these problems, the available sources can still tell us a huge amount about the origins of those who made up England’s alien population. This chapter considers those from other parts of the British Isles and the Channel Islands, before we move in chapter 5 to look at incomers from continental Europe. The Welsh The numbers and distribution of the Welsh within medieval England is the most difficult to judge, since people from Wales were specifically excluded from the scope of the alien subsidies. Only six obviously Welsh people can be found in the 1440 subsidy
Europe. Indeed one abiding impression left on a reading of her book is that the broad similarity of the issues and challenges facing medieval European societies is more than counter-balanced by the protean individuality of the character and chronology of the response of different communities to them. One area which, understandably, was omitted from Susan Reynolds’s remarkable tour d’horizon was the northern and western parts of the British Isles. The reasons for this omission are worth exploring briefly, for they raise issues regarding the concepts, language and
In recent decades there has been an obsession with the past in Western culture, manifested above all in the growth of the so-called heritage industry. Cinema has participated in this cultural shift in all sorts of ways, particularly in the case of films about the British past. Among such films made since 1980 have been a smaller number that offer some sort of representation of the Middle Ages or
Sanctity as literature in late medieval Britain explores how sanctity and questions of literariness are intertwined across a range of medieval genres. “Sanctity” as a theme and concept figures as a prominent indicator of the developments in the period, in which authors began to challenge the predominant medieval dichotomy of either relying on the authority of previous authors when writing, or on experience. These developments are marked also by a rethinking of the intended and perceived effects of writings. Instead of looking for clues in religious practices in order to explain these changes, the literary practices themselves need to be scrutinised in detail, which provide evidence for a reinterpretation of both the writers’ and their topics’ traditional roles and purposes. The essays in the collection are based on a representative choice of texts from the fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries, covering penitential literature, hagiographical compilations and individual legends as well as romance, debates, and mystical literature from medieval and early modern England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. For researchers and advanced students of medieval literature and culture, the collection offers new insights into one of the central concepts of the late medieval period by considering sanctity first and foremost from the perspective of its literariness and literary potential.
Few historical problems have received so much attention among those studying the modern period and so little attention among medieval scholars as that of peacemaking. In the medieval period, peace was intrinsically linked to Christianity. As peace was seen as the perfect realisation of the laws of God, peace in the medieval period also became a standard justification for war. This book develops Professor Christopher Holdsworth's ideas and to put these, and other, common themes into a wider context by examining two case studies: peacemaking involving the kings of England and their neighbours in Britain and on the continent; and that involving the kings of Denmark and their neighbours. For England, the investigation looks at the reigns of Henry II and his sons, Richard I and John, encompassing the period between 1154 and 1216. For Denmark, the focus is on the reigns of Valdemar I and his sons, Cnut VI and Valdemar II, thereby covering most of the period between 1157 and 1241. In 1177, the treaty of Winchester satisfied what both kings wanted to achieve at that particular time. At the heart of the medieval peacemaking process stood the face-to-face meeting.
antiquarian scholars such as Sir Christopher Hatton, and to Sir Walter de Gray Birch, who did much to catalogue the extensive collections of extant impressions of British medieval seals.2 Ultimately, however, these approaches are unsatisfactory because they treat seals as interesting artefacts without taking account of the complex socio-cultural processes within which they were created. Equally difficult is the lack of precise contextualised chronologies which determine how seal images became conventionalised and why.3 Thus although it is now established that, for example
. Even so, Helen, although trained to rule, is also endowed with outstanding beauty, and fulfils her function by marrying and producing a male heir to the kingdom. Yet Geoffrey’s women could in fact be cruel and as vicious as any male character. He recites the tale of Gwendolen and Estrildis. Locrinus, one of the three sons of Brutus, the mythical founder of Britain, after defeating one of his brothers in war, reserved for himself the spoils of war, which included Estrildis, a native princess. Geoffrey provides a lyrical description of her beauty, a standard topos to
stretches back to the inception of British medieval studies,22 imply that an understanding of the gendered nature of lordship will have implications for our understanding of land tenure in general. Sir James Holt’s analysis of twelfth-century social structures saw noblewomen as pawns of men, used to seal political alliances through marriage, their key role being to transmit land and titles to their husbands. Holt’s view is important for the way it located the interactions between the key structures of family and lordship which defined twelfth-century women’s roles. His
saints’ lives. This theme was explored in greater detail in a discussion of the role of noblewomen as patrons of the chroniclers and narratives. Such female influence may well have 198 conclusion affected the popularity of important texts in the twelfth century such as Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. The activity of noblewomen as patrons affected the way that specific genres developed, and they had important roles to play in the process of cultural diffusion. The development of views of women in chronicles and narratives was discussed in
. 47. 26 Devon Record Office, 1262/M T531 (Fortescue Deeds) (DBC). 119 noblewomen and power 27 The Early Records of Medieval Coventry, ed. P. Coss (British Academy, Records of Social and Economic History, new ser., 11, 1986), no. 29. 28 Clerkenwell Cartulary, nos 65, 73 (c. 1193–96). For a further discussion of these charters see below, Chapter 8. 29 Gloucester Charters, no. 115. 30 Eynsham Cartulary, 1. nos 108, 110. For Matilda de Lucy’s charter confirming the agreement, probably made at the same time, see ibid., no. 109. 31 EYC, 1. no. 65: cum consilio et bona