About me

DSCF3032I am currently a freelance writer, tutor and speaker.  I have taught medieval, Tudor and Stuart History for the Workers’ Educational Association (W.E.A.)  in Yorkshire and in Derbyshire following a career teaching various subjects in secondary schools, further education colleges and Sheffield Hallam University.

My first foray into public speaking was at Words by the Water – the Keswick Literature Festival in 2013. I spoke there again in 2014 about my second book which was all about Carlisle’s gallows through history.  I have provided talks to local history societies on the Dissolution of the Monasteries in Yorkshire  and  Derbyshire also on the regional novelist Phyllis Bentley who brought the history of the West Riding of Yorkshire to a wider audience.


I have had a number of Literacy and Numeracy Resources published in association with the F.A. which led to me also writing eight books about school sports.  This means that for a very brief time in my life I could explain the offside rule and hold a meaningful conversation about netball.  This was followed by a specialist text on teaching adults Literacy.   I also have a collection of short stories retelling the border ballads published by Bookcase in 2013 and a second book about the history of Harraby Hill in Carlisle 2014.  The first collection is called Riding By Moonlight, Border Ballads of the West March Retold. The second book is called High Road to Harraby Hill. I am also fortunate enough to have seen my name in print in The People’ Friend, Woman’s Weekly and best.  In addition I have written travel pieces with a historical slant for an ezine and written guided walks for several of England’s historic cities including York, Canterbury and Carlisle.

I have an honours degree in English and History from the University of Kent as well as an M.A. and assorted teaching qualifications.  That first degree just about sums up my two passions: writing and history.  I never could make my mind up which I liked best so in the end I’ve stopped trying and as this blog shows I’ve simply entwined the two.  I love the stories that make History so fascinating and hope that if you read my blog or attend one of my talks or classes that you’ll feel the same as well.

I’m always happy exploring castles, abbeys, stately stacks and museums. Other interests include walking, photography, embroidery, knitting, crochet, cutting silhouettes and jam making to name but a few.


2014 High Road to Harraby Hill. Carlisle: Bookcase – a history of Carlisle’s gallows hill and the people who passed across its contours.

2013 Riding by Moonlight. Carlisle: Bookcase – history and short stories of the English West Marches inspired by traditional ballads.

2011 A series of walks written and narrated by me for GPSmycity.com including York, Carlisle and Canterbury.

2007 Literacy for QTLS. Longman Pearson

2005 Basic Skills Through Football Entry Level 3, Level 1 and Level 2. Coachwise in association with the Football Association

2005-2006 Understanding Sports. A series of eight schools books commissioned by Coachwise 1st4sport.




69 thoughts on “About me

    • Thank you for your support. I love your posts and always look forward to a new one arriving in my inbox. Thank you also for the timely reminder to complete the ‘about me’ page which I have now done. The snow has been good for something after all.

      • Very nice JuliaH! We share the same interests: history and writing. I’m now following your blog too so I will get your posts in my inbox!

  1. Hi as an ex-pat now living in New Zealand, and an exponant of Living History, I love your site. History was always my best subject at school, but have only recently got back into it again. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you JULIA. Now retired I find myself happy to read your work. I have that same deep love of historic fact and relax reading the way you set it out with your own way of telling a story. Keep it going and one day you may even be famous .I have had the pleasure of dealing with Doctor David Starkey; that objectionable oath has only mistaken the wedding portrait of my ancestor for that of Anne of Cleaves and now has been finally proved he is so wrong but will he learn from his mistakes? We could beat him hollow. Keep researching it is the only way to truth but I know that you know that.

    • No, thank you. I always appreciate your comments. My next day school is Hans Holbein so I shall probably use your family portrait as an example of what can go wrong with making assumptions about an image.

      • Sorry I must have missed this message. yes using the gold and scarlet of Kate Parr is a great idea.She is the very image of my sister lady Pauline Parr who died at age 36 same as Kateryn Parr. Which leads me on to say she was not as recorded named after the Spanish Queen as Henrys wife . The spelling of her name being Welsh. How do I start a blog to use my own degree again? Best wishes.Kevin. By the way your story bit says nothing about your marital status is the choice or a slip up in information.?

