“Till so for ways of witchery,
And arts of darkness famed
In all the land, that he at last,
‘The Wizard Earl’ was named.”
—The Wizard Earl-A Legend of Kilkea Castle
In Bewitching Hannah, Hannah Fitzgerald is a sixteen-year-old royal descendant who wants nothing to do with her magical heritage. Her frenemies, the Queen Js are nicknamed after their ancestor, Queen Jane Grey. Hannah’s scarred love interest, William Calvert, is a descendant from the royal Grey bloodline. Anyone familiar with Maryland’s history will recognize the surname Calvert along with Arundel, after all numerous parks, historic sights, and streets bear the names, especially in Annapolis, which is where the story is set. These families are all intertwined in a real legacy of royalty, witchcraft, and alchemy, which I incorporated into the story.
1400s: Henry de Grey, 4th Baron Grey of Codnor and a distant blood relation to Queen Jane Grey is said to have been extremely interested in alchemy, going so far as to garner the King’s permission to transmute mercury into silver or gold. In 1478, concerned with the ruling power Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare held in Ireland, the King dismissed the earl as Lord Deputy and appointed Henry de Grey in his place.
Elizabeth Woodville, a well-known witch whose first husband was John Grey of Groby, produced a son from that marriage–Thomas Grey, the 1st Marquess of Dorset and two daughters, one of whom was Lady Eleanor Grey who married Sir John Arundel. They are the ancestors to Maryland’s Arundel and Calvert families.
Elizabeth Woodville went on to marry King Edward IV and became the Queen consort of England. The TV series, The White Queen, is based on her life. Their daughter, Elizabeth of York, became the Queen consort of England and the mother to King Henry VIII.
In 1530, Henry de Grey’s descendant, Lady Elizabeth Grey, the granddaughter of the witch Elizabeth Woodville, married the 9th Earl of Kildare, who was rumored to be a warlock. They produced a son, Gerald FitzGerald, the 11th Earl of Kildare, who was commonly known as the Wizard Earl for his fascination with alchemy, metallurgy, and ancient magic. He was known to have magical powers, which allowed him to transform himself into a blackbird. The FitzGerald bloodline claims the magic from Áine, the Irish goddess of summer. She is associated with the Fitzgeralds through marriage to the 3rd Earl of Kildare.
As a fiction writer, I enjoy weaving factual history into my fantasies. Attached is the family tree that shows the fictional relationships of the book’s main characters to the real historic figures that inspired Bewitching Hannah. This tree was not included in the book.