Labour of love was ten years in the making

BORDERS author Christopher Wilkins has launched his latest book charting the history of one of the forgotten heroes of the 15th century.

Wednesday, 13th January 2010, 9:40 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th January 2010, 9:40 am

The Last Knight Errant marks the life of Sir Edward Woodville, brother-in-law to King Edward IV and uncle to Henry Tudor's wife.

A former national journalist, Mr Wilkins writes that Sir Edward was at the heart of political life, and his work has already been praised by Sir John Chilcot, chairman of the Iraq inquiry.

Launched in front of around 100 people at The Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells this month, it took 10 years for Mr Wilkins, who lives at Newcastleton with wife Margaret Eliott, to complete the research for the book. And he is keen to promote the new information that emerged during the research together with the Borders connection in his biography of Sir Edward's life.

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He said: "While he was an Englishman, international affairs were a major part of his life and there is particular Scottish interest in two places.

"In 1482 Richard of Gloucester witnessed Bell-the-Cat's abduction of King James III at Lauder and the hanging of his special advisors from Lauder Bridge.

"Nine months later Richard abducted his nephew, the child king, Edward V in a copycat operation. I do not believe this link has been previously remarked and neither do many people know that Scottish infantry formed a major part of Henry Tudor's victorious army two years later at Bosworth – the Tudors played that down.

"As we might expect, there were probably a good number of Borderers fighting there and one of the Scottish Commanders was John of Haddington."His research into the life of Sir Edward happened by chance after a visit to Spain.

"I was studying the Moorish kingdom of Granada and was looking out from a citadel where you can just see Granada. I stood on a parapet and imagined that this is what King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain would have seen when they first saw Granada (after taking control in 1492).

"I wondered 'what if there was an Englishman here'. Two or three years later I was in a secondhand book shop and a book I had picked up fell open at a page about Sir Edward taking 300 troops there. It was completely by chance.

"The book is my research of how he got there, who had been involved and what influence Sir Edward had."

Christopher added: "I am not a professional author so this was something of a labour of love for me that took 10 years of research to complete."

The Last Knight Errant is available at The Main Street Trading Company or by phoning 01835 824087.