Books for August 2016

Books for August 2016

This months books...

Books, Discover Your Ancestors


Discover Your Ancestors

Tracing Your Ancestors in County Records

Stuart A Raymond • £14.99
Pen & Sword

For over 500 years, between the 14th and 19th centuries, the Justices of the Peace were the embodiment of government for most of our ancestors. The records they and other county officials kept are invaluable sources for local and family historians, and Stuart Raymond’s handbook is the first in-depth guide to them. He shows how and why they were created, what information they contain, and how they can be accessed and used.

JPs met regularly in Quarter Sessions, judging minor criminal matters, licensing alehouses, paying pensions to maimed soldiers, overseeing roads and bridges, and running gaols and hospitals. They supervised the work of parish constables, highway surveyors, poor law overseers, and other officers. And they kept extensive records of their work, which are invaluable to researchers today.

The lord lieutenant, the sheriff, the assize judges, the clerk of the peace, and the coroner all left records that can give us detailed insights into our ancestors’ lives. The wide range of surviving county records deserve to be better known and more widely used, and Stuart Raymond’s book is a fascinating introduction to them.

The Secret Queen

John Ashdown-Hill • £9.99
The History Press

When Edward IV died in 1483, the Yorkist succession was called into question by doubts about the legitimacy of his sons (the ‘Princes in the Tower’). The crown therefore passed to Edward IV’s undoubtedly legitimate younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. But Richard, too, found himself entangled in the web of uncertainly, since those who believed in the legitimacy of Edward IV’s children viewed Richard III’s own accession with suspicion.

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From the day that Edward IV married Eleanor, or pretended to do so, the House of York, previously so secure in its bloodline, confronted a contentious and uncertain future. John Ashdown-Hill argues that Eleanor Talbot was married to Edward IV, and that therefore Edward’s subsequent union with Elizabeth Widville was bigamous, making her children illegitimate.

In his quest to reveal the truth about Eleanor, he also uncovers fascinating new evidence that sheds fresh light on one of the greatest historical mysteries of all time – the identity of the ‘bones in the urn’ in Westminster Abbey, believed for centuries to be the remains of the ‘Princes in the Tower’.

Tumult and Tears

Vivien Newman • £12.99
Pen & Sword

During WW1, hundreds of women wrote thousands of poems on multiple themes and for many different purposes. Tumult and Tears demonstrates how women’s war poetry, like that of their male counterparts, was largely based upon their day-today lives and contemporary beliefs. Poems are placed within their wartime context. From war worker to parent, from serving daughter to grieving mother, sweetheart, wife, these predominantly amateur, middle-class poets explore most aspects of women’s wartime lives.

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