11 Striking Images from England’s Past

As a writer, I know that a thousand words are sooo important. But, even I have to admit, that sometimes a picture can tell a thousand words.

Heritage Calling

Choosing 300 images for Picturing England, a book featuring photographs from our Archive, was both a joy and a torment. It was a joy because my colleagues in the Archive unearthed so many fascinating and unfamiliar pictures from our holdings and a torment because we had to leave out so many wonderful photographs.

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Woman’s lover kills husband with axe! William Lucy,his wife Margaret and the king.

The HIstory Jar: always an interesting read

The History Jar

margaret lucyBy 1460 rivalries between Richard of York and Henry VI’s favourites had descended from political hostility into open warfare.  Having fled to Calais in 1459 in the aftermath of the Ludford Bridge disaster, the earl of Warwick, his father the earl of Salisbury, his uncle Lord Fauconberg and his cousin Edward earl of March arrived back in England at Sandwich with 2,000 men in June 1460. Their numbers snowballed.  The city of London fell to the Yorkists with only the Tower of London remaining in Lancastrian hands.

The Lancastrians moved out of their stronghold at Coventry intent upon confronting the gathering white rose host whilst the Yorkists came north with their artillery along Watling Street.  Jean de Waurin, the  Burgundian chronicler, explained that the Lancastrian army awaited their foes outside Northampton, in a park by a little river (the Nene).  The English Chronicle identified the battle as taking place between…

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The journey to the gallows

Between 1571 and 1783, over 1000 people, predominantly men, were executed at Tyburn. During the same period, there were also executions at Smithfield and Tower Hill. Imagine what it would be like to be taking the journey to the gallows: crowds jeering - sometimes numbering as many as 30,000, all manner of insults and objects being... Continue Reading →

Henry Stafford

The History Jar

478px-Lady_Margaret_Beaufort_from_NPGIn 1457 Margaret Beaufort, shown here in later life, along with her brother-in-law Jasper Tudor left Pembroke Castle.  They were on their way to arrange a marriage. The groom in question was Henry Stafford.  He was the second son of the Duke of Buckingham.

The pair married on the 3rd January 1458 at Maxstowe Castle. The marriage had been agreed by April at the latest the previous year but there was the inevitable dispensation to apply for and besides which Margaret possibly didn’t want to hurry the match because when she started married life as Mrs Stafford she relinquished the care of her infant son, Henry, into the care of Jasper Tudor.

Henry was twenty years or so older than Margaret who was nearly fifteen when she married for the third time. This means that Henry was born in 1425 (ish).  He was a second son of Ann Neville (daughter…

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John de la Pole, 2nd duke of Suffolk, the trimming duke and father of “white roses.”

The History Jar

john de la pole + elizabeth of york.jpgJohn de la Pole born in 1442 was the only son of William de la Pole, earl and then duke of Norfolk and Alice Chaucer, granddaughter of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. William de la Pole was Henry VI’s key adviser during the 1440s. It was he who arranged the marriage between Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou in a bid to bring the Hundred Years War to an end, on Henry’s orders it should be added – it didn’t end the war with the French and it didn’t make William popular with the English who blamed him for a French bride who had no dowry but who had cost England large areas of France: Maine and Anjou. It probably didn’t help that he was descended from a Hull wool merchant rather than being tied by blood to the ruling families.

John de la Pole is technically Margaret Beaufort’s first husband…

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Medieval Medicine – or lack thereof

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of medicine is: the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease (in technical use often taken to exclude surgery). a drug or other preparation for the treatment or prevention of disease: a spell, charm, or fetish believed to have healing, protective, or other power... Continue Reading →

ANZAC Day

While this is not an area of expertise for me, as a historian, it would be remiss of me to let ANZAC Day go by without mention of the 8,159 Australian men and, quite frankly, boys who lost their lives on the beach at Gallipoli. According to the Australian War Memorial, these lives were lost... Continue Reading →

Support in solitude

Writing is a solitary activity, right? Well - it is. But that doesn't mean that you have to do it in cultural isolation ..... I have tried a couple of different groups that actually meet to discuss writing etc. but they haven't really suited me. I wish they had and I will continue to keep... Continue Reading →

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