The Despensers: The Rise and fall of a mediaeval family

Here is another of Kathryn Warner‘s volumes in which the genealogy is central but there is plenty of history about the principal individuals that comprise the structure of the book. These range from Hugh Despenser the Justiciar, who fell at Evesham in 1265 opposing Henry III, to his son and grandson (the latter married to… Continue reading The Despensers: The Rise and fall of a mediaeval family

Have two lost islands been traced off the Welsh coast….?

  The thought of lost/sunken lands has always fascinated me, beginning with the legendary land of Lyonesse, once believed to be off the coast of Cornwall, between Land’s End and the present Isles of Scilly. It features prominently in the story of Tristan and Iseult. And, like many such sunken lands, the bells of its… Continue reading Have two lost islands been traced off the Welsh coast….?

The origins of Whitehall….

The palace of Whitehall is usually associated with Henry VIII, but a house called White Hall occupied the “plot” well before then:- “….144 (f.52v, no.x’xvi). St. Martin in the Fields. 22 Oct. 1397. Charter of William Savage of London, William Skotte of Walpole, chaplain, and Thomas de Burgh, chaplain, granting with warranty to John de… Continue reading The origins of Whitehall….

Who was first to lie in state in Westminster Hall….?

  One of the things that always springs to mind about Westminster Hall is the amazing hammerbeam roof, for which we have our 14th-century monarch, Richard II, to thank. He didn’t build the hall itself, of course, because that accolade goes as far back as King William II “Rufus” in 1079. And Rufus was disappointed… Continue reading Who was first to lie in state in Westminster Hall….?

A Viking chief’s ring found in a collection of cheap jewellery….

(Before I start, I assure you I won’t mention clay pipes! 😁) A  young Norwegian lady purchased a collection of cheap costume jewellery online, and when it arrived she discovered one item was the ancient ring shown above. It had once belonged to a Viking chief. Can you imagine such a stroke of luck? How… Continue reading A Viking chief’s ring found in a collection of cheap jewellery….

Treachery is one man’s meat and another’s poison….

    I have been reading a very interesting article from the Journal of Medieval History by E. Amanda McVitty, called False knights and true men: contesting chivalric masculinity in English treason trials, 1388-1415. (Vol. 40, No. 4, 458–477) There is an old saying that one man’s meat is another man’s poison, and by the… Continue reading Treachery is one man’s meat and another’s poison….

Another one bites the dust….well, starts to….

While pursuing information about the medieval royal residence known as Henley-on-the-Heath in Surrey, I’ve found yet another example of our disappearing past. This one hasn’t quite gone, but it’s certainly being encroached upon. Now known as Ash Manor, this royal residence was purchased in 1324 by Edward II, and remained a royal property until Henry… Continue reading Another one bites the dust….well, starts to….

See around and maybe help at Coventry’s refurbished Charterhouse….

One never knows what treasures lurk in the English countryside, and indeed city and suburban areas. There are so many medieval morsels still lingering to delight the eye and make us proud of our magnificent heritage. The 14th-century Charterhouse at Coventry is no exception. It was founded by King Richard II in 1385. The Grade… Continue reading See around and maybe help at Coventry’s refurbished Charterhouse….

The appointment of women to the Garter. (Medieval era).

I have been trying to make sense of the method by which women were appointed to the Garter in the middle ages, and have concluded there was no system. Of course, as with the knights, who were nominally ‘elected’ by the other knights, it all came down to royal favour. But with the knights, there… Continue reading The appointment of women to the Garter. (Medieval era).

Two tragic kings called Richard….

  I know I’ve rabbited about this before, because I’m fascinated by both King Richard III and his predecessor Richard II. Such fascination sparks latter-day loyalties. It certainly has with me. Tragedy struck them both, and as supporters of Richard III we know he was maligned as the killer of his two small nephews, betrayed,… Continue reading Two tragic kings called Richard….