Eleanor of Castile: The Shadow Queen, by Sara Cockerill

eleanor of castile

Eleanor was a highly dynamic, forceful personality whose interest in the arts, politics and religion were highly influential in her day – and whose temper had even bishops quaking in their shoes.

The last rex crucesignatus, Edward I and the Mongol alliance

Eleanor of Castile sucks the poison out of Edward I of England

This study explores the crusading efforts of Edward I, King of England (1272– 1307), in the last decades of the thirteenth century.

‘But Where are the Dungeons?’: How to Engage the Public at the Tower of London

The White Tower of The Tower of London. Photo by Medievalists.net

A talk about how historical sites, like the Tower of London engage the public. How to handle visitor expectations, what do people come t see and how to tell history in a captivating but accurate manner.

Magna Carta Conference Offers New Insights Into The 800-year-old Document

British Library's Magna Carta, photo credit Joseph Turp

Magna Carta just celebrated its 800th birthday this past Monday. In honour of this incredible milestone, King’s College London, and the Magna Carta Project, hosted a 3 day conference dedicated to this historic document.

The Hammer of the Scots: Edward I and the Scottish Wars of Independence

The Hammer of the Scots

This book offers a fresh interpretation of Edward’s military career, with a particular focus on his Scottish wars. In part this is a study of personality: Edward was a remarkable man. His struggles with tenacious opponents – including Robert the Bruce and William Wallace – have become the stuff of legend.

CONFERENCES: Arnold Fitz Thedmar: an Early London chronicler

London (c. 1650)

Another fascinating paper given at the Institute for Historical Research in central London. For those of you interested in chronicles, urban history and London, this paper was definitely for you. Ian Stone discussed his dissertation about thirteenth century London through the eyes of wealthy Alderman, Arnold Fitz Thedmar.

1295: The Year of the Galleys

1295 year of galleys

This lecture is about an extraordinary set of English shipbuilding accounts dating from the 1290s, when the ports of London, Southampton, Ipswich, York, Newcastle and other places constructed eight war galleys for King Edward I.

The Uses Made of History by the Kings of Medieval England


The kings of medieval England, besides using history for the entertainment of themselves and their courts, turned it to practical purposes. They plundered history-books for precedents and other evidences to justify their claims and acts. They also recognised its value as propaganda, to bolster up their positions at home and strengthen their hands abroad.

Like Father Like Son? Henry III’s Tomb at Westminster Abbey as a Case Study in Late Thirteenth-Century English Kingship

The tomb of Henry III, Westminster Abbey, from the chapel of St

Who was this king, and who made this grand monument to him? An inscription around the edge of the upper tomb chest identifies its occupant as Henry III, the English king who died in 1272 after a reign of fifty-six years.

Power relations in the royal forests of England patronage : privilege and legitimacy in the reigns of Henry III and Edward I

medieval forest and woods

The England of the Plantagenets (1189–1377) which honed the royal forest system was a typically medieval land. Its ultimate foundations lay upon the long established notion of the three estates: those who fought, those who prayed, and those who worked.

Edward I and the Appropriation of Arthurian Legend

King Arthur

I recount some of the various activities of Edward I where he appears to use Arthurian legend in a political context, making no attempt to draw conclusions about the nature of national identity in thirteenth century England, but rather to demonstrate the potential of this era for re-evaluation and reinterpretation by those interested in pursuing such matters.

What to See in Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey Review

A review and tour of Westminster Abbey

The Management of the Mobilization of English Armies: Edward I to Edward III

Edward III counting the dead on the battlefield of Crécy

This thesis examines government administrative action that can be described as ‘management’, in the context of the logistics of mobilizing royal armies during the reigns of Edward I, Edward II and Edward III.

The Origins of the Wars of Independence in Scotland, 1290-1296

Map of Scotland

Very late on the 19th March 1286, in the teeth of a howling gale on a dark and stormy night, Scotland’s history was changed forever with the death of King Alexander III.

Christmas Books: Great Medieval Fiction Reads for the Christmas Holidays!

Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders

Some medieval stocking stuffers for the historians on your Christmas list!

Thomas Fitzanthony’s Borough: Medieval Thomastown in Irish History, 1171-1555

Norman Invasion of Ireland

Thomas Fitzanthony’s Borough: Medieval Thomastown in Irish History, 1171-1555 Marilyn Silverman In the Shadow of the Steeple VI, Duchas-Tullaherin Parish Heritage Society (1998) Abstract In the year 1295, King Edward I “ordered that all goods belonging to subjects of the King of France should be seized and sold”. A man named Richard Ie Marshall then […]

Margaret Plantagenet, Queen of Scotland

Margaret Plantagenet, Queen of Scotland

The English Princess Margaret Plantagenet married King Alexander III of Scotland in December of 1251. This was to be the third youngest marriage of monarchs in British history.

English government bought “many millions” of crossbow bolts during the 13th century, historian finds

14th century crossbowman

A new study about the medieval military industry shows that the English Royal government was making and purchasing as much as hundreds of thousands of crossbow bolts each year, revealing how important this weapon was to the medieval armies of England.

The First of Century of Magna Carta: Three Crises

This is one of the two Magna Carta owned by the British Library (c) The British Library Board

The First of Century of Magna Carta: Three Crises Ralph Turner (Florida State University, Department of History – Emeritus) Paper given at Presbyterian College, South Carolina (2004) Abstract Magna Carta is one of the key documents of the Anglo-American political tradition, yet it seemed a failure by the summer of 1215, repudiated by King John […]

Chaucer’s Arthuriana

Guinevere’s marriage to Arthur

The majority of medieval scholars, including Roger Sherman Loomis, argue that the popularity of the Arthurian legend in England was therefore on the wane in the latter half of the fourteenth century; as a result, the major writers of the period, such as John Gower and Geoffrey Chaucer, refrained from penning anything beyond the occasional reference to King Arthur and his court.

The Conquest of Wales (1282)

The Conquest of Wales (1282)

That was when an English king, Edward the First, sent an army along this route I’m travelling now. He conquered Wales, he built castles as symbols of his power, and he shipped in English settlers to exploit this land. And the Welsh became second-class citizens in their own country.

The man who lost at Stirling Bridge

Seal of John de Warenne, earl of Surrey

The Battle of Stirling Bridge, fought on September 11, 1297, is remembered as one Scotland’s greatest military victories and the high point in the career of William Wallace. A new article now explores the other side of that battle, seeking to understand how the English lost that day.

The Scottish wars of Edward III, 1327-1338

Wars of Scottish Independence - 1332, Neville’s Cross

This thesis deals with the events of the Anglo-Scottish wars of the 1330s and the English military machine that allowed Edward III to win numerous successes against the Scots yet was unable to secure a permanent conquest of any portion of Scotland save Berwick-upon Tweed.

The Edwardian Conquest and its Military Consolidation

Caernafon castle - one of Edward I's strongholds in Wales

On land, English armies faced a highly mobile, because lightly armed, infantry whose favoured tactics were ambushes and guerrilla strikes although some native retinues did boast heavy cavalry and siege engines; surprise and speed had to be matched by vigilance and the capacity to concentrate troops swiftly at the point of need.

Spectacularizing Justice in Late Medieval England

Hanged, Drawn and Quartered

I use the word ritual because in cases of treachery use of a general ‘script’ as ordered by these two accounts emerges with surprising frequency in England in the late 13th and early 14th century.

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