Category Archives: HISTORY

Medieval sense of humour

Medieval sense of humour


The passions of a violent society spill over into the sense of humour you will encounter. Yes, there is humour, lots of it, amid the violence and sexism. But whether you will find it funny is a quite a different matter. For example, here is a medieval joke. One merchant asks another, ‘Are you married?’ ‘I had three wives,’ the second merchant responds, ‘but all three hanged themselves from a tree in my garden.’ The first merchant retorts, ‘Pray, give me a cutting from this miraculous tree.’

Hammering the Celts, 1272 – 1330

Hammering the Celts, 1272 – 1330

Henry’s heir was a swarthy giant of 6ft 2in, as Provencal  (through his mother) as he was Plantagenet. Edward I (1272 – 1307) first heard of his father’s death when stopping in Sicily on his way back from a crusade. Such was his lack of urgency that he spent two years in France before arriving in England in 1274. Now aged thirty-five, he had rescued his father from the barons’ rebellion, but he had been an early supporter of de Montfort and understood the need for kingly power in a constitutional framework.

The changing role of woman in 20th-century Britain

The changing role of woman in 20th-century Britain

Perhaps the most dramatic improvement in Britain’s way of life in the 20th century was the change in the place of women in the nation’s working life. The foundations for this change, which only reached a climax later in the century, were gradually laid in the decades before World War II.

The little Ice Age

The little Ice Age

From about 1550 the climate again grew colder with the intensification of what is known as “The Little Ice Age” which had begun in 1320s. In February 1565 Pieter Brueghel the Elder painted his famous picture Hunters in the Snow, one of the first landscape paintings ever to be painted, which started a fashion for Dutch winter landscapes. It was the coldest winter in living memory, and a symptom of the sharp deterioration of winter temperatures that brought snowfalls to the Swiss Alps twice as often as in the previous twenty years.

Bear River massacre in 1863

Bear River massacre in 1863

Four miles north of Preston, Idaho, the Bear River quietly ambles through green valleys and sagebrush covered mountains, the Shoshone call this place Boa Ogoi. Something happened on this site that is little known to U.S. history. But it is seared forever into the memory of the Shoshone.