Questions tagged [england]

For questions relating to the historic Kingdom of England prior to 1707, or the country of England within the modern United Kingdom that is one of Britain's Home Nations.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
78
votes
2answers
14k views

How much smaller were medieval farm animals in England than today?

According the Medieval Life and Times website, Farm animals were small, for scientific breeding had not yet begun. A full-grown ox reached a size scarcely larger than a calf of to-day, and the ...
70
votes
1answer
11k views

What drugs were used in England during the High Middle Ages?

It's well known that alcohol was brewed and drunk throughout the Middle ages in England, but I wonder what is known from archaeological evidence and contemporary sources about what other drugs were ...
61
votes
6answers
15k views

Was England called England in the days of King Arthur?

King Arthur is a legendary king who is said to have ruled Britain in the early days of post-Roman Britain. Now Thomas Malory's famous novel "La Morte D'Arthur" puts the following inscription on the ...
60
votes
5answers
13k views

How did the general population of England convert so smoothly to Protestantism?

The rise of Protestantism among English monarchs from Henry VIII is well documented. However, after a bit of light research, I have been unable to find many resources on how the general population ...
44
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there any proof that Robin Hood existed?

Is there any written proof/documentation that Robin Hood ever existed? Did he ever get arrested and got his name written in the prison books or something like that?
40
votes
3answers
7k views

What did people in 13th century England know about Greek mythology?

I understand this may depend on various factors, but I am interested to find out whether many/some/any people in 13th century England would have knowledge of the stories out of Greek mythology. ...
36
votes
2answers
8k views

‘Avoid sleeping on your back’ & ‘breathe in toilet smells’ were seen as precautions against the Black Death. Why did doctors think these would work?

Browsing a school book, Medieval Britain by Brenda Williams, I came across three precautions recommended by doctors to help people avoid going down with the plague. These were: cover windows avoid ...
32
votes
9answers
16k views

Was England considered a “colony” of France?

After the "Norman conquest of England", many things including languages, the ways of life, etc. have changed a lot in Europe. Especially it affected the English language significantly that a lot of ...
31
votes
2answers
6k views

Why did early attempts to transport milk to London by rail meet with 'much criticism'?

According to the Wikipedia article on milk (referring to transporting milk to London by rail), The Great Western Railway was an early and enthusiastic adopter, and began to transport milk into ...
30
votes
1answer
4k views

What were sandbags used for in medieval duels?

I was hesitant whether to ask this question in history or Shakespeare stack exchange, but I eventually decided it is more of a historical question. In the play "King Henry The Sixth" there is a ...
29
votes
6answers
4k views

Besides Magna Carta and general decentralization, what specifically led to democratization in England?

In England, the gradual weakening of the central government (starting with the Magna Carta), and the gradual rights given to nobility slowly pushed England to a democratic form of government. Yet in ...
29
votes
3answers
3k views

Why was language not used to establish dominance throughout England 1066 AD–1360s CE?

Why didn’t the Normans enforce the use of their native tongue throughout the whole of England after William the Conqueror (of Normandy) became king of England? During William’s reign as king he ...
29
votes
2answers
8k views

When did challenging to a duel cease to be a practice in English culture?

In the Aubrey Maturin series of novels, there are at least two scenes where the protagonists are challenged to a duel: Post-Captain - Aubrey and Maturin about Aubrey's reputation with the Admiralty ...
28
votes
7answers
16k views

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

England (and its succeeding states) were at war with France for close to 1000 years. First it was over land, then they competed over religion, then they competed over colonies. For much of that time, ...
24
votes
6answers
6k views

What made the English the dominant power of the British Isles?

Recently, I've been searching a lot about Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and England. One after the other, England vassalized its neighbors and became the head of Great Britain. I can understand that ...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

in what form did William the Conqueror write the date of his own coronation?

