Medieval Fayres and Festivals

Imagine if you had the opportunity to step back in time to the very era that tantalises your imagination. To that place long past where the characters from your favourite book reside. To a world where you can eat, breathe and sleep just as your ancestors did.

Medieval Fayres and Festivals provide an opportunity for lovers of middle history to ‘get up close and personal’ with the period in a unique and informative way. They are also fertile grounds for authors such as Cathy T and I as we indulge our love of all things ‘medieval.’

The ‘Medieval Fayre’ is a relatively new phenomenon in Australia and commenced with the Abbey Festival in 1989. Held annually in Brisbane, the Abbey is a truly ‘authentic’ experience and promotes itself as the largest ‘living history’ event in the Southern Hemisphere.

As you step through the gates you are transported to a bygone era – nothing produced from the 19th century onwards is permitted within the Abbey grounds. The sights, sounds and smells are all genuine to the period, as are the costumes, hairstyles and weaponry of the reenactors.

Ironfest Lithgow, also held annually, celebrates multiple themes and styles. It is an eclectic mix of historical time periods and fantasy worlds where you can brush shoulders with a wookie, enjoy a rowdy melee and have your palm read by a wandering gypsy.

Enormous effort is placed on appearance, with a large proportion of visitors investing a huge amount of time and money into their steampunk outfits, robots, court couture and Viking and medieval armour. It is a feast for the eyes.

Blacktown Medieval Fayre is a relative newcomer to the festival scene, having burst onto the calendar in 2011. Blacktown is a standout for me as it includes the International Jousting Competition, with riders from New Zealand and England competing against the Aussie crew of Full Tilt Jousting.  It is also the only festival that offers free entry to visitors, attracting up to 60,000 people over 2 days.

What do I love best? Dressing up! You can’t really appreciate the restrictive nature of a medieval gown, nor the annoying drag of a heavy cloak, the weight of a crispinette or the irritation of a tight belt unless you wear them yourself.

It is easy to imagine the difficulty of balancing a heavy helm upon your head, but it is not until you put it on that you discover just how little you can see, or how the metal rubs against your ears and that the sound around you is reduced to a muffled garble.

Watching men fight, with heavy swords, is dramatic. The sound of the blades as they clash and the manner in which the weapon behaves as it connects with a chest plate has to be seen in real time.

As a writer, the opportunity to immerse myself in such a manner is absolutely invaluable and I highly recommend it to all writers, everywhere. Plus, what not to like about a day at the fayre?

Ironfest 2012

Cathy A and Cathy T at Ironfest Lithgow

Interested in attending a Medieval Festival – check the link for the Australia wide calendar of events


Awful Offal – only for peasants!

On a recent late afternoon trip home, I was persuaded (by my children) to purchase ‘homemade’ style pies from a very reputable roadhouse. With my youngest in tow, we waited our turn to select four delicacies from the warmer, the smell of the fresh pastry and roasting meats tantalising my taste buds. But, mixed within the tempting aromas was a smell I recognised from childhood, one that I associated with my grandmother, that of steak and kidney!

I was never a lover of offal. As a child I refused to eat kidney, lambs fry or tripe and in some ways I think my dislike led to the period in my teenage years where I choose to be a vegetarian. My grandmother claimed offal was ‘peasant food’, cheap cuts that were both healthy and filling. But was offal really only eaten by the lower class?




We have all heard the phrase ‘eat humble pie’ – to apologise and face humiliation for making a mistake. But did you know the expression derives from ‘umble pie’, a pie consisting of minced offal, in particular from a deer. The word umble evolved from numble (after the French nomble) meaning deer’s innards.  One would have to conclude then that to eat ‘umble pie’ was certainly a step down the social ladder – something that would cause embarrassment.

But we know that there were many intricate and challenging dishes served to royalty and the upper class that contained offal.  A good example is ‘engastration’ where one animal is placed inside another and roasted – chicken, within a goose, within a swan. Each animal is deboned, spiced and forced inside the next, with accompanying stuffing containing ground offal.




And things were not always what they seemed. A traditional Yorkshire dish, known as ‘savoury ducks’, actually contained no duck meat whatsoever! Known elsewhere in England as ‘faggots’ this meat ‘pattie’ was actually made from minced pig’s heart, liver, bacon and pig belly fat.


Savoury ducks


Nor were sweets (desserts) immune from the ‘offal’ treatment. There is evidence to suggest that puddings, including ‘spotted dick’ were consumed in the medieval period and included suet – minced raw fat obtained from beef or mutton. And sweetbreads were NOT sweet breads!


spotted dick


Sweetbread is a culinary term for meat obtained from glands (such as the tongue or testicles) throat and pancreas from beef, pork and lamb.  The sweetbreads were commonly soaked in salt water then poached in milk, with the outer membrane removed. It is believed that the delicacies were called ‘sweet’ as many of the glands are rich tasting, opposed to the savoury flavour of muscle meat. The word bread may come from ‘frombrede’ or brǣd’ meaning roasted meat.

But how much offal do we (middle-class Australian’s) eat today? You might be surprised to learn that you consume more than you realise.

Gelatin – though not technically offal, I think it should be included. Gelatin or gelatine is a flavourless foodstuff, derived from collagen obtained from various animal by-products. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food and is found in most gummy candy as well as other products such as marshmallows, gelatin dessert, and some ice cream, dip and yogurt. Gelatin is a mixture of peptides and proteins extracted from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as domesticated cattle, chicken, pigs, horses and fish.


jellygelatin chartgelatin lollies


Supermarket Pies – did you know that the meat in your “meat pie” doesn’t have to be beef! Muscle meat from buffalo, camel, cattle, deer, goat, hare, pig, poultry or sheep can be used to manufacture meat pies, and the type of animal doesn’t need to be specified on the label. However offal does, but ONLY if the pie is manufactured for sale in a supermarket. A local butcher, baker or ‘pie store’ can add what they like!


Steak and Kidney Pie


Sausages – exactly the same applies as with pies, so buyer beware!

Pâté – I was surprised to learn that many connoisseurs where unaware that traditional pate contains the livers of ducks, chickens and turkeys.




Black and White Pudding – Black Pudding is generally made from pork blood and oatmeal and White Pudding contains pork meat, suet, bread and oatmeal. Both continue to be very popular in the UK and Ireland.


