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Tablet Weaving – ‘Medieval Week’ at The Collection

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As part of their Medieval Week, The Collection Museum offered several arts and crafts workshops to engage children with medieval history.

Despite being more than a decade older than their intended audience, myself and two other MA Medieval Studies students went along to a tablet weaving workshop at The Collection and had a great time!

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According to our workshop instructor, tablet weaving (or hand weaving) has a long history in the textile world and was particularly prominent in the middle ages. The finished braids were used to decorate the edges of clothing and to denote social rank.

The tablets or cards were made of wood, bone or antler; they were square or slightly rectangular in shape and had four holes in each corner. The yarn would be threaded through these holes, and the weaver would pass a shuttle through the yarn to start weaving.

 

It is a very therapeutic process!

 

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Dr Thomas Asbridge – Lincoln 1217: The Battle that Shaped History

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On Friday evening, Dr Thomas Asbridge (Queen Mary University of London) gave a lecture in the Nave of Lincoln Cathedral, explaining how the veteran commander and fabled knight William Marshal defeated the French and their baronial allies in the decisive encounter played out within Lincoln’s medieval walls 800 years ago.

Knowing very little about the Battle of Lincoln myself, this lecture provided the perfect introduction to the 1217 battle waged on the streets of Lincoln. I especially appreciated how Dr Asbridge traced the broader impact of the Battle of Lincoln, from the reissuing of Magna Carta to the birth of English national identity, situating the battle within a context that I was more familiar with.

It was fascinating to hear Dr Asbridge present in person, as I immensely enjoyed his documentary series, The Crusades, on BBC Two.

Dr Asbridge is also the historical consultant behind Lincoln’s 2017 Battles & Dynasties exhibition in The Collection which I am looking forward to viewing in the near future.

 

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After the lecture, Dr Asbridge was kind enough to sign a copy of the booklet he wrote in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln.

 

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Lincoln Knights’ Trail 2017

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This weekend, Lincoln Knights’ Trail opened in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln and the sealing of the Charter of the Forest.

There are 36 sculptures in total placed across Lincoln City Centre and each Knight has been designed and painted by a different artist. (To find out more about the Knights’ trail artists, please click here.)

I did not know anything about the Battle of Lincoln prior to this event, but the Knights’ Trail website has provided a short breakdown of the major events surrounding this period of Lincoln’s history:

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‘The Knight in the Forest’ by Julia Allum

‘After agreeing the Magna Carta in 1215, King John went back on his promise which led the country to fall into a civil war.  This divided the barons between supporting the crown and rebel barons who invited Prince Louis, the son of the French King, to take the English throne.

In October 1216, King John died and his son, Henry III, was only a child so William Marshal, a famous medieval knight and the King’s champion, acted as regent. By May 1217, much of the country had been taken by the combined French and rebel English forces, but Lincoln Castle held out for the royalist cause under the command of a formidable lady constable, Nicola de la Haye.

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‘Lincolnshire Spirit and Loving Embrace’ by Lizzy Mason

On the morning of 20 May 1217, the Royalist army set out from Stowe or Torksey (the sources disagree) to help Nicola and raise the siege. The Royalists broke into the city and in the fighting that followed between the castle’s East Gate and Lincoln Cathedral, the siege of the Castle was lifted and the French commander was killed. The rebels then either surrendered or fled down the hill and towards London. The Royalists claimed victory and then sacked the city. One chronicler ironically nicknamed the battle the ‘Nine-day’ of Lincoln (a Nine-day was either a fair or a tournament) as a battle in the city in 1141 had already been given the title of The Battle of Lincoln.

This battle was of national significance. If the Royalists had lost, England would have become part of France and our King Louis VIII, instead the Plantagenet dynasty ruled for another 250 years.

The 1217 battle and the subsequent defeat of a French naval force at the Battle of Sandwich in August meant Louis’ attempt to become King of England was over. On the 6th of November 1217 Marshal, in the name of the young Henry, reissued Magna Carta in an attempt to reunite the country and with it a companion document called the Charter of the Forest. In contrast to Magna Carta, which mainly dealt with the rights of barons, it confirmed rights of access to royal forests for all men and was not superseded until 1971.’ (Credit: Dr Erik Grigg, Lincoln Knights’ Trail Website)

 

Both the 1215 Magna Carta and the 1217 Charter of the Forest can still be viewed in Lincoln Castle and the Knights’ Trail sculptures will remain in position until 3rd September 2017.

I am looking forward to seeing all of the Knights’ Trail now that the weather is getting warmer!

 

 

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MA Symposium Review

 

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Introduction by Prof. Philippa Hoskin

It is just over a week since the ‘Writing Medieval History’ symposium and the MA Medieval Studies students have finished their last exam and have had a chance to reflect on the success of the day.

Overall, the symposium committee are immensely proud of how the symposium ran. We managed to keep (mostly) to time, our speakers were engaging, and we had some thought provoking discussions in the Q&A sessions. The feedback we gathered on the day also suggests that attendees especially enjoyed the musical interludes performed by one of our committee members.

One issue we did not anticipate, however, was how hot the room got throughout the day! For future events, it would be worth booking an air-conditioned room so everyone is comfortable.

 

On behalf of the symposium committee, I would like to thank our lovely speakers for their contribution: you all presented marvellously! We hope this is the first of many MA Medieval Symposiums, and I look forward to attending them in the future.

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MA Symposium Committee

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Prof. Peter Stone: ‘The protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict’

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On Wednesday 10th May, we were joined by Professor Peter Stone (Newcastle University) for the last History and Heritage research seminar for this academic year. Professor Stone’s presentation discussed the history of cultural property protection and outlined the work of the Blue Shield (the so-called “cultural equivalent” of the Red Cross), suggesting that if we are proactive, cultural property need not be an unwitting casualty of conflict.

 

This seminar was Stonefascinating and made me think about the logistics of preserving history  for future generations, not just in war zones (although, as Professor Stone suggests, this is important) but at local levels too. Many of the MA students in attendance at this seminar, myself included, are particularly interested in making ‘ordinary’ people aware that our culture heritage is everywhere and deserves to be protected. So, while his presentation was not directly focused on medieval history, Professor Stone raised some highly important points concerning the protection of cultural property.

 

Thank you, Professor Stone, for your thought provoking presentation!