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History Illustrations: Swansea Miracle Raven

A raven on a scaffold

I’ve been giving glimpses of my history stories by using the beautiful illustrations drawn by talented artist Carrie Francis. We’ve been through Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth and Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John. For the following two books, The Magna Carta Story and Medieval Gower Stories, I reused previous illustrations, so I haven’t decided what to do about them. In the meantime, let me introduce the illustrations for my latest book Swansea Miracle, with new illustrations by Carrie Francis.
Swansea Miracle cover
Swansea Miracle is about a hanging and the first illustration has a raven perched on a scaffold. With its black feathers, croaking call, and diet of carrion the raven often symbolises death and disaster. Various cultures have other meanings, some even positive, but not for the two men at the start of this story.
Swansea Miracle illustration 1
Two Welsh rebels, William ap Rhys (known as William Crach, which means scabby) and Trahaern ap Hywel, were caught  by a patrol and sentenced to death by the Lord of Gower, William de Braose, in 1290. Depending which side you were on, either these men were freedom fighters against the Norman invaders or ‘a villain of the worst sort’ as the Normans called them.
The hanging didn’t go smoothly, the rope broke and then the gallows crossbar broke, but the two men were eventually declared dead. What happened next, you’ll have to wait and see – or buy my book!

Head shot Ann Marie ThomasAnn Marie Thomas is the author of five medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel, Intruders, Alien Secrets & Crisis of Conscience are out now Follow her at