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
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
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….
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….
… 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 …
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
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….?
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
Preface I conceived this article as a defence of King Henry V against the accusation that he was a war criminal. It became apparent, however, that my research was drawing me away from Henry’s campaigns towards a broader study of the origin and causes of the Hundred Years War. Soon, I was reading material going… Continue reading THE THREE HUNDRED YEARS WAR – Part 1: the Devil’s brood
Following his coronation, Richard III – like all medieval monarchs – went on his “royal progress” through the realm. Along with an entourage in excess of 200 household men, ecclesiastics, supporters, and administrative officials, he visited towns and cities as far west as the River Severn, as far north as the River Ouse, and as… Continue reading The Royal Progress of Richard III