Top 10 Medieval News Stories of 2015

What were the most important news stories of 2015 for medievalists? There are many new discoveries, events and publications that garnered international media attention, and have the potential to change what we know about the Middle Ages. Here is our list of top 10 medieval news stories of 2015

1. Anglo-Saxon medicine is able to kill modern-day superbug, researchers find

Some might think this is an odd choice, but try to imagine the potential of this discovery! Although it is still in very early stages, Christina Lee and Freya Harrison have had promising results related to tests dealing with a 10th century potion for eye infections from Bald’s Leechbook to see if it really works as an antibacterial remedy. The potential that their work could save countless lives, and show how medievalists can contribute to the STEM fields, is enough for us to place it number 1 on our list.


2. Richard III is laid to rest

Ever since his remains were discovered in Leicester in 2012, many around the world have been fascinated by the story of the English king who died in battle in 1485. It was a long process, and generated it share of controversy, but he was finally buried at Leicester Cathedral on March 26th. For those who worked on the research related to Richard III’s remains it was also quite an experience.

3. Magna Carta celebrates its 800th anniversary

The 800th anniversary of the creation of Magna Carta was a good enough reason for large commemorations to take place throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere. We also found out some new details about the document, while a 715 year old copy of it was discovered in Kent County.


4. 600th anniversary of Battle of Agincourt commemorated

Another important event was marked this year – the famous Battle of Agincourt, which English and French forces fought during the Hundred Years War. Many new books were produced and events held, while media outlets looked to understand more about the battle and what it means.

5. Qur’an manuscript discovered in England could be over 1400 years old

Experts at the University of Birmingham believe they have discovered a manuscript of the Qur’an that is at least 1370 years old, making it perhaps the oldest known copy of the Islamic Holy Book.

6. Researchers create genetic map of the British Isles

“These researchers have been able to use modern genetic techniques to provide answers to the centuries-old question – where we come from. Beyond the fascinating insights into our history, this information could prove very useful from a health perspective, as building a picture of population genetics at this scale may in future help us to design better genetic studies to investigate disease.”

7. Medieval Mass Grave discovered in Paris

Archaeologists in the French capital have discovered more than 200 skeletons on what was once the site of a medieval hospital. It is believed that the remains date between the 14th and 16th centuries.


8. $300 million library donated to Princeton University includes thousands of medieval manuscripts and early printed books

William Scheide has left his collection of rare books and manuscripts to Princeton University. It is believed to be worth about $300 million, making it the largest gift in the university’s history.

9. New Location for the Battle of Crécy discovered

For over 250 years it has been believed that the Battle of Crécy, one of the most famous battles of the Middle Ages, was fought just north of the French town of Crécy-en-Ponthieu in Picardy. Now, a new book that contains the most intensive examination of sources about the battle to date, offers convincing evidence that the fourteenth-century battle instead took place 5.5 km to the south.


10. The earliest use of the F-word discovered

We just had to include this one! Thanks to Paul Booth of Keele Universitywe now know the story of ‘Roger Fuckebythenavele’.