Helen Hollick tells King Harold Day Society about her book, “Harold the King”

It did go a bit quiet when Helen Hollick declared that she firmly believed King Harold II was buried at Bosham in Sussex and not in Waltham Abbey.   But the sharp intakes of breath were released when she went on to say that she thought, like at many medieval and earlier deaths, his body was probably cut into a number of parts, (it was already badly mutilated on the battlefield of Hastings), with the torso buried at Bosham and the head and heart in Waltham Abbey.

Helen was the guest speaker at the King Harold Day Society’s autumn buffet supper and lecture evening, held last Saturday at the Abbey Church Centre, Waltham Abbey.

Well-known author, Helen Hollick was born and still lives in Walthamstow, and started writing at the age of 13  –  first about a pony and then sci-fi.   After school, she went to work as a library assistant, which gave her access to thousands of books, and developed a passion for Dark Age history.

Her first historical novels were the Pendragon’s Banner trilogy, a series of books about King Arthur.   On a lighter note, she has written a series of pirate-based historical fantasy novels, the Sea Witch Series, being the voyages of Captain Jesamiah Acorne.   And then, ten years or so ago, she published “Harold the King”, having become interested in the Saxon period, and, in her own words, “obsessed” by Harold II, the last Saxon King of England.   That was followed by a “prequel”, the “Hollow Crown” the story of Emma, Queen of Saxon England, who was Queen twice, to AEthelred the Unready and to Cnut, and who was the mother of Edward the Confessor.

Helen is also Co-screenwriter for the film “1066”, based on her novel, which is currently in preparation.

Helen spoke about how she came to write her books, the research she has done on King Harold, and her theories about his burial.  Bosham was the Godwinson family home, and she believes Harold’s mother would have wanted him buried there.   She accepted that her audience, being Waltham Abbey people, took the view that Harold was buried by the high altar in his Minster Church in the town.

The evening, the second such event held by the King Harold Day Society, was a great success, and Helen has agreed to join the Friends of King Harold Day, the Society’s support group.

(Photograph of Helen Hollick courtesy of Waltham Abbey Historical Society)

Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment