Many of you will have watched the 2014-16 BBC production of The Musketeers, the first series of which starred Peter Capaldi as Cardinal Richelieu. The third series was based on Dumas’ lesser-known sequels, in which Henrietta Maria, separated from her husband Charles I for her own safety and by mutual consent, is permanently residing with… Continue reading A further anachronism
Who do you think you are? has now completed eighteen series as British television’s predominant genealogy programmes. In that time, with an average of eight episodes per series, they have uncovered many celebrities with interesting lineage and some unexpected royal descendants, including Alexander Armstrong, Clare Balding, Danny Dyer, Frank Gardner and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Now… Continue reading More Royal ancestry
Well, we’ve all heard versions of the true meaning of Humpty-Dumpty, including that it was a reference to a 17th-century cannon used in the Siege of Colchester. Oh and Humpty may also have been a drink of brandy boiled with ale. All nursery rhymes had beginnings somewhere, and also have some wild notions about their… Continue reading Humpty-Dumpty and his wall were Richard III and his horse….!
We all love early castles. Well, we can love those from later ages, but they don’t have quite the same cachet as those wonderful old fortresses that always make us gasp when we see them. But how did they evolve? And why did they become obsolete except as tourist attractions and scenic splendours? This article… Continue reading The history of castles….
A metal detector enthusiast has come up with an impressive find that may be worth a cool £2 million. Tucked away in a hole in a field field near Market Harborough was a tiny figure made of pure gold. This figure is believed to be from the ‘Tudor Crown’ designed by Henry VII for state… Continue reading THE TUDOR CROWN UNEARTHED
In Wakefield Museum there is a rather unusual artefact–a late medieval chamber pot that was discovered in the ruins of Sandal Castle. This would be an unusual find at the best of times, but what makes this porta-potty even more interesting and special is that is is mounted with the large figure of a boar!… Continue reading The Wakefield Medieval Portaloo!
The English Civil War often looked like Round Two of the Wars of the Roses with, geographically, Yorkists morphing into Parliamentarians and Lancastrians becoming Royalists. One parliamentary commander was a Richard Neville and another bore the name of Ralph Assheton, as we shall show, descended from the Vice-Constable of the 1480s: Colonel Assheton, of Middleton,… Continue reading Yet another C17 coincidence
Fifteen miles downstream of Exeter, Powderham Castle faces over the estuary of the River Exe, having originally risen “from the ashes of the Great Plague, but that wouldn’t be its last brush with adversity”. At the beginning it was a true castle, set in 50,000 acres. Alas, after weathering wars, sieges and other troubles, it has… Continue reading A view of Powderham Castle in Devon….
I’m sorry, but even before the above fire in 1831, Nottingham Castle didn’t look anything like a proper castle. Gone are the medieval towers and battlements, and all that’s left is a mansion on a hill. Nothing smacks of the lost age of Plantagenet kings, knights and armour. Great events happened here in earlier centuries,… Continue reading Nottingham’s medieval magic has disappeared from its castle….
Channel Five’s reputation for history programmes has risen greatly over the past few years. At the heart of this, first in a Great Fire of London series with Suzannah Lipscomb and the ubiquitous Dan Jones, has been the “engineering historian” Rob Bell, who has toured bridges, ships, buildings and lost railways in his own amiable,… Continue reading Britain’s Lost Battlefields (with Rob Bell)