Posts Tagged ‘Wars of the Roses’


Queen by Right

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Bookworm

Queen by Right

Book Review:  Queen by Right

Anne Easter Smith, Queen by Right.  Touchstone, New York, 2011.  ISBN 9781416550471 (paperback)

The queen of the title of Anne Easter Smith’s latest novel is Cecily Neville, the mother of Edward IV and Richard III.  Many readers of historical fiction will shared the experiences of  her sons in novels, but this has been much less the case for Cecily.  And after meeting Anne Easter Smith’s Cecily I can only wonder why.

Queen by Right covers Cecily’s life from 1423, when she is eight years old, until her son Edward’s coronation in June 1461.  And while the events of the remaining 34 years of Cecily’s life would easily provide enough material for at least one other novel, I welcome her decision to limit this one to the earlier – and at least for me – less well-known period. Read the rest of this entry »

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Walk Wakefield 1460

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Bookworm, Ricardian Places

Walk Wakefield 1460

Book Review:  Walk Wakefield 1460  – today

Helen Cox, Walk Wakefield 1460:  A Visitor Guide to Battle-Related Sites.  Herstory Writing & Interpretation/York Publishing Services, 2011.  ISBN 978 0 9565768 1 1 (available from YPD Books)

I finally received my copy of Walk Wakefield 1460 by Helen Cox.  The subtitle, ‘A Visitor Guide to Battle-Related Sites’, gives a clear indication as to the purpose of the book.  If you have read Helen’s excellent The Battle of Wakefield Revisited and now want to explore where the action took place, this little book is a must.

Helen gives short overviews of the individual battles (Worksop and Wakefield), but the aim is to identify the sites that a visitor today can see.  This is of particular interest for Sandal Castle and Pontefract Castle, where only ruins remain.  She explains clearly which part of the castle the wall fragments come from and what the purpose of the various features was.

She also provides valuable information on opening hours as well as addresses for further information.  Also included are directions on how to get to the places by car or foot.  The book is well illustrated with pictures of the sites as well as maps showing them in today’s landscape (in the case of Wakefield this can be compared to a map showing the outlay in the 15th century).

If you are planning to visit Yorkshire, I can only recommend Walk Wakefield 1460.  I can hardly wait to get a chance to visit the sites to which Helen takes us.

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The Launch of ‘Walk Wakefield 1460’

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

The long awaited launch of Helen Cox’s follow-up to The Battle of Wakefield Revisited took place on 19 March 2011 at Waterstone’s Booksellers in Wakefield.

In Walk Wakefield 1460 Helen is our guide to all the sites connected with the battle.   The book contains a brief history, directions to the sites (including maps), and up-to-date information on opening times and admission charges for visiting.

Helen Cox and her husband Mick Doggett at the launch of Walk Wakefield 1460 (photograph © Mike Wilson)

Helen reported that there was a good turnout for the launch and was particuly happy to see some who had travelled long distance to attend, like a Battlefield Society member from Preston in Lancashire, and a Richard III Society member from Beverley in East Yorkshire.  Some people bought copies of both Wakefield Revisited and Walk Wakefield. Read the rest of this entry »

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The April General Meeting

   Posted by: Julia Redlich    in Meetings

The speaker at our meeting on April 9 was Dorothea Preis, whose report on the “Blood and Roses” special interest weekend held at Christ Church College, Oxford, at the end of March features elsewhere on our website. Luckily for those many members attending we heard about the enlightening papers in much more detail and enjoyed the excellent choice of illustrations and photographs that brought the weekend to colourful life.  When it comes to colour, I suspect most of us were green with envy at what was obviously a time of special interest to Ricardians and Dorothea’s good fortune in participating and meeting other Ricardians from the USA, Canada and the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

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Blood and Roses – Special Interest Weekend

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

Recently I had the pleasure to attend the Special Interest Weekend on ‘Blood and Roses:  England 1450 – 1485’, which took place at Christ Church College Oxford from 24 to 27 March 2011.  This is the eighth Special Interest Weekend Christ Church is hosting, past events included a variety of topics.

A group of overseas Ricardians – US, Canada and Australia – who had arrived early, met on the Wednesday evening prior to the official start for a highly enjoyable pub crawl and dinner at The Trout.  A big thank-you goes to Dave for organising this.  It was great that Christine, a Ricardian from Stroud in Gloucestershire, could join us for the evening.  Wherever Ricardians meet you can be sure they will have a lot to talk about and enjoy themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

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Walk the Wakefield Battlesite with Helen Cox

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Bookworm

Helen Cox, Walk Wakefield 1460: A Visitor Guide to Battle-Related Sites, YPD Books, 2011, ISBN  978-0-9565768-1-1

We all know Helen Cox from her fascinating analysis of the Battle of Wakefield

This new book will be essential reading if you plan to visit the site of this decisive battle in the Wars of the Roses,  or are just interested in seeing the historical setting in today’s geography.  Both are aspects which interest me, so Walk Wakefield 1460 has top place on my wish list.

This new book covers the campaign of the winter of 1460, from its opening skirmish at Worksop to the grisly aftermath in York, through sites connected with the battle.  Each section of the concise illustrated guide features a brief history, directions to the sites (including maps), and up-to-date information on opening times and admission charges for visiting.  The sites covered are:

Worksop Priory & Castle
Sandal Castle
Duke of York’s Monument
The Battlefield at Wakefield Green
St Mary’s Chantry Chapel
Pontefract Castle
Micklegate Bar & York City Walls

The book will be launched at Waterstones Booksellers, The Ridings Shopping Centre, Wakefield, on Saturday 19 March 2011, from 11h00 -13h00.  What a pity, this is just before my trip to the UK to attend the Blood and Roses Weekend in Oxford.  Should you be in the area though, I am sure Helen would be delighted to see you and sign a copy for you.

