Book Review: A Realm Divided: A Year in the Life of Plantagenet England by Dan Jones

Rating: *****

Published by: Head of Zeus

Released: 8th October, 2015

Genres: History, Non-Fiction

Read: 9-12th November, 2015


This book does exactly what it says on the packet it ‘offers a vivid, accessible portrait of Medieval England Society in the round, and an exhilarating and revelatory exploration of the big themes of politics, warfare and religion during a transformative year in English history.’ This is a fast-paced, well researched book that gives a brilliant insight into Plantagenet England and the Magna Carta. It is jam-packed with the dramas of the Medieval world, which allows the reader to experience the year 1215 from every aspect. The layout of this book allows the information to flow perfectly all the way through. Which gives an insightful, factual and masterful blend of narrative from the very start to the finish. Dan’s book is a perfect edition to the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta. So, if your looking for a history book that gives you more knowledge into the Magna Carta or one of the most notorious royal families of English history then this book is definitely for you! Dan Jones is one of my favourite Historians and I would highly recommend any of his books.

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Medieval Rochester Castle

Rochester castle has been around for over 800 years. This massive and powerful keep continues to dominate our present day skyline. In fact there has been a few castles at Rochester over the early years of its life. However, the castle that stands there today is a 12th century keep.


(The above picture of Rochester Castle is my photo Please ask permission before using it.)

The original castle that was first at Rochester was actually founded in the outcome of the Norman conquest of 1066. It was believed to have been given to Bishop Odo by his brother who happened to be William the Conqueror. However, after the rebellion of 1088 it saw the first castle at Rochester abandoned.
After the rebellion of 1088 and the abandonment of the first castle there, William the Conqueror’s son William Rufus had Gundalf, Bishop of Rochester build a brand new stone castle there.
The castle that still dominates the landscape and skyline today was built about 1127 by William de Corbeil. This happened due to King Henry I granting Rochester castle to the Bishops of Canterbury. (This castle remained in the custody of the Archbishops throughout the whole of the 12th century.)
This Norman tower-keep has three floors above a basement. This sky dominating castle stands at 113 feet high. There is a tall protruding building that is attached to the castle itself which in fact has its own set of defences that have to be passed through before you enter the keep itself at level one.
In the year 1215, Rochester castle was garrisoned by rebel barons due to the castle being under an epic siege by King John. The result of this siege ended up with King John and his army bringing the southern corner of this castle crashing down. However, despite this happening the defenders held on for a further 2 months resisting King John and his army until they eventually were starved out.
Rochester castle was eventually rebuilt under the royal control of King Henry III and King Edward I. during the late medieval period it helped protect England’s south-east coast from invasion. However, this beautiful castle only remained a viable fortress until the 16th century. “By 1561 the grand old tower-keep was but a relic from a bygone age.” (Quote from: Robert Castleden, English Castles: A Photographic History, London, Quercus Publishing, 2006, P.43).


(The above pictures are my own. Please ask permission before using them.)
This picturesque medieval castle can be seen to come alive in its full medieval glory once a year on a weekend in September. Where you can hear, see, smell, touch and taste a much bygone era.
In one corner, you can hear the tales of the old medieval country come alive with songs and stories from the medieval minstrels along with same falconry displays.
To the next corner, a bustling medieval market where you can buy your very own medieval clothing, weaponry, jewellery and even tasty food. The following corner, you can experience the smells of medieval food being cooked on an open fire.
In the final corner, you can experience the life of the medieval knights. One knight in particular that you can meet is a Hospitaller Fra Roussel le Palmer of the order of St John.
Upon meeting Roussel you can learn all about medieval surgery such as:
• Many knights suffered with haemorrhoids due to riding and it was something they would constantly had to have treated. The surgeons was well trained in this procedure.
• To check for the plague…a tap to the armpit was the first test as this area suffered first with a boil.
• To check for breathing a surgeon would put a bowl of water on the chest of the victim/patient. If the water moves than they are alive.
Another common practice that was used in medieval surgery was leeches. Leeches played quite an important role in trying to cure victims/patients of illness, disease or infection. For example, leeches were placed on the body in different areas to draw the bad blood from the individual to try and cure them. Medieval surgeons believed this form of treatment was highly effective.
These are just some of the facts that you would learn from Fra Roussel le Palmer.