Black and White pudding


In our ‘throw away’ society, we think nothing of discarding ‘out of date’ food stuffs, excess fat on meats, the outer leaves and skins of vegetables and four day old leftovers. Had we been forced to hunt, scavenge or bake all our own food, as our medieval ancestors were required to do, we might feel differently about excessive wastage. Nor do I believe that ‘offal’ was only consumed by peasants. Given the continued popularity of offal products in modern society, one must assume that we are attracted to the taste, just as the upper class were throughout history. Sweetmeats and Pâté are recorded as ‘delicacies’, certainly not dishes that I would expect to see served only to the poor.


Medieval cooking

Cathy A

King David’s Tower

Edinburgh Castle sits high above the city of Edinburgh upon an extinct volcano from its position on Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since the Iron Age (2nd century) and there has been a royal castle in situ since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century.

The original fortifications and buildings were constructed of timber, with stone structures appearing in the later 12th century.  Of these, St. Margaret’s Chapel remains at the summit. A succession of battles during the late 13th and early 14th century saw the destruction of many of the original castle features and most of the battlements.

With the Treaty of Berwick (c.1357) ending the Scottish Wars of Independence, King David II returned to rule Scotland to reside within his beloved Edinburgh Castle. He was determined to fortify and remodel the structure and make Edinburgh the greatest castle in the land.

220px-David_II_of_Scotland_by_Sylvester_Harding_1797   Braun_&_Hogenberg_'Castrum_Puellarum'_(Edinburgh_Castle)_c.1581

               David II                                                       Edinburgh Castle c.1580

David II began by systematically replacing many of the remaining timber buildings with stone structures; however, his ultimate endeavour was to create a tower so dominating that it would be seen for hundreds of miles.

David's Tower

Plans were well underway by c.1361, with David referencing his ideas and seeking information of the possibility of including a ‘pit for lions’, but construction did not commence until approximately 1366 or 1367. The tower stood on the site of the present Half Moon Battery and was connected by a section of curtain wall to the smaller Constable’s Tower, a round tower built between 1375 and 1379 where the Portcullis Gate now stands. David’s Tower was built on an L-plan – the main block being 16m by 12m, with the adjoining wing measuring 6.4m by 5.5m, pointing to the west. The entrance was via a pointed-arched doorway situated within the inner angle, although in the 16th century this was filled in to make the tower a solid rectangle. The overall height was recorded at a staggering 18m.

Sadly, David was not to see his piece de resistance completed, dying in 1371 before the roof had been completed. His successor, Robert II, finished the tower in the late 1370s.

Over the successive centuries, the Scottish Royal family choose to make the Abbey of Holyrood their preferred place of residence with King James IV (r.1488–1513) building Holyrood House for this purpose. Edinburgh Castle’s role as a royal home subsequently declined, as did the buildings.  During the 15th century the castle was increasingly used as an arsenal and armaments factory.

Impression_of_Edinburgh_Castle_before_the_'Lang_Siege'_of_1573  Edinburgh Castle c.1570

In April 1573, a force of around 1,000 English troops, led by Sir William Drury, arrived in Edinburgh. This battle was to be recorded as The Lang Siege.  The English troops built an artillery emplacement on Castle Hill, with several others in outlying areas. On about the 17th of May the bombardment began. Over the next twelve days the gunners dispatched around 3,000 shots at the castle and on the 22nd May, the south wall of David’s Tower collapsed.

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Half Moon Battery with sections of King David’s Tower visible

The Half Moon Battery, erected between 1753 and 1588, was built around and over the ruins of David’s Tower, two storeys of which survive beneath, with windows facing out onto the interior wall of the battery. The remaining portions of David’s Tower stand up to 15m from Castle Rock and can be seen sitting below the Half Moon Battery.

701354579753    16_part_of_st_davids_tower     

          Half Moon Battery at location 16.        Underground doorway located in David’s Tower 

The Tower played a significant part in Scotland’s history. It housed numerous political prisoners, including Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany, for plotting against his brother, King James III. In 1479, he escaped by getting his guards drunk and lowering himself from a window with the use of a rope. He fled first to France, then England, where he allied himself with King Edward IV. In 1482, Alexander marched into Scotland with Richard, Duke of Gloucester at the head of an English army. James III was captured and shut up in the very same room in which he had incarcerated his brother and there he remained until he negotiated a settlement.

Perhaps the most infamous event (one supposedly used by George R.R. Martin as the basis of his ‘Red Wedding’ scene from A Storm of Swords) took place within the tower and is remembered as the ‘Black Dinner’. In November 1440 the then ten year old King, James III ruled Scotland with the assistance of Sir William Crichton, the Chancellor of Scotland and Keeper of Edinburgh Castle. But Crichton wanted more – he had his sights set on the Regency, but the powerful Douglas clan stood in his way. Encouraging James III to invite his two childhood friends to dinner, the 16 year old William Douglas, 6th Earl Douglas and his younger brother arrived early afternoon and engaged in normal boyhood pursuits prior to the evening banquet. While they ate, a black bull’s head, the symbol of death, was brought in and placed before the Earl. The two brothers were then dragged out to Castle Hill, given a mock trial and beheaded, all the while King James pleading for their release. It is said that the older brother begged the executioner to remove his siblings head first, so as the boy would not witness what was to be his own fate.

George R.R. Martin has often stated that far worse occurred in history then ever takes place within his fantasy novels, and in this instance I would most certainly agree.

David’s Tower is mentioned on several occasions within The Gilded Crown and in particular, one very noteworthy feature –

‘As my honoured guest I have something else I wish to show you.’ David turned towards the base of a short tower and opened the timber door, pulling Catherine along with him. ‘This is to become my masterpiece, my enduring legacy. It will be long remembered for both its height and its strength.’

Removing a lit torch from the wall sconce, David led Catherine down a dark set of narrow stairs that finished directly over a deep shaft, the bottom of which she could not see.

‘My lion pit.’ David smiled. ‘Very similar to those favoured by the Romans.’

Catherine quivered with fear as David edged her closer.

Archaeological work continues within the walls of Edinburgh Castle as there is so much more to learn. Who knows what will be uncovered in the future?

