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Category Archives: History

Queen Emma and St. Valentine

Despite the painting above of King Cnut wooing Emma of Normandy, this is not a love story. But it IS about Queen Emma and St. Valentine. Emma of Normandy, Queen of England, was long remembered as a generous patron by … Read More

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The Death of Swein Forkbeard

Candlemas, February 2 On this day in 1014 Swein Forkbeard died; although it might actually have been in the early hours of Feb. 3. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, written a decade after Swein’s death reported, confusingly: Swein ended his days on … Read More

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Cnut the Great, d. 12 November

Cnut the Great, England’s Viking king, died on Wednesday, 12 November, 1035. Cnut’s birth date was not recorded, but it was likely some time in the 990’s, so he was probably in his early to mid-forties when he died at … Read More

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The Battle of Assandun

And all the nobility of the English nation was there undone!                                                           … Read More

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Emma of Normandy & Bayeux

The charming town of Bayeux near the coast of Normandy is perhaps best known for its remarkable Tapestry, a very long length of embroidered linen that portrays events surrounding the Battle of Hastings in 1066. A few years ago I … Read More

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The Death of Æthelred

Æthelred II, Anglo-Saxon king of England, died on 23 April, 1016. His passing was noted  in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in an entry that was probably written within a decade of his death: He ended his days on St. George’s day; having held … Read More

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The Modern Medieval: Day 5

A street called Distaflane appears on my City of London map from the year 1270. Today the street sign looks like this: Distaff is an Anglo-Saxon word for a very ancient tool. It was a staff on which wool or … Read More

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The Modern Medieval: Day 4

While walking from London’s Tower to St. Paul’s one evening, I started to pay close attention to the street signs that evoked London’s Anglo-Saxon past, and right away I spotted this: Anyone who walks through Cheapside today is passing through … Read More

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The Modern Medieval: Day 3

Street names in London are endlessly fascinating and many of them date from Medieval times, from St. Mary Axe* to Houndsditch** to The Barbican.*** But of more interest just now is this one: You could be forgiven if that name … Read More

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The Modern Medieval: Day 2

I have met residents of Shrewsbury who pronounce the city’s name like this: shrowsbry. I have met residents of Shrewsbury who pronounce the city’s name like this: shroosbry. I think this is a conspiracy to confuse and frustrate Yanks, and … Read More

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