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

I think both sources copied Early European History by Hutton Webster, published about a century ago. The underlying claim is true: Medieval animals were much smaller than today's. However, it is ...
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96 votes
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What drugs were used in England during the High Middle Ages?

English meadows and forests are and were full of psychoactive substances. They were used. Quite creatively. Partially isolated, on their own. But also in what psychiatrists call polytoxicomania. In ...
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81 votes
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Was England called England in the days of King Arthur?

No, England would not have been called "England" in the early post-Roman period. The name "England" derives from the Old English name Englaland, which means "Land of the Angles". The earliest ...
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76 votes

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

Well, it wasn't smooth. First of all, there was already a minority of "reform" viewpoint in England before Henry VIII. It was centered in the intelligentsia and gentry. So when Henry VIII decided ...
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62 votes

What was the point of horse armour?

I would contend that we tend to overestimate the effectiveness of bows vs armour, and that the armour would likely prevent at least some percentage of the damage to the mount. If we look at the wiki ...
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58 votes
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Was England considered a "colony" of France?

I'm going to say that England should not be considered as having been a colony of France. From the wiki page for colony a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state, ...
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49 votes
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What did people in 13th century England know about Greek mythology?

Quite a bit, actually. Graeco-Roman mythology was a significant part of the education curriculum. Much of the educated elite would have been broadly familiar with ancient Greek mythologies through its ...
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48 votes
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Why did life expectancy decline sharply in 16th century England?

This was primarily due to the 1557 influenza pandemic, which returned in 1558 and perhaps lingered for another year or two. This was a global pandemic and other areas of Europe were also severely hit. ...
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47 votes
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‘Avoid sleeping on your back’ & ‘breathe in toilet smells’ were seen as precautions against the Black Death. Why did doctors think these would work?

This cannot be answered comprehensively here. But a few key points might be revealed. The precautions mentioned in the question are by far not the only ones that were given, just mere examples. At ...
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46 votes

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

British policy on the continent has traditionally been to maintain the balance of power (this is also really a general European thing). This amounted to shifting alliances all over the continent. ...
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46 votes
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Why did early attempts to transport milk to London by rail meet with 'much criticism'?

The Agrarian History of England and Wales E. J. T. Collins, Joan Thirsk Cambridge University Press, 2000 page 993: Retailers complained that railway milk was not as fresh as town milk, and a ...
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44 votes

How much would 300 pounds (money value) weigh in Medieval England?

In that era, 300 pounds weighs 300 pounds, but it's a different pound. Your example of Robin Hood fixes the time period during the reign of King Richard about 1175, though we must remember this is a ...
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44 votes
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Why is Lady Jane Grey called Lady instead of Queen?

The claim that she was queen was based on the assertion that Mary and Elizabeth were disinherited, and in particular (from Edward's will) that the said ladie Mary and ladie Elizabeth, beinge ...
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41 votes

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

Not only was it not totally smooth, but it also wasn't much of a change. At least not on personal human timeframes. You have to realize that the break in England didn't happen because anybody had any ...
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39 votes
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What is the silver object on the desk and what is 'Elizabeth I' doing with it?

It's a pounce pot, being used to dry the wet ink without having to blot it. As noted here, the pounce itself could be made from any of powdered gum sandarac; crushed pumice (origin of pounce I ...
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38 votes

What were sandbags used for in medieval duels?

The sandbag is from a quintain, a "jousting dummy" if you will: On Offham green there stands a Quintain, a thing now rarely to be met with, being a machine much used in former times by youth, as ...
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35 votes
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When did challenging to a duel cease to be a practice in English culture?

During the 1830s and 1840s. In the twenties dueling was still common. From 1815 to 1830 Castlereagh, Canning, and Wellington were responsible in turn for the government of England, and they all ...
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32 votes

Was England called England in the days of King Arthur?

As Wikipedia notes, "King Arthur is a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th ...
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31 votes

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

The Nun's Priest's Tale from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: Lo heere Andromacha, Ectores wyf, That day that Ector sholde lese his lyf, She dremed on the same nyght biforn […] He wente for to ...
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30 votes
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What made the English the dominant power of the British Isles?

To answer this question, you first have to answer another complex question: Who are the English? This question turns out to be quite complex indeed because to this day scholars are unsure whether to ...
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29 votes
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What is a "staved" town, like in "Staverton"?

Folk etymology is of little use here. And one Staverton is not necessarily of the same origin of another Staverton. So 'a staved town' is not really 'a staved town'. One Staverton may share its ...
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  • 73.7k
28 votes

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

I agree with much of Semaphore's answer, which shows that actually Britain and France were not in a state of perpetual war. But I think your question really relates to "What changed?" so I'll try to ...
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28 votes
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Were there Muslims in 12th century England?

There is almost no direct historical evidence that openly-practicing Muslims were LIVING in the British Isles in the decades and centuries after the Norman Invasion. But I guess I'll start this post ...
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28 votes

Why didn't pre-Norman English kings build stone town walls?

They did. The Anglo-Saxons still used fortified areas and cities or towns, re-used old ones and build them anew. It just takes a bit of time, effort and money to develop those walls and fortifications,...
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26 votes

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

There is some research on the medieval cattle topic here which lists many cattle sizes throughout the history of cattle usage. This shows the following figures for medieval times (numbers are the ...
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26 votes

What (else) happened July 1st 1858 in London?

The first place that I would search is the British Newspaper Archive. Note that this site requires a subscription to actually view the newspapers, although it is free to search. If you have a ...
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26 votes

Was the name 'Valerie' used during the Regency Era (1811-1836)?

The names Valeria and Valerie were not in common use in Britain during the Georgian era, but they were certainly known by some via Saint Valerie of Limoges and also because Valerie (in particular) was ...
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25 votes

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

England lies in the warmest, richest, and most fertile parts of the British Isles. These are modern population figures, but they are indicative of past relative strengths: England, 55 million; ...
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25 votes
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Hiring professionals to transcribe historical documents

The short answer is yes. The detail will depend on where in the world you are based. In the UK, for example, we have the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives. Their website ...
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25 votes

How did succession in Anglo Saxon England work?

There is a lot that we do not fully understand about the details of the succession in Anglo Saxon England. Indeed, it seems quite likely that the role of the council ('witena ġemōt', or 'Witan', if ...
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