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History Illustrations: Alina’s Wedding

My medieval history books are illustrated with beautiful line drawings by a very talented artist, Carrie Francis. I thought it would be good to do a series to show them to you and tell the part of the story they illustrate.

William de Braose, the Lord of Gower, was given the wardship of John de Mowbray. John’s father, the 1st Baron de Mowbray of Lincolnshire, died before his son reached his majority (age 21). So William was entrusted with bringing him up and teaching him to be a knight and a lord.

But William was always short of money and, seeing a chance to get his hands on some of John’s inheritance in the future, married him to his daughter Alina. This kind of marriage was common in those days, but this particular marriage was very uncommon. In medieval times it was not unusual for people to marry at the age of fourteen, but John was twelve and Alina was seven!

This illustration shows the marriage of John and Alina on the church steps. In the marriage ceremony today it is asked if anyone knows any reason why these two should not be married, and for this reason a marriage cannot take place behind closed doors. In medieval times they went one step further and married on the church steps so there would be no impediment to someone objecting.

Once the couple were married, the whole company went into the church for a blessing on the marriage.

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at