History

The Magic of Pots and Pans

Towards the start of 2020, COVID-19 swept across Europe. Within a few weeks, the continent was declared the epicentre of the disease. In many countries, people were confined to their homes - with exceptions for essential journeys - for months. In countries like France and Spain, where just under half of all properties are flats,… Continue reading The Magic of Pots and Pans

History, Personal and Other

I Made Medieval Pottage!*

*Okay, so, not really. It contains potato, which was only brought to Britain in the 1580s. But pottage was still being eaten by that point, so I'm sure somebody made something similar, at some point? I did it because I wanted to cheat. See, traditional pottage (so-called because it was cooked in a pot) was… Continue reading I Made Medieval Pottage!*

History

The City Whose Coat of Arms is 800 Years Old

There are a lot of misconceptions about heraldry. For instance, the idea that every family name has a coat of arms. That's not true, and those sites which tell you your family has a coat of arms are lying. That coat of arms might have belonged to someone who shared your name (though sometimes they… Continue reading The City Whose Coat of Arms is 800 Years Old

History

The Parliament of September 1313

I've always enjoyed those 'what was happening on this day xxx years ago?' kinds of posts. I think they give us some insight, because it helps us to imagine those events happening in real time. So I'm talking about Edward II's parliament of September 1313 - 707 years ago exactly, down to the month. (source:… Continue reading The Parliament of September 1313

History

The Bread Law That Lasted 800 Years

Imagine for a moment you're a common Medieval peasant. You need to eat, just like we do. But you most likely don't have an oven. After all, ovens are these great, hulking metal things - they're large, expensive, and hard to use. If you're cooking at home, you're cooking in a pot over the fire.… Continue reading The Bread Law That Lasted 800 Years

History

What Medieval Peasants Ate (With Recipes)

We often think of Medieval peasants as living utterly terrible lives - and for the most part, they did. From what we know if their diets, however, they probably didn't eat as badly as we tend to think. When peasants are shown in modern media, they're often shown living off of a really meagre diet… Continue reading What Medieval Peasants Ate (With Recipes)

History

The History of Kissing (In Europe)

Kissing's a strange thing. We tend to think it's innate, that it's natural for humans to do it - but it's not. There are still cultures today where kissing is not done at all. I know very little about non-Western kissing, other than that it appears in early Indian texts and seems to have been… Continue reading The History of Kissing (In Europe)

History

How We Buy Food (And How We Used To)

We've all been to one of those old-fashioned candy shops, haven't we? You walk up to a large, heavy wooden desk, chat to the shopkeeper and tell them what sweets you'd like, and how much of each. They (or their assistant) then take the sweets from their storage jars, weigh them out, bag them for… Continue reading How We Buy Food (And How We Used To)

History

Edward II And The Necromancer Who Tried To Kill Him

When I was at uni, I spent an awful lot of time digging through dusty old books. Our uni library was perfect for someone like me: the history section had loads of history journals and Victorian reprints of medieval documents, and the law section had a whole row dedicated to the records of the Court… Continue reading Edward II And The Necromancer Who Tried To Kill Him

History

Collectivism and Individualism in European Literature

When we look at European history through a modern lens, it seems apparent that Western culture has always placed great value on personal achievement. Recent discourse in some historical circles has pointed out the persistently individualistic nature of Western attitudes—many events tied into colonialism, for example, were rooted not only in a desire to better… Continue reading Collectivism and Individualism in European Literature