John Dynham (1433-1501) rose from obscurity to become a key figure in the violent struggle for supremacy between the houses of York and Lancaster. Twice-married but openly gay in his private circle, Dynham survived
the harsh reigns and dictates of three very contrasting kings: Edward IV, Richard III, and Henry VII. His story and that of his family and adherents is one of compelling interest—sex, shady politics, tragedy and intrigue—and is vividly recounted
in this series of chronicles covering the years 1459-1501.
Chronicle 1, recalled by Dynham’s great love, Sir Philip Atkyn, covered the events leading up to the Battle of Blore Heath in September 1459, and its aftermath
when Dynham escorted the rebel Yorkist lords, including the future Edward IV, to the safety of Nutwell, his ancestral home, then on to the Calais garrison. It ended with Dynham fighting for his life after being injured during a raid on Sandwich, which paved
the way for the Yorkists’ return to England.
Chronicle 2, told by Philip’s brother, Sir Richard, recalled Dynham’s slow and agonising recovery from his wounds, and introduced the reader to Jed Corbett, the mysterious
lover who nursed him back to health. It covered the battles of Northampton and Mortimer’s Cross, after which Edward was crowned king—and the battle of Wakefield, where Philip was reported dead, murdered away from the field by Margaret of Anjou’s
lover, the Earl of Wiltshire. The chronicle ended with the Battle of Towton, where Dynham saved the day for the Yorkists, and Richard’s subsequent apprehension of Wiltshire, who was sent to the block.
3, Dynham’s eldest sister, Margaret, recalls her first visit to the royal court at Westminster where, unbeknown to her and shortly after ascending the throne, Edward IV has made her a royal ward—and her fight with her brother, who
is unaware that she is practically betrothed to Richard Atkyn.
Chronicle 4 is recalled by 20-year-old Nicholas Carew
—Margaret’s intended who is as against the royal wardship as she is. A young
man in the early stages of consumption, he arrives at Nutwell dreading the prospects of an arranged marriage, and is taken ill before meeting Margaret—only to fall in love with her, and she him, after she nurses him back to health. The marriage is deferred
when war-clouds gather in Northumberland, and Nicholas heads north with Dynham’s army. Here, Dynham learns that Philip is still alive, and they are reunited.
Chronicle 5 is told by Jed Corbett. He recalls Philip’s
return to Nutwell and their sharing of Dynham’s affections. The chronicle closes with the Dynham-Carew wedding and a “spiritual brethren” same-sex ceremony conducted by the controversial and unorthodox family priest,