Out of the Margins

A good job: John Sweet as Bob Johnson and Sheila Sim as Alison Smith in A Canterbury Tale (1944).

Visiting sites of importance can connect us with history – and each other – in a way that echoes the power of medieval pilgrimage.

Profound but intangible: Scutchamer Knob on the Ridgeway Path of the Berkshire Downs.

A historical landscape is impossible to recover, but we can still feel its power.

Despite the myth of a lone genius toiling away into the night, history is a collective endeavour.

It is tempting to adopt a black-and-white view of the past, but history is complex and should be judged on its own merits.

Even the most obscure topic can be fascinating, and fascination can be found in the most unlikely places.

Modern Britain is dominated economically, culturally and politically by London, its capital city. It was not always that way, as an examination of medieval texts reveals.

Emma receives the Encomium from its author, flanked by Harthacnut and Edward, 11th century (c) British Library Board/Bridgeman Images

In commissioning her biography, Emma, wife to two kings of England, created a subtle yet audacious piece of propaganda, used to maintain her position and secure her reputation.

Illustration by Warwick Goble from the Complete Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 1912. © Alamy;

If you believe the neologism 'post-truth' describes a new phenomenon, think again. Geoffrey Chaucer diagnosed the problem at the end of the 14th century.

Cutting and loading wood: from an Anglo-Saxon calendar page for July, 11th century

The beginning of another year provides Eleanor Parker with an opportunity to reflect on a meditation on time that combines exquisite Old English poetry with early medieval science.  

The word of God: St Matthew depicted in the Grimbald Gospels, Canterbury, c.1010

Eleanor Parker reveals the scholarly network of knowledge that was at the heart of Anglo-Saxon England and the love these scholars had for the pleasures of the written word.