir William hanged after Bosworth.This second case, of which I was reminded in Kathryn Warner‘s The Despensers, doesn’t involve direct ancestry on both… Continue reading Another Hundred Years’ Grudge


Pontefract Castle was, in its day, the Windsor of the North. Large and seemingly impregnable , it had two massive tapering towers that rose up to over a hundred feet high, a landmark visible from miles away. It was the scene of many historical events–in 1322 Edward II executed his cousin, Thomas of Lancaster here,… Continue reading NEW DISCOVERIES AT PONTEFRACT CASTLE

Royal burial places

This post in the Times details the final resting place of every English and then British monarch since 1066, although Harold II (probably Waltham Abbey) is omitted. Note from the interactive map that there are four (plus the Empress Matilda) burials in France and one in Germany. There are none in Scotland, Wales, Ireland or… Continue reading Royal burial places

The Despensers: The Rise and fall of a mediaeval family

Here is another of Kathryn Warner‘s volumes in which the genealogy is central but there is plenty of history about the principal individuals that comprise the structure of the book. These range from Hugh Despenser the Justiciar, who fell at Evesham in 1265 opposing Henry III, to his son and grandson (the latter married to… Continue reading The Despensers: The Rise and fall of a mediaeval family

Edward III and two comparisons

695 years ago today, Edward III became King of England at the age of fourteen and was crowned a week later. His father was definitely alive for almost another eight months and probably several more years. His mother, Isabella of France is regularly described by some writers as having a relationship with Roger Mortimer, 1st… Continue reading Edward III and two comparisons

Another one bites the dust….well, starts to….

While pursuing information about the medieval royal residence known as Henley-on-the-Heath in Surrey, I’ve found yet another example of our disappearing past. This one hasn’t quite gone, but it’s certainly being encroached upon. Now known as Ash Manor, this royal residence was purchased in 1324 by Edward II, and remained a royal property until Henry… Continue reading Another one bites the dust….well, starts to….

Further facial reconstructions

Dundee University has shown itself to be the gold standard for facial reconstruction in recent years, working from their subjects’ remains, as with Richard III, Robert I and Henry Lord Darnley. As Kathryn Warner shows here, Panagiotis Constantinou has generated several from effigies, sculptures and other images. They range, chronologically, from Henry III and Eleanor… Continue reading Further facial reconstructions

Rebellion in the Middle Ages

This is the latest of Matthew Lewis’ books and covers a longer period than any of the others, from Hereward the Wake’s emergence after Hastings to the beginning of the Wars of the Roses, almost as long a period as this book. Lewis is already an expert on “The Anarchy” (chapter 2) and the Roses… Continue reading Rebellion in the Middle Ages