Women’s History Month | 17th Century Healers: Lucy Apsley & Johanna St.John

Delighted to be with Gillian Polack on her blog today, with an article about Lucy Apsley’s role in the Tower of London – not only as the Keeper’s Wife, but as the woman responsible for the health and wellbeing of the prisoners.

“…Sir Walter Raleigh and Mr. Ruthven being prisoners in the Tower, and addicting themselves to chemistry, she (Lucy St.John Apsley) suffered them to make their rare experiments at her cost, partly to comfort and divert the poor prisoners, and partly to gain the knowledge of their experiments, and the medicines to help such poor people as were not able to seek physicians. By these means she acquired a great deal of skill, which was very profitable to many all her life. She was not only to these, but to all the other prisoners that came into the Tower, as a mother. All the time she dwelt in the Tower, if any were sick she made them broths and restoratives with her own hands, visited and took care of them, and provided them all necessaries; if any were afflicted she comforted them, so that they felt not the inconvenience of a prison who were in that place.”

Lucy Hutchinson, Biographical Fragment
Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson

Women’s History Month guest, Elizabeth St. John

Annie Whitehead Talks Anglo-Saxon in Author Chats

Today I’m excited to chat with Annie Whitehead, whose fiction and non-fiction work on Anglo Saxon England is inspiring in its depth of research and compelling stories. I was fortunate enough to recently read an Advance Review Copy of her latest work, Women of Power in Anglo-Saxon England, and I was absolutely enthralled. Join us as we talk about the challenges of researching the dark ages, why The Mill on the Floss is so important to her, and what picture she keeps on her desk to inspire her writing.

http://www.elizabethjstjohn.com/guest-authors/annie-whitehead-author-and-historian/

Happy Birthday Lady Diana

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Lady Diana St John nee Spencer, born on 24th March 1734. Lady Diana was a very talented artist who, after her divorce from Frederick St John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke, supported herself creating designs for Wedgwood pottery, some of which are still in use today. Some of her designs were inspired by the country scenes she saw around Lydiard Park and the Blue Closet in Lydiard House is dedicated to her art.

www.friendsoflydiardpark.org.uk.

Welcoming Tony Riches, Tudor Storyteller, to Author Chats

Thrilled to have historical fiction author Tony Riches to tea in Author Chats today. Tony’s passion for all things Tudor resonates throughout his work and makes for truly compelling storytelling. Today he talks about his newest release, Katherine – Tudor Duchess, the ethical decision he had to make about writing this novel, and why a literary pilgrimage took him all the way to Brittany.

http://www.elizabethjstjohn.com/tony-riches-tudor-storyteller/

The Earl and the Lady are Free

The Earl and the Lady are free historical fiction short stories. Go ahead and take advantage of them. They deserve it. 😂🖤💔🖤

http://www.elizabethjstjohn.com/counterpoint-theo/

Theo Howard, Earl of Suffolk is torn. Betrothed to a child to satisfy his family dynasty, he longs for the freedom to make his own choice. And when he attends a lavish party at his family’s newly-restored palace, he is immediately attracted to Lucy, a beautiful young lavender-seller. But in this enchanted world of Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream, all is not as it appears. Theo’s headstrong sister Frances is determined to sabotage her own arranged marriage, and aided by the cunning of Frances and her friend Barbara St.John, perhaps Theo can find his own path to happiness and true love.

Barbara St.John Villiers has always despised her sister Lucy, and when Theo Howard, Earl of Suffolk, fell in love with her, Barbara thought she’d die of jealousy. Instead, she decided to get even by befriending someone even more scandalous than herself, Theo’s sister, Frances Howard, Countess of Somerset. Unfortunately, Frances was then imprisoned in the Tower of London, accused of murder, and Barbara had to find a way to turn this to her advantage – and continue her vendetta against Lucy.

 

 

 

Introducing Author Chats

I’m excited to welcome some of my favourite historical fiction authors to visit and chat about themselves and their books. In the coming weeks, I’ll be talking with authors from a wide range of historical eras – from Anglo Saxons to the Stuarts, alternative world Romans to Tudors, and other fascinating settings. And, my guests will share all kinds of great insights – from their own favourite novels, to their writing approach – or even a novel which makes them cry, still.  So, pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee (that’s another question) and enjoy getting to meet the authors behind some extraordinary historical fiction.

