‘The Order of the White Boar’

Welcome! To all new members of the Order!

The group of friends who have sworn lifelong loyalty – to each other and to their good lord, King Richard III.

Read about their adventures in The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man (out 26 May 2018). The paperback and ebook can be ordered from Amazon at myBook.to/WhiteBoar and mybook.to/TheKingsMan, from Blurb at http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/8167813-the-order-of-the-white-boar and http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/8770224-the-king-s-man or by contacting AlexMarchant84@gmail.com.

The Order of the White Boar follows the adventures of Matthew Wansford, 12-year-old page to Duke Richard of Gloucester, at Middleham Castle and in Westminster, from the summer of 1482. The King’s Man picks up the story in the spring of 1483, as the Year of the Three Kings unfolds . . .


Order Of The White Boar_3d-book            The book on white background

And don’t forget, if you and/or your young people enjoy the book, please leave a review on Amazon, GoodReads or elsewhere – thank you!


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Bosworth 2019

As ever, an unforgettable weekend at Bosworth medieval festival – albeit the weather wasn’t kind on the day before, with the heavens opening and the result being a quagmire on the battlefield arena.

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But the organizers and all their volunteers did a fantastic job preparing the site as best they could despite the horrendous conditions on Friday and adapting the programme of events as required.
Sadly the mud meant no horses as they wouldn’t have been safe, so there was no jousting – and His Grace King Richard had to lead his fateful charge on foot!

bosworth 2019 King Richard (2)
It was lovely to meet up with so many old friends and (hopefully) some new ones through the weekend. Thank you to Wayne Spence, Susan Lamb and Joanne Larner for the photo ops to show off my new costume…quickly accessorized from some of the stalls on the day  🐗🎩💼




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Excerpt from ‘The Fire of Winter’ by D. K. Marley

Today I’m very happy to be taking part in the blog tour for D. K. Marley‘s new novel, The Fire of Winter.

I’ve been intrigued by D. K.’s books since first I came across Blood and Ink, her first novel which offers an intriguing take on the question of whether William Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe penned the Bard’s plays and sonnets – and just what did happen to Marlowe in that tavern in Deptford in 1593. Since then she has drawn more inspiration from Shakespeare’s timeless tales in her ‘Fractured Shakespeare’ novels, first Prince of Sorrows (based on Hamlet) and now The Fire of Winter, offering a reworking of MacBeth – but from the point of view of the often more-reviled Lady MacBeth.

It’s a familiar tale, of course – yet this interweaving of historical research and the  Bard’s drama results in a unique retelling – and one that may surprise you.

Read an excerpt below… and be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour and enter the #Giveaway (US only).


Publication Date: June 1, 2019

02_The Fire of Winter (1)

She is known as Lady Macbeth.
What leads her down the path of murder?
What secrets fire her destiny?

Gruah, granddaughter of King Cìnéad III of the Royal Clan Alpin, marries two men in less than six months, one she loves and one she hates; one in secret, the other arranged by the High King of Scotland. At the age of eighteen, she lays her palm upon the ancient stone of Scone and sees her destiny as Queen of Scotland, and she vows to do whatever necessary to see her true love, Macbeth macFindlaech, beside her on the throne.

Amid the fiery times and heated onslaughts from Denmark and England, as the rule of Scotland hangs in the balance, Gruah seeks to win the throne and bring revenge upon the monsters of her childhood, no matter the cost or amount of blood tainting her own hands; yet, an unexpected meeting with the King called the Confessor causes her to question her bloody path and doubt her once blazing pagan faith. Will she find redemption or has the blood of her past fire-branded her soul?

The story weaves the play by William Shakespeare with the actual history of Macbeth and his Queen in 11th-century Scotland.

“…a woman’s story at a winter’s fire…”
(Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV)

From The Fire of Winter:

Chapter 4 – The Greenwood Marriage

Macbeth and Gruah rode in silence along the path toward Na Clachan Aoriadh. Gruah welcomed the silence for with each step her horse made, her heart beat faster in her chest. The purpose was clear.

Tonight, a fire will burn in the centre of the four stone sisters, and tonight, I will give myself to my true husband. And, perhaps the Goddess will grant me a child, an heir to the throne of Scotland whose blood flows from Clann Alpin.

She closed her eyes and breathed in deep. Macbeth’s horse grumbled in his throat, and Gruah opened her eyes. Goose flesh tingled up the back of her thighs, and she shifted in her saddle as she became acutely aware of the closeness of his horse and the warmth of Macbeth’s stare caressing over her back.

