A Mediaeval Feast in Essex

I stupidly decided to cook a mediaeval feast to celebrate New Year’s Eve with some friends. I say ‘stupidly’ not because it wasn’t a success but because the amount of work and fiddly techniques nearly killed me! I wanted to do something similar to one of the courses of Richard’s coronation feast, so about 15-20… Continue reading A Mediaeval Feast in Essex

Haunted Essex

Some of the venues in this article are surprising and the nocturnal visits sound very expensive but they include some classic historical venues. In Colchester, the Castle and (Howard) Red Lion are included, as is the Redoubt at Harwich, although the Kelvedon Nuclear Bunker and North Weald Station are much newer. In the north of… Continue reading Haunted Essex

Dyer or Dire?

Many of you will remember the episode of “Who do you think you are” in which Danny Dyer was revealed as a descendant of Edward III. In this new two part series, he “meets” a few prominent ancestors, some even more distant. The first episode began with Rollo, ancestor of the Dukes of Normandy, which… Continue reading Dyer or Dire?

How strict was medieval royal court mourning at Christmas….?

I know I have (more than once!) written of a strange string of coincidences connecting Richards II and III and their queens, both named Anne. Now I have come upon another question that puzzles me. It is well known that Richard II loved his Anne deeply, and was distraught when she died suddenly in the summer… Continue reading How strict was medieval royal court mourning at Christmas….?

Christmas 1483 at the court of Richard III….

What was Christmas like for Richard III? I’m thinking particularly of 1483, his first as king. He still had both his wife and child, and the future must have looked set for a long and prosperous reign. He was only to have two Christmases as king, and by 1484 he and Anne had lost their… Continue reading Christmas 1483 at the court of Richard III….

Henry VII banned card-playing, except at Christmas….

According to Christmas: Its Origin and Associations by William Francis Dawson, playing cards was prohibited by a statue passed in the reign of Henry VII. The old kill-joy! Or maybe it was in defence of the royal purse, it being known that his queen, Elizabeth of York, was rather over-fond of gambling. Henry paid her… Continue reading Henry VII banned card-playing, except at Christmas….

I’ll Have What She’s Having: A Medieval Christmas Tasting Menu

“Let us consider some of our genuine English culinary assets.  Among the best of them are our cured and salted meats.  Hams, gammons, salt silversides…” So begins one of Elizabeth David’s chapters in “Spices, Salts and Aromatics in The English Kitchen,” a charming book that takes us through centuries of English cookery with its yin… Continue reading I’ll Have What She’s Having: A Medieval Christmas Tasting Menu

Ancient Roman roads drove later development….

A friend in America sent me the following article, by Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post. Having just been researching the ancient route from Paris to Lyon, as it was in the late 14th century, I found it very interesting to think that the routes and places chosen by the Romans all those centuries ago, are… Continue reading Ancient Roman roads drove later development….

No hops, onions or cabbage before 1400, not even in Nuneaton….

Once again, looking for one thing led to another – this time to a fascinating site about the history of Nuneaton. It provides interesting year-by-year, century-by-century snippets about historic events, the weather, and…did you know that hops, onions and cabbage were introduced from Flanders in 1400? No, nor me. Click to access nuneaton_history_alan_cook.pdf