Category Archives: MEDIEVAL HISTORY

King Kenneth MacAlpin and the Alban kings

King Kenneth MacAlpin and the Alban kings


The centre of administration of the Pictish kingdom in the 9th century was Forteviot on the River Earn. Close by the Dunkeld, King Kenneth MacAlpin (Cináed mac Ailpín) set up a new religious centre about 850AD. This was an acknowledgement of the fact that Iona was now no longer tenable as a religious capital, although the monastery was eventually re-established and it remained the burial place of Pictish kings until the time of Donald Ban.

Propaganda in the Wars of the Roses

Propaganda in the Wars of the Roses

In June 1864 Lewis Carroll was in London seeing to the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. On June 22nd he visited Lambeth Palace and while there (he notes in his diary) ‘the librarian, Mr Stubbs, showed me some interesting old MSS and relics’. I wonder whether one of those old manuscripts was not Lambeth MS 448: even the most casual reader cannot ignore the great number of decapitations recorded there. Alas, Alice was already with the publishers, so that manuscript cannot be the source for the Queen of Hearts.

The First Crusade: The shock of the new?

The First Crusade: The shock of the new?

When in March of 1095 Pope Urban II made a speech to an assembly of French nobility and clergy at Clermont, in which he explained that the Christians in the east, both Catholic and Orthodox, were facing daily attacks and depredations from the Muslim population and lords, and offered those who would unite against this common foe remission of their sins, few could have expected the huge impact that his words would have on both East and West.

How to cope with Viking attacks?

How to cope with Viking attacks?

Historians and archeologists increasingly recognize the fact that many fortifications and fortified towns – known in Old English as burhs – existed in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia during the Viking age. They may have successfully checked Viking mobility at times but it was in Wessex where such defences were employed to their fullest effect.

Memorializing Edward the Confessor

Memorializing Edward the Confessor

An anonymous author in c. 1067 completed a Life of King Edward, commissioned by his widow Edith. The second part of that work describes events that demonstrate the king’s holiness and his miracle-inducing prowess. It was this section that was then worked up by Osbert de Clare, a Benedictine monk at Westminster Abbey, in his more explicitly hagiographical Life of Edward, which was finished by the late 1130s.