Welcome to this post where I rate some TV shows that you may be interested in watching. These were gems of tv shows which I thoroughly enjoyed and wished they lasted longer. I took a chance with these and it paid off. Let’s begin this list!
1)Bates Motel – 100% was worth the chance a few years ago. 5 stars!
2)The Alienist – 100% worth the chance. 5 star series, wanted more!
3) Shameless USA – Love the series, hilarious American tv show. Based on the UK version, but 100% better! 5 stars.
4)Goliath – Excellent legal drama! 5 stars! Story and acting is superb.
5) House of Cards – Watched many years ago, a real tv show that impressed me from the beginning and an addictive story! 5 stars.
There are plenty of others but I am limited the list to 5. Honourable mentions include: The Man in The High Castle which I just started to watch and is so far great. I honestly think Amazon Prime TV shows are better than Netflix, they just have all the elegance once could want, great writing, acting and more.
Welcome to episode 5 of the Medieval England History series. You can access all the episodes by going to this link here. I hope you are enjoying this nostalgic adventure into the heart of what England was during the time of the black death. If you do like what you read then be sure to follow because new episodes are posted regularly. Today this episode is about medieval castles!
Castles in medieval England served a very important purpose, they were designed and built primarily as the homes and fortresses of a monarch or noble. Early castles would have been built from earth and wood, but as the times moved on, by the 12th century most castles were built from stone.
The roof of the castles were built or covered with slates, clay tiles or wooden shingles. The castle had to be well guarded and defended both by men and in terms of the position and structure, because a poorly built castle meant almost certain doom for the occupants. That is why they built castles on steep hills or at the top of rock cliffs, sometimes beside the sea. The positions meant that the castle automatically had an advantage from attack, as potential invaders had to get up the hills or cliffs before getting into the castle. It was still possible though, and the use of other weapons like catapults certainly helped this.
If the castle was not built to house a monarch or noble then it could have secondary uses or purposes. Notable is the use of castles as barracks to house soldiers (spearmen, militia, swordsmen, archers, crossbow men, knights, billmen etc). They could serve as prisons, armories, treasure houses, and the center for local government… yes, they still had a government in medieval ages, albeit under the rule of the monarch. Other less violent uses included using castles as brew houses, laundry, workshops, dovecotes, and stables. It was not uncommon to have a few of these things mixed together in a castle grounds, along with a barracks for example.
The castle would be surrounded by a huge wall which would be many meters high and dense. They were not just walls, they were 3 layers thick consisting of; a rough stone inner shell, a thick solid filling of flint and rubble, and an outer layer of stone called ashlars. The wall would have a flat walkway which would allow guards to keep watch and to notify the other guards should an intruder be noticed. The archers if there were any would be able to use a embrasure, which would allow them to shoot whilst protected by the wall. And, don’t forget the medieval ages was brutal, so the openings in the wall allowed boiling water or stones or even waste at times to be thrown down onto any attacking enemy. Most castles had a moat too, which was an added level of protection, a stream of deep water that surrounded the castles. Castles built near lakes or rivers could use that water by digging or channeling water to the moat. A drawbridge would allow access across the moat and would be raised if an enemy approached.
Stokesay is the most well preserved castle sites in England. Worth a journey to spend a day looking around.
Inside a castle was a little different to outside. They did not have what we have today, but did have quite a lot of things that we might be surprised at. They didn’t have central heating of course, they had alternative more costs effective means of keeping warm (that is a joke, it didn’t cost anything to light a fire back then). Only the Lord and Lady of the castle had used a main fireplace, along with thick, heavy blankets, mattresses made of feathers, fur covers etc. So the Lord and the Lady (nobles) or the Monarch (I suspect a lot more than just blankets, including women for kings). The workers, or anyone not a noble had to sleep in the towers which were cold and damp, and you can imagine the winter. In summer though, the castle would still remain cold for the workers.
A castle hall was the biggest, grandest room in the entire fortress. The middle ages saw it common place to sleep in the hall. It was the place to dine and to drink and socialise. Lords of the castle would host social gatherings and people gathered in the hall for a massive feast and listened to music (yes, the played musical instruments, played by minstrels, or wandering singers). Occasionally the Lords might also host a jousting event in a field outside. There were laundry too, and bedding and clothes were washed, and everything was maintained. Everyone in the castle had a job, even if it was to provide entertainment and this resulted in castles being loud and busy.
Attackers could use moveable towers to climb over the walls, could tunnel under the walls, and of course use catapults, which were employed later on. Attackers could stop the supply of food and water and other resources and even kill assisting soldiers coming to the castle.
Waste disposal in castles was not as good as the personal hygiene. Castles did not have plumbing which means the waste would remain in one place until it was cleaned by chamber maids (they still did it, and for a pittance), although a poor sanitary waste system was a lot better than a lower class citizen. People in medieval ages had regard to personal hygiene and washed their hands, took baths and brushed their teeth! They brushed their teeth using something called a miswak, brushing or scrubbing the teeth until they ‘felt’ clean. Others could use a cloth or their fingers. Personal hygiene was advocated for as early as the Vikings, who encouraged use of combs and act of washing. People would get their hair cut by a barber, who also performed minor surgeries to the teeth and pulled out rotten teeth, talk about a worthwhile visit.
