Category Archives: history

The Battle of Hastings.

Image by Gioele Fazzeri from Pixabay

I am now King of England. King William I. Doesn’t that sound great? However it wasn’t such an easy position to gain. Let me go back to the beginning.

Edward, my second cousin, was in exile in Normandy after Cnut had taken the English throne. I decided to go and see him as he was family, after all, and had no heirs.

While I was there, I played on the family connection, and reminded him that, although he might eventually get an heir with his wife, Emma of Normandy, if he should die suddenly, there would be no obvious claimant to the English throne.

Well, he hummed and hawed and didn’t make a decision then. I’m not surprised, really, because his mother had married Cnut and had a son by him. She supported her son, Harthacnut, and eventually he became king of England.

Edward was lucky. Harthacnut died, and Edward sailed unopposed into England to take the throne. Not long after, he sent his son-in-law, Harald Godwinson to tell me that he had decided to make me his heir. King William sounded good, I thought, but I didn’t trust Harald, so I had him imprisoned. Eventually, in order to regain his freedom, he swore an oath of fealty to me, the rat!

In the year of our Lord, 1066, King Edward, who had become to be know as The Confessor, due to his religious conviction, died. Harald, the rat, took the throne and was crowned the day after Edward’s death. He said that Edward had made him his heir on his deathbed. A likely story!

It was then I decided that I needed to go to England and sort this man out. He had broken a holy oath, and I was the rightful king. But it seemed I wasn’t the only one to want the crown of England. Harald’s own brother, Tostig, joined forces with the Norwegian king, Harald Hardrada, and launced an invasion.

They met initially at a place called Fulford, in the north of England, not far from the city of York. This was 0n September 20th 1066. It seems the invaders won, but Harald was not to be defeated so easily. He fought another battle five days later at a place called Stamford Bridge where both Tostig and Harald Hardrada were killed.

Well, this was too good an opportunity to miss. I had set sail, knowing that Harald would be occupied, and we landed at a place called Pevensey. There had been a Roman castle there, and we made use of that. I ordered a wooden fort to be built inside the Roman walls. It was a good defesive position.

The whole area was marshland, and the sea came up to the fort walls. I ordered the troops to begin marching over the marshes, heading towards the town of Hastings. Once we got there, I ordered a fort to be built, and we raided the land for supplies.

We waited for Harald to arrive from his battle at Stamford Bridge. We knew they would be tired after a forced march. I set a watch the night before the battle. I would not have put it past Harald to make a surprise attack, but he didn’t, and so on 14th October, at dawn, the battle began.

I won’t go into details here. Suffice it to say that it was hard fought and lasted all day. In the end, though, we won, and Harald was dead. I was now King of England.

I have begun the research for the next book in the series, A Family Through the Ages. This one will start in 1066 with the Battle of Hastings.

If you would like to catch up on the series, the first book, Vengeance of a Slave, is free as an ebook. Alternatively, you can get it from your favourite store, here.

Jealousy of a Viking, the second book, can be got from your favourite store, here.

Or click on the images in the side bar.

Both books are also available as audio books.

My publisher has released merchandise with the book covers on. These include: t-shirts, mugs, drinking glasses, jigsaw puzzles, tote bags and many more.

Why not go and take a look at what’s on offer? Click here to go to the Next Chapter store.

Please let me know what you think about the story and the books and merchandise in the comments.

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A French Chateau in the English Countryside

Just before Christmas we visited Waddesdon Manor, near Oxford. It is an amazing place. It is certainly a French Chateau in the English Countryside.

It was pouring with rain when we arrived, and we had a long walk from the carpark up to the house. The path wound its way through silhouettes of soldiers, sailors and airmen to mark remembrance day.


The house belonged to the Rothschild Family and was donated to the National Trust in 1957, and it is run by them and the Rothschild Foundation.

Built between 1874 and 1889 by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild as a weekend home for entertaining, it contains many treasures. Baron Ferdinand bought the estate from the Duke of Marlborough, but it had no house, park or garden, being an agricultural estate.

Baron Ferdinand wanted to build a house similar to the chateaux in France. I think he succeeded.


On Baron Ferdinand’s death, the estate passed to his sister, Alice, who continued to add to the treasures to be found there.


You can see from these pictures I took, that the rain did stop and the sun came out!

Sadly, the pictures I took inside are not good. Many are blurred for some reason, so I’m not going to post them, but trust me, it’s an amazing place. If you are ever near to it, I suggest you visit.

The Rothschild family was originally from Frankfurt and rose to prominence first in the 18th century. They managed to establish a successful banking business that was continued through  Mayer Amschel Rothschild‘s five sons who went on to establish businesses in England, Italy, Germany, Austria and Germany.