RussellRussell 2Russell 3Russell 4

(Hospitaller Fra Roussel le Palmer – Photos belong to: Do not use these photos without owners promise first) (The photo of Russell in the red tunic is one of my photo’s which was taken at the Medieval Merriment Event at Rochester Castle. Please ask permission before using it.)

Even though in this present day this grand medieval castle may only seem like an old relic from a much bygone age it still has its purpose and medieval heart.

If you are interested in visiting or find out more about Rochester Castle, why not visit their English Heritage website:

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The King of England nobody has ever heard of

Today’s blog post is a guest article by Dr Catherine Hanley. Dr Catherine Hanley is a historian specialising in warfare in the 12th and 13th centuries; she is currently writing a book entitled Louis: the Forgotten King of England which will be timed to coincide with the 800th anniversary of Louis’s invasion, in 2016. Under the name C.B. Hanley she is also the author of a series of medieval murder mysteries set during the invasion. Check out Catherine’s website:

Here’s a quick question for you while we warm up for this blogpost: think of a medieval English king.

Have you done it? Are you thinking of one king in particular? Then I can tell you that you will generally now fall into one of four groups …

First are those who have misunderstood what I meant by ‘medieval’ – if you’re in this group then you’ve probably picked Henry VIII. The second and possibly largest group is made up of those who have chosen one of the ‘big five’, the famous medieval kings that most people have heard of even if they’re not specialists. If you’re one of them, you’re thinking of William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, John, Henry V or Richard III.

The third group is made up of Anglo-Saxon diehards; you’ll have chosen Alfred the Great, Athelstan, Edward the Confessor or anyone whose name begins with Æ. And finally come those who have their own interests in the Middle Ages and their own pet kings, who will have gone for someone more obscure. William Rufus, maybe? Or perhaps Stephen, Edward II or Henry IV.

Hands up if you picked King Louis.


                 King Louis

What’s that? Nobody? Right, pay attention there at the back. Once described by Terry Jones in his Medieval Lives TV series as ‘the king of England nobody has ever heard of’, Louis ruled from May 1216 until September 1217. But how did this happen? How did England reach the point where a French prince could take the throne?

Rewind to 1215, when King John was not a popular man. Forced by his long-suffering barons to sign Magna Carta, he immediately reneged on his word and tried to have the document rescinded. His forces attacked and harried the lands of the signatories. Having failed to control John, the barons took a logical but unprecedented step and decided to overthrow him. But they were no republicans: England had to have a king. Who should it be? John’s son Henry was eight years old, and the other obvious heir, John’s nephew Arthur, had disappeared in mysterious circumstances some years before, widely rumoured to have been murdered at John’s order.

The barons needed a strong man, an experienced man, a man of royal blood; they looked across the Channel and found one.

Louis had been born in 1187, the eldest son and heir of the French king Philip Augustus; in 1200 he married Blanche of Castile, a granddaughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine via their daughter Eleanor and her husband Alfonso VII of Castile. King Philip had been in various stages of conflict with Henry II and his sons for much of Louis’s life, and once Louis reached his majority he joined his father in campaigns against King John. Father and son made large gains against the hapless English king, conquering Normandy and other territories which were geographically in France but which had been under English control for many years.

By 1215 Louis had earned himself a reputation as a brilliant warrior, his skills honed not only in fighting the English but also in his crusade against the Albigensian heretics in the south of France. He was known, moreover, to be honest, just, moral, a man of his word – all the things which John wasn’t.

When the barons looked for a new king, they needed someone with royal blood: they couldn’t just elect a king from among themselves. However, the preferred candidate didn’t need to be strictly the next heir; primogeniture was still a somewhat murky concept at the time, so someone related to the previous king and strong enough to claim and keep the throne would be a better prospect than someone nearer by blood but considered weaker (as had been proven by the baronial acceptance some years before of King Stephen, who was the previous king’s nephew but by no means his nearest heir).

