The art that made us

This is another fascinating BBC2 series, illustrating English and British history through the evolution of our art. The eight one-hour episodes, narrated by David Threlfall (Men of the World), feature:The Roman and pre-Roman periods, Beowulf, the Norman conquest and the Bayeux Tapestry;     The Black Death, Wilton Diptych, Piers Plowman, Chaucer, Julian of Norwich,… Continue reading The art that made us

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)

A pedant writes…

In the aftermath of certain historical novels I have read recently, I should like to give the following information, in the hope it will be helpful to authors, editors (if they still exist) and indeed readers. SLAVERY – Although slavery was quite common in England in Anglo-Saxon times, it was became less usual after the… Continue reading A pedant writes…

Was Keats an admirer of Margaret of Anjou….?

When I was at school (before the Flood in 1960!) and studying O level English Literature I had to endure Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man (Siegfried Sassoon)😟, Henry IV Part I (the Bard, of course)😦 and Keats 🙃. Well, Keats was OK, I suppose, but what I remember about him most was all the sniggering… Continue reading Was Keats an admirer of Margaret of Anjou….?

A Song for the Stanleys

On the battlefield of Towton We were rearmost of the rear We were tasked to guard the baggage And to keep the exits clear But when the foe was vanquished And ran away in frantic fear We charged right in (We charged right in) We charged right in (We charged right in) We showed them… Continue reading A Song for the Stanleys

Colyngbourne was the rat….!

The following passage is from The Darlington and Stockton Times “The rat, the cat and Lovel our dog, Rule all England under a hog.” “This seemingly innocuous verse was in fact a searing criticism of those in power at the time it was written in 1484, and was found pinned to the door of St… Continue reading Colyngbourne was the rat….!

Something unexpected

After eleven revelatory history books in a decade, and two more forthcoming, this is very different. I wonder whether any of the subject matter is relevant to his research? There is only one way to find out.

A Weir(d) Myth-take (1): The Legend of Joan of York

After the time of long barrenness, God first send Anne, which signifyth grace, In token that at her heart’s heaviness, He as for barrenness would from them chase. Harry, Edward, Edmund, each in his place Succeeded; and after twain daughter came Elizabeth and Margaret, and afterwards William. John after William next born was, Which both… Continue reading A Weir(d) Myth-take (1): The Legend of Joan of York

The Last Plantagenet by Bob Ferdinand

Richard III killing William Brandon at Bosworth by artist Graham Turner

Poet Bob Ferdinand wrote this sonnet about Richard and entered it into the Nebraska Shakespeare Sonnet Contest last summer, winning second prize (should have been first!) The Last Plantagenet In August, at late Summer’s teeming height, The last Plantagenet rode forth one day Defying Fortune, rising to the fight And risking all in battle’s bloodied… Continue reading The Last Plantagenet by Bob Ferdinand