Norwich Castle’s square keep has dominated the centre of Norwich for centuries. It has dominated my thinking, too, for at least four years since I visited it in 2016. It could almost be said that I have obsessed over, particularly, the arrangement of the interior of the castle as a section of my forthcoming novel, … Continue reading Norwich Castle – Palace and Prison
With each successive year I seem to be slipping further and further from my goal of reading a book a week. That goal was almost in sight when I read fifty books in 2017 but the following year I dropped back to forty books and this year is even worse with only thirty-seven books read. … Continue reading A Year of Reading – 2019
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson In was an early, very warm morning in July, and it had rained during the night. Khaki Town by Judy Nunn There was a tap at the north-east door. The True Colour of the Sea by Robert Drewe Don dropped dead on the sand and that was that.
Wishing everyone a wonderful year in 2020 - one that is happy, healthy, productive and successful.
Even after finding a woman to his liking and convincing her, and her family, to accept his suit, there were still potential stumbling blocks in the way of a man intent on marriage. Before the betrothal, there were financial matters to be settled – dowry, jointure and how the couple were to fund their future … Continue reading 'A good portion makes hir the better' – Dowry and Jointure in 16th Century England
Mount Wellington standing sentinel over Hobart I took my first steps into family research about fifteen years ago when I inherited my father's papers. He had only made intermittent attempts to trace his family history so all I found was a small collection of letters and certificates along with a very basic family tree. I … Continue reading Can't see the Woods for the … Woods – The search for one Henry Woods
The Confession by Jessie BurtonThat Saturday - an early winter's afternoon on Hampstead Heath - Elise had actually been waiting for someone else. The Rúin by Dervla McTiernan Cormac leaned forward to peer through the windscreen, then nearly cracked his head on the steering wheel as the car bounced through another pothole. Shite. Lanny by … Continue reading My Reading – November 2019
Once a man had settled on the qualities he wanted in a spouse, and with the help of family and friends had sought such a woman out, courted her and secured not only her own agreement but that of her family, the next step to be taken on the path to marriage was betrothal. Betrothal … Continue reading ‘In time meet and convenient’ – Betrothal in Early Modern England
Hellebores are evergreen perennial flowering plant, part of the Ranunculaceae or Buttercup family. They originated in both Europe and Asia and now have numerous varieties of hybrids. The flowers have five petal-like sepals surrounding a ring of small cup-like petals developed to hold nectar. They bloom through winter and spring with the sepals remaining on … Continue reading In My Garden – Hellebores
Despite years of cool-headed scholarship over several decades, the idea still persists in the popular imagination that during the period known as the 'witch craze' millions of women were rounded up and burned at the stake often for nothing more than their skill with herbal remedies. While thousands of women, and men, believed to be … Continue reading Book Review – Crimen Exceptum: The English Witch Prosecution in Context by Gregory J Durston