Archive for the ‘Events in History’ Category


Geoffrey of Monmouth goes to Wales

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: ,

Geoffrey of Monmouth was elected to the see of St Asaph in Wales on 24 February 1151.  It is assumed that he was born between 1100 and 1110, and died between  25 December 1154 and 24 December 1155.

He is mainly known as a writer of the Historia Regum Britanniae (The history of the kings of Britain), which includes stories of Arthur, Merlin and kings Leir and Coel.

Geoffrey will always remind me of my classes in medieval Latin at university, where we studied his story of King Arthur.  Though I had disliked Latin at school and only did the course because it was a prerequisite for graduation, here I discovered that studying a ‘dead’ language could actually be fun.


J. C. Crick, ‘Monmouth, Geoffrey of (d. 1154/5)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Dorothea Preis


23 FEBRUARY 1447

   Posted by: Michael Tags: , ,

Death of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, aged 56.  He was the youngest son of Henry IV, brother of Henry V and Lord Protector to his young nephew Henry VI, who was only nine months when he succeeded his father.  Humphrey is buried at St Albans Cathedral.

(Photograph of the Chantry of Humphrey of Gloucester in St Albans Cathedral © Dorothea Preis)


21 FEBRUARY 1478

   Posted by: Michael Tags: ,

Richard Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) obtains permission to found and endow two collegiate chapels at St Mary and St Akelda’s Church, Middleham, and at St Mary’s Church, Barnard Castle.

The college at Middleham was to have six priests, the one at Barnard Castle twelve.  The priests were to offer prayers for the souls of Richard himself, King Edward IV and his Queen Elizabeth, his brothers and sisters and his father, wife and son.

While the college at Barnard Castle never materialized due to Richard’s death at Bosworth, the college at Middleham was established and continued until 1856.


(Photograph of St Mary and St Alkelda, Middleham, by D Preis)


18 FEBRUARY 1478

   Posted by: Michael Tags:

Execution of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III.  He had been convicted of treason by Parliament.  There is a rumour that he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.  He was buried at Tewkesbury Cathedral.

More Information:

Elizabeth Ashworth, ‘George, Duke of Clarence’, Elizabeth Ashworth – author (18 Feb 2013).  URL:  [accessed 6 Feb 2015]


Second Battle of St Albans

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , , ,

Second Battle of St Albans

St Michael’s Bridge and ford (© D Preis)

Second Battle of St Albans – a Lancastrian victory

The second Battle of St Albans was fought on 17 February 1461 between the Lancastrian forces under Margaret of Anjou (Henry VI’s queen) and the Yorkist forces under Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (‘The Kingmaker”).  It was won by the Lancastrian forces.  Henry VI was reunited with his wife and son.  The Yorkists, however, won the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461 and with it the crown for Edwrad IV.

The photo shows St Michael’s Bridge and ford.  Part of the Lancastrian forces led by Sir Andrew Trollope entered St Albans via this ford.  The present bridge was only built in 1765, but it is considered to be the oldest still existing bridge in Hertfordshire.

The second Battle of St Albans was fought over a larger area than the first Battle of St Albans on 22 May 1455, which was concentrated on the streets in the town centre.

The website St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society has a map showing the area covered by both battles.

A short description of the various battles of the Wars of the Roses can be found on the website of the Richard III Society.

Dorothea Preis



Birth of Elizabeth of York

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Birth of Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York as queen, holding the white rose of the House of York

Birth of Elizabeth of York – king’s daughter, king’s wife

Birth of Elizabeth of York on 11 February 1466 at Westminster.  She was the eldest child of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

After Edward’s invasion of France in 1475, in the Treaty of Picquigny, she was supposed to marry to Dauphin Charles.  This marriage never took place.  After her father’s death on 9 April 1483, she went with her mother and siblings into sanctuary at Westminster. On Christmas Day 1483, Henry Tudor took an oath in Rennes Cathedral to marry her, if he managed to become king.

She left sanctuary with her mother and siblings on 1 April 1484. Richard III undertook to find suitable husbands for her and her sisters.  This came to nothing and on 22 August 1485 Richard lost his life and throne at the Battle of Bosworth.  The victorious Henry Tudor was in no rush to marry her.  Parliament reminded him on 10 December 1485, and the wedding finally took place on 18 January 1486. Her coronation was nearly two years later on 25 November 1487.

Elizabeth and Henry had eight children, of which four survived infancy.  She died on her 37th birthday, 11 February 1503, at Richmond Palace, after giving birth to her youngest daughter Katherine on 2 February 1503, probably from post-partum infection.  She is buried next to her husband, who died in 1509, in a magnificent marble tomb in Westminster Abbey.


