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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Late Medieval Taxation Records

    Article

    There are more than 23,000 medieval taxation records from England and Wales in the Public Record Office alone. For many years the vast majority of them have lain undisturbed in their archive boxes, but recent work is showing the true value of some of these as historical sources and making...

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  • Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People

    Article

    Much research has been devoted in recent years to Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People (EH), completed in 731 at the joint monastery of Monkwearmouth- Jarrow; but in one crucial respect little progress has been made: the editing of the text. The excellent edition published by Charles Plummer in...

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  • Myth and Reality: A Necessary Marriage at Twelfth Century Glastonbury

    Article

    It is the habitation of strangers and the domination of foreigners. There is today no Englishman who is either earl, bishop or abbot. The newcomers devour the riches and entrails of England, and there is no hope of the misery coming to an end…the fatal day for England, the mournful...

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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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  • 1497, Cornwall and the Wars of the Roses

    Article

    Ian Arthurson reasseses the Cornish rising of 1497 on its 500th anniversary. On the 400th anniversary of this rebellion there was a good deal of agreement about the Wars of the Roses: ‘The slaughter of people was greater than in any former war on English soil ... The standard of...

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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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