What I thought I knew about Maud Stanhope when I began this piece of work
• she was pretty much the same age as her second husband, Thomas Nevill (extrapolated from Hick’s description of her, in Warwick the Kingmaker, as a ‘youthful widow’ and her possible age (mid teens) at her first wedding);
• she’d married Thomas because, as a widow, the choice of who (or if) to remarry was entirely hers;
• she married one sir Gervase Clyfton (a man I knew nothing about) some time after Thomas’s death;
• she died a rich old lady.
Not a lot to be going on, and 75% wrong! Still, historical novels have been written on less than this… And it wasn’t supposed to be Maud’s story, anyway. Thomas was the important one.
Well, now she’s muscled her way to the front, jumped up and down waving her arms just to make sure she has my attention. And boy, does she have it!
She hasn’t eclipsed Tom, but now her story carries him as much as his carries her.
Every source I got my hands on led me to at least one more. And every piece of information I got blew my preconceptions, neoconceptions and quasiconceptions out of the water. Now I have the last piece of the puzzle in my hand … there’s no stopping me!
I’ve written quite a lot already, covering 1453-8, but it needs work and it needs finishing.
The Feast will be a little quiet for a while. I’ll be uploading some On this day posts to keep things ticking over, but no new big posts.
Just before I go, I want to share one last little thing. Trying to sum up Maud’s story in a single sentence, I came up with this:
Beside every disaster in her life, every change of fortune, every act of folly
was written the name of a man.