Tuesday, 3 May 2022

More Progress on Books

 I am pleased to say that I am more than 60% on with the second book in the Walking Among Lions series, and I expect to see it finished and out there by December 2022 at the latest. The working title is Hanley Castle but there is a chance that might change. Anyway, keep looking out for it. 

This will pretty well complete Constance's story when coupled with Within the Fetterlock. However, that novel is now 'hard to find' and also I have found out some new facts; I am conscious of some errors, and I now interpret the political situation slightly differently. Some of this will show up in Hanley Castle, but I have decided that a third volume in the same style is necessary to complete Constance's story.  This has a working title of The Downfall of Our House and I hope to have it out in 2023.

The second Alianore book, The Mists of Middleham is next up. It is very largely finished, just needs a certain amount of work, mainly polishing. It will be finalised once the third Constance book is out, and again I hope this will be in 2023.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

The long promised Constance Prequel

 Here we are.

Walking Among Lions is the first of a trilogy about Constance of York. It was first conceived as a prequel to Within the Fetterlock. (A draft title was This New Spring of Time but my friends changed my mind.)

As Within the Fetterlock is now 'hard to find' and my understanding of the politics and certain facts have changed, I have now decided to go the whole hog, so the trilogy will cover her whole life.

I just wanted to mention that a new paperback version of The Adventures of Alianore Audley is now available from Amazon, with a prettier cover and some improvements to the text.
A revised kindle version is to be had too, at a slightly lower price, and a hardback version should soon appear too! (For those who like their books to be reassuringly expensive.)
In case anyone is unfamiliar with Alianore I should stress this is a light-hearted book, not meant to be taken too seriously.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

The Complexities of Medieval Wardship

 I am currently trying to unravel the arrangements for the Despenser lands in the late 14th Century. It is quite complex.

When Edward, Lord Despenser died in November 1375, the wardship of his lands was given to his widow, Elisabeth. This was an unusual mark of favour and may reflect the fact that Sir Edward had been one of England's premier knights and was very well-regarded. Elisabeth also had a third of the lands in dower plus her inherited Burghersh lands which belonged to her in her own right. This made her a very wealthy and powerful woman, and all indications are that she did a very good job of protecting her son's lands rather than asset-stripping them as 'guardians' often did.

Of course, the grant was not absolute. She 'farmed' the wardship (which ultimately belonged to the King) and had to pay a fat annual fee for the privilege. This was quite normal practice. Some of that fee was certainly paid to the Duke of York, whose daughter was married to her son Thomas around about 1379. (They were both very small children.) This began a process where various members of the York family lived off the part of the Despenser revenues right up until 1415/16. But that's another story.

In December 1390, when Thomas was still only 17, he was associated with his mother in his own wardship. This was very unusual and shows a degree of favour from Richard II. However, it applied to only part of the inheritance. The two-thirds of Glamorgan not forming Elisabeth's dower were covered as was a selection of the English lands but by no means all of them. For this Thomas and Elisabeth had to pay £700 a year to the King plus smaller amounts to various people who had been given incomes based on the issues of the wardship. The implication is that the lands must have been worth more - perhaps much more. When it is borne in mind that the Duke of York's landed income was only £900, it shows how valuable the Despenser lands must have been.

How this worked in practice is hard to discern, but it looks like Elisabeth retained charge of much of the English inheritance. The purpose of this split eludes me.

In 1394 when Thomas was twenty, he was allowed full livery of all his lands some months before his birthday. This concession may have related to his decision to go with the King to Ireland, and the downside to it is we do not get a Proof of Age as he was never required to obtain one. This deprives us of a great deal of knowledge. Again, some people were given protection until he truly came of age, but he would have had the bulk of his inheritance and his mother's duty was at an end.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Is anyone else sick of hearing about Anne Boleyn?

 Apparently, there is to be yet another TV series around Anne Boleyn.

I get the distinct impression that the people who commission TV dramas are under the impression that England/Britain went straight from the Creation to the Tudors, and then directly to Jane Austen.

There were other eras in our rich and colourful history. There are literally hundreds of interesting tales that could be told.

To put it another way - I really like steak and chips. But I don't want it for every meal for the rest of my life. Variety is highly desirable.