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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  • Film: The People of 1381

    Article

    This lecture with Adrian Bell, Helen Lacey and Helen Killick introduces key findings of the AHRC-funded project The People of 1381. Which people and social groups were involved in England’s biggest pre-civil war revolt? How much can we find out about their lives: where did they come from, what actions...

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  • Film: A Jewish Divorce Case in Medieval England

    Article

    In 1242, the prominent thirteenth-century Jewish financier David of Oxford attempted to divorce his wife, Muriel. In the process, he met with a number of obstacles which seriously hampered his efforts and had far-reaching implications for the Jewish community as a whole. In the end, David had to appeal directly...

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  • Out and About in Wheathampstead

    Article

    Dianne Payne examines the structural local history of Wheathampstead and provides a template for wider comparisons. The rural village of Wheathampstead in Hertfordshire, situated about four miles from St Albans, lies on the River Lea. The village and surrounding land has a long history and in ancient times was owned by the...

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  • Old age care in the time of crisis: London in the sixteenth century

    Article

    In her lecture to the General Strand of the HA Conference, Christine Fox describes the successes and failures of London institutions in dealing with the sixteenth-century crisis of poverty and elderly care. In late medieval and early modern thinking, human life was divided into three stages; youth, maturity, and old age. The latter...

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  • My Favourite History Place: Castle Hill, Huddersfield

    Article

    Alison Hramiak tempts us to visit Castle Hill, south of Huddersfield, to look for traces of our long dead ancestors, to contemplate the passing of the centuries on that site and to enjoy the lovely views. It’s often the way that we ignore what’s geographically close to us when we visit...

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  • Out and About: the central Marches of Wales and the Mortimer family of Wigmore

    Article

    Paul Dryburgh and Philip Hume enable us to see the interaction of one prominent family with the area that they dominated. The central Marches span the English/Welsh border in an area that encompasses the picturesque landscapes and market towns of north-west Herefordshire, south-west Shropshire, and Radnorshire which has also the rugged...

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  • Building St James's spire: Louth's guilds and popular piety in the later middle ages

    Article

    Medieval historian Dr Claire Kennan continued our Virtual Branch series with a local history talk on the building of St James's spire, Louth.  In her talk Kennan traces the important role that Louth's major guilds of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Holy Trinity played in the building of the St James’s spire. Throughout the...

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  • Out and About: Tynemouth Priory

    Article

    Approximately 10 miles east of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and just over 10 minutes walk from my home, the imposing ruins of Tynemouth Priory command sea, river, and land from the promontory between King Edward’s Bay and Prior’s Haven. While the Priory dates back to the eleventh century, the headland on which it sits,...

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  • My Favourite History Place: The Chantry Chapel of St Mary on Wakefield Bridge

    Article

    Wakefield Bridge Chapel, by the River Calder, is thought by many to be the finest of four bridge chantries, the others being Bradford-on-Avon, Derby and Rotherham. The chapel at Wakefield was originally founded and endowed by the people of Wakefield and district between 1342 and 1359. In 1397 Edmund de Langley,...

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  • Richard III and the Princes in the Tower: update

    Article

    Richard III is one of the most famous kings of England, as much for his Shakespearean mythology as for the reality of his reign. Here, the different accounts of him are explored to shed light on some of his actions and legacy. The fascination evoked by Richard III and the...

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  • The Invisible Building: St John's in Bridgend

    Article

    Molly Cook, winner of this year's Historical Association Young Historian Local History Award, unravels the mystery of a local icon and tells us about her success in inspiring Bridgend to engage with its fascinating past. Having worked on previous projects relating to the history of Bridgend and its place in...

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  • My Favourite History Place - Barnard Castle

    Article

    Paula Kitching invites us to look at Barnard Castle with new eyes. Over the summer there was a lot of talk about Barnard Castle – I won’t go into the politics, but it did make me reflect on the actual town of Barnard Castle. Growing up, it was one of...

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  • Exploring the witch craze

    30th October 2020

    This weekend the spectre of Halloween has been in the air; traditionally a celebration of the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. Whilst we're all used to the macabre symbols of ghouls and witches, particularly at this time of year, what is the history of these supernatural figures? We've drawn...

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  • Black Death to global pandemic: London then and now

    Article

    Christine Merie Fox compares the impact of the Black Death on fourteenth-century London with our present-day experience. In 1347, a terrifying disease was carving a path from the East into Northern Africa and Europe. Its entry point into Europe was the south of Italy, via merchant ships from the Black Sea. The...

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  • Gaming the medieval past

    Article

    Matthew Bennett and Ryan Lavelle explore how the devising, playing and discussion of war games can contribute to historical understanding. Games as tools for learning are engaging for teachers and students alike. Whether computer-driven, board games, miniatures, role-play or re-enactment, they all provide scenarios within which learners can use a...

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  • Out and About in Upper Weardale

    Article

    Tony Fox introduces us to two battlefields and the work of the Battlefields Trust. Stanhope takes its name from the ‘stony valley’ in which it sits. It is the most significant town in beautiful Upper Weardale. Like many towns in this area Stanhope’s growth accelerated in the nineteenth century as...

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  • Britain and Brittany: contact, myth and history in the early Middle Ages

    Article

    Fiona Edmonds evidences the enduring links between Brittany and Britain throughout the early Middle Ages. Every year many thousands of British holidaymakers travel to Brittany in search of beaches, bisque and bonhomie. As they board the ferry, they may notice that they are travelling from one Bretagne to another. The names...

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  • Losing sight of the glory: five centuries of combat surgery

    Article

    Michael Crumplin traces developments in surgery that can be directly attributed to changes in the conduct of war. Little doubt exists that war accelerates and innovates medical care. Today, our armed services can rely upon sound medical treatment if they are sick or wounded, with survival rates of above 90%. This...

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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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  • Linking Law: Viking and medieval Scandinavian law in literature and history

    Article

    Ongoing interdisciplinary developments have cast light on the surprisingly sophisticated world of Viking-age and medieval Scandinavian law and its wide-ranging influence in these societies. In many ways, the Viking Age and its inhabitants are more familiar than ever before. From video games to television and films, new narrative frontiers and bigger...

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