The Law of Treason in the English Border Counties in the Later Middle Ages

England / Scotland border British Railways sign board by the east coast mainline, marking the border.  Photo by Callum Black / Wikimedia Commons

The formulation of a general and comprehensive law of treason by the English government in the mid-fourteenth century allowed northerners to impose harsh penalties on those who offended them most grievously.

Institutionally Constrained Technology Adoption: Resolving the Longbow Puzzle

Longbows at the Battle of Agincourt

Historians have long puzzled over why this missile weapon—clearly superior to its alternative, the crossbow—was monopolized by the English for so long

Celebrating the New Year, Medieval Style

The Festival of Fools - Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525)

A look at New Year’s in the Middle Ages.

Book Review: Hidden Britain by Alvin Nicholas

Books: Hidden Britain by Alvin Nicholas

Tourism with a twist? Tired of the same old tours and droning guides? Alvin Nicholas’s book on manors, mansions, castles, nooks and crannies, reveals there’s more to Britain than meets the eye.

The Christmas Eve massacre of 986

Iona Abbey - photo by dun_deagh / Flickr

For the year 986, the Annals of Ulster records, ‘Iona was plundered by Danes on Christmas Eve, and they killed the abbot and fifteen men of the seniors of the church.’ What more can we learn about this attack and why it happened?

Did People Ice Skate in the Middle Ages?

Medieval ice skates made of bone on display at the Museum of London. Photo by Steven G. Johnson, Wikipedia.

How did medieval people pass the time during the coldest part of the year? I came across several instances of medieval people strapping on skates and taking a twirl (or a tumble!) on the ice. Here is how it all began!

‘The Worst Disaster Suffered by the People of Scotland in Recorded History’: Climate Change, Dearth and Pathogens in the Long Fourteenth Century

16th century map of Scotland

It is not the aim of this essay to provide an environmental history of medieval Scotland or even just of the fourteenth century in Scotland; that is a much larger task than can be addressed here. Rather, the intention is to explore the nature of the evidence that is available within the documentary record and place it alongside the various forms of proxy data for climate history to produce a synthetic narrative.

Macbeth: Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in dark, gritty interpretation of Macbeth

Macbeth movie poster - UK (2015)

Macbeth opened in October in London to critical acclaim. The movie is being released today in Canada and the US.

The Two Wives of Robert II, King of Scotland

The seal of Robert II, King of Scotland.

Robert II, King of Scots and grandson of Robert the Bruce was a handsome, charming man who had many descendants. He not only had two wives who had numerous children but many mistresses who had babies as well.

Guns in Scotland: the manufacture and use of guns and their influence on warfare from the fourteenth century to c.1625

Detail from a contemporary drawing of Edinburgh Castle under siege in 1573, showing it surrounded by attacking batteries

Guns first came into use in Western Europe in the fourteenth century and the Scots were using them by the 1380s.

Glimpse of medieval trade revealed along the River Forth

School pupils from St Ninian's Primary School uncovering the medieval harbour of Cambuskenneth Abbey © GUARD Archaeology Ltd

Over two weeks in September, the Cambuskenneth Harbours project brought together a wide range of experts and local volunteers to investigate the medieval harbour of Cambuskenneth Abbey, which lies on the River Forth near Stirling.

Rival bishops, rival cathedrals: the election of Cormac, archdeacon of Sodor, as bishop in 1331

Ruined remains of Snizort Cathedral. Photo by Richard Dorrell / Wikimedia Commons

In the early fourteenth century, the diocese of Sodor, or Sudreyjar meaning Southern Isles in old Norse, encompassed the Isle of Man and the Hebrides.

