A Norman feminist?

King Henry I was the third Norman king of England, after his father, William the Conqueror, and his older brother, William II. Henry reigned in England and most of Wales for 35 years, keeping a peace there, but he struggled with frequent outbreaks of rebellion in Normandy, where he was Duke from 1106. It is…

Medieval Wales

Above is an artist’s impression of the Welsh fort at Carew that preceded the Norman stone castle occupying the site today. The sketch is based on findings from archaeology digs in the 1990s. The stone cross at the entrance to the site, inscribed with the name of the 11th century king Maredudd ap Edwin, is…

Posts from a Castle – Carew (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post, I recounted the early story of the royal Welsh fort at Carew and the coming of the Normans, telling the story of Nest ferch Rhys, the daughter of the last Welsh king in south west Wales, and Gerald FitzWalter, the minor Norman lord who held Pembroke and Carew at the end of…

Posts from a Castle – Carew (Part 1)

Last week I was at Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales giving a talk on the first inhabitants of the castle: Nest ferch Rhys and Gerald FitzWalter. At the front of the castle site a large, decorated stone cross bears the name of Maredudd ap Edwin, one of the 11th century rulers of the Welsh kingdom…

The Normans in Wales

Nest ferch Rhys, the 12th century Welsh princess, is the heroine of my fiction trilogy, Conquest. Nest was wife or mistress to a Norman king, a Welsh prince, and the Norman constables of Pembroke and Cardigan castles. Interpretations of the few facts known about Nest ferch Rhys vary greatly. In my novels I am attempting…

Stepping into medieval London

‘The only plagues of London are the immoderate drinking of fools and the frequency of fires’ wrote William Fitz Stephen in his account of the city in the 12th century. On a recent trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts I came across a little book called Norman London in a second-hand bookshop. The book contained Fitz Stephen’s…

Final rewrite

At that satisfying stage again – ready for the final rewrite of my next novel, before sending it off to the editors at Impress Books. It is the second in a trilogy of novels on Nest ferch Rhys and the struggle between the Normans and the Welsh in the 12th century. This new book, Conquest:…

Welsh Castles

A review of Conquest: Daughter of the Last King and interview with me by Lisa Redmond has just been published in the February issue of Historical Novels Review. I told Lisa that ‘Conquest was sparked by my travels back and forth by train across the spectacular triple river estuary at Carmarthen Bay, with its string…