The following page lists the principal players appearing in ‘Lions and Lilies'. Two main families are represented - the Holland family of Joan 'Fair Maid of Kent' and the 'Albret' family in Gascogne. They both played pivotal roles in British and French history.
Characters are listed in order of appearance in Book One and Book Two.
Other characters will be added as further books are released.
(You can click the Coat of Arms to view the family trees...)
Book One - The Lily and the Lion
Comte Jean d'Armagnac
Count of Armagnac, Fézensac and Rodez
Father to Cécile
Descended from Gascon princes, the Counts of Armagnac are a proud and fierce line. Honour and justice are always first and foremost with this powerful feudal family and they have many allies. Unbeknownst to any outside the circle, Jean is a member of the secret society of Templar Knights, which was originally dedicated to the safety of pilgrims en route to the Holy Land and the temple of Solomon. He is respected by both the Dauphin and the King of France and, though Armagnac is a supposed vassal to Aquitaine, he stubbornly stands neutral in the conflict between England and France. He has a long running feud with his neighbour, Comte Gaston de Foix, which has carried through the generations.
Jean d’Armagnac is a tall, well built man, forty-one years of age in 1360. He loves his family, but Cécile has a special place in his heart. He adoringly named her his ‘little princess’ in honour of his mother, and, as courageous as he is on a battlefield, he could never bring himself to administer strict punishment, and left the odious task of discipline to his wife.
Cousin to Armand d'Albret
Cécile was raised with all the benefits of a wealthy, aristocratic family, but failed miserably in all but one aspect of her training to become mistress of her own household. She is quite adept in the kitchen, but despises sewing and embroidery and other frivolous distractions, openly declaring them dull and tedious, and would much prefer to be outdoors, singing softly amongst the roses, or grooming her beloved mare whilst whispering secrets into her ear. With her appreciation of fine clothing and jewellery, tradition and ceremony, one may be forgiven for thinking her selfish and wanton. Although stunningly beautiful, Cécile is really but a lover of life, passionate in her pursuits, and she dreams of nothing but romance.
Growing up with adventurous boys, Cécile often charmed her young sister, Jeanne, into covering both her chores and her absences, as she spent the days with her brother, Jean le Bossu, and her beloved cousin, Armand; riding, fishing, swimming and occasionally hunting. Her mischievous nature, quick temper and loose tongue are her downfalls, often leading her along a path best avoided; but at heart she is loving, kind and generous.
Gillet de Bellegarde (Jillay with a soft 'J')
Steward to Lady St Pol and secret envoy to Edward
Commissioned by Comte d'Armagnac to escort Cécile to safety
Tall, raven-haired and dark eyed, Gillet grew up in a loveless home. His mother died soon after his birth, and his father fostered him to Sir John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, as a page before his fifth birthday. He was bullied by the older boys until a squire, by the name of Simon, took him under his wing. His father died when Gillet was fourteen, and his brothers became his keepers, returning him quickly to his employer. By early teenage years he had served under the Black Prince in France, and then Lord Simon Marshall, Earl of Wexford, in Spain.
Gillet grew into a serious-minded young man, handy with his fists, and he often succumbs to his quick, fiery temper; but he is strong, and honour is the virtue he values most. Exceptionally handsome, he is never short a mistress or two, or more if he wanted, but the one true love that has haunted him for many years still evades him. His most expensive acquisition and most favoured possession is Inferno, his stallion, a magnificent black barb, which he has trained from a colt.
Son of Edward III
Prince of Wales
Heir to the throne, this son of England proved himself worthy when he fought in the vanguard at The Battle of Crécy at age sixteen, thus earning his spurs. He participated in the extended siege of Calais, which followed; and then led a number of devastating raids in 1355. There was little love in France for this paragon of chivalry, but the code of behaviour did not condemn violence against the commoners, so, to the English, he was truly heroic.
