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You can’t write novels about the Middle Ages without coming across references to the Marshal family. I read a comment saying that the family burst like magnificent fireworks over the skies of 12th and early 13th century England and were as swiftly gone. It’s a very apt description. The most famous scion of the family […]

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‘Qui de si mais voldreit oir, Del bon Mareschel, de Johan’ – ‘To you who would hear more of the worthy John Marshal’ (Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal, lines 120-121). The great William Marshal had an equally great father, but his reputation does not have the burnish of his son’s. Indeed, John’s reputation it has somewhat […]

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[Note: This biography originates from a blog post I wrote in September 2008, entitled: ‘Clothing the bones – Finding Mahelt Marshal’] Mahelt does not have the fame or resonance in history that falls to her illustrious father but that does not make her any less fascinating. Like most women of the medieval period, even aristocratic […]

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Roger Bigod II, Earl of Norfolk circa 1146-1221, is the male lead in The Time of Singing. I set out to write about him after being made curious by a remark in a reference work mentioning that his career path was in many ways similar to that of the great William Marshal. They were both self-made […]

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[Note: This biography originates from a blog post I wrote in April 2010, entitled: ‘Illuminating Hugh Bigod’] Like Mahelt, Hugh Bigod’s story is well hidden and little recorded. To flesh him out in contemporary history is to have to extrapolate from scraps of evidence dotted here and there through charters, and fines and the occasional chronicle. […]

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The Empress Matilda shares the credits with her stepmother, Adeliza of Louvain in the new novel. While many readers probably know at least something about the Empress, Adeliza has been less in the public eye and is not well documented by history. So what was she like, this second queen to Henry I? What’s her […]

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‘There was a certain Brien fitz Count, a man of distinguished birth and splendid position’ – Gesta Stephani ‘He seems to have been without personal ambition’ – Marjorie Chibnall: The Empress Matilda. ‘But she (the Empress Matilda) and Brian gained…a title to boundless fame, since as their affection for each other had before been unbroken, […]

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