Louis was married to John’s niece and so could claim a blood connection to the throne in right of his wife; he had the resources to mount a campaign, the men to run it and the skills to win it. And he had plenty of motive for wanting a kingdom of his own: in 1216 he was an active man of 28 with no prospect of becoming king in France for many years, thanks to his father’s robust health, so conquering a realm of his own must have seemed an attractive prospect. He built and equipped a fleet, sailed from France and arrived on English shores on 21 May 1216.

To start with everything went smoothly: about half the barons came over to him straight away, and castles and towns surrendered to him without resistance. John fled to the west of England rather than fight him. Louis marched in triumph to London where he was proclaimed king, and he sent out letters to all the remaining barons that they should come to pay him homage. Within months he had about two thirds of the barons and more than half of the country under his control.

But then in October 1216 John did the one and only thing which could conceivably have helped his cause: he died unexpectedly.

You would think that this would have been Louis’s definitive moment of triumph; now that his enemy was dead, surely those who had still been clinging to John would realise that there was nothing left to fight for and would make their way to him? But in fact the opposite happened. John had left five children, two of them sons including the eldest, Henry, who was nine years old. The remaining royalists hastily had him crowned as Henry III and declared their allegiance to him.

This left the other barons with a dilemma. Ostensibly they had overthrown John because of all the laws he had broken and the wrongs he had done – they could hardly level the same accusations against a young boy. And Louis, man of principle as he was, was turning out to be less controllable than they had hoped, and probably wouldn’t allow them the free rein they craved to further their own interests.

Louis swiftly found himself being recast in popular opinion – no longer was he the conquering hero here to save the barons from the cruel John, but a foreign bully attacking a little boy. The desertions began.

Louis wasn’t one to give up easily, and he held out for quite some time afterwards. But King Philip, over in France, wouldn’t send any more money or troops, so Louis had to make do with his own dwindling forces. In May 1217 he had to split his army in half in order to fight both at Dover and further north, but this didn’t leave him with enough men to function properly in either area. He couldn’t take Dover castle, and his northern forces were soundly defeated at Lincoln, many of his nobles captured and many of the English among them defecting back to Henry and his regent William Marshal.

Meanwhile in France Louis’s wife Blanche wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer from the king, and she had raised further troops who set sail for England in August 1217. But they were intercepted by an English fleet, defeated in a naval battle off Sandwich on 24 August, and never reached Louis. He bowed to the inevitable, sealed a treaty in September, and withdrew.

Louis’s short reign has often been overlooked in the history books, whose smooth succession of the dates of the reigns of kings runs straight from John to Henry III. But it was a pivotal period in English history and one of the great ‘what-ifs’ of all time. Would he have ruled England as a separate realm, or would it have been subsumed into France? What would have happened in the future? What about the Hundred Years’ War? It’s fascinating to speculate on all the possibilities.

Defeated politically but not in battle, and with his reputation intact, Louis went back to France, where he was involved in a number of further military campaigns before succeeding to the throne in 1223 as Louis VIII. He then took some measure of revenge on the English by conquering much of what remained of their territory in France, before turning his attention to the Albigensians once more. By then he was almost invincible in military terms, but he contracted dysentery – a common disease among soldiers billeted in unsanitary conditions – and died in November 1226, at the age of 39.

Louis was succeeded in France by his 12-year-old son Louis IX, who went on to become one of France’s great kings. Indeed, sandwiched as his short reign was between those of his famous father and his even more famous son, Louis VIII might well be termed the little-known king of France, as well as the unknown king of England.

c9ea7687b1e3234cdc56214bb31865a7 220px-Louis-VIII

                   King Louis                                        King Louis’s Royal Seal

(Pictures from Google Images)


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A Look at Some Anglo-Saxon Queens

Today’s blog post is a guest article by The Freelance History Writer Susan Abernethy. Check out Susan’s blog:  Also check out Susan’s Facebook Pages:  and 

I’ve been doing quite a lot of research on the Anglo-Saxon period of British history which roughly spans the time from the exodus of the Romans to the Norman Conquest.  For the most part, the chroniclers of this era tell us about the men who ruled and fought.  But occasionally, a woman comes to light in the records.  Some of these women had a distinct impact on history.

