Britain’s First Commercial Paper Mill

Britain’s First Commercial Paper Mill

Mercers and their trade

Though the once thriving market town of Hertford declined after the Conquest, this does not mean that nothing of note happened here.  Hertford’s claim to fame is that it had the first recorded commercial paper mill in Britain.

Britain’s First Commercial Paper Mill Continue reading

Hunsdon House

Hunsdon House – 

One of the most important medieval houses in Hertfordshire

A few years ago, an attempt to find traces of Richard III’s family in Hertfordshire led me to Hunsdon.  This is a small village in the south-east of Hertfordshire, near the border to Essex.  The former manor house, Hunsdon House, is situated to the south of the actual village, next to the church of St Dunstan (find it on a map here).

Hunsdon House

A glimpse of the present-day Hunsdon House

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Thomas Barowe – Richard III’s Master of the Rolls: Part III

Thomas Barowe – 

Richard III’s Master of the Rolls,

churchman, administrator,

and bound by loyalty

Part III:  the Later Years

How the young man from Winthorpe in Lincolnshire became very successful as the man of Richard of Gloucester, later Richard III, was dealt with in Part I and Part II.  Part III will look at his later years under Henry Tudor. Continue reading

Merevale Abbey

Merevale Abbey – for a good night’s rest while travelling to and from Bosworth

One year, while travelling in Richard III’s footsteps, we went on to Atherstone, after spending a fascinating day at the Bosworth Battlefield Centre.  We had booked accommodation at a B&B, Abbey Farm , which had come highly recommended by a friend from Canada – and we were not disappointed!

I knew that the B&B had got its name from its proximity to Merevale Abbey (the address – Merevale Lane – was a certain give-away), but had not realized that some of the ruins of this former abbey are actually in its garden and the only remaining complete buildings, the gate and gate chapel, are right next door. Continue reading

William Bingham

William Bingham – the founder of Godshouse, “the first secondary school training college in England”

While researching something completely different, I made the acquaintance of William Bingham (as you do).

William Bingham was an important educational innovator.  His claim to fame is that he is the “man who founded the first secondary school training college in England. What is even more remarkable, his college still exists, although discharging other educational functions as well.”[i] So this post is especially for all school teachers among our readers. Continue reading

All Hallows by the Tower, London

All Hallows by the Tower –

a church and its connection to Richard III

Today, 1 November, is All Hallows (or All Saints) Day.  From this comes our Halloween (= All Hallows Eve, 31 October).  On this day all saints, who have attained heaven, are commemorated.  It was a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning the faithful were obliged to attend mass.[1]  Growing up in a traditionally Catholic area in Germany, I can remember our Catholic neighbours decorating the graves of their family members with candles the evening before.  And of course it was a public holiday, which meant a welcome day off school! Continue reading

Oldest Surviving Valentine

The Oldest Surviving Valentine

The oldest surviving Valentine was written by Margery Brews to John Paston (III) in February 1477. She addressed him as her “right well-beloved valentine,” and didn’t just send him one, but two letters.[1] She seems to have been very much in love with him, as she continues that she is “not in good health of body nor of heart, nor shall I be till I hear from you.” Continue reading