This month we took a trip to Shropshire and the beautiful Welsh border to visit the remains of Wigmore Castle - birthplace of Elizabeth Mortimer - and the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury - deathplace of Henry Hotspur.
The A49 runs pretty close to the Battlefield, but the fields are large and remarkably peaceful. Difficult to imagine the arrows flying and the horses charging and the bodies falling... still, it was rather stirring to stand on the site of a battle we've read so much about. Battlefield Church (currently undergoing renovations, so we couldn't go inside) is said to stand on the site of a mass grave holding the many hurriedly buried bodies of the dead.
Harder still it was to imagine the bustle of Medieval life amid the ruins of Wigmore Castle. It stands on the hillside, looking out over the Welsh border - not a gift shop in sight. We were the only visitors and the Autumn colours made the views of the border ethereally beautiful.
We stayed in an old Benedictine Monastery in the village of Leominster (pronounced LEM-ster, apparently) which we cannot recommend highly enough. The man on the front desk kindly provided us with a bedtime ghost story about headless monks walking the grounds of the spooky-looking church next door. I didn't sleep, but it was inspiring stuff.
We'd also like to say thank you to the marvellous Professor Virginia Davis, who allowed us to take up a few hours of her time in her office at Queen Mary University, London. Professor Davis talked us through her knowledge of women's roles in the Middle Ages and gave us lots of advice and reading tips to further our research into the enigmatic Elizabeth, Lady Percy!