What is it about Edward III that makes his political personality so elusive? Is it the fact that Shakespeare’s play about him has sat unrecognised for so long and lies outside the canon? That would certainly help to explain why Edward’s mighty victory at Crécy is less well known than Henry V’s at Agincourt, despite, arguably, being of greater historical importance.
The idea of an age of absolutism has lately fallen out of fashion, for several reasons. The word absolutism was coined only in the 19th century and the concept of a generic absolutist model can easily obscure significant differences between various monarchical states.
Anglo-Saxon historians are in an enviable position when it comes to electronic resources.
The History of Parliament is widely recognised as a monumental scholarly achievement. Since its origins in the dreams of Josiah Wedgwood in the early part of the 20th century, and then its establishment as a charitable trust in 1940 (with government funding from 1951), it has produced a voluminous output.
Historians have great cause to be grateful to the precocious bureaucrats of medieval England, whose records they have exploited to shed light on so many aspects of the past. They should be equally thankful for the generations of scholars who have produced printed calendars of such records since the foundation of the Record Commission in 1800.
Mary Stroll’s latest contribution to the history of the medieval papacy is a brave endeavour to illuminate the political factors the undergirded the successes and failures of the papal reform movement in the 11th century.
As medieval English kings go, William I has been well-served by his modern English biographers. D.C.
Michael Brown’s latest book, Disunited Kingdoms: Peoples and Politics in the British Isles: 1280–1460, examines the socio-political development of Britain and Ireland during the late medieval era.
Despite the substantial historiography of Edward I’s reign, this is the first real attempt to examine in depth the relations between this king and his earls at a crucial time in the development of both monarchy and nobility. Edward I is a king now remembered mainly for his ‘masterfulness’ when dealing with the English nobility, a term with which Spencer takes some issue.
It has become a commonplace to assert that biographies are unfashionable these days. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, even for English history (female subjects certainly buck the trend), but there is no doubt that they are still the staple of Scottish history, particularly when it comes to the middle ages.