The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 is well-known, and it is often thought that the decline of serfdom, or villeinage, began at about this time. The truth is more complex. Like most English traditions, villeinage took a long time to pass and outlived its usefulness by many decades. Indeed Queen Elizabeth I still owned serfs –… Continue reading The Decline of Villeinage
In 1840 workmen carrying out repairs to St Bartholomew’s Church, Ashperton, Herefordshire were collecting stones from the ruins of a nearby manor house when they discovered a heavy stone plaque, carved with an elaborate coat of arms, among the rubble. The stone was taken to the church for safekeeping and has hung on the wall… Continue reading The Traitor’s Arms?
Sir Simon Burley, childhood friend, tutor and magister of Richard II, was executed today, 5th May, in 1388. He was the son of a Herefordshire knight, was brought up with the Black Prince, and rose to be one of the most powerful men in the land when he ruled the king’s household. Richard adored and… Continue reading How many wives did Sir Simon Burley have….?
A Knight Banneret must not be confused with a Baronet – the latter title did not come into use until the 17th Century and was (and is) in effect an hereditary knighthood. In the Middle Ages a Banneret was a senior knight, either by experience or wealth, but more likely the latter. He was marked… Continue reading Knights Banneret
It is fair to say that most medieval English kings had little interest in Ireland except as a source of revenue. (The same was probably true about England and Wales but it seems too cynical to say it, and at least they did live there.) Prior to the Bruce invasion, Ireland yielded between £5000 and… Continue reading Plantagenet Ireland and Poynings’ Law
Having just acquired Nigel Saul’s For Honour and Fame, about chivalry in England from 1066 to 1500, one of my first actions was (as always!) to go to the pages that refer to Richard III. Well, it’s second nature to any Ricardian, I think. So, on page 279, I read: “. . .A generation later… Continue reading The wrong Lady Anne….!
We do not suffer a great many earthquakes in the United Kingdom, but there have been some, occasionally quite considerable. Our main sphere of interest on this site is the time of Richard III, and while I was investigating another earthquake, from the previous century, I happened up information about an earthquake of 1480:- “.… Continue reading Medieval earthquakes in England….
Here is the opening paragraph of an intriguing article by the excellent Professor Nigel Saul:- “As increasing numbers of early copies of Magna Carta are identified in fourteenth- and early fifteenth century registers and cartularies, so we are becoming more aware of the close interest taken in the document by lawyers and political actors in… Continue reading Magna Carta and King Richard II….
As so often happens, acquiring a book for a specific reason leads to something else that is quite thought-provoking. In this case, the book is The Medieval Python: The Purposive and Provocative Work of Terry Jones, in which the subject of one of the eighteen contributions is Catherine of Aragon and her two marriages. Do not… Continue reading The truth about Prince Arthur, Prince Henry, and Katherine of Aragon….?
This post harks back to a previous one of 5th November 2014. Both concern the similarities between the lives and deaths of Richard II and Richard III, but I have now come upon a passage in a book that is actually about Richard II, but much of which could be applied to Richard III. The book… Continue reading Two Richards, one fate….