    • You have had a good read. I hope that you have had a good Christmas and peaceful new Year. I trust also you haven’t got too wet walking that lovely dog of yours.

    • The images come from a thirteenth century family tree. The full thing appears on Wikipedia under King John. I think the original may be in the possession of the British Library but can’t remember for sure. I’m sorry but I’m not very good at keeping a note of where I find pictures, though your email is a reminder that I need to be better at referencing pictures.

  3. Hello, very interesting site.
    I was married to an Ann Bullen. Her grandfather was a Brit. subject. Her family carried the 6th finger bone and the extra nipple noted in the Bullen family. The material i have read, and info from the family (descendents of the Bullen Lord Mayor of London), of whom some were still residing in The Hamton Court area, say that sometime during Queen Ann’s education, she
    Latinised her Bullen to Boyln. In her early associaton with Henry she was called “the Bullen Brat” by the public. It seems the rest of the family kept the original spelling. In visiting Hamton Court, I noticed her arms still contained the arms carried by her father Sir Thomas Bullen of Henry’s Household.
    Are you aware of any of this, or differ with thier version?
    Joseph Lindsay Haley
    FSA Scot.

    • Hello and thank you. Anne Boleyn, the niece of the Duke of Norfolk, did indeed change the spelling of her name from Bullen to Boleyn but this may have been because she spent so long in France, alternatively it may be because she fancied spelling it that way – Shakespeare famously spells his name with something like 40 variants. Spelling was still not standardised so surnames shift and change. In fact they continued shifting and changing into the nineteenth century, if you look at census returns its not uncommon to see siblings spelling their surnames differently. This may have been their choice or the census return officer making the best guess based on their own education and how the name sounded to them.
      Your information about the finger/nipple is fascinating. Historians disagree whether Anne Boleyn had these features or not. Some argue that it was negative propaganda. This is based on what was written about her when she was in favour and on the discovery of a skeleton presumed to be hers during renovations of the church in the Tower of London. There’s nothing like contention to keep history ticking!

  4. Hello Julia….I am just wondering if your Hubbards might also have been connected to the Hubbards that had Textile Mills in St Petersburg, Russia?
    Thank you for any reply, Virginia

    • Hi there. I’m afraid I don’t know if there’s a link or not. It’s an unusual-ish name so perhaps there is. I shall certainly be having a dig around and if I found out anything I shall be sure to contact you.

  5. Julia H. You still are able to impress me with your way of telling a story. Yes history is my love too. Retired at 55 live became boring so in winters read all your blogs and book. I have a couple of potted history books on Kindle Amazon E books. The Time Detective by me is almost readable to I cant put it down sort of thing. Deals with cases of injustice in English history. One day I hope to write of my own family back to Anjou. 1210 recorded as Lords of Saint Helens Lancashire through to Fitzhugh marriage and so to King Edward 111 as cousin. I fail each time as being so engaged one is too close to the subject and not as able as some to convince we although rich and titled for one thousand years In England really are normal loving people who accept God as the only head of life.As far as I research all of them had this way of looking at life. One day I will open my library to help one write the book on Parr family through history. The oldest family still in existence through all ages. I have no offspring having lost wife and daughter in car accident long ago. No one else filled her shoes. Until now

  6. Hello dear Julia. Do you ever tackle family searches tracing back in time. I have lots of papers and records but find I want fact on each member. The important ones I know it is the faceless members of my family that haunt me. Should read a fine blog as not one of the Parr lot are boring. A new family tree done by a doctorate such as you may well be rewarding too.

    • It does sound rather interesting but you do realise, don’t you, that I don’t have any genealogical qualifications? I’m an amateur family historian rather than a genealogist. So if you were interested your family search would be the first one apart from my own and my husbands – and I will admit quite freely that I have not done well with my Irish connections.

