I’m currently reading Realm Divided A Year in the Life of Plantagenet England by Dan Jones The year is in fact 1215. The year that King John attached his Royal seal to the Magna Carta. Dan Jones has a wonderful way of bringing to life the day to day lives of ordinary people as well as describing the amazing historical events that took place among the upper classes. Barons and clergy, kings and knights all fighting for what they believed was their right to rule and govern.
Before the Magna Carta was completed there was a draft schedule known as the Unknown Charter drawn up that included articles of royal concessions. One of them concerned inheritance law which demanded
that the king observe men’s wills and that he should allow widows to remarry according to the wishes of their families and not the king who would auction off the bride to the highest bidder…. a widow should be entitled to live in the marital home for forty days after her husbands death ‘and until she has had her proper dower’.
Sometimes we just take things for granted and are then reminded that all things came to be through someone else’s struggles.
On a lighter note some table manners haven’t changed in centuries. During the time of Henry II guests were
reminded to refrain from riding their horses in the halls of the great houses and to refrain from putting their elbows on the dinning table or speak with their mouths full. Guests at a lord’s hall were not to scratch their armpits in public and were to
…..wait for it …..
feign illness if the wife of a host should make a pass at them.
I wonder if that last rule was still expected during the time of Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth and flirty young wife. Most of the male court attendees would have been wobbling about clutching their stomachs.
Stay Posted. Love L