Saturday, 8 December 2012

Richard of Conisbrough, Earl of Cambridge

I have noticed that the Wiki Page for young Richard has been expanded considerably and now includes reference to his possible illegitimacy. It even provides us with an image of him, and to be honest I don't recall having seen it before, though I may have done somewhere.

What the article fails to mention is the seminal work of T.B. Pugh in Henry V and The Southampton Plot, which is unfortunate because I am 95% certain that Pugh was the first reputable historian to draw attention to the matter and suggest Richard was not born until 1385, or thereabouts. It also fails to mention that Shirley, the 15th century collector of poems and servant of various nobles, the man who first linked this supposed affair to Chaucer's poem, had known links to Isabel Countess of Essex (Cambridge's daughter) and Isabelle, Countess of Warwick (Cambridge's niece.) These ladies were in a position to know their family gossip - whether they shared it with Shirley and told him it was 100% kosher we shall never know.

Frankly I should prefer to think that Edward IV and Richard III were descendants of Edmund of Langley - but we can at least be reasonably sure that they were descended from Lionel of Clarence, which is the key thing from the point of view of the succession.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Progress on This Blog

One or two people have enquired about progress on this Blog.

The very limited appetite I have currently for writing and historical research is being focused on the Alianore Audley II book. I also have very little spare time because of family responsibilities.

If anyone wants to write a guest article they have only to offer. Otherwise it will have to be a wait until the right planets align.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Maybe it's me, but...

The discovery of Richard's body (if it is him) seems also to have dug up all the old, fruitless arguments between his 'supporters' and his 'detractors' - for want of better labels. Maybe it's because I'm so long in the game, but the exercise seems increasingly pointless. For every argument there is a counter-argument, and neither side is going to change its collective mind. I can think of parallels, but I've no wish to be offensive so I'll spare you the comparison. I just get weary of reading the same old stuff on every Ricardian and Wars of the Roses Forum I've subscribed to. Because of this, I've pretty much given up joining in.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Richard III - Found?

Well, we have to wait for the DNA tests for conclusive proof, but I doubt whether the comments made at the Press Conference would have gone so far if there was very much room to doubt that it is him.

I have no doubt that this will spark a whole new wave of interest in Richard III, and doubtless a whole catalogue of new books, both fact and fiction, from both the Richard-haters and the Richard-defenders.

Some people have gone so far as to suggest a state funeral. I think this would be OTT and plain wrong. For one thing, the country is broke. Far too much money has already been spent this year on fripperies at a time when essential services are being cut.

For another, at a state funeral all the best places would go to so-called VIPs. I suspect the number of 'VIPs' who care a fig for Richard can be counted on the fingers of one severely war-damaged hand. No, the occasion should be for his friends and supporters, not least the members of the Richard III Society and the other societies with an interest. For the people who actually care.

On historical matters, let me mention that for many years it was established 'tradition' that Richard's bones had been thrown into the River Soar. That is now almost certainly proved to be bunkum. In addition, despite at least one ignorant newspaper report to the contrary, it seems he was not a hunchback. (Many of us us suspected so all along, but the legend persisted.) The point is folks - there are other 'traditions' that may in time be proved to be a load of old tripe.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A Warning

Unfortunately, Within the Fetterlock is not yet available in downloadable format, though I still hope it will be, one day.

This has not stopped one 'enterprising' company offering it as such. Either they are sending out a pirate version (which I doubt) or they are just trying to harvest card details.

Beware, folks!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Execution of the Earl of Oxford and his son.

In theory, Magna Carta had guaranteed that peers would always be tried by their peers. However, there were exceptions to this, certainly in the fifteenth century. One day when I have more leisure I will discuss the relevant precedents - there are quite a number and it would make for a long and (possibly) tedious post. Anyway, the theory was that peers would be tried by their peers - let us say for convenience this means before the House of Lords, making use of Common Law procedures. I should add though that the peer being tried was not allowed to have a counsel to present his case, and nor was he given advance notice of the nature of the prosecution case or who the witnesses (if any) would be. So we are not talking about what the 21st Century would call a fair trial. The peer would have to answer the charges on his own wit, and, to be frank, if matters had got this far his chances of acquittal were slim. Off hand I can only think of one fifteenth century peer who was acquitted - Northumberland in 1403, when he was pronounced guilty only of trespass. The circumstances were particular. Henry IV's political position was weak, and he had many enemies among the peers. He made sure thereafter that no peer received a trial before Parliament during the rest of his reign.