Cathy A


Medieval Tower Houses

One of my most romantic fantasies about the medieval period is the idea of living in a castle or tower house. Strolling through those ancient buildings fills me with a sense of excitement and I long to draw back the veil of time and explore the world within the thick stone walls. But would it have been anything like what I imagine?

Built from local stone, the tower house primarily occupied a small foot print. It was utilised as a defensive structure or warning tower and provided accommodation for the occupants. A large concentration of tower houses can be found in Scotland where they include peel towers (watch towers) and bastle houses (fortified farm houses). Tower houses generally consist of a vertical ‘single-pile’ building of four or five storeys with the rooms stacked one above the other. In many instances a small loft or garret was included beneath the roof space which was accessed by a wooden ladder. Most tower houses had spiral staircases providing access to the various floors though some had stairs incorporated into the walls. Many of the early tower houses had one or more barrel-vaulted ceilings between the main floors. The roofs generally consisted of large oak beams and rafters covered by thatch or oak shingles and in later periods, slate.

Tower House

Here are just a few of my favourites …


The lands of Craigmillar were granted to the monks of Dunfermline Abbey by King David I in the 12th century. The Preston family were first granted land in the area by King David II in 1342 and a further grant by King Robert II gave the remaining lands of Craigmillar to Sir Simon de Preston, Sheriff of Midlothian. Work began on the tower house in the late 13th century, which now forms the core of the castle. Craigmillar Tower house features in Book 3, The Gilded Crown.




From Book 3, The Gilded Crown –

Craigmillar manor house was imposing, sitting atop a low hill overlooking the southern township of Edinburgh. The new wing, well under construction, was placed strategically adjacent the original building which had been a monastic house. Catherine was surprised by the number of men working on the inner ward that would connect the two structures.

    She pointed out the stonemasons to Simon. ‘They look like bees buzzing about their hive.’

    ‘And there is the Queen herself,’ he said, steering his mount into the courtyard.

    Catherine followed, resisting the urge to pull back on the reins, hesitant to end their journey.



Castle Stalker is a four-storey tower house located on the tidal inlet of Loch Laich, near Port Appin in Argyle, Scotland. The original castle was a small fort, built around 1320 by Clan MacDougall who were then the Lords of Lorn but it is Clan Stewart who are recognised for building the castle in its present form around the 1440s. The tower house changed ownership on several occasions before it was abandoned in about 1840. In 1965 Lt. Col. D. R. Stewart Allward acquired the castle and fully restored the building over a 10 year period.

Stalker 1

Stalker 3

Stalker 2

Castle Stalker became a popular tourist attraction after it featured in Monty Python and The Holy Grail.



The castle, situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, was approached from the west and defended by a ditch and drawbridge. The buildings of the castle were laid out around two main enclosures on the shore. The northern enclosure or Nether Bailey includes most of the more intact structures, including the gatehouse, and the five-storey Grant Tower at the north end of the castle. The southern enclosure or Upper Bailey, sited on higher ground, comprises the scant remains of earlier buildings. The Grant Tower is a wonderful example of a ‘tower house’ styled structure built within the walls of an earlier castle.


Ur tower-450



The castle was originally founded as a fortified tower house by Hugo de Gourlay before 130 0, making it one of the oldest constructions of its kind in Scotland. The castle stands on a promontory of the Scottish River Tyne.

Hailes Castle grounds

Hailes_Castle_on_Tynehailes 3


The ideals of comfort and safety were no different in the 14th century to what they are today though I need only flick a switch for lighting and heating. And what of the beds? My mattress is ‘posturepedic.’ I am sure I would not receive the same level of support from a straw-filled palliasse! My front gate would never measure up to a portcullis and I have no need for an embrasure – but I can imagine the chill from the frosty air and damp mist, with no glass on any window, only animal skin to protect you from the elements. Yet my fantasy continues, for who wouldn’t want to sweep down the stairs, dressed in a warm kirtle, the sound of your poulaines tapping on the wooden floor as you settle before the open fire to enjoy a spiced goblet of perry.

Cathy A

Gambling and Lady Luck in the Medieval Period

Did you know that Australia holds the unenviable world record for gambling with more than 80% of the adult population partaking in some form or another at least once every 12 months? Who hasn’t heard the adage, ‘Australian’s will bet on anything – even two flies on a wall!’ Fortunes have been won and lost on a hand of cards or the toss of a coin and though the games and rules may have changed over the centuries, ‘Lady Luck’ remains the presiding factor when it comes to winning or losing.

Fortune or Fortuna (equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) was the goddess of wealth in ancient Rome and the provider of either good luck or bad. Often depicted as blind or with a veil over her eyes (as in the modern image of Justice) she was seen to represent fate and the capricious nature of men.


During the middle medieval period, Fortuna was often associated with a wheel. The Wheel of Fortuna could rotate in either direction, with the random and often ruinous turns both inevitable and providential. The Wheel was depicted in many forms from tiny miniatures in manuscripts to huge stained glass windows in cathedrals, such as at Amiens.

amiens cathedral glass

Dice was the most popular form of gambling during the early and middle medieval period as die were easy to come by or produce, were portable and could be played anywhere at any time. Die did not necessarily appear as equal sided cubes as we see today, nor did the numbering conform to a standard pattern, with the 1 dot (or pip) appearing on the opposite face to the 6 dot, the 5 opposite the 3 and 4 dot face opposite the 2. On a modern die the opposite sides traditionally add up to seven, implying that the 1, 2 and 3 faces share a vertex. If the 1, 2 and 3 faces run counter clockwise, the die is called ‘right-handed’, and if the faces run clockwise, the die is called ‘left-handed’.

dice 1

There were many variations of gambling games involving die, including;

House of Luck

Played with 3 die, wagers are placed on possible rolled combinations. House of Luck is considered to be the medieval equivalent of Chuck-a-Luck or Birdcage, often played in casinos, where the die are contained within a device shaped like an hourglass.


Numerous variations of Pig have been played for centuries, but the basic concept involves each player repeatedly rolling a dice until either a 1 is rolled or the player decides to ‘hold’ –

  • If the player rolls a 1, they score nothing and it becomes the next player’s turn.
  • If the player rolls any other number, it is added to their turn total and the player’s turn continues.
  • If a player chooses to ‘hold’, their turn total is added to their score, and it becomes the next player’s turn.

