Anne O'Brien was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After gaining a B.A. Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Masters in Education at Hull, she lived in the East Riding for many years as a teacher of history. After leaving teaching, Anne decided to turn to novel writing and give voice to the silent women in medieval history, beginning with Virgin Widow, which told the story of Anne Neville, the wife of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Her recent novel, published in January 2016, is The Queen's Choice, the story of Joanna of Navarre. Today Anne lives in an eighteenth century cottage in Herefordshire, an area full of inspiration for her work. You can visit her website here.
The Skirrid Fawr Hill near Abergavenny in Wales is no ordinary hill, but a place of myth, legend, strong religious
Mistletoe is the stuff of folklore. It is found in Norse, Greek and Roman mythology, a plant of power
Sir Thomas Vaughan of Hergest was a Herefordshire landowner who fought for the Yorkists in the Wars of the Roses. On 26th July in 1469 he was taken prisoner in the battle at Danesmore in Northamptonshire, near Edgecote Moor, when the Earl of Warwick's forces defeated those of King Edward IV. After the battle Sir Thomas was beheaded at Banbury, aged 69 years. Tradition says he was an evil man, although the lack of documentary evidence to back this up suggests that the the name 'Black Vaughan' may be a comment on his black hair, rather than his demeanour. Or, as with similar traditions, applied only after his death when certain 'events' began to happen.
These remedies, many of them fairly gruesome to our ears, were recorded only 100 years ago by Mrs Ella Mary