One of the great things about medieval art and architecture is that people just went in and did things. They didn’t build models and scale them up. Building great cathedrals and abbeys was a learning process as much as anything else. This means many of these apparently perfect aspirations to the Heavenly Jerusalem have some often quite comical mistakes, corrections and bodge-jobs that once you see, you can’t unnotice. Great Mistakes in English Medieval Architecture.
Early English Laws is a project to publish online and in print new editions and translations of all English legal codes, edicts, and treatises produced up to the time of Magna Carta 1215. [more inside]
The City of London Corporation has been in the news lately related to Occupy London. But the deeper story of how this medieval remnant functions in 21st century England is far stranger... and more sinister.
British couple discover Medieval mural of King Henry VIII on their living room wall. (Includes video of the find.)
The remains of a man from Africa who lived and died in 13th-century England have been unearthed in Ipswich. Analysis of the skeleton shows that the individual originated in what is now Tunisia, but lived for at least a decade in England. This is not the only surprising recent information regarding African presence in pre-modern England. A paternally linked gene known from Mali, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau has been present in the male lineage of a Yorkshire family for at least 250 years, and may reach back to the time of the Roman occupation. [more inside]
The Soldier in later Medieval England is a historical research project that seeks to 'challenge assumptions about the emergence of professional soldiery between 1369 and 1453'. They've compiled impressive databases of tens of thousands of service records. These are perhaps of interest only to specialists; but the general reader may enjoy the profiles of individual military men: these run the gamut from regional non-entities like John Fort esquire of Llanstephan ("in many ways a humdrum figure" though once accused of harbouring a hostile Spaniard!) to more familiar figures such as rebel Welsh prince Owain Glyndŵr, who began his soldiering, as did many compatriots, in the service of the English king. Between such extremes of high and low we find, for example, Reginald Cobham, who made 6,500 florins ransoming a prisoner taken at Poitiers and rests eternal in a splendid tomb; and various men loyal and rebel who fought at the bloody Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403.
Wharram Percy [1996 vintage Web] was a Yorkshire Wolds village that survived for more than a millennium before being suddenly depopulated. Was it plague, Viking raids or William the Conqueror's Harrying of the North that drove the people from the land? No, it seems it was the sheep. The main link provides an overview of some of the findings about the village and medieval English peasant life [BBC radio programme] emerging from the decades of archaeological research into Wharram Percy.
Mapping Medieval Townscapes: a digital atlas of the new towns of Edward I For each town you will find maps and images, as well as historical interpretation, bibliographical information, and access through to a geographical database. (The fancy interactive maps are especially good.) Warning: you'll have to click to agree to some terms and conditions before you can view the site.
Niger Val Dub King of Scotland. One of 100 Great Black Britons. There were some surprises here for me. I didn't expect to find St. George the patron saint of England or Queen Victoria's grandmother here.