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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #123

Dear Reader,

Always a satisfying moment, I’ve completed the storyboard for Operation Cameo, book six in my (Amazon #1 🙂) Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series. Next week, I will start on the first draft. Eve is feisty while her partner Guy is a pacifist. Based on true events.

My direct ancestor Joan, Countess of Kent (29 September 1328 – 7 August 1385) known to history as ‘The Fair Maid of Kent.’ French chronicler Jean Froissart described her as “the most beautiful woman in all the realm of England, and the most loving.”

Joan gave birth to my ancestor Thomas Holland and later when married to her third husband Edward Plantagenet ‘the Black Prince’, Richard II.

My direct ancestor Thomas Meade was born c1380 in Wraxall, Somerset. His parents were Thomas Atte Meade and Agnes Wycliff.

Thomas died in 1455 and this extract from his will offers an insight into the times.

“I leave to Philip Meade my son two pipes of woad, two whole woollen cloths, my beat goblet with a cover, made of silver and gilded, and my best brass bowl. I leave to Joan, the wife of Roger Ringeston, my daughter, one pipe of woad and 40s sterling.”

Lots of Quakers on my family tree. Here’s the latest discovery, Joan Ford, daughter of William Ford and Elizabeth Penny, born 11 December 1668 in Curry Mallet, Somerset. Joan was three years older than her husband, John Lowcock, not a big difference, but unusual for the era.

Just discovered that my direct ancestor Sir John Cobham, Third Baron Cobham, paid for the construction of Rochester Bridge (in the background on this painting) across the River Medway. This route, originally established by the Romans, was essential for traffic between London, Dover and mainland Europe.

Painting: Artist unknown, Dutch style, 17th century.

My 19 x great grandmother, Constance of York, Countess of Gloucester, was born in 1374, the only daughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, and his wife Isabella of Castile. 

In November 1397, Constance married Thomas Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester, one of Richard II’s favourites. The couple produced three children: a son, Richard, and two daughters. The first daughter, Elizabeth, died in infancy, while the second daughter, Isabel, was born after her father’s death.

When Henry IV deposed and murdered Richard II, the Crown seized the Despenser lands. In consequence, in December 1399, Thomas Despenser and other nobles hatched a plot known as the Epiphany Rising. Their plan was to assassinate Henry IV and restore Richard, who was alive at this point, to the throne.

According to a French chronicle, Edward, Constance’s brother, betrayed the plot, although English chronicles make no mention of his role. Thomas Despenser evaded immediate capture, but a mob cornered him in Bristol and beheaded him on 13 January 1400.

After Thomas’ death, Constance was granted a life interest in the greater part of the Despenser lands and custody of her son. However, in February 1405, during the Owain Glyndwr rebellion to liberate Wales, Constance instigated a plot to abduct Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, and his brother, Roger, from Windsor Castle. 

Constance’s plan was to deliver the young Earl, who had a claim to the English throne, to his uncle Sir Edmund Mortimer, who was married to Glyndwr’s daughter.

The first part of Constance’s plan went well, only to stumble when Henry’s men captured Edmund and Roger Mortimer as they entered Wales.

With the plot over, Constance implicated her elder brother, Edward – clearly sibling love was not a priority in the House of York – and he was imprisoned for seventeen weeks at Pevensey Castle. Meanwhile, Constance languished in Kenilworth Castle.

With the rebellions quashed, Henry IV released Constance and she became the mistress of Edmund Holland, 4th Earl of Kent. Out of wedlock, they produced my direct ancestor, Eleanor, who married James Tuchet, 5th Baron Audley.

Constance outlived Henry IV and her brother, Edward. She died on 28 November 1416 and was buried in Reading Abbey.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #122

Dear Reader,

Some chart news. The pre-order for Damaged has entered the hot new releases chart at #48 alongside international bestselling authors Robert Bryndza and Michael Connelly.

Damaged is book nineteen in my Sam Smith Mystery Series. Many thanks to everyone who has followed Sam’s story.

A new year’s 2021 resolution achieved. Victory against chess.com’s computer, level 2000. This is the final position from a Réti Opening: Nimzowitsch-Larsen Variation. The computer over-extended in the centre (a common motif in this variation) lost a pawn and allowed my rook to reach the seventh rank. My a and b pawns became active and the computer had to sacrifice material to stop them queening.

Computers are very good at calculation, and can out-calculate me, so I use positional openings against them. If I gain a positional advantage, sometimes I can convert that into a winning position.

In this month’s issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine…

An exclusive interview with bestselling author Caro Ramsey

Healing

Short Stories 

Recipes

An exclusive interview with artist Carl Jacobs

Paranormal Podcasts

World Space Week

And so much more!

