As a late medievalist who has recently moved to Scotland, I was disappointed to learn that the Burrell Collection in Glasgow – home to the many medieval treasures once owned by the shipping magnate and prolific collector, William Burrell – is closed over the next two years.
It is impossible to understand any human society without exploring its emotional rhythms, from the most dramatic to the most subtle. For too long, historians have ignored this simple truth… Yet in the Middle Ages, emotions were everywhere.
The history of the western European family has been an area of interest for social and cultural historians for several decades with the late medieval and early modern period central to debates about continuity and change in family life. An aspect of family life that has received little attention is the common experience of remarriage and living in a stepfamily.
In theory, ‘ecclesiastical history’ is just a polysyllabic synonym for ‘church history’. In practice, however, it connotes something more precise: the history of the church institutional. Like other forms of institutional history, it has become something of a historiographical backwater – very respectable and much loved backwater, I hasten to note – in the last generation or so.
Historians are good at putting objects in their place. Details about context, manufacture, use, abuse, meaning, significance, decay, and so on are layered so that an object itself becomes a carrier of its moment in history. Putting material back into the fabric of history itself enriches that history.
The recent celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the European Reformation have launched a steady stream of publications analysing almost every facet of the English Church at the start of the 16th century and beyond.