A pedant writes…

In the aftermath of certain historical novels I have read recently, I should like to give the following information, in the hope it will be helpful to authors, editors (if they still exist) and indeed readers. SLAVERY – Although slavery was quite common in England in Anglo-Saxon times, it was became less usual after the… Continue reading A pedant writes…

Smaug’s demise and the medieval springald….

Before I start, you will have to forgive my ignorance of medieval weaponry. What I know could be written on the head on a pin. But here goes anyway. Most of us have seen the Tolkien films concerning Hobbits, Lords of Rings, orcs, elves, dragons and so on. And most of us will remember the… Continue reading Smaug’s demise and the medieval springald….

Who chose King Arthur’s final resting place? The monks of Glastonbury or Henry II….?

  I’ve known for a long time that King Arthur wasn’t buried at Glastonbury, but thanks to an incredible example of “seizing the moment”, the monks of the abbey ensured a huge income from pilgrims and tourists who believed their story. Or maybe it wasn’t only the monks, maybe Henry II had something to do… Continue reading Who chose King Arthur’s final resting place? The monks of Glastonbury or Henry II….?

Who gave up on the Royal Touch….?

According to this article, “….The Royal Touch and King Edward the Confessor’s healing powers were so well known that, during the reign of Elizabeth I, Shakespeare referenced them in his play Macbeth. This is unsurprising however, as Elizabeth’s grandfather, Henry VII, had reintroduced the concept in the late 15th century….” So, if the Royal Touch was known to have… Continue reading Who gave up on the Royal Touch….?

The builders of Stonehenge liked sweet things….

I have to say this. Why are we always taken aback to discover that our ancient forebears ate more than raw mammoth steaks garnished with grass and leaves? From this article it seems they probably liked sweeter things too. Well, what a surprise! Gosh, who’d have thought it? 😲 Presumably bees hadn’t been invented.

The joys of rubbish in medieval London….

Oh dear, just as we start imagining the romantic, colourful side of life in medieval London, we’re obliged to consider the other side of that particular coin. My trawlings through the Close Rolls and Richard II brought me to the following entry for 12 March 1393: “….To the bailiffs of Westminster of the abbot of… Continue reading The joys of rubbish in medieval London….

This Union: The Ghost Kingdoms of England

This is an excellent series on BBC4 about the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that eventually evolved to fill the vacuum left by departure of the Roman legions. In the first episode, Ian Hislop visits East Anglia, particularly Colchester, Ipswich and Sutton Hoo, viewing some coins with Philip Wise and hearing about the Wuffingas, apparently descended from a… Continue reading This Union: The Ghost Kingdoms of England

A meat-rich diet was to carry Satan’s price-tag for monks….

  I’ve written before about the food eaten by medieval monks, and have now come upon another article, this time in The Guardian. It tells of the dire consequences that followed when monks eventually had a meat-rich diet. The Guardian article was prompted by English Heritage research into “the day-to-day lives and digestive troubles of… Continue reading A meat-rich diet was to carry Satan’s price-tag for monks….

Medieval magnates and their dogs at banquets….

While searching for information about the Duc de Berry, who circa 1386 wanted a pair of unusual greyhounds from Scotland, so he obtained a safe conduct from Richard II for four of his men to pass through England to acquire them. My search took me to this interesting site. From all that I’ve read of… Continue reading Medieval magnates and their dogs at banquets….

Did Richard II invent the en-suite….?

  Richard II is (always laughingly) described as having invented the handkerchief. That he was a ridiculous fop is always the implication. Yet we don’t think twice now about using handkerchiefs…the previous disgusting habit of wiping one’s nose on one’s sleeve is long-gone, thank goodness. Yet I’ve now learned another of Richard’s so-called peculiarities. When… Continue reading Did Richard II invent the en-suite….?