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Susan Abernethy here. It seems I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love history. At the age of fourteen, I watched “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” on TV and was enthralled. Truth seemed much more strange than fiction. I started reading about Henry VIII and then branched out into many types of history. This even led me to study history in college. Even though I never did anything with the history degree, it’s always been a hobby of mine. I started this blog to write about my thoughts on all kinds of history from Ancient times to mid-20th Century. Please feel free to have a look around.

Due to time constraints and ongoing historical projects, I am unable to read any books outside of those required for my own research.

Any and all sources used for these posts are at the bottom of each page under “Further reading”.

All images used are in the public domain unless specified otherwise in the caption.

To contact me, leave a comment on any of the posts.

Anonymous comments will be deleted.

The Freelance History Writer is now a contributor to the following websites:

Ancient History Encyclopedia
Early Modern England
Mittelalter Hypotheses – A German blog on the Middle Ages

Interviews with The Freelance History Writer

Interview with Diana Milne on The Review blog

Keira Morgan interviews The Freelance History Writer about Renaissance Women

History’s Willing Advocate:  Q&A With The Freelance History Writer

TudorsWeekly features The Freelance History Writer’s Tudor History Lovers Facebook page

Author Maria Grace interviews The Freelance History Writer

Gio with History and Other Thoughts blog spends 15 Minutes with The Freelance History Writer

Interview with The Freelance History Writer on Newsblaze.com

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

76 responses

  1. Susan,
    Hello, my name is David Russell. You wrote a piece about Dr Butts. I have recently found out he a a very very Great Grand Father. Is there any more information you can provide about him and or the family? I can send you the family tree diagram if it would be helpful. I am just trying to learn more.


  2. Dear Susan, I am writing to you because we have very beautiful painting by Corneille de Lyon which we believe depicts Madeleine de Valois (1520 – 1537), daughter of Francis I of France, who was briefly married to James V of Scotland, and known as the “Summer Queen”, but who died aged 16 and is buried at Hollyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland. We would be interested to know your thoughts on the picture. Is it possible to send you a private message in case you are interested? Many thanks, N.


  3. Hi Susan!

    My name is Allison and I’ve been a fan of your work for a long time. I also studied history in college, but found that so far I have not used it towards my career. I started a blog last year (historynavigator.wordpress.com), but I feel I have been inconsistent.
    What are your best time management/research tips (especially with a full time job)? How do you go about finding good sources? Do you have any advice on blog promotion as well?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ms Abernethy,

    I have struggled with the concept of using present-day moral standards to judge the character of historical figures (presentism).

    Intuitively I suspect this is a flawed approach to historiography.

    In my brief search for an alternative approach to presentism, I encountered the following rationales;

    “A moral relativist would say that our values today can’t be compared with the values from another era. What was right for them was right for them. What is right for us is right for us.”

    “The philosopher Miranda Fricker is not a moral relativist, but she thinks the test for blameworthiness is whether the person could have known any different. “The proper standards by which to judge people are the best standards that were available to them at the time”.

    Bernard Lewis’s concept of “moral luck”, which I did not fully understand.


    Fricker’s approach seems best to me, but perhaps is too simplistic a response to a very complex problem.

    I assume there are other theories on this?

    Could you comment on your approach to this dilemma?

    Is there a direct opposing position to presentism?



  5. Hello, I run a web series called HERstory that focusses on women from history who’ve been misrepresented by mainstream history and my next episode airing at the end of this month is about Marie Antoinette. I’d love to add your voice to the conversation via a video interview if you’d be willing. Here’s a link to the first episode to give you a feel for the set up of the show.


  6. I just read your post on Anne Neville. Interesting, but there was an error: you state that Anne and her mother both resided with the Duke and Duchess of Clarence after Tewkesbury – but the Countess of Warwick was at that time still in sanctuary.

    I was also puzzled by 2 other points, though both of them could be simply me mis-reading: You seem to say that the split of the Warwick lands was made entirely apart from the Gloucester marriage and that it granted Richard the Northern estates in his own right, robbing Anne of her inheritance. Other sources report that the divide gave both men the lands in right of their wives and that it was agreed to in order to persuade George to drop his opposition to the Gloucester wedding.

    The second point that puzzled me was that you refer to Anne writing to the Queen, her mother and other noble ladies asking them to intercede on her behalf to the King for her lands. Other sources I’ve read report that it was her mother who wrote such letters, and that she wrote to her daughters for the same purpose. If you could, I’d be very interested in sources for Anne Neville’s letters, as that certainly seems to put the whole post-Tewkesbury events in a new light.


    • The entry on Anne Neville in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, written by Michael Hicks, states that Clarence had custody of Anne Beauchamp. Whether she was living at Coldharbour is debatable. The splitting of the Warwick lands and the Gloucester marriage are related however, the timing is vague since we don’t know the exact date of Anne and Richard’s marriage. However, we do know the dates of the Acts of Parliament confirming the split.

