Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Its 1086 The Time of the Domesday Book

It's 1086 and Judheal of Totnes, a Breton knight, lords it over four of the five manors of my ancestors.  

Life for my Meavy ancestors in the centuries between their  beginnings as an isolated Dumnonii tribe and the invasion of the Normans would not have changed at all, it was still a hard and meager existence. They would still have hunted and farmed and defended what was theirs, the only difference during those years was who they defended their property from. The Meavy’s may not have heard of the kings who sat on the throne of England, but by the time the Domesday commissioners arrived at the doors they might not have known who William the Conqueror was but they would certainly know exactly what he wanted. 

Soon after Hastings the new Norman king was quick to realise the importance of securing the West Country, the first step in achieving this was to take Exeter, the fourth largest city in the country.  This town was still controlled by the Godwin family. Harold’s son had fled to Ireland but his mother, Gytha, who still lived within the city walls held out against the Norman forces during William’s return to Normandy, however on his return to England he made Exeter his first port of call. Exeter’s city walls withstood an eighteen month winter siege, many of the Norman soldiers succumbed to the cold, eventually though Exeter fell and Gytha escaped with her granddaughters to island of Flatholme in the Bristol Channel. There is no mention of Harold's son’s at the Siege of Exeter and it may well be that they were already in Ireland. Gytha’s stand at Exeter in 1068 wasn’t the last effort by the Godwins to take back some control of their father's country. Inevitably though, Devon would submit to Norman control, but before that Harold’s sons would give the invaders a run for their money. 

The story of my Devon ancestors, the Meavys continues on my website

Annulment of the Marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine

​On the 25th July 1137 Eleanor of Aquitaine married the son of Louis VI of France, and on Christmas Day 1137 she was queen of France.  An intelligent and feisty woman, Eleanor is said to have to have arrived at the cathedral town of Vezelay dressed like an Amazon galloping through the crowds on a white horse, urging men to join the crusades. She also had every intention to go herself, accompanied by three hundred of her ladies dressed in armor and carrying lances. 

My blog continues on my website


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Anne Neville

​I am always a little sad when it comes round to the 16th March, and the anniversary of the death of Anne Neville. This is because it is so difficult to find facts about her other than she was the wife of Richard III, daughter of the King Maker, an heiress to a vast estate and dead at twenty-eight under a solar eclipse.

​If I cannot find the real Anne Neville in words, then I can find her in art, and Edwin Austin Abbey's 1896 painting Richard Duke of Gloucester and Lady Anne does just that.

My blog on Anne Neville continues on my website at


John Beaufort

John Beaufort was highly regarded and gave good service to the crown. He was a diplomat and performed a number of official roles. He escorted his niece Blanche to Cologne for her marriage, and Joan of Navarre from Brittany into England for her marriage to the king. Regardless of his royal position he had little to show for it, there were no estates or money to inherit, andwhat land he held was granted by Richard II and Henry IV. His only real claim to fame was that he was the first of the Beaufort's, a family base born. 

My blog continues on my website at http://meanderingthroughtime.weebly.com/history-blog/death-of-john-beaufort

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Battle of Empringham or Losecoat Field

The Battle of Losecoat Field, which took place on the 12th March 1470, occurred ten years after Edward IV had brought the Lancastrian's to their knees at Towton, even so, Edward was still concerned with Lancastrian plots, he was, it seems, blind to the fact that Richard Earl of Warwick was cunning and we can be sure that Warwick was clever enough not to be seen to be involved in plotting the downfall of the House of York.

This battle, also known as the Battle of Empringham, was not simply a matter of York verses Lancaster. The situation was complex and confusing and involved minor rebellions, local land disputes and Warwick's machinations. My blog on this battle continues on my website at