Tag: Medieval England

Nuns and Infamous Military Campaign of 1379

There were in the region of 3,300 nuns and 256 convents during the years between 1216 and 1350. Remember the population between 1300 to 1400 was at the beginning of the century circa of 4 million falling to 2 million by the end due to the plague. Women in medieval times were categorised as: maidens, wives, nuns and widows.The status of a maiden or wife will depend on the man who supports her. A young girl will be supported by her father a wife by her husband and nuns, who is considered to be the brides of Christ, supported by the nunnery she belongs to.

 

 

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A girl would become a nun in medieval England generally for the reasons it was the family’s wishes and way of gaining an education or she had a true belief and wanted to serve God.

A nun normally took her vows at the age of 16 although those of more noble birth may be younger.Wealthy women often retired to convents and paid nuns for their hospitality. They were however consider a bad influence but the cash struck nunneries were poorly funded and were unable to refuse.

Women were not considered important and nuns were to a man considered no more higher in standing. The story of Sir John Arundel emulates this vividly. Planning to sail to Brittany in the autumn of 1379, Arundel and his men took refuge in the convent when the seas were too rough to set sail . The winds changed and Arundel and his soldiers are relayed for a greater amount of time. This leads to boredom among the young men who then start drinking and teasing the nuns. The nuns as things get worse lock themselves in their rooms where the men then break in and rape the nuns several times. This then leads to looting the nunnery. The soldiers then move on to a church where a wedding is taking place and they then take the bride and each of the soldiers takes it in turns to rape her.

The winds change and they are able to sail they take the newly wed bride and a large number of  nuns on board the ship with them for their continued pleasures. Shortly after they set sail they hit bad seas again and water starts to leak into the ship and is slowly going down due to the excess cargo (the nuns and newly wed bride). The solution was to throw the no longer needed cargo overboard. Around 60 women were thrown over left to drown or eaten by the fish and sea monsters as they would have it in those days.

Nuns Arundel

These events were recorded by the chronicler Thomas Walsingham and although not an everyday occurrence provides evidential support to the value that was put on a woman or a nun’s life.

Further recommended reading if you would like to learn more:

The Chronica Maiora of Thomas Walsingham (1376-1422)

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Battle of Evesham

The battle of Evesham, Worcestershire took place on 4th August 1265 and was between the rebels led by Simon de Montfort and those troops loyal to the King.

Henry III and his son the then Prince Edward were held prisoner by rebels. Prince Edward managed to escape after tricking his guards, he rallied troops to attack the rebels. De Montfords support was starting to diminish following failed attempts at parliament to reach a long term solution.

Death_of_de_Montfort Evesham

The terrain favoured Edwards men on the high ground and they far outnumbered De Montforts by at least two to one. De Montfort, having been in battle with the odds against before and winning decided to attacked immediately leading his men into what would be a slaughtered. Edward had selected men to make sure they found and killed the rebel leader. Finally tracked down where he was surrounded and slain by the group with the final death blow coming from Roger de Mortimer. Simon de Montforts body was mutilated with his testicles cut off and hung over his nose. His body then dismembered with his head and arms sent to lords throughout the country as a warning never to cross the king and his hand sent to his wife Eleanor the King’s sister.

The king Henry was wounded but escaped any serious injury.


To find out more about The Second Barons’ War: Simon De Montfort and the Battles of Lewes and Evesham click here

A-Z Challenge of The Plantagenets

For this Fridays blog I have decided to reveal my A-Z Challenge subject. The question was should I choose random subjects each day or stick to a specific topic. Obviously random would have been far easier but where is the fun in that, so I have opted to do an A-Z of The Plantagenets.

The Plantagenets my favourite dynasty that ruled England for 400 year in medieval times. A family ruled by greed and power, hate and love. And, if that is not enough there is deceit and some of the bloodiest and cruelest battles in history. I am currently working on my list for each letter and will publish that soon. Subscribe so you don’t miss any and get updates when each publication is issued on this fascinating trip across medieval England.

Aleanor_of_Aqutaine_and_Henri_II

The A-Z Challenge runs throughout April 2016 and on each day excluding Sunday I will write about a  different subject working through A to Z.