Historical Heroines

Otherwise known as the “If Erin Had All The Time In The World She’d Write Novels About These Women” List.

01: Joan of Kent, the infamous ‘Fair Maid’ who dared to marry for love, not just once, but twice.
02: Nest ferch Rhys, a Welsh medieval princess who helped her besieged husband escape down a lavatory chute.
03: Isabella MacDuff, heroine of the Scots, fervent supporter of Robert the Bruce, the famous “Lady in a Cage”.
04: Peg Woffington, Irish-born Georgian actress of high renown.
05: Ælfthryth, a Saxon Queen: wife, stepmother and mother to a succession of kings.
06: Arbella Stuart, considered to have been the true and rightful heir to Elizabeth I.
07: Lola Montez, Irish-born dancer who found world-wide fame on the stage and as the long-term lover of the last Bavarian king.
08: Scota, a psuedohistorical character in Irish and Scottish mythology, the daughter of an Egyptian Pharoah to whom the Gaels traced their ancestry.
09: Joanna Plantagenet, daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, much-married into European royalty and kidnapped by pirates.
10: Amy Johnson, a pioneering aviatrix and war hero who broke several world records in the field of aviation.
11: Cartimandua, queen of the Brigantes, a Celtic people in what is now the ‘neck’ of England, a contemporary of the infamous Boudica.
12: Granuaile, Queen of Umaill, chieftain of the Ó Máille clan and a pirate and rebel against the Tudor overlordship of Ireland.
13: Skittles, the last Victorian courtesan.
14: Eleanor de Clare, wife of the infamous Hugh Despenser the Younger, ‘lover’ of Edward II.
15: Elizabeth Siddal, artist and poet and muse to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
16: Judith of Flanders, granddaughter of Charlemagne, the twice-over Queen of Wessex.
17: Grace Darling, Victorian “nobody” who shot to fame after rescuing the survivors of a shipwreck.
18: Edith Cavell, nurse and patriot; executed by the Germans during World War I.
19: Amy Robsart, the woman whose suspicious death caused Elizabeth Tudor to become “The Virgin Queen”.
20: Marie-Louise O’ Murphy, the daughter of an Irish army officer who became the mistress of Louis XV.
21: Æthelflæd, daughter of Alfred the Great, known as The Lady of the Mercians.
22: Margaret Tudor, the “forgotten Tudor”, Queen of Scots, terrible taste in husbands.
23: George Eliot, aka Marian Evans, infamous Victorian novelist.
24: Margaret Drummond(s), the first, a Queen of Scotland. The second, so near but yet so far.
25: Blodeuwedd, a wife created from flowers for a Welsh mythological hero.
26: Penelope Rich, shining star of the Elizabethan and Jacobean courts.
27: Princess Charlotte Augusta, the Queen-that-should-have-been.
28: Jane Lane, Restoration heroine, without whom we may not have a British monarchy today..!
29: Helena von Snakenborg, the Swedish teenager who took the Elizabethan court by storm.
30: “James Barry”, who concealed her gender for almost 50 years to qualify and work as a surgeon.
31: St Margaret of Scotland, the Saxon Princess who brought continental subtleties to the 11th Century Scots.
32: Eleanor Cobham: Nobody to Lady-in-Waiting, then mistress to Duchess, to penitent witch.
33: Mary Grey, the unfortunate, stunted sister to Jane Grey, the “Nine Days Queen”.
34: Edith Swanneck, the beautiful handfast wife of Harold Godwinson who reclaimed his mutilated corpse after the Battle of Hastings.
35: Sophia Dorothea of Celle, denounced Queen and despised wife of George I, imprisoned in a castle for over half of her life.
36: Eormenburg, Kentish princess who founded the Christian monastery on Thanet.
37: Gertrude Bell, the woman who made Iraq.
38: Black Agnes, that brawling, boisterous, Scottish wench.

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