Alison Weir Tours

The Wulfhall Tour

 

PERSONNEL




Alison Weir is the top-selling female historian in the United Kingdom since records began in 1997. She had a career in the Civil Service before her first book, Britain`s Royal Families, came out in 1989. She has since written eighteen other history books, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Princes in the Tower, Lancaster and York, Children of England, Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: King and Court, Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, Katherine Swynford and The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn. Alison has also written nine historical novels, the latest of which, Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets, is the fourth in a series of six on the wives of Henry VIII. Her books have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. Four of them have been chosen as Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4. Her last historical biography, Queens of the Conquest, was published in October 2017, the first in a quartet about England's Medieval Queens. Alison is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences and an Honourary Life Patron of Historic Royal Palaces. She has been a guest historian on many historical tours for English Heritage, and developed and led a Tudor Tapestry Tour for the Smithsonian Institute in April 2010 before setting up Alison Weir Tours Ltd. later that year (See www.alisonweir.org.uk)  



After leaving Oxford, Sarah Gristwood worked as a journalist specialising in the arts and women's issues. The author of two Sunday Times best-selling history books, she is a regular contributor to The Times, the Guardian, the Independent and the Evening Standard. Arbella, her biography of Arbella Stuart, the first cousin of Elizabeth I and heir to her throne, was widely acclaimed.  She is also the author of Elizabeth and Leicester, the story of the relationship between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Bird of Paradise, a biography of the poet, actress and royal mistress, Mary Robinson, Fabulous Frocks, an illustrated account of the dresses that shaped twentieth-century fashion, and Breakfast at Tiffany's: The Official Companion, which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the classic film, The Girl in the Mirror, a novel set in Elizabethan times, Blood Sisters, an acclaimed study of the royal women who brought the Tudor dynasty into being, The Story of Beatrix Potter, Game of Queens, a book about female rulers in the sixteenth century, The Queen's Mary, a novel of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth: The Queen and Crown. AWT are lucky to have Sarah as a guest historian on the tours.

On Wulfhall, Sarah will be with us from Day 2 to Day 7.



Julian Humphrys will be with us for the whole tour. After reading History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, he Humphrys spent 12 years at Chelsea’s National Army Museum where he set up a number of special exhibitions and was spokesman to the media on all matters of military history.  He has acted as a historical expert on a number of TV programmes, has featured several times on BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings series, and made three expeditions to Bosnia during the civil war to record the British army’s activities there and obtain objects for display in the Museum. A qualified Blue-Badge guide, Julian left the Museum to pursue a career in guiding and lecturing – battles and castles are his speciality! He worked alongside Alison Weir on English Heritage’s Tours Through Time, and in 2009 he was appointed Development Officer of the Battlefields Trust, the UK Charity dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Britain’s historic battlefields. Julian lectures and writes extensively on many aspects of British history – he is a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine and History Revealed Magazine and his published books include The Private Life of Palaces (for Historic Royal Palaces), Clash of Arms: Twelve English Battles and Enemies at the Gate: English Castles under Siege (both for English Heritage). Julian has now joined us for three tours, and has proved very popular with our guests.



Nicola Tallis, AWT's other full-time guest historian, graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class BA Hons. degree in History, and has an MA in Public History from Royal Holloway College, University of London. She is currently studying for her PhD at the University of Winchester, where her thesis investigates the jewellery collections of the queens of England between 1464 and 1548. She has been passionate about English history all her life, and published her first book, Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey, in November 2016. Nicola completed an internship with the Interpretation Department at Hampton Court Palace, and also worked with the Curators to provide historical research for future projects. She has also given papers about sixteenth-century monarchy at several historical conferences, and has been working with the National Trust at Montacute House, delivering their education programme to school children, and at Wilton House. She worked as the Curator at Sudeley Castle, and featured prominently on BBC’s Countryfile in April 2013, guiding at Sudeley. Her second book, Elizabeth's Rival, was published in 2017, and her biography of Margaret Beaufort will be published in November 2019.



Tracy Borman studied and taught history at the University of Hull and was awarded a PHD in 1997. She went on to a successful career in heritage and has worked for a range of historic properties and national heritage organisations, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, The National Archives and English Heritage.She is joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces and Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust. Tracy is the author of a number of highly acclaimed books, including Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant, Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England, Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen and Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction. Her first novel, The King's Witch, the first in a trilogy, was published in 2018. Tracy is a regular broadcaster on TV and public speaker, giving talks on her books across the UK and abroad.

On Wulfhall, Tracy will be with us from Day 7 to Day 10.



