Domus Conversorum

A Hostel for Jewish converts to Christianity -founded 1232

The original intention of this  piece was to write a blogpost about the talk 'Dependence Intolerance and Expulsion; the Story of England's Medieval Jewish Community 1066-1290' by Sean Cunningham held at the National Archives on January 24th 2020. Unfortunately due to   problems on the rail network,I did not manage to attend. So have  had to resort to posting about my own research instead, starting with  the death of Little Sir Hugh of Lincoln in 1255  here
Another subject that I have been looking at is the Domus Conversorum -'House of converts'  and happy to concede that this post is very much 'work in progress' and does not represent my conclusive views of the subject. 

                                     Marginal Illustration from the Rochester Chronicle (British Library, Cotton                                            Nero D. II.), folio 183v. Courtesy of 'Wikipedia' -public domain

Little Sir Hugh of Lincoln

Little Sir Hugh of Lincoln 

My original intention was  to write a blogpost about the talk 'Dependence Intolerance and Expulsion; the Story of England's Medieval Jewish Community 1066-1290' by Sean Cunningham, at the National Archives on January 24th 2020. Unfortunately due to the problems on the rail network, I did not manage to attend could not reach Kew. Thought that would write about the Jewish Community during the reign of Henry III instead ...and this is the first part. 

The Remains of the shrine to Little Sir Hugh
                                                       available via Creative Licence courtesy of Richard Croft  . 

                                     There are many different accounts of the death of Little Sir Hugh in 1255. I have drawn heavily  on David Carpenter's research from the 'Fine Rolls of Henry 3 ' website - here  In broader historical terms, the case is often cited as being representative of a growing hostility towards 'minority…

The Famine of 1258, the Samalas eruption of 1257 and the reign of Henry IIII

Coronation of Henry III Cotton Vitellius A. XIII courtesy of
                                                            Wikipedia, in public domain. 

In this year, there was a failure of crops; upon which failure a famine ensued,to such a degree that people from the villages resorted to the city for food; and there upon the famine waxing still greater, many thousand persons perished, many thousands more too would have died had not corn just then  arrived from Alemaine
- Reference to 1258 from  'The Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London'

Form  my reading  of Sophie Therese Ambler's 'The Song of Simon de Montfort' , I was reminded of the ghastly famine that hit England in 1258 . Intrigued to find an alleged connection to Indonesia: From page 163 ;

"In the Spring of 1257, on the island of Lombok, in Indonesia, the Samalas volcano erupted. It spewed a mighty cloud of ash into the atmosphere, dimming the skies, cooling the earth, and bringing incessant rai…

The song of Simon de Montfort BOOK REVIEW

'The Song of Simon de Montfort-England's First Revolutionary and the Death of Chivalry ' Sophie Therese Ambler,
Published by Picador in hardback (2019) and also available in kindle. 

An earlier version of this piece was turned down for publication in the Simon de Montfort' Society's  magazine 'The Lion' , so has been overhauled and published on line instead.   Ultimately this  a worthwhile biography which encourages the reader to explore the life and era of Simon de Montfort . At her best Sophie Therese Ambler, both as a writer and speaker, is not over academic nor patronising to her readers. Can appeal to the medieval history enthusiast outside the world of academia and build on their interest. So sincerely hope that my criticism is not taken to be some sort of personal attack on the author. as I do quite admire her.   But to me,  claiming that de Montfort was a 'revolutionary' seems unconvincing. Would add that  minor theme of the book, the a…

Interview with David Pilling -December 2019

David Pilling 

It was a pleasure to interview author David Pilling via email last month. His novellas and novels take in many different historical eras. David has also written some fantasy novels and historical works. David's medieval fiction has an emphasis on conflict, breakdown of order, realistic to the point of being brutal, and displays a great knowledge of the era, along with  the history of different regions of England, along with Wales , Scotland, and parts of France. This interview focuses more on David's writing that relates to the 13th and 14th centuries, rather than attempts to be some sort of overview of his work.

Predictable question : How important is your connection with Wales in writing Medieval fiction? Am particularly thinking of the 'Lions of Gwynedd' series? 

I was born in England but raised on a smallholding in West Wales, so Wales and Welsh history is very important to me. My passion for medieval castles stems from exploring the…

Introduction to 13th Century History Blog

   Returning to Medieval history

                     King John's tomb Worcester Cathedral courtesy of Greenshed at English Wikipedia

Had drifted away from the study of medieval history for some twelve years , but happened to be in Worcester in September 2018 for the commemoration of the 1651 Battle of Worcester. I visited the Cathedral and saw King John's tomb for the first time since 2006, and wasn't long before I bought Stephen Church's biography of King John. And was soon heading back to the medieval era as well as returning to the Worcester/ Evesham area. 

In the 21st century the reigns of Henry III is coming under some scrutiny. The 800th anniversary  of Magna Carta and the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Evesham in 2015,  generated new documentaries, commemorations , books and overall interest. 

Further research is emerging concerning  Henry III : Darren Baker's hefty and thorough biography 'Henry III-The great king England never knew it had ' (2107)…