A cosmopolitan branch of my family tree. My direct ancestor Ярослав Владимирович “Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Kiev” married Ingegerd Ирина (Irina) “Sankta Anna” Olofsdottir of Sweden (both pictured). Their branch led to Gundreda de Warenne who married Roger Beaumont and continued through the Beauchamp, Turberville and Berkerolles families to the Stradlings who were lords of my home manor.

I often wonder how my ancestors met and decided to marry. For my noble ancestors marriages were arranged and I hope love developed from their union. At the other end of the scale I suspect that some of my pauper ancestors married out of financial need and for companionship. For the rest, the majority, I believe love was a factor. It was certainly a factor in this story, because my direct ancestor Sir Maurice Berkeley lost an inheritance over his choice of bride.

Maurice Berkeley, also known as Maurice the Lawyer, (1435- 1506) de jure the 3rd Baron Berkeley of Thornbury, Gloucestershire, was an English nobleman. He was born at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, the youngest son of James Berkeley, the 1st Baron Berkeley, (1394–1463). Contemporaries also referred to James as James the Just.

Berkeley coat of arms.

Maurice’s mother was Lady Isabel, daughter of Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, while his elder brother was William Berkeley, 1st Marquess of Berkeley, the 2nd Baron Berkeley. William was known as William the Waste-All. In terms of succession, because William had no children, Maurice was in line to inherit the Berkeley fortune.

In 1465 Maurice married Isabel Meade (1444 – 29 May 1514), the daughter of Philip Meade (c1415-1475) of Wraxall Place in the parish of Wraxall, Somerset. Philip was an Alderman of Bristol, an MP, and thrice Mayor of Bristol, in 1458-9, 1461-2 and 1468-9. 

Maurice and Isabel produced four children.

  • Sir Maurice Berkeley, de jure 4th Baron Berkeley (1467 – 12 September 1523), eldest son and heir, who was made a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of King Henry VIII in 1509. 
  • Thomas Berkeley de jure 5th Baron Berkeley (1472 – 22 January 1532), second son, who was knighted on 9 September 1513 by Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, at the Battle of Flodden.
  • James Berkeley (c1474 – 1515).
  • Anne Berkeley (d.1560), my direct ancestor who married Sir William Denys (1470–1533) of Dyrham, Gloucestershire, a courtier of King Henry VIII and Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1518 and 1526.

Maurice and his brother William were participants in the  Battle of Nibley Green, which was fought near North Nibley in Gloucestershire on 20 March 1470 between the troops of Thomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle, and William Berkeley. This battle was notable for being the last fought in England between private armies of feudal magnates.

North Nibley (Wikipedia).

The Battle of Nibley Green took place because of a dispute over the inheritance of Berkeley Castle and associated lands. Lisle challenged William Berkeley to a battle, a challenge William accepted.

Lisle raised a force among his ill-equipped local tenants while William Berkeley drew upon the garrison at Berkeley Castle, his local levies, and miners from the Forest of Dean. Maurice, with his retinue, also rode to his brother’s aid.

In terms of numbers, the Berkeley brothers held the advantage, 1,000 men to 300. Philip Meade, Maurice’s father-in-law, also provided men to support the Berkeley brothers’ cause.

Lisle encouraged his men to charge against Berkeley’s troops. In response, Berkeley’s archers loosed their arrows and broke up the charge. One of the Dean Foresters, an archer named ‘Black Will’, shot Lisle in the left temple through his open visor and unhorsed him. In the melee, dagger thrusts put an end to Lisle’s life. Leaderless, Lisle’s army scattered and fled.

Jan Kip’s aerial view of Berkeley Castle engraved for the antiquary Sir Robert Atkyns’ The Ancient and Present State of Glostershire, 1712.

Despite Maurice Berkeley and Philip Meade’s support, William Berkeley disinherited his brother. The reason? William reckoned that Maurice had married beneath himself; he’d married a ‘commoner’ a person of ‘mean blood’.

In reality, Isabel’s father, Philip, was a wealthy merchant, but William reckoned that the marriage brought the noble family of Berkeley into disrepute. However, Maurice stood by Isabel and forsook his inheritance, which included Berkeley Castle.

Maurice died in September 1506 aged 70 and was buried in the Austin Friary in the City of London. Isabel was also buried there, in 1514.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #121

Dear Reader,

I’ve received messages asking me when Operation Cameo, book six in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series, will be available. I’m pleased to say that the book will be listed on all major platforms as a pre-order later this month.