Britain under the Anglo-Saxons was divided into various kingdoms.  In the north there was Northumbria and the Danelaw.  In the midsection was a kingdom called Mercia.  Further south, in the east was Anglia, Essex and Kent and in the west there was Sussex and Wessex.  Each of these kingdoms had their own kings.

In the mid-eighth century there was a powerful and ambitious king of Mercia named Offa.  In 757 he was in the midst of an intense power struggle to take over the kingdoms surrounding Mercia.  He also wanted to have a court with decorum and to demonstrate Christian values, seeing himself as an equal to his contemporary, Charlemagne, King of the Franks.  Offa married a woman named Cynethryth who was either of Anglo-Saxon descent, possibly from the seventh century King Penda of Mercia, or of Frankish origin.  In order to guarantee his dynasty would last, he designated her as his queen and raised her in importance in the kingdom.  He allowed Cynethryth to witness charters after the birth of her son and she is named “queen of the Mercians” in these documents.  Even more importantly, Offa had coins struck with her name.  She is one of the few women to have coins with her name in the medieval west. A cleric writing about her at the time describes her as the “mistress of the royal household” and calls her pious.  Clearly this was an influential and authoritative couple who did everything in their power to position themselves over their rivals in the surrounding kingdoms.

ImageA coin struck of Cynethryth

Cynethryth had a daughter named Eadburh who had quite a different reputation from her mother.  Whether she deserved it or not, she is infamous for being an evil queen.  She may have been an ardent student of her father’s politics or her reputation for wickedness may have been part of a smear campaign by later chroniclers.  Offa arranged for Eadburh to marry King Beorhtric of Wessex in 789 in a mutually beneficial political alliance for both kings.

The story of Eadburh was told by King Alfred the Great to his biographer Bishop Asser.  After Eadburh’s marriage she quickly dominated Beorhtric.  Eadburh was active in politics and asserted her own rights with some people calling her a tyrant.  Beorhtric was still king but all charters were issued in King Offa’s name so Eadburh may have been safeguarding her father’s interests.  She began to loathe any men that Beorhtric liked or trusted.  If she couldn’t get her way with the king, she resorted to poisoning the food or drink of the hated councilors and others.  Finally there was a young man who became a favorite of Beorhtric.  Eadburh denounced the young man but the king would not give in to her.  She decided to poison the favorite but Beorhtric took the poison by mistake.  Both the king and favorite died at Wareham in 802.

Eadburh couldn’t return to Mercia because her father and brother were dead.  She packed up many treasures and fled to France and Charlemagne gave her a convent of nuns to rule.  But she lived as recklessly in France as she did in Wessex.  She was caught in a compromising position with an Anglo-Saxon man and was ejected from the nunnery.  She lived out the rest of her days in poverty in Italy, dying.  Asser tells us because of lingering resentment for Eadburh, the status and influence of king’s wives in Wessex was greatly reduced to the point where they were not called queen but only “king’s wife” or “Lady”.  This argument seems to have merit because Alfred the Great’s mother and wife were not called queen.

ImageEadburh – Saxon Serial Killer?

King Alfred’s mother was a woman named Osburh.  What little we know about her is from Alfred’s biographer.  Osburh was the daughter of Oslac who was the butler to King Aethelwulf of Wessex.  Asser tells us Osburh was a most religious woman, noble in birth and noble in character.  There is a delightful story Alfred tells Asser of his mother reading a book of English poetry to him and his siblings.  Alfred was fascinated by the illuminated capital initial on the first page of the book.  Osburh told the children the first one who could come to her and recite the poetry in the book would be given the book.  Alfred eagerly took the volume and memorized the poetry.  Osburh gave him the book as his reward.  After this incident, Osburh disappears from the record.


