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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  • The Thirteenth Century Political 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 political scene in England during...

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  • The Thirteenth Century Rural 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 rural scene in England during...

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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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  • The Undergrowth of History

    Article

    We can do all kinds of things with the past - examine it analytically, or question whether it ever existed, or churn it up inside ourselves until it turns into personal experience. We can dream it as we lounge amidst a heap of ruins, or petrify it into a museum;...

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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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  • The Vikings in Britain

    Article

    Professor Henry Loyn provides an update on recent studies of the Viking Age. Interest in the activities of the Scandinavian people in Britain during the Viking Age, c 800-1100 A.D., has been strong in the last half-century or so, and it is good to pause and assess contributions to the...

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  • The archer's stake and the battle of Agincourt

    Article

    Our perspective on how archers performed in battle is enhanced byMark Hinsley's research into their use of protective stakes.On the approach to Agincourt in 1415 a small skirmish took place at Corbie, on the Somme. A force of French men-at-arms sallied out from the town and cut up some of...

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  • The making of Magna Carta

    Article

    Magna Carta provided a commentary on the ills of the realm in the time of King John. Sophie Ambler looks at what grievances were addressed in the Charter, how the Charter was made, and what the Charter. The world from which Magna Carta came - the world of ‘bad' King John...

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  • The soldier in Later Medieval England

    Article

    Traditionally, the Middle Ages have been portrayed as the ‘Feudal Age', when men were given land in return for performance of unpaid military service. Whilst this may have formed the basis of the English military system in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, it was most certainly not the way armies...

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  • The strange death of King Harold II: Propaganda and the problem of legitimacy in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings

    Article

    How did King Harold II die at the Battle of Hastings? The question is simple enough and the answer is apparently well known. Harold was killed by an arrow which struck him in the eye. His death is depicted clearly on the Bayeux Tapestry in one of its most famous...

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  • Thomas Parkinson the Hermit of Thirsk

    Article

    About the year 1430 the citizens of Thirsk decided that their ancient parish church of St. Mary was old-fashioned and unworthy of the developing town, so they decided to build a new one. As a result, over the next eighty years or so, they produced what Pevsner described as ‘without...

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  • Towards Reform in 1809

    Article

    Two hundred years ago it must have seemed to some as if the time for political and economic reform in Britain had arrived. A number of the necessary conditions appeared to be in place:recent examples from America and France showing how readily and rapidly established systems could be overturnedseveral instances...

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  • Tracing Your Poor Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians

    Article

    Tracing Your Poor Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians, Stuart A. Raymond, Pen and Sword, 2020, 196p, £14-99. ISBN 9781526742933 This is a very helpful aide memoire for anyone wishing to find out what their impoverished ancestors may have experienced. Inevitably it cannot provide precise answers to the most specific...

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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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  • Warfare, Raiding and Defence in Early Medieval Britain

    Article

    Warfare, Raiding and Defence in Early Medieval Britain, by Erik Grigg, Marlborough: Robert Hale, 2018, 224 pp., £25; ISBN 978 0 7198 26788. A sophisticated analysis of defence in early-medieval Britain that focuses on the widespread building of early-modern dykes in order to thwart the raids that were an incessant...

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  • Was Richard II Mad? An evening with Terry Jones

    Article

    On 19th June Terry Jones, 'Python', historian, broadcaster, actor, director and comedian called King Richard II a victim of spin at the annual Historical Association/English Association lecture at the Bishopsgate Institute. Here he sets out to rescue his reputation and lift the lid on the turbulent world of 14th century...

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  • Welsh archers at Agincourt: myth and reality

    Article

    Adam Chapman debates the evidence for a Welsh presence among Henry V’s highly-successful force of archers at Agincourt in 1415. Michael Drayton, in his poem of 1627, The Bataille of Agincourt, described the Welsh presence in Henry V's army: ‘who no lesse honour ow'd To their own king, nor yet...

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  • William the First and the Sussex Rapes

    Article

    During his reign, and in particular in the five years after the battle of Hastings, William I carried out the most thorough reallocation of land in England ever to take place in so short a period of time; the results were summarized in Domesday Book in 1086.That great record shows...

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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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  • 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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