Medieval England is one of the periods in history that interests me greatly. The mighty kings, valiant knights, and mystical tales. There were also many battles and wars during that time that have not really stayed with us.
No country in Europe has a more interesting history than England. From the Nordic invasions to tales of King Arthur.
So here, are 5 interesting facts about England from the Middle Ages.
1. The Plague Has Affected England Tremendously
Around the year 1340, when King Edward III was in power in the English kingdom, the worldwide crisis of plague broke out.
A global pandemic, where do we even know that from?
England at that time did not have the best position in Europe, little power and the economy was in ruins. It was therefore not easy for Edward to get the country back on track.
This crisis ensured that many people died, so fewer people could fight in various wars that did continue in times of crisis.
2. Animals Could Be Put To Trial
Have you ever heard of a society that condemned animals for their crimes?
Imagine, cow attacks and injures a human. In medieval England, this cow could be condemned.
This crazy idea of condemning animals seems to have originated in northern Europe. During the Nordic invasions, these customs would have come to England and even France.
Even for stealing things, animals could be condemned.
3. England Was Influenced By France During The Middle Ages
Have you ever wondered how it is that so many French influences have found their way into English culture and life?
Hundreds of years after that, the Hundred Years’ War began, a series of wars of French houses attacking and occupying various English territories.
Eventually, the French managed to defend France and protect the crown from the English.
4. Death & Illness Were Often Attributed To Witchcraft
The BBC series Merlin was one of my favorites when I was younger. This series is about, as the title implies, Merlin and his adventures with King Arthur.
Sorcery plays a big role in this series and in medieval England. They reject it and are actually a little afraid of it.
All the woes that occurred in the Middle Ages were attributed to evil sorcery by witches. Witches were hunted as if they were wild beasts and many innocent women died painful deaths.
5. Christianity Influenced Everybody’s Life
The church played a major role in the lives of medieval Englishmen, much more than faith plays a role in our lives today.
Almost everyone believed in the existence of God.
Catholicism in particular played a big role, not just in England but throughout Europe.
Many people could not read in those days and people were frightened by terrible stories about hell and eternal fire. The church had these people under control.
As people could read for themselves, the influence of the church became less and less.
Sources & References
- Wikipedia contributors. (2022, April 9). England in the Middle Ages. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England_in_the_Middle_Ages
- McWilliams, J. (2013, February 21). Beastly Justice. Slate Magazine. https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/02/medieval-animal-trials-why-theyre-not-quite-as-crazy-as-they-sound.html
- Wikipedia contributors. (2022b, May 29). Hundred Years’ War. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Years%27_War