Sunday, 19 April 2015

Danbury Country Park

The sun was out today, so myself and the boy decided to check out Danbury Country Park. It is only a few miles down the road from where we live, and we'd never been there as a couple before!

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It has fantastic lakes, a woodland area, and many a year ago, a palace stood presiding over the space, the grounds then being a medieval deer park.
The mansion was built in the 16th century, and by the 19th, was the home of the bishop of Rochester. It quickly fell into disrepair, and is now is a building site, the constructions works to be modern-day housing.

:(

Staying upon a historical note, myself and the boy will be attending the medieval festival at Pleshey Castle on the 10th May, too excited!

Outfit

t-shirt - george kids & asda (£5)
skirt - topshop in a sale (£7) - recent purchase
cardigan - topshop via a charity shop (£3)
coat - vintage (£6.99)

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Hadleigh Castle

This is one of my favourite castles in Essex (not difficult seeing as there are hardly any!).
The reason I love these ruins so much, is because they was fortified by King Edward III during the 1360s (during the hundred years war).
I have had doubts in my head, in regards to believing the common reason of the King's "restablishment" of the citadel. The first part of the hundred years war had waned after the Treaty of Bretigny (1360), therefore I do not think Edward rebuilt most of the castle (royal lodgings, a portculis, a drawbridge, the `High Tower` etc), because he feared a French invasion.

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Stratgeically yes, Hadleigh is the perfect spot for a fortress. It overlooks a green clearing, and the River Thames winds straight past; access to the castle proving easy. The fortress would also protect the estuary from an attack.
However, it is more sound, that his reasons were more on a personal level - he craved privacy.
His Queen, Philippa, had died in 1369 and he was not in a good way, it is possible that he wished to stay off the radar, and most likely, court Alice Perrers in peace.

outfit;

coat - topshop in a sale (£40)
blouse - miss selfridge via a charity shop (£2.99)
skirt - topshop via a charity shop (£3.99)
wellies - primark (£12)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Long time, no see

Apologies for not posting sooner, has just been a very busy month - working on Uni stuff, novel, various other bits and pieces... we haven't even gone on any days out!

We took a stroll to Writtle last week, the boy's grandparents are buried there - chose a lovely day for it :)

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We are planning to visit Colchester again soon, London in May (Magna Carta exhibition), and hopefully Hampton Court.

coat - topshop via ebay (around £14)
skirt - h&m (£3.99)
t-shirt - topshop via a charity shop (£1.99)
shoes - primark (£3)
gloves - primark (£2)
bag - h&m via a charity shop (£1.99)

Eventually i'll get around to continuing my posts about Edward III... got good news though, Alice Perrers novel is currently being edited :D

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Clink Prison Museum

We'd been planning this day out for months, and what does it go and do, it rains! Typical English weather. It was sunny yesterday, and then the heavens open on the day in which we wish to venture out.

After stumbling across this museum last year when we were on our way to QI, we made a decision to visit the infamous medieval/tudor/stewart/georgian prison when he found the time.

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It opened in the year of the Lord 1144, and was attached to the bishop of Winchester's household (otherwise known as Henry of Blois; brother to King Stephen of England).
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It housed vagrants, vagabonds, debtors and various petty criminals, and was in use until 1780 until it burnt down. 

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The torture devices that were on display, were fascinating, and I think one of the most vile, is the heretics fork - used for sleep deprivation.

`The heretic's fork was a torture device, consisting of a length of metal with two opposed bi-pronged "forks" as well as an attached belt or strap.
The device was placed between the breast bone and throat just under the chin and secured with a leather strap around the neck, while the victim was hung from the ceiling or otherwise suspended in a way so that they could not lie down.
A person wearing it couldn't fall asleep. The moment their head dropped with fatigue, the prongs pierced their throat or chest, causing great pain. This very simple instrument created long periods of sleep deprivation. People were awake for days, which made confession` 

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Its made me think about how lenient we are on felons today, and whether one would deserve the heretics fork, whipping post, stocks, or the infamous rack!

quote from http://www.medievalwarfare.info/torture.htm#rack



Saturday, 14 February 2015

Great Dunmow and St Valentine's Day

A few weeks ago, myself and the boy took a stroll around Great Dunmow in Essex. It was absolutely freezing and the shoes in the pictures below, had to be thrown in the bin!