The first player to score 100 or more points wins.


As the name suggests, this was a game of extreme risk that involved both strategy and luck. With complicated rules and long odds it attracted large groups of players who could all participate at the same time by betting on the outcome. Hazard is believed to be the medieval forefather of ‘craps’ (which has established numbers for winning, losing or gaining a point) whereas in Hazard the player chooses his own winning number (then called the main) which had to be rolled before he throws out (in Craps called ‘sevening out’). Chaucer referred to Hazard in The Canterbury Tales, ‘set upon six and seven’ as putting one’s entire fortune on the outcome of a single roll of the dice.

Gambling 1


Backgammon is believed to have originated at around 3,000 B.C. in Mesopotamia and was typically played on surfaces such as wood, using stones as markers, and dice made from bones, stones, wood or pottery. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and a player wins by removing all of their pieces from the board before their opponent.

Although luck is one of the determining factors in the outcome, strategy plays a more important role as players must choose from numerous options in order to out manoeuvre their opponent. Both players and bystanders wagered on the outcome.



Gluckshaus is German for House of Fortune and was played in the late medieval period, but became very popular during the renaissance. The wooden boards were often elaborately carved and painted. Each square of the board contained a scene, and the rest of the board surrounding the squares was heavily illuminated. The board is divided in squares numbered from 2 to 12 (with 4 often left out), arranged in the form of rooms in a house. Each player rolls two dice.

  • On a roll of 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 or 11, the player places a coin on the board in the corresponding room, if it is empty, or takes the coin if it is occupied.
  • If the player rolls snake eyes, he has rolled a ‘Lucky Pig’ and collects all the coins on the board (from all the rooms) except for whatever lies in room seven.
  • If the player rolls a 12, he is ‘king’ and wins all the coins on the board, from all the rooms.
  • If the player rolls a 7, a ‘wedding’ takes place and a coin must be placed in room 7 as a dowry. This builds up a jackpot until a 12 is rolled.

The game ends when one player has won all the coins


Gambling or dicing in the medieval period was extremely popular and attracted players from all levels of society. Large sums of money changed hands, as did livestock and property. Those discovered cheating often ended up locked into a pillory, their weighed (or loaded) dice forced up their nostrils or imbedded into the palms of their hands. The same treatment was often dealt to the unfortunate player who was unable to settle his losses.

Just imagine a line of pillory posts located along the front of a modern day casino. I wonder if that would be sufficient to dissuade a gambling addiction.

Catherine A Wilson

Lions and Lilies Christmas Advent Calendar – 2014

Welcome to the Lions and Lilies Advent Calendar for 2014. We hope you enjoy exploring the favourite medieval recipes of the characters who feature in ‘The Lily and the Lion’, ‘The Order of the Lily’ and ‘The Gilded Crown.’  Please look out for our special gift on December 25th.

The ladies at Lions and Lilies would like to wish our readers a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy 2015.


MC from LandL


Please click on the Santa to receive a gift from the ladies at Lions and Lilies – ‘A Medieval Christmas’ eBook. The book is available for free on iTunes on Kobo. If you do not have a Kobo reader you can download the software from the Kobo link below. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, Amazon have listed the book for 99c so we suggest you view it via Kobo or iTunes.

Cathy A and Cathy T would like to thank you for your support during 2014 and hope you and your loved ones enjoy a wonderful Christmas and New Year.





Gillets recipe

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 17

Inside the noisy hall, Arnaud-Amanieu d’Albret gave a hearty guffaw and shook his finger at the pretty blonde attached to his arm. Beside him, Gillet d’Albret, dressed in a dark green doublet and black silk chausses, smiled affably. The woman at his side slid closer and possessively hooked her fingers around his elbow. Arnaud moved to whisper in his cousin’s ear, nodding at Gillet’s escort.
‘Her companion says she’s already under your spell. Another goblet of wine and she’ll gladly be under you. But I am thinking she’ll have to lure you first. What is wrong, cousin? You do not enjoy yourself?’
Gillet looked around the hall. ‘’Tis nothing, Arn. I think I have been away from court too long. All this jabbering hurts my ears and I prefer the scent of fresh grass in open fields.’
Arn laughed and slapped his cousin’s back lightly. ‘You have slept beneath the stars for too many nights, my friend. Come, put aside your peasant instincts and enjoy whilst you may. Ah, here is another introduction. Maybe this beauty can tempt you. Christ’s nails! Forget what I just said. I’m tempted myself!’




Ceciles recipe

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 17

The page boy stood at the entrance and frowned at the unescorted woman. He was waiting to take her name to the Master of Ceremony. Another couple jostled past to engage the lad and Cécile took a moment to calm herself. With trembling hands she brushed away imaginary specks from the midnight-blue velvet of her low-cut gown. Her throat was adorned by a string of pearls upon which one brilliant sapphire hovered tantalisingly above her breasts, her cleavage delicately enhanced by the daring scoop of the gold embroidered neckline. The fine cut of cloth clung to her bodice and hips, accentuating her svelte figure, before flaring into an abundant skirt. Such bold attire was entirely due to her own mother, Joan, Fair maid of Kent, whose latest whim set the standards throughout the English courts. And here, in Bordeaux, this new court was eager to please as it prepared itself for the imminent arrival of the heir-apparent. Cécile brushed nervously at her head, her shorter hair cleverly entwined into false pieces that were plaited on either side in ‘rams-horns’ and contained within gold cauls. The fillet was adorned with tiny sapphires and pearls across the brow, the headdress complete with a frothy veil joined under her chin. She was a picture of beauty but she had needed no reflection in polished silver to know. Gabriel’s eyes and low whistle had spoken volumes.



Black Princes recipe

Book 2 – ‘The Order of the Lily’- Chapter 3

Edward kicked at the dirty hay. ‘I give you leave to sit among the fleas. You look as though you are about to expire and I am not ready to have you do that … yet.’
Gillet collapsed onto his haunches and leaned against the wall, his movements clumsy for his ankles were fettered by leg irons. He swung his manacled hands to drape loosely over his legs and, levelling his gaze, watched with surprise as Edward lowered himself against the opposite wall so they were face-to-face.
The Prince brushed back his reddish-gold crop of hair from his brow and exhaled. The amber eyes were pensive and gloomy. ‘There was a time when you and I were friends. What happened?’