The earliest photograph to feature people. The Boulevard du Temple 1838 by Louis Daguerre. Because the exposure lasted for several minutes the moving traffic in the busy street left no trace. Only a shoe polisher and his client remained in place long enough to appear on the printed image. Sam mentions this in my latest Sam Smith mystery, Damaged.

Summer 1915, C Company, The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, Number Nine Platoon. This picture includes my 2 x great grandfather Albert Charles Bick. 

On 25 September 1915 the Royal West Surrey Regiment engaged in the Battle of Loos, which resulted in 80% British casualties, including Albert, when the generals gassed their own men.

A State Lottery was recorded in 1569. The tickets were sold at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, pictured c1560.

A poem written in Welsh c1920 about my 2 x great grandfather William Howe. Lines include: ‘He deserves all the praise he receives’. ‘A Christian in his warm home’. ‘William Howe is a godly saint for getting us all to pray again in the chapel with the children’. ‘We will enjoy a big feast at the Sunday School’. ‘We will sing his praises when we meet in heaven’.

My latest article for the Seaside News appears on page 36 of this month’s magazine.

I’ve traced the Bick branch of my family back to the fifteenth century. They settled in Badgeworth, Gloucestershire and lived there for hundreds of years. My branch of the family moved to London in the Victorian era, but you can still find Bicks in numerous numbers in Gloucestershire.

Unfortunately, the records for the Bicks of Badgeworth are not extensive, but I have uncovered a few nuggets of information that add details to my ancestors’ lives.

The surname Bick is of Dutch and German origin. It derives from the Middle Dutch and Middle High German word bicke meaning pickaxe or chisel. The name was associated with stonemasons and people who worked with pickaxes and chisels.

It’s likely that the Bicks arrived in Gloucestershire from the Netherlands or Germany in the early Middle Ages. My branch of the family feature in many land deeds during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These deeds indicate that they farmed land as yeomen. However, they were never described as ‘gentlemen’, which suggests that there was no link with the gentry.

Bick sons married the daughters of the following families: Meek, Fawkes, Spring, Blush, Izod and Netherton. Evocative names. These families were also of the yeomen class. The name Fawkes suggests a link to the infamous Guy Fawkes. However, Guy was from York and it is unlikely that my ancestor, Jane Fawkes, was closely related to him.

From the land, my Bick ancestors became innkeepers, running coaching inns. George was a popular name over four successive generations. George ‘the second’ – 22 October 1668 to 3 June 1738 – was an innkeeper in Badgeworth. Some of the Bicks left wills, but they are difficult to read and those that are legible contain only basic details of modest inheritances for sons and daughters.

The Bick ancestor who captured my attention was Thomas Bick, born 1575 in Badgeworth. He died in 1623 of the ‘pest’, also known as the pestilence or plague. The plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which mainly infects rats and other rodents who become the prime reservoir for the bacteria.

Seventeenth century plague doctor with protective mask and clothing.

The Pestilence was a bubonic plague pandemic that occurred in Afro-Eurasia from 1346 to 1353. The plague created religious, social and economic upheavals with profound effects for the inhabitants of the time. It also drastically altered the course of European history.

Further waves of the plague swept over Europe throughout the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. Certain years were more blighted than others, including 1623 the year that Thomas died. That bout of the pestilence lasted until 1640. It reoccurred again in 1644–54 and 1664–67. 

The 1664 to 1667 episode was the last major epidemic of the bubonic plague to occur in England. In 1665-66 it swept through London producing the ‘Great Plague of London’. Then, in September 1666, the ‘Great Fire of London’ destroyed the city. Some people speculated that the fire killed the pestilence, although records suggest that the disease was already on the wane. My London ancestors were caught up in the ‘Great Fire of London’, but more about them in future posts.

London 1665.

As we know to our cost, when we abuse nature and animals we create pandemics. Our ancestors did not have the scientific knowledge to appreciate this, but we do; there is no excuse.

Along with the pestilence, our ancestors died from a range of diseases and illnesses. Here is an example from 1632 with a few definitions.

Cut of the Stone – The surgical removal of a bladder stone

French Pox – Syphilis

Jawfaln – Locked jaw

Impostume – An abscess

King’s Evil – A tuberculous swelling of the lymph glands

Livergrown – Liver disease, possibly caused by alcoholism 

Murthered – Murdered

Planet – To be stricken with terror or affected adversely by the supposed influence of a planet

Purples – Purple blotches on the skin caused by broken blood vessels, indicative of an underlying illness, such as scurvy

Rising of the Lights – A condition of the larynx, trachea or lungs

Tissick – A cough

Tympany – Bloating

The saddest entry on this list, and the largest in number, is chrisomes and infants. Chrisomes refers to a baby less than a month old, which indicates that the start could often be the most dangerous period of a person’s life.

