Regarding the work of the Centre, firstly I want to congratulate Dr Diane Heath on the submission of the Gender and Medieval Studies volume on Gender: Places, Spaces and Thresholds to the publisher last weekend. Diane and her fellow editors have done a truly splendid job in record time and they deserve much applause and the deep-felt thanks of the various contributors, including two from Canterbury Christ Church: Dr Leonie Hicks has written the Afterword and I have contributed an article, as has Diane. If all goes well, it will be out in the autumn this year.
Even though Canterbury Cathedral’s status as a royal mausoleum is not great, it does commemorate an extremely interesting queen, as Dr Eleanor Woodacre (University of Winchester) reminded her audience at the History staff/student seminar earlier this week. Joan of Navarre, Henry IV’s Queen Consort seems to have been a very feisty individual, which was probably a good job because she had to deal with a range of challenging circumstances first as Duchess of Brittany, then as Queen of England and finally during a long widowhood. Among these challenges was an accusation of witchcraft in 1419 when it was said that she had plotted to bring about Henry V’s death. However, Dr Woodacre believes that this should be seen as a royal strategy to enrich the Crown’s coffers at a time when the king was in need of funds for military campaigning in France – as a consequence of the accusation her dower lands had been seized by the king. This focus on her dower lands – she had such holdings in the right of her Breton and Lancastrian marriages – was at the heart of Eleanor’s paper.