Jean Petits recipe

Book 2 – ‘The Order of the Lily’ – Chapter 22

Cécile nodded and Minette left for the washroom. Jean Petit, content for once, gurgled from the bed as his mother tenderly stroked his naked form. ‘You are so perfect,’ she whispered adoringly. Cupping his downy head and tiny buttocks, she lifted him to her shoulder and her senses filled with his wonderful aroma. ‘How can I deny anyone such a miracle?’ Tears welled in her eyes and flowed down her cheeks unchecked. ‘Forgive me, my love, for what I must do.’

images(26)AA - Menu 6



BLack Agnes

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 10

Lady Dunbar was waiting in the solar when Catherine appeared over an hour later. ‘How did you sleep?’ the older woman asked.
‘Well, I believe. ’Tis quite an indulgence to rest upon an over-stuffed mattress,’ Catherine reflected. ‘It has taken some time for me to become accustomed to such softness. The bedding at Denny Abbey was not quite so forgiving.’
‘I have nay the opportunity to know Lady Pembroke. I am told she is most … revered.’
‘She expects a great deal from the novices and even more from those who have taken their vows.’ Catherine accepted Lady Dunbar’s hand and took the seat beside her, close by the fire. She had taken extra care with her appearance this morning and allowed English Mary to fuss over her hair. Catherine had been feeling the loss of female companionship and now that she had been provided the pleasure of Lady Dunbar’s company, she was determined to prove her worth. ‘I wish to thank you for your offer to assist me during my visit to Edinburgh. Your advice will be most gratefully received.’
‘I believe we will both enjoy the experience.’ Agnes smiled. ‘It does my heart good to spend time wit’ the young. Now, I am told your husband has just ridden oot wit his brother?’
‘He often leaves me to sleep on,’ Catherine grimaced. ‘He believes I am in need of additional rest!’
‘And that bothers you?’
‘A little, for I am not ill. In fact, I feel very well indeed.’
‘Men are strange creatures. They think nothing of our safety when they take up arms in the name of their king, leaving us to defend their castles, yet when we undertake the duty we were born to, that of motherhood, we are suddenly seen as frail and delicate.’
‘Perhaps their future sons are worth more to them than mere property?’
‘Not to all, Catherine.’ Lady Dunbar smiled, her eyes glinting with mischief. ‘I have known men, and some women, who would sacrifice their entire family to protect their inherited rights.’




Beatrix Swan

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 6

‘Your son requires a strong hand.’ Simon’s eyebrows rose as he watched his nephew’s departure. ‘How old is he now?’

‘Nay sufficient for what you suggest. I want him home, here, wit’ me,’ Beatrix retorted angrily.

‘A boy does not become a man by clinging to his mother’s skirts.’

‘Walter will decide Robert’s future.’

‘Your husband holds out for a position above your son’s worth,’ Simon replied. ‘Robert should be in service. It would certainly help curb the viper that is his tongue!’

‘I dinna care what you think. He is the Bruce’s grandson! He’ll no be someone’s lowly page. We’ll wait ’til he’s offered a place to squire for a knight of the highest standing.’

‘And in the meantime, he becomes a bored, little swine who bullies his siblings and menaces his mother.’

Beatrix sat down at the table, filled an empty goblet and drank the entire contents. ‘That’s no concern o’ yours, dear brother.’

‘I am simply offering advice, dear sister,’ Simon replied sarcastically. ‘The solution to a problem is often clearer to those who are some distance away.’

‘Perhaps you should take care o’er the hens in your own coop than roost o’er mine!’ Beatrix smirked at Catherine as she re-filled her goblet. ‘Eh, sister dear?’



English Mary's Pottage

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 4

‘I’m English Mary. They call me that ’cause I’m English, ya see. Married a Scot, I did. Poor buggar! Didn’t know what hit ’im,’ she rambled. ‘As you can see I like me pottage and he, well, he was just a wee twig of a thing. Nearly crushed ’im, I did! But he enjoyed his bath.’

Catherine squeezed her lids closed as Mary scratched at her scalp, strong fingertips dislodging the weeks of grime accumulated on her travels from France and England.

‘You’ve got beautiful hair, but it’s all dry and knotted. I’ll fix it for ya,’ Mary prattled on. ‘I’ll rub some rosehip oil into the ends and comb it through.’



Walters Red Wine

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 14

The following morning Simon discovered Walter at the door of the passage leading to the servant’s building, his doublet open and his chausses untied.

‘Wexford,’ Walter sneered in greeting.

‘Finished fornicating?’ Simon asked sarcastically.

‘For now, though I may return later as one young maid is a juicy as a lemon and just as bitter and I do so appreciate a struggle.’

Simon wrinkled his nose in disgust.

‘Don’t look at me like that! You’ve had your share of women and I have to wet my cock somewhere. Your sister won’t even …’

‘Shut your filthy mouth.’

‘The high and mighty Simon, the second son made good. Go ahead and defend your sister’s honour. No one else will. She is a drunken hag who gives me naught but screeching bairns, most of whom should have been drowned at birth.’

Simon slammed his fist into Walter’s chin, sending the small man tumbling into several empty wine barrels, splintering one through the middle.

Menu 5



Armands recipe

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 13

Fearful of the whole town centre catching alight, guards began scooping water from nearby barrels and throwing it haphazardly over the burning villagers. Taking advantage of the disarray, Armand threw his own bucketfuls onto the bonfire, enough to staunch the flames and raise a smoke cloud which allowed him to climb up unnoticed. He raised his dagger to slit the ropes when his arms were suddenly slammed by a spade and two guards nabbed him. It was over before he could sing out.
Dragged over the stones, Armand d’Albret was an offering to the disgruntled mob and they kicked, clawed, and spat. He landed heavily at the foot of the dais, sprawling next to Reynaud, similarly caught, bruised and torn. Both men found their hands and neck snapped into a stock.




