Tag Archives: articles on women in history

Celebrating Women Series: Elizabeth Ashworth on Alice de Lacy

Welcome to the 1oth article in the “Celebrating Women” Series for Women’s History Month! It’s the first time I’ve coordinated an author guest article series to celebrate women in history or women making history! Thank you to Elizabeth Ashworth for offering the 10th article in this series. If you’d like to continue on with the tour, which runs March 19-31, 2014, follow along each day on the main blog or head to this blog page, Women in History, which will be updated daily with the scheduled link.


Alice de Lacy – the maligned countess
by historical author Elizabeth Ashworth

Alice de Lacy, taken from Broken Arrow films blog

Alice de Lacy, taken from Broken Arrow films blog

Alice de Lacy was one of the wealthiest and most important noblewomen in England during the early 14th century. She could easily have become queen. But hardly anyone has heard of her, because she lost everything – her wealth, her titles, her status and her reputation – simply because she was a woman.

Alice de Lacy was the daughter of Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, and Margaret Longespee, Countess of Salisbury. After a childhood accident left her brother, Edmund, dead Alice became the only surviving heir of Henry and Margaret, and, as a daughter, it was important that she made a good marriage. Her father made an agreement with the king, Edward I, that Alice should be married to his nephew, Thomas. As part of the agreement, Henry gave all his lands to the king and was re-granted them for his lifetime, after which they would pass to Thomas and Alice and their heirs. It must have seemed the ideal solution to Henry. He must have hoped that Alice would bear sons who, although they would not have the de Lacy name, would carry his bloodline and his fortune into the future and be a part of the extended royal family.

However, things not go according to plan. The marriage was not a happy one. It appears that Alice and Thomas hated one another. Alice bore no children and after the death of Henry de Lacy, Thomas sent his wife to Pickering Castle to live alone whilst he fathered at least two sons with a mistress back at Pontefract Castle, which had been the de Lacy stronghold and Alice’s home.

When Thomas fell out with his cousin, Edward II, and led a rebellion he was defeated at the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322. As a traitor, he was executed and all his lands and castles were seized by the king. Alice was made to sign over all her possessions too – even the ones she had inherited from her mother which had never belonged to Thomas. She was left with very little except a manor in Lincolnshire where she was sent to live.

Having lost her wealth and her titles, Alice also suffered the indignity of losing her reputation. Whilst her husband is never criticised for his mistresses, chroniclers and even present day historians have called Alice a ‘wanton woman’, ‘the foulest whore’, ‘disgraceful’, and ‘a woman of notoriously bad character’. The reason for this tirade against her is that she fell in love, and may have had a relationship, with her second husband, Eble le Strange, whilst Thomas was still alive.

History judges men and women very differently. Thomas, who had many mistresses, was adored as a saint after his death. Alice, who fell in love with a man she married and remained faithful to is called appalling names.

The reason I wrote my novel, Favoured Beyond Fortune, was to tell Alice de Lacy’s story and try to reclaim her reputation from historians who repeat the accusations against her without ever making a proper study of her life. Alice is a much maligned character and she deserves better.

Elizabeth Ashworth, Biography~

elizabeth ashworthElizabeth Ashworth is an author based in Lancashire. She writes fiction and non-fiction books as well as short stories and articles.

Her first historical novel The de Lacy Inheritance was published by Myrmidon Books in June 2010 and her second novel An Honourable Estate is available as an ebook and a paperback, along with its very own short prequel The Lady of Haigh.

Her third novel, By Loyalty Bound, which tells the story of the mistress of Richard III was published in July 2013 by Pen and Sword Fiction. Her fourth novel, Favoured Beyond Fortune, which tells the story of Alicia de Lacy is available now as an e-book.

You can find her on Facebook and her Twitter is @elizashworth.  Her website is: www.elizabethashworth.com.

Favoured_Beyond_Fort_Cover_for_KindleFavoured Beyond Fortune, Synopsis~

  • File Size: 676 KB
  • Print Length: 214 pages
  • Publisher: AWES Books (March 8, 2014)

‘He is rich who has that which is heart desires’

She was one of the richest noblewomen in England. But Alicia de Lacy lost everything when her husband, Thomas of Lancaster, led a rebellion against King Edward II.

Everything except the love of one man.

