Friday, 30 October 2015

The search for King Arthur....Geoffrey Monmouth

In the search for Arthur there is one Welsh cleric that we simply cannot ignore. Geoffrey Monmouth. If you have been reading my blogs, you will have seen his name come up several times. Today, I want to look at the best-seller of the medieval period, Geoffrey Monmouth The History of the Kings of Britain.

Geoffrey stated that his work was based on a lost manuscript that only he alone had been able to examine. The lost manuscript remains lost. Whether it actually ever existed in the first place is doubtful.




A great deal of what we now think we know about Arthur comes from the ideas set down in Geoffrey's texts. He makes Arthur Pendragon, son of Uther Pendragon, into a hero. There is a wise prophet called Merlin who advises the young Arthur. Arthur becomes a king so great that he can stand up to the Romans and beat them. In fact he is so great, he is almost invincible. Arthur and his knights, according to the texts, spends most of their time riding up and down the country fighting in noble battles. He is, with out a doubt, according to Geoffrey, the greatest King that Britain has ever had.

But like all good stories of Kings, there always seems to be a hornet in the nest. Modred, his own nephew, and who was at one time trusted to look after Britain while Arthur went on a quest to save some poor young unfortunate girl who had been taken captive by a Spanish giant, betrays him.

They fight...Arthur wins....they fight again...Arthur wins, but this time he is fatally wounded.

'And even the renowned King Arthur himself was mortally wounded; and being carried thence to the isle of Avallon to be cured of his wounds, he gave up the crown of Britain to his kinsman Constantine, the son of Cador, duke of Cornwall, in the five hundred and forty-second year of our Lord's incarnation.'

So there we are. We have the principle players. We also have Avalon. The legend grows.

But, Geoffrey published his work at politically sensitive time. The Welsh revolts of the 1130's had claimed that "Arthur would rise again..." I am sure King Henry, had something to say about that.

"It is hardly surprising, then, that in this climate, given Arthur's rapidly growing status as folk hero, tourist draw and political rallying cry, the establishment should try and dig him up, to hit at least two birds with one stone: prove him dead and reinvent him as a tourist event."
Michael Wood In search of England.

And so the story continues.

I'll catch you later.

Mary xx

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

King Arthur and the Church

Abbot Gevard, who, during a sermon to his English chapterhouse monks noticed several bethren sleeping - some even began to snore. "Listen brethren, listen," he cried out. "I have something new and important to tell you: There was once a king named Arthur." Seeing his somnolent audience rouse itself, he scolded them: "When I was speaking to you about God, you fell asleep, but you all woke up and began to listen with eager ears" with the naming of Arthur.  
The Fabulous Dark Cloister:Romance in England after the Reformation. Tiffany J. Werth

I love the idea that the monks were roused from their slumbers by the mention of Arthur's name. He somehow caught the imagination of a nation and has held it captive ever since.

The last time I talked about Gildas, and how Arthur had somehow fallen out with the Church. This was something I had to try and find out about.

But, remember, Arthur, according to Bede, was a Christian..he carried the image of the Virgin Mary into battle.

So what happened?

I am going to introduce you to an early 6th Century abbot-bishop who went by the name of Padarn.  Padarn founded St Padarn's Chruch in Llanbadarn Fawk.....Wales.



Church of St Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr


Padarn, it seems, had a little bit of a run in with Arthur.  Check this out.

'When Padarn was in his church resting after so much labour at sea, a certain tyrant, Arthur by name, was traversing the regions on either side, who one day came to the cell of saint Padarn the bishop. And while he was addressing Padarn, he looked at the tunic, which he, being pierced with the zeal of avarice, sought for his own. The saint answering said, "This tunic is not fitting for the habit of any malign person, but for the habit of the clerical office." He went out of the monastery in a rage. And again he returns in wrath, that he might take away the tunic against the counsels of his own companions. One of the disciples of Padarn seeing him returning in fury, ran to saint Padarn and said, "The tyrant, who went out from here before, is returning. Reviling, stamping, he levels the ground with his feet". Padarn answers "Nay rather, may the earth swallow him." With the word straightway the earth opens the hollow of its depth, and swallows Arthur up to his chin. He immediately acknowledging his guilt begins to praise both God and Padarn, until, while he begs forgiveness, the earth delivered him up. From that place on bent knees he begged the saint for indulgence, whom the saint forgave. And he took Padarn as his continual patron, and so departed.'