Tiphanies recipe

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 12

‘Good! Then it is settled!’ Lady Dunbar clapped her hands together. ‘For the duration of your visit, Lady Wexford, I shall loan you Tiphanie as a companion. You two are almost the same age and I believe,’ Lady Dunbar turned to Tiphanie, ‘the Lady Catherine has a sister in France. You will have much to discuss. Run along, dear, and pack your belongings.’
The girl inclined her head and ran off, her face jubilant.
‘She is very striking,’ commented Catherine.
‘Her colouring is that of Douglas clan. They are known for their glossy, red locks and startling green eyes.’



Minettes recipe

Book 2 – ‘The Order of the Lily’ – Chapter 12

Cécile stood in her room a short time later and distractedly straightened the folds of a deep green gown of musterdevillers as Minette tussled with the laces.
‘He is staying.’
‘Milady?’ Her maid held out the dark, wine coloured surcotte and Cécile wriggled into it, settling the lozenge pattern symmetrically over her stomach.
‘Griffith has chosen to stay on as milord’s squire.’
Minette brushed a non-existent speck from the expensive Normandy wool, her cheeks colouring to a rosy glow.
Cécile reached out and cradled Minette’s chin in her palm. ‘He will be in need of a friend,’ she added softly.
Minette’s eyelashes fluttered and she lowered her gaze. ‘Yes, milady.’
‘And since you deign to speak with him, there are times when I would have you honour me the same way.’
Her face lit with a shy smile. ‘Yes, milady.’




Griffiths recipe

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 13

 As though they had been heard, a buxom wench fetched Griffith’s empty tankard and slid onto his lap with feline grace. Her fingers worked to smooth his tangled crop. ‘Big, strong man like you needs plenty of refreshment.’ Griffith’s cheeks glowed saffron as he was afforded a generous view of her cleavage. ‘There’s more where that came from,’ the girl whispered, kissing his temple. ‘Let me know what you decide, honey.’ She left with a chuckle.


AA - Menu 4



Anais' Guts

Book 1 – ‘The Lily and the Lion’ – Chapter 6

‘Gillet will soon be returning?’ I asked, watching her face intently.

‘I suppose so,’ she replied without looking up from her mug of mead.

‘Did he not tell you when?’

‘Not really. He speaks more to you than to me.’

‘But I thought as you are close he would tell you more.’

‘You assume incorrectly.’ Anaïs stared long and hard at me then drained her goblet. ‘Some say Gillet is very handsome. Some say he sits fine on a horse. I say he sits better on a woman, but like all men he often needs encouragement.’ Her sneer was unmistakable. She knew that I knew! And I was mortified!

‘My dear, devoted Sister Mary Catherine,’ she continued, ‘so innocent and so naïve. You think us all free from sin and accept all that you have is honestly obtained. You will learn and you will do so quickly. When you want something from a man you must pay a price.’

‘I am sure I do not know your meaning.’ I fought against the feeling of dread slowly seeping through my chest and fumbled for my concealed rosary as Anaïs sauntered from the room.

Holly small


Rob's Suace for a Goose

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 24

Simon swung his weapon towards Robiérre, the blade striking the top of a high-backed chair that the Frenchman ducked behind. Simon kicked out at the leg, toppling the seat, but Robiérre was nimble and recovered quickly. He drew a dagger and snatched the baby from the cradle by the fire, pressing the tip of the weapon into the little boy’s cheek.

‘One more step and I will drive this right through his skull.’

Simon stood motionless, his weapon raised. ‘Only a coward uses a child as a shield.’

‘You think you can dissuade my actions with insults, Wexford,’ Robiérre laughed. ‘It is Lord Wexford, is it not?’

Simon nodded. A small bead of sweat ran from his brow down his cheek. He had made a very stupid mistake.

Holly small


Moleyn's Vinegar Soup

Book 1 – ‘The Lily and the Lion’ – Chapter 20

He stood at the doorway, his dagger’s point thrust to the throat of Matilda, his other hand reefing her hair.
‘Greetings, John.’ Simon’s condescension was clear as he surreptitiously stepped in front of me.
‘Move away from her, Wexford.’ Moleyns sneered at me, a nervous tic causing the scar on his face to jump erratically.
I was still kneeling, my hands in the straw where I had been about to pick up the last fallen item.
‘Give me the girl and I’ll give you Matilda.’
I could see his weapon digging into her neck and although there was no blood, her skin was pinched and tight. Anaïs wriggled to her feet, her eyes alight with glee as though desperate to assist our foe.
‘I should reconsider if I were you, John. Looks to me like you’re alone.’
‘Ah, that’s where you’re mistaken. My men are right outside the stable.’ Moleyns’ eyes flicked left then right as he stepped further through the door. ‘Hand over the girl, Wexford, and I will be on my way.’
‘No!’ shrieked Lady Matilda, desperately wriggling within Moleyns’ grasp.
‘I will not hand over Lady Holland,’ Simon declared, taking the final pace between Moleyns and me.
‘Pity,’ said Moleyns. ‘I was under the impression that she would enjoy a reunion with her sister.’



Salisbury's Honey Dip

Book 1 – ‘The Lily and the Lion’ – Chapter 23

‘And bring me a flagon of your best wine,’ bawled Salisbury. ‘You, set a guard around this inn, and you, lock these two in here.’
Anaïs broke free of Roderick and snared Salisbury’s arm. ‘You promised me,’ she hissed. ‘You promised me Gillet.’
Salisbury sneered and brushed her off as though she were a bothersome insect. ‘So I did. But it is out of my hands now. You should have brought them directly to me as agreed.’ At his nod, the guards shoved Roderick into the first room.
‘No, don’t! I can help you, I swear,’ begged Anaïs as she struggled against the soldier’s hold.
Salisbury grinned. ‘Throw her in with the traitors.

Menu 3



Rosettas recipe

Book 1 – ‘The Lily and the Lion’ – Chapter 11

That left me ensconced in Madame Duvall’s company. Huffing impatience, I flung my loathed needlework lesson onto the chair and walked to the window of the inn’s salon. She would do better trying to teach a snake to fly! I stared morosely at the bleak mist beyond as my chaperon continued to work her tapestry. The silence hung between us more ominous than the thunderclouds outside.
‘’Twill do you no good to brood,’ she eventually commented. ‘They will return when they return and not a moment before. No doubt bearing more gifts to pamper your every whim.’
She was referring to the new set of vair tippets that graced the sleeves of my pink bliaut, and the beaded, cordon leather belt.
‘They spoil you needlessly, those two. Now, were you my ward, I would not put up with such nonsense. Nothing wrong with good homespun.’