Read an excerpt here: http://elizabethashworth.com/novels/favoured-beyond-fortune/

See her Pinterest Board on the de Lacy family:  http://www.pinterest.com/ElizAshworth/the-history-of-the-de-lacy-family/


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Celebrating Women Series: Nassem Al-Mehairi Talks about Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse-“The She-Merchant Of New York”

Welcome to the sixth article in the “Celebrating Women” for Women’s History Month! It’s my first series (author guest article series) to celebrate women in history or women making history! Thank you to Nassem Al-Mehairi for offering the sixth article in this series. If you’d like to continue on with the tour, which runs March 19-31, 2014, follow along each day on the main blog or head to this blog page, Women in History, which will be updated daily with the scheduled link.


Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse, otherwise called The She-Merchant of New York:
How She Became the Richest Woman in New York Circa Mid-1650s New Amsterdam (Present Day New York)

by Nassem Al-Mehairi, writer and currently authoring an historical novel on Baron Resolved Waldron

Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse. That’s a name you may not have heard of before, but she was one of the most successful businesswomen to ever live in the Americas!

Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse was born in 1630. Little is known of her early life, but Margaret is thought to have received some education, as the Dutch were the only ones who provided primary education for females in Europe during the 1600’s.Margaret, brought up in a time when the Reformed Church advocated for equality for women and more liberal views were held by Dutch society toward women’s rights, brought these to the New World.

At the age of 22, in 1659, a determined Margaret came to New Amsterdam, the Dutch colony on Manhattan Island. Her job as a factor for her wealthy cousin allowed her to handle his New World affairs. She did not find working for others to her liking, so she began her own trading company.


The Philipse Manor in New York

Margaret, needing to build her alliances with others to expand her business, married a successful merchant named Peter de Vries. In Dutch law, there were 2 kinds of marriages: a manus, in where the woman became a legal minor under the “guardianship” of her husband, and a usus, where the wife retained all the rights a Dutch man would have. Margaret chose usus, which allowed her to continue to build her wealth.


Castello Plan Of New Amsterdam

 When Peter died in 1661, Margaret inherited his estate. This added his ships to hers and his power. By this time she was sending furs and other goods to the Netherlands and was acting as a middleman for valuable trade in New Amsterdam. The guilders were rolling in, and it was possible because of the Dutch culture which treated women much more fairly.

 In 1663, Margaret married a man by the name of Frederick Philipse. A self-made man, Frederick owned 52000 acres of land along the Hudson River and a huge mansion, Philipse Manor. This marriage grew Margaret’s power even further, to a point where it seemed she could not be stopped.

In August of 1664, the British seized New Amsterdam, and renamed it New York. The British were not nearly as liberal as the Dutch, especially on women’s rights. The British successfully kept down more and more ambitious women in the colony, but, as Margaret had built a vast trade empire already, they could not displace her.

As she kept her transatlantic trade empire flourishing, she had to “officially” start doing business in her husband’s name. The British stripped her of many of her rights, and she could no longer act as a legal agent or purchase goods herself. She worked the system to be able to continue her merchant business despite this, with the help of Frederick.


Map Of New Netherland.

Margaret retired from business in 1680, and her sons took over the trade empire. Her business continued to thrive, and kept her descendents at the top of New York society for 300 more years. Not until the American Revolution would women have the rights that Margaret had during the Dutch rule of Manhattan. She lived for 11 more years after this, until her death in 1691. At her death, she was the richest woman in New York.

Nassem Al-Mehairi, Biography~

20140104-183355Nassem Al-Mehairi was born in 1999. Possessing unique viewpoints due to his heritage and the times, he is well-suited to understand the solutions to modern issues, such as domestic poverty, international relations, and women’s rights.

He aspires to higher education, law, and politics, as well as to continue writing.

Mr. Al-Mehairi is an author and currently runs the personal online column Seize The Moment. He is in progress of writing a novel about his maternal line ancestor Baron Resolved Waldron, who resided in New Amsterdam (now New York) in 1610-1690.

He resides in Ashland, Ohio.

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Celebrating Women Series: Stephanie Thornton on Hatshepsut, Pharaoh of Egypt

Welcome to the first article in the “Celebrating Women” for Women’s History Month! It’s my first article series to celebrate women in history or women making history! Thank you to Stephanie Thornton for starting everything off with a post on Hatshepsut. If you’d like to continue on with the tour, which runs March 19-31, 2014, follow along each day on the main blog or head to this blog page, Women in History, which will be updated daily with the scheduled link.

Hatshepsut’s Reign of Egypt and Her Grand Success
by Stephanie Thornton, historical author

The statue of Hatshepsut is in the Met in New York/Photo Wikipedia

The statue of Hatshepsut is in the Met in New York/Photo Wikipedia

It’s Women’s History Month, and there’s no better time for me to gush about my all-time favorite woman in history.  I’ve been obsessed with Hatshepsut since I wrote a report on her in 7th grade (Cleopatra was taken) and realized that the world knew relatively little about this enigmatic woman who became one of ancient Egypt’s most successful pharaohs.

Hatshepsut was the daughter of Pharaoh Tutmose I and Queen Ahmose. (BTW- There are multiple spellings of some of these names and for clarity’s sake, I’m going to use the ones I used in my upcoming novel, Daughter of the Gods.) Her father had several other children, but all of them predeceased him, save Hatshepsut and her half-brother, Thutmosis. That’s one of the hazards of living back then- life expectancies hovered somewhere near the 30 year mark.

Thutmosis was the son of the Pharaoh and a lesser wife named Mutnofret. When Tutmose died, Thutmosis became pharaoh. His reign was short, dated anywhere from two to twelve years, but with most historians leaning toward the former. Regardless, the man’s only major accomplishment while on the throne was fathering a son with a dancing girl named Aset and Hatshepsut’s daughter, Neferure.

Then he dies.

Such a terrible shame, but not for Hatshepsut! Thutmosis kicking the bucket allows Hatshepsut to become regent to her toddler stepson. (And yes, little Tutmose would also be her nephew since he’s her brother’s kid.)


Hatshepsut sits by dutifully for seven years, ruling for Tutmose like a good little regent. But then, for whatever reason (and we don’t really know what this reason is) she declares herself Pharaoh.

Only two other women before Hatshepsut were Pharaoh and both were the end of their family lines, the last link in a family to toss on the throne. And both women brought about the end of their family dynasties. (Oops.)

But Hatshepsut’s reign was a grand success. She went on to built the architectural marvel of Deir-el-Bahri (there I am in front of it!), organize an expedition to reopen trade to the mythical land of Punt, and keep the peace in her country for several decades.

Picture 078

Stephanie in front of Deir-el-Bahri

Hatshepsut disappears from the historical record around 1482BCE and then Tutmose gets to take his place on the throne. Late in his reign all references to Hatshepsut as Pharaoh and all her monuments and statues are destroyed. Historians once believed this was an act of revenge against his usurper stepmother, but now it’s believed it was merely to secure later successions and erase the aberration of a female ruler from Egypt’s history.

Hatshepsut may not be as famous as Cleopatra VII (who lost the entire country to Rome, by the way), but of all the women pharaohs, Hatshepsut was by far the most successful. In fact, even compared to the entire list of Egypt’s rulers, Hatshepsut would certainly rank in the top five. I’m biased, but I’d say she only comes behind Ramesses II, although he lived so long (ninety-some-odd-years-old) that his death sunk the country into a slump from which it would never recover.

So there’s no doubt about it: Hatshepsut is a rock star!

About Stephanie Thornton (in her words)~

ThorntonPhotoI’m a writer and high school history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since I was twelve. I’d stalk Theodora and Hatshepsut if I could, but they’re kind of dead. So I travel to ancient sites they’ve been to and write books about them instead.

My debut novel, THE SECRET HISTORY: A Novel of Empress Theodora, will be published by NAL/Penguin in July 2013, and DAUGHTER OF THE GODS, a story of Pharaoh Hatshepsut, will hit the shelves May 2014, and TIGER QUEENS, a story of the women of Ghenghis Khan, will be coming Fall of 2014.

I live with my husband and daughter in Alaska, where I’m at work on my next novel.

Web/blog: http://stephanie-thornton.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephMThornton

Coming Soon, May 2014……..DAUGHTER OF THE GODS, Synopsis~

Daughter of the GodsEgypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt…and sets her on a profoundly changed course.

Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Horus Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.

Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall….

Once again, Stephanie Thornton brings to life a remarkable woman from the distant past whose willingness to defy tradition changed the course of history.

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