About

Thank you for having a rummage around my blog. I hope that you found something interesting.

I have a long standing passion for history and its stories. I believe that the key to understanding the past is to understand the people who drove its events, not least to understand that they were people, real people. They had hopes, fears, dreams and disasters much as you or I and these shaped them and their part in history.

My first novel, Loyalty, tells the story of King Richard III before Shakespeare’s veil fell over the man to create the caricature. I am also writing a series of short histories called A Glimpse Of which aim to briefly introduce a subject to the reader in engaging terms. Please feel free to look around my Amazon Author Page.

You can find me tweeting, usually on history, at @mattlewisauthor and I would love to hear from you. I can also be reached at matt.lewis@mattlewisauthor.com.

13 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Matt! I would love to subscribe to your blog via email…is there a link that I am not seeing?

    I am currently an undergraduate history major, with an intended focus on British history. Your blog is fantastic!

    • It tells me you’re following the blog, so you should get an email each time I post a new blog.

      I’m glad you like the articles. Do you have a time period in mind to focus on?

  2. Hi Matthew, Congratulations on your, Richard Duke of York, book. It is much needed. Are you about in any other shops beside Ludlow on the 28th? As you know its a Bank Holiday weekend -parking will be horrendous. Should be good for you though with potential customers!

    • Hi Barry. Thank you. I’m only due to be at Ludlow at the moment. I hope there will be plenty of people around to pop in and say hello. I’m not looking forward to parking though. The car park by the market might be a no-go!

  3. Sarah Anderson said:

    Hi Matthew just finished reading Henry iii and really enjoyed it. What a complex interesting man and your book brought him to life. I didn’t know much about him apart from who he was the son and father of and his rebuilding of Westminster Abbey. Your book allowed his character to come out and be analysed . I agree he is so much more than the son and father of more well known kings and his kingship was forged by many different factions. Great book. Sarah

    • Hi Sarah. I’m glad you enjoyed Henry’s story and thank you for letting me know. He is a fascinating man and his reign was packed with critical events. It’s a shame he remains so little known. Thank you again for your feedback. Matt

  4. Hi!
    It’s great to know about another person who’s a fan of History! I’m doing my Post Graduation in History, and I keep doing some small research work in it myself! I just started another blog with the main theme being History! I was delighted to find yours was the same!

  5. Hi Matt,

    I am reading your biography of R-III and the Survival of the Princes in the Tower and plan to read your other books since I am enjoying them and the extensive research you have done. I am wondering though if you have found any credible evidence of E-IV being actually illegitimate? The most I seem to find are vague references to Cecily referring to Edward as a bastard and nothing like the Duke. Or rumors about his early birth possibly because he was large.

    However I can see a mother who is angry at a son for taking the life of a brother (or planning to) calling him a bastard. I can also see her stating he is nothing like the Duke because Edward did not behave like the Duke, or even like his youngest brother. What mother would not have mixed emotions about having raised a king who had the legal power of life and death over another child?

    A word about premature babies. I wonder if Edward was just premature but large? Since I have type 1 diabetes (autoimmune diabetes) my daughter was born just over a month early but was 7 pounds 7 ounces and was estimated to have nearly doubled if she was born full term. However with testing done by the pediatrician, my daughter was definitely at least a month early and even though large she was as at risk for complications as others born a month or more early. She also had complications from my having been diabetic throughout pregnancy, such as severe hypoglycemia post birth.

    I guess my point is that the early date, the lack of a celebratory baptismal, and Edward’s large size(?) do not convince me that he was illegitimate. Perhaps Cecily had gestational diabetes which is closely related to type 2 but typically goes away. However it may come back later as type 2. Mothers with diabetes of any type often have premature babies that are very large and often these babies have other complications. In the Middle Ages many parents did not celebrate if they thought that a baby might not survive, even today many of us who have high risk pregnancies are reserved about celebrating.

    I wonder if anyone has questioned Cecily’s health during all of her pregnancies, although I have come across questionable resources about Richard’s birth. However her letter to Margaret of Anjou about her lethargy post birth with Richard and lack of recovery may provide a clue to pregnancy on the whole for Cecily. Of course Cecily was significantly older with Richard than with Edward. That said I think gestational diabetes was as common per capita as it is now and likely led to more infant deaths, stillbirths, and miscarriages than we can know.

    I am also not convinced he was illegitimate simply because Edward was huge as an adult in comparison to Richard, either. Both Richard Duke of York and Cecily had genetics that led to exceptional height since they both descend from Edward III. I believe that all three Edwards had a form of Marfan Syndrome just by going off of visual depictions and written descriptions of them. In fact to me they all look similar in structure to President Lincoln who likely also had Marfan Syndrome. Exceptional height is often one trait of it and Edward III’s son Lionel was even taller than Edward IV and Henry VIII.

