How was it that ordinary men in medieval England and Wales became such skilled archers that they defeated noble knights in battle after battle? The archer in medieval England became a forerunner of John Bull as a symbol of the spirit of the ordinary Englishman. He had his own popular literature that left us a romantic version of the lives and activities of outlaws and poachers such as Robin Hood. This remarkable development began 150 years after the traumatic events of the Norman Conquest transformed the English way of life, in ways that were almost never to the benefit of the English. This book is the first account of the way ordinary men used bows and arrows in their day-to-day lives, and the way that their skills became recognised by the kings of England as invaluable in warfare.
The Middle Ages re-created through the cast of pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales. Among the surviving records of fourteenth-century England, Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry is the most vivid. Chaucer wrote about everyday people outside the walls of the English court—men and women who spent days at the pedal of a loom, or maintaining the ledgers of an estate, or on the high seas. In Chaucer’s People, Liza Picard transforms The Canterbury Tales into a masterful guide for a gloriously detailed tour of medieval England, from the mills and farms of a manor house to the lending houses and Inns of Court in London. In Chaucer’s People we meet again the motley crew of pilgrims on the road to Canterbury. Drawing on a range of historical records such as the Magna Carta, The Book of Margery Kempe, and Cookery in English, Picard puts Chaucer’s characters into historical context and mines them for insights into what people ate, wore, read, and thought in the Middle Ages. What can the Miller, “big…of brawn and eke of bones” tell us about farming in fourteenth-century England? What do we learn of medieval diets and cooking methods from the Cook? With boundless curiosity and wit, Picard re-creates the religious, political, and financial institutions and customs that gave order to these lives.
Essays in this collection examine the lifestyles and attitudes of the gentry in late-medieval England. Through surveys of the gentry's military background, administrative and political roles, social behavior, and education, the reader is provided with an overview of how the group's culture evolved and how it was disseminated.
Fully illustrated throughout, this title shows how disease in Britain was an ever-present menace in Victorian streets, especially in overcrowded areas, how in 1849 a devastating outbreak of cholera struck central London, and how drought and sewage in the River Thames caused the appalling 'Great Stink'.
First published in 1992, Medieval Military Technology has become the definitive book in its field, garnering much praise and a large readership. This thorough update of a classic book, regarded as both an excellent overview and an important piece of scholarship, includes fully revised content, new sections on the use of horses, handguns, incendiary weapons, and siege engines, and eighteen new illustrations. The four key organizing sections of the book still remain: arms and armor, artillery, fortifications, and warships. Throughout, the authors connect these technologies to broader themes and developments in medieval society as well as to current scholarly and curatorial controversies.