Thank you for reading episode 5 castles in the Medieval England History series. If you enjoyed this then stay tuned by liking, commenting, reblogging, following and more! The next in the series will be a little more about the life in castles, particularly focusing on the roles within it, starting with the cooks! Cooks are a very important roles in the castle of medieval times.
I have just created a Wattpad account, because apparently you can write and publish stories on the site. I was a little wary of this since it could potentially be unsafe as there is no protection. But the site says that work published is protected. So, I decided to start publishing a romance story on there.
I don’t usually write romance but the story seems interesting. It is a part of a story I have just started writing, however it is a story of events which took place before the current story I am writing. So, a sort of prequel. I have not mentioned this on Wattpad as I want to see if it is liked by people and to develop a story on the platform, essentially giving it a try.
The story is called Discovery Avenue –
‘Peter is on an all night drinking marathon, until he gets into the mood for sex. The only problem? His girlfriend is at home in bed, waiting for him. Will he continue on this dark night looking for an encounter, or will he go home?
This is his story of a sexually charged night looking for an affair or romance. Will his discover love or lust or will it be danger for him?’
Above is the link to the first and second part of the story, which is mature, as is this story. I would encourage anyone who likes reading my posts or short stories to check it out and if you like and comment on Wattpad it tells me that I should continue with the story. Ultimately what it is about is a man changing for the worse, coming to realise what he should not have taken for granted, coming to accept himself and essentially a loving ending, or so we hope. There will be dark scenes and there will be black mirrors so anyone not prepared to look into the dark soul should not read it. I hope you enjoy following the story as it progresses. I intend to write a passage every day at least. They will be short as to keep people interested. Part 1 is called ‘uncomfortable dinners’. I have no idea where this will go and I don’t really hope for any kind of professional interest, it really is a vanity project, but one that I would love to explore and write nonetheless.
Aside from that thank you for checking out this post!
Welcome to the third post in the medieval England series. This post will cover Wizards of the medieval period and talk a little about what they were and how they were viewed, covering well known real and mythological wizards and more. Please keep checking the blog daily for new posts in the series and if you enjoy reading them, then please like, comment and follow me for more!
Wizards of the medieval land. In order to come onto wizards it is probably best to start with sorcery, which has its evolved roots in ancient times, from things like the Egyptians, who used their knowledge of amulets, spells and formulas to bend cosmic powers to their purpose. Anglo-Saxon magic involved spells and simple mechanical remedies.
Around the 5th Century AD, Christian St. Augustine of Hippo stated that all pagan magic and religion were invented by the devil to lure humanity away from the Christian truth. He further claimed that ‘witches’ could not have any real supernatural powers or be capable of invoking any kind of magic. In the 8th and 9th Century the King of the Franks, Charlemagne, declared that burning witches was itself a pagan practice which should itself be punishable by death. The church began to create anti-witchcraft laws, and the word ‘maleficium’ came to mean malevolent magic. The church had effectively declared civil war on the practices, making it a crime.
Medieval lore refers to the Tempestarii, a magi. And by the 13th and 14th century had arrived witchcraft had come to mean beliefs and practices including healing through spells, messing with the supernatural and using divination and clairvoyance. England had a type of curative magic which was the job of the ‘witch doctor’ – white witch or Wiseman. The Wisemen had a place in society and were considered valuable, some people even paid them to curse others.
By the year 1208, Pope Innocent III had declared an attack on the group of heretics known as Cathars. Christian theologian St. Thomas Aquinas debated that the world was full of evil and dangerous demons that try to lead people into temptation, leading to the long, drawn out association between sex and witchcraft. This was about the time that the catholic church initiated the Inquisition, to find and punish these individuals. There were four main eras: Papal Inquisition 1230s, Spanish Inquisition 1478-1834, Portuguese Inquisition 1536-1821 and the Roman Inquisition 1542-1860.
There is a clear history which still has relevance today. We can see that the dark ages must have been quite terrifying. Some of the more famous medieval wizards are: Abraham Abulafia, the founder of the school of Prophetic Kabbalah and born in Spain in 1240. Nicolas Flamel, although an alchemist, is too a wizard. Roger Bacon, born in the UK and known to modern era as a wizard remembered for his mechanical or necromantic brazen head. Theoprastus Paracelsus was an ancient alchemist and medieval physician responsible for huge leaps in medicine in the 16th century. He was born in 1493 in Switzerland, excelling in medicine and the occult. His main work ‘Opus paramirum’ was the definite work on magic and medicinal usage of herbs and drugs.
