14th century

Wandering the medieval streets of London

Here, take my hand. Come on, I won’t hurt you. Nope, just grab hold of me so that I can drag you with me, seven centuries backwards in time. What, you don’t want to? I promise I’ll bring you back. Cross my heart. (Sheesh: some people are SO unadventurous!) Now that you’ve overcome your fear, […]

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Loving all his imperfections – in remembrance of Roger Mortimer. who died #otd 1330

An author setting out to write a fictionalised version of historical events must decide from what point of view these events will be related. After all, if I were to write from Hugh Despenser the Younger’s perspective, the rebellious barons led by Roger Mortimer of Wigmore and Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, were a nasty lot

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Woe, the unloved wife – of Joan of Bar and her not-so-loving hubby, John de Warenne

In a previous post, I wrote about Eleanor, eldest surviving daughter of Edward I and his wife, Eleanor of Castile. That poor lady was destined for a short life, but she lived long enough to marry and have two children, one born in 1295 or so, the second born a year later. When Eleanor died,

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The bride wore white for the first time ever. Meet a15th century trendsetter

Quite some time ago, I wrote about Margareta of Denmark, a rather impressive woman who ended up as the de facto ruler of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. When Margareta died in 1412, her adopted son Erik of Pommerania took over the reins of government, and I suspect this thirty-year-old man was more than thrilled to be

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The mouse that squeaked – or the story of a VERY short siege

There’s something about sieges, isn’t there? An encircled fortress—or city—and it is all one long waiting game as the cat outside wonders just how long the mouse will stay in its hole before lack of food and water forces it to venture beyond the safety of its walled haven. Mind you, I don’t think the

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A boring man begat a boring man who begat a dragon

Very many years ago, I read Edith Pargeter’s excellent quartet, The Brothers of Gwynedd. A sad and tragic story, featuring Llywellyn ap Gruffyd, the Last Prince of Wales and his baby brother, Dafydd (also the Last Prince of Wales – actually the Last Prince of Wales, seeing as he took over after Llywellyn was killed).

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Not every Christmas is a good Christmas – a story of treachery, vengeance and death

So, it is Christmas. Well, not quite, we are still some days away, but all the same, the holiday season is upon us. A season of love and peace, of happy family reunions and the joyful sound of children laughing in the snow. Ha! Sometimes, Christmas is much, much grimmer. Like in the year 1317,

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…so dies the youth…

Say hello to John, today’s protagonist. This medieval gentleman had the misfortune to die young—which may be why he is mostly remembered for being a good and loyal brother. One of the (few) benefits of dying young is that generally you have not developed those less-than-stellar qualities that go under the label vices. Instead, a

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Is she Violent? No, she’s Violante

Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder what our dear ancestors might have been high on when naming their children. Take, for example, the royal custom in medieval Castile of naming their little princesses Urraca. Urraca is Spanish for magpie, and my main objection to the name is how harsh it sounds. Urraca is an onomatopoeic

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Margaret – a beloved wife or a victim?

Being a medieval woman came with risks – well, nothing strange there: life itself is a risk. Specifically, medieval heiresses ran the risk of being abducted and forcibly obliged to marry their abductor. Not, I imagine, a particularly pleasant scenario although there are cases where one can suspect the abductee and abductor had agreed beforehand

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