Hard time to be a woman?

Of late I have read quite a few posts on Facebook bemoaning the tough lot women had in the Middle Ages. Well yes, their lives could be very hard. But so could those of medieval men. It’s important not to generalise too much. There were certainly men who valued their wives very highly. We need… Continue reading Hard time to be a woman?

Were the English, Welsh, Irish and Scots once all Celts…?

  I haven’t read Sir Simon Jenkins’ book The Celts: A Sceptical History, and to be honest I don’t think I’m likely to. Like Jenkins, I too am half-Welsh and half-English, but I don’t fancy being descended from “sociable sailors”. What’s the old saying about sailors having a girl in every port? I should imagine… Continue reading Were the English, Welsh, Irish and Scots once all Celts…?

What does a horner do….?

In recent days I’ve been happily trawling my way through the Calendar of Patent Rolls concerned with the reign of Richard II, and came upon the 1389 entry below. My curiosity was pricked. What sort of horn did a horner deal with? The musical instrument? Animal horn? So I did a little investigation, and discovered… Continue reading What does a horner do….?

A virtual tour of 17th-century London….

  I love virtual video tours of places and have just come upon an excellent one of mediaeval London. Well, 17th-century actually, but to my mind the scenes are appropriate for the 14th-15th centuries. You’ll find the tour here . Just scroll down the page a little. It’s well worth a look.

Charles the Bold and his hairy throat….

  I know, the title is a little reminiscent of Father Jack’s “hairy hands syndrome”, but this is definitely a hairy throat. Maybe I’m being forgetful here, but I have never before seen a beard that consists of a hairy throat and that’s it, apart from a tiny tuft under the lower lip. But now… Continue reading Charles the Bold and his hairy throat….

The art that made us

This is another fascinating BBC2 series, illustrating English and British history through the evolution of our art. The eight one-hour episodes, narrated by David Threlfall (Men of the World), feature:The Roman and pre-Roman periods, Beowulf, the Norman conquest and the Bayeux Tapestry;     The Black Death, Wilton Diptych, Piers Plowman, Chaucer, Julian of Norwich,… Continue reading The art that made us

EDWARD IV’S Magical Medicine

In this time of our own ‘plague’, it is interesting to see that Edward IV had his own concoction for an unpleasant disease recorded as ‘the rayning sickness’ (raining, reigning?–not sure what this word translates as– maybe the King’s Evil (scrofula?)) The recipe was a handful of rue, a handful of marigolds, half a handful… Continue reading EDWARD IV’S Magical Medicine

Was the Bard having a go at Robert Cecil when he wrote Richard III….?

  Matt Lewis is, of course, a force to be reckoned with when it comes to supporting Richard III and this link is a very interesting article he’s written concerning why Shakespeare may have bad-mouthed Richard. I had no idea the Bard  could have been a secret Catholic who wanted the return of the old… Continue reading Was the Bard having a go at Robert Cecil when he wrote Richard III….?

Henry VIII, a turkey leg and the Mandela Effect….

I’d never heard of the Mandela effect. Apparently it occurs when a person believes that their distorted memories are, in fact, accurate recollections. They can clearly remember events that happened differently or events that never occurred at all. The bottom line is that the Mandela Effect does not involve lying or deception, it’s genuine. I’d… Continue reading Henry VIII, a turkey leg and the Mandela Effect….

Just how clean WERE we in medieval times….?

  Well, according to this article we were a lot cleaner than our present-day selves insist on thinking. Our naughty bits weren’t to be scrubbed, for fear of making them even naughtier…but it seems it would have been okay to splash around in a river every day (in the summer, at least). Plus, you could… Continue reading Just how clean WERE we in medieval times….?