Sharing a lifelong passion for history, writing and teaching

On Me

Medieval history, the Norman Conquest, and the events depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry have fascinated me for over 50 years. 

I was educated at Kingston Grammar School, and read History at Christ’s College, Cambridge. Since then, I have been, at various times, an Army officer, writer, artist, lecturer, drama producer, careers adviser, games coach, and teacher of History, English, Latin, General Studies, and Swahili, three of them to ‘A’ Level. 

The scope of my writing ranges from historical novels, ‘A’ Level text-books and popular history, to thrillers, memoirs, and humour; from children’s fiction and archive miscellanies to cartoons and light verse. 

I have taught in every type of school – primary, secondary modern, comprehensive, grammar, and public. I have lectured to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, on subjects ranging from Alexander the Great and Hannibal, through medieval and early modern history, to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

I have published 14 books, including historical novels with Simon and Schuster, and am currently working on a new project about the events covered by the Bayeux Tapestry. I work as the archivist for West Buckland School in North Devon. 

 Berwick Coates books available on Amazon.

7 responses

  1. Hi
    i just wanted to say that I read your novel The Last Conquest today, and wanted to say what an amazing story it is. I have to be honest and admit I was crying in places, especially at the end of the battle. Even though I knew the outcome the characters were so well drawn I wanted both sides to win ! I’m looking forward to reading The Last Viking, just wish I had found this before Conquest.
    Kate Latheron

  2. Both Harry Packer pupil, and Thomas Haigh Judson, master in the 1890s, played rugby for Wales, as outlined in the book.
    Do the archives biographical details of both give names of parents; years of admission and leaving; sporting prowess; academic achievements and subsequent career.
    Thank you.
    Best wishes,
    John M Jenkins

  3. Dear John,
    I apologise for the delay – long story – lockdown, isolation, dilatoriness, and I lost my wife in March, and so on and so on.
    Anyway, i` m afraid I cannot tell you anything more about either Packer or Judson. The Archive has no surviving registers or personal staff records from that distant time. Just the odd reference in the school magazine. The only exception is a photograph of Harry Packer. It`s on the back cover of a book I published about the school – ‘Still on Record’. It is available on Amazon. You`ll get change out of a tenner (just). Best I can do – sorry. Best wishes. And again my apologies for the delay. Berwick Coates
    The email address is my private one. My email as the School Archivist is

  4. Hi Mr Coates.
    I just wanted to say hi from Australia.
    You were my tutor in the early 70’s at Barnstaple Grammar (Park) School. I am looking forward to reading your novels.

  5. Hello Berwick,

    You are a friend and an inspiration. Our son, David Savill said that you could have read the telephone book to him when you taught him at The Park School in Barnstaple and he would still have been fascinated. We are amazed by the breadth of your knowledge and full of admiration for your ability to inspire your listeners and readers.

  6. I’m sorry for your recent loss.
    As an amateur researcher looking into the Battle of Hastings I’ve spent some time looking at the Bayeux Tapestry . What seems plain to me is that there where two engagements that day in October 1066 ( well, three if you count the Malfosse incident) recorded on the Tapestry. Scenes 53/54 to me reveals that the main battle ( at which both William and Harold were present) was fought on a ridge that had a slope along the long axis of the ridge and slopes on both sides. Freeman says that this cameo represents an out of sequence depiction of the Malfosse while others say the scene depicts just another part of teh one battlefield upon which the battle was fought. What’s your take on the scene?

  7. I listened to your talk on Nationak Service, and found it very interesting.
    I am an Ex National service man, having served two years in the Royal Air Force.
    I am secretary of the National Service(RAF) Ass South West branch.
    We meet every other month, at the White Ensign Club in Exeter, and I wonder if you could give us a talk ?
    Ian Hopkins

Berwick Coates