Osburh reading to her son Alfred

Alfred the Great was married to a Mercian princess named Ealhswith as part of a political alliance between Mercia and Wessex.  There is a famous story told about the wedding by Asser.  After the wedding ceremony, there was feasting and gift-giving which lasted late into the night.  The festivities were interrupted when Alfred fell ill.  We don’t really know what the illness was but he seemed to suffer from some intestinal disorder.  It was the beginning of an affliction that would last for the rest of his life.

Alfred and Ealhswith had five children who survived infancy.  After Alfred became king he had to fight the Vikings.  He did this effectively and there was a period of relative peace.  During this time Ealhswith turned her attention to the establishment of the Nunnaminster (St. Mary’s Abbey) at Winchester, a project she was unable to finish due to her death.  Alfred died in 899 and Ealhswith survived him by three years.


Alfred the Great’s wife Ealhswith

One of my favorite Anglo-Saxon queens is Alfred and Ealhswith’s daughter Aethelflaed.  She was married to Ealdorman Aethelred of Mercia in 884 in a political alliance.  She had been educated at her father’s court and learned many of his tactics for fighting the Vikings.  She ruled Mercia as a partner with her husband and when he died after a long illness in 910, she governed Mercia solely on her own.  She was a powerful leader.  She actually led her troops into battle against the Vikings and was victorious.  After a great victory at Derby in 918, other Viking strongholds were willing to surrender to her.  But she died suddenly in June of that year at Tamworth.  It’s hard not to be tempted into wondering what great things she could have done had she lived.


Alfred the Great’s daughter Aethelflaed

After Aethelflaed, we have the influential Queen Eadgifu who was the third wife of Aethelflaed’s brother Edward the Elder.  When Edward the Elder died, leaving Eadgifu with two young sons, she served in the capacity of regent.  There is evidence she witnessed many charters during the reigns of her sons, usually right after the king.  She possessed many landed interests and was influential for most of the forty years she survived after the death of her husband.


Picture of Queen Eadgifu from The Saxon

Cathedral at Canterbury

Eadgifu’s grandson Edgar the Peaceable married the beautiful Aelfthryth, the daughter of an ealdorman.  She was the first woman to be crowned Queen in England and is best known for her possible involvement in the murder of her stepson King Edward who became known as “the Martyr”.  He was stabbed to death in the courtyard of Corfe Castle upon arriving for a visit with Aelfthryth and her own son Aethelred.  This was scandalous at the time.  She may have conspired in the murder so Aethelred could become king.



Aethelred married one of the most prominent queens of Anglo-Saxon England, Emma of Normandy.  Aethelred married Emma, the sister of Richard, Duke of Normandy in a political alliance.  Together they had a son named Edward.  When Aethelred died, Emma managed to marry his successor, the Danish King Cnut and together they had a son named Harthacnut.  When Cnut died, Emma promoted her son Harthacnut to be king over her elder son Edward.  This caused a great deal of friction between mother and son.  After a period of unrest, Emma’s son Edward became king and would be known as Edward the Confessor.


Queen Emma of Normandy

Edward the Confessor was married to Edith of Wessex, the daughter of Earl Godwin, Edward’s adversary.  Edith was exceedingly well educated and pious.  She acted as an advisor to Edward and was known for her good manners and charitable works.  For whatever reason, Edith and Edward had no children which would have a colossal impact on the course of English history.  When Edward died in late 1065, Edith’s brother Harold became King of England.  William, Duke of Normandy, came to England in October of 1066 and defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings, taking the throne of England by conquest.  Edith paid tribute to William and allied herself with him.  In return, William allowed her to keep her landed interests and income.  She commissioned a biography of her husband and lived until 1075.


Edward the Confessor’s Bride Edith

So, as we have seen with this cavalcade of Anglo-Saxon queens, there were some very powerful women in the Anglo-Saxon era.  They each had their impact on history and left interesting legacies, whether it was through their children, fighting Vikings, murder, poisoning or commissioning biographies.  If you’d like to read more about Anglo-Saxon history and these Queens, please visit my website The Freelance History Writer.