This extract make Arthur sound like a spoilt little child, stamping his feet and having a bit of a tantrum when he could not have what he wanted. It doesn't sound very heroic, does it? Did Geoffrey of Monmouth, glamourise the life of Arthur in The History of the Kings of Britain? Was he, in fact, dishonourable? Little more than a bully? Or was the Church merely trying to discredit him...had he in fact become too popular? Did the people, like the monks, prefer to hear the stories of Arthur rather than the words of God? I'll leave it up to you to decide.

See you soon.

Mary xx

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The search for Arthur continues...Gildas

I may have got a little distracted over the last few blogs. There are so many places that I take inspiration from that I just have to share them with you. But now I am back on track and the search for Arthur continues...

Let me introduce you to Gildas.





Like Bede, Gildas was a 6th Century monk who was born in the year of the Battle of Mons Badonicus, or, The Battle of Mount Badon, as we now know it. Mount Badon is, of course, the famous battle where King Arthur halted the Saxon invasion for a time.

Unlike Bede or Nennius, Gidas's On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain, reads like a damning sermon. He certainly did not mince his words! He target five particular kings - goodness knows what they had done to upset him - and he isn't particularly forgiving of his fellow priests.


"Britain has priests, but they are fools; numerous ministers, but they are shameless; clerics, but they are wily plunderers." 

He seems to be more than a little obsessed with the Book of Daniel, the Christian Apocalypse and the Book of Revelations. I don't think I would have liked to have listened to him preach! And I can imagine he wasn't particularly popular with his fellow clergy

Gildas's work is considered one of most important sources on the history of Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries, simply because, for once, it was written by someone who was actually there and although it is not considered a primary sources it is about as close as we are going to get.

However, Gildas give the word 'vague' a whole new meaning. He gives us very few names and no firm dates. He misses out chunks of history if they do not serve his purpose or his message.

So what does he say about Arthur?

Nothing.

The only 5th century person he does talk about is a man called  Ambrosius Aurelianus. 


"... a gentleman who, perhaps alone of the Romans, had survived the shock of this notable storm. Certainly his parents, who had worn the purple, were slain by it. His descendants in our day have become greatly inferior to their grandfather's excellence..."


Now this is where it gets a little confusing. Ambrosius appears to be of Roman decent, which Bede confers with. He organises Briton and leads them in battle against the Saxons. Some historians believe that Ambrosius was Arthur, but remember that Bede named them as two separate people.

So what is going on?

Gildes is very vocal about many things, but not Arthur. He doesn't mention him. At all.

Which led me to the question...Why on earth not?

Arthur has always come across as a sort of people's hero. But in monastic writings of the time he is not described as a hero, in fact he is described as the complete opposite. Which leads me to suspect two things. Firstly, he wasn't as good as we all think he was. Or, he had fallen out with the Church. I kind of lean towards the latter. According to the Life of Gidas, Arthur killed Gildas brother. No wonder he omitted him! He wasn't going to make him immortal in his works. Who could blame him?

So a bit of a dead end there in our search for Arthur...although I do find it all rather fascinating.

That's all for now. Take it steady.
Mary xx

Monday, 26 October 2015

Historical fiction... Farleigh Hungerford Castle

As promised, today I am going to take you to the home of Edward Hungerford...remember him from the blog I wrote about Old Wardour Castle? Of course you do, you have been paying attention!
Right, let me introduce you to Edwards, castle.


