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Two Pilgrimages: Winchcombe and Hailes

Pilgrimage is the most essential of medieval studies – that’s a conclusion which Tim Porter has drawn from years of reading, research and exploration. Religion, politics, economics, travel, industry, art, architecture – pilgrimage opens into all these fields, and many more! And it cuts across classes and genders like nothing else, because nobody could be denied the vocation, if it was held to be genuine. Scores of places had some kind of pilgrimage attached to them: but the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire region was especially rich, with a host of saints and shrines reflecting every aspect of the ethos. Hailes and Winchcombe in particular offer in a nutshell so much of what we need to know.

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Related Topics

Heirs to Dissent

Heirs to Dissent

In Medieval England political martyrs were not uncommon, particularly in periods of political unrest, expressed in deeply religious terms, and in many cases that hostility was directed toward two Kings, Henry III (r.1216-1272) and Edward II (r.1307-1327). Two leaders of political reform and opposition came to prominence: Simon de Montfort and Thomas of Lancaster. In life they presented a dangerous opposition to an over-powerful monarchy, yet in death, they joined a long line of anti-royal saints and martyrs, allowing their followers to continue in their resistance. Adapting from his MA dissertation, Edward Gamble develops his thesis to investigate the political, religious, social and cultural phenomena that were political cults in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

William de Nangis

William de Nangis

William de Nangis’ account of the Battle of Evesham is an important source predating some of the other chronicler accounts. Although some sentences and the paragraph describing the death of Simon de Montfort have been translated, for example by John Nichols in his History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, the whole passage has not previously been translated.

The Templar of Tyre

The Templar of Tyre

What happened to Simon de Montfort, leader of the Reformers, after his defeat at the Battle of Evesham? Was Earl Simon captured alive and later murdered? Does this explain the murder of Henry of Almain by Simon’s sons, Simon and Guy? Could such behaviour be reconciled with prevailing views on chivalry? The questions raised by the Templar’s account will be discussed for many years.

Battle of Evesham junior guide
Battle of Evesham junior guide
Battle of Evesham junior guide

Written by Ian Priest and with illustrations and additional material by Tony Westmancoat is an introduction to the Battle of Evesham for younger readers, with illustrations to colour. Ian and Tony are members of Circa 1265, a living history and re-enactment group focused on the Second Baronial Revolt and the Battle of Evesham.

Kilpeck Church in Context

Kilpeck Church in Context

For many, Kilpeck church is the quintessential example of an English parish church. Its very appearance has been influenced through restoration by an antiquarian’s view on how the medieval church should look. In this building the efforts and agendas of successive generations of historians, archaeologists, art and architectural historians have all been brought together, answering some questions but constantly posing others and developing new ways of understanding the building in context, whether that be physical, social or cultural. Kilpeck remains something of a special place for scholar and visitor alike.

Gwenllian

Gwenllian, cover

1275… a cry for help from a woman who is kidnapped at sea. Present day. Dutch archivist Fenna van Wijk is helping architect Ned Thompson to sift through a stack of ancient papers kept in an untouched archive in an old English manor house in Lincolnshire. Among manuscripts dealing with the holy Gilbert of Sempringham, they discover a letter from 1275, written by Eleanor de Montfort, the young bride to be of Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. During their research, Fenna stumbles upon a mysterious child: Gwenllian. The English king Edward I had this infant locked away for ever in a cloister in … Sempringham. When Fenna and Ned try to understand this harsh decision, they find more than they bargained for.

“Gwenllian” is our first move into serious historical fiction.