Category Archives: History

Bulls, Bears, Tippling and Lewder Places: The Thames Frost Fair of 1684

Over a period of 250 years, the River Thames froze so hard that its icy expanse provided the venue for a special festival: the Frost Fair. The reason for the big freeze was a combination of exceptionally hard winters and … Continue reading

Posted in 17th century, Diarists, Frost Fair, History, John Evelyn, London, London Bridge, Pepys, River Thames, Royal Society, Sayes Court, Southwark | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vampires, Witches, Myths and Magical Realism

For readers and writers of supernatural stories who are weary of the well-trodden themes of the genre, research can provide new material and a fresh approach. It will help you to understand how some of the common elements of supernatural … Continue reading

Posted in Angela Carter, Daniel Defoe, Eleanor of Cobham, Fiction, ghost stories, Grease Devils, Halloween, Henry IV, Henry V, History, Italy, Jack the Ripper, Law, Leeds Castle, Magic, Magical Realism, Myth, Plague, Plantagenets, Spring-Heeled Jack, Sri Lanka, The Devil Dancers, Travel, Vampires, Venice, Witches | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Raid on the Medway: an eyewitness account

While most of us are familiar with stories of the Plague (1665) and the Great Fire of London (1666), few are acquainted with the third catastrophe that hit England in 1667. On 9 June, the Dutch fleet led by the … Continue reading

Posted in Charles II, History, John Evelyn, Kent, Medway, Raid on the Medway, Thames, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leeds Castle: the tragic romance of a medieval duchess

Leeds Castle has been linked with a number of royal love-affairs, most notably that of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. But there is another tale – less well-known, but equally poignant. The marriage of Henry V’s brother, Duke Humphrey of … Continue reading

Posted in Castles, Eleanor of Cobham, Henry V, Henry VI, History, Kent, Leeds Castle, Plantagenets, Shakespeare, Wars of the Roses, Witches | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-Publishing: 7 ways to get the most from a conference

Having recently attended Matador’s conference on self-publishing, I thought it would be useful to jot down a list of essentials to help you to get the most from a conference whatever the topic. Prep your questions in advance. Why are … Continue reading

Posted in book festivals, Books, Ceylon, conferences, Copyright, Fiction, History, publishing, self-publishing, The Devil Dancers, writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Canterbury Tale: sudden death and a hint of poison

At the east end of Canterbury Cathedral is a mysterious tomb. Placed awkwardly between two pillars, it lies in one of the Cathedral’s most prestigious burial sites, the Trinity Chapel, formerly the location of Becket’s shrine. This unadorned tomb is … Continue reading

Posted in Canterbury, Cathedrals, Exiles, History, Huguenots, Odet de Coligny | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Devil’s Advocate? Witches vs The Law

What images are conjured up by the word ‘witch’? Hags silhouetted against the night-sky performing aerial acrobatics on broomsticks or brewing strange potions in a cauldron? Strange old ladies accompanied by black cats? Or children with black pointed hats and … Continue reading

Posted in Canterbury, Cathedrals, History, Law, Myth, Witches | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment