Photo: © Scarlet Page Photography

Hello, fellow history lover! I'm Jo - I'm a lover of early modern history, and gained my degree in History: Medieval and Modern at The University of Hull in 1998. My final year dissertation was on The Roles of Women in Medieval Yorkshire. (Fun fact: I was taught by Tracy Borman while she was studying for her PhD and I was in my first and second years at uni). 

Since then, I've taken online courses in The Tudors, Shakespeare's Hamlet and other subjects and visited tons of historic locations, watched hours of documentaries and read hundreds of books to learn more about our nation's fascinating and vibrant history. I'm also a regular contributor to The Historians magazine and have also written for The C Word Mag. I have a special love for local history and stories of 'forgotten' people - history wasn't just about kings and queens! I live in Reading and am a member of the Reading History Society. 

My book, published by Pen and Sword Books, on fifteenth-century women caught up (sometimes by accident) in the preparations, intrigues and conspiracies of the Wars of the Roses is out in early 2024. I'm currently writing a second book on the subject of the Tudors.

Order Forgotten Women of the Wars of the Roses, published by Pen and Sword here. 

Stay tuned here and on social media for further updates. 

As well as writing, my other job is as a watercolour artist. I love to sketch historic scenes and buildings and try to convey some of the energy and atmosphere of a location in the layout and the colours I use. I'm also regularly commissioned to paint house portraits or places to mark weddings, engagements, anniversaries and other events. I can often be found out and about with my local Urban Sketchers' group too. If you'd like to commission me to create a watercolour sketch of a favourite building of yours - historic or otherwise - find all the details here and find more of my work @sketcherjoey on Instagram.  I have also recently begun working on murals with my art colleague Amy. Find out more about these by messaging Amy - twolostbirds [at] gmail [dot] com.

Photo: © Scarlet Page Photography

'British History'
I am fascinated by the history of people living in the group of islands and states that make up the British Isles. Here on this blog I discuss events from prehistoric times to more modern. The name Britain as we know it today, as a political and sovereign entity, took its roots in 1707, but the term was used long before that. The Romans named it Britain in around 55BC. Denys Hay, in 1968's Europe - The Emergence of an Idea quoted a marriage settlement involving James III of Scotland referring to it in 1474 as 'this Nobill Isle callit Gret Britanee'. 

Additionally, in 1603 James I of England and VI of Scotland also called the country 'Great Britain'. Authors dealing with pre-1707 history refer to 'Roman Britain', 'Viking Britain' and 'Saxon Britain' because they wish to reference events and evidence spanning more than one country. Similarly, the website British History Online deals with sources from the early Medieval period, when the kingdoms were separate. This is important. The study of an ancient, Medieval and Early Modern 'Britain' (before it existed politically) should not be frowned upon or suppressed. By looking at what was going on in the islands as a whole we gain a more cohesive understanding of the relationships between the individual countries and states that formed them, at least geographically. This is no different to the study of the history of Europe or Asia, as long as the individual status and sovereignty of individual states are acknowledged. I certainly do not dispute the power of individual lands and states before 1707. However to 'love British history' is to love all the stories of people living on these islands, as far back as archaeological evidence supports. It is the history of what is now 'Britain', and the people living in it. It is in this excited, curious and collective spirit that I write here on the blog, and over on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. 

Thanks for coming along, it's great to see you! 

Do you represent a heritage organisation? If you have something to suggest I blog about, a book for review or if you'd like me to attend a press event please email me. I can also come and produce a sketch drawn live at an event or opening to celebrate and help spread the word. 

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or email