Witchcraft Trials in Early Modern England

A far more succinct version of this post was published by The Coffee Pot Book Club on 9 March 2020. ‘The early-modern European witch-hunts were neither orchestrated massacres nor spontaneous pogroms. Alleged witches were not rounded up at night and summarily killed extra-judicially or lynched as the victims of mob justice. They were executed after trial and … Continue reading Witchcraft Trials in Early Modern England

Meandering through Cyberspace in February 2020

The internet has dramatically enlarged our access to a wealth of information. Most days I spend some time online looking for items related to those things the interest me most - reading, writing and history. Without fail, every time, I find something new and interesting. So, here, I'd like to share a few of the … Continue reading Meandering through Cyberspace in February 2020

Norwich Castle – Palace and Prison

Norwich Castle’s square keep has dominated the centre of Norwich for centuries. It has dominated my thinking, too, for at least four years since I visited it in 2016. It could almost be said that I have obsessed over, particularly, the arrangement of the interior of the castle as a section of my forthcoming novel, … Continue reading Norwich Castle – Palace and Prison

‘A good portion makes hir the better’ – Dowry and Jointure in 16th Century England

Even after finding a woman to his liking and convincing her, and her family, to accept his suit, there were still potential stumbling blocks in the way of a man intent on marriage. Before the betrothal, there were financial matters to be settled – dowry, jointure and how the couple were to fund their future … Continue reading ‘A good portion makes hir the better’ – Dowry and Jointure in 16th Century England

‘In time meet and convenient’ – Betrothal in Early Modern England

Once a man had settled on the qualities he wanted in a spouse, and with the help of family and friends had sought such a woman out, courted her and secured not only her own agreement but that of her family, the next step to be taken on the path to marriage was betrothal. Betrothal … Continue reading ‘In time meet and convenient’ – Betrothal in Early Modern England

Book Review – Crimen Exceptum: The English Witch Prosecution in Context by Gregory J Durston

Despite years of cool-headed scholarship over several decades, the idea still persists in the popular imagination that during the period known as the 'witch craze' millions of women were rounded up and burned at the stake often for nothing more than their skill with herbal remedies. While thousands of women, and men, believed to be … Continue reading Book Review – Crimen Exceptum: The English Witch Prosecution in Context by Gregory J Durston

A Horrible Pestiferous Vice or Wholesome Exercise? – Dancing in Elizabethan England

Elizabeth I Dancing with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester Philip Stubbs, the Puritan pamphleteer, in his Anatomie of Abuses (1582-3) had little good to say about dancing unless men and women were dancing separately to the glory of God, following the example of King David. He described it as 'an introduction to whordom, a preparatiue … Continue reading A Horrible Pestiferous Vice or Wholesome Exercise? – Dancing in Elizabethan England

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Between August and November 1888, five women were killed in Whitechapel, all believed to be the victim of a single killer. The identity and the behaviour of the killer has fascinated multitudes since to the point where the killer has achieved almost mythic status, the women he killed dismissed as prostitutes, mere footnotes to the … Continue reading The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

‘Seldom doth the husband thrive without leave of his wife’ – The Sixteenth Century Manor Wife

A slightly more succinct version of this post was published on Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots on 8 July 2019. Sixteenth century conduct manuals advised a man seeking a wife to consider everything from the woman’s age, appearance, health, obedience and piety, to her love of children, singing voice and ability to be silent. … Continue reading ‘Seldom doth the husband thrive without leave of his wife’ – The Sixteenth Century Manor Wife