Hidden historical heroines (#17: Grace Darling)

  Grace Horsley Darling (24 November 1815 – 20 October 1842) was a lighthouse keeper’s daughter in Victorian England, unremarkable, excepting the fact that in 1838 she and her father took a rowboat out on stormy seas to rescue nine people from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire.   Grace was born in 1815 in […]

Hidden historical heroines (#16: Judith of Flanders)

  Judith of Flanders (c. 843 – 870) was a great-granddaughter of Charlemagne, the eldest daughter of the Frankish King and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the Bald of the House of the Carolingians. She was twice-over Queen of Wessex, the dominant and largest Anglo-Saxon kingdom.   In 855 King Æthelwulf of Wessex, an extremely pious […]

Hidden historical heroines (#15: Elizabeth Siddal)

  Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal (25 July 1829 – 11 February 1862) was a celebrated artists’ model – as well as being a poet and artist in her own right – who was used extensively by the Pre-Raphaelites.   Named for her mother, “Lizzie” Siddal was born in the summer of 1829, in the family home […]

Hidden historical heroines (#14: Eleanor de Clare)

  Eleanor de Clare (3 October 1292 – 30 June 1337) was a granddaughter to Edward I of England, joint heiress to the vast de Clare estates and the wife of the powerful, infamous Hugh Despenser the Younger.   Eleanor was born in Caerphilly castle in south Wales. Her father was Gilbert ‘the Red’ de […]

Hidden historical heroines (#13: “Skittles”)

  Catherine Walters, also known as “Skittles” (13 June 1839 – 4 August 1920) was a renowned trendsetter and media darling; she was the last great Victorian courtesan, famed for her natural beauty, her discretion and for being less flamboyant and much more classy than her numerous contemporaries.   Born just a few years into […]

Hidden historical heroines (#12: Granuaile)

  Grace O’Malley (Gráinne Ní Mháille), c. 1530 – c. 1603, was Queen of Umaill, chieftain of the Ó Máille clan and a pirate (yes, a pirate) of Tudor Ireland. She is more commonly known by her nickname Granuaile.   Granuaile was born around 1530, the only legitimate child of Eoghan Dubhdara Ó Máille – […]

Hidden historical heroines (#11: Cartimandua)

    Cartimandua (ruled c. 43 – 69) was a queen of the Brigantes, a Celtic people in what is now the ‘neck’ of England. A contemporary of the rebellious – and much more famous – Boudica, she is the only queen that the Romans recognised in her own right, referring to her as ‘regina’ […]

Hidden historical heroines (#10: Amy Johnson)

  Amy Johnson CBE, (1 July 1903 – 5 January 1941) was a pioneering aviatrix who broke several world records in the field of aviation.   Although Amy was to repeatedly assure people she was no tomboy – rather, she liked the girlier things in life – she preferred to be known by her friends […]

Hidden historical heroines (#09: Joanna Plantagenet)

  Joanna Plantagenet of England (October 1165 – 24 September 1199) was the seventh child of Henry II of England and his infamous queen consort, Eleanor of Aquitaine. During the course of her life she was a Princess of England, the Queen of Sicily and the Countess of Toulouse.   Being the youngest of the […]

Hidden historical heroines (#08: Scota)

Scota is a psuedohistorical character in Irish and Scottish mythology, the daughter of an Egyptian Pharoah to whom the Gaels traced their ancestry; she allegedly explains the name Scoti, applied by the Romans to Irish raiders, and later to the Irish invaders of what would later be known as Scotland. If Scota lived at all, she lived sometime in the centuries around 1400 BC. Tradition holds her […]