The Rise of the Stanley family.

In the late 14th Century, the Stanleys were a gentry family, their power base lying chiefly in Cheshire, notably in the Wirral. Their ancestry might fairly be described as ‘provincial’. There were certainly no kings in their quarterings. This is not to say they were unimportant, but their influence was of a local rather than… Continue reading The Rise of the Stanley family.

Joan/Joanne/Joanna Holland, Duchess of York

  Joan Holland was born about 1380, one of the many children of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent and his wife Alice Arundel (aka Fitzalan) and the second-eldest daughter. It seems to have been Kent’s policy to marry his daughters into every family that could conceivably inherit the throne. Accordingly, towards the end of… Continue reading Joan/Joanne/Joanna Holland, Duchess of York

Who crossed the Mont Cenis Alpine pass in 1077….?

  Correct me if I’m wrong, but something’s wrong here. I quote: “…The Via Francigena* included two alternative crossings of the Alps, either via Mont Cenis or the pass of Mont Joux (Mons Iovis), and a crossing of the Apennines, usually by the pass known as Mons Bardonis….” I’m with it so far, but then… Continue reading Who crossed the Mont Cenis Alpine pass in 1077….?

John Montagu, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (c 1350-1400)

John Montagu (or Montacute) was the son of Sir John Montagu, 1st Baron Montagu (d 1390) and Margaret de Monthermer. It follows that he descended from Joan of Acre, and through her, from King Edward I. He was also the nephew (and, as it proved, the heir) of William Montagu, 2nd Earl of Salisbury. There… Continue reading John Montagu, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (c 1350-1400)

Bolingbroke and his flute….!

I feel it’s time to take another pop at a Lancastrian King Henry. On this occasion it’s Henry IV, the warlike Lancastrian usurper who murdered his cousin Richard II and stole the crown. A process that led to the Wars of the Roses. So definitely not one of my favourite kings. When it comes to… Continue reading Bolingbroke and his flute….!

‘Great magician, damned Glendower'(Part 4.)

It is not my purpose to describe the Glyndŵr Rising in detail. The story is far too complex to be contained within a blog post. The reader who is interested in the full tale would do well to consult (for example) The Revolt Of Owain Glyn Dŵr by R.R Davies, an excellent work. The initial… Continue reading ‘Great magician, damned Glendower'(Part 4.)

‘Great magician, damned Glendower'(Part 3.)

Owain‘s service to Arundel included taking part in the naval victory over the French in 1387 in which a wine fleet was captured. Such was the booty that the price of wine in England fell through the floor. He may well also have been involved in Arundel’s attack on the French coast a few months… Continue reading ‘Great magician, damned Glendower'(Part 3.)

‘Great magician, damned Glendower'(Part 1.)

‘Great magician, damned Glendower’ is how Shakespeare makes Henry IV refer to his elusive Welsh adversary. Of course, we all know that Shakespeare was principally a dramatist and a great distorter of historical truth. Nonetheless, it’s likely that this quote accurately reflects Bolngbroke’s feelings of frustration as he struggled to deal with Owain ap Gruffudd… Continue reading ‘Great magician, damned Glendower'(Part 1.)

Shrewsbury Battlefield and the memorial church of St Mary Magdelene

I have long wanted to attend the re-enactment of the Battle of Shrewsbury and also visit the church of St Mary Magdelene. In 2022 I finally managed it. It was touch and go, although I had booked my train ticket some weeks back. These days such an excursion demands a lot of effort and I… Continue reading Shrewsbury Battlefield and the memorial church of St Mary Magdelene

Off with the old weaponry and on with the new….

If ever an entry in the Close Rolls of Henry IV was evidence of warfare being at a crossroads between the old and the new, it’s surely this one. Poised between two ages, it concerns arms left by the late Richard II in the great hall of Dublin Castle. Richard had been in Ireland immediately… Continue reading Off with the old weaponry and on with the new….