Farleigh Hungerford Castle

Sir Thomas Hungerford bought the property, which was then a manor, in the 14th Century for a whopping, £733. Walter was an important man, he was the first recorded Speaker of the House of Commons. He was pretty wealthy so it should be no surprise that he then built a castle on the site. Sir Walter Hungerford inherited the castle in 1412.

Sir Walter was a close  friend of Henry V and Henry made him Speaker of the House of Commons. Walter was quite something, he was an expert in jousting and he fought at Agincourt with Henry. Walter expanded the castle considerably. Walter's son, Robert Hungerford inherited the estate. Unfortunately, his son, Lord Moleyns was captured by the French in the Battle of Castillon and his ransom was a mere £10,000, which financially crippled the family.

From there on in things got slightly difficult for the Hungerford Family. During the War of the Roses, Lord Moleyn sided with the Lancastrians. And unfortunately for him, the Yorks won.

Under Edward IV reign, Lord Moleyn and his son, Thomas, were captured and executed. Edward IV gave the castle to his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Edward's other brother, George may have taken up residence at Farleigh, his daughter, Margaret was certainly born there.

The late Robert Hungerford's son, Sir Walter, became a supported of Edward IV. However, when Richard III took the throne, Sir Walter  changed allegiance. After a failed revolt against Richard in 1483, he ended up in the Tower of London.

Sir Walter managed to escape and he joined Henry Tudor and his invading Lancastrian army. He fought along side Henry at the Battle of Bosworth where Richard was killed and his army defeated. The newly crowned Henry VII returned Farliegh Hungerford to Walter in 1486.




Sir Walter left his estate to his son Sir Edward. Edward was in the court of Henry VIII, but when he died he left the castle to his wife, Agnes.

Agnus was accused of the murder of her first husband, John Cotell. Two of her servant reportedly strangled John Cotell and then disposed of his body in the castle oven. That's right....the oven. She and the servant were hung in 1523.

Edward, another son of Walters, then inherited the castle. Like his forefathers, he held an important position in Thomas Cromwell's, political circle. He became dissatisfied with his first wife, Elizabeth. Probably because he saw her father as a political liability to him. So what do you do with a wife you don't want? You lock her in on the castles tower, of course.

Elizabeth spent several long years in the tower, later she told how she was starved and subjected to several poisoning attempts. It is said that she stayed alive because of the generosity of the villagers who helped to get food to her.

Being friends with Cromwell wasn't a necessarily a good thing. When Cromwell fell from power in 1540, Walter was executed for treason, witchcraft and homosexuality. Elizabeth remarried but the castle reverted back to the Crown.

Sir Edward died in 1607 and he left his estate to Sir Edward Hungerford, his great nephew. In 1642, Civil War broke out in England. As a member of parliament and a Puritan, Edwards was an active supporter of Parliament. Edward was appointed as a Commander in Wiltshire. As we already know, he successfully seized Wardour Castle in 1643. 

Unfortunately for him, Farliegh Hungerford Castle, was then captured in the same year     by the Royalists. They did try to get her back. But the Parliamentary raids against Farliegh Hungerford, in 1644, failed to take the castle back. However, by 1646 all was not well with the Royalists cause and military collapse was imminent. On the 15th September they reached the castle and Colonel Hungerford immediately surrendered. Edward had his home back, and unlike other castles who were deliberately destroyed by the Royalists, Farliegh Hungerford escaped any damage.

I am going to leave the history of the castle there for now.

What do I think of the castle? Well, actually despite the body in the over incident, I really like it. It is really pretty and some of the building are still in tact. You can visit the castle chapel where members of the Hungerford Family are buried and you can explore the ruins.

Farliegh Hungerford, like many of theses old historical castle's, has been used for location on film sets. I don't know of anyone can remember the cult tv show of the 1980's called Robin of Sherwood. If you do, then you may recognise parts of the castle in the episode 'The Children of Israel.'



I think I have waffled on enough for one day.