Violettas recipe

Book 1 – ‘The Lily and the Lion’ – Chapter 17

She gaped as if he had just stated that the Pope had taken a wife. ‘Of course, my boy. Can you think of a better way for your cousin to spend her time with us?’
I buried my hands in my lap and frowned at Armand as Violetta sighed wistfully. ‘I was once presented to the Duchesse de Valois, during the reign of our dear King Philippe. I will show you how to curtsey before royalty, my dear, with such elegance that you will catch the eye of everyone at court. I know. I did it!’ Her eyes took on a faraway glaze as Madame Rosetta placed four cups of perry on the table.
‘She did,’ declared the more robust sister, earnestly nodding her corroboration, ‘and would be delighted to teach you, child, if you so wish.’
‘Thank you,’ I replied. ‘But I have no need to know. Court is the last place I desire to be.’
Violetta’s head flew up, startled like a tiny bird who had just landed in the wrong nest. ‘No wish to go to court? Oh, non, non, non. That will never do! You must attend, for where else will you meet a handsome young man to wed? Oh, non, non, non. We shall make you such a lady that knights will be drawing swords for the honour of your company.’



Mouses recipe

Book 1 – ‘The Lily and the Lion’ – Chapter 15

‘Put him on a field with twenty other knights,’ guffawed Gabriel, ‘and he is a hungry lion. But show him a tiny grey creature and the man wobbles like jelly.’
‘I’ll show Cécile who wobbles!’ Mouse grabbed Gabriel’s hand and, holding it fast upon the board, spread the fingers. A look of absolute horror swept his companion’s face, both of them yelling at once. ‘Quick,’ bawled Mouse, ‘give me a blade.’ Gillet slid his dagger across the table and Mouse was temporarily distracted as he studied the bejewelled haft. ‘A fine piece you have there, Bellegarde.’
‘Yes, I know.’
Armand jumped up and bodily braced the still protesting Gabriel, holding his wrist firm.
‘Watch this,’ whispered Gillet.
Interested spectators had begun to gather, encouraging both men. Mouse clamped his great paw onto Gabriel’s wrist and began striking downward with the dagger, stabbing the table between each of the exposed fingers, slowly at first, then steadily gaining speed. Gabriel was screaming now, the excited horde joining his yells, raising their voices higher as Mouse moved faster and faster, until I could not distinguish the blade from the haft. As the caterwauling reached a crescendo, Mouse tossed the weapon into the air, and caught it with his teeth. The mob went wild, Gillet, Armand and I amongst them. Poor Gabriel collapsed onto the table.




Gabriel's Hypocras recipe

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 15

A shaft of sunlight beamed into the widening aperture as someone drew back the cellar trapdoor. Gabriel de Beaumont de l’Ouis blinked several times, the light piercing his eyes and setting his brain to banging around his skull again. The bump under his hair had risen to egg-size.
‘Get up, woman-slayer! Time to meet your maker.’ The harsh laugh ended in an abrupt fit of coughing.
Gabriel shifted from the dirt floor, the elevation spinning his head so hard, he almost toppled. He felt as though he was tumbling from his horse at a joust, unsure which way the ground lay but expecting to meet it at any moment.
‘I said get up here!’
Gabriel shuffled to the ladder which had been dropped through the hole. Even in his current state of mind, he had enough nous to know separating his tightly-bound feet and rope-cocooned arms the distance required to conquer the staves, would be a challenge.
He dragged himself up, slug-like, and emerged, dazzled as a new butterfly, into a semi-circle world of unwelcoming faces.


 AA - Menu 2



Matilda's Mon Ame

Book 1 – ‘The Lily and the Lion’ – Chapter 20

Matilda was quickly by my side, clasping my hand as we stood watching Lady Salisbury trudge back to the house. ‘’Tis sad, is it not? I feel for Elizabeth,’ she said. ‘Just remember, Catherine, there must never be a time in your life when you should feel ashamed of the love that grows between a man and a woman. Unfortunately, any love that Salisbury felt was for his mother, and for her alone, a great sickness indeed.’




Simon's Sumptous Pork

Book 1 – ‘The Lily and the Lion’ – Chapter 16

His room was unbearably hot. Pushing open the window, Simon drank in the cool night air, but it was not enough to douse his own fire of guilt. Had he done the right thing? Deceit was a wicked man’s armour and each lie uttered only sharpened the sword.

A movement in the bushes below caught his eye and he instantly withdrew behind the curtain. His eyebrows arched as a hooded figure slipped into the stable. It was not long before a horse galloped off. The woman quickly retraced her steps, creeping behind the neatly clipped hedge. Perplexed, he watched her until she slipped out of view, presumably through the kitchen door.

Kicking off his boots, Simon threw himself across the bed and frowned, realisation dawning. Once again he had underestimated Catherine. Without doubt a courier had just been dispatched to France. Would the sisters be able to forgive him?




Roderick's Rice Tarts

Book 3 – ‘The Gilded Crown’ – Chapter 2

‘Come on then, dear sister, let me show you Simon’s little keep.’ Roderick grasped her elbow and encouraged her forward, his playfulness soothing her fears.

‘Wait! Where’s Gabby?’ Catherine exclaimed. The baby had travelled from Denny Abbey tucked in the cart, fast asleep in a basket.

‘Allow me.’ Roderick climbed up onto the running boards and gently passed the baby to Catherine. ‘He certainly is a compliant young man. My daughters all squawked like plucked chickens when removed from their cozy beds!’

‘I did not know you had children.’

‘Three,’ Roderick smiled. ‘All precious and thoroughly spoilt!’

‘Do you not miss them?’ Catherine asked.

‘Yes,’ he hesitated, ‘but not their incessant bickering. It pains my ears and destroys my appetite. Absence though, softens the effect, however I am not yet gone long enough!’




Catherine's Creamy Christmas Posset

Book 1 – ‘The Lily and the Lion’ – Chapter 6

I picked at the bread, soaking each piece within the hot fluid before placing them in my mouth.

‘Do you have rotten teeth?’ he asked.

