Medieval hermits were the agony aunts of their day. 

Portrait of K’ung Fu-tzu (Latinised to Confucius). Copyright Bridgeman Images

A short introduction to the Chinese ethical system.

Medieval understanding of the soul and the body meant that a saintly life was a life of physical restrictions. Katherine Harvey explores the extreme suffering bishops put themselves through, from weeping and celibacy to starvation and, sometimes, death.

The founder of the Quakers died on January 13th 1691.

Amy Fuller looks at the life of the Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and asks why we feel the need to kill our heroines rather than celebrate their achievements.

Visitors circulate around Richard's tomb in the chancel.

By no stretch of the imagination was Richard III a saint, but the furore that sprung up around his discovery and reburial was strongly reminiscent of a medieval cult of sainthood.

Morning Star of the Reformation: John Wycliffe in a 16th-century portrait.

The theologian was denounced by the church on May 4th, 1415.

Isabella Tree explores the Kumaris, young girls chosen to be worshipped in Nepal by both Hindus and Buddhists as symbols of purity and makers of kings.

Frontispiece to John Milton's  Areopagitica, 1644.

How much are actions – especially extreme ones – the result of impersonal historical forces and how much are they dependent upon the impulses of individual actors

Charles Freeman, surprised by the lack of research into one of the great unsolved mysteries, reveals for the first time his groundbreaking examination into the creation of the venerated object.