      • I have made friends with Dan Hubbard of Channel Islands who is a market gardener and owns a house near me in Europe too. His family have lived at his family estate in Jersey since time of Duke Williams take over in 1066. De Hubbard is from France

  7. Dear Julia, I enjoy reading your blogs especially the recent one regarding William Marshall, Knight to Henry II. I discovered recently my wife is related to a knight of King Edward IV by the name of Croker. He was the cup and standard bearer for the king, but I would like to know, if it is possible, to discover why he was knighted. I presume it was for honour in battle possibly, however, do you know or is there existing a record detailing this information?
    I look forward to more history from you,
    Thank you and my regards,

    • Dear Ray, thank you for your support. Its always nice to know that someone is reading my meanderings! Burke’s Peerage reveals that Sir John Croker went with Edward IV to France in 1475 which is why his crest contains three fleur de lis as well as a rose. Looking at his ancestors it’s clear that there was usually a knight at the head of the family – so clearly of the gentry and with a certain level of income. He appears to have been knighted on the 4th May 1471 as a bachelor knight according to https://archive.org/stream/knightsofengland02shawuoft/knightsofengland02shawuoft_djvu.txt – I may have to do this as part of a post so that the link is a valid one. But essentially the text is a record of the knights of England which may prove helpful to you. I would suggest that he was knighted after the Battle of Tewkesbury which took place on the 4th May 1471. Hope that answers your question – good luck with the family tree.

    • Hi Ray, I thought I’d replied to your query but I but I think the computer had a moment of madness. IN answer to your question Sir John Croker accompanied Edward IV to France in 1475 – which is why his coat of arms has fleur de lis on it. However he was knighted as a bachelor knight on 4th May 1471 – the same day as the Battle of Tewkesbury; so yes in all he was knighted on the field of battle. This link should provide you with the answers. Sorry for the delay. https://archive.org/stream/knightsofengland02shawuoft/knightsofengland02shawuoft_djvu.txt

  8. Page on Sir Reginald Bray – the stained glass portrait is in Great Malvern Priory. (The picture of Prince Arthur in the same window was reproduced, and placed opposite Arthur’s chantry chapel in Worcester Cathedral, which is no doubt where the confusion arises.) Any chance of a tweak? I believe Sir Richard Bray is buried in the cathedral, though.

    • Hi there, the image comes from the Find a Grave website. I must admit that there is a whole series of similarly styled medieval ladies on Pininterest and that I was so grateful to find an image for her I didn’t look much beyond that point – which may have been remiss of me. Hope that helps.

  9. Hello,
    My name is Jon Garlick. My family lived in and near Derbyshire up until 1848 when they left for the USA. Family legend has it that the surname Garlick came about after many from Gairloch in the highlands remained in the Derbyshire area after the war of the roses. I cannot find any verification of that legend. Was wondering if you might be able to shed some light.
    Thank you so much.
    Jon Garlick

    • Hi Jon, I’ll add it to my list – it’s possible but only if the men from Queen Margaret’s army came across country. It’s a good puzzle though.

      • Thank you!
        I look forward to anything you might discover. There are certainly a great many Garlicks in the Derbyshire area and I doubt I’m related to all of them.

      • Interestingly that’s where you might be wrong. There’s about a 24% chance that you’re related to anyone with the same surname as yourself. With less common surnames – and I think you would come under that category- it automatically rises to about 50% countrywide and then if you narrow down to a smaller area the margin of probability of relationship rises yet again…
        I’ve been thinking and am just checking as you will know more than me – how long has the name Garlick been evident in the Peak District/Cheshire area so far as you know? I must admit to struggling a little with the Wars of the Roses factor as the Scottish armies that came into England then marched down the east side of the country, although it is, of course, possible that one of the Lancaster Affinity of gentry took a Scot into their service at that time. There’s also the possibility of farming/drove roads being used – so a non martial transfer. On the other hand there is a very notable Scottish influx during the eighteenth century with Bonnie Prince Charlie. There are all sorts of local tales linked to Highlanders at this time. As you can see you have got me intrigued. Best wishes

      • Hello Julia,
        My great grandmother did some research the old fashioned way back in the 1890s. She was able to trace our family back to 1720 or so. Apparently a church burned and records were destroyed before then. If you like I can scan the page from her book and email it to you.
        There are so many Garlick’s there with the same names it’s very hard to trace back. Even in ancestry.com .
        Many thanks for your interest.

