Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part Three)

Isabella’s protestations at the French court in Paris in 1325 sent out a wave of sympathy across Europe. Those that had been increasingly alienated by the Despensers and their control over the king, who seemed to protect his favourites at all costs, suddenly made Isabella a figurehead for the discontented. Within weeks, disgruntled members of the … More Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part Three)

Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part Two)

Until 1321 Isabella’s marriage to Edward II had proved successful. They had been married for thirteen years, produced four children and worked in a mutual partnership which appeared affectionate and productive. Isabella’s powers of queenly intercession were used in a conventional way and she had the support of her husband in influencing policy where she … More Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part Two)

Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part One)

Isabella of France has gone down in legend as one of the femme-fatales of medieval history. According to the traditional and widely told story, the queen, scorned by her husband whilst he pursued his male favourites, was left bereft and alone and thereby inevitably fell into the arms of her lover, Roger Mortimer. Their passionate and illicit … More Isabella: Wife, Queen, Rebel (Part One)

In Defence of a Queen: The ‘Chapter’ of Myton, 1319

Under the cover of darkness they moved with great stealth. Their mission a simple one; the capture of Isabella, Queen of England and wife of Edward II.(1) Sir James Douglas and Thomas Randolph, earl of Moray led the Scottish hit and run raid. The plan it would seem was conjured up in the heat of … More In Defence of a Queen: The ‘Chapter’ of Myton, 1319

A Writer’s Journey #5: ‘The Book’ begins to take shape

So the last few weeks have been both extremely busy but also lots of great fun. Having now moved house just because I like a challenge, Zack, my mischievous tabby and I are now unpacked and settled in. I’ve even managed to tackle the garden with the help of my mum, who after inflicting years … More A Writer’s Journey #5: ‘The Book’ begins to take shape

A Royal Traitor: The Life & Execution of Thomas of Lancaster

Thomas of Lancaster, a man of royal birth and immense wealth, power and position, met a grisly end on this day, 22 March 1322; 695 years ago. He was not killed in battle, died of plague or old age, but rather on the order of his cousin King Edward II, Thomas was executed outside the … More A Royal Traitor: The Life & Execution of Thomas of Lancaster

All the King’s Men: The Forgotten Royal Favourites (Part Two)

By the dawn of 1318, Edward II’s royal favourites, Roger Damory, Hugh Audley the Younger and William Montacute still dominated at court. Thomas of Lancaster, the king’s cousin, remained in the north, isolated from his peers and repeatedly refusing to attend upon the king because of his suspicions of Edward’s motives for revenge for the … More All the King’s Men: The Forgotten Royal Favourites (Part Two)

The Siege of Caerlaverock Castle: A Herald’s Eye-Witness Account

Whilst out on my castle hunting road trip a few weeks ago through southern Scotland and northern England, I took the time to visit many historic sites relating to the fourteenth century, and Edward I and II in particular. Caerlaverock is just one of them with a particularly exciting story. Caerlaverock castle sits in a strategic … More The Siege of Caerlaverock Castle: A Herald’s Eye-Witness Account

Berkeley Castle: A ‘Murderous’ Prison Cell

Last week I was fortunate enough to have been granted special permission by Lord and Lady Berkeley to visit their magnificent home, Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, which is closed to the public during winter. Berkeley has a rich heritage and is perhaps most infamous for the traditional tale of the murder of Edward II, held … More Berkeley Castle: A ‘Murderous’ Prison Cell

How to hold a Medieval Parliament: By those who were there (Part Two)

Following on from part one, those called to parliament still have much to do and many rules to abide by. The studious clerk who started penning his treatise must have been either very keen, on a good commission or had underestimated the enormity of his task. There are still nine ‘rules’ left to discuss. He … More How to hold a Medieval Parliament: By those who were there (Part Two)

My Recent Facebook Interview with ‘The History Geeks’

Recently, I was interviewed by the very talented team at ‘The History Geeks’. These are the guys who run the globally renowned history site on Facebook. It was a real blast and I have to say I enjoyed every minute of it. Below is what they grilled me on; Nb: where it says ‘see more’, … More My Recent Facebook Interview with ‘The History Geeks’