Friday, June 20, 2014

[Review] Everyday Life In Medieval London: From The Anglo-Saxons To The Tudors by Toni Mount

Publisher: Amberley Books February 2014
Genre: Medieval, London, British history, England, British History Reading Challenge 2014
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 272, with 30 color illustrations
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Amberley Books in exchange for a review.

Hardcover @ Amazon $27.31

$27.38 @ Barnes and Nobles in a different cover jacket that the Amazon choice. 

Facebook page for book

Toni Mount's webpage

Another review, from Anne Boleyn: From Queen to History.

Author Info:
Toni Mount has been a history teacher for fifteen years. She has an MA by Research on medieval medical manuscripts from the University of Kent. Her previous books include Medieval Housewives & Women of the Middle Ages. Born in London, Toni now lives in Gravesend, Kent.

Summary:
Everyday Life in Medieval London, covers the time period, AD 500 through 1500. Londinium became the Roman name of London, but the name London, is "of Celtic origin." The Romans had a double purpose, to conquer and to establish trade in Britain. The easy access of the Thames River to the waters of the channel and the Atlantic Ocean, brought a lucrative trade route for the extensive Roman Empire. By the year AD 410, the bulk of the Romans had left. The Anglo-Saxons from the Germanic region had been placed in England by the Romans, their population and influence steadily grew and enveloped the population. The Vikings began raiding the coastal region of England in the 800s. William the Conqueror invaded in 1066, and the French Norman influence prevailed, as well as ruled England for centuries. The Tudor rule began in 1485, with Henry VII, his marriage to Elizabeth of York, united the dynasty lineages of Lancaster and York.   
The book is organized into three parts:
"Part I: Anglo-Saxon and Norman London, AD 500-1154," 
"Part II: London under the Plantagenet Kings, AD 1154-1400," 
"Part III: The City under Lancastrian, Yorkist and Tudor Rule, AD 1400-1500."
Everyday Life in Medieval London, addresses the monarchy, royal court, wars, and other historical events; but it also examines the everyday people, the common people who lived in London during the medieval age. What kind of homes they lived in, what they ate and how they cooked their food, diseases and what natural remedies were used, the Christian and pagan religions, fires and other disasters, clothing, books and literacy, ending with the "social change" bought about by the English Reformation.

My Thoughts:
Over the past two weeks I read five books concurrently (including this book), all with similar topics. I loved it that Everyday Life in Medieval London, both complimented the other books, and gave additional information unsupplied by the others. 
The books I'm referring to are: Edwin: High King of Britain by Edoardo Albert, Blood and Roses: One Family's Struggle and Triumph During the Tumultuous Wars of the Roses by Helen Castor, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor, The Annals of London: A Year-By-Year Record of a Thousand Years of History by John Richardson. 
For example the Romans came to England for trade, but I did not know the land was rich in minerals: "gold, silver, copper, lead, tin, and iron." I'd known England had textiles, but did not know till reading Everyday Life in Medieval London, a "weatherproof" cape was a sought after apparel.   
Tony Mount explains the city of London was desolate of people after the Romans left, it was a "relic" of what it had been. 
The Anglo-Saxon people were "masters of the art of carpentry." They were known as "tree-wrights."
How law and order was decided in Anglo-Saxon England. The introduction of the "wergild", payment for a crime, specifically murder. 
A pagan priest named Coifi, his king was Edwin. This story was a gem for me, as I was reading another book about the same people and events in Edwin: High King of Britain. I'd wondered how Christianity was accepted by the pagan people, how society changed, were there those who still hung on to the old ways and worshiped under both religions. Both of these books answered all my questions. 
The pestilence from the sea, the Vikings. They came from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The English monks kept a record of the Viking's plunder and killings. The monks looked upon the Vikings as devils.
The story of Richard the Lionheart, and his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. The English queens Eleanor, Matilda, and Isabella, are mentioned in both She-Wolves and Everyday Life in Medieval London.
In one of the final chapters, books and literacy is examined. As an avid reader and lover of books, I'm always interested in understanding how people established learning and literacy, and how material to read became available. 

Everyday Life in Medieval London, is a fascinating and extensive exploration of the history of the city of London. 
Toni Mount, made the reading adventure pleasurable by her relaxed, yet matter of fact writing style. She is a born teacher, able to teach and relate material in a highly digestible format for the readers mind.  

No comments:

Post a Comment