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 Staple

In early medieval times, ‘the staple’ meant England’s staple export: wool. But it was inconvenient and inefficient for the king’s men to collect the customs duties that were payable on the exported wool from every one of the hundreds of little English ports all around the country. London, Bristol, Ipswich and Sandwich were major ports… Continue reading The Staple

MISTRESS OF THE MAZE—Rosamund Clifford, Lover of King Henry II

Jane Shore is one of the most famous royal mistresses and certainly the prime one of the 15th century. Arguably, however, the most famous royal mistress in medieval English history  is the enigmatic Rosamund de Clifford, known as ‘Fair Rosamund’ or ‘Rose of the World.’ Like Jane, Rosamund seemed to have received a generally benign… Continue reading MISTRESS OF THE MAZE—Rosamund Clifford, Lover of King Henry II

ENGLAND’S MINORITY KINGS 1216-1483

Introduction This essay was prompted by a sentence in John Ashdown-Hill’s latest book ‘The Private Life of Edward IV’: “ According to English custom, as the senior living adult prince of the blood royal, the duke of Gloucester should have acted as Regent — or Lord Protector as the role was then known in England… Continue reading ENGLAND’S MINORITY KINGS 1216-1483

Richard’s ancestress on a rugby shirt

As the European rugby season enters another phase this week, we can focus on Blanche de Castile (1188-1252), granddaughter of Henry II, wife of Louis VIII, mother of and regent to (St.) Louis IX and great-grandmother of Isabelle, who married Edward II to become Richard III’s great-great-great-grandmother. In 2008, Stade Francais developed a new third… Continue reading Richard’s ancestress on a rugby shirt