Don’t forget Merlin, a most powerful wizard with a variety of magical powers, including the ability to shapeshift. His presence in mythology is infamous, the tutor and mentor of King Arthur, who ultimately guided the young man to the throne and to become the King of Camelot. Geoffrey of Monmouth is said to have created Merlin in his 1136 AD works, ‘Historia Regum Britanniae’, The History of Kings of Britain. Merlin was included as a fictional character and was a paradox, supposedly the son of the devil and a follower of God.
Hew Draper, the inn keeper in the town of Dristol, was imprisoned in 1561 at the tower of London in the well known Salt Tower for committing the crime of sorcery. During the stay at the Salt Tower he carved a large zodiac sign (Below) into the stone wall along with other esoteric symbols. There was no record of what happened to him…
It was a rough time in the medieval ages, with the black death, the inquisition, persecution of heretics and a one world view of that of the church, lack of education, torture, poor food… it really casts light on how good we have it in the 21st century. Even with such awful things happening, wizards remained hidden away, mostly for their own protection at some point. Sorcery and witchcraft still exist today and are now somewhat widely accepted practices, there is further divide, with white magic or black magic and terms such as left hand path or right hand path. One thing wizards through time have had in common seems to be the ability to judge their own actions as potentially dangerous and should not be used for malicious intent. John Dee is supposed to have gone too deep with Edward Kelley after discovering the ability to communicate with angels, the Enochian language and black magic.
Thank you for reading this post on Wizards. If you enjoyed reading the third part in the medieval England history series then please check the blog regularly for more posts. The next in the series will be dragons!
Welcome to my new blog post series which will have a medieval theme. The first post is called alchemy, looking at a little bit of the history and what alchemy actually is. Keep checking my blog on a daily basis to find new posts about various medieval topics which will cover things like medieval mythology, knights, castles, dragons, wizards and so much more!
Alchemy – ‘The medieval forerunner of chemistry, concerned with the transmutation of matter, in particular with attempts to convert base metals into gold or find a universal elixir.’
Philosophers stone – A mythical substance purported to transform metals into gold. Also called the elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and achieving immortality. It was for many centuries the most sought after goal in alchemy. The Philosophers stone was the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolising perfection at its finest, enlightenment, and heavenly bliss. Efforts to discover the stone were know as the Magnum Opus.
In 1666, the English mathematician, astronomer and natural philosopher, Sir Isaac newton made a great discovery about light and colour. He observed that when light passed through a prism it produced an array of colours, a rainbow of colours. He was fascinated and believed that it had a close relationship to the concept known as the ‘vegetable spirit.’ Through his life, and research into alchemy and nature, he hoped to uncover the secrets of this vegetable spirit, a spirit of life.
The main goal or mission of medieval alchemists was to find a way to create gold and the elixir of life. Alchemy is traceable back to the ancient Egyptians and the Greeks. At one point there was a huge issue with fake gold, said to have been created using mere alloys, which led to the Roman Empire Emporor Diocletian ordering for the destruction of every single text that covered the making of gold or other metal work.
In 1317 Pope John XXII issued the Bull “Spondent quas non exhibent” banning alchemy. In 1403 the English King Henry IV had banned the practice of alchemy without a license, granting licenses to those trustworthy enough to attempt to actually make gold.
John Dee, one of the more recognisable names in alchemical history, was an English mathematician, alchemist, astrologer, teacher and occultist. He was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth the 1st. Most of his time was devoted to the art of alchemy and in particular divination.
Above, he is performing an experiment for Queen Elizabeth I. His personal life: he married Jane Fromond in 1558, at 51 whilst she was 23. Together they had 8 children. His wife passed when the bubonic plague swept through Manchester, taking 2 of their children as well.
In 1553 he had been arrested and charged with casting the horoscope of Queen Mary Tudor. He was accused of trying to kill her with sorcery. He was imprisoned in Hampton Court that same year, but released just 2 years later, in 1555. In 1556 Queen Mary gave him a full pardon. He later went on to become one of the more trusted advisors to the Queen Elizabeth. Dee was too intrigued by the philosophers stone.
He later met Edward Kelley, an occultist and medium. The two men worked together using ‘spiritual conferences’ involving prayer, fasting and eventual communication with the angels. Kelley informed Dee that the angel Uriel had instructed them to share everything, including their wives. They parted and Dee returned to the Queen to petition for a role in the court. She appointed him warden of Christ’s College in Manchester. During his role there, several priests had contacted him regarding demonic possession of children.
Dee retired after the death of the Queen, returning to his home on the River Thames. He died in 1608 at 82 in poverty under the care of his daughter, Katherine. The massive collection of books and manuscripts, notebooks and others which detailed those ‘spiritual conferences’ between Dee, Kelley and the angels were discovered. It chronicled the life of Tudor England, which was closely connected to magic and metaphysics, despite the anti-occult sentiment at the time.
Alchemy, still used today to advance medicine and our understanding of the world and of life, albeit called chemistry.
Thanks for taking the time to read todays post. This is the first in a series of posts about medieval England. If you liked this, then please like and comment below or share, which is always welcomed. The next episode will be on Knights.