Although Richard II had empowered his Constable and Marshal to 'arrest and chastise all traitors' the actual use of the Constable's court for this purpose was rare up until the Yorkist period. The most common use of the court was in the immediate aftermath of a battle, where it was felt that summary justice was appropriate. The Constable's Court did not use Common Law, but rather the Roman or Civil Law. Under this system it was the duty of the judge to examine the 'facts' and decide on the guilt or innocence of the party without reference to a jury. Of course, the Constable (and/or Marshal) was normally, if not invariably, a peer, so in that sense the accused still received 'trial by his peers', but not, I think, in the sense originally intended. Roman or Civil Law took much less cognisance of individual rights and was more about enforcing the power of the sovereign. This was never more true than in treason cases.

Let us be quite frank. The Constable's Court was a kangaroo court. You had about as much chance of being acquitted as you had of flying to the moon. Just because it was called 'a court' it does not mean it was anything that people living in a modern democracy would recognise as such. It was a formalised lynching party.

Now, in the immediate aftermath of a battle, where no one could sensibly deny that Lord X had made war upon the King, this was maybe no big deal, away from those more concerned with theoretical rights than practicalities. But to use it in other circumstances was harsh and novel.

To discuss the fate of the Earl of Oxford, we must return briefly to 1462 when, as you may remember, Margaret of Anjou was in France planning an invasion of England. She wrote to Oxford and Oxford wrote back. Unfortunately for them both (but particularly for Oxford) Yorkist Intelligence intercepted the letters, opened them for inspection and copying, and then allowed them to proceed. Yes folks, there really was a Yorkist Intelligence Service, though it was not officially known as such! Espionage and the monitoring of individuals for possible subversive action was another thing not invented by the Tudors.

The Government waited until details of Margaret's landing were revealed by the correspondence, and then John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester - the Constable - aided by Lords Ferrers and Herbert arrested the alleged conspirators, namely Oxford, his eldest son, Aubrey de Vere, Sir Thomas Tuddenham, Sir John Montgomery and Sir William Tyrrell. All were promptly tried by Worcester in his 'Constable's Court' - Ross says 'speedily convicted'. Arrested on 12th February, the last of them died on Tower Hill on 26th February.

Now, there had not been a battle and nor was there any immediate danger to justify this haste. Oxford at least ought to have been tried by the House of Lords, and there is really no cogent reason why he could not have been held in the Tower until they were assembled. The 'process' - if it can be so dignified - was unprecedented in a case of conspiracy, and it's a neat question whether Oxford's dealings actually constituted treason. (Under Henry VIII they certainly would have done, but the law of treason in 1462 was much more tightly drawn.)

In effect, Oxford was 'murdered'. But I have never come across anyone calling Edward IV a murderer on his behalf.

Oxford's younger son, John de Vere, was eventually allowed to inherit the title, and he married one of Warwick's numerous sisters. The treatment of his father and brother turned him into a lifelong 'Lancastrian' and despite various escapades he was able to survive to fight for Henry Tudor at Bosworth.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, part 6

As an aside, I notice from the site statistics that more people from the USA and Russia read this blog than do those from the UK. Anyway, wherever you are from, you are very welcome!

Montagu conferred with Warwick at York, but the Great Man evidently decided that his younger bro. was more than capable of dealing with Somerset and his small force. However, he reinforced Montagu with Lords Greystoke and Willoughby. These men were both former Lancastrians - but then again, who wasn't? They were to prove faithful to their new allegiance, though this may have been more to Neville than to York.

Montagu returned to Newcastle, and there received intelligence that Somerset was near Hexham, some way off to the west towards Carlisle. A rapid march discovered the enemy camp, and after placing some of his men so as to cut off any possible retreat, John Neville launched a fierce attack. (15 May 1464.) The fighting did not last long, and the Lancastrian leaders were almost all captured or killed. Somerset himself was executed without further ado, on the battlefield itself. There does not appear to have been even a rudimentary trial for him or any of the others - matters had gone beyond such niceties.

Lord Hungerford and several knights were beheaded in Newcastle. Two more knights suffered at Middleham, and a whole batch were kept until Edward IV could reach York and executed in his presence. (26 May.)

Among those who did get away were Somerset's brothers, Edmund and John. They eventually managed to secure safe refuge in Burgundy, where they were made welcome by Duke Charles.

