Filed under medieval history

US Heading back to the Middle Ages

This is from the i newspaper last week, and is both sad and tragic to be coming from the richest nation on earth:. “‘Baby Boxes’ could save lives Indiana could become the first US state to allow the use of “baby boxes” on a broad scale to prevent people abandoning infants if a Bill, which … Continue reading

Traditions of their Fathers

This is some more from Eamon Duffy’s ‘Stripping of the Altars’: Rotation processions were seen by zealous protestants as ‘charming the fields,’ by they continued in some regions long after they were outlawed, described as: ” profane, ungodly, presumptuous multitude as zealous for crosses & surplices, processions & perambulations, readings of gospel at a crossway, … Continue reading

Punishing a Corpse

This is more from The rise & fall of the house if Medici: Following the murder of Giuliano & attempt on his brother Lorenzo, DW Medici: “Jacopo de’Pazzi, so overcome by despair at the failure if the plot that he boxed his own ears and threw himself on the floor in despair and rage, managed … Continue reading

Prayer or Spell?

“I Bind unto myself the Name The Strong Name of the Trinity By invocation of the same The Three in One and the One in Three” This looks to me like a spell bit it is from St Patrick’s breast plate, part of  the modern Anglican service. As Eamon Duffy writes in Stripping of the … Continue reading

Time and Control

There seems to be a general assumption that clocks were invented to control people, as part of the industrialisation of the west, etc. but as ‘Shaping the Day’ by Paul Glennie & Nigel Thrift explain, the truth is far more complicated. Time keeping existed about 3,000 years ago, but it was in 2 forms. The … Continue reading

Fish and Fairs

The supply and control of the quality of food seems to have taken up most of the authorities time until modern age. Weights and measures were scrupulously checked, and if food or drink was unfit for consumption it was generally destroyed, sometimes burnt, in public, and the vendor fined or put into the pillory for … Continue reading

Collectors and Collections

This is from Patrick Mauries’ wonderful, richly illustrated book ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ which is brilliant: “The story of cabinets of curiosities is above all that of a handful of figures scattered throughout the length and breadth of Europe in the age of the Baroque. John Tradescant and Elias Ashmole in Oxford, Addrovandi and Manfredo Settala … Continue reading



I became fascinated by these pieces of fine wood carving in old churches, as they are far from sacred, and form an important function. In the middle ages, as Europe became more chaotic and dangerous, the church lengthened its church services, so the priests had to stand for much longer, and could be seen by … Continue reading

Mediaeval Coming of Age

In Barbara A. Hanawalt’s book, The Wealth of Women, there is much discussion about the value of women in marriage, but she notes that it is hard to establish when girls became women. Across Europe, evidence of physical puberty is scant, but suggest it was between 12 and 15. the church allowed girls to marry … Continue reading

Different For Girls

One of the worrying statistics reported by Barbara A. Hanawalt’s book, The Wealth of Women is the ratios of genders of orphans that appeared before the chamberlain: 60% were male. This is odd, as females traditionally outnumber males at birth, and this tends to increase as they get older, so she wonders if they were not … Continue reading