Catch you soon.

Mary xx



Saturday, 24 October 2015

Historic Fiction...Old Wardour Castle

I feel like I should be playing the theme music from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves when I talk about Old Wardour. I think I was about thirteen when that movie came out.  And I can remember going to the cinema again and again to watch it. It was, and has always been, a firm favourite.

I can also remember my friends and I joking about how well traveled Robin was. Robin landed at Dover, headed up to Hadrian's Wall on the borders of Scotland, back down to Salisbury in Wiltshire before heading to the North, where he fought a big man from Bristol in a river in Yorkshire. Perhaps it was an English thing... I doubt anyone else would have found it amusing!

What has this to do with Old Wardour?

Old Wardour Castle, in Wilshire, was used on the set of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The castle portrayed, Robin's childhood home. Locksley Castle.

Recognise it now?


How about now?

Old Wardour has a fascinating history. It was built in the 14th Century and was inspired by the continental designs of the time, which is why it is hexagonal. It sits between a picturesque lake and a wood. It even has its own grotto. However, if you take a little look closer at its wall, you will see it had a troubled past. There are musket holes in the masonry. 

During the English Civil War (1642-1648) Old Wardour's owners, the Arundell family, were staunch supporters of the King. In 1643, Edward Hungerford, a Parliamentarian,  and his men surrounded the castle. Thomas Arundell, 2nd Baron Arundell of Wardour, was away on King's business, when Hungerford and his men attacked. Lord Arundell's wife did the best she could to defend the castle, but after only a short siege she had to surrender.

Lord Arundell died and Henry, his son, laid siege to his own castle. Whether he meant to blow it up, I guess we will never really know. Unfortunately a large part of the castle collapsed. The Parliamentarian's surrendered and Henry won his castle back. But instead of rebuilding it, the Arundell eventually built a new home in the grounds of the old one.

Nevertheless, it is great castle to explore. It is not just a hollow shell, as many of these ruins are. You can climb those stairs, you can explore all the room and you can look out the windows at the view.

Thats all for now.
See you soon.
Mary xx




Historical Fiction....The Pitchfork Rebellion

Last time I talked about Old Wardour Castle and, if you can remember, I mentioned how Sir Edward Hungerford lay siege to it in 1643. So I thought it was only fair to look at Edward's home as well, and in the next two blogs I am going to do just that. 

But first I would like to look at the little parish of Norton St Philipe, Somerset, where the Hungerford's had their home.

Norton St Philip is fantastic in itself without the added bonus of a castle. There was an incredibly bloody battle fought there during the Monmouth Rebellion or "Pitchfork Rebellion," in 1685. Charles II had died and the throne fell to his brother James II, the Duke of York. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth was the illegitimate son of Charles II and he claimed that he was the rightful king and attempted to upsurge James.

It is said that a battle was fought on the North side of the village on a street called Chevers Lane. The locals know Chevers Lane as Bloody Lane. There was so much bloodshed on the day of the battle that the blood flowed down the hill like a river. It must have been horrendous, I don't even want to think about it. The rebellion failed and Monmouth was executed. The feared Judge Jefferies, who also became known as "The Hanging Judge," conducted 12 executions on the village common. A bloody history indeed.

But on a lighter note...Norton St Philipe boasts the oldest tavern in England. The George was built in the 14th or 15th Century...no one really know the exact date, and no one really cares when one has had two or more pints! Lets just say it has been there for a long time and leave it at that.


The George

It has a fascinating history. To start with it was a wool store. It was used as accommodation during the annual wool fairs. The Inn then became part of the Stage Coach route between London and the South West. Monmouth used the Inn as the headquarters for his army during the rebellion and then, ironically, it was used by Judge Jefferies as a courtroom to condemn those who had fought with Monmouth.

Regardless of its history, the last time I was there it served really good chips!

See you soon.
Mary xx

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Historic fiction...The Bishops Palace

As promised, today I am going to introduce you to The Bishops Palace.

