The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England


We tend to focus on the big events and the big names in history but outside of that very little else is mentioned and there’s usually nothing to give you a sense of what the world was like for people day-to-day. This book tries to put that right for medieval England (in this case the 14th Century).

I found it an interesting look back and a useful insight to the period, it certainly doesn’t romanticise it as knights and damsels. Instead it looks at the three roles of society: those who pray, those who fight and those who feed. It looks at everything from a typical day, to the food they ate, to the clothes and social etiquette of the time.

It also pulls out some interesting facts from the period. Something I didn’t know before was the origin of o’clock for example (as in 10 o’clock) — apparently we used multiple ways to tell the time, including the sun, there were very few clocks, so you had to specify the time method and say ’10 of the clock’ which has simply been shortened to o’clock.

Jonathan Keeble does a good job reading, proving clear and concise and easy to listen to.

It was an interesting and thorough look through the events of the century and does a lot to dispel many of the myths we grow up with regarding the period, not least our own feeling of superiority. I’m not sure I could have survived, just glad my ancestors did.

If you have an interest in history, especially regarding the period, and would like a broad introduction to the customs and conditions then this is well worth a look.

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This was an copy of the book

Reviewed: 18th November 2012