As for Henry VI, he had been left in Bywell Castle. Hearing the result of the battle he wisely made himself scarce, making his way over many miles of rough and high ground until he was eventually found wandering by a shepherd near Ravenglass in what is now Cumbria. The lord of the local castle (Muncaster) gave the king shelter, and Henry stayed there for some time. After such a formidable tramp the poor man was probably exhausted. He left the family his glass drinking bowl as a token of thanks and this may still be seen at the castle.

Oh, by the way, on 1 May 1464, while all this was going on, Edward IV found time to slip away and make a secret marriage with Elizabeth Woodville. If he was involved with Eleanor Talbot-Butler he was obviously no longer interested in that lady. The political aspects of the marriage were now irrelevant. Is the timing of Edward's Woodville marriage just a coincidence? Maybe. There is no way to prove the matter one way or the other.

Next post will be about the execution of the Earl of Oxford and his son. Which, if critics of Richard III wish to be consistent, they will be compelled to declare murder. But strangely no one has ever called Edward a murderer on this account...

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, part 5

As the months slipped by at Holt or Chirk or both, Somerset had ample opportunity to consider his position. First, he had effectively been rusticated, which to a courtier's mind meant he was out of favour. Next, he was located in an area where the local populace were notably restive. (Not being familiar with this part of the world he may not have realised that this was pretty much par for the course for Chester and North Wales, and had been for centuries.) We can probably take it as read that he came across some Welshmen of name who were still hot for Lancaster. He may have thought on the fact that Harlech Castle was still holding out against the Yorkists, while in the North, of course, the Lancastrians were back in charge of several castles and Henry VI himself was back on English soil.

To do nothing was a risk - King Edward might have no further use for him, and in that event his future in Yorkist England would be bleak. He had many obvious enemies, including at least one or two who were exceptionally powerful. To turn his coat again also had its risks, obviously. Unless he was unusually obtuse, Somerset must have realised that - in the present circumstances - a Lancastrian restoration was a tall order. He may still have hoped that Queen Margaret would win the support of Louis XI. (In point of fact Louis had already refused to give any aid whatsoever, and Margaret was reduced to living (with her few followers) on the small amount of money her impoverished father could spare her.)

Anyway, round about Christmas 1463 Somerset departed from Wales in some haste, accompanied by a small party of followers (who may well have included his brothers Edmund - recently released from the Tower - and John of whom practically nothing is known.) After some hair-raising adventures, including one incident where Somerset was almost arrested, they eventually reached Bamburgh and made their submission to Henry VI. King Henry was doubtless very pleased to see them, as he badly needed every man he could muster. A relatively competent general like Somerset must have seemed like a Godsend.

Somerset did not sit around, but began to take such active measures as a man with very few soldiers at his disposal could. In April 1464 he attempted an ambush on John Neville, Lord Montagu, who was on his way to Newcastle to escort some Scottish envoys to York, where they were scheduled to hold peace negotiations with the Neville brothers. There was a fight, but Montagu cut his way through to Newcastle, where he promptly recruited a small force and set out to destroy Somerset. The 'armies' met at Hedgeley Moor near Morpeth on 25 April. Montagu attacked at once and Sir Ralph Percy was killed; however Somerset and the majority of men fled to higher ground and Montagu decided it was too risky to pursue with his small number of men. So he returned to Newcastle, picked up the Scots, and made his way back to York to consult with his brothers about the next step.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, part 4.

In the early summer of 1463, Sir Ralph Percy reverted to his former Lancastrian loyalties and surrendered Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh to the Scottish/Lancastrian allies. In its way, trusting Ralph Percy with this responsibility had been as big a gamble as trusting Somerset, but it may have been the case that he was the only practical option in this neck of the woods, where the Percy name was still important.

Perhaps more surprising was the decision of Sir Ralph Grey to hand over Alnwick to the enemy. Grey had been regarded as a committed 'Yorkist' and was indeed grandson to the Grey executed with Cambridge at Southampton in 1415.

Warwick and Montagu were immediately instructed to mobilise their forces in the north - Warwick had been in London for the Parliament and had to make a long journey. Edward meanwhile concluded the Parliament without any undue haste and moved to Northampton, where he planned a muster.