      As far as Anne’s letters, Amy Licence in her biography of Anne states Anne herself wrote the letters to the Queen and her mother and Princess Elizabeth. She quotes Lisa Hilton as her source. Hilton states very clearly that Anne wrote the letters.


  7. Susan, Thanks for your absorbing blog. I would like to contribute something to you on a forgotten English hero if I might send it to you


  8. I am puzzled by the statement in your article on Anne of Bohemia that she “probably died of the plague.” I have read most if the major sources on Richard II and I do not recall any suggestion that she died of the plague. I do recall scholars who have suggested that she died after a long illness, and if so, she would not have died of the plague which was normally fatal within a few days.


    • Hi John, The entry on Anne of Bohemia in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, written by Nigel Saul states Anne of Bohemia died “possibly of plague”. There was an outbreak of plague at the time. She attended the opening of Parliament with Richard in 1394 so she apparently was not ill at that time. She then died on June 7 that same year. It was my understanding her death was sudden and this is why Richard was so distraught. Of course we will never really know what she died of but I trust the ODNB. James Gairdner in the 1885-1900 version of the ODNB also states she “died of the pestilence”. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anne_of_Bohemia_(DNB00)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Regarding your recent article at medievalists.net, according to the lines of descent detailed in the French Wikipedia, this Montfort-l’Amaury family is the same one that produced the 11th century lady knight Isabelle de Montfort and the 13th century Simon de Montfort who defeated Henry III and founded the first, and sadly brief, sovereign, elected parliament of England.


  10. Hi Susan, I’ve been wanting to comment on your “Salic Law” post, but comments seem not to be an option there. I was going to say: (1) Brittany was not part of France, indeed even the Bourbons treated it as separate before the French Revolution; (2) the female-descent exclusion in the Salic Law wasn’t a novelty introduced just to exclude the Plantagenet claim on France, because it also applied to the Habsburg monarchy until King Charles VI issued the Pragmatic Sanction in 1713.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Susan!

    Your website looks very professional and well laid out, and I would really like to contribute to it myself. I currently have a Bachelors, and have nearly completed my Masters in History. I have had a paper and blog published in my university’s online research journal.

    Thanks again



  12. Hello Susan ! and what an excellent name !

    We here at Previously…Scotland’s history festival love your blog, and have linked to two pieces – Joan Beaufort and Mary of Guelders on our Facebook page. We’re drawing attention to the Queens of the first 3 James because of the stunningly successful ‘James’ trilogy on touring right now. Best writing on these two queens. Thank you!

    Susan Morrison, festival director, Previously…Scotland’s history festival

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Susan! Thank you so much for posting the articles. I was wondering where all the views were coming from. 😉 You might also be interested in the two articles on the elegant Margaret of Denmark, wife of James III. There’s one on her and one about her wardrobe. It couldn’t have been easy to be married to James III! I have now “liked” the Facebook page and will keep up with it. I love Scottish history!


    • Hi Justin, I’d like to e-mail you with details on guest posting. Please follow me on Twitter and pm me your e-mail address. @SusanAbernethy2


  13. Pingback: HIDDEN HISTORY: Scota, Mother of Scotland and Daughter of a Pharaoh | RIELPOLITIK

  14. Dear Susan,

    What a splendid, thoroughly comprehensive blog you have! I have come across it a few times before, but I was just doing some research on Queen regent Marie de Guise the other day for my own blog and found your article on Mary Queen of Scots’ redoubtable mother.

    I am an aspiring American historian who, like you, was first intrigued in the Tudors by watching Masterpiece Theatre’s “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”. I subsequently read any Tudors and Stuart material I could get my hands on, and now I am studying early modern history (British, French, and Russian) as well as medieval and ancient history at University. I studied at the University of Edinburgh for a year in 2012 and absolutely fell in love with Britain, especially Scotland. My ultimate plan is to pursue a PhD and, ideally, teach at the university level.

    I am the administrator of the “Monarchists” Facebook group and a contributor to The British Monarchist Society and The Crown Chronicles. Feel free to check out these pages, as well as my personal blog:
    ryanphunter.wordpress.com, “Orthodox in the District”.

    With best wishes, and thanks again for your wonderful work!
    -Ryan Hunter
    Long Island, New York


  15. Hi Susan,

    I found out about your blog through KeriLynn E. How do you feel about sharing/featuring a comic about Grace Hopper on your blog? We are trying to spread the word about inspirational women in computer science and wanted to see if you would be interested in supporting the cause. Here’s the comic, would love to know what you think. http://ude.my/djd4m My email is ramya(at)udemy(.)com and I’m looking forward to hearing form you!


  16. Greetings! I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award – it’s supposed to recognize newer bloggers and I suspect you fall outside that category….but I went ahead and did it anyway because I love your work. Also sorry to inform you in a comment – but I didn’t see a Contact form on your site! If you check my own blog – http://janetwertman.com – it will tell you all the ground rules to accept the award (you have to thank me, add the logo to your post, share seven things about yourself, then nominate 15 more lovely blogs…)


  17. I very much enjoyed your blog, The Freelance History Writer. I am working on a history book-blog of my own, which can be seen at [one word] theoryofirony.com, then clicking on either the “sample chapter” or “blog” buttons at the top. My Rube Goldberg brain asks with an odd, well-caffeinated kind of logic: Why is there an inverse proportion between the size of the print and the importance of the message? Art. Literature. Science. Military. Religion. I call this eccentric thinking the Theory of Irony and if your busy schedule permits, give a read, leave a comment or create a link. In any event, best of luck with your own endeavors.

