The Bookshelf Cafe News

When Monks go Off-message

History is a serious business, in the main. We look at documents, chronicles, diaries, in order…

Murder in Saxon England

There were laws against killing people in times of peace, of course there were, and the…

An A-Z (almost) of Anglo-Saxon Women

My new book details the lives of over 100 women, some of whom had their careers…

Many Ælfgifus – Some Anglo-Saxon Ladies who Shared a Name

I was recently interviewed on BBC Radio Northampton where we chatted about a lady known as…

Touching the Past

Recently I was asked about the problems of researching the lives of the women featured in…

Two Abbesses, Two Synods: Hild and Ælfflæd of Whitby

The oft-quoted ‘Get thee to a nunnery’ seems to suggest that in such an establishment there…

Finding Mercia

The Anglo-Saxons can feel very remote. It’s nearly 1000 years since that period ended with Harold’s…

A New Look for Alvar the Kingmaker

Alvar the Kingmaker has had a makeover. When my novel To Be A Queen underwent a…

Stepping Back into Saxon England – Blog Tour

From 1st-15th October, 2020, Helen Hollick and I went on tour, visiting authors and bloggers and…

In Conversation with Æthelflæd, the ‘Lady of the Mercians’ & Queen Emma of Normandy

Characters:  Statue of Æthelflæd at Tamworth Æthelflæd, the ‘Lady of the Mercians’, (c. 870 – 12 June…

Women of Power – Blog Tour

I’d like to express my thanks to all at Pen & Sword Books, especially Rosie Crofts, and…

Anglo-Saxon Women with Attitude

Many of the women who feature in my books got rather a bad press from the…

Literacy among Anglo-Saxon Women

My new book, Women of Power in Anglo-Saxon England, features the mothers, wives and daughters of…

Turning up the Past: The One Who Got Away

Once, at a parents’ evening, a teacher told me that history is an easy subject because…

Old English Female Names and their Meanings

As I’ve found myself saying quite a lot recently, my new book, Women of Power in…

The ‘Evil’ Women of Mercia

Adultery, poison, witchcraft, murder, incitement to murder, and being murdered. Exciting times for the noblewomen of…

Alliteration As An Aid: What’s in a Name?

A lot of people tell me that they find the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ personal names quite challenging, and…

It’s All About Context: Deciphering Old English

Context is everything. I don’t claim to be any great shakes at Old English, but I…

The History of English Part II: From Conquest to Printing Press

I’m currently writing a story set in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings. One of…

The Senses in Anglo-Saxon England

A friend told me once that he had been reading about the Roman occupation of Britain…

“Word Hoard” and the Difficulties of Making Dialogue Authentic

“I hold your oaths fulfilled.” These words are spoken by Aragorn in the film version of…

Government in the Reigns of Edgar and Æthelred II

Last time I gave a brief overview of the events leading up to the reign of…

King Edgar and his Earls: A Brief Overview

Ahead of an in-depth look at government in the reigns of King Edgar and his son, Æthelred…

Military Service in Tenth-Century England

Last time I talked about duties and obligations in tenth-century England; today I’m concentrating on military…

Duties and Obligations in Tenth-Century England

Placing oneself under the protection of a lord was a solemn and ceremonious affair. In England…