Research gems: the scallawag, John, King of England

Medieval Lincolnshire has been one focus of research for my upcoming novel. For King and Country takes place in 1193-94 so I dove into several histories on the county.

In Lincolnshire in History, and Lincolnshire Worthies, I discovered J. Medcalf’s thoughts on John, who is crowned King of England in 1199. This is a gem worth sharing:

“…John, was such a thorough “skunk” that we feel it, in some sense, a degradation to Lincolnshire to be mentioned in the same paragraph with him. Skunk-like, he has left behind him an odour of meanness, fraud, ferocity, and pusillanimity which the rolling centuries and the successive evolvement of great events have failed since, in any wise, to sweeten. It must be some comfort to the Shire to remember that he caught his last fatal illness on her soil, and that her congenial dampness and mephitic fen atmosphere helped to rid the world (and his country) of a crowned scallawag… We need not wonder than no English monarch has ever thought of christening his baby heir by that hated name, or that the English people have never hankered after a John II.”

See other research gems, including Medcalf’s thoughts on John’s brother King Richard I, the Lionheart. 


Medcalf, J. (1903). Lincolnshire in History, and Lincolnshire Worthies, New York: Ward, Lock & Co., ltd.

Photo credit

John, King of England. By Matthew Paris. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Sweeping battles, forbidden love, and 2 knights fighting for Richard the Lionheart
A 2014 B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree and Readers’ Favorite
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Book II of Battle Scars: For King and Country
will be published in 2016.

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