      • That would be great – thehistoryjar@gmail.com – Your great grandmother has ruled out the 1745 Jacobites. Have your tried Find Your Past? It sometimes has different information on to Ancestry. Realistically 1688 often proves to be the end of the line for many people, whilst for others it’s the English Civil War. Its quite unusual to get back to the Tudors and to get back beyond them requires a degree of luck. The burning church sounds interesting. That is definitely the problem with History – far too many interesting stories.

  10. Regarding Queen Anne Boleyn; I am descended from her aunt, also called Anne Boleyn, 1475-1555 She married Sir John Shelton, 1470-1539. Their son, another Sir John, 1500/1504-1558 married Margaret parker, 1509-1558 and one of their daughters, Alice, 1540-1605 married Richard Josselyn, MP, 1526-1575.
    I am directly descended through this marriage.

  11. Yes, hello, I am interested in the mother of Jacqueline of Luxemburg, Margherita del Balzo. My favourite people in English history are Elizabeth Woodville, Jacqueline of Luxemburg, Margaret Woodville, Anne Woodville, Anthony Woodville, Thomas Grey, Earl of Dorset, Richard Woodville, Earl Rivers, Edward the Fourth, Katherine Gordon, the wife of Perkin Warbeck, Henry the Third, Eleanor of Provence, John of Gaunt, Blanche of Lancaster, Constance of Castile, Katherine Swynford and Phillippa of Hainault among a few others but these are the most favourite, in English history that is. Castilian history and Aragonese and Neopolitan history are different matters. Is it possible you can tell me something about Margherita of Balzo and Peter of Luxemburg, the father of Jacqueline of Luxemburg.

  12. Hello, I came across this site while researching the family history of Ralph De Neville Lord Westmorland. Did he marry once or twice? So far I’ve found him married to Lady Margaret de Stafford who had 9 children and Joan Beaufort who had also had 9 children. I am a direct descendant of William the Conqueror on my maternal grandmothers side. Like many others on here I am fascinated by history and genealogy. Its like a giant detective novel/jigsaw puzzle .And I still cant get my head round Ralph de Neville’s family.
    If anyone can point me in the right direction I would be eternally grateful.

  13. Thank you for all your work. I see that you have read ”The Lisle Letters” by Muriel St. Clare Byrne; ”Botolph managed to evade capture even though an act of attainder was passed against him. He evaded the king’s wrath, unlike his fellow conspirators – Edmund Brindholme, Clement Philpot and Adam Damplip- who presumably paid the full price for their treason” This quote, I do believe, was from Henry’s official papers
    I’m writing a book about that era, and will be working to clear the noble name of Sir Gregory Botolph,priest, as Ms. Bryne made several disparaging remarks about him, and I have found more documents that she apparently overlooked and will change the story. Sir Gregory was executed, drawn and quartered, at Tyburn, I believe in August of 1539-40; the papers are not in front of me at the moment.
    I work with original documents and place no trust in pretended records that are not backed up with as much research as possible.
    I have a personal interest in clearing Sir Gregory’s name as my Mom’s maiden name was Buttolph, one of the spellings of Sir Gregory’s name; it is also one of the original spellings of St. Botolph, who died c. 680.
    Ms. Byrne devoted a full chapter in ”The Lisle Letters” to the conspiracy by Sir Gregory, Cardinal Pole and the Pope. I do believe she would have wanted the facts updated.
    While I’m certain Sir Gregory was not my direct ancestor, he may have been quite close, as the name is not common, and the family is still rather small.
    I assure you I am not the snooty type, holding my nose a little higher than anyone else; indeed, I am searching for truth in history for our time, when opinion is regarded too often as equal in value to original records, and so leading many millions of Americans astray.

  14. Greetings Julia,

    I love reading your posts! You write such interesting pieces about people. I find that fascinating.
    I think we forget that history is about human beings and that they were as imperfect as we are. Keep them coming!

    Cheers from across the pond,

    PS Any insight on Elizabeth Wayte, mistress of Edward IV?

  15. Thank you for your excellent blog. I enjoy your posts so much. When I discovered The History Jar, I began at the beginning and now eagerly await each new post. Your hard work is greatly appreciated.

