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England, made in Sheffield?

Posted April 24th, 2016 in Blogs by admin

England, from Engleland, the land seized and settled by Germanic people who migrated there from northern Europe.

There’s not much said of “England” until about a hundred years before the Norman conquest in 1066AD, and without two major events, both of which probably occurred in Sheffield, we might never have heard of it at all.

At school we all learned that according to Bede, writing around 731AD, it was the Angles and Saxons from northern Germany, and the Jutes from Jutland, that kicked off the process of English settlement, much to the annoyance of the Welsh. This continued from about 450AD to 700AD. These Germanic settlers divided the land into several small kingdoms which survived in one form or another until about 927AD.

It was Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, who created England by unifying Mercia and Wessex, the last two remaining old Anglo Saxon kingdoms. But, he could not have done this, but for two major Sheffield events.

The first of these occurred in 829AD when King Egbert of Wessex accepted tribute from the Northumbrian king and several other lesser kings at Dore in Sheffield. He thus became the Bretwalda, (The Big Boss of Britain) and held sway over lands stretching from the English Channel up to Scotland’s River Clyde.

The second, and decisive event in the creation of England was the Battle of Brunanburh in 937AD. The aforementioned Athelstan led his troops against an army comprising Danes, Scots and Welsh warriors, all madly determined to stop him in his tracks. Athelstan was victorious and England was born.

History tells us when this battle was fought, but unfortunately, nobody is sure where it took place. For years, historians have argued about the location of Brunanburh. To date none has nailed it down. Michael Wood, the historian and TV broadcaster (not the service station on the M5) has suggested Sheffield – Tinsley Wood near Brinsworth to be precise. He points to what he regards as striking similarities between the present day location and the battlefield as described in Egil’s Saga, an ancient poem about the battle. Sir Frank Merry Stenton, the big daddy of Anglo Saxon and Danelaw history, is also thought to have favoured the Tinsley location. Since nobody has come up with a better idea, I say, why not go along with ‘em and agree it was Tinsley in Sheffield?

There can be no doubt whatsoever, that the Battle of Brunanburh was the most significant in Anglo Saxon history before the Norman invasion. What a pity Sheffield doesn’t celebrate its truly unique role in the birth of England.

Another major mystery is precisely what colours the victorious army carried on that blood soaked day, red and white, or blue and white. It’s probably a safe bet to say they had Blades, but there were plenty of Owls around Tinsley Wood at that time too, so that part of the mystery may never be resolved.


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Mother Goose Murders

Posted November 29th, 2015 in books by admin

Now out on Kindle

A  famous  actor  is  accused  of  murdering  a  beautiful duchess. Days later he is found brutally murdered. Billy Perks and his pals suspect his misidentification and set out  to  prove  it.  Another  killing  results  when  police ignore vital evidence.

This  funny, nostalgic  murder  mystery, for  adult  and teenage readers, is set in Sheffield in the early fifties.

Mother Goose Murders is the third in the Tuppenny Hat Detective  series .

Get it for Kindle now.


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Tuppenny Hat Detective

Posted April 10th, 2014 in books by admin

Set in Sheffield in 1951. What would you do if you found an old lady dead in her home, and you were certain that she had been murdered, but the authorities didn’t think so? Twelve-year-old Billy Perks and his friends turn detectives, little realising the danger of awakening a long hidden serial killer.
(Period detective story for teenagers and adults).


Was the old STAR WOMAN murdered? The authorities didn’t think so, and the briefest of investigations quickly satisfies them that the file on the lonely old lady’s death could be quietly closed.

BILLY PERKS, the 12 year old schoolboy who had found the body, thought differently. He had no doubt whatsoever that the old lady had been murdered. Saddened and angry that her killer might never pay for the crime, he decides that he will track them down and bring them face to face with the hangman.

With friends YVONNE SPARKES and KICK MORLEY, Billy turns detective, acquiring along the way a trilby hat as worn by his heroes of film and wireless, Humphrey Bogart and Dick Barton. It’s a great new game with serious intent, full of excitement and challenge, but it’s a game that puts them in grave danger, something for which their innocent enthusiasm had not prepared them.

Who is the strange tramp shadowing them? What was written on pages torn from the old woman’s diary and burned in her hearth on the night she was killed? Who are the young airmen photographed alongside their Wellington bomber? The friends start building their case. News of their success leaks out, causing unease in their close knit, South Yorkshire community of the early fifties. buy online as a paperback, or buy as a Kindle ebook   or from in other ebook formats.

Tuppenny Hat detective is a crime adventure story for adults and older teenagers. It deals with adult themes that some parents may consider unsuitable for younger children.

 Download for Kindle now.

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Dance Floor Drowning

Posted April 21st, 2012 in books by admin

A 2013 “YouWriteOn” prize winner

A gripping mystery for adult and teenage readers.

A corpse floats in a swimming pool beneath a dance floor. A blood soaked head is found in a local beauty spot. A woman is clubbed to death and left to rot in medieval tunnels under the city streets.

Three brutal murders, ten years apart. What connects them? Why is a senior police officer determined to hide the truth? What really happened under cover of an air raid that killed seventy Christmas revellers in a popular city centre pub?

Another Billy Perks investigation. The old team; Billy’s pals Yvonne Sparkes and “Kick” Morley with old Etonian, M.D. Doc Hadfield, are joined this time by a new sleuth, rookie cop, PC John Needham.

Buy it now on Amazon or download a free sample. Dance sample chapters