    Scoliosis may also be present with Marfan Syndrome, just to throw that in, which is another reason I do not think Edward was illegitimate. Even though he doesn’t seem to have scoliosis, Richard III certainly did and likely had other growth issues during the time his scoliosis showed up. I wonder if even though Richard’s height was fairly normal he had Marfan Syndrome as well. What about their father?

    As side notes:

    Diabetes has been written about since the Greek and Roman periods and even the understanding that different types existed were written about. Only type 2 has any link to diet and lifestyle, but it too is *mostly genetic* with multiple factors involved. Type 1 is autoimmune and linked molecularly and via pathology to MS and other autoimmune diseases.

    I too have congenital spinal and growth hormone issues leading me to be significantly smaller than parents, siblings, and my daughter. I was in the less than 3% growth range as a child and did not have normal growth patterns, even before my diabetes diagnosis at 12.

    Insulin is a growth hormone which is another reason I throw in gestational diabetes for Cecily. Since both gestational and type 2 diabetes are connected to insulin resistance more insulin is often produced by a patient’s own pancreas which would affect the growth of a baby if more insulin was crossing the placenta. In type 1 diabetes it’s a lack of insulin production so exogenous insulin is always taken, but we too become insulin resistant and have to take more insulin, thus it affects babies. This cycle of high glucose and high insulin either produced by the mother or taken by the mother leads to post birth infant hypoglycemia.

    Anyway thanks for reading this, it is something that has bothered me about the arguments made that Edward himself was illegitimate. To me unless something more concrete is found, I think he was wholly Plantagenet through the Duke and Duchess.

    • Er glucose crosses to the baby not insulin itself, but this affects the growth and insulin needs of a baby and the baby often produces too much insulin leading to post birth hypoglycemia.

    • Hi Colleen. It’s a tricky one, but I would agree that there is no concrete evidence Edward was illegitimate. The recent conviction stems from the record of his birth at Rouen, which would suggest he was conceived when his father was away from Rouen. That doesn’t allow for either Cecily or York travelling, or Edward being early or late.

      Marfan Syndrome seems plausible, perhaps likely, in Lionel, Duke of Clarence, so the genes were there. The possibility of diabetes is interesting.

      Ultimately, I think the clearest indication that Edward was not illegitimate is that his father accepted him as his son and heir. He never questioned Edward’s parentage, and I don’t see much reason to now. Lots of the stories of it were either French jokes at Edward’s expense or Tudor accounts aiming to discredit Richard III.

  6. Hi Matt,

    I don’t see much reason to question Edward’s legitimacy in and of itself, but I still have a nagging idea that Cecily may have had gestational diabetes leading to a large baby born early or other complications in a newborn. I would have to look again at the dates for the Duke to not have been in Rouen for conception, I’m going off the top of my head. Since pregnancy is actually 40 weeks I would count from there rather than the 9 months that most lay people usually go off of. The documentary that I saw (and thought was rather inaccurate) did not seem to be counting the weeks properly.

    The dates written in the records at Rouen could also simply be wrong.

    I wholly believe Marfan Syndrome was there for the Plantagenets.

    As someone with type 1 diabetes but also very familiar with type 2, I actually cringe at some of the “gluttony” descriptions of Edward and Henry VIII, especially since so many believe type two is caused by the patient. Insulin resistance, the main trait for type 2, is a viscous cycle causing food cravings which in turn causes weight gain and more insulin resistance. I think both men had health patterns that fit type 2 diabetes I just don’t think that gluttony triggered it and while my type of diabetes is very different, gluttony is a stereotype that is bothersome.

    Edward and Richard could have had the genes for type 2 (and gestational diabetes) from both his parents, as his father was (if I recall) of Spanish descent from his father. Mediterraneans are genetically predisposed to type 2 at a fairly high rate and since type 2 diabetes is genetically very old, even back then. In fact I would think many of the Plantagenets carried genetic predispositions for it given the French and Spanish people they married.

    I wonder if Richard was beginning to have the insulin resistance/food/insulin resistance cycle once he became king and it was necessary to banquet more for interaction with the peerage rather than fight border wars for Edward. Decreased activity because of lethargy is plausible I think. His health certainly seemed to be impacted by Bosworth according to the documentary Richard III: the New Evidence. Perhaps weight gain made his scoliosis more difficult to manage by then since it would have impacted his lungs.

    Anyway thanks for reading my curious ramblings,
    Colleen

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