  16. I have just discovered the History Jar (great name). Absolutely fascinated by your description of the reasons for the Crusades. Love reading about history, especially interested in the Normans up to early Tudor. Thank you for blog.

  17. On one of your posts you state “Howard was created Duke of Norfolk shortly after Richard III’s coronation and gained half the estate. The other half went to his cousin (William Berkeley)”
    I’m interested in how Howard was Berkeley’s cousin. Could you explain?
    Thanks – Mike Berkeley

  18. I have only just come across the History Jar and enjoyed reading the extra information about Margaret Beauchamp of Bletso…in fact your site was a link from a google search. Looking forward to exploring your posts more. Thank you for an engaging read.

  19. Reading about percys of Alnwick I think you mentioned Mary of Lancaster a daughter to Henry III probably a,grest grandaughter if that she was daughter of 3rd earl of Lancaster not Henry III KING there is too much slopiness in online history and being an historian you should know better than write inaccuracies into your blog

    • Dear Robert thank you for pointing out the error – she is indeed a great grand daughter of Henry III and a grand daughter of Edmund Coruchback. I missed one word- “great.” I did not describe her as a daughter of Henry III. I didn’t notice the missing great when I proof read it but that would be because I’d only just written it. I’m not paid for the blog and would happily have amended my post in the event of you pointing out my error- which incidentally I have now done. I know nothing about your circumstances anymore than you know anything about mine – perhaps in the event of other genuine mistakes of spelling, word missing or grammar you could be a little more tolerant of the delights of online typing and the immediacy of the internet. No one makes mistakes on purpose – that’s why they’re called mistakes and missing a great is not quite the same as loosing several generations which is what you imply in your comment. In the event of materials being printed in a text the material is reread several times with an appropriate gap between writing and re-reading and then finally proofread by my husband.

  20. Hi there! I noted that you described Walter TIrel as ‘would be’ son-in-law of Richard de Clare. However I have always understood (and other sources seem to agree) that he had been married to Alice Clare for at least 10 years at this point and his Langham manor (in Domesday) was part of the marriage dowry of Alice. I would appreciate your comments on this. Many thanks! Peter

  21. Just came across your website today, very enjoyable and an incredible lot of work done, thanks. Much appreciated – from Australia.

    I am in the process of putting together on my computer, the huge jigsaw puzzle of the intermarriages & children of some royals & aristocrats, just for the fun of it & of course to see who fits where. Finding in the process several of my ancestors who had at least one same parent if not two.
    A decade ago I researched to prove or disprove that one ancestor who went to New Zealand in 1841 really had aristocratic/royal ancestors as per the family story.
    I never found evidence until last year as I went back several hundred years over the decade.
    By tracing my family line back one by one, to Dean Henry Denny I found his wife Honora de Grey was the d’ter of Wm 13th Baron de Grey, after that I discovered a huge amount of aristocrats and then royalty. So I kept searching for info.
    However there is so much misinformation and guess work by so many I keep checking all I can, which is how I found your page.
    (Proof reading by yourself is often difficult. I do my family trees in two different programs to check on my inputs)

    • It’s always good to find a gateway ancestor. My proof reading isn’t helped by the fact that I’m dyslexic. If I write anything for a publisher I have time to come back over my work and my husband proofreads everything but a blog is so much more immediate.

  22. Hello there – I apologise if this question comes through twice and am sending it again only because it doesn’t seem to have gone through. First off thank you for your site, it’s just wonderful and I am much enjoying it. In reading the article on Francis Towneley of the ’45 there is a photograph of a young man on a horse and I was wondering if you knew if that was Francis? I have longed looked for a portrait of him but have never found one, only other family members. Thank you again and kind regards

  23. I stumbled on the Bonnie Prince Charlie demands new shoes, great way to hook readers. Cumbria Archives, tourism and SCRAN asked me to make some sites on border reivers so please help yourself to any of my material on http://reivers.info/ and let me know if it is useful to you. I think you are Cumbrian, perhaps we met and I purchased one of your books, if you are local to Cumbria then you might be interested in http://thiswascumbria.uk/ again, help yourself, this was a Millennium project from a long time ago which I dabble at updating sometimes. Yours is a nice site, well done, thanks. Peter Nicholson

    • Hello – I think we have met at book signing in Keswick. My husband is Cumbrian and we usually spend a lot of time there – however, this last year has not been quite as usual. I look forward to a browse on the two web sites you mention.

