Beyond the ‘History’: The Other Works of the Venerable Bede

Anyone with even an inkling of English history is likely to have heard of the Venerable Bede (c. 672-735) and probably will come across his most famous work, the Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Bede’s history, completed towards the end of his life, was the first history of the English or Anglo-Saxon peoples that…

From Riga with Love: A Voyage to Europe’s Forgotten Frontier

The past bears a heavy legacy in Latvia, one of three Baltic states, including Lithuania and Estonia, that were only granted independence from Russian rule in the closing decade of the 20th century. Little known in much detail to Western Europeans, Latvia, for a large part of the 20th century, languished behind the Iron Curtain…

Hooking and Hustling – Prostitution in Late Medieval Switzerland

When exploring the past, we tend to focus on the tales of kings and queens and the adventures of worthy men. But what about the lives of ordinary people? And how about that activity that will inevitably occur when people come together, sex? Alex (A) interviewed Jamie Page (JP), a research fellow at the Eberhard…

Beyond the Northlands: Interview with Dr Eleanor Barraclough

We often view the Vikings from the perspective of their victims as blood curdling, robbing, raping murderers. The terror from the North which, according to some, was a divinely ordained punishment for the corruption and moral laxity of Christendom. But what if we tried to understand the Vikings from their own point of view? Alex…

In the Land of Giants: Interview with Max Adams

Ever wondered what it is really like to view the world from an Anglo-Saxon perspective? Want to know how Aelfred defeated the Vikings? Just look at the landscape, argues archaeologist Max Adams. Alex (A) interviewed Adams (MA) on his recently published book, Aelfred’s Britain: Life and Death in the Viking Age (Head of Zeus, E….

The House at Heaven’s Door: The Lost Priory of Stone

The rain lashed our faces as we made our way hastily towards the steps of the house, seeking shelter. Once through the door, we were taken down a flight of steep steps twisting their way below ground, underneath the house. The Undercroft Hidden away from sight and sound, a large vaulted undercroft lay waiting, its…

The Church that Refused to Crumble: The Miracle of Pershore Abbey

First Sight We waited with excitement for our car to crest the hill between us and Pershore. A moment later, our patience was rewarded with a magnificent view. The abbey church of Pershore stood confidently in the valley before us, the small Georgian town of Pershore wrapping itself around the abbey grounds. Red brick houses…

The Lost City of Gogyrfan: Uncovering a Landscape of Legend

I felt rather overdressed as we struggled up the steep earth bank, the sun scouring the early morning mist from the hillside. As we placed our feet on the dark brown earth, we were merely brushing the surface of an ancient landscape more composed of myth than physical reality. The Wrong Hill Finally, after a…