Archive for the ‘Ricardian Places’ Category


Hatfield, Hertfordshire

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , , ,

Hatfield, Hertfordshire

Hatfield, Hertfordshire – History in Reverse

This continues my quest to discover a Ricardian or Yorkist connection to places in Hertfordshire.  Hatfield was fairly high on my agenda as I spent a year as a foreign language assistant teaching German at two schools, one of which was in Hatfield, in 1980/81.

After arriving on a Saturday evening in late August 1980, our first visit the next day was to Hatfield House.  As the first thing you see is the latest building on the site, this story will be going chronologically backwards. Read the rest of this entry »


Medieval Warwick Study Day

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , ,

Warwick Castle is of special relevance for Ricardians, as it is the birthplace of Richard III’s queen Anne Neville (on 11 June 1456).

Warwick Castle was begun by William I in 1068 in the motte-and-bailey type, using the cliff and river Avon on the one side as a natural defence, the other walls are protected by a dry moat.  The castle’s most formidable defences are at the north-east end, where in the 14th century a central gatehouse tower and two other towers, Caesar’s and Guy’s Towers, were built.

The castle was part of the Beaumont and then the Beauchamp inheritance.  Through Anne Beauchamp, the title Earl of Warwick and the Warwick estates had come to Richard Neville, who became the 16th Earl of Warwick and would later be known as the “Kingmaker”.  They had two daughters, Isabel and Anne, but no sons.   After Richard Earl of Warwick fell at the Battle of Barnet, the estates were divided between Anne Beauchamp’s two sons-in-law, Edward IV’s younger brothers George Duke of Clarence and Richard Duke of Gloucester.  The earldom went to George as the husband of the older daughter.  After the deaths of both Isabel (in 1476) and George (in 1478) their then three-year–old son Edward inherited the estates.  Due to his minority it was in the custody of the crown [1]. Read the rest of this entry »


St David’s, Pembrokeshire

   Posted by: Isolde Martyn Tags: , , ,

The following article  was originally published in The Plantagent Chronicle, newsletter of the Plantagenet Society of Australia, Vol.12, No.4, August 2010.  You can find out more about Isolde Martyn here.

St David’s Cathedral (© Isolde Martyn)

Some of you may have recently seen the Terry Jones TV documentary series on a seventeenth century road map which showed a route through Wales to Holywell via the village of St David’s. We had the opportunity to visit St David’s in the English spring this year and discovered it to be a very picturesque area, steeped in history and as pretty as Cornwall but without the hordes of tourists. But for me, there were three surprises, which I’ll share with you shortly. Read the rest of this entry »


Lady Stanley Opens Her Purse

   Posted by: Julia Redlich Tags: ,

Another gem from Sir Frederick Treves’ Highways and Byways of Dorset .

Wimborne Minster – Church of St Cuthburga (© Copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.)

Not so far from Bloxworth (about 12 kilometres east)  is the much larger town of Wimborne Minster, and it is here in the impressive ecclesiastical building that Sir Frederick remarks on the many interesting tombs. It seems his favourite is “the beautiful monument to John Beaufort and his wife, Margaret”.

John was the grandson of John of Gaunt, and his wife was Margaret Beauchamp. “The effigies,” writes Sir Frederick, “were prepared by the direction their daughter, Lady Margaret Tudor, mother of Henry VII. The two lie side by side, he a burly fighting man in full armour, she a slender and pretty woman, in robes of state. She wears a veil under her coronet and a jewel on her breast. Their two right hands are firmly clasped together, and so natural is the action that the impression remains that it was thus they died. He has taken off his gauntlet the better to hold her hand , while the empty glove is pressed to his cuirass.”

It seems that their daughter, who – as we all know became Lady Stanley a couple of husbands down the track – was anxious to portray her parents in the best possible light. If only they were as serenely happy as portrayed in Wimborne Minster.


Sir Frederick Treves, Bart. GCVO, CB, LL.D, Highways and Byways of Dorset.  Macmillan & Co. Ltd, 1906. No ISBN.

You can find a photograph of the grave here (scroll down to the bottom of the page).


Treves versus Morton

   Posted by: Julia Redlich Tags: ,

Following the reference to Cerne Abbas by Sir Frederick Treves in his book Highways and Byways of Dorset, Ricardians will be interested in this comment about another Dorset village.

Bloxworth Church (© Copyright John Lamper and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.)

Sir Frederick, after some kindly comments about the little church in the village of Bloxworth, goes on to make some not so kindly ones about one of its former rectors.

