Summer Weather and Winchester’s Patron Saint

If you are anything like me you will be thinking that after what felt like a prolonged grey, cold winter it feels like we should’ve turned a corner into summer. I suppose it’s mild at least and that’s almost enough to break out into a rendition of Reading Abbey’s own thirteenth-century composition ‘Sumer is icumen [...]

Finding Evidence of Holy Healing: The Case of St Robert of Knaresborough

My research focuses particularly on the experiences of pilgrims who sought out miraculous cures from saint cults in high-medieval England.  A key resource for this, therefore, are the hagiographical sources which include reports of the posthumous miracles (collected together in a subgenre called miracula) worked by various saints through their shrines.  However, these formally written-up [...]

19th December 1154: Henry II and the Hand of St James

by Dr Ruth Salter 836 years ago, on a day much like this (possibly), Henry II was crowned at Westminster Abbey.  His predecessor (and uncle), Stephen, had died just under two months earlier, much of his reign having been taken up by ‘The Anarchy’ – a civil war of succession following the death of Henry [...]

Restless Revenants: A Curious Case of Animated Corpses in Vita S. Moduenne Uirginis.

Restless Revenants: A Curious Case of Animated Corpses in Vita S. Moduenne Uirginis.

* forewarning: this is a long read - if you just want the ghost stories stop when you reach the map* ‘It would not be easy to believe that the corpses of the dead should sally (I know not by what agency) from their graves, and should wander about to the terror or destruction of [...]

Toads mean Trouble: Amphibious Assassins in Gerald of Wales’ The Journey through Wales

If you were asked to think of an unassuming British animal, I would hazard a guess that the first creature to come to mind would be something – small, brown, possibly squeaky – like a mouse or hedgehog.  So unassuming is the toad that I bet you’d not have even given it a second thought [...]