The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday 13 - 1370

We're off to Caerlaverock castle later today for another weekend in 1370, so here's a historical TT for your education;-)

Thirteen Things about 1370
  1. King Edward III was king of England in 1370. He was monarch for 50 years, from 1327-1377. His rule was dominated by war, mostly with France (the 100 years war) although Scotland, Wales and Ireland were all invaded and (partially) annexed too. Although history credits him with being a great military tactician, his early reign was dominated by defeats, and the decisive victories were mostly won by his son, Edward the black Prince. He had 12 children, 9 of whom lived to adulthood, which was pretty amazing for the time. His heir, Edward died of syphillis a few years before his father. In 1370, both father and son were becomming erratic.

  2. English was the official language of England in 1370, replacing French in 1363 (French had replaced English in 1066, when the Norman William (the Conquerer) became King.

  3. The country had survuved three major outbreaks of plague, and the population was approximately 50% of what it had been 100 years previously

  4. This caused a radical upheaval of the feudal system as serfs and peasants became a rare commodity able to command high wages and favourable working conditions. By 1370 laws had been passed regarding maximum wages, and enforcing work. This ultimately would lead to the peasants revolt in 1381.

  5. The basic principles of much of our legal and social systems were put in place during this time, as the middle classes became more prosperous. By 1370 there were two houses of parliament, formal courts and judges.

  6. John of Gaunt was probably the most powerful man in the nation, having managed the country while Edward was off warring, and having both the power and money to influence policy. The company we portray are retained by John of Gaunt.

  7. Chaucer was just starting his career. He was also retained by John of Gaunt, and one of his earliest poems was written on the death of John's wife.

  8. Pope Urban III died. England was still a fully catholic country in 1370, although there were some movements away from the formalised church & papacy starting.

  9. Chivalry was the order of the day in 1370, as Edward III encouraged the chivalric code, patronised jousts and tournaments, and started the Order of the Garter.

  10. Knights stillcrode to war on their horses (although they rarely fought on them) and wore plate armour, but were rapidly being replaced as the best fighters by pike or billmen. the bill is a long pole with a blade on the end (often adapted from farm implements) weilded by a trained block of soldiers.

  11. Although cannon and muskets were in use in 1370, they were unreliable, dangerous, slow and inaccurate. the Longbow was still the most effective weapon in most situations, and the crossbow was considered to be the immoral weapon of the time.

  12. The Stewart line was just starting to take control of Scotland in 1370, seizing the throne in 1371, and keeping it for the next 400 years or so (eventually James Stuart of Scotland inherited the English throne in 1603 and united the two nations in 1707).

  13. Caerlaverock castle was an important stronghold during the early 14th centurary wars against Edward I. The unusual triangular shape of this small castle made it particularly difficult to assault. The castle is mostly still standing, and should be a good place for a re-enactment - even if we do have to lose;-)



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