    P.S. It concerns Classical, Medieval and Modern eras.


  18. Hello Susan. Do you ever accept guest posts? I’m interested in writing one looking at Queen Elizabeth, Sir Francis Drake, and the law of the sea, but I need a place to put it.


  19. Pingback: Hilda of Whitby - A Ray of Light in the “Dark Ages”

  20. Dear Susan,

    I don’t know where to start! I just love your work and your blog is fantastic!
    I’m 25 and I’m a Medieval Studies student at the University of Zurich. Sadly here medieval queenship, which is one of my main interests – I discovered it by chance, really, and now is quite an obession -, is not really a topic, for others are chosen in the curricular activities. After my graduation I hope to keep working on Medieval history… even if I have no idea how yet!
    I want to thank you, reading your blog is such a source of inspiration on the topic (and on many other things) for me!

    Wish you all the best!



    • Dear Martina, Thank you so much for your kind words! Of course I understand your obsession with medieval queenship as it is very a most interesting topic. Thank you for reading the blog and I will see you over on Facebook in the Medieval Queens group. Best regards, Susan


  21. Hi Susan

    I just discovered your blog, I wonder whether you would be interested in reviewing any Amberley books? We have a wonderful new biography of Eleanor of Castile out in September which I think might interest you?

    Please let me know.

    Many thanks



  22. Hi Susan! You have a great website! I, too, love history of all varieties – primarily art and architectural history. Do you mind if I ask how you have come to contribute to so many other sites and blogs? I am always looking for writing opportunities beyond my own blog and am wondering how you find yours. Thank you so much! Alexandra


  23. Hi Susan! I just wanted to say your website is an inspiration to me as one who also loves history, specifically social and cultural history and have been working on writing little “snippets” here and there for my own satisfaction. Reading your work had shown me that anyone can write about history it is not just reserved for individuals with doctorates and those on TV. Thank you again Susan for your inspiration


    • Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for your kind words. You have made my day. Keep writing history and think about maybe starting your own blog.


  24. Susan Hi, I m not quite sure where I am going with this! My mother, the author Mary Delorme, 6 books published (see Goodreads), has been working on a book about Offa for quite a while, hence why I noticed your feature. She is 90 now, with failing sight, so struggling to finish it. I am republishing some of her work, one of which, aside from the mention of Offa, will definitely interest you. ‘St Bartholomew’s Man’, which you can find here. There is also an Amazon link, if you need it.
    I don’t know if that was just an article, or part of something bigger about Offa? Either way, I thought it worth mentioning. Best wishes, nice blog! Jon Delorme


    • Hi Jon, That is very interesting about your mother. Good for you for republishing her work. I’ve been doing research and writing about the Anglo-Saxon kings and queens of England and find the history fascinating. Thanks for featuring The Freelance History Writer on your blog! Regards, Susan


  25. I have recently been given a family tree that appears to go as far back as 1100s. It appears that I am a descend of II King of Scots Robert *Elizabeth Mure….(King) John (Robert III) Stewart of Scotland (!!! of Scotl’d) Annabella Drummond Queen Scotland; all through my grandmother’s side of the family. I do not know a thing about Scotland. It’s exciting knowing this new information. What does this mean, if anything?


  26. Hi Susan! I didn’t know about your blog before, but now I do. Do you have a list of great historical fiction for the topics that interest you?


  27. Hello Susan, the only thing my mother ever gave me was her love of all things historical and for that i am greatful i can’t get enough of it, i love the saxon period and tudor the most but everything else is a very close runner up


    • Hi Alyson! I see you have been bitten by the history bug too. 🙂 We appear to share similar interests. Thanks for reading. Look for another Anglo-Saxon queen and more kings coming soon.


  28. Hello,

    I’m sorry to bother you I’m sure you get questions like this all the time but I’m a student about to finish an English and History degree and I’m really really interested in becoming a freelance historian but I have no idea how to go about it. I was wondering if you could give me any tips or advice as your website is highly admirable! My aspiration would to become self-sufficient from historical writing as you have and I’d love any advice you could possibly give.

    Thank you so much in advance and I’d understand if you were too busy to reply also as long as you keep up the amazing posts!

    Natasha Martell

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Susan, I’m Head Editor of the new website Decoded Past. I’m recruiting history writers for the site and I’m wondering if you would be interested. I’d be delighted to hear from you. Cheers.


  30. This might interest you, Susan …



      • I see you use the stained glass window in Edinburgh’s St. Margaret’s Chapel as your avatar. Nice choice. The UK press seems entirely uninterested in my little tale of one of Scotland’s long-lost relics. They show no interest in this one, either …


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