The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century (14 weeks)
F 2017


We think of history as  the story of  kings and emperors, great wars and revolutions,  momentous events and great discoveries, and, according to Edward Gibbon, the “misfortunes of mankind”.   But history is more. Its story includes the poetry, the music, the art, and the daily lives of times before. In this SDG we will  consider the precarious existence that people endured in 14th century England--the  foods they ate, their dress, their shelter. How widely was  education available?   Did people travel? What about wild wolves?  How did they handle sickness?  Why did almost half the children fail to survive to adulthood? Away from the kings and the lords, how were they governed?


We will look at these and other daily issues of this tumultuous period. Everything from the foods they ate  to the smells on the street (not all good), to their sexual activity. The core book is by Ian Mortimer, a prize- winning author and historian.  The book presents a different approach to history and is truly a travel guide to a far-away time.   Additional sources, listed below, help tell the story.


A pre-meeting will be held Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 10:00 AM


Weekly Topics

Weekly Topics

Members will choose the topic and their week of presentation at the pre-meeting.


Introduction. The Landscape

 The People

 The Medieval Character

 Basic Essentials

 What to Wear


 Where to Stay

 What to Eat and Drink

 Health and Hygiene

 The Black Death

 The Law

 What to Do

 Religion, the Monasteries  and the Church

 The Economy, Taxation and the Guilds


The Time Travelers Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors

  To the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer


 The Oxford History of England: The Fourteenth Century, 1307-1399 by

   May McKisack


The Medieval Underworld by Andrew McCall

A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman