A Fragment Inspires a Novel | Happy National Author’s Day

On this day 552 years ago, my ancestress, Elysabeth St.John Scrope, was in Sanctuary within Westminster Abbey with the deposed queen, Elizabeth Woodville. My Elysabeth had been ordered there by King Henry VI to attend Elizabeth “late calling hir Quiene” to witness the birth of her child.
Writing historical fiction is all about finding facts and weaving imaginary thoughts, dreams and conversations around known actions.
When I discovered the warrant within the National Archives, this fired my imagination to wonder what Elysabeth Ladie Scrope’s life was like. How she felt when she was ordered into captivity with her enemy. And if she felt she was betraying her own family when she was forced to join the opposition as godmother to the young prince.
Free thinking, letting thoughts wander, inhabiting another’s world, expressing emotions and dreading outcomes are all part of a writer’s process.
From this single fragile and ancient fragment of parchment, which has survived almost six centuries of war, political strife, and frankly, tidying out filing drawers, I created a medieval world and turned it into a novel of 126,000 words.
I am so grateful I get to do what I love, and share my passion with other history lovers too.

Henry by the grace of god king of Englande and of Fraunce and lorde of Irlande. To the Tresorer and Chamberldine of oure Eschequier greting. We wol and charge you that unto oure right trusty and Welbeloved Elizabeth ladie Scrope for hir attendance by oure co(m)maundment by thavis oure counsail aboute Elizabeth late calling hir Quiene ye do paie of oure Tresore the somme of x li To have of oure yefte by waye of Rewarde for the cause abovesaid Yeven under o(ur) prive seal at Westm(inster) the xxx daye of Octobre The xlix yere from the begynnyng of oure Regne and of the readepcion of oure Roiall power the furst yere

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