This was a bit of a rabbithole I fell into while researching for my latest 'What Happened 700 Years Ago' column. It's a fascinating story, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It's the 1270s. London is starting to grow: it will soon become the financial hub of northern Europe, but… Continue reading The Italian Winemakers Who Once Controlled England’s Money
I'm part-way through reading The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. The primary argument is that the Middle East and Central Asia played a much bigger and more important role in antiquity and medieval times than we generally realise in the west, and I've enjoyed it so far - especially his coverage of the period between… Continue reading King Harald of Norway and the Globalised Medieval World
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
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)
I've been trying to make a personal coat of arms (or achievement, as it's properly known) for a long time now. First thing's first: in the UK and many other countries, you can't just go ahead and design your own coat of arms. To officially acquire one, you have to have one presented to you… Continue reading Make Yourself a Coat of Arms
Football has been around a long, long time. Henry VIII ordered a pair of custom-made football boots which would have cost £1,300 in modern money. (source: cnn.com) It evolved from a very simple game known to us as 'mob football' (though they probably just called it 'ball'), which emerged in the early Middle Ages and… Continue reading The History Of Medieval Football
Though it's not as true today, we've traditionally looked to Medieval Europe to inspire our fantasy settings. And our fantasy settings tend to include a lot of war - because otherwise they wouldn't be very interesting, would they? However, we don't put much thought into how war and armies worked in Medieval Europe. So I'm… Continue reading How Did Medieval Civilians Become Soldiers?
There was once a king of England called Edward II. I've talked about him a lot before, but here are some things you ought to know about him. They thought he'd be a good king. He looked the part and he spoke well. Chroniclers say he was great at persuading people to his side, that… Continue reading The Story of Piers Gaveston
This post is part of my Grand Castle Tour! You can find articles on lots of other castles here! I just want to start this post by saying: don't get too excited. Pontefract castle ain't there anymore. We have the English Civil War to blame for that - the bane of medieval historians. It was… Continue reading Pontefract: The Key to The North
Hey folks and happy saturday! What a month it's been so far, huh? I certainly didn't see this coming on the 1st of March. Which was, by my recollection, about three years ago now. At least it feels that way. Anyway, the longest month in history is officially coming to an end, so you'll see… Continue reading The Grand (Castle) Tour!