On Sunday 1 or Sunday 8 April 1649 – it is difficult, as the editors note, to establish the date with certainty (vol. 1, p. 28) – five people went to St. George’s Hill in the parish of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey and began digging the earth. They sowed the unfertile ground with parsnips, carrots and beans, returning the next day in increased numbers.
The late Middle Ages are a challenging period to survey and synthesise. Any attempt to summarise their complexity, chaos, and dynamism within a restricted publisher’s word limit and at the same time provide an effective textbook for undergraduates is fraught with issues of coverage, comprehensiveness, and accessibility.
Hamilton’s book is an important contribution to our understanding of church reform in the 11th century.
David Wootton discloses to the reader on page 182 that his aim is to provide an intellectual biography of Galileo Galilei. But this book does not. Wootton's aim is rather to re-enter, re-open or even unhinge the structures of all arguments about the so-called Galileo affair that have been written until now.
There was a time, not so long ago, when the history of the Jewish communities of 12th- and 13th-century England was a neglected subject in English historical studies. No longer.
Midst the foe, and the stranger she seeks not renown
She courts not their smiles, and she heeds not their frowns
Could she only impart unto childhood and youth
The science of God, of religion, and truth... (p. 110)
‘There is no salvation without preaching’ declared Thomas Cartwright, at the height of the Admonition controversy (p. 32). Nehemiah Wallington agreed – and he couldn’t get enough of it. One week he managed to squeeze in 19 sermons, a remarkable achievement, though his average of 30 a month may not have been so unusual.
Ever since R. I. Moore published his The Formation of a Persecuting Society in 1987, we have increasingly come to understand medieval society in terms of its treatment of its ‘others’: Jews, lepers, heretics and so forth.(1) New bureaucratic structures starting in the 11th century established themselves by persecuting these minorities.
Chocolate, writes Emma Robertson in the introduction to her monograph, ‘has been invested with specific cultural meanings which are in part connected to … conditions of production’ (p. 3). At the heart of this study is a challenge to existing histories:
Mary Laven has established herself as a competent historian, writing on a variety of aspects centred on the Venetian Renaissance. The present book is the first contribution to take her out of Europe, at least in geographical terms.