Why Dragons Dominated the Landscape of Medieval Monsters

The mythical beasts were often cast as agents of the devil or demons in disguise SmithsonianMag.com

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During the Middle Ages, dragons more often figured in accounts about the lives of saints and religious figures than stories of heists and adventures. Photo illustration by Meilan Solly / Photos via Wikimedia Commons and British Library under public domain

Like father, like son: Richard Plantagenet and Richard III

Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, father of the Yorkist kings Edward IV and Richard III, is frequently mistaken for his youngest son and namesake, who went on to become King Richard III. Contemporary sources remark that the two Richards bore a strong physical resemblance to each other but, as writer Matthew Lewis argues, the similarities do not end there… HistoryExtra.com

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Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York

A knight’s (tall) tale: why medieval traveller Sir John Mandeville was more popular than Marco Polo

His book, known as The Travels, inspired Christopher Columbus and every peculiar detail from far-off lands was widely believed for centuries. But was the medieval knight turned explorer actually a fraudulent fantasist or rampant plagiarist? Writer Giles Milton goes looking for the real Sir John Mandeville… HistoryExtra.com

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Thousands of Rare Artifacts Discovered Beneath Tudor Manor’s Attic Floorboards

Among the finds are manuscripts possibly used to perform illegal Catholic masses, silk fragments and handwritten music

British nobleman Sir Edmund Bedingfeld built the manor house in 1482, reports BBC News. His descendants live in the home to this day. SmithsonianMag.com

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Oxburgh Hall, a moated Tudor manor house in Norfolk, England, is currently undergoing a major renovation project to fix its roof. (Ian Ward / National Trust Images)

Gainsborough Old Hall returns to English Heritage and opens to public

Lincolnshire house, built in 1460, has been a theatre, preaching house, pub and masonic temple

The hall was built in 1460 for Sir Thomas Burgh, a political climber and survivor who wanted a spectacular family home that would reflect his status. TheGuardian.com

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Gainsborough Old Hall in Lincolnshire open to the public from 3 July. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

The Master of Edward IV

The British Library continues to acquire medieval manuscripts with important research potential to enhance the national collection. You may have seen that last year they announced the acquisition of the Lucas Psalter (Add MS 89428), a fascinating late medieval Psalter made in Bruges for an English patron, which contains the added arms of Thomas Houchon Lucas (1460-1539) of Suffolk, the secretary to Jasper Tudor, and Solicitor General under Henry VII. Now that the Library has reopened, they have digitised the manuscript which you can view in full on our Digitised Manuscripts site. BritishLibrary.uk

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A hymn from the Lucas Psalter with the arms of Thomas Houchon Lucas: Add MS 89428, f. 12r

Medieval killer rabbits: when bunnies strike back

Vengeful, merciless and brutally violent… yes that’s right, we’re talking about medieval bunnies. Rabbits can often be found innocently frolicking in the decorated borders or illuminations of medieval manuscripts, but sometimes, for reasons unknown, these adorable fluffy creatures turn into stone-cold killers. These darkly humorous images of medieval killer bunnies still strike a chord with modern viewers, always proving a hit on social media and popularised by Monty Python and the Holy Grail’s Beast of Caerbannog, ‘the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!’. BritishLibrary.uk

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Rabbits hang a hunter from a decorated letter ‘T’. The Arnstein Passional, Arnstein, Germany, c. 1170s: Harley MS 2801, f. 151r