Trickery, Mockery and the Scottish Way of War

The earliest known depiction of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 from a 1440s manuscript of Walter Bower's Scotichronicon

This article seeks to examine two prominent themes, those of trickery and mockery, in how warfare against England was represented in Scottish historical narratives of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Who Were The Celts? The British Museum Offers Answers with New Exhibition

Gundestrup Cauldron Silver  Gundestrup, northern Denmark, 100 BC–AD 1 © The National Museum of Denmark. The British Museum. Photo by Medievalists.net

The British Museum just opened its latest exhibit, Celts: Art and Identity this past Thursday, covering 2,500 years of Celtic history. The exhibit explores Celtic identity and how it eveolved from the time of the Ancient Greeks to the present through art, culture, daily life, religion and politics.

5 Cool Celtic Things at the British Museum

(L) Horned helmet. Bronze, glass, Found along the Thames river near Waterloo, London, England (200-100 BC). (R) Greek helmet, bronze. Olympia, South-Western Greece (460 BC), The British Museum.Photo by Medievalists.net.

I attended the opening of the British Museum’s, Celts: Art and Identity exhibit on Sept 24th. It showcases stunning art, jewellery, weaponry, daily and religious objects to tell the story of the Celtic people.

The Battle of Neville’s Cross as told in the Lanercost Chronicle

Battle of Neville's Cross from a 15th-century Froissart manuscript

The year 1346 is remembered in England mostly for the Battle of Crecy, where King Edward III defeated the French forces in one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years War. That year also saw another major battle, this one fought on English soil.

Call for Papers: Death and Identity in Scotland from the Medieval to the Modern

death and identity scotland

Friday 29 January to Sunday 31 January 2016, at New College, University of Edinburgh

Finding the Battle of Bannockburn

Map of Bannockburn showing the new archaeological find spots and the likeliest course of the battle over 23 and 24 June 1314. © Tony Pollard / GUARD Archaeology Ltd

Between 2011 and 2014, a new search for the site of the Battle of Bannockburn took place, spurred on by the 700th anniversary of the battle and the National Trust for Scotland’s new state-of-the-art Bannockburn Battlefield Centre.

Ten Castles that Made Medieval Britain: Edinburgh Castle

An engraving published in Maitland's History of Edinburgh, 1753.

Few indeed are those architectural legacies still remaining to us that can boast the iconic status of Edinburgh Castle, its distinctive silhouette known throughout the world, accompanied by the gently wafting of bagpipes. Far rarer still are those structures with a comparably singular influence upon the shaping of a nation.

Fireworks in Scotland date back to 1507, researchers find

Edinburgh Castle with fireworks in 2011 - Photo by weir thru a lens / Flickr

Previously experts believed that fireworks were first used in Stirling in 1566, however, new evidence suggests that it was actually around 59 years earlier and in the Scottish capital. It is thought that ‘fireballs’ featured in a great tournament staged by King James lV, which took place at the base of Castle Rock, in 1507, in the area which is now the King’s Stables Road.

Reporting Scotland in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

The initial page of the Peterborough Chronicle, marked secondarily by the librarian of the Laud collection.

The aim of this paper is to explore the changing way in which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports events in northern Britain, beyond the Anglo-Saxon territories, in the hope of gaining a better understanding both of events in that region and, perhaps more interestingly, the way in which the Chronicle was constructed.

Ten Castles that Made Medieval Britain: Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle - Photo from Flickr

Stirling Castle is intimately entwined with the history of Scotland and her monarchy, a significance which is recognized and presented throughout its numerous components with admirable vigour.

‘Naked and Unarmoured’: A Reassessment of the Role of the Galwegians at the Battle of the Standard

15th century map British Isles - Photo: Brooklyn Museum

Accounts of the Battle of the Standard, fought in 1138 between the army of David I, King of Scots and the northern English forces rallied by Thurstan, Archbishop of York, have unvaryingly placed the blame for the Scottish defeat on David’s Galwegian warriors who, against armoured English ranks, fled in confusion.

Robert the Bruce and Leprosy

Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, crowns Robert the Bruce at Scone in 1306; from a modern tableau at Edinburgh Castle. Photo by Kim Traynor / Wikimedia Commons

There has always been some doubt as to whether Bruce, who died in 1329, did suffer from leprosy.

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