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Books by Timothy Venning

  • Lords of the Isles

    Timothy Venning

    Product Code: BABVR
    Paperback
    In contrast to most of Scotland, the north-western coast and the islands beyond were a region of mixed political control as well as culture into the sixteenth century. The divergent influences of Celtic and Scandinavian culture were more marked here than in the evolving mainland kingdom of Scots. It was a physically remote region of substantial autonomy under its own dynasties. Timothy Venning explores the whole of the lordship of the Isles at its widest extent, under Somerled MacGillebride (ruled c. 1130-64), encompassing the kingdom of Man during its independent history, plus the mainland domains of Somerled's family in the western Highlands. He also covers the jarldom of Orkney, a Scandinavian lordship divided between involvement in and allegiance to Scotland and Norway until the later fifteenth century. This book traces the complex story of the kings and lesser lords who ruled the region and the continuing autonomy of the area's clans until the catastrophe of 1745-46 when those clans loyal to their traditional sovereigns were decimated for backing the Stuart invasion. The London government then suppressed an entire culture. The story shows the dynamics of a richly varied world alien to centralised modern Britain.
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  • Kingmakers

    Timothy Venning

    Product Code: AWPAB
    Hardback
    Decentralisation and outsourcing are not new to British history. In medieval England the practical limitations of the reach of the Crown forced the king and the government to entrust some autonomy and legal powers to its regional aristocratic rulers. The Norman and Plantagenet kings relied upon these nobles for the protection of the dangerous frontiers of the realm. In Wales, as in Ireland, the smaller size and military inferiority of the often divided neighbouring states encouraged conquest, with the seized lands enhancing the power of the aggressive English lords' domains. The great lords of the Welsh Marches were granted ever greater authority to the point where they believed they ruled like kings. They intermarried, schemed for extra lands and snatched power in a complex and often violent political process. Due to their huge resources and unparalleled military experience, they soon came to overawe weak kings and dominate national events. The strength of the Marcher Lords would come to the fore at various points throughout history, characterised by notorious figures such as Simon de Montfort, Roger Mortimer and Edward IV. Timothy Venning showcases the mentality of the Lords of the Marches, and reveals the dramatic careers of those who prospered from their loyalty to the king, to those whose power was gained by treachery. This is their story, from the Norman Conquest to the beginnings of the Tudor dynasty.
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  • The Kings & Queens of Wales

    Timothy Venning

    Product Code: ANGKA
    Paperback
    The Welsh kings and queens who ruled prior to the Norman Conquest of Wales are shrouded in mystery. Most of what we know is from legend, names in annals, and from their opponents. This book sets out to identify what we know or can reasonably surmise about these rulers, to disentangle their history, and to assess their achievements. The Welsh ruled over large areas of Britain in the pre- and post-Roman eras, before they were pushed back into Wales itself by the Anglo-Saxons. Caratacus and Boudicca are names that stand out from early tribal states, and Medieval Welsh legends refer to shadowy 'High Kings' who ruled after the Romans left - Vortigern, Ambrosius and of course the enigmatic 'Arthur'. Venning explores these mysterious figures before discussing the kings and queens of each area of what we now know as Wales - the north, the centre and south-west, and the south-east - as well as the short-lived Welsh states in the rest of Britain. The thirteenth-century unifiers of Wales, Llewelyn 'Fawr' and his grandson Llewelyn 'the Last', were contemporaries of great nation-builders in England, Scotland, and France, but their political achievements did not last. The precarious Welsh state was permanently overrun by the English war-machine.
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  • An Alternative History of Britain: The English Civil War

    Timothy Venning

    Product Code: AMOOU
    Hardback
    With hindsight, the victory of Parliamentarian forces over the Royalists in the English Civil War may seem inevitable but this outcome was not a foregone conclusion. Timothy Venning explores many of the turning points and discusses how they might so easily have played out differently. What if, for example, Charles I had capitalized on his victory at Edgehill by attacking London without delay? Could this have ended the war in 1642? His actual advance on the capital in 1643 failed but came close to causing a Parliamentarian collapse - how could it have succeeded and what then? Among the many other scenarios, full consideration is given to the role of Ireland (what if Papal meddling had not prevented Irish Catholics aiding Charles?) and Scotland (how might Montrose's Scottish loyalists have neutralized the Covenanters?). The author analyses the plausible possibilities in each thread, throwing light on the role of chance and underlying factors in the real outcome, as well as what might easily have been different.
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  • The Kings & Queens of Anglo-Saxon England

    Timothy Venning

    Product Code: AFVGJ
    Paperback
    The Anglo-Saxon era is one of the most important in English history, covering the period from the end of Roman authority in the British Isles to the Norman Conquest of 1066 in which the very idea of England was born. In The Kings& Queens of Anglo-Saxon England, Venning examines the rulers of Anglo-Saxon England, beginning with the legendary leaders of the Anglo-Saxon invasion as Hengest and Horsa or Cerdic and Cynric and moving on through such figures as Aethelbert of Kent, the first king to be converted to Christianity and his daughter Aethelburh, whose marriage began the conversion of Northumbria, to Alfred of Wessex and his dynasty, the Viking invasions, and the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings, Harold Godwineson.
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  • An Alternative History of Britain: The Anglo-Saxon Age

    Timothy Venning

    Product Code: AFUDR
    Hardback
    Taking a similar approach to his successful If Rome Hadn't Fallen, Timothy Venning explores the various decision points in a fascinating period of British history and the alternative paths that it might have taken. Dr Timothy Venning starts within an outline of the process by which much of Britain came to be settled by Germanic tribes after the end of Roman rule, so far as it can be determined from the sparse and fragmentary sources. He then moves on to discuss a series of scenarios which might have altered the course of subsequent history dramatically. For example, was a reconquest by the native British ever a possibility (under 'Arthur' or someone else)? Which of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms might have united England sooner and would this have kept the Danes out? And, of course, what if Harold Godwinson had won at Hastings? While necessarily speculative, all the scenarios are discussed within the framework of a deep understanding of the major driving forces, tensions and trends that shaped British history and help to shed light upon them. In so doing they help the reader to understand why things panned out as they did, as well as what might have been.
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