Somerset was very much in his company - but the men of Northampton remembered the damage to their town caused by the Lancastrian armies a few years before, and rioted against the duke, even though he was in King Edward's proximity and surrounded by the King's guards. Edward had to break up the 'scuffle' with his own hands, rescue Somerset and threaten the rioters with a swift hanging if they did not disperse. The angry citizens retreated to their homes, and Somerset was saved.

However, Edward decided that he could no longer be kept about his person while emotions were so high against him. He sent Somerset (with a suitable guard) off to North Wales. Accounts differ as to whether it was to Chirk or Holt. I suspect the latter as the Duke of Norfolk was established there, with the difficult task of keeping order among some fairly restless local punters. This Norfolk was not the one who fought at Towton, but his young son, an individual who was always to prove a loyal Yorkist, albeit not a particularly capable one. He was probably employed at Holt as he was the only magnate available for the task with lands in the strategic area, not because of his great ability. But his wife, Elizabeth Talbot, was first cousin of Somerset and of course, sister to the legendary Lady Eleanor Talbot! I believe Somerset was sent to stay 'with family'. Given that the area was riven with Lancastrian dissent, it was not an obvious place to send someone Edward suspected might choose to defect. This leads me to think that Edward still had faith in Somerset.

The Nevilles meanwhile relieved Norham Castle and Newcastle, but were not in a position to recapture the lost castles. In August Margaret of Anjou and a small party set off for France again, hoping to secure more aid from King Louis. Whatever faults Queen Margaret had, no one could accuse her of being a pessimist.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, part 3

Lest it be forgotten, this Somerset was the Somerset who had commanded the Lancastrian forces at Wakefield and Towton and was thus (arguably) responsible for the deaths of (among others) Salisbury (Warwick's dad and Edward's uncle), Rutland (Edward's brother and Warwick's cousin) and Richard, Duke of York (Edward's dad and Warwick's uncle.) He had been (since at least first St. Albans) as big an enemy of the Yorkist cause as anyone you can name, including Margaret of Anjou. So on the face of it, it's hard to understand why Edward extended favour to him, when someone like Jasper Tudor (who if no better was certainly no worse) was told to pick up his bag and walk.

First, the basic reason. It was part of the deal to capture Bamburgh, quickly and with minimum expense. OK, that accounts for the pardon, and maybe the restoration of land, but not the favour. Even Warwick might have gone along with this, out of sheer practicality.

Second, the politics. Somerset was a key Lancastrian player. More important than any other single noble. It was at least arguable that if could be persuaded to make a permanent defection, the wars would be over. This may well have been Edward's calculation.

Third, the personal. It is my suspicion (I have no proof!) that Edward's involvement with Somerset's cousin, Lady Eleanor Talbot, was part of the mix. Edward may have thought that there was potential to win over not only Somerset but also the Talbots, an important 'Lancastrian' family via this route. Apart from this, Somerset seems to have been an urbane individual, and was possibly quite likeable on a personal level. He and Edward had a fair bit in common, having commanded armies at a relatively young age - maybe they compared notes?

Anyway, it is an undoubted fact that Edward showed Somerset marked favour. He shared his bed with him - this by no means implies a sexual involvement in the context of the time, but it was an exceptional sign of favour and trust. He hunted with Somerset. He placed Somerset in charge of his guard.

Warwick and Montagu (and probably others) were unhappy with this. First, because potentially more favour for Somerset would mean less for them, given there is only ever so much patronage to go round. Secondly they feared Somerset might try to murder Edward - he certainly had adequate opportunity. They may well have felt that Edward's treatment of Somerset was naive. (Yet if it was, it was exceptional. Edward, even as a young man, was far from naive and more than capable of being ruthless. As I hope to explore shortly with a post about the execution of Oxford and his son.)

In the next post I shall try to explain how this all went 'orribly wrong.

Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, part 2

When Margaret landed her troops managed to capture Alnwick Castle, but attempts to recruit locally were not particularly successful. The local 'power' was the Percy family, but they had been badly mauled at Towton, to say the least, and their supporters were naturally wary of sticking their heads in the noose. Eventually news reached the Queen that King Edward was on his way with a substantial army, and she and her followers took to ship again, apparently with the intention of landing at Scots-held Berwick. Unfortunately (from a Lancastrian point of view anyway) storms blew up and the ships were scattered.

Margaret and de Breze did manage to reach Berwick (eventually, in half-drowned condition) but many of their followers fell victim to the storms and the local Yorkist supporters. Most of the advantage gained by going to France and cutting an expensive deal with Louis XI had now been lost, and the Scots remained somewhat lukewarm allies.

