147 Women and Anglo Saxon England

St HildaUnaccustomed as I am to social and economic history…here is the first of a bit of a thread over the next few weeks and months about some social stuff, and indeed with a bit of a focus on women. Due to popular demand. We start of this thread with a look at the status and role of women in Anglo Saxon England.  



147 Women in Anglo Saxon England

A great book!

I have to honour my debt to Henrietta Leyser and her book on Medieval Women. Most of the podcast, and some following over the next few weeks, owe a vast amount to it. 

As it happens you can buy them through my wee Amazon bookshop. 

To buy from the UK, click on this link Henietta Leyser 'Medieval Women'

To buy from the UK, click on this link Henietta Leyser 'Medieval Women'


An Anglo Saxon Riddle

Here's that Riddle. Answer in the next episode, and please have a guess below in the comments – no searching the interweb!

I’m a wonderful thing, a joy to women,
to neighbors useful. I injure no one
who lives in a village save only my slayer.
I stand up high and steep over the bed;
underneath I’m shaggy. Sometimes ventures
a young and handsome  peasant’s daughter,
a maiden proud, to lay hold on me.
She seizes me, red, plunders my head,
fixes on me fast, feels straightway
what meeting me means when she thus approaches,
a curly-haired woman. Wet is that eye.



17 thoughts on “147 Women and Anglo Saxon England

  1. David I have met your riddle before so will be like dad and keep mum…
    Can you guess this modern riddle…
    .Your hands hover over me I harvest wisdom.
    You yearn for answers I yield to your questioning
    But beware: I bring you astray
    Into a foul chasm of kittens and cranks

  2. David,
    You mentioned that a book on medieval women was of immense help for this episode. Can you tell me the name of the author?
    Thanks so much, great podcast!

  3. Oh lord, Brenda, I am UTTERLY rubbish at riddles. I have no ability to think laterally, and no patience. so sadly, I, um, Googgled. Which was surprisingly helpful!
    And yes, it is indeed Henrietta Leyser. I have amended the blog post to give the details to everyone interested.

  4. Does any one these days read Agnes Strickland Queens of England…it can be down loaded for free an abridged version…but obviously the books are better…for a Victorian writer she suprisingly pulls few punchs…

  5. There are two answers I think. One suitable for polite company, the other not. Did the Anglo Saxons like bawdy double entendre?

  6. The wet eye upon attack makes it an onion, I would guess. The bawdy answer seems obvious but will remain unmentioned. I assume the medievals were a pretty crass lot and had a good howl.

  7. Uncomfortable though women’s history may make you feel, you are doing a delightful job of it! This is a great interlude after Agincourt.

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