Michael Jones is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History. He is a leading military historian, with specialist interests in battle psychology and French history. He is a member of several distinguished societies in both the UK and France, including the Royal Historical Society and La Société d'Histoire et d'Archéologie de Bretagne. Michael's first book, The King's Mother, a biography of Lady Margaret Beaufort, was shortlisted for the prestigious Whitfield Prize. He has published nine books since, covering numerous topics from Agincourt and Bosworth to Stalingrad. Michael has worked extensively with veterans of the Second World War. He has also been a historical advisor for both Russia Today and The History Channel. His tenth book, The Life and Times of the Black Prince, was published in 2017. Michael is the author, with Philippa Gregory, of The Women of the Cousins' War and, with Philippa Langley, of The King's Grave: the Search for Richard III. His most recent work is an acclaimed study of the life of  the Black Prince. He also guides for historical tour companies.

On Wulfhall, Michael will be with us from Day 4 to Day 10.



Catherine Fletcher is a historian of Renaissance and early modern Europe, recently seen on BBC2's A Fresh Guide to Florence. She is the author of The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici and The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story. She advised on the 2014 BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and her upcoming projects include a new book on Renaissance Italy and a Channel 5 documentary on Henry VIII. She's contributed to numerous radio programmes including Radio 4's In Our Time, and will be taking up the role of Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2020.



Melita Thomas is the co-founder and editor of Tudor Times, a website devoted to Tudor and Stewart history 1485-1625. She has published two books, The King’s Pearl, about the relationship between Henry VIII and his daughter, Mary, and The House of Grey: Friends and Foes of Kings, which tells the story of the Grey family from the marriage of Sir John Grey to Elizabeth Woodville, to the execution of their descendant, Lady Jane Grey.  She is working on a third title, and studying for a Master’s in Historical Research.




Susan Ronald is a British-American historian and biographer. She is the author of eight books, three of which are about Elizabethan England: The Pirate Queen—Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers and the Dawn of Empire, Heretic Queen—Queen Elizabeth I and the Wars of Religion, and the novel Shakespeare’s Daughter. She is currently working on her ninth book, The Ambassador, about Joseph P. Kennedy as the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s 1938-1940.




Robert Hutchinson is an historian and author of eight critically acclaimed books on the Tudor period. He is also a church archaeologist, specialising in the archaeology of the Reformation and holds a doctorate for his research on the impact of Tudor liturgical changes on church monuments. He is a regular broadcaster, appearing in television programmes in the UK, USA, Germany, Japan and Australia. His latest book is Henry VIII: Decline and Fall of a Tyrant, published in April 2019.




Siobhan Clarke (above, right), who looks after AWT bookings, pre-tour customer care and admin, has a BA in Modern History and an Adult Education Teaching Certificate. She has worked for Historic Royal Palaces for seventeen years and is based at Hampton Court Palace, where she trained as a Costumed Interpreter before becoming an HRP Guide Lecturer. As well as specialising in 16th century dress, she delivers tours and lectures on Hampton Court, The Tower of London and the Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace. Siobhan lectures abroad for P&O, Crystal and Viking cruise lines and, within the UK, she has lectured for the Smithsonian, the National Trust, the U3A and the Arts Society. She has featured on BBC Radio Women's Hour and PBS Television Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace. In 2018, her first book, A Tudor Christmas, co-authored with Alison Weir, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2018. Her second, the beautifully illustrated The Tudors, co-authored with Linda Collins, was published in September 2019, and she and Linda will be speaking about that on the tour.

Linda Collins (above, left) holds a BA in Early Italian art, an MA in the History of Art and a diploma in French language and culture. She was employed by Historic Royal Palaces as a guide/lecturer for more than twenty years, based principally at Hampton Court Palace. Linda is an accredited Arts Society lecturer, a member of the Association of Art Historians and a lecture organiser. She has appeared in the PBS TV programme, 'The Secrets of Henry VIIIs Palace', has spoken on a number of radio programmes and has lectured on numerous occasions across Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Linda is honoured to have recently been invited to become President of the Arts Society for her area.




John Marston has had over fifty years' experience in the travel industry, and he will accompany the tour in the role of Travel Director to ensure that all guests have information on hotels, restaurants, schedule timings, local information and baggage handling etc.. John has worked for major commercial companies including Land Rover, Jaguar Cars and L'Oreal Cosmetics, arranging world-wide travel for groups of between forty to over four hundred. His experience has included planning and booking trips, and personally escorting these groups. For Land Rover, John was in charge of their major U.S. dealer group, looking after a party of fifty executive guests and their partners, and arranging visits to London, Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, the Duke of Atholl's estate at Pitlochry in Scotland, and Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland. This was just one of many launch programs that John has organised; his priority has always been to give the highest standard of personal attention to guests' needs. Jo Marston accompanies AWT's tours with her husband, John; her role is to look after guests' pastoral needs and support the team.