Sharon Bennett Connolly writes:
I have been fascinated by history for over 30 years now. I have studied history academically and just for fun – I’ve even worked as a tour guide at historical sites.
I’m now having great fun, passing on my love of the past to my 11-year-old son. We like nothing better, during the school holidays, than hunting dragons through Medieval castles or exploring the hidden alcoves of Tudor Manor Houses. He is fantastic at identifying bread ovens, spotting fireplaces and the defensive features of most castles.
I have always said I would really like to write about history, but there was always something else that needed doing.
But then, for Christmas 2014, my husband gave me my very own blog – and I haven’t looked back. As I love researching and writing those stories that have made history so exciting to me, the blog has given me the chance to share what I love – the stories themselves, and the places they happened – in the hope that you do too.
And in 2017 things got even more exciting! I completed my first non-fiction book, Heroines of the Medieval World, which was published by Amberley on 15th September 2017.
Heroines of the Medieval World examines the lives and actions of medieval women were carefully controlled and restricted by the men who ruled the homes, countries and world they lived in. It was men who fought wars, made laws and dictated religious doctrine. It was men who were taught to read, trained to rule and who were expected to fight to defend their people and country. Today, it is easy to think that all women from this era were down-beaten, retiring and obedient housewives, whose sole purpose was to give birth to children (preferably boys) and serve their husbands. Heroines of the Medieval World looks at the lives of the women – some well known and some almost forgotten to history – who broke the mould; those who defied social norms and made their own future, consequently changing lives, society and even the course of history.
Some of the women featured you will have heard of, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was not only a duchess in her own right but also Queen Consort of France through her first marriage and Queen Consort of England through her second, in addition to being a crusader, a rebel and regent of England. Then there are those who have been all but forgotten, including Nicholaa de la Haye, the remarkable woman who defended Lincoln Castle in the name of King John, and Maud de Braose, who spoke out against the same king’s excesses and whose death (or murder) was the inspiration for a clause in the Magna Carta.
November 15th 2018 will see the release of my second book, Silk and the Sword: The Women of the Norman Conquest, which traces the fortunes of the women who had a significant role to play in the momentous events of 1066. Harold II of England had been with Edith Swan-neck for twenty years but in 1066, in order to strengthen his hold on the throne, he married Ealdgyth, sister of two earls. William of Normandy’s duchess, Matilda of Flanders had, supposedly, only agreed to marry the Duke after he’d pulled her pigtails and thrown her in the mud. Harald Hardrada had two wives – apparently at the same time. Tracing the stories of such women as Emma of Normandy, wife of both King Cnut and Æthelred II, Lady Godiva, Edith Swanneck and Saint Margaret, a descendant of Alfred the Great himself, and Queen of Scotland, the book revisits the famous Norman Conquest with the focus firmly on the women who experienced and influenced the events.
Heroines of the Medieval World tells the stories of women, famous, infamous and unknown, who shaped the course of medieval history. It is available in hardback in the UK from both Amberley Publishing and Amazon UK. It is now available in Hardback from Amazon US and worldwide from Book Depository.
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. Silk and the Sword: the Women of the Norman Conquest will be released in the UK on 15 November 2018 and is available for pre-order on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amberley Publishing and Book Depository.
© Sharon Bennett Connolly, 2015. All articles are written and produced by Sharon Bennett Connolly, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.