1. Huntingdon Manor

It was the year 1190 and the manor house of the Earl of Huntingdon was filled with bustle and activity. Pages scurried and servants dashed hither and thither to prepare for the departure of the Earl of Huntingdon for Nottingham. It was there that he was to join King Richard on a Crusade to free the Holy Land.

“Is everything ready?” The Earl asked his steward, as he scanned the courtyard with a knowledgeable gaze.

“Yes sire,” was the stewards reply as he gave his master a stirrup cup. But suddenly they were interrupted by an old nurse who came clattering down the steps.

“Marian!” The old woman called, “Marian!”

“Is our daughter not yet ready to leave?” Asked the Earl frowning.

“Aye sire,” Nurse Tyb replied breathlessly, “ready and decked and adorned like any daffadowndilly. So fine she is, sire, there will none to compare. The Queen will take her and gladly.”

“Go quickly good Tyb and find her!” Said the Earl. “Unless we leave in an hour I’ll miss the King at Nottingham.”

Nurse Tyb raised her hands in desperation and went off muttering across the courtyard.

“Marian……..Mar-i-an!” She called in her shrill voice as she nearly collided with a tall bearded man in the gateway.

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