On their coat of arms, in two quarters, are fists holding five arrows. This is symbolic of the five sons, we were told at Waddesdon. They, like five arrows fired from a bow, went on to establish their banks in the five different countries, mentioned above.

In the village of Waddesdon is an inn called The Five Arrows. We stayed there and found it excellent, with wonderful food. I would recommend it to anyone.

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Which generation has seen the most innovation?

I think many people would consider people born in the last 50 or 60 years to have seen the most innovation, but I beg to differ. Some might even say it was the generation born in the 1920s or 30s. Again, I would beg to differ.

It wasn’t the people growing up in the medieval period, either. Not much changed for centuries, as I understand. 

Much changed in society when the Romans came, and again when they left. The Vikings, too, made their mark, but new innovation, not much.

Change happened when humans learned that flint could be chipped to create sharp tools, and with the invention of spears and spear thrower. These things made it much easier to catch prey. And the discovery of how to create fire was a major (if not the major) discovery of humans.

The domestication of animals and agriculture, too, were major things that greatly changed society.

Which generation do I think has seen the greatest innovation? I would argue that it was those born towards the end or the 19th century.

My grandmother was born in 1878 and died in 1965. Now let’s see the innovations she saw.

  • Edison developed the electric light bulb in 1879, the year after my grandmother was born. In 1881, the first streetlights were used in the UK.
  • With further development of electricity, it became used in domestic homes; something we cannot conceive of living without nowadays.
  • In 1901, the first vacuum cleaner was invented. Before that, carpets (which were not fitted) were taken outside, hung on a line and beaten with a carpet beater.
  • Electric washing machines were invented in 1904. Although there were machines before that, they still relied on hand power to work.
  • 1876 the first telephone was patented. Until it became common, communication at a distance was by letter. Even in the 1950s and early 1960s, not every house had a telephone and people had to go to a telephone box to make calls.
  • 1876, the first usable internal combustion engine was invented. Grandma was born in the age of the horse.
  • In 1888 the first motion picture.
  • 1887. The first gramophone. Known as a phonograph.
  • Louis Pasteur created the first vaccines.
  • 1832 Babbage created the first mechanical calculator.
  • 1885. The motorcycle.
  • 1893. The diesel engine.
  • 1885. The automobile.
  • 1903. The aircraft. And in 1906 the first usable jet engine, although jet power had been known since 150 BC. Steam was used through two nozzles to turn a sphere. But was not put to any practical use.

You could say that there have been many inventions since, but think for a moment. Many of the things we think of as modern are actually simply improvements on these things invented in my grandma’s lifetime.

We now have lightbulbs that are energy efficient, but they are still lightbulbs.

Dyson invented the cyclone vacuum cleaner, but it was only an improvement on the current ones, which generated a vacuum to suck dirt up.

We now have washing machines that not only wash, but spin, too. Some even dry clothes. But they aren’t new ideas.

But we now have mobile telephones. The old ones were fixed to the house by wires. But they are still telephones, just greatly improved and combined with computers.

Motion pictures! They were uncommon in Grandma’s early days. But what we have now, colour, amazing sound, even 3D are simply developments of the original idea. And television and radio. That must have been amazing when it first came into being.

Gramophones have been improved to the extent that we now have CDs and DVDs instead of holes punched in paper.

I might argue with Louis Pasteur inventing vaccination. I seem to remember being taught about Edward Jenner discovering a way to prevent smallpox in the 18th century. But Pasteur did discover the causes of disease and invented a way to make milk safe. It’s called after him. Pasteurization.

Computers, I hear you say. They’re new. No! The first computer was invented to simply calculate tables. It was invented in the 1820s.

Our current cars and motorcycles are simply improvements on the old ones Grandma saw come to light.

She saw the birth of flight, the first transatlantic flights and the use of Concorde.

And not least, in the 1950s, space flight came into being and she saw the first artificial satellites, live transatlantic broadcasts, and first person in space. Sadly, she died not 4 years before the first moon landing, so did not see a human walk on the moon.

I rest my case that the people who lived between the middle of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th century saw the most innovation.

Do you think there were any other times that saw more? Please let me know in the comments box.

St Juste. A megalithic site in Brittany.

Image by 🌼Christel🌼 from Pixabay

Most people know about Les Alignements near Carnac, in Brittany, France, but how many know about the Site Megalithique near the town of Redon, between Nantes and Vannes?

I don’t know if these are Carnac stones, because the image doesn’t say, but they are very similar.

However, near Redon, also in Brittany, there is a large megalithic site that is not anywhere near as well known. Here there are alignments of standing stones, but not in the quantity there are at Carnac.


There are three alignments as I understand. I only took a photo of this one.

There are not only standing stones here, though. There are megalithic burial sites.


The site is being managed for wildlife as well as the megalithic stones, so there are many bushes around. If you want to find out more about this fascinating site, you can visit

The National Trust and Petworth House.