Rosemary Horrox, ‘Elizabeth (1466–1503)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.  [last accessed online 1 Feb. 2020]

Richard Cavendish, ‘The Death of Elizabeth of York’, History Today, Volume 53, Issue 2 (2003).  URL:  [last accessed 1 Feb. 2020]

P.W. Hammond, ‘The Coronation of Elizabeth of York’, The Ricardian, Vol VI, No 83 (December 1983), pp. 270-272

Dorothea Preis


Birth of Henry Plantagenet at Hatfield

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: ,

Birth of Henry Plantagenet at Hatfield

Birth of Henry Birth of Henry Plantagenet at HatfieldPlantagenet at Hatfield on 10 February 1441.  He was the eldest son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. He died as a baby.

At the time of his birth, his parents had already two daughters, Joan (1438), who had also died in infancy, and Anne (10 August 1439).  Their next son, Edward, was born on 28 April 1442. He was to accede the throne as Edward IV on 4 March 1461.

Unfortunately it is not sure whether he was born at Hatfield in Hertfordshire or Hatfield Chase in Yorkshire. Hatfield in Hertfordshire belonged to the Bishops of Ely, which is why it also called Bishops Hatfield.  Their manor might have offered suitable accommodation on the way to London. The Great North Road connecting London and York ran through Hatfield.

Hatfield Chase was a royal hunting ground and one of the Duke of York’s family residences. [1]  There are several sources linking Henry to this Hatfield. [2]


1.  Michael K Jones, Bosworth 1485:  Psychology of a Battle. Tempus, 2003, p.81

2. For instance:  Jones, ibid.

S Whaley, The History and Antiquities of Thorne, with Some Account of the Drainage of Hatfield Chase (1829). p.24

Hatfield Town Council, ‘Parish History

You can find a list of the children of Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville here.

Dorothea Preis



It is King Richard III!

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , ,

Press Conference at the University of Leicester

Facial Reconstruction of Richard III (used by permission of the Richard III Society)

An unforgettable event:

Press Conference at the University of Leicester – it is Richard III!

A press conference at the University of Leicester was specially convened on 4 February 2013.  At 10h40 (local time) it was announced that the human remains found during the archaeological dig in the area of Leicester’s Greyfriars were those of King Richard III.

The identification was based on a wealth of scientific evidence, including radiocarbon dating, radiological evidence, DNA and bone analysis and archaeological results.

In conclusion to a presentation of the various strains of evidence, Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on the Search for Richard III, said: “It is the academic conclusion of the University of Leicester that the individual exhumed at Grey Friars in August 2012 is indeed King Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England.” *

You can watch and listen to the whole press conference again at

* ‘University of Leicester announces discovery of King Richard III’, University of Leicester (4 Feb 2013).  URL: [last accessed 1 Feb. 2020]



Death of Johannes Gutenberg

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Death of Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg

Death of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press

The death of  Johannes Gutenberg occurred on 3 February 1468 in Mainz.

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg, his full name, was born c. 1398 in Mainz.  In approx. 1439 he invented a mechanical printing press using moveable type.  This was later, in 1476, introduced into England by William Caxton.  The invention of the printing press is regarded as one of the most important developments in the history of mankind as it allowed the fast dissemination of written texts.

A fascinating novel about the first printed Bible is Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie.  You can find a review here.

More information on Johannes Gutenberg:

Tejvan Pettinger, ‘Biography of Johannes Gutenberg’, Biography Online (28 December 2012).  URL:  [last accessed 1 Feb. 2020]

Dorothea Preis



Death of John of Gaunt

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Death of John of Gaunt

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster

Death of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster – ancestor of the Lancastrian Kings and the Tudors

The death of John of Gaunt occurred on 3 February 1399 at Leicester Castle.

He was the third surviving son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault.  He was born on 6 March 1340 in Ghent, which why he was called ‘of Gaunt’.

His first wife was Blanche, the daughter of Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster. They married in 1359.  His father gave him the title Duke of Lanacster in 1362 after the death of his father-in-law.   Their eldest son surviving infancy was Henry Bolingbroke, who would later become the Lancastrian king Henry IV.

After Blanche’s death in 1369, he married the Infanta Constance of Castile in 1371.  She died in 1394.

With Katherine de Roet he is the ancestor of the Beaufort family.  The children were born when Katherine was his mistress.  However, Katherine and John married in 1396 and the children were legitimised.  Their half-brother Henry IV barred the Beauforts from the succession to the throne.  The later fact was conveniently forgotten by Margaret Beaufort and her son Henry Tudor, when he aimed to become king (Henry VII).  Katherine and her relationship with John of Gaunt is the subject of Anya Seton’s unforgettable novel Katherine.

More information:

Richard Cavendish, ‘Death of John of Gaunt‘, History Today (2 February 1999). [last accessed 1 Feb. 2020]

John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, Encyclopaedia Britannica

Dorothea Preis