She was the granddaughter of Gospatric, former earl of Northumberland, who’d been sent into exile by William the Conqueror.
He was the son of a man who’d battled in the Norman conquest of England.
Their parents had negotiated with the king. The two young people were to marry. Juliana would leave her family at their place of exile in Scotland and join the conquering de Merlays at their castle on a green hill at Morpeth in Northumberland.
But Juliana was no helpless heiress. She brought to Ranulph a dowry of lands which enlarged the barony of Morpeth, and which would establish her children’s future.
The stories and characters which led to this marriage are revealed; the Earl Gospatric who raged against the Conqueror; the dark and dangerous earl of Northumberland, Robert de Mowbray, and his unfortunate wife the Lady Matilda; the warrior bishop Geoffrey and his servant William de Merlay who became the first baron of Morpeth.
The formerly unknown place of origin of the de Merlay family is revealed for the first time by the writer who went to Normandy on her bicycle.
This is Morpeth’s earliest history. It has never been told before.
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