This is the speech that Queen Mary I made at the Guildhall, on 1st February 1554, as recorded in Holinshed’s Chronicles. London was threatened by the rebel army of ThomasRead More
The Petition of the Rebels from Mousehold Heath, July 1549 The year is 1549. Henry VIII is two years in his grave, and the Boy King, Edward VI has beenRead More
The efforts to persuade the Pope of Robert Bruce’s right led in 1320 to one of the most famous documents in Scottish history – the Letter of the Barons –Read More
The letter that suggests Catherine Howard really was in love with Culpepper – and her two surviving confessions
Rebellion, divorce, conspiracy, the Tower and treason – all in a life
The Six Articles brought evangelical advance under Henry VII to a full stop and resulted in the resignation of 2 bishops
The sermon of the great English humanist John Colet in 1512 is as good a summary as any of the ills that the leaders of English society perceived in the English clergy.
Dominic Mancini and ‘The usurpation of Richard III’ Not much is known about Dominic Mancini’s life; but he was probably born before 1434, and therefore somewhere around 50 when heRead More
Polydore Vergil was a renaissance scholar, who wrote a history once much referred to in studies of Richard III. His text is now very much suspect and most historians agree has too many inaccuracies and biases to be relied on. None the less, it’s worth giving a bit of background about him – he was no mean scholar.
But the main reason for the post is to give you all access to the text itself. This text is an extract from an edition which is now out of copyright. It was produced in 1844 for the Camden Society in 1844, edited by Sir Henry Ellis. I have further extracted the text covering the period from Edward IV to Richard III
The Crowland Chronicles and 1483 The Crowland Chronicles give one of the two most authoritative sources for the events of 1483 and indeed the reign of Richard III. Below isRead More
The Last Will of King Richard II, 16 April 1399 In the name of the whole and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, of the most Blessed MotherRead More
This famous letter was written by Manuele de Fieschi, a sober Papal notary not given to telling porkies as far as we know. The letter appears to be genuine. ItRead More
The Statute gives an insight into problems Edward I faced with crime, and the halting steps taken to address it
The attempt by the Barons to resolve differences they had Edward I and put an end to the crisis caused Piers Gaveston.
The oath is pretty standard; except ‘the just laws and customs that the community of your realm shall determine’. Now that’s very new – commitment to monarchy not monarch.
The parliament of 1295 was sandwiched between war with France and with Scotland, and the king needed money. Edward I was not above pushing the panic button and appealing to patriotism.
Here are a few bits and pieces relating to the conquest of Wales. Below is: A fine 12th C poem that about the Welsh nation An extract from a fineRead More
The crucial year: Asser on 870-1 We tend to focus on 878 as the big year, when Alfred made that extraordinary come back from the marshes of Athelney and defeatedRead More
A contemporary’s view of the character of the king
In 755, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle records the story Cynewulf, the King of Wessex, and his struggle for leadership with Cyneard and Sebright. It is the earliest piece of writtenRead More
The 8th century laws of Ine say much about society, and how the concept of kingship is developing.
The laws of King Æthelbert of Kent are the first surviving example we have of Anglo Saxon law codes.
The relationship between Anselm and William Rufus was a difficult one; still two men more unlike you could hardly hope to meet. Anselm was ascetic, intellectual, hard working, conscientious andRead More
In 1193, Richard had been captured by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. Below is the text of a letter sent from Eleanor of Aquitaine as she strove to persuadeRead More
By 1153, Stephen and Henry II had fought each other to a standstill. The basic terms of the final treaty had probably been in each parties’ mind, but it wasRead More
Any chance to hear the authentic voice of ordinary people is rather exceptional for the early and mid medieval period – but here’s one example. It’s a political song ofRead More
The passage below comes from the chronicles of William of Rishanger, and normally pretty reliable observer, though not at the battle itself. Earl Simon passed that night without sleep, givingRead More
The Provisions of Westminster set into law the reforms of the rebels, outside the constitutional matters covered by the Provisions of Oxford. In fact, Henry III and Edward I wereRead More
This is part of a book for which copyright has expired, digitised by Google. There are a few passages that haven’t digitized very well. Where, with my limited Latin, IRead More
So here’s the reason why Magna Carta is Magna – because of this, smaller, Forest Charter. The Royal Forest really ticked off anyone who wasn’t the king. At times, RoyalRead More
The Provisions of Oxford are one of the most radical documents in English history, if such a sentence means anything – they were such a change from the medieval wayRead More
Text in blue is mine. *means that the clause was withdrawn from later re-issues of the charter @means that the clause is still valid under later charters, but with someRead More
Henry II and his justices had an enormous impact on the development of the English legal system. This Assize concerns process rather that any changes in the law itself, andRead More
The Constitutions are part of the struggle between Henry and his Archbishop – Thomas Becket – and between Church and State. Thomas initially accepted the document, deserting his bishops underRead More
Henry was well known by Peter of Blois, who worked at court – much to his despair. The survival of documents gives us a relatively rich understanding of what HenryRead More
Henry feels much more confident of his position than many previous kings – such as Stephen, or Henry I. So his coronation charter contains no great detail, gives away noRead More
This contemporary survey gives an insight into the economic and social life of the country at this time. Notes in blue are my text. Survey of the Manor of Elton,Read More
In essence, this is a Coronation Charter. Stephen arrived on the throne without too much debate or trouble, given the problems that were later to arise. However, there would alwaysRead More
Henry arrived on the throne very unsure of himself and his rights, because of the claims of his elder brother. So his charter is more specific than many others, andRead More
The Coronation Oath, or Charter of Liberties as they were often called, defined the meaning of kingship. In Edgar’s time there are three basic commitments; later kings would add aRead More
This Old English legal text regulating the schedule and procedures of the hundred courts was, based on its contents, likely produced during or soon after the reign of King EdmundRead More
The treaty came after Alfred’s victory at Edington. After the battle, the Viking leader Guthrum was baptised, and became Alfred’s adopted son. This ‘Peace of Wedmore’ is referred to inRead More
Brunanbugh in 937 was a great Anglo Saxon victory – and a wonderful heroic poem
Alfred’s Burghs would not just make the life of the Vikings in 892 a misery – they often formed the basis of England’s towns
The Tribal Hidage is a fascinating document; a chance survival that gives us a glimpse of the tribes and proto-kingdoms that formed in the 6th and 7th centuries. There’s a goodRead More
Written chronicles are far and few between until we arrive at the time of Alfred in the 9th century. There are 3 big ones, and you can link to themRead More