Fun Size Bytes

  1. A letter to Terry Deary

    Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories series, is reportedly in favour of closing public libraries

    Dear Terry Deary

    I’ve just started reading your book, Stormin’ Normans. I’m only up to page 10, I’m afraid, but then I’m a slow reader.

    You describe the site of William the Conqueror’s first battle, Val-es-Dunes, as being ‘on the Norman border with France’. It’s actually just outside Caen, nowhere near the French border.

    You say that William died a year after 1085, i.e. 1086. He actually died in 1087.

    You say that Henry I’s only son died in 1119. The correct date is 1120.

    You say that William’s queen, Matilda, was only 127cm tall. This is a modern myth caused by misreporting. The French archaeologists who examined her partial remains actually concluded she was 152cm (about 5’).

    You say William was buried in a cathedral he founded in Caen. There is no cathedral in Caen. William founded an abbey.

    I’ll get back to you again when I’ve finished the rest of the book. But in the meantime, I can’t help wondering: do you think you should have spent more time in the library?

    best wishes

    Dr Marc Morris