Friday, 18 November 2016

George Talbot and Bess of Hardwick

It was on this day in 1590 that George Talbot, the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury died.

Talbot was the fourth husband of Bess of Hardwick and it was under their care the exiled Mary Queen of Scots lived for fifteen years.

King Henry III

The Statutes of Marlborough

When Simon de Montfort returned to England from France, he perceived Henry III to be a weak king and with the barons aching for a fight, it was de Montfort who stepped in to take charge.

In 1258 this action culminated in the Provisions of Oxford, a law that served to limit Henry’s power. Henry’s refusal to accept the Provisions of Westminster the following year saw Montfort’s power base grow rapidly, and by 1263 he was all ​but wearing the crown. 

he following year at the Battle of Lewes, Henry, his son the future Edward I, and Richard, Duke of Cornwall were taken prisoner but another year later the tables were turned. At the Battle of Evesham, Simon de Montfort died a grisly death, but Henry's troubles were not over yet. 

My blog continues on my website

Battle Map

Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses were a series of battles that took place over a thirty year period. The official start date was the 22nd May 1455 with the Battle of St Albans, but it is my belief that the seeds of this conflict were the issues between York and Somerset that were sown into a country that had real problems following the death of Edward, the Black Prince and the reign of Richard II. 

You can find more information regarding two of these battles, one of which, the Battle of Stoke in 1487 on my blog on my website

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Sir Walter Raleigh on Trial at Winchester Castle

On the 17th November 1603, in the Great Hall at Winchester Castle, Sir Walter Raleigh stood in his own defense at his trial for treason. He had been accused of plotting against James I. 

A man of many talents Raleigh may have been, but a lawyer was not one of them. He was unsuccessful in his case despite his calls to have Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham, the alleged leader of the plot, brought into the proceedings. Raleigh stated:

"it is strange to see how you press me still with my Lord Cobham, and yet will not produce him......he is in the househard by, and may soon be brought hither; let him be produced, and if he will yet accuse me or avow this confession of his,it shall convict me and ease you of further proof."

You can read more about Sir Walter Raleigh's trial on my latest blog on my website

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Saints of Cornwall

"There are more saints in Cornwall than in all of heaven" 
So says the Cornish proverb.

In the so called Dark Ages, Celtic missionaries began arriving en masse on the shores of Cornwall and nearly all these men and women established a small cell, where they lived a quiet and spiritual existence.
These cells were often places where there was an existing well, a spring or some kind of natural monument, later of course larger monuments were erected in their names in the form of a church.

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The Marriage of Matilda of Scotland

On the 11th November 1100 Edith, or as history knows her Matilda, married Henry I of England.
Their marriage followed the death of Henry's brother William Rufus in the New Forest just three months before.

It is unknown if Henry had met Matilda before their marriage, but the suggestion is that he may have first seen her in the William's court. Previous to her marriage, Matilda had resided in Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, living there under the guidance of Christina, her 'wicked' aunt. Christina had been Abbess of Romsey since 1086 and was Matilda's mother, Margaret of Scotland's sister. Following this Matilda lived at Wilton Abbey, a Benedictine convent in Wiltshire, where she was well educated. 

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Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Percy's of Alnwick.

Henry Percy 1341 - 1408

Henry Percy, first Earl of Northumberland was, according to Shakespeare:

"the ladder upon which the mounting Bolingbroke ascends the throne.”

This statement reflects the rise of the Percy family during the reign of Richard II and the subsequent usurpation of the throne by Henry Bolingbroke.

You can read more of Henry Percy's story on my blog on my website at 

Friday, 4 November 2016

What a Coincidence !

Life is full of coincidences isn't it? One that springs to my mind is the events of a holiday to Lanzarote a few years ago.

As our plane taxied down the runway of East Midlands airport, the pilot introduced himself as Captain Benbow, nearly all of the passengers sniggered, including me. What was probably going through their mind, as it was mine, was the thought he may have looked a bit like Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stephenson's book Treasure Island.

Many of you will know that Stephenson's wonderful story is the tale of Jim Hawkin’s quest for buried treasure that begins at his father’s inn.

Can any of you remember its name?​

You can find out on my blog entitled Of Treasure Islands and Coincidence on my website: