Until relatively recently the in-depth historical analysis of Scottish women’s lives has been the preserve of dedicated gender historians. Although it is fair to say that Scottish historians have recently begun to include the lives of women in their research, this is by no means extensive.
In the six centuries after his death in 1404 William Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, has not lacked biographers. As prelate and patron of learning, he inspired pious remembrance. Dr Thomas Aylward, one of his executors, composed a brief memoir shortly after his death, and Robert Heete, a beneficiary of his patronage, compiled a more substantial memoir in the early 1420s.
As P. G. Maxwell-Stuart notes in his introduction to these selections, the Malleus Maleficarum (c.1486) has elicited periodic interest throughout the last hundred years, perhaps more than it ever did in the two centuries or so of witch persecution after its first publication (p. 36).
Scotland's history is increasingly well served by textbooks: in addition to the Edinburgh History of Scotland (four volumes, 1965-75) and the New History of Scotland (eight volumes, 1981-4), we now have the New Edinburgh History of Scotland (10 volumes, in progress), not to mention Michael Lynch's substantial and phenomenally successful Scotland: A New History (2nd ed
This book is the result of a bold and innovative research project funded between 1999 and 2002 by the then Arts and Humanities Research Board, with further funds provided subsequently by a number of scholarly institutions. The preface further acknowledges the support of a glittering array of scholars, not least Geoffrey Parker who read through the entire draft.
The history of single women in pre-modern Europe has begun to attract a good amount of attention in the last decade. Thanks to historians such as Judith Bennett, Kim Phillips, Ruth Mazo Karras and P. J. P.
In March 1279 King Edward I commissioned a great inquiry into landholding in England. The surviving returns were arranged by hundred, hence their name ‘the Hundred Rolls’, and give a picture of rural society which, in its level of detail, goes far beyond that found in Domesday Book. If this was intended as a second Domesday, it was a superior version of it.
The five senses of the body were imbued with moral significance in the high and late Middle Ages, and 13th- and 14th-century confession manuals afford ample evidence of this belief. Contained in these treatises were interrogatories that urged priests to examine penitents on their sins, using the five senses as the starting point for ways in which the laity might lapse.
A few years ago, I pestered friendly Lollard scholars with a question which tended to flummox them slightly: how did English bishops know how to prosecute heretics? The broadest outlines of a reply had been sketched, in an article from 1936 by H. G. Richardson and another by Margaret Aston in 1993. In addition, Anne Hudson and J. A. F.
As the editors Christopher Woolgar, Dale Serjeantson, and Tony Waldron underline on the first page of the introduction to this book, ‘food and diet are rightly popular areas of research, central to understanding daily life in the middle ages’.