Armand-Amanieu d'Albret (Armond-Armunyer Dalbray)
Cousin to Cécile
His father married the sister of Comte Jean d'Armagnac
The Albrets, noted for their black hair and blue eyes, are a devilishly good looking family, and Armand is no exception. His father was Bernard Aix, married to Marthe d’Armagnac, Jean’s sister; with this second union of his father producing fourteen children. With such a large contingent, Armand has felt the pain of losing brothers to both war and sickness, but his tankard always remains half full. Cheerful by nature, he loves to laugh, and occasionally sing whilst playing upon his lute. His favourite pastime is dice, and he is not afraid to take the odd risk or two, from which he usually emerges victorious. He is a serious competitor with a merry manner, which earned him the name ‘the jousting jester.’
Fostered to the Armagnacs for squirehood when young, Armand grew up with his cousins, and became like a son to Jean. Dearest to his heart are Cécile, cousin on his mother’s side, and Ghillebert, a cousin two and a half years older, on his father’s side, and who is absent in service.
Gabriel de Beaumont de l'Oise
Companion-in-arms to Albret
Gabriel is a tall, blonde and virtuous knight with a happy, gentle nature. His prowess on the field has earned him many tournament wins, but his favourite pastime is sharing an ale or two with his friends. He is close to his sister, Émilie, and can sometimes be the overbearing brother, but his loyalty to his companion-in-arms is unquestionable.
Martin de Brie - 'Mouse'
Companion-in-arms to Albret
This lovable rogue is loud, brash and more than a little uncouth, but his bark is worse than his bite. Beneath the rough layers is a man with a gentle soul and a kind heart, and, though he abhors the tiny creatures after which he was named, he harbours a fondness for animals and babies!
Younger brother to Armand
Guiraud, eighteen years of age, followed the example of his older brother, Armand, and joined the forces of Bertrand du Guesclin, steadfastly remaining loyal to the French crown. Though initially the cause of dispute amongst the older Albrets, it was decided that they would turn a blind eye to the activities of these rebellious brothers, accepting that it would do no real harm to have some members still within reach of the French throne. Guiraud has a friendly, eager nature and a deep and abiding respect for his older brother and cousins.
Madame Rosetta Duvall
Chaperon to Cécile d'Armagnac
A heavily set woman of later years, her formidable manner hides a maternal and affectionate character. After losing her husband and children to the plague, she now resides within her small family estate, Maison de les Fleurs, in Arras, with her sister, Violetta.
Gillet de Bellegarde meets Madame in Compiegne and, upon learning that she seeks means to travel home, and in the same direction as his party, hires her as chaperon for Cécile, much to the latter’s dismay.
Sister to Rosetta
A petite version of her older sister, Violetta is unmarried and happily living in the past. She is fanciful and flighty, but loves to laugh and dance. Her one great achievement was to curtsey before the King and Queen of France in such an elegant manner that the court heralded it ‘the most perfect expression of courtesy and love to their Majesties.’ She nurtures a secret dream of returning to court.
Mary St Pol
Countess of Pembroke
Patroness of Denny Abbey
Mary, widow of Aymer Valence (Earl of Pembroke and nephew to Henry III,) is a granddaughter of the very same monarch. Although feisty, she gives generously of her fortune to numerous Abbeys and Colleges. As a woman of some influence, she persuaded church leaders to alter their views to suit her needs, at a time in history when women had little or no say.
Though widowed at a young age, she never remarried, instead happy to live her life independently; an achievement in itself. Mary is hard and expects those around her, particularly the young novices and nuns, to accept a life of abject poverty; however, it seems that she does not feel obliged to do the same.
Ward of Mary St Pol
Closeted within the walls of Denny Abbey and believing that she was abandoned at the waif’s gate, Sister Mary Catherine has little understanding of the world at large. Her upbringing fell to her patroness, Lady Mary, Countess of Pembroke. Naïve and shy, the girl is fond of the familiar, the plain and unembellished. If not for the revelations within the letter she receives from Cécile d'Armagnac, the devout and unquestioning Catherine would undoubtedly have taken holy orders and dedicated her life to Christ.
Catherine is genuinely unaware of her exceptional beauty and is confused and even offended by the silent but often obvious admiration she attracts, hiding behind her past in an attempt to thwart these attentions.
