Kings made of glass….?

What does one call a gathering of glass men? Splinters? Shards? It seems that in the medieval period there was a sudden upsurge of people who believed they—or part of their bodies—were made of glass. Heads, buttocks, entire bodies, whatever, and the belief was so strong and irresistible that some of them resorted to shocking… Continue reading Kings made of glass….?

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE! CHARLES VI OF FRANCE

On January 28, 1393, Charles VI decided to partake in the  Bal des Sauvages, the Ball of the Wild Men, a masquerade ball in which the ruler joined with gusto, joining a party of five other nobles to perform a frenzied dance dressed as a ‘woodwose’–a Wild Man of the forest. Unfortunately, the Ball ended… Continue reading GREAT BALLS OF FIRE! CHARLES VI OF FRANCE

THE THREE HUNDRED YEARS WAR – PART 3 : the dogs of war

Preface This is the third of three articles charting the course of continual Anglo-French conflict from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. The first, covered the rise and fall of the Angevin Empire, and the Treaty of Paris (1259). The second, continued my narrative from the accession of Edward I until the Treaty of Bretigny… Continue reading THE THREE HUNDRED YEARS WAR – PART 3 : the dogs of war

Elizabeth Woodville and witchcraft in medieval England….

  Aha, so Elizabeth Woodvile was a witch, and so was her mother, Jacquette of Luxembourg. Well, everyone knew that already, because Philippa Gregory wrote about it in great detail. So it just has to be true! Anyway, joking aside, this History extra article is interesting for the information it gives about what the English… Continue reading Elizabeth Woodville and witchcraft in medieval England….

Henry VI: saint or sinner?

A gentle and devotional life About seventy years ago, the historian John Harvey wrote this in an essay about King Henry VI: “The life and death, and the thwarting of his noble designs are one (sic) of the sorriest tragedies of English history. He was a victim of forces outside his control, for whose existence… Continue reading Henry VI: saint or sinner?

Ten medieval scandals….!

“….What are the scandals that made headlines in the Middle Ages? Kings and Popes would be involved in some of the craziest stories of sex and corruption that would make today’s news seem quite tame. From a cross-dressing prostitute to the trial of a dead Pope, here are ten almost-unbelievable medieval scandals….” Well, you’ll find… Continue reading Ten medieval scandals….!

War, English Delusion, and the effect on the Economy (2)

Henry IV had the image of a warrior. It was just as well as no sooner was he established on the throne than he was fighting in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France, as well as beating off his internal enemies. So it will not surprise you that the country was soon bankrupt, and that Henry… Continue reading War, English Delusion, and the effect on the Economy (2)

When the English ruled the Bastille….!

Historical reconstruction showing the moat below the walls of Paris (left), the Bastille and the Porte Saint-Antoine (right) in 1420 We all know about the storming of the Bastille on 14th July, 1789, resulting in the continued annual celebration of the occasion throughout France. But the Bastille was a medieval fortress, and we, the English,… Continue reading When the English ruled the Bastille….!

The Epiphany Plot of 1400

Following the deposition of Richard II, his leading supporters among the nobility were put on trial before Henry IV’s first parliament. Well, all apart from the Earl of Wiltshire who had – in plain terms – been murdered at Bristol on Henry’s orders before Henry became king. (As a Lancastrian, Henry was of course allowed… Continue reading The Epiphany Plot of 1400

The Madness of Henry VI …

… but precisely what form did it take? It was clearly different in effect from that of Charles VI, his grandfather. Charles was reportedly violent on occasion and sometimes believed himself to be made of glass but Henry was more withdrawn. Both doubted the paternity of their children, although the sheer number of Charles’ offspring,… Continue reading The Madness of Henry VI …