As the name suggests, the Bishops Palace is the home to the Bishop of Bath and Wells and has been for 800 years.

The moat.

From the outside it truly looks like a fairy tale castle...well, I think so anyway.
The Palace is surrounded by a lovely little moat and it has its own gatehouse a sweet, flagstone drawbridge, and a pretty little portcullis. The grounds of the palace once included a medieval deer park. You can visit St Andrews Well, where Wells takes it name from. It is the perfect place for a picnic and there is usually a treasure hunt to keep the children entertained.




Well's Cathedral can be seen through the window.


Unsurprisingly, Wells, is often used as a location for movies. The 2007 comedy, Hot Fuzz was filmed here and more recently the sequel to Snow White and The Huntsman. I did go down and check out the set for The Huntsman. I could have spent the whole day there watching how they transformed The Bishops Palace.


They transformed the Gatehouse. 


And there were a lot of knights. It was grand to behold.

I never really stopped to consider how many people work on a set. It was buzzing. False walls were put up and the art work was so amazing that if you had not known the building previously, you would have thought that you were looking at masonry that had been there forever.

I can't wait to see the film when it comes out.

Take Care.

Mary xx



Sunday, 18 October 2015

Historical fiction....Wells Cathedral.

I have a lot of favourite places. Who doesn't?

Mine tend to be old buildings or historic sights. So for the next few blogs I am going to share with you some of the buildings that have touched my heart and have inspired my writing.
Today, I am going to take you on a little journey to the Medieval City of Wells, in Somerset, England. It is the smallest city in England.

Wells, has a long history that goes right back to the Romans and maybe even before. It has bubbling springs which would have made it an ideal place to settle and this was where the name Wells came from. There are three wells that you can still visit today. One is in the Old Market Place, the other two are within the grounds of The Bishops Palace.

Wells is situated on the southern side of the Mendip Hills. It has a small shopping precinct, that takes on the characteristics of a very pretty town. Watching over a the city is the splendour of the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrews...We call it Wells Cathedral...I guess it is less of a mouthful.

The Cathedral dates back to 1175, although there was an earlier church on the sight as far back as AD 705.


Wells Cathedral





The Cathedral survived Henry Tudors Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the English Civil War (1642-1651). During the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685, the Puritan solders inflicted a great deal of damage to the cathedral. They smashed windows, tore the lead from the roof to make bullets, damaged furniture, and for a time, they also stabled their horses in the nave. But the cathedral survived and was restored.

If you are ever in Wells, check it out. Especially go and look at the newly restored 14th Century, Jesse window which depicts the genealogy of Jesus, dating back to Abraham. Unfortunately I have not got a photograph that does the window justice, so I guess you are just going to have to take a visit and check it out for yourself.

Next time I am going to look at the building next door to the Cathedral. The Bishops Palace.

See you soon.

Mary xx

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Historical fiction...... Bede


The Venerable Bede's greatest work was, without a doubt, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, An Ecclesiastical History of the English people. I think Bede brings this time of history to life, he makes these long dead Kings and Queens breathe again. I had reread this book so many times, that my copy is beginning to fall apart. If you have never read it and are interested in this time of history then get yourself a copy. It is worth reading....only if it is the once. I think it is beautifully written. This is how he describes the life of man.






'The present life of man, O king, seems to me, in comparison to that time which is unknown to us, like the swift flight of a sparrow through the room where you sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, with a good fire in the midst, while the storm of rain and snow rage outside. The sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at another, while he is inside, he is safe from the wintery storm; but after a short space of shelter, he immediately vanishes out of sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant.' Bede

Heres a beautiful animation of the said sparrow!
http://www.pastperfect.org.uk/sites/yeavering/images/sparrowclip_c.html

When we think of historical characters we sometimes forget that they were in fact real people, who felt, who dreamed, who loved, who hated. They experienced the same emotions as we do now. They are not so different, the time they lived in certainly was, but they were human, just like you, just like me. This is what drew me to writing in the first place. The chance to portray humanity in a time that is foreign. And that is what I hope to achieve with my writing. I hope I succeed. 