You can also get signed copies of both Helen’s books at the Friends of Sandal Castle Open Meeting at Sandal Castle Visitor Centre on Saturday, 26  March, when she will be speaking alongside popular author Keith Souter on ‘Sandal Castle in Fact and Fiction’.

And for all those who cannot be there, we can order this publication from YPD Books.

Watch this space for more news after the launch!

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The Battle of Towton – in your living room.

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

To commemorate the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461 a fascinating new DVD is available.   It is based on a BBC documentary, but includes so much more which due to time constraints had to be cut out of the documentary.  This is not to be missed.

On a cold and snowy day in 1461 Henry VI’s Lancastrians and Edward IV’s Yorkists met on a field near Towton in Yorkshire. It has been estimated that 100 000 men fought at the 12 hour battle. At the end of the day approx. 28 000 men were dead, an equivalent of 1% of the English population at the time, Britain’s bloodiest battle.

During building work in 1996 the workmen found a mass burial pit from the battle.  This was excavated and analysed by archaeologists of the University of Bradford.  The results from this investigation have helped tremendously in our knowledge of the fighting in the period of the Wars of the Roses, as anyone who has read the book Blood Red Roses will know. Read the rest of this entry »

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Blood and Roses – The Wars of the Roses, c.1450 – 1485

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

This is the title of a ‘Special Interest Weekend to re-evaluate an historically neglected but pivotal English conflict’ which will be held from 24 to 27 March 2011 at Christ Church in Oxford in association with Holts Battlefield Tours and The Richard III Society.  To a Ricardian the description of a “neglected” conflict is hardly appropriate, as it is essential to our period of interest.

Special Interest Weekends are offered every spring by Christ Church, offering sound scholarship by distinguished speakers to their visitors.  Participants will stay on campus and enjoy college life.  The social highlight of the weekend will be the Gala Banquet on Saturday night.

This weekend promises to take the participant through one of the most complex narratives of English History and to explore the debates surrounding the parts played, not just by the king but by the aristocracy.  The talks include:

•    The Origins of the Wars of the Roses
•    The Role of Margaret of Anjou
•    Edward IV and the Establishment of the House of York
•    Richard III:  Reputation and Reality
•    The Army of Richard III
•    Alice Duchess of Suffolk and the Wars of the Roses – this will take place at Ewelme Church, where she is buried
•    The Battle of Bosworth – Dr Glenn Foard, who led the team that discovered the real battle site, will talk about their research.

What a pity that we are so far away, the weekend does promise to be fascinating!  It would be good if we could find out whether the talks might be published in book format after the weekend.  This would allow people, who live too far away and haven’t got the means to just pop over to Oxford for weekend, can enjoy some of it.

For a copy of the programme and a booking form click here.

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550th Anniversary of the Battle of Northampton

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

We may be 550 years late for the Battle of Northampton, fought on 10 July 1460 between the Yorkist forces commanded by the Earl of Warwick and Henry VI’s Lancastrian forces, but this coming weekend there will be lots of action for latecomers like us (and more peaceful, too).  A wide variety of Battle related activities will take place at at the original battle site at Delapré Abbey,  including a re-enactment of part of the Battle.  Other attractions are: Jousting on horseback with full armour, gunpowder and large canon demonstrations, the display of a soldiers’ encampment and music from the period of the Battle.  And if all this makes you hungry and thirsty there will also be food stalls offering medieval fare.

This fun weekend will be followed by a conference on the Battle of Northampton on the anniversary itself (10 July) at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, organised by The Battlefields Trust.  The programme promises to be fascinating with talks on “The Wars of the Roses and the Northampton Campaign”, “Developments in Warfare During the 15th Century”, “The Battle of Northampton”, “Where Is the Battlefield?” and “Finding Medieval Battlefields”.

You can find more information on the weekend at Delapré Abbey here and about the conference at Northampton Museum here.

IllustrationWar of the Roses © Andrew Jamieson,

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Launch of The Battle of Wakefield

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Bookworm

Helen Cox, author of The Battle of Wakefield Revisited, let us know that her book has been launched successfully.  Approx. 30 people attended the official moment, among them Peter Hammond, the Chairman of the Richard III Society; Sue Galloway, the Lord Mayor of York; Richard Watson, the Sheriff of York; Terry Suthers, the Chairman of the York Archaeological Trust and Mark Taylor, the Chairman of the Towton Battlefield Society as well as some more friends from the Towton Battlefield Society.

Obviously this was a very exciting occasion for Helen, as this is her first book that she has written on her own and the result of years of research.  Helen says that she is especially happy that it means she can “take a public stand in support of Richard, Duke of York, who usually gets such a rough ride from historians”.  The site for this rehabilitation was particularly appropriate as this was where the Battle of Wakefield effectively ended with the heads of Richard of York and his son Edmund and the Earl of Salisbury displayed on the York city walls after the battle.

For the launch Helen came kitted out with the full re-enactors necessities like a basket of crocks and 15th century goodies, swords, helmets, padded jacks, bows and arrows and sundry bits of costume as well as obviously cartons of books.

To find out more about the book have a look at the flyer Helen provided to us (here).  You can order the book from YPD Books.  I ordered it yesterday for £12.00 + £9.95 for shipping to Australia, which altogether came to approx. Aus$ 40.00.  And don’t forget to visit Helen’s website as well.

We would also like to thank Helen for providing  the photographs of this exciting occasion to us.

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