Trial by Combat.

  You might think that the Church would have approved of trial by combat. After all, it effectively remitted the cause to God’s judgement – assuming that you believe God intervenes in such affairs, as many people (presumably) did. In fact, as far back as the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 (Canon 18) the Church… Continue reading Trial by Combat.

Hanley Castle

Hanley Castle is located in the south-western part of Worcestershire, only a short distance from the Gloucestershire border. Today it is a small, agreeable village, notable for a school, an excellent pub, The Three Kings and an interesting church, consecrated in 1325. As the place name implies, there was once a castle here, although all… Continue reading Hanley Castle

A woman friend of King Richard II.

Thanks to the works of Douglas Biggs (cited below) I have learned something new and interesting about King Richard II. When he went to Ireland in 1399, he took a woman with him. The lady in question was a knight’s widow called Margaret Sarnesfield. Although her origins are uncertain, it is probable that she was… Continue reading A woman friend of King Richard II.

Thomas of Woodstock was an unpleasant, supposedly pious bully….

This article Thomas of Woodstock and Shakespeare’s Twisted History | Ancient Origins ( begins as follows:- “….William Shakespeare wrote ten history plays. Of these, one of the most famous is  Richard II . The play  Richard II , written around 1595, is based on the rule of King Richard II (reign 1377-1399), but one of the main characters in… Continue reading Thomas of Woodstock was an unpleasant, supposedly pious bully….

Richard II had an ostrich….

Here’s an oddity. Well, perhaps not, given that the kings of England had a royal menagerie at the Tower, in which a variety of exotic (to England) animals were kept. While looking at the Calendar of Patent Rolls for 1385 I came upon the following entry:- The entry doesn’t say the ostrich was kept in… Continue reading Richard II had an ostrich….

The blunders awaiting the Coronation….

Well, blunders and accidents can accompany just about any human activity, not only coronations, and the crowning of King Charles III is going to be a departure from the ancient ceremony, with a lot of changes and “modernising”. I’ve already written about my fears concerning that word “modernising”. My entire disenchantment with the Church of… Continue reading The blunders awaiting the Coronation….

The de la Pole history of a Hull pub….

It seems that a Hull pub stands on a historically important site because many centuries ago, the building on the corner of Lowgate and Alfred Gelder Street in the city centre replaced a certain Suffolk Palace, which once belonged to King Henry VIII. However, of much more interest to us than the Tudor monarch is… Continue reading The de la Pole history of a Hull pub….

Richard II enjoyed ravioli….!

    Well, one lives and learns. I quote from this article : “….the first written mention of ravioli was in a 14th-century Tuscan merchant’s recipe and, surprisingly, around the same time in a cookbook written by one of King Richard II’s chefs….” That one book has been enormously influential concerning our knowledge of medieval… Continue reading Richard II enjoyed ravioli….!

The two islands of St Patrick’s Purgatory….

  It would be true to say that Ireland often confounds this floundering English/Welsh writer. Because of the politics? No. Because of the weather? No. Because of the trouble past? No. Because of the religious complexities? No, although religion is at the heart of it. The point that is taxing my grey cells is to… Continue reading The two islands of St Patrick’s Purgatory….

Another Hundred Years’ Grudge

A few years ago, we showed that Robert Catesby, directly descended from Sir William Catesby, sought to kill James VI/I, a descendant of Henry VII, by gunpowder 120 years after Henry had Sir William hanged after Bosworth.This second case, of which I was reminded in Kathryn Warner‘s The Despensers, doesn’t involve direct ancestry on both… Continue reading Another Hundred Years’ Grudge