I recently visited several places owned by the National Trust. This is a charitable institution in the UK. It preserves important and interesting buildings and countryside. It was founded in 1895.

It is the largest land owner in Britain, owning 250,000 hectares, and 780 miles of coast.

It owns over 500 historic houses, castles, archaeological and industrial monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves. People can pay to join the membership, either annually or a lifetime membership. They can then visit the properties for free.

Here are a few photos I took at Petworth Place, a stately home in West Sussex, just within the boundary of the South Downs National Park.


This is the house, seen from the grounds, just in front of the lake.

Please ignore the date. I’d not set it on the camera!

The Lake had quite a number of birds on and over it, such as swans, moorhens, great crested grebes and swallows, not to mention geese and ducks. And there were some amazing trees.

A sweet chestnut just coming into bloom.

I didn’t take any photographs of the inside of the house, but it is filled with amazing artworks. A fantastic place to visit if you ever get the chance. And the village is interesting, too, but I’ve no pictures of it.

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An epic fantasy tale

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Vengeance of a Slave. e-book is Free.

The kindle edition of the 4* rated Vengeance of a Slave by V.M.Sang is free on Amazon.

Here’s the blurb.

Forced to watch his father’s crucifixion and separated from his mother, orphaned six-year-old Adelbhert’s life forever changes when he is sold into slavery in Britannia.

Years of servitude fill his heart with malice and he resolves to escape, determined to rescue those he loves and deliver retribution to the Romans who wronged him.

But as new allies shed light on old perspectives, Adelbhert begins to question his path. Will he find true freedom, or allow his vengeance to consume him?

Vengeance of a Slave is the first book in the series ‘A Family Through the Ages.’ So far there are 2 books published. The second one is Jealousy of a Viking and follows a descendant of Adelbehrt, from Vengeance. I hope to follow this family through many generations.

The books can be purchased from a variety of booksellers. Just click on the links to go to your favourite.

If you buy and read a copy, I would be grateful if you could post an honest review. Reviews are important to authors as they help readers to find books they might like. It needn’t be long. Just if you liked it or not, and what you liked or disliked about it.

I love hearing your opinions. Please leave a comment in the comments box.

3 different Origins of St Valentine’s Day

I should have posted this yesterday, but I didn’t get round to it. In fact, I’m rather late today, too.

If you’ve been waiting for the post about Muldee, I promise that will be posted next Tuesday.

courtesy of pixabay
  • The easiest possible origin to find is that it dates to possibly three saints, all called Valentine, although two of them might have been the same person.
  • One of the Valentines is said to have defied the edict by Emperor that soldiers may not marry, and secretly married men in the army to their girlfriends, thus linking the saint to romance.
  • The second (who may also be the third) was a bishop, Valentine of Terni.
  • The other (who might have been the same person) was martyred in 270 by Claudius II Gothicus. He was in prison and befriended the jailor’s daughter, possibly healing her blindness. He wrote a letter to her, signing it ‘From your Valentine.’
  • One pagan festival in the Roman era was a fertility festival. It was called Lupercalia and took place in mid-February. Dogs and male goats were sacrificed. Men then took strips of the animals’ skin and slapped women they passed in the street. This was supposed to increase the fertility of the women slapped. Thus it is thought it could be an origin of Valentine’s Day.
  • February was the Celtic festival of Imbolc. It marked the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It was the time for the new lambs to be born.
  • Here is an extract from Vengeance of a Slave describing the festival of Imbolc.
  • Those of you who are from the US might see a resemblance to Groundhog Day.

