Lindisfarne, Holy island of the north: Part 2

Welcome to Part two of the history of Lindisfarne. If you have missed the first part in which Lindisfarne was founded and became a religious, cultural and scholarly mecca, you can read the article here. Unfortunately for Lindisfarne, its rise … Continue reading

The history of Jedburgh… and Jedburgh?

The history of Jedburgh especially in the middle and late Medieval period and beyond is fascinating. Being only 12 miles north west of the present English border, like many towns in the borderlands it has found itself caught up with the constant fighting between England and Scotland. The tug of war between the two sides is a well known topic of history that is still felt keenly even today. I don’t have the time or space to go into an in-depth look at Jedburgh’s history during this period and I don’t pretend to know more than the basics anyway, so hopefully you will all forgive me for glossing over this time period quickly. My main interest after all is the Jedburgh, or more accurately the two Jedburgh’s of the 9th century. Continue reading

Bamburgh Castle, home to the kings and earls of Northumbria

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle

Even though Bamburgh is only ever mentioned or hinted at in the background of The Northumbrian Saga, it is an important part of the storyline and integral to the history of Northumbria. It is the seat of power for the King of Northumbria, Aethelwin’s uncle, and later becomes the seat of resistance against the Vikings for her brother Wulfstan and the remnants of the Northumbrian survivors. In the sequel that will hopefully be finished by the end of the year, Bamburgh will play a larger role, with even a few scenes centred within the hall there. With this in mind I wanted to share a bit of what I have learnt through researching this centre of medieval power. The more I researched, the more I realised just how important and often overlooked it has been.

Today, visitors to Bamburgh castle are confronted by a large Norman style castle perched atop a distinctive rock of dolerite that overlooks the Northumberland coast. It is a grade 1 listed building popular with tourists and boasting its own museum. Despite its Norman and late medieval appearance, the site is quite ancient. Since at least the first century BC there is evidence for continued habitation at the site until very recently. In fact the surrounding countryside holds evidence for human habitation for 6000 years. Continue reading

Historical sources rundown

A lot of what we know about the history of the Dark Ages comes from written documents of the time such as land grants, wills, sagas, chronicles and annals either written during the period under study or soon after. For the information i need when writing historical fiction and blog posts i try and use these documents as much as other books and websites and i thought it would be a good idea to share some of these so that when i mention that we know so and so through the writings of such and such, you will know what i am talking about and hopefully understand a little bit about how we know so much about this time period, or more accurately so little. Continue reading

September Writing Update

September has flown by so quickly that it’s hard for me to believe that a whole month has nearly passed since my last update. The Northumbrian Saga is still moving along nicely in the Amazon/ Kindle store and I have … Continue reading

Where was the Kingdom of Northumbria anyway?

Over the last couple of months on the blog, I have been writing about several Kings and Archbishops (and eventually invaders) of Northumbria. I have even shared with you my journey of writing my first novel, The Northumbrian Saga. I thought then, that it was about time that I acquainted some of you who were not familiar with this ancient Kingdom and a little of its history. Continue reading

Happy St Bede’s Day

That’s right everyone, 1,278 years ago today the man known as ‘The father of English history’ died in the monastery of Jarrow, Durham (although at the time it was in Northumberland as the shire of Durham did not yet exist).

Bamburgh Research Project

Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland (UK) has a very special significance to me and my novel, The Northumbrian Saga. It is the seat of power for King Osbert, Aethelwin’s Uncle, and later becomes the seat of power for her brother and … Continue reading