Catherine Hanley

Catherine Hanley

Catherine Hanley
Agent: Kate Hordern

1217: The Battles that Saved Britain, Catherine Hanley’s new book, published by Osprey on 9 May 2024, is a Sunday Times Book of the Week.

Catherine Hanley is the author of TWO HOUSES, TWO KINGDOMS: A History of France and England, 1100 – 1300 (Yale University Press hardback published 12 July 2022, paperback 11 July 2023).  Her biography, MATILDA: Empress, Queen, Warrior (Yale University Press hardback published 12 March 2019, paperback 11 February 2020) was a BBC History Magazine 2019 Book of the Year. She is the author of LOUIS: The French Prince who Invaded England (Yale University Press hardback published 2016). 

Catherine Hanley has a PhD in Medieval Studies, specialising in twelfth and thirteenth century warfare, and has studied at or worked at the University of Sheffield, institutions in Brussels and Germany, and the University of Warwick. She lives in Somerset with her family.

Praise for 1217: The Battles that Saved England:
“A treasure of a book, highly recommended.” Michael Livingston, author of AGINCOURT: Battle of the Scarred King
“Meticulous research and a perfectly crafted, well-paced narrative that will transport you to one of the most important moments in the story of England.” Matt Lewis, host of Gone Medieval podcast
“A fascinating history of the tumultuous events during the final months of John’s reign and the re-birth of England under his son Henry.” Professor Kelly De Vries
“her clear, colourful account … revives a thrilling episode from England’s medieval history.” Dan Jones, The Sunday Times

“Catherine Hanley’s engaging account of England and France during the 12th and 13th centuries covers a turbulent period bookended by the accession of Henry I (after the suspicious death of his brother William Rufus) and the marriage of Edward II to Isabella of France (she would later be implicated in his murder). Much of what comes in between reads like the plot of a soap opera peopled by larger-than-life characters.” Katherine Harvey, The Sunday Times
“Catherine Hanley knows the twelfth and thirteenth centuries like the back of her hand.  In TWO HOUSES, TWO KINGDOMS she brings vividly to life an extraordinary cast of characters, the men and women through whom the kingdoms of England France took shape, telling their story with wit, wisdom, and formidable scholarship.” Helen Castor
“People make history, but never alone.  Hanley brings to life the royal families of England and France in this exciting period, through their interactions as close bedfellows (literally), brothers (and sisters) in arms, petulant rivals, and bitter enemies.” Anne Curry, author of HENRY V: From Playboy Prince to Warrior King
“Hanley has created a rich tapestry that tells the story of two kingdoms whose rulers bucked against the fundamental truth that their histories and futures were woven together …  This book creates a picture of kingdoms like siblings, connected but destined to be at war.   A must-read for anyone interested in the entwined stories of medieval kingdoms and dynasties.” Matt Lewis, author of RICHARD III: Loyalty Blinds Me

Praise for MATILDA:
“The biography of Matilda I’ve been waiting for: as clear-sighted, forthright and formidable as the empress herself.  Catherine Hanley combines lucid scholarship with page-turning narrative; military expertise with a fine-grained understanding of the challenges facing a twelfth-century woman who sought to rule. The result – authoritative, human, and  utterly compelling – is a triumph.” Helen Castor, author of SHE WOLVES
“(An) impressive study … (Hanley) does a fine job of making the case for Matilda as a far more autonomous figure than historians have previously suggested.” Kathryn Hughes, Guardian
“Lively and authoritative … Hanley’s anger at the limitations placed on such a capable woman is palpable … if Matilda’s story reveals much about the differences between the twelfth century and the present day, it also highlights some uncomfortable similarities.” Katherine Harvey, TLS
“This is excellent and reliable popular history, confidently relating the dramatic, compelling tale of a remarkable woman in remarkable times.” Sean McGlynn, Spectator
“Lively and illuminating … wear(s) its considerable learning lightly … Catherine Hanley has written, in the best sense, an imaginative biography of a remarkable medieval woman.” Peter Marshall, Literary Review
“Ambitious and compelling, MATILDA brings the female ruler alive for a new generation of readers, capturing her early experiences as the young bride of the Holy Roman Emperor, her difficult marriage to Geoffrey of Anjou, her bitter rivalry with her cousin King Stephen for the English throne, and her vitally important role in supporting the accession of her son King Henry II.” Louise J. Wilkinson, author of ELEANOR DE MONTFORT
“A lucid and long-needed study of Matilda, the mother of the Plantagenets, England’s longest-ruling dynasty, and a pivotal figure in the power struggle that followed the death of her father, Henry I. It is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand this remarkable woman and the tangled politics of those years when ‘Christ and his saints slept’.”Derek Wilson, author of THE QUEEN AND THE HERETIC

Praise for LOUIS:
“A lively and accessible account of a neglected aspect of a crucial episode in English history and of the life of a King of France” David Bates, author of NORMANDY BEFORE 1066
“Catherine Hanley has produced a highly readable, lively account of the ill-fated invasion of England by Prince Louis of France and his brief reign as king of France. Overshadowed by his father, Philip Augustus, and his son, St Louis, Louis VIII emerges here as a man of considerable talent and strong character, the embodiment of his age.” Jeffrey Hamilton, author of THE PLANTAGENETS: HISTORY OF A DYNASTY
“As important as Magna Carta in the formation of England was the now forgotten French invasion which followed on from it. Prince Louis’s failure to establish himself as king reveals unexpected strengths in the English institutions of law and government which challenged him. Catherine Hanley uncovers this remarkable episode through her mastery of the sources (in Latin and Old French) and her ability to tell a good story. This book is essential reading for students of English and European history, as well as being an exemplary biography in its own right.” Michael Clanchy, author of ENGLAND AND ITS RULERS
“…captivating account. Scholarly without being stodgy, Hanley’s work vividly depicts the texture of the times with an enthralling, novelistic narrative.” Publishers Weekly
“Hanley tells Louis’ tale with pace and a lightness of touch … this is serious history, as well as a gripping – and poignant – story.” BBC History Magazine