Friday, 30 October 2015
Geoffrey stated that his work was based on a lost manuscript that only he alone had been able to examine. The lost manuscript remains lost. Whether it actually ever existed in the first place is doubtful.
A great deal of what we now think we know about Arthur comes from the ideas set down in Geoffrey's texts. He makes Arthur Pendragon, son of Uther Pendragon, into a hero. There is a wise prophet called Merlin who advises the young Arthur. Arthur becomes a king so great that he can stand up to the Romans and beat them. In fact he is so great, he is almost invincible. Arthur and his knights, according to the texts, spends most of their time riding up and down the country fighting in noble battles. He is, with out a doubt, according to Geoffrey, the greatest King that Britain has ever had.
But like all good stories of Kings, there always seems to be a hornet in the nest. Modred, his own nephew, and who was at one time trusted to look after Britain while Arthur went on a quest to save some poor young unfortunate girl who had been taken captive by a Spanish giant, betrays him.
They fight...Arthur wins....they fight again...Arthur wins, but this time he is fatally wounded.
'And even the renowned King Arthur himself was mortally wounded; and being carried thence to the isle of Avallon to be cured of his wounds, he gave up the crown of Britain to his kinsman Constantine, the son of Cador, duke of Cornwall, in the five hundred and forty-second year of our Lord's incarnation.'
So there we are. We have the principle players. We also have Avalon. The legend grows.
But, Geoffrey published his work at politically sensitive time. The Welsh revolts of the 1130's had claimed that "Arthur would rise again..." I am sure King Henry, had something to say about that.
"It is hardly surprising, then, that in this climate, given Arthur's rapidly growing status as folk hero, tourist draw and political rallying cry, the establishment should try and dig him up, to hit at least two birds with one stone: prove him dead and reinvent him as a tourist event."
Michael Wood In search of England.
And so the story continues.
I'll catch you later.
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Let me introduce you to Gildas.
Like Bede, Gildas was a 6th Century monk who was born in the year of the Battle of Mons Badonicus, or, The Battle of Mount Badon, as we now know it. Mount Badon is, of course, the famous battle where King Arthur halted the Saxon invasion for a time.
However, Gildas give the word 'vague' a whole new meaning. He gives us very few names and no firm dates. He misses out chunks of history if they do not serve his purpose or his message.
So what does he say about Arthur?
The only 5th century person he does talk about is a man called Ambrosius Aurelianus.
Gildes is very vocal about many things, but not Arthur. He doesn't mention him. At all.
Monday, 26 October 2015
Right, let me introduce you to Edwards, castle.
Saturday, 24 October 2015
I can also remember my friends and I joking about how well traveled Robin was. Robin landed at Dover, headed up to Hadrian's Wall on the borders of Scotland, back down to Salisbury in Wiltshire before heading to the North, where he fought a big man from Bristol in a river in Yorkshire. Perhaps it was an English thing... I doubt anyone else would have found it amusing!
What has this to do with Old Wardour?
Old Wardour Castle, in Wilshire, was used on the set of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The castle portrayed, Robin's childhood home. Locksley Castle.
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
As the name suggests, the Bishops Palace is the home to the Bishop of Bath and Wells and has been for 800 years.
Sunday, 18 October 2015
Mine tend to be old buildings or historic sights. So for the next few blogs I am going to share with you some of the buildings that have touched my heart and have inspired my writing.
Today, I am going to take you on a little journey to the Medieval City of Wells, in Somerset, England. It is the smallest city in England.
Wells, has a long history that goes right back to the Romans and maybe even before. It has bubbling springs which would have made it an ideal place to settle and this was where the name Wells came from. There are three wells that you can still visit today. One is in the Old Market Place, the other two are within the grounds of The Bishops Palace.
Wells is situated on the southern side of the Mendip Hills. It has a small shopping precinct, that takes on the characteristics of a very pretty town. Watching over a the city is the splendour of the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrews...We call it Wells Cathedral...I guess it is less of a mouthful.
The Cathedral dates back to 1175, although there was an earlier church on the sight as far back as AD 705.
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
The Venerable Bede's greatest work was, without a doubt, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, An Ecclesiastical History of the English people. I think Bede brings this time of history to life, he makes these long dead Kings and Queens breathe again. I had reread this book so many times, that my copy is beginning to fall apart. If you have never read it and are interested in this time of history then get yourself a copy. It is worth reading....only if it is the once. I think it is beautifully written. This is how he describes the life of man.
Heres a beautiful animation of the said sparrow!
When we think of historical characters we sometimes forget that they were in fact real people, who felt, who dreamed, who loved, who hated. They experienced the same emotions as we do now. They are not so different, the time they lived in certainly was, but they were human, just like you, just like me. This is what drew me to writing in the first place. The chance to portray humanity in a time that is foreign. And that is what I hope to achieve with my writing. I hope I succeed.
Sunday, 11 October 2015
I have been very busy researching, writing, more researching. And yes, that is candy floss you can see in the picture...best not ask!
My book, The Du Lac Chronicles, is set roughly 24 years after the fall of King Arthur. When Arthur died it seemed all the heroes did too and I wanted to do something about that. But, in order to write about Britain in post Arthur years, I had to know how Arthur changed the political landscape of the kingdom. So before I put pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard as it was, I researched the world of Arthur.
Thursday, 8 October 2015
The earliest written documentation of Arthur is given to us by a 9th Century monk who went by the name of Nennius. Nennius wrote Historia Brittonum, The History of the Britons. It is not an easy read. Structure and organisation were two words Nennius chose to ignore. But it is worth persevering with his work, because there are some real gems in there.
Arthur, whoever he was, had captured the imagination of a nation and in later works he became the hero that we all know and love.
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Glastonbury means many things to many people. The annual music festival is obviously a very big draw, although the locals like to point out that it is in fact held in the village of Pilton and the old folks still call it Pilton Pop Festival!
For me, Glastonbury is all about the history and the myths. One of my favourite places has to be Glastonbury Abbey which holds a special place in my heart.
Please come back and visit again soon. Remember, my historical novel, The Du Lac Chronicles will be out in the new year, 2016. If you would like to know when my next blog is out, make sure you sign up to my mailing list. See you soon. xx
Sunday, 4 October 2015
I grew up in the South-West of England, an area rich in history and ruled over by myth. From the grandeur of Stonehenge to the mysteries of a large man-made hill, known simply as the Tor. How could I not have been inspired to write?
My story is set in the Dark Ages in the year AD507, just after the fall of King Arthur and it explores what happens next through the eyes of Lancelot's Du Lac's sons. The Du Lac Chronicles is out in the spring of 2016. If you would like to find out more, please do sign up for my newsletter where you will be the first to hear the news of my upcoming book launch! Sign up here.
I look forward to sharing my journey with you.