I think I have chapter one of Nevill pretty much finished. It covers the time between Thomas and Maud’s wedding and the departure of Warwick and Salisbury to London to consolidate York’s support (and theirs for him). We get to know some of the Nevills quite well, though George, Alianor and Joan have yet to make an appearance. I’m not sure that Joan will feature greatly (or even at all), though her daughter does later on by virtue of her marriage to young John de la Pole, earl of Lincoln. Alianor is away in London, possibly getting stuff ready for her wedding the following year. Neither she nor George is listed with those who were to receive compensation from Egremont for the attack, so I’m going out on a limb and saying they weren’t there. I’m having a bit of difficulty getting a handle on George actually – the lives of modern clergymen are a mystery to me, let alone their 15th century counterparts! That is one bullet that I will have to bite.
The Nevill-Percy feud is a strong theme through the chapter, starting with the attack at Heworth. It continues to be important through the next few chapters. (2 – 4 exist in draft or partial form only at the moment.)
Warwick makes his appearance early in the chapter. He hasn’t been home for years and his brothers’ reaction to him is mixed. He seems to have grown a little apart from them, and there’s a teensy bit of resentment that he’s been called home to help deal with something that John and Thomas are managing very well on their own, thank you very much! But, whatever else might be going on, he’s their big brother and that’s all that matters in the end.
An important theme is the marriage of Maud and Thomas. While they seem quite happy at the start, dark clouds are looming (poor kids) and things are going to get worse before they get better.
Another important couple introduced in chapter one are Alice and Henry Fitzhugh – I have an enormous soft spot for these two. Maybe it’s the sad ruins of Ravensworth castle, or the fact that Alice outlives nearly everyone and the family’s eventual very mixed relationship with Henry Tudor. It might be the difficult position Henry found himself in (a few times) vis a vis his king and his in-laws. Perhaps it’s just that, of all of them, Alice was the one who married someone she had known all her life. (Ok, Richard married Anne Beauchamp when he was 6, so technically he knew her all his life as well, but that’s not what I mean.)
Hopefully I have managed to portray the Nevills as a closeknit, ambitious, powerful and above all interesting family.
Things I still need to do to remove the qualifiers from pretty much finished:
• find a realable map of the layout of Middleham castle (no use me saying so and so looks out of the window and sees x if they couldn’t);
• get a sense of the countryside between Middleham and Ravensworth (google maps and photos can only take me so far, but as I’m yet to win an all-expenses paid trip to the other side of the world, that may have to do);
• find out more about George.
I’m off to the city next week (not a huge trip, but I don’t tend to drive north very often) to visit the ANU library, troll the second hand bookshops and (hopefully) have lunch with some local R3S members who have made contact. I’m rather hoping that I’ll come back armed with enough information to finish ch 2-4. Then it’s on to part 2 and another wedding – this time John and Isobel’s. Which, btw, took place at Canterbury and was officiated by the Archbishop thereof, just in case there’s any confusion. Oh, and they didn’t defy tradition and the queen and marry for love. And Henry VI wasn’t inspired by their deep devotion, love and cross-party marriage to organise Love Day. Just thought I’d share that with y’all. 🙂