Another few miles and the birch and ash trees of Allean forest fell away into a large glade rising high up a hill. Macbeth spurred his horse next to her and pointed toward the tor.

“Look, there is the circle.”

Gruah dug her heels into the side of the palfrey and charged up the hill. When they reached the summit, she dismounted and walked to the edge of the circle, between two of the stones, and gazed out toward the horizon. The tops of the fir trees bent in the brisk Autumn wind, and Schiehallion rose like a mighty God overlooking the evergreens. The clouds hung low and grey, a slight mist penetrating the air, but Gruah did not care. She shielded her face with the hood of her cloak. Macbeth walked up behind her and encircled his arms around her waist, then pulled the edge of the hood away from her cheek. His lips touched ever so slightly against the side of her ear as he whispered.

“What now, Lady Gruah?”

She giggled and her face flushed.

“Go on,” she answered, “we need a bonfire in the centre of the stones.”

He kissed along the side of her neck. “No,” he said, “we do not.”

She leaned her head back, letting her laughter ring out across the tor. “Stop… wait… I have a plan… please, wait and listen to me.”

He reached inside her cloak and pulled her close to him. “No more words, Gruah. Is this not why we came here?”

Gruah thrust her hands against his chest and pushed him away, growling in her throat. “I will have this day perfect as the picture in my head, or we can ride back to Borenich this very instant.”

Macbeth took one step toward her, his mouth crooked in a smile. He bent at his waist and bowed before her. “As you wish, my lady. I will search for some firewood.”

Gruah took a deep breath. She watched him as he edged back toward the forest, picking up scatterings of branches and logs. His brown twill-woven cloak wrapped around his waist and over his shoulder and Gruah eyed the back of his muscular thighs as he leaned over. She smiled and shivered. From the corner of her eye, the two horses, her palfrey and his solid black Shire, grazed gently in the swaying brush grass. She turned her face toward them and held back her hair from her eyes. Something about their graceful manes fluttering in the wind, mingling and falling across their strong muscular necks, fired her soul. The pure perfection in the majestic creatures. She thought of Alba, her land, and the plans in her mind to bring Scotland together, wielded by her own hand and that of Macbeth. The destiny of the two of them as High King and Queen of Scotland could not fail.

As Macbeth disappeared into the forest, she removed the woollen blankets draped across the saddle, untied a leather flask and walked near to the centre of the stone circle. Raising her chin to the sky, she said, “This must work, Cailleach.”

Macbeth came back with an armload of firewood. He threw the bundle down and arranged the stack over an old stone firepit in the centre. Gruah sat down nearby and watched him. Within a few minutes, he struck a flint stone, and the fire blazed to life. He backed away from the small blaze and chuckled.

“Well, ’tis no bonfire, but will have to suffice.”

“No matter, ’tis enough,” she said. He cut his stare toward her, and she bit her lip. The wind blew his dark hair across his face, and Gruah shivered. He knelt next to her and brushed her hair away from her eyes with his fingers.

The fire crackled, a raven cawed, and the horses munched as an awkward silence passed between them. Gruah touched her fingers to her lips and giggled.

“I thought you had a plan,” he said. “I do not know the steps of a greenwood marriage at Beltane. My mother rid the customs in our house when she became a Christian, so I never witnessed the rites. I saw the fires, though, all across the fields at the Spring solstice, from my bedroom window at Glamis. Sometimes I thought I heard the music of drums and pipes floating through the warm air and the low whispers of laughter.”

Gruah sat upwards on her knees toward him and tangled her fingers in his hair.

“I do have a plan, my love. Here, drink this,” she said, as she popped the wax stopper on the flask and tilted the contents to his mouth. Then, she poured some over her own tongue.

He swallowed and wiped his chin with the back of his hand. “What is the drink? ‘Tis strong.”

The corner of her mouth twitched. “Just a little recipe I learned from a woman I met long ago. ‘Twill free us, just wait a few more minutes.” He took another swallow as she continued.

“I never witnessed the rites at Beltane either, but my mother told me all before she died. She wanted me to remember and to honour our past. She converted, as well, when I was a small child, but I think the strict nature of the Celtic church, and fear of the secret stake-burnings of the women who would not yield, made her keep quiet of her true leanings. She was a wild thing, even my father used to rail against her, but it was in her blood. She calmed as she grew older and I always knew what she wanted for me. I knew as a princess of the Alpin line that my father would choose my husband, but my mother whispered to me of the days when a woman of royal blood would choose her own.”