Anaïs d'Arques (Anna - ees)
Maid at Denny Abbey
Anaïs was born in France and was attached to the Pembroke household at Denny Abbey as a young lady. She befriended Catherine after the two were caught scavenging for food in the kitchen. Like most girls her age, the pretty Anaïs dreams of a better life; married to a knight of name and wealth and takes every opportunity to escape the confines of the Abbey.
Lord William Montagu
2nd Earl of Salisbury
William is the eldest son of the first Earl and his wife, Katherine Grandisson. William’s parents were ambitious, often pushing him to achieve more than he was capable of doing. The 1st Earl died in 1344, as a result of injuries he received whilst jousting, leaving William and his younger brother and sisters at the mercy of their domineering mother. Numerous scandals were linked to the family, including Katherine’s unproven claim that she was brutally raped at the hands of King Edward III. It was the last of these that led to the untimely death of his adored mother. Attaching himself to the Black Prince, William accompanied Edward to France and is recorded as a savage man with unique soldiering ability. William received the Order of the Garter and served on the King’s Council.
Lord John Moleyns
John began his career as a debt collector, undertaking any dangerous task that attracted a high reward. Entering royal service in 1325, he quickly rose through the ranks to become steward of the queen’s household. Despite his ability to appear very much the gentleman, he is thought to have committed many crimes in the interest of greed, including kidnapping, chicanery, seizure of lands and abuse of office, to name just a few. Unfortunately, many were simply too frightened to stand against him and he never received the punishment he deserved.
Lord Simon Marshall
3rd Earl of Wexford
Simon is the second son of Charles Marshall, 2nd Earl of Wexford, and Elizabeth of Cambridge. His childhood was not happy, as his parents were estranged and distant and it was somewhat of a relief when he was attached to John de Warenne, Lord Surrey, as his page. Severely wounded in a jousting accident in 1348, Simon was nursed back to health by Nicholas Flamel, the experience forever altering his life.
Simon married Amina in Morocco in 1350 but returned to France upon her death just five years later. Ever the bachelor since, Simon’s habits and manner reflect a life of indifference for he no longer cares to impress, although he maintains pride in his clothing. An imposing man of fair countenance, his friends claim that his admiration is hard earned, but his loyalty absolute.
Roderick of Shalford
Roderick is the illegitimate son of Charles Marshall, 2nd Lord Wexford, and Mary of Leeds, and half brother to Simon. Roderick is several months older than Simon, their father having returned to Mary, whom he had been forbidden to marry when a much younger man. Roderick, though similar in appearance to his brother, is far more open and gregarious and shows a ‘devil may care’ attitude.
Lady Matilda Holland
Sister to Sir Thomas Holland
Daughter of Sir Robert Holland and Maud la Zouche, Matilda had many siblings, including older brothers Robert and Thomas. Sadly unable to secure the husband of her choice, she retired to the country and rarely attends court. Beneath the refined, feminine façade lies a woman of extreme strength and determination, the matriarch of the Holland family.
Tariq ibn Cordoba
Born in Spain, Tariq's knowledge is sought by all who require medical assistance. Known for his common sense approach, Tariq places his trust in no man and treats all with the same fairness and understanding, from kings and queens to maids and soldiers - all men are equal.
Book Two - The Order of the Lily
In order of appearance
|Lady Joan Holland|
Marguerite d’Albret (Margot)
John Sounder of Calais - (Jean Petit)
Beraud d’Albret - Bishop of Dax
Older brother to Ghillebert d'Albret
Tall, dark-haired with the ‘Albret’ blue eyes, though one is slightly turned. A self-centred man who has little respect for women in general. He is not afraid to use disciplinary measures on his wife when she thwarts him. His first wife and child are deceased.
Marguerite d'Albret aka Margot (Mar-go Dalbray)
Wife to Arnaud d'Albret
Margot grew up in Narbonne and was living with her father when the Black Prince’s chevauchee attacked her village in 1356. Her father was killed and she was made a ward to Arnaud d’Albret who ‘took a fancy to the girl with the green eyes.’ Eventually he married her but she is unhappy in her situation.
Veronique Lagrasse (Ver-on-eek)
Maid to Marguerite d'Albret
When Margot d’Albret was taken from her home, her maid, Veronique, refused to be parted from her side. She is an excitable girl, steadfastly loyal and an incessant talker! She came from the tiny village of Lagrasse, Languedoc, her father a wine-merchant who had fallen on hard times.
