18 February, 2018

Coming on 30 October 2018: My Bio of Hugh Despenser the Younger

My next published book will be my biography of Edward II's mighty chamberlain and favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger, lord of Glamorgan. Its current title is Downfall of a King's Favourite: Edward II and Hugh Despenser the Younger, and will be published by Pen and Sword on 30 October 2018. It's the first ever biography of Hugh, and there isn't even an academic thesis about him, so I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to write this one. Plenty of new info about Hugh, insights into his extortions, translations of his letters, plus much, much more!

My sixth book, out maybe also at the end of this year or early next year, will be Blood Roses: A History of the Houses of Lancaster and York, 1245-1400. Plenty of new stuff in this one too, including a section I've just written this weekend about the abduction of Alice de Lacy, countess of Lincoln and dowager countess of Lancaster, in early 1336. Plenty about the seven children of Henry, earl of Lancaster (d. 1345), and the first section is all about Henry's father Edmund, first earl of Lancaster (1245-96), a man rather neglected by historians. It's my first book about a family rather than an individual, and I've had a lot of fun writing it. One project I now have a contract for is The Rise and Fall of a Medieval Family: The Despensers 1261-1439, and I'm also thoroughly enjoying writing a joint bio of Edward II's three de Clare nieces, Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth, which will be out next year sometime,

10 February, 2018

English Place-Names in Edward II's Accounts

One of the funniest (to my mind, anyway) things about Edward II's chamber accounts and other documents of the era is that his clerks translated English place-names into French, or rather Anglo-Norman, wherever possible. So Newcastle-on-Tyne appears as Noef Chastel sur Tyne, Bury St Edmunds is Bourgh Seint Esmon, Robertsbridge is Pount Robert (the modern French word for bridge is 'pont'), Horsham St Faith is Seinte Foy, and Battle in Sussex is Bataylle. The name of the River Thames was always written Tamyse, London was Loundres, Westminster was Westmoster or Westmouster, Pontefract was Pountfreit, and Lincoln, oddly enough, was always called Nicole or Nichole. In a letter sent by Piers Gaveston, earl of Cornwall, to his retainer Sir Robert Darcy in 1308, Windsor came out as the rather magnificent 'Wyndelesoures' (it was usually spelt 'Wyndesore').

04 February, 2018

Fourteenth Century England X

I'm delighted to announce that I have an article in the tenth edition of the biennial peer-reviewed academic essay collection Fourteenth Century England! It comes out on 16 February 2018, in twelve days, and is available from Amazon and the publisher, Boydell and Brewer (academic books are hugely expensive, unfortunately).