A very famous rector of Bloxworth was John Morton, Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury in the time of Henry VII. For a prelate, he led a most adventurous life, not without the usual episodes of imprisonment in the Tower and flight to Flanders. He comforted Edward IV when that king lay dying, and was the stoutest advocate of Henry’s marriage to Elizabeth of York, whereby the red rose and the white became blended in the rose of Tudor. As Bishop of Ely he takes his part in Shakespeare’s play of Richard III, wherein occurs “the incident of the strawberries”, as described by Sir Thomas More, once a page in his household.

Describing how the Duke of Gloster [sic] had asked Morton for some strawberries from his garden at Holborn, Sir Frederick tells that the Bishop replies, ‘Gladly my lord quoth he, would God I had some better thing as ready to your pleasure’.”

Sir Frederick’s comment: “These are indeed ready words for a crafty plotter like the Bishop, who wished the Duke of Gloster [sic] to perdition, and who had no “better thing” in store for him – if he had his way – than the dungeon or the headsman’s axe.”


Sir Frederick Treves, Bart. GCVO, CB, LL.D, Highways and Byways of Dorset.  Macmillan & Co. Ltd, 1906. No ISBN.


Cerne Abbas, Dorset

   Posted by: Julia Redlich Tags: , ,

Cerne Abbas is a small village in central Dorset. In 1998 it had a population of 780, that had fallen to 732 by 2001. The peace of such a small settlement could have been why it was voted Britain’s Most Desirable Village in 2001. (As my mother’s family comes from Cerne, it has always been a most desirable place for me!)

Abbot’s Hall Porch, Cerne Abbey (© Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

From earliest times, Cerne Abbey, founded in AD 987, was the cornerstone around which the village grew. The Domesday Book (1087) tells there was enough cultivated land for 20 ploughs and 26 villeins. The Abbey remained the focal point of the area for over 500 years until Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 brought about its surrender. Most of the buildings were destroyed, but the Abbot’s Porch and the Guesthouse still remain, as does St Augustine’s Well, blessed allegedly by the saint himself. The parish today is centred on St Mary’s Church which was built in the late 13th century by the Abbey for the local people. Read the rest of this entry »


Carew Castle, Wales

   Posted by: Isolde Martyn Tags: ,

This ruined castle in Pembrokeshire was the home of Rhys ap Thomas, the Welsh lord whose support for Henry Tudor was a crucial factor in the overthrow of King Richard III. After Bosworth, Rhys became the highest officer of the crown in southern Wales.

Carew Castle, built on the upper reaches of the Carew River, which flows into Milford Haven was Rhys’s favourite residence and although it is now a ruin, it has a cosier family atmosphere than the huge, intact royal castle at Pembroke. Read the rest of this entry »

St Albans - Hertfordshire

St Albans – Hertfordshire

When considering which could be my next Ricardian Place in Hertfordshire, the recent 555th anniversary of the First Battle of St Albans (22 May 1455) offered the obvious answer.  During our life in England St Albans was a popular haunt for us, for shopping, eating out or just soaking up the atmosphere.  I also happened to have a number of private students there – hello to Tony and Jacky, should you read this.

There have been settlements in the St Albans area for a long time.  The first that we know of was by the Celtic Catuvellauni tribe, who called it ‘Verlamion’.  During the Roman period it became ‘Verulanium’, the second largest town in England after Londinium, situated on Watling Street heading north.[1]  Most of the remains of the Roman town are today covered by Verulanium Park, but some parts have been excavated and can be visited.  For instance the Hypocaust (including an in situ mosaic); the Roman Theatre of Verulamium; and the remains of the Roman city walls and London gate.[2] Read the rest of this entry »


For Sale: Sheriff Hutton Castle, North Yorkshire

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , ,

Sheriff Hutton Castle, one of Richard III’s main bases in the north, is up for sale.[1]

The first castle was built in 1140 by Bertram de Bulmer, who was then Sheriff of York, as a grand manor house.  Through the marriage of his daughter Emma it passed on to the Nevilles.  The existing castle was built in the 14th century, replacing the original manor.[2]  After Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, was killed at the Battle of Barnet in 1471, the castle came into the possession of Edward IV, who gave it to his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester.[3] Read the rest of this entry »


Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: ,

Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire

Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire – New Town with Roman and Medieval Roots

Before migrating to Australia, we lived for 5 years in Welwyn Garden City, where I had spent a memorable year as a German assistant in 1980/81.  Welwyn Garden City is in Hertfordshire, so I started wondering what Ricardian or Yorkist connections I could discover in that county and these will be discussed over time.

But I would like to start with Welwyn Garden City itself.  On a purely personal level the town is of great Ricardian relevance:  In autumn 1980 I bought in what was then the Welwyn Department Store (now part of the John Lewis Partnership) my copy of Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, so you could say that was where my obsession with this king and the period began. Read the rest of this entry »