Britain and Ireland 1066–1485
'These centuries witnessed some of the most famous and dramatic events in the recorded history of Britain and Ireland.'
John Gillingham explores the history of Britain and Ireland between 1066 and 1485 - a time of tumult, plague and resurgence.
Beginning with the Norman Conquest of England, these tumultuous centuries and their invasions shaped the languages and political geography of present-day Britain and Ireland.
The Irish, Scots and Welsh fought their battles against the English with varying success - struggles which, like the events of 1066 in England, produced spectacular upheavals and left enduring national memories. But there was still a common enemy: the Black Death - still the greatest catastrophe in their history.
There were significant advances, too. Hundreds of new towns were founded; slavery, still prevalent until the twelfth century, died out; magnificent cathedrals built, schools and universities established; clocks, gunpowder and the printing press. Magna Carta set new standards for holding governments to account and trial by jury won a central place in the legal systems of England and Scotland.
Tracing the political, religious and material cultures of the period, as well as what might have been, John Gillingham seeks to define the ways in which lives changed during these turbulent times. With the words of contemporaries to guide us, we can understand more than ever before about national identities and the differences which came to define and ultimately untie these islands.
“No other single volume offers so comprehensive a consideration of the geography, economy, politics, society and religion of medieval Britain in so engaging and accessible a fashion as Gillingham’s”
Sarah Foot, BBC History Magazine
“Clear, concise and utterly compelling. You won't find a better general history of medieval Britain”