Vikings in Oxford: What Led to the Attack of 1009 AD

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
Viking ships at sea with warriors on board. Hand-colored woodcut of a 19th-century illustration “We all need earnestly to strive that we might gain God’s mercy and compassion, and that with his help we might resist our enemies. Now it is our will that all the people perform a…

Medieval Jewish Settlements in Oxford

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
The Crypt at Oxford Castle – built on Anglo-Saxon foundations The first Jewish settlers arrived in Oxford not long after the Norman Conquest, around 1075AD residing in the commercial heart of the city at St Aldates which became known as Great Jewry Street, close to the original C8th oxen…

Geoffrey of Monmouth, Oxford Castle and King Arthur

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
King Arthur at the beginning of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain BnF, Latin 8501A, f. 108v Geoffrey of Monmouth is thought to have been born between 1090 -1100 in Wales; possibly at Monmouth but no written evidence remains to verify this. Geoffrey also signed himself…

Book Review: Daughters of Chivalry: The Forgotten Children of Edward I by Kelcey Wilson-Lee

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
Having enjoyed ‘Blood Sisters’ and ‘Game of Queens’ by Sarah Gristwood and Helen Castor’s ‘She-Wolves’, I was interested to read this book on the daughters of Edward I and it is very much in-line with their re-evaluations of the lives of aristocratic medieval and renaissance women and their too-often…

Witchcraft (1): Witchcraft and Royalty: The Cases against Eleanor Cobham and Joanne of Navarre

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
Fake news – smearing the opposition With the current interest in the media about the spread of ‘fake news’ and misinformation, it seems appropriate to reconsider the cases of two royal ladies who were both accused and found guilty of witchcraft during the early C15th. Were these simply cases…

Towton, 29th March 1461: The Bloodiest Battle in English History?

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
Towton is regarded by many historians as the worst battle to ever be fought on English soil in terms of the number of combatants, casualty figures, conditions on the day and treatment of those captured during the rout. It is always extremely difficult to gauge the reality of the…

Great St Mary’s Church, Cambridge and its Royal Patrons

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
? ? ? In the very heart of historic Cambridge, stands a tall and elegant late Perpendicular Gothic church, sandwiched between the colleges and market square. The church of St Mary the Virgin has stood on the site since 1205; the first recorded rector being Thomas de Chiveley who was…

Blacksmiths for Gods and Heroes: Tracing the Magical Blacksmith through Myth

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
? ? Hephaestus from an Attic red Kylix vase decoration. Who Were the Legendary Smiths?: The figure of the often deformed or maimed blacksmith who forges remarkable weaponry and armour for gods or heroes is a re-occurring archetype in myth across many cultures. We have Hephaestus in Greek myth…

Edgar the Aetheling: Failure or Survivor?

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
You could argue that Edgar was set up to fail from the start. As the last male heir of the ancient royal House of Cerdic of Wessex; Edgar had the bloodline but little else to support his claim to the English throne when his great uncle, Edward the Confessor,…

Teaching History to Children: Connected Thinking for the C21st

Originally posted on Giaconda's Blog:
How do we teach our children history? As an avid reader of historical non-fiction and enthusiast of all things medieval, I was determined to introduce my children to history up-close and personal from as early an age as possible. I didn’t want them to learn history in little clunks…