Further reading:  “The Anglo-Saxon World” by Nicholas J. Higham and Martin J. Ryan, “The Kings and Queens of Anglo-Saxon England” by Timothy Venning, “Queens, Concubines and Dowagers: The King’s Wife in the Early Middle Ages” by Pauline Stafford, “The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England” edited by Michael Lapidge, John Blair, Simon Keynes and Donald Scragg, “Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources” edited by Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge, “Queen Emma & Queen Edith:  Queenship and Women’s Power in Eleventh-Century England” by Pauline Stafford 


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Interview with Historical Honey


I am a contributor to a website called Historical Honey and when they announced that the website was being revamped I thought this is the perfect topic for my next blog post. Therefore, with that, I emailed the Historical Honeys also known as Annabelle, Jenna and Polly and they agreed to do an interview with me for my blog. The interview covers a bit about the three girls, the revamp of the Historical Honey website and of course History! Below are the interview questions that I sent the Historical Honeys and the answers that Annabelle sent back.


Can you tell me more about the people behind the Historical Honey website?

We are three girls who hyperventilate over anything historical.

In truth, we are pretty normal. I met Polly on my first day at University in an ancient history lecture. I was bonding with a girl next to me about castles and Polly turned around and was like ‘I love castles too!’ and that was pretty much it. Jenna came in my life a year ago in a very similar manner;

“I really like history”

“So do I”

“No, I mean, I really like history”

“So do I”

“Wanna be a part of Historical Honey”


And the next day she’d written two articles which made my sides split!

Why did you decide to revamp the website?

Technical reasons mostly. We wanted to revamp the layout and improve navigation, and the old site was very limiting. The new site showcases a lot of brand new features, such as the #SecretBookClub, and aesthetically, we just think its nicer!

How did you come up with the new features such as the #SecretBookClub and competitions?

Personal experience taught us that it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to choosing novels, so joining the #SecretBookClub allows members to step outside their comfort zone, and hopefully provide a more honest review. The #SecretBookClub is open to all UK Contributors, who will be sent a new release at RANDOM to read and review for the site. We appreciate honestly, so we always tell our members to really go for it and sort the gems from the gravel!

How did you decide what to put on your website?

Essentially it’s been a learning curve. We listen to what our readers want and also what our contributors want to talk about. We are always open to new ideas, but the basic foundation of the site is an amalgamation of fun, easy to read 500 word articles covering all topics of history. We want to ensure history is open and accessible to everyone, and it gives our contributors a platform to voice their passions!

How did you come up with the idea for the site in the first place?

We became disheartened that the majority of historical materials were accessible only to those who could understand the archaeological journal. Therefore, we made it our mission to bring a little history to the masses. It started as a bit of a joke, “Ohh we can be the Historical Honeyz”. We soon got serious, dropped the ‘Z’ and a ‘Hive of Historical Content’ was born.

Would you have any advice for anyone who are considering a job in the history industry?

Experience and opportunity is never going to just come to you, you have to go out there and take it! Don’t get disheartened and always keep trying. If you have a passion to work in the cultural sector, do it. Life is too short.

Never think you are alone, you’d be surprised how many people are more than happy to help. If you are unsure which steps to take, please email and we will point you in the right direction, or make a connection to someone who can.

The next five questions are obvious history based I hope you do not mind that:

Who is your historical heroine/hero and why?

It’s so obvious, but it has to be Anne Boleyn. Say what you like about her but you have to admire a woman of her strength. Whenever i get nervous I think “What would Anne do? “. And 95% of the time, she’s walk in the room with her head high and get exactly what she wants.

If you could invite three historical figures to dinner who would you invite and why?

Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII and Jesus (to see if he showed up)

Out of all the historical places you have visited which one is your favourite and why?