  24. From Québec, thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge, your blog is just fascinating, j’adore! Merci

  25. Greetings from Miami, Florida! I am a high school teacher at the Center for International Education in Homestead, Florida, a public school which is actually a Cambridge Associate School (connected to your university in England), where I am writing you at this moment. We have some really well-behaved students here, I am happy to say, and some show real aptitude for history and writing. Julia H., I came across your writing because in preparing for next week’s World History lessons for my ninth graders I was trying to figure out how General Von Moltke adapted the Schlieffen Plan. I had just seen this neat storyboard on “The Failure of the Schlieffen Plan” at https://www.storyboardthat.com/storyboards/starlily/the-failure-of-the-schlieffen-plan
    which–though I love its colorful creativity and will probably share this with my students–I saw what might be a factual error in the fifth slide which your writing on the Schlieffen Plan seems to confirm. I understand that going through Belgium was part of the original plan, and what I learned from you is that General Von Moltke removed Holland from that plan. I could thus infer that the storyboard incorrectly stated that Von Moltke “changed the route to go through Belgium instead of Holland.” Nevertheless, I love the very graphic and “comic-book” style design of “Starlily”‘s storyboard, and see how this can capture the imagination of young readers. I also very much enjoy the clarity and engaging quality of your writing, and was inspired by some of your very interesting autobiography and what you said about your dual love of history and writing, and your giving up trying to figure out which you love more! I think I might be in a similar boat! My major in college was Humanities in international Affairs. Although lately it seems as if history, including our fascinating current events, is getting the upper edge. Let me also recommend St. Teresa of Avila as a very engaging writer with the gift of down-to-Earth simplicity and spiritual insight, especially her “Autobiography.” May God bless you, Julia H., and your loved ones, Luis Montero

  26. Julia, I’ve just recently discovered that I am of the Plantagenet Royal Bloodline. Yes! I’ll explain a bit… I don’t know how to do genealogy great but with help it was found that I descend from Maud (Beauchamp) de Clifford – so Clifford de Clifford as well. It turns out that Maud had a Plantagenet connection and I’ve lived all these years “knowing I was of the royal stock but not having any proof.’ Now, I have the proof!
    My grandmother was related to Maud (Beauchamp) de Clifford and I’d never even heard of Maud until very recently!

  27. I love your posts – always so well researched. Any chance you could look into the crazy theory that Edmund Tudor is actualy a Beaufort? I find so hard to beleive that a queen/princess like Catherine de Valois would have eloped with a welsh ‘butler’ 🙂

  28. Hi. I was very interested to read your page on Byland Abbey. I have an interest in the second abbot, Roger, who was made abbot in 1142. Some time before this he had been sub-cellarer at Calder Abbey and immediately before his elevation to the abbacy he was novice master at Hood – of one novice! In your history of the abbey you say “Robert d’Alney clearly wasn’t cut out to be a hermit because having shared his cave with the monks not only did he throw in his lot with them he became their next abbot. He would remain in charge for the next fifty-four years.” My understanding of the history is that it was, in fact, Roger and not Robert who was in charge for the next fifty four years. Roger was probably the most important of all the abbots of Byland, having been in this office towards the end of their 43 unsettled years and the early years at (new) Byland. The Byland community always had a particular devotion to Roger and considered him to be saintly.

    I hope that is helpful and not too pedantic! Best wishes

  29. Hello Julia – I had a look on Amazon but don’t see them and thus am writing to see if it is possible to purchase your books, the ones on Carlisle? Thank you so much! Your site is absolutely brilliant and you make understanding the events of the ’45 so interesting and easy (I’m am amateur researcher working on a story about the ’45). Thank you again, Denise C.

  30. Hi Julia, What a fantastic site! I’ve just signed up and am disappointed to have missed your zoom sessions on Eleanor of Provence. Are you likely to repeat this? Did you record it? Are you planning any more zoom sessions in the near future? Many thanks for all your work!

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