The medieval era was a time of castles, plague, war and peaches.
The Norman Conquest
The Norman Conquest was when a group of men from Normandy in Northern France took over England. This would change English history forever.
It all started when the King of England, Edward the Confessor, died. The next day, a council of high-ranking men known as the Witan elected Harold Godwin as king. But it wasn’t long before the problems started.
Back in Normandy, Northern France, a duke named William didn’t like the new king. He claimed that many years ago, Edward the Confessor said that he would be king when he died. He also said that he had tricked Harold into promising that he would support him get to the throne. And because of this, William started getting ready to invade England.
You might have heard of this in the news. In 2015, we celebrated 800 years of the Magna Carta. It took place in 1215 in Runnymede, Kent. The Barons didn’t like the way that King John was ruling the country so, what do you do? That’s right. You complain. The Barons wrote a huge document called the Magna Carta.
How was King John ruling the country?
King John raised taxes and ate a lot of peaches. That’s right! And he died from drinking too much cider and peaches.
What did the Magna Carta contain?
It had all the rules that King John must’ve followed. He signed it, just to keep the Barons happy. The Barons would have a civil war if he didn’t sign. It is in English but in Middle English. So, if you ever get your hands on a copy of the Magna Carta (not off the internet) then go to a local historical museum and give it to them (in return of millions of pounds).
In 2011, the original copy of the Magna Carta was found. It was valued at £20 million! Looks like that man went home happy!
In June 1348, the Black Death entered England. Not known to the people at the time, it was spread by a single ship arriving from Europe in Dorset. At the time, there was a huge outbreak of the plague in Europe. Millions of people were dying from it. But, since Britain was an island, until June 1348, it had largely escaped this outbreak.
The War of the Roses
The War of the Roses was a war that determined who would become King of England. It was fought between the House of Lancaster, who were fought under the red rose, and the House of York, who fought under a white rose.
The war began on 22nd May 1455 and ended on 16th June 1487. It ended with Henry VII from the House of Lancaster becoming king, after Richard III died on the battlefield. Henry married Elizabeth from the House of York, an attempt to reunite the two houses (another way of saying “families.)
There was little progress in medicine in the medieval era. Why? It was because of the Church, which was a big part of medieval life. They said that Galen’s teachings were right.
Who was Galen?
Good question. Galen was a Greek philosopher, so he died long before the medieval era. But they still believed the things that he said about the structure of the human body, which was largely based on the structure of animals thanks to the fact that the Church banned the dissection of the human body.