Ladies of Magna Carta

Ladies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England

In my first year of writing History … the Interesting Bits I told the stories of 2 remarkable women, contemporaries of each other, but with markedly different fates. Matilda de Braose fell foul of King John and suffered a horrible death in his dungeons, while Nicholaa de la Haye was John’s steadfast supporter, successfully defending Lincoln Castle in no fewer than 3 sieges; the last against a combined French and rebel army.

These 2 stories became the catalyst for my latest book, which looks into how the 1215 Magna Carta was relevant to the women of the great families of 13th century England, including the royal families of England and Scotland, the Marshals, the Bigods, the Salisburys, Braoses and Warennes.

Magna Carta clause 39: No man shall be taken, imprisoned, outlawed, banished or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.

This clause in Magna Carta was in response to the appalling imprisonment and starvation of Matilda de Braose, the wife of one of King John’s barons. Matilda was not the only woman who influenced, or was influenced by, the 1215 Charter of Liberties, now known as Magna Carta. Women from many of the great families of England were affected by the far-reaching legacy of Magna Carta, from their experiences in the civil war and as hostages, to calling on its use to protect their property and rights as widows.

Ladies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England looks into the relationships – through marriage and blood – of the various noble families and how they were affected by the Barons’ Wars, Magna Carta and its aftermath; the bonds that were formed and those that were broken. Including the royal families of England and Scotland, the Marshals, the Warennes, the Braoses and more, _Ladies of Magna Carta_ focuses on the roles played by the women of the great families whose influences and experiences have reached far beyond the thirteenth century.

And it is almost here! Ladies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England will be released in the UK on 30 May 2020 and is now available for pre-order from Amazon UK and from Book Depository worldwide.

Book Launch:

Please join me at The Collection, Lincoln, for the launch of Ladies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England, hosted by Lindum Books.

I will be doing a talk and book signing, at The Collection in Lincoln. Tickets: £7  Single; including book:£29. Couple including book: £32. Tickets are available from The collection and Lindum Books, Lincoln.

Also by Sharon Bennett Connolly:

Silk and the Sword: The Women of the Norman Conquest traces the fortunes of the women who had a significant role to play in the momentous events of 1066.  Available now from Amazon UK,  Amberley Publishing, Book Depository and Amazon US.

Heroines of the Medieval World tells the stories of some of the most remarkable women from Medieval history, from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Julian of Norwich. Available now from Amberley Publishing and Amazon UK, Amazon US and Book Depository.


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©2020 Sharon Bennett Connolly

66 thoughts on “Ladies of Magna Carta

  1. Kevin White 04/02/2020 / 12:41

    The list of names included in your books that appear as tags in your latest email regarding the Ladies of Magna Carta reads like a Who’s Who of my family tree. It’s like you’ve written those books just for me ! All I need now is to save up and buy them, then find the time to read them all…….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. sylvia wright 04/02/2020 / 12:59

    I agree with Kevin White. They are all my ancesteesses, too!

    Poor Matilda De Braose, what a dreadful way to die.

    I grew up near Corfe Castle, and never knew about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kevin White 04/02/2020 / 13:50

      I’ve been to Corfe Castle three times. I don’t know what it is about the place, given its a ruin, but there is a real atmosphere to the place, difficult to describe, but you simply ‘feel it’ when you are there. Maybe it was the ghost of Maud de Braose but I never about her dying there or that she was my 28th GG-Grandmother. Maybe she was trying to contact me ? I must go back now I know more about her !

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sharon Bennett Connolly 04/02/2020 / 13:57

        If does have a gruesome history. Even if Matilda de Braose didn’t die there (she may have died at Windsor), it was where King Edward the Martyr was murdered in the 10th century, and some Breton prisoners starved themselves to death there, rather than surrender, after a failed escape attempt (that was in John’s reign too).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. artwork368 04/02/2020 / 13:18

    Absolutely fascinating, but very hard to keep up with all these ancient kings and queens, there all related and this makes it very difficult to keep tracks on them all. But WOW awesome history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon Bennett Connolly 04/02/2020 / 13:28

      Hopefully, this book will help straighten them out. I was amazed, when writing it, at the extent of marriage connections between the great families of England. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin White 04/02/2020 / 13:58


    I’ve read there is a ‘dispute’ about where Maud de Braose died, some say Corfe while others say Windsor.
    I’d like to be Corfe as it seems to fit better with the atmosphere of the place. Windsor seems too clinical for it to have happened there, rather than in the wilds of Dorset.

    Does your research point to one of them more than the other ?



    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon Bennett Connolly 04/02/2020 / 14:03

      It’s true. No one seems to know which it was. I suspect it was Windsor, and the Corfe suggestion is a confusion with the starvation of the Breton prisoners. With the distance of 800 years, I doubt we will ever know for certain.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael Dearth 05/02/2020 / 09:30

    Fantastic Sharon! I am looking forward to learning more about the oh so pivotal roles of woman at this time. I have often thought of the dreadful plight of the de Braose people, for they weren’t bad people as such, they just didn’t realise how ruthless K John was. Best wishes Michael DeAth

    Sent from my iPhone



    • Sharon Bennett Connolly 05/02/2020 / 09:33

      Thank you Michael – that’s lovely to hear. It was a fascinating topic to research. Best wishes, Sharon


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