Take the Head of a Black Sheep – Tudor Medicine at Home

Most people in the Tudor period lived in the countryside and unlike us, with our local GPs and ready access to Dr Google, they did not have doctors or apothecaries nearby, even if they could afford them. The bulk of everyday medical care took place within the home with the main practitioners the women of … Continue reading Take the Head of a Black Sheep – Tudor Medicine at Home

The Queen’s Rival by Anne O’Brien

Today I'm delighted to be sharing an excerpt from Anne O’Brien's The Queen's Rival, a novel of Cecily Neville, Duchess of York. The Queen's Rival has been recently released in paperback. Duchess Cecily teaches a lesson in Ludlow Castle, October 1459 We were in occupation of one of the corner chambers in the old gatehouse … Continue reading The Queen’s Rival by Anne O’Brien

‘WANTED a BOY to make himself generally useful.’

In the 19th century the front page of newspapers was not the place for lurid headlines and large photographs designed to catch the eye. It was a serious place where births, marriages and deaths were announced; timetables for ferries listed; ‘superior’ accommodation, government tenders and everything from grain, newly milled flour and candles to ladies’ … Continue reading ‘WANTED a BOY to make himself generally useful.’

One Minute Book Review – The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl

In 1612 William Shakespeare gave evidence in a case at the Court of Requests brought by Stephen Belott against the tire-maker, Christopher Mountjoy who was his father-in-law and with whom he had served an apprenticeship. Belott was suing Mountjoy for failure to pay in full the dowry promised when Belott had married Mountjoy's daughter Mary … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl

Words, Proverbs and Meanings

The meanings of words change over time. Awful began as a shortening for 'full of awe', in other words, inspiring wonder or fear. It has mutated to now be a tired word for something unpleasant. Although changing, on occasions a word will retain something of its original meaning. Elope was first used to described a … Continue reading Words, Proverbs and Meanings

Hilary Mantel’s Reith Lectures 2017

In the Reith Lectures this year Hilary Mantel discusses what is at the heart of good historical fiction, our relationship with the past, and the central elements in a historical novelist's attempt to bring the past alive for us today. As Mantel herself says 'The reason you must stick by the truth is that it … Continue reading Hilary Mantel’s Reith Lectures 2017