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Historical fiction - the earliest account of Arthur

No one said this would be easy.....

The earliest written documentation of Arthur is given to us by a 9th Century monk who went by the name of Nennius. Nennius wrote Historia Brittonum, The History of the Britons. It is not an easy read. Structure and organisation were two words Nennius chose to ignore. But it is worth persevering with his work, because there are some real gems in there. 



What I love about the work of Nennius is how he portrays Arthur. Think of a Dark Age version of Iron Man and you might be getting somewhere.  Strangely however, he does not describe Arthur as a king. See what you think?


"then Arthur fought against them in those days with the Kings of Briton, but he himself was leader of battles."

Has time and folk law turned a general into a King?
Maybe.

Nennius also describes a prophet called Ambrosius. Ambrosius and Arthur are often portrayed in later works as being one and the same. Nennius clearly states that they are not. They are two very different people.

So what does Nennius say about Arthur? First and foremost, he describes Arthur as a great warrior and lists the twelve battles which Arthur led. I am not going to describe all the battles here, but I am briefly going to look at the two most controversial.

 Battle number 8

"The eighth battle was in Fort Guinnion in which Arthur carried the image of St Mary, ever virgin, on his shoulder..."

With old text I think we have to be very careful as to how we translate them. And I believe that the translation here is wrong. I do not think that Arthur carried an image of St Mary on his shoulder. I think he carried the image on his shield, which would make slightly more sense. Ignoring the translation, it does tell us that Arthur was a Christian.


Battle number 12.

"The twelfth battle was at Mount Badon, in which nine hundred and sixty men fell in one day from one charge from Arthur, and no one overthrew them except himself alone."


Badon Hill


This is the most famous battle that Arthur fought in. It is generally accepted that this was Arthur's greatest triumph and he did hold back the Saxon invasion.  Did Arthur slay 960 men in a single charge without any help? Probably not. Was he a great military man? Almost certainly.

Arthur, whoever he was, had captured the imagination of a nation and in later works he became the hero that we all know and love.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Historical fiction...Who was Arthur?

 I have been very busy researching, writing, more researching. And yes, that is candy floss you can see in the picture...best not ask!




My book, The Du Lac Chronicles, is set roughly 24 years after the fall of King Arthur. When Arthur died it seemed all the heroes did too and I wanted to do something about that. But, in order to write about Britain in post Arthur years, I had to know how Arthur changed the political landscape of the kingdom. So before I put pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard as it was, I researched the world of Arthur.




Arthur has been a hero for centuries. By the Norman conquest he was already firmly fixed in the imagination of the people. There is a lovely story about nine monks from Laon in Northern France who visited Britain in 1113. They traveled to the heart of southern England looking for 'relics' of Arthur's time. When they visited Bodmin in Cornwall, the subject of Arthur came up. The Laon monks dared to suggest that the idea that Arthur would rise again was nothing but a child's fairy tale. This did not go down well with the locals. The monks were in 'Arthur's country.' How dare they suggest such a thing? A full blown riot was only just avoided!

Not long after this incident, Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote the best seller of the middle ages, The History of the Kings of Britain. I love reading Monmouth's masterpiece, he turned Arthur into a hero and although some of his fact must be taken with a pinch of salt, it gives you the sense of how much pride the British had for their past. And also how much we need heroes,  someone to look up to. Arthur is portrayed as a King who stands for chivalry, honour and everything noble. He's almost to good to be true. He certainly had an amazing life...if the stories are to be believed.

The Sword in the Stone.

'Whoso Pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil rightwise King born of all England.'

Many tried - only Arthur succeeded.

Merlin

Arthur's closest advisor was a wizard called Merlin. And why not? We could all do with a wizard in our lives.