This is a question about the English legal calendar as viewed by people living at the time, not as historians recorded it later. New year shifts to 1-January To the best of my understanding, the ...
22
votes
7answers
6k views

Why did England consistently adopt red as their primary colour for insignia and uniform?

Throughout the last 1000 years red has become a consistent motif for military clothing and heraldic imagery in England. What are the reasons for this? Are there economic, environmental (eg. dyes used ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Hiring professionals to transcribe historical documents

I'm sorry if this question sounds strange but I'm not sure where else in the world to post it. I have an eighteenth-century will that I'd like to be able to read, but I have very little practice in ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Robin Hood: Muslims in England in the 12th century

Ever since the 1984 ITV adaptation of Robin Hood, the addition of a Muslim warrior to the band of Merry Men has been a staple of the mythology. From a storytelling perspective, the benefits are clear: ...
21
votes
3answers
21k views

What did English people really say when knighting someone?

A while ago I curiously looked up this question and found out that people did not say "I dub thee..." or "Arise..." to him who was being made a knight, but instead used a Latin phrase which I forget. ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

How did succession in Anglo Saxon England work?

I heard that the Witan would elect an Ætheling to be King after the previous King died and it typically followed primogeniture. Was primogeniture a requirement for succession or did the Witan have the ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Were Shakespeare's plays written for “high culture” or “entertain the bawdy masses” during his time?

Currently, the plays of William Shakespeare are viewed as great English literature, and viewed as "high culture". However I heard someone say that Shakespeare was writing "bawdy, violence filled plays ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

What English company founded in the 1200s filed for bankruptcy in the 2000s?

I heard a news story about an English company that had been successful since about 1200 and filed for bankruptcy in the last ten years. I heard it reported on NPR's Morning Edition, in early spring of ...
19
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the silver object on the desk and what is 'Elizabeth I' doing with it?

Hollywood movies have never been known for their historical accuracy, which is often sacrificed in the pursuit of entertainment, and the plot & script of the 1939 film 'The Private Lives of ...
19
votes
2answers
8k views

How long did it take for a letter to arrive in England in the 1830s?

How efficient was the postal service in England in the 1830s? For example, is it possible to estimate how long it would have taken for a letter to arrive if sent by a standard service from London to ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

Why did baseball become more popular than cricket in the USA?

Recently I started reading a very interesting comic about high school baseball. I found that baseball shares so many similarities with Cricket. So I tried to look for some information regarding the ...
18
votes
2answers
6k views

What is a “staved” town, like in “Staverton”?

I'm researching Staverton, Northampton(shire), England. In the Domesday Book of 1086 it is called Stavertone. According to wikipedia, the meaning of the town name is 'staved" town. I've looked up ...
18
votes
1answer
966 views

How did this 900AD key work?

The Wikipedia Keys article shows this ancient Anglo-Viking voided key from circa 900AD: Unlike a tumbler lock which needs cuts at exact depths on the key to align its barrels, this key looks very ...
18
votes
2answers
716 views

How did Quebec transition from French Law to English Law?

When Britain conquered Quebec at the end of the Seven Years War, Quebec began a transition between French law and English law. How did that transition occur?
18
votes
2answers
1k views

How long did it take to get news of the sighting of the Spanish Armada from Land’s End to London?

When the Armada was sighted, fire beacons carried the warning from Land’s End (western tip of Cornwall) to the rest of the country (this link has some details on how the system worked). "Armada ...
17
votes
2answers
966 views

Who gave King Richard I the title Coeur de Lion?

When King Richard I went to the Holy land during the Third Crusade, he was given the title coeur de lion (French for lion heart). Who gave him that title? I Imagine that it was a French person.
17
votes
1answer
960 views

What was the political consciousness of a 15th century English peasant?

How did they feel about the monarchy and living under lords? Were they are aware of alternative political structures? Did they believe their lives were fair?
17
votes
1answer
935 views

What household servants would a Tudor gentleman have had?