There were however some castles still in the hands of the Lancastrians. Notably the newly-captured Alnwick, Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh. Dunstanburgh was Duchy of Lancaster property, but not even John of Gaunt had lived there - it was, at best, a military fortress, not a mansion. Alnwick and Bamburgh, as former Percy residences, may have been a tad more comfortable. Anyway, most of the remaining Lancastrians garrisoned these strongpoints, with Somerset in charge at Bamburgh.

It was now of course the dead of winter. Queen Margaret was safe in Scotland, and from there a relieving force, headed by de Breze and the Earl of Angus, was prepared. Angus was (at least by the standards of the time) a very old man. He had actually fought at Homildon Hill in 1402, and been captured by Hotspur's army!

Meanwhile, Edward IV fell ill with measles and had to go to bed at Durham - who with is not recorded. This left Warwick in overall charge, and he promptly set sieges around the various Lancastrian castles. The potential arrival of a Scottish army did however make the Yorkist attitude a little more flexible than usual, and generous terms were offered for surrender, including the reversal of attainders. Those in Bamburgh (including Somerset) almost bit Warwick's hand off in their eagerness to accept. (26 December 1462). Dunstanburgh hauled down its flag next day. Alnwick proved somewhat tougher, as the garrison there had somehow got wind that relief was on its way. The siege broke on 6 January, and Lord Hungerford and the other die-hards got away to the Scots. However Angus decided enough was enough and went home without fighting, leaving the Yorkists free to take the castle all over again.

The Lancastrians who surrendered were in no case executed. Dr Morton simply went his way, eventually back to Queen Margaret. Jasper Tudor was also apparently given to understand that he was not welcome, and allowed to depart. On the other hand Somerset was made welcome. King Edward restored his estates and treated him with a degree of favour that was to draw complaints from the Neville brothers. I shall go into more detail in the next post.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (Part 1)

Somerset (this Somerset being Henry, the one who led the Lancastrians at Towton) fled to Scotland, but then in the summer of 1461 travelled to France in an attempt to gain assistance for his cause. Unfortunately for him, King Charles VII died in July, and the new King, Louis XI, promptly had Somerset thrown into prison. Louis had been at odds with his father and was now (apparently) keen to reverse his policies. The gesture was probably intended to please the aged Philip, Duke of Burgundy, with whom Louis had been lodging for some years. Philip was a strong Yorkist supporter.

Luckily for Somerset, Philip's son, Charles of Charolais (the future Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy) had taken a liking to the Beaufort when they had met on a previous occasion, and had him released. Somerset was given an audience with the King and sundry presents and sent back to Caledonia.

Queen Margaret of Anjou was not happy with this failure. For her own part she had found Scotland a somewhat limited source of assistance. James III was still a child and his mother, Queen Mary of Guelders, had her hands full keeping the country is some kind of order. In addition, it need scarcely be added, the Scots Treasury was in its usual state of emptiness. Nevertheless, Margaret promised to hand over Berwick in return for their help, such as it was or could be.

She now travelled to France to see what she herself could do with the new King. Louis kept he hanging about until May 1462 before he would even give her an audience. Then he demanded Calais as security for a relatively small loan and permission to recruit French soldiers. Queen Margaret agreed, and would probably have offered Kent and Sussex as well had he asked for it. She was desperate and had little choice.

In September 1462, Margaret was able to sail for the north of England with 800 French soldiers under command of a nobleman, Pierre de Breze. It was a hopelessly small force with which to make such an attempt, and the price of it (if theoretical) was outrageous. No English politician would have dared to suggest the surrender of Calais - it would have cost him his head. The surrender of both Calais and Berwick together would have been unthinkable - and yet Queen Margaret had agreed to it.

More in a few days...

The Adventures of Alianore Audley

Bewrite, who publish The Adventures of Alianore Audley have decided to stop printing books. All books, not just mine. This means that if you want a print copy you had better move swiftly while they are still to be had. You may already be too late, depending on what (if any) stocks are held.

The good news is that it will still be available in e-format, for Kindle, etc.

I now have the copyright back for the print version, and theoretically, if I can find a publisher interested in doing a print-only version, a new version might emerge at some point. Any offers gratefully received. (I've always thought an illustrated version would be fun, just need a cartoonist.)

