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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  • Podcasted Lecture: Why Medieval History Matters?

    Article

    Why Medieval History Matters, Professor Anne Curry, President of the HA ‘I don't mind there being some medievalists around for ornamental purposes, but there is no reason for the state to pay for them'. So, allegedly, said Charles Clarke when Education Secretary in 2003. In fact, medieval history has never...

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  • Queenship in Medieval England: A Changing Dynamic?

    Article

    In the winter of 1235-6, Eleanor, the 12 year old daughter of Count Raymond-Berengar V of Provence and Beatrice of Savoy, left her native homeland. She travelled to England to marry King Henry III, a man 28 years her senior whom she had never met. The bride and her entourage...

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  • Robert Grosseteste (c. 1170-1253)

    Article

    Jack Cunningham considers a medieval philosopher, the significance of whose ideas has grown in importance through the centuries. An appreciation of Grosseteste the thinker has not always been at its appropriate level during the almost 800 years since his death. If historians have paid attention to the great man this ...

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  • Saint Robert and the Deer

    Article

    It is almost a commonplace that there is an affinity between a holy man and the creatures of the wild. The archetype is St. Francis of Assisi but the phenomenon was well marked both before and after his time. I would like to consider briefly an episode in the life...

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  • Saxons, Normans and Victorians

    Article

    When Queen Victoria died in 1901, the Annual Register remarked that the feeling of forlorn-ness which swept the country had no parallel since the death of King Alfred. The men of the new century were driven to seek a Saxon parallel. So too were men at the beginning of the...

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  • Scots Abroad in the Fifteenth Century

    Article

    (Historical Association Pamphlet, No. 124, 1942) Dunlop's research into the occupations and attitudes of Scots abroad during the 15th century uncovers some surprising revelations about all members of the Scottish ex-pat society. She particularly notes the ‘scurrilous' opinions of the French regarding Scotsmen's behaviour. While Scottish diplomatists and envoys tended...

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  • Smithfield's Bartholomew Fair

    Article

    On the north-western side of the City of London, directly in front of St Bartholomew's Hospital near the ancient church of St Bartholomew the Great, there once lay a ‘smooth field', now known as Smithfield. This open space of around ten acres had a long and turbulent history. In medieval...

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  • St Peter’s-ad-murum, Bradwell-juxta-Mare

    Article

    Marie Paterson discovered this historical and spiritual structure many years ago and it continues to affect her. In Essex, on the northern shore of the Dengie Hundred, overlooking the mouth of the Blackwater estuary, proudly stands the lonely Saxon chapel of St Peter’s-on-the-Wall. Erected on the site of the Roman...

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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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  • The English Captivity of James I, King of Scots

    Article

    This booklet tells the story of James the first, with the events leading up to his capture and detailing the eighteen years spent in it. Balfour-Melville puts into writing the colourful, if not tragic, life of the capture and mere 13 year reign James.  Brought alive in words, a King...

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  • The Great Charter

    Article

    The following introduction to and translation of Magna Carta was made for the use of my pupils and is here published in response to a suggestion that it may be of use to others. The Charter bristles with technical legal terms and its Latin is often ambiguous since the language...

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  • The Great Revolt of 1381

    Article

    The Great Revolt of 1381 began in South-West Essex sometime between late May and 2 June: contemporary narratives and record sources differ irreconcilably about the dates. It all started with the arrival of a royal tax commissioner, John Bampton, at Brentwood inBarnstable Hundred. He came to inquire into the evasion...

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  • The Insanity of Henry VI

    Article

    Carole Rawcliffe examines medieval attitudes to madness and the case of Henry VI. Mad kings are all the rage at present. The remarkable success, first of Alan Bennett’s stage play, The Madness of George III, and then of the widely acclaimed film version, has prompted a spate of newspaper articles...

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  • The Investiture Disputes

    Article

    Historical labels are dictated by a wayward fashion; and the name which is still most commonly associated with the first struggle of Empire and Papacy (1076-1122). "The Investiture Disputes," is neither lucid or appropriate. It has been commoner for historians to name the great wars of history after the issues...

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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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  • The Nation of the Scots and the Declaration of Arbroath

    Article

    This pamphlet seeks to chart the progress of the Scottish struggle for independence after 1291 by considering the changing nature of the Scottish resistance. The primary sources are exiguous when compared to those bearing upon the English attempt at subjugation, and the interpretation offered is at best tentative: that initially...

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  • The Origins of Parliament

    Article

    He who would seek the origins of parliament cannot proceed without knowing that this is, and this has been, a matter much controverted. English politics have very often been conducted in terms of what has passed for history, not least because they have so frequently revolved around the rights and...

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  • The Scottish Parliament by Robert S. Rait

    Article

    This short pamphlet by the former Historiographer Royal for Scotland, Robert S. Rait, provides an introduction to the Scottish Parliament from its early origins to the Acts of Union of 1707.

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  • The Thirteenth Century Industrial Scene in England

    Article

    This essay forms part of a collection of three essays on Thirteenth Century England by Professor R. F. Treharne (President of the HA 1958-61). These were originally delivered as lectures and were later edited for publication by Dr C. H. Knowles. This essay looks at the industrial scene in England during...

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