Beating the Black Death: did medieval medicine help people to survive?

What did people use for medicine in medieval times? When human understanding of disease was shaped by the movements of the planets in the night sky and everyday infections often proved fatal, how did anyone survive the era at all? Dr Elma Brenner, Wellcome Collection’s medieval specialist, explores the reality of medicine in the Middle Ages.

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Apothecaries were the 15th-century equivalent of pharmacists (Photo by Alamy)

Blood brothers: Richard III’s battle with his siblings

The three siblings Edward IV, George, Duke of Clarence and the future Richard III were meant to be on the same side in the Wars of the Roses. Yet the relationship between these heavyweights of the House of York was defined by jealousy, backstabbing and murder. Thomas Penn describes the great family rivalry that dogged the English throne in the later 15th century…

blood brothers

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10 Facts About Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York

Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, was one of the most significant figures of the 15th century. A man with close royal links, he was a giant of English politics who helped plunge his country into the bloody Wars of the Roses.


He was an able administrator and a charismatic commander with several powerful friends; yet his power, lineage, ambition and fame also ensured he gained some mighty enemies, holding deep-felt enmity that, ultimately, proved resolvable only by the sword.

Here are ten facts about Richard, Duke of York.

Santa Claus’ finger bone in Battle Abbey’s medieval inventory

© Leon Neal/Getty Images The ruins of Battle Abbey, the widely accepted location of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Santa Claus’ finger bone and a piece of the manger that served as Christ’s crib were among the relics gifted to an English monastery, a new analysis of a medieval manuscript has revealed.

Michael Carter, a historian at English Heritage, an organization that manages more than 400 historic buildings, found the objects listed on a 580-year-old inventory for Battle Abbey in Sussex, southeast England.

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