You have this news almost as soon as I had

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Pilkingtons of Pilkington

This post was originally published on the English Historical Fiction Authors' Blog. However it is relevant to The Yorkist Age so I have reproduced it here for the benefit of anyone who hasn't already seen it.

'Pilkington' as a place name no longer exists, but it was formerly a part of what is now the Metropolitan Borough of Bury in Greater Manchester (Or Lancashire if you are a traditionalist) and included a very large park for the hunting of game. The manor house was at a place called Stand, the highest part of the lordship. It is said that the name 'Stand' originated from the one-time existence of a stand from which the ladies of the family could watch their menfolk as they chased deer around the park that spread out to the south. The Pilkingtons of Pilkington were the senior branch of their name, and had acquired considerable lands in Lancashire, where they were long established, and elsewhere in England. (There was, as usual in such families, a distinct tendency to marry heiresses, and much property was added by this method.) In the fifteenth century Sir Thomas Pilkington even obtained permission to build a small castle in the town of Bury, four or five miles to the north of Pilkington. Scanty remains of this structure survive, following excavation works some years ago.

Sir Thomas, who was born about 1425, was high in the favour of King Edward IV and was High Sheriff of Lancashire on no less than fourteen occasions between 1463 and 1484. He was created a Knight Banneret at the siege of Berwick in 1482.  In 1467 he was granted the right to hold two fairs and a market at Bury, and in 1483 received an annuity of 100 marks (66 and two thirds pounds) out of the revenues of Lancashire.

Unlike many other Yorkists, Sir Thomas transferred his allegiance seamlessly to Richard III. Sir Thomas was of course a northerner, and it is safe to assume that he knew Richard (as Duke of Gloucester) far more intimately than did most of the gentlemen of southern England.

Sources vary as to whether Sir Thomas fought at Bosworth or was merely on his way to the battlefield, but he was certainly treated as if he had fought, and he was attainted by Henry VII and forfeited almost all his very substantial lands. Those in Lancashire were given to Thomas Stanley (now Earl of Derby) Henry Tudor's stepfather, and were never recovered. Some of the other lands which Sir Thomas had thoughtfully transferred to his son some years before were retained in the family, though in one case at least the manor was improperly seized and King Henry had to be persuaded to give it back.

Sir Thomas remained Yorkist in sympathy, and fought at the Battle of Stoke (1487) on the side of Lambert Simnel (whoever he was). He was perhaps lucky to survive what was a very bloody battle, but the cost this time was his lands in the Midlands, an inheritance from his grandmother, Margaret Verdon, in some of which he had only a lifetime interest.

Little is known about Sir Thomas after this time. If he was not actually in prison he probably lived with his son, Roger Pilkington of Clipstone Notts. and Bressingham, Norfolk. However he certainly survived, for in August 1508 Henry VII granted him a pardon, absolving him of all offences, but not restoring his lands.

Sir Thomas died about 1509, to be succeeded by his son, Roger. However when Roger died in 1525 the senior line of the Pilkingtons died with him in the male line, the remaining lands being divided between Roger's daughters.

Other branches of the Pilkington family survived, including the one that founded the famous glass making firm. It's interesting to note that in the grounds of what was the Stanley's principal home, Lathom House, destroyed in the Civil War, the present day Pilkington concern has a laboratory complex.

The main home of the Pilkingtons (known locally as Stand Old Hall) remained in place, albeit derelict and partially demolished, until relatively recent times. It is now completely demolished, and all that remains are a few pieces of timberwork that are displayed above the bookshelves of Whitefield Library.

The main source for this article was History of the Pilkington Family by Lt. Col. John Pilkington. (1912)

Take a look at the Old Man and Scythe Pub in Bolton. Relevant? Because the Man and Scythe was the cognizance of the Pilkingtons and may be found illustrated here. James, Earl of Derby spent his last night on earth here before being executed for his part in the Bolton Massacre. The Pilkingtons perhaps had a last laugh at the expense of the Stanleys...

Friday, 17 February 2012

New Link Added

Link to the blog of Barbara Gaskell Denvil, who is an excellent writer of fiction for this period.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Saturday, 7 January 2012

No Progress

Sorry, but so far I have not found the time, energy and inclination to read up properly on Somerset's capture, so the substantive post I wanted to write can't happen yet. Nor have any ideas for non-substantive posts dropped into my head, hence the lack of recent developments in this space.

Anyone who fancies doing a guest post to disturb the tumbleweed will be duly appreciated. You can even write from a Lancastrian point of view if you like...