Red Indians and how to tame them

The Elizabethans’ colonial voyages brought them into contact with a people very different level of civilisation from their own—the ‘Indians’ of the New World, as is illustrated by the account written in More »

Mormons in search of Promised Land, 1846-69

The Mormons have been described as the most systematic, organised, disciplined and successful pioneers in American history. For over 20 years they were one of the main forces driving the settlement of More »

‘Alien’ citizens in the Medieval England

Thousands of foreigners poured into England in the Middle Ages. Similar like today, they have been attracted to England by job opportunities or possibility to study. Finding these everyday immigrants is no easy task. More »

Napoleon Bonaparte’s relatives after he lost power in France

What happened to Napoleon Bonaparte‘s relatives after he lost power in France? They could not stay in France but, perhaps surprisingly, they came to little harm – with the exception of Napoleon’s More »

When and where was the trebuchet invented?

Like many premodern technologies, it is not known when or where the first trebuchet appeared. Unlike ancient artillery, which relied on torsion (twisting) to supply ballistic force, medieval trebuchets utilised a simpler More »

 

The historical background of Bayeux Tapestry

The historical background of Bayeux Tapestry

The Tapestry relates, through the minds and eyes of contemporaries, the events leading up to the Norman invasion of England and culminates in a major depiction of the Battle of Hastings. Events in both England and Normandy are recounted, save for an occasional apparent solecism, in chronological order. Most scenes are easily explicable in relation to the contemporary written sources, and those which are not are mere caesuras in a running story.

Punishment of women

Punishment of women

For women there were punishments designed to humiliate as well as to hurt. The scold’s bridle took many appearances but in essence each was the same – a metal cage to clamp around the head with a built-in gag. Included  in the design of some was a bell which rang when the ‘scold’ was paraded around the town. Of course, in the streets she was subjected to the jeers of the crowd.

James II of Scotland and the fall of the Black Douglases

James II of Scotland and the fall of the Black Douglases

In 1449 James II of Scotland was nineteen and he began to assert himself and moved against his erstwhile Guardian, Alexander Livingston, and his family. In January 1450, two members of the Livingston family were beheaded for treason and the family estates were forfeited to the crown. Gradually, however, the Crichtons now glided back into the king’s favour and William Crichton regained the role of Chancellor.

The Lost Prince: The colourful life of Henry Stuart in National Portrait Gallery/London

The Lost Prince: The colourful life of Henry Stuart in National Portrait Gallery/London

Today, few people have heard of Henry Stuart (1594-1612) – eldest son of King James VI and I, older brother to the future Charles I. But back in 1612 things were very different. In fact, when, in November of that year, Henry’s life was ended by typhoid fever (he was just 18), the entire nation was plunged into grief. At Henry’s lavish funeral procession, 2,000 official mourners were joined by thousands lining the streets “whose streaming eyes made knowen howe much inwardly their harts did bleed”.

The grave of King Richard III finally found?

The grave of King Richard III finally found?

Richard III has become known, perhaps unfairly, as one of the most notorious kings ever to rule England. This may be partly to do with the history written by the Tudors, whose description of him formed Shakespeare’s dramatisation. Archaeologists searching for the grave of King Richard III say they have found bones that are consistent with the 15th century monarch’s physical abnormality and of a man who died in battle.