This week, best-selling author Cryssa Bazos joins me and talks about her love of 17th Century England, naming her characters (or how they named themselves), and which novel she considers the most under-appreciated historical fiction (hint: it’s by Daphne du Maurier).

http://www.elizabethjstjohn.com/guest-authors/cryssa-bazos-17th-century-enthusiast/

Theo is FREE this weekend … are you?

My historical fiction short story is free through the weekend – an enlightening story about Lucy St.John’s jilted lover from The Lady of the Tower.

“I did not want a slippery, silver-tongued lady of court. I wanted my lavender-seller, the girl who read Plato and cultivated her medicinal herbs.”

Theo Howard, Earl of Suffolk is torn. Betrothed to a child to satisfy his family dynasty, he longs for the freedom to make his own choice. And when he attends a lavish party at his family’s newly-restored palace, he is immediately attracted to Lucy, a beautiful young lavender-seller. But in this enchanted world of Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream, all is not as it appears. Theo’s headstrong sister Frances is determined to sabotage her own arranged marriage, and aided by the cunning of Frances and her friend Barbara St.John, perhaps Theo can find his own path to happiness and true love.

Lose yourself in a free historical fiction short story. Download at Amazon, or here on my website.
https://amazon.com/dp/B07642NX8G

Free Stories

Second Wrench Lecture Series begins March 8


English Speaking Union
Reception and Lecture Tour

Sunday, March 8th 5:30 pm
Ralph’s on the Park, New Orleans
Tuesday, March 10th 6:00 pm
Walker Fine Art, Denver
Wednesday, March 11th 5:30 pm
Kansas City Main Library, Kansas City
Thursday, March 12th 5:30 pm
The University Club, Memphis
Saturday, March 14th 6:00 pm
The Historic J.B. Daniel House, Nashville

Tickets and information available on the ESU Branch Websites

Billy Beaumont’s New Masters

As part of the transformation of The Friends of Lydiard Park, we are honoring a “Member of the Month”. Our first honoree is Billy Beaumont, a very talented local artist, who has a quirky and brilliant take on Lydiard Park in a whole new setting. I love his work, and want to personally thank Billy for his tireless support of the Friends – and the hours and hours he spent as a volunteer on the St. Mary’s Church Restoration Project. You’re the best!
https://www.friendsoflydiardpark.org.uk/friend-of-the-month/first-friend-of-the-month/

Friends of Lydiard Park draw on their past to look to the future

The Friends of Lydiard Park has been quietly transforming.  The 60-year-old organisation, which is dedicated to supporting the protection, conservation and enhancement of Lydiard House and Park has significantly raised its profile with an enhanced mission bringing Lydiard to life for thousands of people, both local and national, and international. The transformation is revealed this week in the launch of the Friends’ new interactive website and events programme.
The new website www.friendsoflydiardpark.org.uk  is packed with beautiful images of Swindon’s much loved park, fascinating stories about its history, natural environment, and the people associated with it over the centuries and right up to today.  A new events programme of talks, tours and family activities is unfolding throughout the year, and members of the public are invited to participate, submitting their stories and unique memories of Lydiard.
Chair of the Friends, Sarah Finch-Crisp, says:
‘’Lydiard House and Park is such an important part of Swindon, both for its heritage and as a wonderful amenity for local people.  The Friends have been researching, supporting and promoting Lydiard for over fifty years and have compiled a wealth of information about Swindon’s “jewel in the crown.”  Today, through our new website and events programme we are delighted to share our enthusiasm and curiosity with even more people in this country and abroad. We hope many of them will join us.”
Along with the website and wide-ranging events, The Friends of Lydiard Park are working closely with Swindon Borough Council and the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre to make Lydiard’s archive of documents and photographs more accessible. The Friends are also forming collaborations with other records offices, universities and libraries to exchange information and enhance record access.
I’m delighted to represent the Friends internationally, and so excited about all the great things we have planned for this year and beyond. Be sure to stay in touch via our new website, or email me personally!