Sunday 23 July 2023


 The other day, for the first time in a very long time, I heard the Barbie Song. So, being me, I decided to parody it, in hour of Alianore Audley and The Mists of Middleham her newly published adventure.

I hope you enjoy it. (My usual twisted sense of humour does not appeal to all.)

Hiya, Alianore!

Hi, Roger!

Ready to go to Mass?


Come on then!

I’m a Yorkist girl, in a Yorkist world,

We haven’t any plastic, it’s fantastic.

Never any stress, three girls to help me dress,

You have to know your station; it’s that kind of nation.

Come on Alianore! Let’s get to chapel!

Pregnant every year, no obstetric care,

Grit your teeth and pray, you know it’s just God’s way.

To work I need not go; just sit at home and sew.

Life’s not so very pleasant, but better than a peasant’s.

I have to hide my hair, or I might as well be bare.

Shave my forehead clean, naked as a bean.

It’s plucking that I hate, makes me so irate.

But it’s all the fashion, it has to be my passion.

My lord has all the cash. I cannot make a splash.

Life can oft be funny, I still don’t have no money!

At least he treats me well. No bruises you can tell.

It could be ten times worse, I could be on a hearse.

Come on Alianore, let’s go to Middleham!

Middleham is freezing; I am always sneezing.

I wait upon the Duchess, nothing there can touch us.

I can brush her hair, kneel before her chair.

It’s a super job; I’m part of Richard’s ‘blob’.

I’m a Yorkist girl, in a Yorkist world,

We haven’t any plastic, it’s fantastic.

Never any stress, three girls to help me dress,

You have to know your station; it’s that kind of nation.

Come on Alianore! Let’s ride up Coverdale!

Oh, I can’t wait, Roger!

Friday 29 April 2022

My website

 My website which has been sadly neglected has been updated and may be found here.

At the present, the site is mainly about my books and future plans for more.

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.

Alianore Audley

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.

Thursday 2 September 2021

The Death and Burial of Constance of York

 According to the Tewkesbury Chronicle died in 1417 ( recte November 1416) but was not buried until 1420.

This is hard to explain, and may simply be an error. However, given that Constance left no will behind her, there is a good possibility that her death was sudden and unexpected. She was, after all, just over 40, and could easily have expected to live another 20 or even 30 years. She may have died in an accident or from a sudden illness that prevented her from making her will.

Anyway, we have no way of knowing what she intended for the disposal of her body or indeed anything else. Someone would have had to make these decisions for her and her two brothers had both died violently in 1415, meaning that her nearest adult male relative was her son-in-law, Richard Beauchamp, later earl of Worcester. He was only about 21, and due to an arrangement that gave all his paternal inheritance to his mother for life, he had little in the way of resources save for his wife's Despenser inheritance. (Indeed, had it not been for the chance death of her brother in 1413 it is hard to see what this couple would have had to live on - certainly not much.)

Given that Constance was buried in a high-status location near the high altar of Reading Abbey (close to Henry I's tomb) it is probable that she was given a high-status tomb. This would have cost serious money and also some time to fabricate so a delay might be explicable before any ceremony was undertaken. Constance, as a widow, would not have been able to do the usual trick of putting lands in trust to pay for her memorial, so it must have been provided by the young Beauchamps.

I hasten to add that we know nothing of Constance's tomb, as it was destroyed when Reading Abbey was dissolved and no one seems to have recorded it. All that is known is that her great-granddaughter Anne Beauchamp (not to be confused with her aunt, the Kingmaker's wife) was subsequently buried with her.

Friday 10 April 2020

My Questions About Richard III.

  1. If Richard was planning to seize the throne all along why did he a) start by getting everyone in Yorkshire to swear allegiance to Edward V and b) set off south with only a modest retinue of 300 men? Given that he was in a position to raise most of the north in arms, wouldn’t it have been a good idea to do just that?
  2. If we accept that Richard did not initially plan to seize the throne what made him change his mind? A) An attempted ambush by the Woodvilles/Wydevilles? B) The realisation that he ‘couldn’t work’ with Edward V? C) The discovery of the precontract? D) Or did he just wake up one morning and think ‘**** it, I’ve not got any supporters down here but I’ll take the throne anyway!’
  3. Why did Elizabeth Woodville run off into sanctuary, given that the Woodvilles were (supposedly) innocent of any wrong-doing? As a woman and a Queen, no one was going to kill her, and by staying out and standing her ground, could she not have made Richard’s work a lot more difficult to achieve?
  4. Why did Richard only send for his supporters when things had already kicked off and when it was actually too late for them to get to London to help him? Was he really that bad a planner or is it more likely that he was taken by surprise by some development?
  5. Why did Anthony Woodville send off for an exemplification of his powers to recruit troops in Wales just at this particular time? Did he think Owain Glyndwr had come back or had he some other purpose for raising armed men?

Monday 16 March 2020

Evolution of the Peerage

This is a simplistic article. It is not intended to be "academic" but merely an explanation for those new to these matters or uncertain. It may help writers of fiction, for example.

In the earlier Middle Ages the principal nobles were the earls. There was no one with a higher title, except for the king himself.

Everyone else who held land directly from the king was a "baron". in the sense of "King John's barons". It didn't matter if you held one manor or ninety-nine you were a baron. However, obviously, the ones with larger amounts of property tended to be more influential.

At this point I should mention there were such creatures as "barons of Glamorgan" or "barons of the earldom of Chester". These were men who held land from the magnate who owned the lordship in question - but they were not necessarily of national importance.

When kings started to summon parliaments, the most important men received an individual summons. This included all earls (if of age) but only selected barons. The king, or his officers, did the selecting. After a time, the selections became largely automatic. Sir Boris was called every time. So was his son, Sir John, when he inherited. These men were barons in the modern sense, members of the "House of Lords".

Just to make it confusing, some top grade knights (bannerets) also received individual summons. But these summons did not become hereditary - and not all bannerets received them!

The system took a while to evolve. For a long time the only way to become a (parliamentary) baron was to receive an hereditary summons to Parliament. The first barony conferred by Letters Patent was in 1387, when Sir John Beauchamp was made Lord Beauchamp of Kidderminster by Richard II. Rapidly thereafter creation by Letters Patent became the norm, as did the practice of restricting the honour to heirs male.

During the late 14th and the 15th century the peerage developed into a more modern form. New ranks, viscount and marquess, were added. (Dukedoms, a sort of super-earldom, originally restricted to the king's close relatives, originated in the early 14th century.) Creation was almost, if not entirely, by Letters Patent.

However, even in the mid-15th century, it is not uncommon to find the same man called "Sir John Audley" in one document, and "John, Lord Audley" in another. A certain fluidity remained...

As the 15th century progressed, and even more so in Tudor times, the peerage became more of a sealed and separated caste, clearly distinct from those who were not peers.