History Books

A range of books of general historical interest.
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The Woodville family came to prominence in 1464 with the surprising marriage of Elizabeth Woodville to Edward IV. Since that time they have been broadly categorised as a parvenu family who were suddenly catapulted from obscurity. The family belonged to the South Northamptonshire “gentry”, that is, they were a family of some local importance who made occasional forays into national affairs. Their star began to rise in the 14th century, long before Edward IV ever set eyes on the beautiful Elizabeth Grey. Lord Rivers was an established member of King Henry VI’s council in the 1440s and, if the history of the 15th century was rewritten without the marriage of 1464, he would still have a place, albeit a minor one, in English history.
The Woodvilles, as a family, have not always been kindly treated by historians; some criticism is merited, but much of the dismissive criticism is undeserved. Accordingly, a lot of attention has been given to the period between 1464 and 1483 and almost nothing to the Woodville hinterland. By delving into the early history of the Woodvilles, Bryan Dunleavy tries to provide a balanced view of the family and its leading protagonists.
This account of the Woodville family starts with their first mention in the 13th century, through their rise to prominence in Northamptonshire in the 14th century, and through 60 years of royal service to the Lancastrian kings, almost a quarter century of service to the Yorkist kings and their final, less influential years with the Tudors. It was the family’s bad luck to leave no male heirs after 1491 and in that circumstance less power to influence events and its own history.
The last Woodville descendent to create a ripple was Jane Grey, England’s queen for nine days in 1553.
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The code-breaking successes of the Bletchley Park operation during World War II have become justly famous. Less well-known, but just as important, were the covert intelligence activities that were located only a few miles away from Bletchley Park. They were Bletchley Park’s “Secret Sisters.”
The district was chosen by the Government because it was a quiet rural area, largely free from the risk of bombing raids and it had excellent road, rail and telephonic communications with London.
These centres began a clever and highly subversive campaign to undermine and confuse German intelligence. Highly educated refugees from the Nazi regime were recruited to write propaganda for broadcast to German occupied territory. As the war progressed the operation became more sophisticated and in some instances the frequencies of German radio stations were ‘captured’ and, by mimicking regular announcers, misinformation was successfully broadcast. It was also possible to transmit information decoded by the Bletchley Park operatives to Allied commanders in the field.
The varied operations, based in houses around Woburn and Aspley Guise, Whaddon Hall and later Hanslope Park, and including recording studios at Milton Bryan and transmission bases at Gawcott and Potsgrove, became the work places of some highly intell
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Thomas William Shore (1840-1905) managed the Hartley Institution (later Southampton University) for 23 years in the 19th century. During his time in Southampton he was an energetic explorer of Hampshire’s history and the fruits of his labours were published in 1896.
The book is a classic product of Victorian interest in local histo-ry, and is reprinted here with an introduction and additional notes by Frederick Moore. Shore is particularly strong when he writes about history that precedes the modern age and many of his stories and commentary are quite valid today.
Shore’s particular gift is his ability to write in a style that can be easily read, and apart from references to to long-forgotten 19th century figures, this book should present no difficulty to the modern reader.
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A plot to overthrow Henry V was betrayed on July 31st, 1415, just as the invasion of France was about to begin. The leader of the plot, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, and his co-conspirators, were tried, condemned and beheaded before the Southamp-ton’s Bargate on August 2nd and August 5th. Richard’s head and body were buried in the Chapel of St Julien on Winkle Street and were last seen in 1861.
Henry V was able to set sail for France on August 11th and the expedition culminated in the glorious victory at Agincourt on October 25th.
Through odd quirks of fortune two of Richard’s grandchildren became kings of England, as Edward IV and Richard III.
In this book Bryan Dunleavy describes the background to the plot, the assorted plotters and the convergence of people and events on Southampton in July and August 1415.
And there is a twist to the tale. Recent DNA evidence, coupled with historical information, suggests that Richard, Earl of Cam-bridge may not have been a Plantagenet after all!
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The story of Bletchley Park, with its famous code-breaking achievements, is well-known, but during those years the activities of that establishment were a closely guarded scecret. Accordingly, the inhabitants of Bletchley went about their daily business just like everyone else during those war years.
This book details the hardships and shortages of everyday life in Bletchley during those six years of war. However, the people of Bletchley, just as ever-where else, braced themselves and made the most of it with stoical good humour.
Life went on, and this story of Bletchley folk is expertly presented in great detail by John Taylor.
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Seven kings and one queen visited Titchfield.
Five others have associations with the village. Edward the Confessor (1003-1066. According to the Domesday Book, Edward held Titchfield.
William Rufus, William II (1056-1100) gave the estate of Titchfield to Payn de Gisors.
Richard I (1157-1199) took it back from a descendant, Jean de Gisors.
Henry III (1207-1272) granted the estate in 1232 to the Premonstratension Order to build Titchfield Abbey. Edward III (1312-1377) shipped his army from the Solent area to France before the Battle of Crecy Richard II (1367-1400) was the first monarch who is known to have visited Titchfield.
Henry V (1386-1422) came to Titchfield while preparing for the Battle of Agincourt.
Henry VI (1422-1471) married Margaret of Anjou at Titchfield Abbey in 1445.
Edward VI (1537-1603) came to Titchfield in 1552 at the age of 14.
Elizabeth I (1553-1603) reputedly visited Titchfield twice, in 1569 and in 1591.
Charles I (1600-1649) definitely came twice, first with his bride Henrietta in 1625 and in 1647.
Charles II(1630-1685) arrived at Place House in 1675, and James II (1633-1701) visited Titchfield in 1686.
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Thomas Wriothesley became a very wealthy man during his service to Henry VIII and became the 1st earl of Southampton. He was followed by his son, grandson and great grandson before the male line died out. This book tells the story of the Wriothesley family from their modest beginnings to positions of power and influence, and includes the story of the 3rd earl's patronage of the poet and playwright, William Shakespeare.
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Until the late 19th century, men worked six full days a week, but a reduction in working hours freed up Saturday afternoons and this was the catalyst that drove the development of organised sport. Wolverton was not immune to this trend and the first years of the fledgling football club are fascinating. Early Wolverton teams played the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and there was an effort at the beginning of the 20th century to establish a professional club. Some remarkable local talent emerged in these years, and these young men were recruited to play for well-known professional clubs.