The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian MortimerA very fun, entertaining book!
Here are a few things I learned:
There are almost no conifer or evergreen trees in the middle ages so the winter skyline is particularly bleak.
There are no grey squirrels, only red ones. The grey variety has yet to reach Britain.
Cattle and sheep are smaller than their modern counterparts: much smaller.
There are no wolves. The last English wolf was killed in North Lancashire in the 14th century.
Half of the entire population are under the age of 21 so everyone is inexperienced and immature. Imagine a nation being run by a bunch of hormonal teenage boys. People marry at age 14. Many commanders in the Army are still in their teens.
A woman who is 30 years old is considered to be in the winter of her life. Women are blamed for all intellectual and moral weaknesses in society and are basically viewed as deformed men.
The avg medieval person is considerably shorter than their counterparts of today, although nobility are about the same height as today. This disparity in height is due to genetic selection as well as difference in diet. The extra height gives a nobleman a considerable advantage in a fight.
Speaking of fighting, it is not unusual to come across men who have lost eyes, ears and limbs in wars. A surprisingly large amount of men have to hobble around without a leg or with foot injuries that never healed correctly.
The main staple of food is bread & something called pottage a thick stew of oats or peas (green pottage) or leeks (white pottage) that has been boiled into a mush for several hours over a fire. If you have a garden, you will throw in some herbs, garlic and cabbage. Add left over bread crumbs as thickener and thats your daily meal when you are not eating plain bread.
Most peasants have very few opportunities to eat meat, dairy or even fish. Pickled and salted herring is the only kind of fish they usually eat.
If you have a well kept fruit orchard you are very lucky and can make preserves from apples, pears, berries, plums and grapes.
A Medieval Street in York, England
In 1300 the nobility speak French, not English! If you cant speak French, you cant command any respect. Only the lowly poor peons speak English. Nobody commissions any literature in English. Not until 1350 when King Edward the III, who speaks English, expresses pride in the English language, do aristocrats begin to speak English as well as French.
People rarely bathed or did laundry but did wash their hands before each meal.
A peasant usually had only one set of clothes.
In the Great Plague, 35%-45% of the entire population is wiped out in just 9 months. Thousands of villages are left empty. If you are lucky enough to avoid catching the plague, dont relax too much, leprosy or tuberculosis might still get you.
If you do get sick, and are wealthy enough to pay a physician, he will not need to see you in person to treat you because diagnosis are based on astronomy. You will also be diagnosed by the color and smell of your urine and the taste of your blood.
There is so much more in this book, but I cant tell you everything! Please read it! Its really good!
10 Curious Facts About Life in Medieval Times
Jamie Frater , Updated June 13, I love history — and especially the medieval period, so lists like this are a real pleasure to put together. This is a selection of facts that I hope most people will be unfamiliar with. If you think there are any interesting facts that have been left out, let us know in the comments. The famous Battle of Hastings did not take place in Hastings! It was actually waged at Senlac Hill — which is about 6 miles 10km north-west of Hastings. One of the earliest versions of the London Bridge was destroyed in when the Saxons rowed up the Thames, tied ropes to it, and pulled it down!
What springs to mind when you hear the phrase "Medieval England"? Chivalrous knights? If so, these facts might surprise you. Forget suits of armour: by the s male clothing had become extremely vain, saucy and revealing. Fashionable young noblemen paraded around in tights and 'courtpieces': very short tunics that showed off the wearer's - er -front bottom. Basically, England briefly turned into a nation full of Labyrinth -era David Bowies. They also wore tight corsets to give themselves a nipped in waist.
A butt load of wine is gallons. You would fall asleep for 4 to 5 hours, wake up for 2 hours or so and fall back to sleep for another 3 to 4. In medieval Germany, married couples could legally settle their disputes by fighting a Marital Duel. To even the field, the man had to fight from inside a hole with one arm tied behind his back. The woman was free to move and was armed with a sack filled with rocks. The modern English word phoenix derives from the Middle English word phenix, itself from the Old English Fenix, which was borrowed from Medieval Latin phenix, which is derived from Classic Latin Phoenix.
What springs to mind when you hear the phrase "Medieval England"? Peasants? Witches? Chivalrous knights? If so, these facts might surprise.
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But how much do you really know about the Middle Ages? Here, John H Arnold, professor of medieval history at Birkbeck, University of London, reveals 10 things about the period that might surprise you. The population of Europe increased hugely across the 12th and 13th centuries, with cities and towns getting much larger. Paris grew about ten-fold and London nearly as much in this period. In the cities, people had all kinds of jobs: merchants, salesmen, carpenters, butchers, weavers, foodsellers, architects, painters, jugglers….
For many of us, our mental images of the medieval era are colored heavily by movies, books, and epic tales. Or maybe we think of someone like Robin Hood, gallantly defending the poor and powerless against the rich and cruel. But the true history is even darker and more dramatic than we imagine. Here are 42 facts you might not have known about Medieval England. Because it was so destructive, it was banned by King Edward II in Leave it to those uncivilized Americans to bring it back. While football was banned, archery was compulsory.