Herstory Writing & Interpretation
Explore history with quality lively, engaging talks on a wide range of topics from the stories of King Arthur, Christmas, and chocolate, to the battles of Agincourt, the Wars of the Roses and Waterloo, the fates of three unfortunate queens, and the lives of famous figures from Richard III to Charlotte Bronte. All talks are fully illustrated, and can be tailored to any size or age of audience, and to meet special needs (sight or hearing impairment). You’ll find my full lecture list on the talks page. Don’t like what you see? Then I’ll produce something on a subject of your choice!
Herstory sheds new light on the Wars of the Roses with three richly-illustrated books. The Battle of Wakefield Revisited, a history that reads like a whodunnit, paints a different portrait of Richard of York to the fool who ‘gave battle in vain.’ Then physically follow events with my pocket-guides Walk Wakefield 1460 and Walk Towton 1461, containing a potted history, directions to key sites, and details on what you’ll find there, including a full tour of Towton Battlefield Trail. For light relief, take a trip into fantasy-land with a racy Gothic romance, The Lay of Angor, by my fiction alter-ego Rae Andrew – a tongue-in-cheek homage to the genre inspired by real history, seasoned with splashes of gore and hot sex!
Prefer a live guide to a guidebook? Then let Herstory conduct you around Yorkshire’s famous Wars of the Roses sites, including the battlefields of Wakefield and Towton, and the castles at Sandal, Pontefract, Conisbrough and Middleham. Guided tours can cater to any number, from a single person to a bus-load, and can be of long or short distance/duration to suit all ages and levels of walking ability. Medieval costume/show n’ tell, book signing/sales, and (by special arrangement) longbow archery demonstrations and have-a-go sessions can also be included as required.
I could have said much the same as this kind person – I loved history until it turned into a dull, dry list of dates and political acts with no chronological clothesline to peg them to, or social history to breathe in some life and context. Only when I started reading to plug gaps in my knowledge did I re-discover my passion for the subject, and that’s why I founded Herstory: to share that passion, and my love and respect for the people of the past, with the people of today.
I’m not an historian as such. My academic career began with a degree in Archaeological Studies from the University of Leicester, during which I discovered I didn’t like digging. So I did a post-graduate Diploma in Archaeological Conservation at the University of Durham, (and later a Masters degree in Museum Studies also from Leicester) and began working in 1985 as a full-time museum objects conservator-restorer in the UK and USA. In 1997 I became a freelance heritage consultant, then took early retirement in 2005 to pursue my interests in medieval history and creative writing.
As a member of Towton Battlefield Society (TBS), I took up longbow archery, discovered the fascinating ‘lifestyle hobby’ of Wars of the Roses re-enactment, and found a husband in the process! This gave me masses of material for writing: my first claim to fame was providing a chapter for the paperback second edition of Oxbow Books’ best-selling report on the Battle of Towton, Blood Red Roses; I regularly supplied articles and reviews to historical and county magazines and the TBS newsletter, The Herald (which I also edited for a number of years); and from 2010, published my three non-fiction history books followed by my fun fantasy trilogy, The Lay of Angor.
In 2016 I retired from re-enactment and my post as Secretary/founder member of the TBS in-house Wars of the Roses household, The Frei Compagnie, to help Hubcap manage our newly-acquired smallholding. Then in September 2017, I unexpectedly had to step in as a full-time assistant to help him run our garden maintenance business. That meant abandoning Herstory’s schools interpretation work, cutting back my lecture season to winter evenings only, restricting walks to weekends and days off, and putting several writing projects on the back-burner – however, my first children’s book, Henry Wowler & the Mirror-Cat, is scheduled for publication in 2021.