Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Anne Hathaway's cottage

OK, it's time for some 'pretty chocolate box' pix from my recent visit to the Cotswolds. This time it's Anne Hathaway's cottage - which I admit I completely fell in love with. In Anne's time, it consisted of 2 rooms, which have been added to considerably over the years. The female descendants of Anne continued to live in the house until the early 1900s when it was sold to the Shakespeare Birthplace trust.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Blog round-up

Having some holiday time has allowed me to enjoy looking around at new history sites for me. Here are some of the new ones that have caught my eye.

Was thrilled to find this blog dedicated to Thomas Cromwell -

I'm a huge admirer of Thomas Cromwell's career and he is often portrayed in dramas as a sinister character - think Donald Pleasance in 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII' or his portrayal in 'Anne of 1,000 days'.

Likewise, my favourite Tudor king, Henry VII, is often over-looked in favour of his son, Henry VIII, so I was pleased to find this blog -

And a blog I've been reading for some time but haven't updated in my blog list -

I also want to congratulate Kathryn at

on getting her article published in English Historical Review. It's been a long time coming!

And now that the Duchesses have released Susan from their custody, I'm enjoying her revamped blog

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The 'Kingmaker' exhibition at Warwick Castle

For some reason, I am always drawn back to Stratford-upon-Avon. I love to visit this part of the country. I last went there about 3 years ago, and decided a weeks visit was needed again this year. A visit to Stratford inevitably means a visit to Warwick castle - my favourite fortress after the Tower of London. Last time it poured with rain and my focus was the inside of the castle. This time, there was brilliant sunshine so my focus was outside. One day at Warwick Castle is never enough - and in fact the castle offers re-entry the following day for a £1. Of course, the castle has to keep pace and is heavily commercialised. New features are the 'Princess tower' - which I skipped - and the Dragon tower as featured in BBC tvs 'Merlin'. I enjoy this programme, but didn't have time to visit, plus there was an additional £7 fee to go inside. It costs £21 to enter the castle, although it is cheaper to book on-line, and keep a look out for 'buy one entry ticket , get one free' offers. I know these magnificent castles have to raise money and have to have appeal to broader audiences, and initially I found it very difficult to see what had been done to some of these castles, at the expense of the rich history of places. It quite pains me that there is no mention of Piers Gaveston at the castle. I always look around the dungeons, and there is an area called 'Prisoners walk'. I often wonder where Warwick kept Piers - in the dungeons/rooms above ground (for the more important/rich prisoners) or in the hellhole below. I have the feeling the 'Black dog' would have settled on the below ground ones.

One area where the castle excels is it's educational 'Kingmaker' exhibition. It hasn't changed from 3 years ago, and I can't ever see them getting rid of this exhibition - it is such a valuable educational tool. The exhibition is set on the eve of Richard Nevilles final battle in the 'Wars of the Roses', with Neville now fighting for the 'red rose' and King Henry VI. It shows the preparation for the battle and features a series of wax models, with sound effects. Here are some of the pictures I took.

The last picture shows Neville rallying his men.