She tangled her fingers in his twill cloak and pulled him close. “I am fortunate that the man I have chosen is also of the same royal blood, so we are doubly blessed.” She then held her right hand out to him. “Here,” she said, “I will show you the rites. Grab hold of my wrist with your right hand…”


D. K. Marley – biography 

03_DK MarleyD. K. Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English Literature teacher, gave her a volume of Shakespeare’s plays when she was eleven, inspiring DK to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language. Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel “Blood and Ink,” an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio. She is an avid Shakespearean / Marlowan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops and is a graduate of the intense training workshop “The Writer’s Retreat Workshop” founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes. She lives in Georgia with her husband and two Scottish Terriers named Maggie and Buster.

For more information, please visit D.K. Marley’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away copies of The Fire of Winter + a surprise gift to three lucky winners! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/competitions/2IeSS-the-fire-of-winter

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 22
Review & Guest Post at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, July 23
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Wednesday, July 24
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, July 26
Feature at Words and Peace

Monday, July 29
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, July 30
Excerpt at The Order of the White Boar

Thursday, August 1
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, August 2
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Monday, August 5
Review at Jorie Loves A Story

Tuesday, August 6
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, August 8
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Faery Tales Are Real

Saturday, August 10
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

Monday, August 12
Review at A Book Geek

Tuesday, August 13
Guest Post at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, August 14
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Friday, August 16
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Monday, August 19
Excerpt at Broken Teepee
Review at Passages to the Past


Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boaand The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name, an anthology of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). A further anthology, Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, is planned for later this year…

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:




My Facebook author page 

My Blog

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

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The King’s Furies – by Stephanie Churchill

Welcome to the latest stage on the blog tour for The King’s Furies, Book 3 in Stephanie Churchill‘s fabulous ‘Crowns of Destiny’  series.

stephanie churchill

As a long-time fan of both historical fiction and fantasy (and sometime writer of both genres myself), Stephanie’s books were bound to appeal to me. So I was delighted to be asked to take part in the blog tour for her latest release, The King’s Furies.

stephanie churchill 2Following on from the familiar world and intertwined characters of the first two novels in the series, The Scribe’s Daughter and The King’s DaughterThe King’s Furiepicks up the story of Casmir, very much a favourite character for many readers. I suspect I’m not alone in welcoming the chance to read more about him and his life!


Here Stephanie tells us more about how she came to write the books – and why she’s chosen the path of historical fantasy rather than more traditional historical fiction. And, being on my blog, unsurprisingly perhaps there is mention of protagonists from the Wars of the Roses …



I’ve loved history for as long as I can remember. When I was very young, my interest sprang mostly from family history, something easily accessible because it was a topic discussed often at big family gatherings. My grandmother had a trunk full of old sepia-coloured family photos that I loved to pore over, imagining the lives these people lived, the stories they could tell, and making me wonder about all the events they experienced. What a treasure trove of imagination fodder for that young daydream explorer!

These imaginings were actually a sign of my love of storytelling, but I didn’t know it then. All of my curiosity and ponderings about past people and events led me (instead of writing novels) to trace the histories of those individuals through family trees, and by default, to British history (I mean, with family names like Churchill, Sutton and McReynolds, it was a given I’d end up focusing within the British Isles). Fast forward many years into my adulthood, and eventually, I discovered the books of Sharon Kay Penman… And anyone who knows anything about how my journey into writing came to be, knows that ‘meeting’ Sharon was what started it all for me.

I can’t help but be influenced by history when creating my stories. With as much history as I’ve studied and as many historical novels as I’ve read, I’ve been marinated in all things old. So why did I not choose to write historical fiction? That’s a common enough question. Quite honestly, I was scared off by the research. I knew what it would take to do quality research of the level I would require of myself, and I didn’t feel that I wanted to commit to it. That’s usually the answer I give people when asked. It’s easier to explain.

But there’s another reason that really surprised me once I got to thinking more deeply about what motivates me. As much as I love history, the history itself wasn’t what drew me to writing; it was purely the storytelling – what moves people, what motivates them, what cause and effect come from our behaviours and choices as humans? The historical fiction genre was simply the palette with which I felt most comfortable working, so a historical-feeling setting became my narrative device.

Instead of writing traditional historical fiction, I chose a style of writing that echoed historical fiction without actually containing any history. I didn’t have to be faithful to specific events or people’s lives, so I was free to invent every part of my novels. But the influence is definitely there, from my prose and structure to the seeds of inspiration. And knowing many of my readers would be quite familiar with history and historical detail, I did try to write some facts into my worlds to make the setting believable to readers familiar with a late medieval/early Tudor setting.

