Medieval times

The queen that never was

In 1269, Eleanor of Castile gave birth to a little girl, named after her mother. At the time, Eleanor was some years shy of thirty years, had been married to Edward of England for fifteen years and had, so far, been brought to bed of six children that we know of. Three of those were …

The queen that never was Read More »

Oh, woe us! A tale of two tied-up ladies

After a hiatus of several weeks, it is quite fun to be back writing a post. Not that today’s protagonists would label their experiences as particularly fun. Truth be told, our ladies of the day had an anything but pleasant experience—assuming what has made it down the centuries to us is true. After all, the …

Oh, woe us! A tale of two tied-up ladies Read More »

Mr Anonymous – the life of a medieval hero

Sometimes, my brain snags on the little things. Like when I am reading up on the Aragonese Crusade—an attempt by French king Philip III to claim Aragon for his younger son—and end up stuck on the fact that one of the protagonists in that ancient medieval mess is a nameless man. Obviously, our hero wasn’t …

Mr Anonymous – the life of a medieval hero Read More »

The mouse that squeaked – or the story of a VERY short siege

There’s something about sieges, isn’t there? An encircled fortress—or city—and it is all one long waiting game as the cat outside wonders just how long the mouse will stay in its hole before lack of food and water forces it to venture beyond the safety of its walled haven. Mind you, I don’t think the …

The mouse that squeaked – or the story of a VERY short siege Read More »

A boring man begat a boring man who begat a dragon

Very many years ago, I read Edith Pargeter’s excellent quartet, The Brothers of Gwynedd. A sad and tragic story, featuring Llywellyn ap Gruffyd, the Last Prince of Wales and his baby brother, Dafydd (also the Last Prince of Wales – actually the Last Prince of Wales, seeing as he took over after Llywellyn was killed). …

A boring man begat a boring man who begat a dragon Read More »

When the Welsh underdog bites

In 1283, the last true Prince of Wales, Dafydd ap Gruffud, was hauled up the gallows in Shrewsbury and subjected to the horrifying ordeal of being hanged, drawn and quartered. Whether he died bravely or not we do not know. Personally, I think it is unlikely any human being can be subjected to such cruelty …

When the Welsh underdog bites Read More »

Not a sinner, not a saint – meet a lady with a helping hand!

Some weeks before Christmas, I had the pleasure of reading Tinney Heath’s latest book, Lady of the Seven Suns. If you enjoy well-written historical fiction in a somewhat unusual setting (no knights, no damsels in distress, nowhere close to the royal courts of France or England) this book is a must-read. Come to think of …

Not a sinner, not a saint – meet a lady with a helping hand! Read More »

Not every Christmas is a good Christmas – a story of treachery, vengeance and death

So, it is Christmas. Well, not quite, we are still some days away, but all the same, the holiday season is upon us. A season of love and peace, of happy family reunions and the joyful sound of children laughing in the snow. Ha! Sometimes, Christmas is much, much grimmer. Like in the year 1317, …

Not every Christmas is a good Christmas – a story of treachery, vengeance and death Read More »

Married, spurned, poisoned – not a life to aspire to

Today, we’ll be spending time with a lady named Blanca. Some of you may groan. After all, medieval history is full of ladies called Blanca or Blanche. Among the more famous is the Blanca of Castile who went on to become Queen Blanche of France and mother to St Louis of France. Hers was a …

Married, spurned, poisoned – not a life to aspire to Read More »

A bad, bad man and his fiery exit

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a colourful if unsavoury gentleman. Well: gentleman he was not, no matter he was born under the fleur de lys on both sides, i.e. both his mother and his father were close relatives to the French king. Just goes to show that there is no correlation between royal …

A bad, bad man and his fiery exit Read More »