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It is very difficult in the winter months to think of things to do (especially when you're on a budget and when medieval castles are closed), so that is why I have not blogged for a few weeks (don't fret, am working on part three of my Edward III post).
I have also just finished a draft essay about Cleopatra for my course, and still need to type it out, and have been working on a novel about Alice Perrers (80,000 words in folks) :)

Anywho, I had just dropped in to say, happy Valentine's day, and hope it's special

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(please excuse my boy's socks on the rad)


Monday, 26 January 2015

Cambridge (and i'm 24!)

It was my 24th birthday on Saturday, and as myself and the boy had not been to Cambridge for a while, we decided to venture there (accompanied by clear skies and warm air much to our delight!)

We ambled about the beautiful streets, gawping at the University buildings and churches, and wished that we could afford to up sticks and abandon Chelmsford for good. You cannot compare the two burghs and it is a great shame my parents decided to settle for the former Roman settlement.

A couple of snaps of Cambridge's beauty;

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I spent a little of my birthday money (a pair of shoes, a pair of owl socks, a t-shirt, 3 CDs and a second-hand book about medieval england), and soon dragged the boy off to the pub where I enjoyed a vodka and coke, and a creme cheese bagel. As the designated driver, he had to make do with a coke (and a huge bowl of chips covered with cheese and bacon), but he did not complain ;)

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The rest of my birthday was spent huzzahing over the fact that my OU History course starts in February, and that my mother bought me a bottle of Jack Daniels. The bottle has now been polished off, and we celebrated Burns' Night in style... see below.

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pajama shirt - topshop (part of a set - £22)
kilt - topshop (£15 in the sale)
scarf - topman (£12ish)
tights - topshop (£8, 7 years ago!)

My next blog-post will be in regards to the fine King that is Edward III, and will cover the years 1326-1330. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

King Edward III of England Part two - 1323-1326

I had mentioned that this next post would include up to the year 1330, but I later decided to save the first years of the young King's reign for part 3.

By the year 1323, Queen Isabella and King Edward II were spending more time apart and allegedly by 1324 young John and Eleanor had been removed from their mother's care. Her income was also removed. The reason for this, was because there was grave tension between the realms of England and France and Edward simply did not trust his spouse.
What, would young Edward have made of this situation? Would he have sympathised with his mother, or would he have agreed wholeheartedly with his father?

The war of Saint-Sardos (based around English rule in Gascony - the last of the great Angevin empire), was the bubbling undercurrent of tension between Edward II and Charles of France. Charles did not want the English to remain as vassals to this stretch of land and was very eager to settle any disputes between the Gascon subjects and Edward II (also duke of Aquitaine).
War of Saint-Sardos

The other issue, was that Edward II had not yet performed homage to Charles for English lands in Gascony and had offered up some weak excuses as to why he had not complied. By January 1325, Charles had agreed that Queen Isabella (also his sister), could travel on Edward II's behalf in order to negotiate terms. One can guess that she tried her hardest for Edward II, for Charles relented and said that if he could not sail over the Narrow Sea, then the young earl of Chester; young Edward could perform homage on the King's behalf.
The King was now in a predicament, if he he allowed his eldest, precious son to cross into France, then there would be every chance that the Queen could hold the boy hostage until her income/estates were restored, however, if he sailed over himself, then he would be leaving his favourite Despensers to the mercy of the irate magnates who had remained loyal to those who had fallen at Boroughbridge (March 1322).

It must also be noted that Rogert Mortimer the younger (captured at Shrewsbury with his uncle in January 1322), had escaped the Tower in August 1323 and had otherwise become somewhat involved with Queen Isabella. Edward II could simple not allow his son to fall into the hands of the Mortimer as this would further propel the chance that the boy would not be released after homage was performed.
Eventually, in September 1325, 12 year old Prince Edward traveled to Dover with Edward II and received the duchy of Aquitaine and all English lands in France. The Prince was then placed under the guardianship of Walter de Stapledon (bishop of Exeter) and Sir Henry Beaumont.

For young Edward himself, this must've seemed like an adventure, and a huge responsibility rested on his shoulders for he was performing a Kingly act, was representing the throne of England.He must also have been anxious to see his mother as we do know he was close to her and adored her. If she insisted he remained with her in France, then he would have no choice but to do so.

As it so happens, Queen Isabella did insist the Prince stay in France, and she too refused to sail back to her husband in England. Charles, her brother, did nothing to persuade her to return to Edward II and refused to expel her from the country.
The King and Queen of England's united front was now crumbling and by December 1325, young Edward received a letter from his father asking him to take his leave. The Prince, did not abandon his mother, and replied saying the Queen would not allow it.
Whether or not he was able to leave, does not matter. From Edward II's point of view, his son had disobeyed him and responded in March 1326. He was evidently not best pleased...