12th Century description of ball lightning over the Thames near London….

  “….‘Gervase’s description of a white substance coming out of the dark cloud, falling as a spinning fiery sphere and then having some horizontal motion is very similar to historic and contemporary descriptions of ball lightning,’ Professor Tanner said in a Durham University press release…” Unfortunately there don’t seem to be any known medieval representations of… Continue reading 12th Century description of ball lightning over the Thames near London….

Marriage and the medieval Cistercian monk….

  To us the curious intricacies of medieval marriage seem endlessly complicated…and often cost a lot to those who disagreed with a certain situation. Contexts of Marriage in Medieval England: Evidence from the King’s Court circa 1300 by Robert C Palmer contains a fascinating instance with a twist. After all, we usually hear of women… Continue reading Marriage and the medieval Cistercian monk….

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….

Why did the Greyfriars of Leicester make such haste to bury Richard III….?

  This link reveals an interesting account of about the discovery and archaeology of Richard’s original resting place in Leicester, and the modern techniques used to find out all that could be learned. I confess I was a little dismayed to hear the Blue Boar described as a “coaching inn”. Really? In 1485? I hoped… Continue reading Why did the Greyfriars of Leicester make such haste to bury Richard III….?

Edward IV, the sun of March, was alchemical gold….

  Before you read the following (from The Rise of Alchemy in the Fourteenth Century by Jonathan Hughes) you should know that I have taken the liberty of breaking it up into paragraphs – in the book the extract is from one long, rather impenetrable paragraph. Otherwise the punctuation is original. “….One of the most… Continue reading Edward IV, the sun of March, was alchemical gold….

The food in medieval monasteries….

  What was the lifestyle of medieval monks in Britain? What went on in those wondrous abbeys that ruled their neighbourhoods, often with fists of iron? They had some harsh rules, not least that the people they lorded it over had to pay exorbitant sums to have their grain milled by the abbey. Woe betide… Continue reading The food in medieval monasteries….

The bishop and the abbot, croziers at dawn….

Well, I’m shocked that such bribery, skulduggery and jostling for position should go on among the bishops and abbots of medieval England. Holy men shouldn’t behave like this! I’m afraid that when I read the following passages from this article, concerning events in the reign of Henry II, it conjured one of those old black-and-white… Continue reading The bishop and the abbot, croziers at dawn….

Henry VII had an uncle Owen Tudor . . . .

Well, I confess I always thought Henry VII only had one uncle on the paternal side, and that was Jasper. So just who is in the above illustration? The Tudors as being important in English history commenced with the affair between the widowed Katherine of Valois and the rather lowly Welshman Owen Tudor. They had… Continue reading Henry VII had an uncle Owen Tudor . . . .

What prompted Morton to threaten a visitation to St Albans Abbey . . . .?

  Well, in 1487, while the powers-that-be were gearing up toward the Battle of Stoke Field, Archbishop Morton (also Chancellor) was also having to deal with the – um! – mundane goings-on at St Albans Abbey. It seems the abbot was being proceeded against in the Court of Arches by the Prioress of Sopwell. This… Continue reading What prompted Morton to threaten a visitation to St Albans Abbey . . . .?

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (3)

It would seem that, according to the Daily Mail (third feature),  a certain most humble and lovable Tudor historian, has gone ahead and had a pricey and painful hair transplant. He announced this at the ‘Bad Sex in Fiction’  Awards. (Mind-boggling but also makes me wonder- why don’t we have the ‘Bad Gaffes in Historical… Continue reading Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (3)