This is the Marmion Tower in West Tanfield – a village close to where I live. I have known about it most of my life and driven past countless times – never knowing its significance – its link to the Wars of the Roses – until I found reference in Michelle Schindler’s research notes that it belonged to and was an often-used Manor of Alice Fitzhugh, mother-in-law of Richard III’s closest friend, Francis Viscount Lovell. He was married to her daughter Anne at the age of 8 – she was 4 and he lived with them for a time. He almost certainly spent time there as a child. It is an idyllic spot beside the ancient church and on the banks of the river Ure.
As I’ve just begun the sequel to Renaissance – about Francis, the working title of which is Renegade, I felt very justified in enjoying a sunny afternoon away from my laptop, clambering around it and imagining that boy doing all those things that young boys do when playing on a river bank.