There's a lot of easily-accessible information about the staffing of a Tudor nobleman's household, but very little about that of a Tudor gentleman's. Was it basically the same as a nobleman's? Or ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

When did England stop being a Papal fief?

In 1213, King John surrendered England to the papacy making it a Papal fief where the Pope would be paid annual tribute. However King Edward I did not act as a vassal to the Pope because he got into ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

English monarchs on the battlefield

It seems that in English 'older times' it was expected for the King or monarch to lead the armies in battle. My research suggests that this was the case in the 12th century in the civil war between ...
16
votes
1answer
515 views

How many British navy officers were from lower classes at the end of 18th century?

Helping my daughter with a presentation about Cook, I looked for English sources about his biography and was surprised to read that he was a son of a farmer hand - practically, the bottom of the lower ...
15
votes
2answers
25k views

What was the life expectancy in Medieval Britain?

I'm working on doing background research for one of my novels and I'm looking for roughly how old a male in the peasant class would've lived around 5th or 6th century Britain.
15
votes
2answers
383 views

Why did the negotiations between Henry V of England and France fail?

Before Henry V of England resumed the Hundred Years War against France, he and the French government acting for Charles VI who was mentally ill were negotiating for a peace treaty where Henry V would ...
15
votes
1answer
863 views

Why is the charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations signed “HOWARD”?

Why is the charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations signed "HOWARD"? Note also that the Charter of Connecticut is likewise signed "By Writ of Privy Seal, HOWARD". But, the keeper of the ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Was King Henry VIII, mid-late in his reformation campaign, motivated more by theology or absolutist drive?

King Henry VIII expended much of his rule pursuing religious reformation of England. The six articles, proposed by the Duke of Norfolk and signed by the King, essentially (not in totality but more so ...
14
votes
3answers
6k views

Who was the last English king whose first language was French?

What I remember from my college course is that whenever a delegation of barons came to discuss their grievances in English, the King would hear them out politely without understanding a word, conclude ...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

What are the “ancient liberties” of the City of London?

I recently learned that three clauses of the Magna Carta are still part of UK law — the liberties of the English Church, the privileges of the City of London, and the right to trial by jury. I think ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How was King Henry VIII able to get syphilis?

How did King Henry VIII get this disease when syphilis was a disease originating from the Americas?
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Why did the kingdoms of Scotland and England merge?

I'm from the states, so I'm not so sharp on the history of various European monarchs. Having been told as a child that my ancestors emigrated from Scotland, I've always had an interest in the country. ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Circa 1000, what name would locals in England use for invaders?

If I am living in England around 1000 and some Scandinavian raiders show up at my village to pillage our farms, which phrase would I be most likely to be saying: "Oh no, here come the Vikings!" "Oh ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did only Anglo-Saxon kings wear helmets?

According to this article on the BBC news website only Anglo-Saxon kings wore helmets. Here is the full quote: "Only Anglo-Saxon kings wore helmets and this is one of a very small number ever to be ...
13
votes
7answers
37k views

How effective were longbow archers against plate-armored infantry?

It is quite common knowledge that longbows most likely did not penetrate the plate armor worn by the French chevaliers at Poitiers and Agincourt. However, how effective were these longbows in ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

What was a “searcher” associated with a funeral in 1690?

Life In A Noble Household 1641-1700 by Gladys Scott-Thomson, 1937, analyses the household accounts of William Russell, 1st Duke of Bedford. On page 236 is listed an entry from December 1690 where the ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Did the Huns contribute to the Great Migration of Germanic Peoples into the Western Empire?

I just listed to this episode of the British History Podcast (which is excellent I might add). During the podcast, the podcaster states that climate change was a major contributor to the Anglo Saxons ...
13
votes
2answers
777 views

Why did Charles I not borrow abroad?

The reign of Charles I of England can be summarized to a large degree as a continued attempt to raise revenue without authorization from Parliament. As is well known, Charles and his advisers had to ...