Soon it was Imbolc, the time when the young lambs began to be born. The villagers had much preparation to do, for they invited the goddess, Brigid, into their homes to bless them, and they prepared special food for this day. Awena, was delighted when the villagers chose her to help carry the image of Brigid around the village.
She helped to clean the house with enthusiasm, sweeping out all the old rushes and piling them up outside ready to be lit into a bonfire. Ailbert laughed at her enthusiasm saying he had never thought of her as a domestic type.
She stuck her tongue out at him in response. “It’s important everything is ready for Brigid.”
“What about the gods we worshipped in Londinium? Have you forgotten them? Jupiter, Juno, Venus and the rest?”
“They’re gods for the Romans.” She shook her head. “They’ve no use for the Britons. Only if we become Roman Citizens will they care for us, and that’s not going to happen. We’re now Britons and we must worship the gods that care for the Britons.”
She carried on sweeping while Ailbert continued walking towards the sheep pens to see if any lambs yet been born.
He met Madoc on the way and the boy told him in excited tones that one of the ewes had gone into labour and the lamb, or hopefully lambs would arrive very shortly. Ailbert quickened his steps towards the pens in the hope of seeing the actual birth. Being a house slave in Londinium he had never been present at the birth of any of the animals owned by the dominus and domina.
They arrived in time to see the ewe pushing out what turned out to be the first of two lambs. Ailbert frowned. He had not expected blood. The little lamb lay on the ground, wet, and the mother turned to look at him, for it was a male lamb. Ailbert watched as she began to lick him clean. The second lamb was born soon afterwards and she repeated the process. The lambs staggered to their feet and immediately began suckling.
Ailbert smiled. He had witnessed a wonderful thing. New life being brought into the world and he ran off to tell Awena and Gwen the first lambs had been born and Imbolc was due to start.
At sunset that evening, the unwed girls carried the image of Brigid around the village. The villagers had made a crude image of reeds and the girls visited each house in turn, walked three times round it and then asked for admittance for Brigid. Each house opened the door and let the image and girls in. They gave them food and each householder added a decoration to the reed image.
For some weeks before, the women and girls had been busy making Brigid crosses out of reeds, and one hung over the door of each house.
As it was winter still, it soon got dark. Each household put out newly made clothes, and food and drink for the goddess. They also made a bed for her in the house, just in case she decided to visit.
They ate and drank the foods made for this special day, a kind of porridge made from the starch left in the husks of the oats, soaked and left to ferment. It tasted sour to Ailbert and Awena but they ate their share as it would have been discourteous to do otherwise.
The next morning, Gwen looked carefully at the ashes that she had raked smooth the evening before, to see any disturbances that might indicate that Brigid had visited in the night, but they were as smooth as they had been when they all went to bed.
Gwen led the way outside to be met with a frost on the ground and an overcast sky. “Ah! That’s good. A cold, miserable day means that the Cailleach is still asleep and not gathering wood for fires to keep her warm through the next cold spell.” She turned to the young people who frowned and looked at each other. Ailbert shrugged his shoulders.
“Cailliach is winter personified. If today is bright and sunny, then she can come out and look for firewood and so keep herself warm for longer. If it’s cold and miserable, or rainy and stormy, then she’s asleep and will soon run out of firewood, so Brigid can bring the spring sooner.”
They, along with the rest of the village, made their way to the well. Here they walked round it in the direction of the sun and prayed to Brigid to bring health and prosperity. They gave offerings of strips of cloth and a few coins to the goddess.
Singing and dancing followed, as well as eating and drinking, and the day passed quickly, darkness coming early at this season, half-way between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Tired and happy with the prospect of a good season to come, the villagers retired
to their beds.

Thank you for reading. If you want to find out more about Ailbert, you can go to the online store of your choice by clicking the link above, or the book cover in the side bar.

I always enjoy reading your comments, and so please leave any in the comments box.

Last Day of free offer

Don’t forget that today is the last day to get my best-selling title, Vengeance of a Slave absolutely FREE.

It is currently number 2 in British and Irish Historical Novels and number 81 in Action and Adventure.

To get your FREE ebook, click in the cover in the sidebar, or here.

Here are a couple of reviews it got. For some reason, Amazon have taken these down, but they’ve left the stars. (I’ve heard of other writers who’ve had reviews removed for no apparent reason!) I can assure you, they were genuine reviews!

Randall Krzak

Vengeance of a Slave by V.M. Sang is a riveting story set during the period when Rome controlled Britannia. Follow the trials and tribulations of Adelbhert after he and his sister are taken by the Romans from their mother. They eventually end up as slaves in what is modern-day London. Adelbhert performs a nightly ritual to remind himself of the suffering he and his sister have endured, beginning with the crucifixion of their father. He vows to escape and punish those who have wronged him.

V.M. has created a moving story which will keep you turning the pages to find out how Adelbhert and his sister handle their new life. Experience their sorrow, anguish, and finally hope as they adapt to their changing situation. This is the first novel I’ve read of V.M.’s and it certainly won’t be the last! Well done and highly recommended!

D. W. Peach

Adelbehrt keeps a running list in his head of all the reasons why he hates the Romans—they crucified his father, stole him as a child from his mother, and enslaved him. As he grows into his teenage years as a slave, the list gets longer. With the help of a network of Britons, he escapes, determined to exact his revenge, but not everything is as clear cut as he once thought.

The plot is straight forward, and though there are some tense moments, battling and mortal danger isn’t the point of the tale. This story has a strong moral message about the nuanced nature of people and how they treat and judge each other. Ultimately, it’s about a young man’s growth and the events that change his perceptions as he matures.

The pace is moderate with some repetition, but I was engaged throughout. The historical details seem well-researched, adding to the authenticity of the story. Point-of-view focuses on Adelbehrt for most of the book, with occasional shifts to other characters, and all main and secondary characters felt believable to me. Adelbehrt is particularly well-rounded and likeable as the story centers on his thoughts and experiences.

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