Archives For medieval history

In 1278 the King of England came up with a new plan to raise money and land, as leaders are fond of doing. Certain that historic privileges had been usurped by uppity subjects, King Edward sent royal officers around to prominent individuals demanding by what legal right – quo warranto – they held their honours. However when Edward’s men arrived at the home of one John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, the ageing aristocrat pulled out his rusty sword and proclaimed: “My ancestors came with William the Bastard, and conquered their lands with the sword, and I will defend them with the sword against anyone wishing to seize them.”

https://capx.co/how-capitalism-tamed-medieval-europe/

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Church Courts

February 4, 2018 — Leave a comment

A Writer's Perspective

340px-Klement5-1305

There’s one last group of courts for us to look at to conclude this series on law-keeping in the fourteenth century. These are the church, or ecclesiastical, courts. They were a cause of bad feeling between many monarchs and archbishops of Canterbury. The kings felt that the church courts encroached too much into non-church matters, while the church wanted to spread their influence over the lives of ordinary parishioners.

The church had the right to try clerics in their own courts. They were governed by canon law, not the law of the kingdom. Each diocese had two main kinds of court: the consistory, which covered the whole diocese and was presided over by the bishop, and the archdeaconry court, which only covered an archdeaconry and was presided over by the archdeacon.

As well as trying clerics, the courts also covered lay people where the issue between them was a moral one…

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Facts and figures about the tapestry

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42713552

When Henry Plantagenet (the future Henry II of England) acquired the duchy of Aquitaine in 1152 through marriage, it stretched from the Loire to the Pyrenees, and was ruled from Poitiers. It encompassed several other lordships, including the old duchy of Gascony, whose northern boundary had been roughly the Garonne river. Following French conquests in 1204, the duchy of Aquitaine shrank back towards the Garonne, and the capital became Bordeaux.

http://www.historyextra.com/article/premium/duchy-aquitaine-english-colony-deepest-france-black-prince

Medieval marriage

September 11, 2017 — Leave a comment

A Writer's Perspective

Bologna_marriage_women

In many romance novels there is a wedding near the end and, spoiler alert, mine tend not to be any different. The weddings in my novels, however, are not big affairs with the bride in white attended by bridesmaids, and the groom attended by his best friend. They don’t even take place inside a church.

One of the things I learned early in my reading about life in the Middle Ages is that a wedding wasn’t always what I thought it should be. I wrote a short post a few weeks ago about church porches, where weddings often took place. They were, however, just as likely to take place in a house or in a wood. Most of the weddings in my novels take place in church porches, but one takes place in a wood and one inside a solar.

What constituted a marriage in the Middle Ages?…

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Weapons and Warfare

A period illustration of the Battle of Crécy. Anglo-Welsh longbowmen figure prominently in the foreground on the right, where they are driving away Italian mercenarycrossbowmen.

England
Our picture of arms and armour in medieval England is dominated by images of archery. The English war-bow was about 6ft (1.83m) long, made from a self stave, that is a naturally occurring stave with no gluing or laminating. This bow was used with a long draw; the largest group of the arrows found on the Mary Rose suggest a draw of about 30in (c.760mm). Modern replicas of these bows made from similar woods to those available to the medieval bowyers have a draw weight up to maybe 170lb. These bows were able to launch heavy arrows (about 2¼ oz or 64g min) up to about 270yd (c.247m) if the performance of modern replicas is any guide. We have very little…

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