‘I do not think so, M’lord.’

‘Then why do you soften the dough?’

Studying the remainder of the loaf beside me, I considered my answer, unaccustomed to such conversations. ‘I sat beside Sister Bridget and she ate thus.’

‘Is she old?’

‘I suppose she is, M’lord.’

‘Did you not think to ask her?’

The idea was ridiculous. ‘I am not permitted to inquire, M’lord, only to accept.’

‘Not any more, and stop calling me M’lord. I am Simon.’

‘Yes, M… yes.’

He smirked as I stumbled over his name. ‘So there is nothing wrong with you beside the fact that you weigh less than a sparrow.’

‘I do not know. I mean, I do not think so.’

He was watching me intently. ‘How old are you?’

‘Lady d’Armagnac, my sister, tells me that we are nineteen summers.’

‘I don’t suppose you ever thought to ask Mary St Pol yourself? No?’ I shook my head. ‘Why not?’

‘I was not permitted to speak unless spoken to.’

He huffed, as though he did not approve. ‘Smile.’ I stared at him, unable to decide exactly what he meant. ‘I want you to smile at me,’ he clarified. I raised the corners of my mouth.        ‘Good Lord, that wasn’t much of an effort.’ I tried again, this time revealing my teeth. ‘They look fine to me, so, no excuses. From now on you will eat like a young woman and not an old crone.’

I nodded as he passed me the crusty end of the loaf. The taste was exceptional. ‘Why do you blaspheme?’ I inquired cautiously.

‘That is your first question to me? Why do I blaspheme?’ He burst into laughter, slapping his hand to his thigh. ‘God knows, my dear. God knows!’

Menu 1



The Games of Medieval Children – just as much fun today!

Throughout the ages children have played games, with toys and with each other. Play is critical to the healthy growth and development of children as it helps them learn to solve problems, to get along with others and to develop fine and gross motor skills. It also allows them to interact with the world around them and often reflects incidents relevant to the time period.

Some games played during the medieval period remain almost unchanged today, such as Tag or Tip, Hide and Seek and See Saw, whilst others have developed over time, modernised and modified. The following are just a few of the many games played by children in the past;

Ring Around the Rosie

The words to ‘Ring Around the Rosy’ have their origin in English history. The rhyme dates back to the Great Plague of London of 1665 but it has also been suggested that it may have originated during the bubonic plague of the medieval period. The symptoms of the plague included a rosy red rash in the shape of a ring on the skin (ring around the rosy). Pockets and pouches were filled with sweet smelling herbs (or posies) which were carried as it was believed that the disease was transmitted by bad smells. The term ‘ashes, ashes’ refers to the cremation of the dead bodies. The English version of ‘Ring Around the Rosy’ replaces ‘ashes’ with ‘A-tishoo, A-tishoo’ as violent sneezing was another symptom of the disease. Players hold hands in the shape of a circle and sing or chant;

Ring around the rosy

A pocketful of posies

Ashes, ashes

We all fall down!

Ring Around the Rosie

Nine Men’s Morris

The game Nine Men’s Morris is known to have been popular in medieval England and France and probably shares a common origin with ancient versions of tic-tac-toe. The term Morris evolves from the Latin merellus, meaning ‘token, coin, or counter’. Opponents play with nine counters of a distinctive colour or marking. The object of play is to capture the opponent’s army of nine tokens before he or she captures yours or to deny the opponent’s ability to make a move.

Games 4

Jeu de Dames

Jeu de dames, the medieval form of draughts or checkers is believed to derive from the game Alquerque which included the method of jumping/capturing pieces or tokens as the main objective to winning. Je de Dames was first mentioned in the late 14th century by the English poet Sir Ferumbras, who was an avid player.

Fox and Geese (Halatafl)

The game Halatafl is known to have been played from at least as early as the 14th century. In the English-speaking world the game was known as Fox and Geese. In this version the objective was to capture each other’s pieces. It is not mandatory for the fox to capture the opponent’s pieces, and there are no restraints on the defender’s (the geese’s) movements.

Kucklebones (Jacks)

Knucklebones is usually played with five small objects. Originally the “knucklebones” (the astragalus: a bone in the ankle or hock) were those of a sheep, which were thrown up and caught in various manners. Modern Knucklebones consist of six points, or knobs, proceeding from a common base, and are usually made of metal or plastic. The winner is the first player to successfully complete a prescribed series of throws, which, though similar, differ widely in detail. The simplest throw consists in tossing up one stone, the jack, and picking up one or more from the table while it is in the air. This continues until all five stones have been picked up. Another throw consists in tossing up first one stone, then two, then three and so on, and catching them on the back of the hand. Different throws have received distinctive names, such as ‘riding the elephant,’ ‘peas in the pod,’ and ‘horses in the stable.’

Games 7

Then, as today, children loved to rough and tumble and act out the roles of the adults about them – knight, soldier, lady of the court, but one thing was certain, their childhood years were fraught with danger, with one in four failing to celebrate their 12th birthday, falling foul of disease or death by misadventure.

Games 1


Cathy A


In Book Two – THE ORDER OF THE LILY  Gillet de Bellegarde has some fun at Broughton with the local children, playing the games of ‘Hoodman’s Blind, ‘Fallen Bridge’ and ‘Jingling’ :-

Cécile settled herself beneath the shade of a tree and watched as Gillet and Bertram were nominated to entertain the children. They donned their hoods backwards for ‘Hoodman’s Blind,’ and riotous squeals filled the air as Gillet and Bertram tried to catch their undersized quarry. When ‘Fallen Bridge’ had been exhausted, they took up ‘Jingling.’ Gillet placed the tiny bells around his wrists and ankles, as Bertram and Lady Matilda bound the children’s eyes with strips of cloth. The bells sounded Gillet’s every move as he tried to avoid capture. With the cunning of an adult, he threw a bracelet to Bertram, and together they confused the children as the tinkling came from more than one direction. When an assertive lad peeked from beneath his binding and discovered their antics, the men were besieged and forced to the ground. Gillet and Bertram were bested, and bellowed helplessly as an army of sticky hands tickled them.


The Lily and the Lion - thumbnail Order of the Lily cover - thumbnail Mock cover The Gilded Crown - thumbnail