Category Archives: Medieval

Sutton Hoo, treasure hunters and a lucky escape

I’ve seen the Sutton Hoo treasure at the British Museum! I experienced the exhibit back in September 2010 when I arrived in England to study at Lancaster University for a semester. Hearing so much about it and then seeing it made me want to study Anglo-Saxon England more, as it did the curator of the collection and author of this blog post.

Interestingly, it is a dream of mine to work at the museum one day, even as a volunteer. I love English history, and to be able to interact with old treasures such as these would be incredible.

British Museum blog

Sutton Hoo helmet Sue Brunning, curator, British Museum

Fifteen years ago I visited the British Museum as an undergraduate. As someone who’d most recently studied the English Civil War, I’d taken a course on Anglo-Saxon England because I was curious to learn what life was like at a time when the date only had three numbers in it. Our professor brought us to Room 41, the gallery of Early Medieval Europe – and there I had a fateful encounter with the Sutton Hoo ship burial. Dating to the early AD 600s, this remarkable Anglo-Saxon grave in Suffolk was arranged inside a 27-metre-long ship and covered with an earth mound, known to posterity as ‘Mound 1’. The burial’s spectacular nature has fuelled speculation that it belonged to a king of East Anglia. Seeing it back then for the first time, I was genuinely inspired. I’ve studied the Anglo-Saxons ever since.

Curators Sue Brunning (r) and Rosie Weetch (l) installing the Sutton Hoo helmet in the gallery Curators Sue Brunning (r)…

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Some Scratchy Issues Concerning the Black Death

“Ring around the roseys

Pocket full of posies

Ashes, ashes

We all fall down.”

This endearing childhood nursery masks a darker reality that most young children would cringe at if they discovered the origin of this rhyme as a ditty about the Black Death. Most people know two things about the Black Death.

Continue reading Some Scratchy Issues Concerning the Black Death

The White Rose Bled Red: Was Henry VI to Blame for the Fifteenth Century English Civil Wars?

(Author’s note: This post is based on research conducted at my time at Lancaster University in the U.K. Note that no primary sources were consulted given the nature of the assignment.)

The fifteenth century saw a period of civil wars in Britain, later termed the Wars of the Roses. Most history books tell us that these series of battles occurred between the cadet branches of the English royal family, both Plantagenets but one descended from the duchy of Lancaster and one from the duchy of York.

Continue reading The White Rose Bled Red: Was Henry VI to Blame for the Fifteenth Century English Civil Wars?