Halifax Day schools 2018/19

orange box directionsI am pleased to be able to offer the following courses at The Orange Box, 1 Blackledge, Halifax, HX1 1AF.


Courses run from 10.00 am until 3.30pm with a half hour break for lunch as well as a short break in the morning and the afternoon.

The information contained in this post may also be found on a separate page which is bookmarked at the top of the blog.

1)  Thursday 27th September 2018   10.00 am – 3.30pm

Inconvenient Wives

The story of Robert Dudley, Amy Robsart,

Lettice Knollys and Elizabeth I

Amy Robsart exhibited 1877 by William Frederick Yeames 1835-1918

Explore the scandal Elizabeth I’s relationship with “Sweet Robin” at the beginning of her reign and the events surrounding the death of Amy Robsart.  We will use the accounts of various ambassadors as well as William Cecil’s words on the subject.  We will chart Dudley’s relationship with Amy and assess the evidence, including the Cumnor coroner’s report as part of an exploration of the different theories about her death.

We will then consider Dudley’s proposal to Elizabeth at Kennilworth Castle in 1575 as well as his relationship with Francis Howard and second marriage to Elizabeth’s own cousin, Lettice Knollys and its consequences.

Inconvenient Wives The story of Robert Dudley, Amy Robsart, Lettice Knollys and Elizabeth I


Inconvenient Wives The story of Robert Dudley, Amy Robsart, Lettice Knollys and Elizabeth I


2) Thursday 25th October 2018    10.00 am – 3.30pm

Gloriana: a life in ten pictures


elizabeth-1-rainbow-portraitAn overview of Elizabeth I’s life and reign using a few of the two hundred pictures associated with the monarch from the Clopton Portrait to the Ditchley Portrait.  Find out more about the iconography behind Elizabeth’s portraits, the so-called “mask of youth” and the cult of Gloriana.


We will explore Elizabeth’s early years; the scandals of Thomas Seymour and Robert Dudley; Wyatt’s Rebellion; the marriage proposals; an overview of foreign policy; some of the key plots against her; religion and the question of succ



Gloriana: a life in ten pictures

A day school at the Whitworth Centre inclusive of a buffet lunch.



3) Thursday 29thNovember 2018  10.00 am – 3.30pm

The Conqueror’s women

adela.jpgFind out about the formidable and influential, Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror and her daughters.

It is said that William was faithful to his queen throughout their marriage but their courtship was not without its drama.  Later their relationship would be tested when Matilda chose to support their rebellious eldest son Robert against his father.

The pair had nine or ten children of whom six were daughters about whom popular History knows little. One was given to the Church prior to William’s invasion of England another become the mother of King Stephen. We will explore the role of aristocratic women, including the nuns and Saxon ladies who may have embroidered the Bayeux Tapestry and investigate the scandal of Constance  who may have been murdered by her own servants.

The Conqueror’s women


4) Thursday 21stMarch 2019  10.00am -3.30 pm

Isabella of France –

the She-Wolf, her husband and their lovers.


isabella of france.jpgThe only queen of England to order the execution of a king. Find out about the arranged marriage to the most handsome man in Europe and the consequences of his disastrous infatuations with his favourites.

Find out how Isabella turned from a loyal wife, a political mediator and mother to four children into she-wolf leading the most successful invasion of England since the conquest. We will also explore how she came to have possession of her husband’s heart – in a silver casket.


We will explore the role of Roger Mortimer, the queen’s lover and the impact of the Earl of Kent’s rebellion. We will also consider her punishment and rehabilitation at the court of her son Edward III.

Isabella of France – the She-Wolf, her husband and their lovers.


5) Thursday 25thApril 2019  10.00am -3.30 pm

Joan of Kent

 princess of controversy and first Princess of Wales


joanplantagenetFind out about Joan’s childhood in the aftermath of her father’s execution for treason including her life at the court of Philippa of Hainault.


The marital escapades of the Fair Maid of Kent are documented in Froissart. We will explore medieval marriage through Joan’s clandestine relationship with Thomas Holland; her bigamous but politically strategic marriage to William Montacute and her third marriage to the Black Prince.


We will also consider Joan’s importance as the mother of the child Richard II despite her lack of  official status, her reputation for piety and her popularity with the peasants.


Joan of Kent – princess of controversy and first Princess of Wales


6) Thursday 23rd May 2019  10.00am -3.30 pm

Thomas Fairfax- A Yorkshireman’s Civil War


thomas fairfaxWe will explore Fairfax’s role in the Bishops’ War and the Fairfax position in the escalating dispute between King and Parliament before following his progress from Seacroft Moor to Adwalton.

