Britain & Ireland

Women and social history can be overlooked themes in periods where records tended to focus on money, religion and Kings. While those latter themes are covered in this section so are features on individual women, their relationships with power and how they were able to influence politics and the people around them. Social history is also addressed through the stories of Hermits, soldiers, tax records and revolting peasantry with nobles. Read more

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  • Linking Law: Viking and medieval Scandinavian law in literature and history

    Article

    Ongoing interdisciplinary developments have cast light on the surprisingly sophisticated world of Viking-age and medieval Scandinavian law and its wide-ranging influence in these societies. In many ways, the Viking Age and its inhabitants are more familiar than ever before. From video games to television and films, new narrative frontiers and bigger...

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  • The Memory of a Saint: Managing the legacy of St Bernard of Clairvaux

    Article

    When Bernard of Clairvaux died in 1153, the Cistercian Order was faced with a problem. The self-proclaimed ‘chimera of his age’ had enjoyed an unusual and varied monastic career, as abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux and papal confidante, making him remarkably well-known for a monk. At the funeral the...

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  • Exploring local sources

    Article

    Tim Lomas was correct when he said, in his article in the Summer 2019 edition of The Historian, that historians can see much more in medieval documents than the scribes intended.  Lay manors in Bedfordshire are a good example. Eggington manor, in the south-west, was part of a larger estate and held...

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  • Willington and the Mowbrays: After the Peasants' Revolt

    Article

    Willington and the Mowbrays: After the Peasants' Revolt, Dorothy Jamieson, Bedford Historical Record Society Vol 95, Boydell Press, 2019, 241p, £25-00, ISSN 0067-4826. At one level this scholarly and meticulous study introduces us to the Willington neighbourhood in Bedfordshire. Based on Dorothy Jamieson’s careful transcription of its manorial court rolls,...

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  • War Bows

    Article

    War Bows, Mike Loades, Osprey Publishing, 2019, 312p, £30-00. ISBN 978-1-4728-2553-7. This is a highly technical book. Mike Loades examines in exceptional detail four types of ‘war bow’ – the longbow, the crossbow, the composite bow and the Japanese ‘yumi’, used by the samurai. This is an extraordinarily well-illustrated scholarly...

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  • Hidden histories: landscape spotting – a brief guide

    Article

    The art of landscape spotting – identifying and interpreting visible archaeological features in the countryside – is an accessible, enlightening and fun way to explore our past. By finding these clues in the fields, roads, hedges and hills around us, we can start to piece together the biography of a...

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  • How hidden are ordinary people in later medieval England?

    Article

    Tim Lomas explores some documents from the Bishop and Priory of Durham that shed interesting light on the lives of ‘ordinary people’ in medieval England. It is largely a truism to state that the majority of documents from medieval Britain were not designed to shed much light on the lives...

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  • Norfolk and Suffolk Churches: The Domesday Record

    Article

    Norfolk and Suffolk Churches: The Domesday Record, David Butcher, Poppyland Publishing, 2019, 369p, £14-95. ISBN 9781909796614. This is a very specialist book with a seemingly rather local potential audience. However, those who, in the distant past, were much influenced by H. C. Darby’s examination of various aspects of Domesday Geography...

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  • Out and About in Chester

    Article

    This ‘aide memoire’ to Chester’s local history has been prepared to enable 2019 Annual Conference delegates – and other visitors – to gain a ‘flavour’ of what Chester has to offer.  A visitor to Chester encounters the bustle and excitement of a busy cathedral city but behind this façade lies...

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  • Woodland in the East Staffordshire landscape

    Article

    Richard Stone explains that the natural landscape can be a resource for anyone exploring local topography. The idea for researching this topic came while reading Oliver Rackham’s excellent Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape. Calculations based on woodland recorded in Domesday Book revealed my home county of Staffordshire, with...

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  • A European dimension to local history

    Article

    Trevor James raises the prospect of broadening our approaches to local history to take a wider European perspective. When Professor W. G. Hoskins published his The Making of the English Landscape in 1955, he taught us how to observe and understand the topography of our landscapes, urban and rural, and...

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  • The Tudor monarchy in Ireland

    Article

    Sean Connolly illustrates how Tudor dreams of a reformed Ireland were not realised – instead tensions between Irish magnates and the English Crown often erupted into violence.

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  • National distinctions entirely laid aside?

    Article

    Bethan M. Jenkins considers why it was important to Lewis Morris and others to have the distinctive Welsh contribution to British history and culture properly acknowledged.

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  • Dangerous Women of the Scottish Wars of Independence

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    Kate Ash-Irisarri shows how three redoubtable women had significant roles in the difficult and dangerous period of the Scottish Wars of Independence.

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  • St Theobald of Provins and evidence of charcoal-burning

    Article

    Trevor James has been researching the ‘saintly landscape’ for over 40 years. Here is a glimpse of what he has identified.

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  • The Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms and Europe

    Article

    The riches of surviving Anglo-Saxon manuscripts showcased in a fabulous new exhibition at the British Library emphasises the essential interconnections between England and the Continent.

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  • Anglo-Saxon women and power

    Article

    Elite Anglo-Saxon women played a powerful role in the religious affairs and politics of their day and were important patrons of learning and culture.

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  • Alfred versus the Viking Great Army

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    Stunning archaeological discoveries have shed new light on the reign of Alfred the Great and his struggles with the Vikings, revealing the might of the Viking armies and the international connections of his kingdom.

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  • The Venerable Bede: recent research

    Article

    The eighth-century monk is renowned as the ‘Father of English History’, but recent scholarship has demonstrated how important he was as a scientist and theologian and how his writings on the Bible can illuminate his famous history.

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  • New light on Rendlesham

    Article

    New research at a royal palace site close to Sutton Hoo poses fresh questions about the nature of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Christopher Scull and Tom Williamson look at how landscape studies can change our understanding of early English royal rule.

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