The Somerset Levels
(The Isle of Avalon.)

Excalibur 

Arthur needed a special sword, I guess the one he pulled from the stone wasn't good enough...perhaps he broke it.
With the help of Merlin, the Lady of the Lake presented Arthur with his magic sword.

Camelot

King Arthur's home.

His knights

Arthur could not rule alone so he chose a selected few to help him rule. They were as honourable and chivalrous as he was and they often went on quests.

The Round Table

Arthur believed in equality, so he commissioned a round table to be built. Those who sat around it were equal in all things.

Guinevere

Arthur's beautiful wife.

Lancelot

Arthur's first knight and the man who ultimately betrayed him....maybe?

Mordred

The knight who murdered Arthur in a vicious battle.

Those who know the Arthur stories will recognise some of the themes I have just listed. But, I wanted to try and find out the truth...if that was possible...behind the myths. I wanted to know what Arthur was really like.

Thats all for now. Be sure to watch out for my next blog when I explore how an ordinary man became such an extraordinary legend.


Mary xx

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Historical fiction...my favourite place to be.


I am inspired by beautiful places, especially those rich in history. I grew up a mere 20 minutes drive away from the Ancient Isles of Avalon...or Glastonbury, as it is now known.

Glastonbury means many things to many people. The annual music festival is obviously a very big draw, although the locals like to point out that it is in fact held in the village of Pilton and the old folks still call it Pilton Pop Festival!

For me, Glastonbury is all about the history and the myths. One of my favourite places has to be Glastonbury Abbey which holds a special place in my heart.


Glastonbury Abbey

Glastonbury and the Abbey have always attracted pilgrims and I can understand why. There is something special about the place, a feeling, a sense of peace, despite its brutal destruction during Henry Tudor's reformation of the monasteries in the 1540s. Henry may have burnt the walls, but he could not destroy its tranquillity or its appeal.

It is reputed to be the resting place of Joseph of Arimathea, who reportedly helped Jesus carry the cross and who placed Jesus in his own tomb. And of course, it is said that the Abbey is the resting place of King Arthur.


No one knows where Arthur is buried. When the monks heard that King Henry was going to destroy their home, they moved Arthur's body to a secret location. If you ever find yourself at the Abbey, you will see a plaque that claims to be the last known resting place of Arthur. It isn't grand or showy and no way befits a king, but I think it adds to the mystery of the man. There is no tomb as such, but he does not need one in order to be remembered. For his legacy is long and everlasting.


Please come back and visit again soon. Remember, my historical novel,  The Du Lac Chronicles will be out in the new year, 2016. If you would like to know when my next blog is out, make sure you sign up to my mailing list.  See you soon.  xx

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Historic fiction...my beginnings!

I grew up in the South-West of England, an area rich in history and ruled over by myth. From the grandeur of Stonehenge to the mysteries of a large man-made hill, known simply as the Tor. How could I not have been inspired to write.


Glastonbury Tor

I decide to write a blog, not only because I want to promote my book, but also because I wanted to share with you my great passion for history and my not so great collection of photographs!

I have always...and I really do mean forever....been absolutely fascinated with the King Arthur stories. Considering where I grew up, I guess it isn't really surprising. My poor children are dragged annually around the county on the hunt for Arthur...we go to all the places where he was supposed to have been. My husband has come to except that his barmy wife has to do this at least once a year!

I have always loved writing. My parents recently cleared out their attic and handed me a whole bag full of old school books. My poor history teacher, he must have really hated me. When he asked me to write a short story about slavery, I used the whole of my book! And I have not stopped writing since.

My story is set in the Dark Ages in the year AD507, just after the fall of King Arthur and it explores what happens next through the eyes of Lancelot's Du Lac's sons. The Du Lac Chronicles is out in the spring of 2016. If you would like to find out more, please do sign up for my newsletter where you will be the first to hear the news of my upcoming book launch! Sign up here.

I look forward to sharing my journey with you.