It’s a toss-up between Dover Castle and Hampton Court Palace. Both are magical to me. Dover because I grew up going most weekends and it is alive with history spanning thousands of years! And Hampton Court because a) it’s fabulous and b) it brings me a little bit closer to Henry and Anne…

If you could go back in time to one historical event, what would it be and why?

This is a hard one – I honestly couldn’t choose, there are too many…

Who are your favourite historians and how have they impacted you?

My Secondary School history teacher, Mr Harmsworth. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for him. He brought history alive for me and I wish every classroom had a teacher like him! (He is actually a historian…he writes books, look him up!)

Check out their amazing website:



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New Year

Hi Guys,

I’m really sorry that I haven’t posted anything on here since November, 2013. Been extremely busy with two university modules and my long list of books to read that if I’m honest get bigger by the week! However, I am currently working on my next blog post which will be a good one and I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I have when writing it.

Last but not least I would like to wish you all a belated Happy New Year!

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Anne to Henry in the Tower scene of Anne of The Thousand Days

Elizabeth is yours. Watch her as she grows; she’s yours. She’s a Tudor! Get yourself a son off of that sweet, pale girl if you can – and hope that he will live! But Elizabeth shall reign after you! Yes, Elizabeth – child of Anne the Whore and Henry the Blood-Stained Lecher – shall be Queen! And remember this: Elizabeth shall be a greater queen than any king of yours! She shall rule a greater England than you could ever have built! Yes – MY Elizabeth SHALL BE QUEEN! And my blood will have been well spent!


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November 2, 2013 · 10:54 pm

19th May 1536 – The Execution of Anne Boleyn

I know this post on the execution of Anne Boleyn is a bit late but I felt the need to still post it as a way of sort of commemorating the day one of England’s queens died on the execution block. To this day, many of us still wonder if Anne’s downfall was her own doing or the doing of Henry. That is just one of those things that we will never know, many of us Historians will just have to live with never knowing this.

On this fateful day, the bravery and courage that Anne had when taking her final journey to the scaffold where her life would tragically end, not many people could do this, if I was to be extremely honest, I definitely could not do it myself.

Once upon the scaffold Anne Boleyn spoke her final words in this life to her people that had three years before championed her. These final words are as followed:

“Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die. For according to the law and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the King and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of may cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me.”

After making her final words her ladies-in-waiting took their places at the side of her and began to remove Anne’s hood and loosening her famous dark locks before they finally tuck them into a cloth cap so that her neck was visible to the executioner. At this point her ladies sobbed silently while Anne paid her own executioner, while he begged her for his forgiveness for the most horrifying event that he was about to commit. Yet Anne still showed no fear even though she knew the fate that she was about to face. Once Anne had told the executioner that she forgave him he placed a blindfold over the eyes that had once seen so much love from her husband the king. While the executioner was doing this she knelt to the ground and prayed: “To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesus receive my soul.” By this point the crowd went down on their knees to show their upmost respect for the woman that they once called their beloved Queen. The only sound that could be heard was the sound of Anne Boleyn whispering her prayers. By this point the executioner was shaken by the fact that Anne has no fear and so much courage. He knew that Anne was expecting the blow to her neck any moment so he called on his assistant to create a distraction so that he could take that fateful blow to her tiny neck without her realising the blow was coming.

Her tragic ordeal was over!

Henry denied Anne her proper burial with a Christian service instead her devastated ladies-in-waiting gathered up their Queen’s body and head and wrapped them up in a white cloth and they took them to the Tower Chapel. Once in the Tower Chapel the Queen and mother of the future Queen Elizabeth I was finally laid to rest however in an unmarked grave and buried as a traitor to the crown of England.


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2nd May 1536 Anne Boleyn is Arrested

On this day 477 years ago Anne Boleyn was arrested. On this day Henry Norris, Groom of the Stool and Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, had been take to the Tower of London, Mark Smeaton, Court Musician was racked and confessed to adultery with the queen, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, who was also the Queen’s brother was also taken to the Tower of London along with his beloved sister Queen Anne Boleyn who had been interrogated by the Council and then was arrested and was then taken to the Tower of London.


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Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary William & Kate


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