We will chart Fairfax’s swift progression through the first and second civil wars from local politics to the national scene. From there we will move on to the trial of the king, regicide and the establishment of a republic. We will consider his role at Colchester and Burford.

We will explore Fairfax’s relationship with his wife Anne the key political figures of the period and also Fairfax’s literary contributions.


Thomas Fairfax- A Yorkshireman’s Civil War




What people have said about other courses I have taught:

“Very enjoyable,” “interesting,” “learnt a lot,” “brilliant course as usual with this tutor.” “knowledgeable,”  “fascinating.”

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Sir Henry Savile V Sir Richard Tempest

halifax.jpgSir Henry Savile had a problem with his neighbours Thomas, Lord Darcy of Templehurst (Temple Newsam) and Sir Richard Tempest who was related to Lord Darcy.  There is a litany of court cases between the two parties.

One ongoing feud was about the vicar of Halifax.  A man who owed his position to Lewes Abbey which owned the Manor of Halifax and the incumbency.  The man in question was Robert Holdesworth who was an ally of Sir Henry Savile.  Because he was Savile’s man, Tempest seems to have worked against the vicar.  Tempest had been responsible for ordering the arrest of  Holdesworth and when he returned from London he even brought an injunction against Tempest not to burn his house.  The modern world seems a long way away in Tudor Halifax.  Tempest responded by saying that Holdesworth caused quarrels in the parish and, even worse, had falsified his tax returns (First Fruits and Tenths – the first year’s income from the position and a tenth thereafter).  Tempest also suggested that Holdesworth was about to sell his lands and scarper.  A petition was drawn up.  One hundred or so signature were added and off it was sent to Cromwell.  Tempest also accused Holdesworth of saying that if Henry reigned much longer then he would take everything that the Church owned….which smacked somewhat of treason.

Unsurprisingly Tempest had managed to land Holdesworth in rather a lot of bother.  It got worse.  Holdesworth had to go to York to answer the charges that had been levelled against him.  During that time Tempest’s son-in-law John Lacy stole all the poor man’s cattle and anything else he could carry off.  It’s ironic really that Holdesworth and Tempest should both, one way or another, have been against what Henry was doing to the church but the enmity between Tempest and Savile was so great that there was no meeting on the same ground for Savile’s supporter.


However, things were about to get even nastier.

Sir Richard, as the King’s steward of Wakefield, sent a message to Lord Darcy at the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace that he would join him in Pontefract Castle but Darcy told him to remain in Wakefield. Initially it seemed that Sir Richard would take the Crown’s part in proceedings but the pilgrims were only ten miles from Wakefield and then Pontefract Castle fell. The Tempests swore to the pilgrim oath. Sir Richard is recorded in York as a pilgrim captain. His commitment to the whole proceeding was described by Cromwell as middling. His younger brother Sir Nicholas was much more involved and he was executed in May 1537 for his involvement with the rebellion.  This does seem rather unfair as he was told that unless he signed up to the rebellion his son would be executed on the spot.


Sir Richard was caught in the same net as John Neville, Lord Latimer (Katherine Parr’s husband). Both men were ordered to London. John Neville managed to bribe his way to freedom although many writers note that his health suffered as a consequence. Sir Richard on the other hand found himself confined to the Fleet. He too approached Cromwell. He asked to be released fearing the dirt and disease of the prison. He probably had a point. He died on 25th August 1537 in the Fleet along way from the West Riding.


Almost as a matter of course Sir Henry Savile discovering that the Tempests were for the pilgrimage declared himself for the king and fled to Rotherham. It was an old feud that had been simmering whilst the two men took part in the war against the Scots under the Earl of Surrey as he was then (he turned into the Duke of Norfolk). Even Wolsey had been unable to resolve the situation. A personal disagreement meant that the Pilgrimage of Grace turned into an opportunity for violence between the two sets of neighbours.


Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the Pilgrimage of Grace, Sir Henry Savile was on the up. He became the steward of Pontefract and from there was elected onto the Council of the North.

Dodds Madeline and Dodds Ruth (1916) The Pilgrimage of Grace 1536-1537 and the Exeter Conspiracy

TEMPEST, Sir Richard (c.1480-1537), of Bracewell and Bowling, Yorks. Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982 http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1509-1558/member/tempest-sir-richard-1480-1537