I expect that many of you, like me, spent the last week looking at photos and video of a white cruise ship lying on its side off the Tuscan coast. It brought to my mind other white ships that came to grief – the Andrea Doria off the New England coast in 1956, and the Titanic, of course, in 1912. But there was another White Ship that went down many centuries ago, and you may remember it from its role as a plot device in Ken Follet’s novel Pillars of the Earth.
He was also his father’s only legitimate male heir. His sister, Mathilda, would try to step into their father’s shoes, but many in England were not yet ready to accept a woman on England’s throne, including Mathilda’s cousin, Stephen. He claimed the prize first; she objected. For eighteen years civil war would rage in England – a high price to pay for the loss of a single White Ship off the rocky Norman coast.
Travel in the Middle Agesby Jean Verdon;