Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Medieval King's Place In History

There's a wonderful book entitled "A Great And Terrible King" which portrays the life of King Edward I of England in great detail, especially his relationships with people around him from his father to his brother, his wife and many others. One interesting thing that came out of the book, however, was just how close he came to death when still relatively young. It was in 1272 during his crusade to 'the Holy Land' (Edward was 33 years of age) that he was attacked by a supposed messenger who turned out to be an assassin. Edward was stabbed in the arm with what was believed to be a poison dagger and how he survived, particularly so far away from home, is quite amazing.

How different history would have played out if he had died at that time. It was well before his encounters with William Wallace and Robert The Bruce so there might never have been the Battle of Stirling Bridge or the ransacking of York and he would have never been known by the nickname 'Hammer Of The Scots'.

Then there are the wonderful medieval castles that Edward had built - some of the finest medieval castles in the world. Perhaps none of those would have ever come into existence if he had died earlier. Another of Edward's significant achievements in later years - the reforms of the institution of the English Parliament - would also never have taken place so the British parliamentary and judiciary process might well have evolved into something other than what we know today.

The most significant thing of all is that, if Edward had died on the crusade then his son who became King Edward II would never have been born and the royal line of accession would have been entirely different as a result. It goes to show how world history can change with just one event.

Read more about the medieval crusades and medieval kings and queens

See our special features on the lives of King Edward II & King Edward III

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Visiting Medieval Britain

Britain has some of the best medieval castles in the world. Some are surprisingly still intact and lived in whilst others just have ruins left - a shadow of their former, glorious selves. If you live in or come to visit Britain and have an interest in medieval history, then it's your lucky day because there are hundreds of medieval sites open to the public.

Medieval castles in Wales include Coch Castle, Denbigh Castle and Caernarfon Castle.

Medieval castles in Scotland include Castle of Mey, Hermitage Castle, Caerlaverock Castle.

Medieval castles in England include Alnwick Castle, Naworth Castle,

Many British medieval castles are on or near to the coast. Take, for example, Dunstanburgh Castle and Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. Both are on the coast yet one is in ruins whilst the other intact and still lived in. Both of them command some of the most spectacular locations you could ever imagine for a medieval castle. Tourist accommodation in this area is plentiful and if you want a vacation rental (self catering) cottage that's extra special, there are some luxury Northumbrian cottages on hand to make your stay even more enjoyable.

Moving further north you are soon in Scotland, a country famous for its history including medieval history with the likes of William Wallace. Now there's a medieval folk hero worth talking and writing about - but that's for another time and another post!

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

300 Steps From Scones To A Medieval Priory

These steps are not the stone kind that you have to walk up ... no, they are footsteps.

I measured the walk from the Lanercost Tea Rooms (they serve great scones there!) to the front door of Lanercost Priory and it took me exactly 300 footsteps.

An incredible round number which, if nothing else, just shows how close you can be to medieval history when you're out for tea and scones!

Yes, there's a latte in the picture too - they serve a good one :)

** Watch a video clip of Lanercost Priory **

** Read about Lanercost holiday cottages **

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Lanercost Priory Video 4

Here is our 4th video clip on the subject of Lanercost Priory - a magnificent example of medieval monastic ruins currently looked after by English Heritage.

Lanercost Priory is the kind of place of interest to anyone with an interest in medieval history and medieval worship. With a history of close to 900 years it is a place that has seen some remarkable events - from King Edward I in Lanercost to the attacks of the legendary William Wallace and Robert The Bruce. There's also a whole history of connections to the local families of De Vaux, Dacre and Howard (Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn form part of the fascinating Howard ancestry). Remember you can now stay in a super Lanercost holiday cottage just a few hundred metres from the Priory. Self catering doesn't get more historic than that!

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