Stay safe. Wishing you well.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #120

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, Eve’s War: Operation Sherlock, in Spanish.

Through my gateway ancestor Barbara Aubrey (1637 – 1711) I am directly related to the Welsh nobility including The Lord Rhys, Yr Arglwydd Rhys, Prince of Wales. A ‘bit of a lad’ The Lord Rhys married twice, had eleven mistresses and fathered at least twenty-four children. A successful leader for over fifty years he was “a man of excellent wit and quick in repartee.”

My ancestor Rev William Aubrey (1573 – 1646) was the rector of Pendoylon parish church. William married Jane Mathews (1580 – 1650), whose line takes my ancestry back to Robert de Vere, the Third Earl of Oxford. Robert was a Surety Baron who witnessed the signing of Magna Carta.

Pedigree chart: Jeremy Crick.

My ancestor Humphrey Mathew (1567 – 1651) owned Castell-y-Mynach a late medieval mansion remodelled in the early seventeenth century and largely refenestrated in the late eighteenth-early nineteenth century. Humphrey married Mary Lewis.

This branch of my family leads to seven Magna Carta Surety Barons: Hugh le Bigod, Roger Bigod, Gilbert de Clare, Richard de Clare, John de Lacy, William de Mowbray and Saher de Quincy.

Looks like Magna Carta was our family gathering 🙂

Image: CBHC

The Iveson/Iverson branch of my family arrived in Britain with William the Conqueror in 1066 – the surname Iveson derives from Ives or Yves the French for yew or bow. Initially, they settled in the north of England, and Scotland. In Scotland they formed the Clan MacIver.

Born in 1586 in Edinburgh my ancestor Abraham Iveson migrated to Gloucester County, Virginia in 1636. He accompanied nineteen other settlers. 

On 17 October 1636 Abraham was listed as a headright for James Vanerit who had acquired 1,000 acres of land in Elizabeth City County, Virginia from a Mr Stafferton. Stafferton was owed the land for providing the transportation of the twenty colonists, including Abraham.

Dated 26 April 1637, a bill of landing listing Joseph Clifton, a London merchant, showed goods conveyed on the Tristan and Jane of London to ‘Abraham Iveson, planter’, and several others. The settlers were in need of home comforts and supplies, which arrived on the trade ships from Britain. In return, those ships carried the planters crops, including tobacco.

Tobacco advertisement, 18th century.

The planers in Virginia were cultivating hay, cotton, wheat, peanuts, barely, but mainly tobacco. Captain Francis Willis owned 3,000 acres of land, four others including Abraham owned 1,000 acres, and fifty-five others owned smaller parcels. 

A patent dated 10 June 1651 stated that Mr Abraham Iveson acquired 655 acres of land on the southwest side of the North River in Mobjack Bay, Gloucester County. As well as a landowner and planter Abraham was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the elected lower house of the colonial Virginia General Assembly.

Abraham married twice, in Scotland Rebecca Gifford and later in Virginia (after Rebecca’s death), Joan Towson. He had six children: Hugh, Sarah, Richard, Lucy, Elizabeth and Abraham. He died in Virginia, in 1655.

After Abraham’s death, on 9 October 1677, his second wife Joan made a gift of an African slave girl to her grandson William, son of James Kay. William was to receive the slave girl when he came of age, and the children of this slave were to be bequeathed to James’ other children. Witnesses to this transaction were William Kay and Abraham’s son, also Abraham.

The slave trade triangle. Image: Wikipedia.

What to make of Abraham and his family?

At the beginning in the seventeenth century, many Scottish people emigrated to America, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa. These emigrants included freemen who left Scotland to promote trade or to set up military outposts and way stations for merchant ships. They also included people fleeing poverty and religious groups fleeing oppression. Abraham’s status in Virginia suggests that he was in the freeman category.

No surviving documents link Abraham to the tobacco trade, but given the size of his landholding and the fact that tobacco was the main crop cultivated in Virginia it seems fair to assume that he was involved in the tobacco trade. To make money from such a harmful drug is morally dubious, but maybe we can forgive Abraham in this instance because he was ‘of his time’.

Virginia tobacco slaves, 17th century.

You could also argue that his slave ownership was ‘of its time’, but I find that a flimsy argument. By ‘owning’ people and restricting their freedom he knew what he was doing. Maybe he was kind to his slaves – I hope so – nevertheless, he did own them. 

