‘A good portion makes hir the better’ – Dowry and Jointure in 16th Century England

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

Can’t see the Woods for the … Woods – The search for one Henry Woods

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

My Reading – November 2019

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

‘In time meet and convenient’ – Betrothal in Early Modern England

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

In My Garden – Hellebores

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

Book Review – Crimen Exceptum: The English Witch Prosecution in Context by Gregory J Durston

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

My Reading – October 2019

Fallen Skies by Philippa GregoryStephen's mouth was filling with mud, wet slurry pressed on his eyelids, slid into his nostrils like earthworms. The Sisters of Arden on the Pilgrimage of Grace by Judith ArnoppWe run, heads down through the darkness, away from the cries of our dying friends and the sickening thud of their falling … Continue reading My Reading – October 2019

Book Review – Fallen Skies by Philippa Gregory

It is 1920 and the Great War ended two years ago. Seventeen-year-old Lily Pears had done her best to ignore it. She is a chorus girl with a beautiful voice, who performs under the stage name Lily Valance. Her widowed mother has poured all her dreams into her daughter. Helen Pears runs a shop on … Continue reading Book Review – Fallen Skies by Philippa Gregory

My Reading – September 2019

The Second Sleep by Robert HarrisLate on the afternoon of Tuesday the ninth of April in the Year of Our Risen Lord 1468, a solitary traveller was to be observed picking his way on horseback across the wild moorland of that ancient region of south-western England known since Saxon times as Wessex. Tidelands by Philippa … Continue reading My Reading – September 2019