Baby William, Baby William and, er, Baby William….

  What’s a long-suffering author to do when her book presents her with three babies from three families, actual people, all called William? Oh joy…. How I wish medieval folk had been more free-spirited and went for unusual names. But no, they called their boys William, Edward, John, Thomas or Henry. It’s very tiresome indeed,… Continue reading Baby William, Baby William and, er, Baby William….

The Conqueror’s corpse blew up at his funeral….!

It seems that William the Conqueror’s corpse “exploded” at his funeral. The thought of an exploding corpse is bad enough without actually seeing it as well. And smelling it, presumably. I can imagine all the mourners scattering in great alarm and haste. And superstitious dread as well, perhaps? Ew. The things one comes across while… Continue reading The Conqueror’s corpse blew up at his funeral….!

MAD, MURDEROUS MABEL

Many people still hold to the idea that all medieval women were quiet, timid, and downtrodden, unable to defend themselves and at the mercy of others. Clearly they have never heard of Mabel de Belleme! Mabel was a Norman noblewoman, born sometime in the 1030’s to William Talvas de Belleme and his first wife, Haburga.… Continue reading MAD, MURDEROUS MABEL

1066 Remembered

Nearly 1,000 years have passed… In October 2016 I began a series of posts in memory of 1066, arguably the most important year in the history of England. Interestingly enough, while I enjoyed history, this era was not always my favored, as it once seemed so complicated and intimidating; my memories of studying it in school were… Continue reading 1066 Remembered

The Iron Man, Bishop Odo of Bayeux….

If Bishop Odo of Bayeux is anything by which to judge, bishops were certainly something else back in the Norman period, and later, of course. As a friend has commented: “….As late as the 14th Century there was Bishop Henry Despenser. He was knighted before he became a clergyman and was literally made Bishop of… Continue reading The Iron Man, Bishop Odo of Bayeux….

The history of castles….

We all love early castles. Well, we can love those from later ages, but they don’t have quite the same cachet as those wonderful old fortresses that always make us gasp when we see them. But how did they evolve? And why did they become obsolete except as tourist attractions and scenic splendours? This article… Continue reading The history of castles….

Some more articles …

… on the Bayeux Tapestry are featured in this excellent journal, Peregrinations by the International Society for the Study of Pilgrimage Art. The first relevant article, which also discusses Viking longboats and the Battle of Fulford, earlier in 1066, starts on (pdf) page 196. The second starting on page 238 compares the Tapestry with Trajan’s… Continue reading Some more articles …

The Great British Dig – History in Your Garden

This excellent series began with a pilot last April, with Hugh Dennis and three archaeologists looking for a Roman settlement on the site of a former inn in Maidstone’s Florence Road. It resumed in February with the small team moving to Benwell, Newcastle, to locate a Hadrian’s Wall fort, followed by a Viking burial ground… Continue reading The Great British Dig – History in Your Garden

Was Edward the Confessor an albino….?

  Researching for my writing takes me all over the place … and to numerous figures from the past. This time, needing to know the attitude of medieval people to albinism, I was led to our long-revered medieval monarch and saint, Edward the Confessor. Now I’ll be the first to admit to not knowing a… Continue reading Was Edward the Confessor an albino….?

Richard III and Harold II

We all know that Richard is directly descended from William the Conqueror, who is his eleven times great grandfather. Here is Richard’s pedigree to William in three parts – follow the yellow dots left to right. (N.B. the first few generations have the yellow combined with red and blue which lead to other ancestors). But… Continue reading Richard III and Harold II