The Wars of the Roses, a conflict between two rival houses, those of York and Lancaster, fought in the mid- to late fifteenth century, has inspired many creative endeavours, from books to movies. Like so many others, this period of history fascinates me, and I can’t say I’ve been strong enough to stay away from the lure of the stories the participants in those dramatic times produced.

Author Janet Reedman wrote a guest article for my own blog last Friday (19 July) about one of the significant people from that time period and the inspiration he provided me (visit my website at www.stephaniechurchillauthor.com to read it). Any guesses as to which individual (very loosely) inspired the character in the following scene? (Don’t worry if you can’t figure it out. The connection is fairly abstract.)

From The King’s Furies, chapter 16:

“Casmir, you do not do yourself a disservice by locking your heart away from your father. He is a man who is incapable of appreciating the good gifts he has been given.”

“And that is why we are lucky to have you, cousin.”

My cousin smiled down at me. “I will always keep you safe. Never fear.”

“But my mother can…”

“Your mother can’t be bothered just now, son. You know that.” He pulled me along, and finally, we found ourselves in the courtyard of the upper ward. “You have me, and I will watch over you. You needn’t concern yourself with either your father or mother, for they can do nothing for you.”

He stopped then turned and knelt down to eye level with me. “You will be king someday, Casmir, and until then you must learn the craft of kingship. I will be your guide, for your father cannot. And if the task should prove too much for you, you only need rely on me.”

He peered over his shoulder as if to confirm that we were alone. “Agrius cannot abide another king like him. Until then, I will continue to lead as I have done. As you continue to grow, I will teach you all you need to know.” Ildor smiled, taking my hands between his own. “And even when you are king, I will be there for you just as I have been for your father.”

I lunged forward into his open arms. Even if I felt isolated from everyone else in my life, even from the playmates of rank who had been chosen for me to be my companions of quality, I felt safe with Cousin Ildor, he had never given me reason not to. It was if the very gods had sent him to Prille, just to watch over me…

Blurb for The King’s Furies:

Not all enemies are visible.

Sometimes the most defiant ones exist only in the heart and mind.

The Defiler of Prille and his hound are dead. With my marriage to the daughter of Bedic Sajen, our houses are united. After the birth of our daughter and heir to the throne, peace settles over Agrius once more.

But it’s a fragile peace.

As I work to restore the former glory of my inheritance, rumours of betrayal and treachery reach the throne, threatening to shatter everything I have worked hard to achieve.
When old enemies surface, the rumors become real. Disaster strikes, plunging me into a darkness I fear I cannot escape. Many advisors step forward to help, but it’s never easy to determine friend from foe when it comes to the powers swirling around the throne.
Faced with the decision to stay true to my honor or to become like my father, a man I despised, the bonds of unity with forged with family and friends are tested.
To the point of breaking.
What compromises will I make to secure the future of my family and my kingdom?
Will I lose both myself and the ones I love in the process?

Follow my journey into darkness.



Stephanie Churchill – biography

Stephanie Churchill

Evoking the essence of historical fiction but without the history, Stephanie’s writing draws on her knowledge of history even while set in purely fictional places existing only in her imagination.  Filled with action and romance, loyalty and betrayal, her writing relies on deeply drawn and complex characters, exploring the subtleties of imperfect people living in a gritty, sometimes dark world.  Her unique blend of historical fiction and fantasy ensures that her books are sure to please fans of historical fiction and epic fantasy literature alike.

Sharon Kay Penman, New York Times bestselling author of The Sunne in Splendour and A King’s Ransom, says of Stephanie’s work: “I think readers who have enjoyed my medieval novels will enjoy the Crowns of Destiny series too.”

Stephanie’s books can be found on Amazon:

Purchase The Scribe’s Daughter: mybook.to/thescribesdaughter

Purchase The King’s Daughter: mybook.to/TheKingsDaughter

Pre-order The King’s Furies: mybook.to/TheKingsFuries

Stephanie’s website: https://www.stephaniechurchillauthor.com/


stephanie churchill 2


Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boaand The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name, an anthology of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). A further anthology, Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, is planned for later this year…

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:




My Facebook author page 

My Blog

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

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2 #Giveaways! And news on #NewReleases in #HistoricalFiction!