Llewellyn ap Ynyr (Loo-ell-in Ap In-er)
Llewellyn is the Welsh horsemaster at the Albret estate in Chilham. He lives in one of the estates workers cottages with his son, Llewellyn and his daughter, Gywnedd. He is a proud and hard worker, loyal to the Albret family.
Gwynedd ap Ynry
Daughter to Llewellyn
Gwynedd is a beautiful, young girl with dark hair and stunning green eyes who practises the art of healing through herbs. The villagers will often see her wandering through the woods, collecting her simples but it is whispered that she uses the art of witchcraft as well. Gywnedd harbours one secret goal - to be the wife of Ghillebert d’Albret.
Trefor ap Ynry
Youngest son of Llewellyn
Trefor is the young freckle-faced son of Llewellyn and also helps in the stables. He is made page to Cécile.
Griffith ap Ynry
Eldest son to Llewellyn
Griffith is a robust young man with blonde hair, a genetic honouring to his great-grandfather. He is a likable lad, keen, hardworking and excellent in horse management. He gladly accepts the offer to squire for Ghillebert d’Albret.
Fair Maid of Kent - wife of Sir Thomas Holland
The daughter of a traitor (Joan's father, Edmund of Woodstock, was beheaded by Roger Mortimer for his support of Edward II), Joan had a difficult childhood and her formative years were spent under the control of Lady Katherine Salisbury.
Bitter and power hungry, Joan manipulates those around her to better her own position and secure the future she believes she deserves.
Kitchen maid at Chilham
Minette Robaix was the daughter of Chilham’s blacksmith until an unfortunate event saw the smithy attacked and killed by ruffians. Alone in the world, Minette was taken to work in the kitchens at the Chilham estate.
Sir Thomas Holland1st Earl of Kent
In his early military career, he fought in Flanders in 1340. He was again sent to defend the Gascon frontiers against the French two years later, and again in 1343. In 1346 he attended King Edward III attached to the household of Warwick, at the taking of Caen. He was a principal commander of the vanguard under the Black Prince at the Battle of Crécy and he served again at the seige of Calais in 1346-47. He is the thirteenth knight in the Order of the Garter. As Earl of Kent, he is overlord to the Albret’s Chilham estate.
Eldest brother to Ghillebert d'Albret
Upon the death of his father, Beraud d’Albret, Amanieu d’Albret inherited the family’s holdings of Vertheuil, Vayres and Puynormand in France and the estate in Chilham. Usually resident at his castle in Vayres, he uses the Chilham estate when en route to London. As the head of the ‘Albret’ clan, he is strong-willed but unlike his younger brother, Arnaud, he is also kind and fair-minded. His second wife, Margaret of Kent, was Joan’s (fair maid of Kent) older sister, and gave Amanieu 5 children before her death.
Geoffrey Chaucer, now considered one of greatest poets of his times, was also a philosopher, alchemist, astronomer and maintained an active career as a courier and diplomat for King Edward III. It is believed he often took on missions of a ‘personal and delicate’ nature for the King. In 1360 he was captured by the French and King Edward paid a considerable ransom for his release. The courier delivering the ransom was Ghillebert d’Albret and he and Geoffrey became firm friends.
John (Sounder) of Calais - aka Jean Petite
Illegitimate son of the Black Prince and Cécile d'Armagnac
Jean was dubbed with the name ‘Sounder’ for wailing unceremoniously at his christening.
French Scrivener and Alchemist
Born in France in 1330, Flamel lived well into his eighties but legend has it that he was much much older, having developed a 'potion' that allowed him to prolong life. It is claimed that Flamel purchased a manuscript in Spain that was later identified as a copy of the Book of Abramelin, which when decoded provided the recipe to replicate silver and gold and produce The Philosopher's Stone.
Simon and Flamel share a long friendship, developed when the two met in Spain.
Younger brother to Armand d'Albret
Armand’s younger brother who, with the loss of clergy during the plague, made early advancement within the church’s ranks.