March 2012

29th March

I don't know if I'm coming or going - TWO books released in a week! Yes, the revised and improved 2nd edition of Gondarlan is also now available from at the much more affordable price of £7.99... and will soon be out in e-book and Kindle versions too, at £4.99! Added to which, we're already taking advance orders and making sales on Walk Towton 1461... so it's been a pretty exciting time on the publications front.

We also had a splendid time last night - doing the Doggett double-act on 'The Savile Family & the Battle of Wakefield' for the Friends of Rectory Park at the beautiful parish church of St Michael and All Angels at Thornhill. A very apt setting, since the family's chapel there has just been cleaned and restored, so we got chance to come face-to-face with some 14th and 15th century Saviles... quite a thrill, as you can see from the pictures below. As was going to the Savile Arms for a drink afterwards - because my very own husband (albeit a rather younger version!) features in a mural in their back room, painted by TBS member Stephen Hines:

gondarlan cover
sandal fran
sandal louise
sandal bill drill

Then on Sunday, we rounded the week off in perfect style (and in perfect, glorious sunshine) with a trip up to the Crooked Billet for our last archery practice before the Big Day (at least, I did - hubcap went off to Towton to tidy the field up with a bit of strimming)! Alan and I were very pleased to make our first sale of Walk Towton to 'Tall Mike' Wilson of TBS... and after a very pleasant shooting session we all sat down for a slap-up lunch. Somehow Mick managed to pack away one of the Billet's ginormous burgers with all the trimmings, while I thought I'd go for something light... only to find the char-grilled chicken salad with sauteed potatoes was almost as substantial! Ah well... I guess we'd burned off a lot of calories...

18th March

Some VERY exciting news to share! I was thrilled to receive a call this week from West Yorkshire Archaeology Service (WYAS), inviting me to get involved with a project that could (fingers crossed) be literally ground-breaking. WYAS are working with Wakefield Museums, Wakefield Historical Society, and Towton Battlefield Society's very own renowned battlefield archaeologist, Tim Sutherland, on plans to begin a systematic programme of fieldwork and research on the battlefield at Wakefield!

Needless to say that would be a dream come true for me... the battlefield has been crying out for serious investigation to try and clear up some of the mysteries, and answer some of the many questions, about the Battle of Wakefield. So, the first step is this free launch event (see left) at Sandal Castle Visitor Centre on Saturday 24th March, from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm. WYAS hopes it will raise local awareness and interest in this historic encounter, and that people living in the Sandal and Portobello area will come along with any objects they may have dug up in their gardens! Tim will be on hand to help with object identification, and explain the importance of such evidence in showing what happened literally in their back yards in December 1460... and I'll be there with some Frei Compagnie chums - in costume, of course - to give visitors a taste of living history and help to entertain the children.

The next stage, assuming funding and support are forthcoming, will be some field-walking (hopefully later this year), followed by other types of archaeological investigation and ultimately, a 'Big Dig' with test pits in local gardens to try and unearth finds from the battle. Meanwhile Wakefield Historical Society are busy studying maps and archive evidence... and I'm desperately hoping that in a couple of years time, I'll be able to revisit Wakefield Revisited with more hard evidence to back up my battle theories (or else to re-write it altogether!). This is SUCH an important project... I do hope it'll come off.

wakefield leaflet
cleanup crew
barn clean

2nd March

Tan tara! Here's hubcap's pic from the TBS Palmsunday Archers meeting on 26th February: me and Alan Stringer (an apt name for an archer!) posing proudly with the proof copy of our new publication. Yup, that's Walk Towton 1461... we're very pleased with it, and the order's gone off for an initial 500 copies so that it can be launched at the Battle of Towton commemoration on Palm Sunday. (We had a good shoot that day, too - lobbing blunts at a padded plank representing Lord Clifford, to get us in trim for 'killing' him in the Battle of Dintingdale finale on the day). And we've already started tentatively discussing a third volume in the 'Walk...' series... Edward IV's continuing campaigns against Lancastrian loyalists in Northumbria and Wales, post-Towton to 1468... although both of us have other projects to finish before can embark on that!

For me, that means Lay of Angor... having worked hard on it lately, I'm now up to Chapter 22 of the second volume - so it's well on track for completion/launch later this year, which means there won't be too long a gap between the revised second edition coming out (should be any time) and the next instalment!


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