Of my ancestors, Abraham is not alone in owning slaves in America and the West Indies. I will write about these ancestors in due course. Most of the ancestors I write about fill me with pride and I would love to have met them. Even though I’m not sure that I would have liked Abraham, I would have enjoyed talking with him too, if only to hear the moral defence of his position.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 31 occasions.

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #119

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Portuguese version of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing author, playwright and journalist Tim Walker for Mom’s Favorite Reads. Meanwhile, Tim’s just published a new book, his thoughts on meeting stars of stage and screen. You can learn more about Tim’s book here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Turns-Secrets-Screen-Legends/dp/1914489004/

Ancestry have updated my DNA result. I’m 65% Welsh. The other 35% is shared between Belgium, the Channel Islands, England, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway.

My main genetic communities are Wales, Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia and Maryland.

I have cousins in Australia, New Zealand, California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Toronto, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey and North Carolina.

I’m sure I have relatives in other countries and territories that this DNA test doesn’t cover, but it’s fascinating to see where my ancestors came from and where they settled as emigrants.

My ancestor Arthur Iveson was born on 16 June 1772 in Hawes, Yorkshire to Thomas Iveson and Margaret Taylor. Maybe due to complications from the birth Margaret died in October 1772 while Thomas died in 1788. As the youngest child, Arthur followed a tradition common amongst well-to-do families – he entered the Church.

St Margaret’s Church, Hawes. Credit: Wikipedia.

In 1793 the Bishop of Carlisle ordained Arthur as a deacon and a year later he became a priest in York. From York the Church sent Arthur to Nottinghamshire then to Norfolk where he established himself as Rector of East Bradenham.

In Norfolk, on 6 March 1797, Arthur married Martha English. Of course, as a rector Arthur could read and write, and he signed his name. Martha also signed her name, something not many women of the time could do, even women born into wealthy families.

Between 1798 and 1806 the couple produced six children: Ann, Thomas, born 18 March 1799, Arthur, Martha, Martha and Arthur. Martha #1 and Arthur #1 died in infancy.

Apart from the tragic infant deaths, everything was going well for Arthur. Between 1802 and 1817 he appeared on the Electoral Roll in Norfolk, which placed him in a privileged position, one of the elite in the country who could vote. In 1816 his son Thomas became a clerk to William James Murray in Kings Lynn and shortly after that he followed his father into the Church, becoming a vicar.

St Mary’s Church, East Bradenham. Credit: Wikipedia.

Arthur’s wife, Martha, died in 1828, and from that point events took a sinister turn.

At ten o’clock on the evening of 28 May 1832 Thomas entered Arthur’s rooms to talk with his father. The talk developed into an argument and Thomas produced a gun. He fired one shot, which entered Arthur’s heart.

With his father dying, Thomas ran next door to summon Captain Lake. He informed the captain of the shooting and Lake hastened to Arthur’s aid. The captain summoned two medical men, Mr Murlin, a surgeon, and Dr Tweedale, and they tended to Arthur, alas in vain, for he died within twenty minutes of the shooting.

The moment Arthur died, Thomas entered the kitchen and took a considerable amount of laudanum, which Mr Murlin promptly forced from his body. The Officers of Justice arrived and Thomas surrendered to them.

In July 1832 an inquest into the death of Arthur Iveson was held in a local public house, followed by a trial at the Quarter Sessions. During the inquest and trial it emerged that Thomas was ‘intelligent’ and a ‘gentleman’, although his behaviour of late had been eccentric.

The trial established that Thomas entered Arthur’s rooms with intent to shoot his father and that the bullet fired from his gun killed him. However, the jury acquitted Thomas on the grounds of insanity.

After the trial, Thomas entered a local infirmary and died there on 15 February 1836.

A Victorian Inquest

There is a postscript to this remarkable story. On 4 January 1848 in Hawes, Yorkshire, two cousins, John and Arthur Iveson, cousins of Arthur of Norfolk’s offspring, went drinking in a local pub, The Fountain Inn. They got drunk, argued, and engaged in a brawl. The brawl resulted in the death of Arthur Iveson.

The trail that followed delivered a verdict of manslaughter and John was sentenced to two months hard labour. After his prison sentence John resumed his role of local butcher. Twenty-two at the time of the manslaughter, he later married, raised a family and enjoyed a long life.

What to make of the Ivesons? Are they a violent branch of my family? I’m in touch with four first cousins, Iverson sisters, and no one would regard them as violent. Indeed, the opposite is true. It would appear that Thomas killed Arthur when in a troubled state of mind while John killed his cousin Arthur due to excessive alcohol consumption. 

History repeats, so they say, but when it comes to family members killing each other maybe it’s better if it doesn’t. 

To all current and future Ivesons, pax vobiscum – peace be with you.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 31 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