William of Ockham (/ˈɒkəm/; also Occam, from Latin: Gulielmus Occamus;[6][7] c. 1287 – 1347) was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey.[8] He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of the 14th century. He is commonly known for Occam’s razor, the methodological principle that bears his name, and also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology. In the Church of England, his day of commemoration is 10 April.[9]

William of Ockham was born in Ockham, Surrey in 1285 and joined the Franciscan order at an early age.[10] It is believed that he studied theology at the University of Oxford[11] from 1309 to 1321,[12] but while he completed all the requirements for a master’s degree in theology, he was never made a regent master.[13] Because of this, he acquired the honorific title Venerabilis Inceptor, or “Venerable Beginner” (an inceptor was a student formally admitted to the ranks of teachers by the university authorities).[14] During the Middle Ages, theologian Peter Lombard’s Sentences (1150) had become a standard work of theology, and many ambitious theological scholars wrote commentaries on it.[15] William of Ockham was among these scholarly commentators. However, William’s commentary was not well received by his colleagues,[citation needed] or by the Church authorities. In 1324, his commentary was condemned as unorthodox by a synod of bishops,[citation needed] and he was ordered to Avignon, France, to defend himself before a papal court.[15] An alternative understanding, recently proposed by George Knysh, suggests that he was initially appointed in Avignon as a professor of philosophy in the Franciscan school, and that his disciplinary difficulties did not begin until 1327.[16] It is generally believed that these charges were levied by Oxford chancellor John Lutterell.[17][18] The Franciscan Minister General, Michael of Cesena, had been summoned to Avignon, to answer charges of heresy. A theological commission had been asked to review his Commentary on the Sentences, and it was during this that William of Ockham found himself involved in a different debate. Michael of Cesena had asked William to review arguments surrounding Apostolic poverty. The Franciscans believed that Jesus and his apostles owned no property either individually or in common, and the Rule of Saint Francis commanded members of the order to follow this practice.[19] This brought them into conflict with Pope John XXII.
Because of the pope’s attack on the Rule of Saint Francis, William of Ockham, Michael of Cesena and other leading Franciscans fled Avignon on 26 May 1328, and eventually took refuge in the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV of Bavaria, who was also engaged in dispute with the papacy, and became William’s patron.[15]