Just a reminder that Joanie Toogood will be picking the winner of her #Giveaway over the weekend and announcing the name here and on the Blog Hop Facebook page -you still have time to enter by commenting below the blog and/or below the original Facebook post:





Also tonight, Matthew Wansford will be picking the person to receive his #giveaway too! Again, all you have to do is comment under the original posts:


and https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Writers-Forum-Blog-Hop-Page-313883642875335/

Order Of The White Boar_Facebookbanner

And don’t forget, on Monday 22 July I’ll be hosting the wonderful Stephanie Churchill and her new release: The King’ Furies

stephanie churchill

Full details of the blog tour:

TKF Blog Tour Schedule

And – an exciting week – more blog tour news!

On 30 July I’ll be hosting an exclusive extract from D.K. Marley’s new Shakespeare-inspired novel, The Fire of Winter 

The Fire of Winter by [Marley, DK]

Do join me!

Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boaand The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name, an anthology of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). A further anthology, Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, is planned for later this year…

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:




My Facebook author page 

My Blog

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

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“In lieu of #RichardIII”: interview with Matthew Wansford @whiteboarorder by @margaretskea1 #giveaway #HistoricalFiction

At last it’s young Matt’s turn on the ‘Interview My Character Blog Hop‘ today.

And as ever he’s enthusing about his life in the service of his good master Duke Richard of Gloucester (later King Richard III of course) and at Middleham castle.

Even if you’ve read The Order of the White Boar, why not enter the giveaway? If you win the paperback, it would be a great chance to donate a copy to a local school or library. (And if you do, don’t forget to let them know the author is available for visits!) Just comment on the original blog at https://margaretskea.com/2019/07/17/in-lieu-of-richard-iii-who-is-currently-unavailable/ or the original Facebook post for your chance to win 😃🐗📚📖


Order Of The White Boar_3d-book.png

The book on white background




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The ‘pre-contract’ – Edward IV’s first marriage, to Eleanor Butler (nee Talbot) – the evidence

Over the weekend at the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, it was lovely to meet readers old and new and potential, to catch up with Ricardian friends, and exchange views with interested members of the public.

As usually happens at such events, the odd debate took place over whether Richard ‘did it’ (I’m sure you can guess what) and the validity of his claim to the throne. At that point it would have been invaluable to have been able direct my challenger to a resource that has just come to my attention – a page on the Revealing Richard III website specifically discussing Edward IV’s pre-contract with Eleanor Butler (nee Talbot) which meant that his sons with Elizabeth Woodville were illegitimate (a subject of course covered in The King’s Man).


King Edward distributing largesse … before any word of his pre-contract came out…

Members of the Looking for Richard project team Philippa Langley and Dr David and Wendy Johnson, drawing also on work by the late Dr John Ashdown-Hill, have pulled together the early sources on the subject into a single page to demonstrate why the pre-contract was not the fiction many later claimed, from the Tudor period onwards. The page can be found here: http://revealingrichardiii.com/the-pre-contract.html

So, next time someone says to you, ‘But it was all just made up by Richard to seize the throne’, just point them in the direction of the Revealing Richard III website… I certainly will! I’m very grateful to Philippa, Wendy and David for bringing it to my attention.

Loyaulte me lie!


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Tewkesbury 2019

So another Tewkesbury Medieval Festival has been and gone – and another Yorkist victory – of course! I doubt anyone has ever suggested to the organizers that an ‘alternative ending’ would be welcomed! (unlike at Bosworth 2018…)

Tewkes from Susan Buonaparte (2)

This year I managed to see rather more of the battle than last (when I’m afraid I cowered at my stall inside the marquee rather than brave the blazing heat outside – unlike the staunch warriors who took the field in full harness). I also stayed to see the final defeat of the Lancastrians in the grounds of the Abbey, followed by the infamous beheadings – much cheered by the townspeople, all of course loyal to good King Edward and his gallant young brother, Richard of Gloucester.

So this time I have a few more photos to share, to accompany the many already circulating from various sources on Facebook. For some reason I appear to have attracted fierce looks from many of the fighters – perhaps, as I suspect, my headgear just isn’t up to scratch… Lucky that I may be sporting different attire for my next event… Watch this space!

The Muster


His Grace King Edward



The attempt to parley with the Lancastrians…


The waiting troops watch…



Battle is joined…


The defeated Lancastrians retreat…


The final showdown at the Abbey



The victorious king and his retinue


It’s not looking good for this chap….



What follows… traitors all!



Peace is restored to the Abbey



Just a reminder…



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