In Westminster Abbey, the tomb of Henry V is hard to miss. Towering above the mosaic-encrusted tomb of St Edward the Confessor and his royal successors, for centuries Henry’s final resting place was topped by a shield, helm and warhorse’s saddle. All are symbols of the martial glory of a man many still consider to be the best English king of the Middle Ages.
Meanwhile, in the Lady Chapel behind, tucked away and noticed by almost no one, is a small wooden pew-end representing Henry V’s successor, and only child, Henry VI. Can anything more aptly demonstrate the reputations of this father and son? Henry V loomed over his offspring from the grave, and in his father’s shadow Henry VI grew up stunted, emotionally and politically. HistoryExtra.com
Medieval healers treated animals’ ailments with a mix of faith, tradition and science
The year is 1266, and your horse is acting strange. It started with a fever. But then weeping pustules appeared all over its body, and fluids poured forth from every orifice. Not long after, the horse stabled next to it came down with the same sickness. You’ve heard of this before. It’s the dreaded disease called farcy—and you’ll need more than medicine to make your animals well again. SmithsonianMag.com
What games did children play during the Middle Ages? What bedtime stories did they listen to? And what happened when they got into trouble? Speaking on the HistoryExtra Podcast, Emily Joan Ward uncovers the medieval childhood experience, offering an A to Z of growing up in the Middle Ages… HistoryExtra.com
If modern film and TV depictions are anything to go by, ordinary people in the Middle Ages either enjoyed lives of rural bliss or unrelenting drudgery. Yet, writes Duncan Hardy, the truth is far more complex (and fascinating) than that. HistoryExtra.com
In the town of Chertsey stands a statue of a young woman grabbing the clapper of a church bell. The piece, created by Shelia Mitchell, depicts a story that dates back to the 15th century. The woman is the statue is Blanche Heriot, who stopped the curfew bell to save her fiancé from being executed. AtlasObscura.com
Welsh literary history is preserved in the delicate pages of these medieval manuscripts.
There are over 6 million books to be found within the walls of the National Library of Wales, located in the city of Aberystwyth. Within the library’s vast collection, three well-leafed tomes stand out from the rest: the Black Book of Carmarthen, the Book of Taliesin, and the Book of Aneirin are three of what historian William Forbes Skene deemed “the four ancient books of Wales.” Written in Middle Welsh, these are some of the oldest and most important literary works to come out of Wales. AtlasObscura.com
Ten years ago a skeleton in a Leicester car park transformed our understanding of a medieval king, and turned him into a media sensation. Mike Pitts tells the remarkable story of the discovery of Richard III’s remains. HistoryExtra.com