The controversy between the pope and the order soon took on a political character, the Minorites having been appointed counsellors to Louis IV the Bavarian, King of Germany, who also was engaged in a conflict with the pope. After Louis IV (1314–1347) had defeated his rival Frederick, Duke of Austria, at the battle of Mühldorf (18 September 1322), and had invaded Lombardy to further the cause of the Ghibelline Visconti, John XXII ordered the whole question of right to the German throne to be brought before the papal tribunal and, on 8 October 1323, began canonical proceedings against Louis. In the Nuremberg Appeal (18 December 1323) Louis, curiously enough, had accused the pope of unduly favouring the Minorites, though this document was never published.
But the Sachsenhausen Appeal of the same King Louis (22 May 1324) was full of invectives against the “heretic who falsely designates himself Pope John XXII” for doing away with the poverty of Christ. This famous “Spiritualist excursus” is closely connected with the Appeal of Bonagrazia, and with writings of Ubertino of Casale and of Pietro di Giovanni Olivi. It is certain that it originated among the Franciscans who, under the protection of the king, aimed it at John XXII and his teaching, although Louis IV later denied all responsibility in the matter. The result was that Louis IV was excommunicated (11 July 1324) and, in the decree “Quia quorundam” (10 November 1324), John XXII forbade all contradiction and questioning of his constitutions “Cum inter nonnullos” and “Ad conditorem”. The general chapter of the order, assembled at Lyon (20 May 1325) under the presidency of Michael of Cesena, forbade any disrespectful reference to the pope.
On 8 June 1327, Michael received instructions to present himself at Avignon, a command which he obeyed (2 December 1327). The pope having sharply reproved him in public (9 April 1328) for the chapter’s action at Perugia (1322), he drew up a secret protest (13 April) and, fearing punishment, fled, despite the orders of the pope, to Aigues-Mortes (28 May) and thence to Pisa, together with Bonagrazia of Bergamo and William of Occam.
In the meanwhile other events of importance had occurred. Louis the Bavarian had entered Rome with a German army, to the great joy of the Ghibellines. Accompanying him were Ubertino of Casale, John of Jandum and Marsilius of Padua, the authors of the “Defensor pacis”, which declared that the emperor and the Church at large were above the pope. Louis had himself solemnly crowned Emperor of Rome by Sciarra Colonna (17 January 1328), and on 12 May he nominated and had consecrated as antipope Pietro Rainalducci of Corvara, a Franciscan, under the name of Nicholas V.
The three fugitives from Avignon presented themselves to Louis and accompanied him to Bavaria, where they remained till their deaths. John XXII deposed Michael as general of the order (6 June 1328) and (13 June) appointed the Minorite Cardinal Bertrand de Turre vicar-general of the order to preside at the chapter to be held in Paris (2 June 1329), which Michael of Cesena vainly attempted to prevent, and brought about the election of Gerardus Odonis of Châteauroux, of the province of Aquitaine.
Obedient to John XXII, he induced the majority of the order to submit to the Apostolic See. Michael of Cesena and all his adherents, the Michaelites, were repudiated by the order. At the same time, by command of John XXII, papal proceedings were instituted against them everywhere. The Michaelites denied John’s right to the papacy and denounced both him and his successors as heretics. In their numerous and passionate denunciations of the popes, especially of John XXII, they always singled out for refutation isolated statements of John in his Bulls. To the contention regarding poverty was added (1333) the question of the beatific vision of the saints, concerning which John XXII, contrary to general opinion, yet without intending to define the matter, had declared that it would begin only at the last judgement.
During this period the antipope, Nicholas V, had nominated six cardinals (15 May 1238), among them an Augustinian and a Dominican, and between September 1328, and December 1329, three other cardinals; also among the bishops whom he consecrated were members of the two orders mentioned above. After Louis IV had returned to Bavaria, Nicholas V, deprived of all support, took refuge with the Count of Donoratico. Finally, in his distress, Nicholas appealed to John XXII, cast himself at his feet (Avignon, 4 August), and submitted to honourable confinement at Avignon, where he remained until his death on 16 October 1333.

A form of Fraticelli was also represented by Philip of Berbegni, a fanatical and eccentric Observant of Spain (1433), who attempted to establish a strict society de la Capuciola, but met vigorous opposition from John Capistran, who issued a dissertation against him.
Only once again are measures known to have been taken against the Fraticelli, viz., in 1466, when a number of Fraticelli from Poli, near Palestrina, and Maiolati were captured at Assisi during the Portiuncula celebration. They were imprisoned in the castle of Sant’ Angelo and proceedings instituted against them. Their protector at Poli, Count Stefano de’ Conti, was imprisoned, but they also received the protection of the noble Colonna family of Palestrina. Tradition also mentions that the Fraticelli established many other colonies and that they had an important centre in Greece, whence they sent out emissaries and where they sought refuge from the aggressive measures of St. James of the March. They generally held their reunions at night in private houses and half of the inhabitants of Poli are said to have been among their adherents. The allegation that their religious services were defiled by immoral practices cannot be proved. According to their doctrine, as contained in the “Dialogus”, immoral priests incurred the loss of the powers of order and jurisdiction. They had also their own bishop, Nicholas by name.
During this period numerous pamphlets were published controverting the errors of the Fraticelli. While the campaign was going on at Rome, information was brought concerning another sect similar to the Fraticelli, which had been discovered in Germany; but though these visionaries, led by Brothers Johann and Livin of Wirsberg, found adherents among the Mendicants in Bohemia and Franconia, they cannot be considered as Fraticelli. In spite of all persecutions, remnants of the original Fraticelli still survived, but their strength was crippled and they thenceforth constituted no serious danger to the Roman Church.

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.