The Normans didn’t only conquer mainland Britain, but—as Anglo-Normans—crossed the Irish Sea to eject the Vikings from their settlement in what is now Dublin. The remains of the Viking settlement have been excavated beneath the present castle. To read about Viking Dublin, go here. One thing led to another and in the 13th century… Continue reading Dublin Castle through history….
I’m told that even now, if you purchase a plot of ground in which to put your loved ones to rest, the chances are they’ll only lie in peace for eighty years, at which time they are removed and new occupants move in. Well, for centuries our dead haven’t always been left to enjoy their… Continue reading Digging up our monarchs; no, not Richard III this time….!
The village of Tarrant Crawford really isn’t a village anymore. If you type the address into your Satnav, it will vanish from the screen while driving down the nearby main road–there are no signposts and the only other road visible is a simple farm track fringed by thick trees. However, here at one time was… Continue reading ANOTHER MISSING QUEEN: JOAN OF SCOTLAND
Well, I’m shocked that such bribery, skulduggery and jostling for position should go on among the bishops and abbots of medieval England. Holy men shouldn’t behave like this! I’m afraid that when I read the following passages from this article, concerning events in the reign of Henry II, it conjured one of those old black-and-white… Continue reading The bishop and the abbot, croziers at dawn….
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
My next book – due for release in October, all being well – is about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. They were one of Europe’s most fabulous power couples, ruling lands that spread from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. Eleanor was nine years Henry’s senior. When they married in 1152, he was a… Continue reading Eleanor the Crusader
The discovery of Richard’s remains caused a furore, and rightly so, but he wasn’t the only past monarch to have his/her remains, um, pawed about by later generations. This link takes you to an interesting article about ten other kings and queens of England who’ve been gawped upon—sorry, gazed upon—in their last resting place. Not… Continue reading Richard wasn’t the only monarch whose remains have been handled….
In the back of the beautiful Stourhead gardens stands a mysterious piece of old Bristol–the Bristol High Cross. When you first see it, you almost think it might be a modern folly, but it is the ‘real thing’, a medieval cross. In the 1700’s such relics of the past were considered old-fashioned and valueless; in… Continue reading THE MYSTERIOUS BRISTOL CROSS
Preface I conceived this article as a defence of King Henry V against the accusation that he was a war criminal. It became apparent, however, that my research was drawing me away from Henry’s campaigns towards a broader study of the origin and causes of the Hundred Years War. Soon, I was reading material going… Continue reading THE THREE HUNDRED YEARS WAR – Part 1: the Devil’s brood
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….