Three Classic Books for Medieval Worldbuilders and Armchair Time Travellers
This time next week you’ll be contemplating a pile of Amazon gift vouchers and book tokens.
How do know?
You’re a Black Gate reader. Your muggle relatives can’t even guess your tastes. Your geeky friends know that your wishlist is too specific to second guess.
So book tokens.
I won’t try to guess your tastes either! However, if you are interested in the medieval world, or medieval-style worlds, some of the following old books from my research shelf might tempt you…
A History of Everyday Things in England (Archive.Org link) by Marjorie and CHB Quennell is a pre-WWI classic and part of a series that goes through to 1914 (Wikipedia).
Aimed at the older children of yesteryear — meaning it’s a fine read for a modern adult — this beautifully illustrated book covers everything from pottery to architecture, arrow loops to siege engines, and armour to aumbries, it drops in lots of quotes from original sources, and — written in a time of servants and country weekends — feels authentic when it explores the manor houses and castles of the time.
It also approaches the culture and economics from the inside, with sections on ships and merchants, and ground plans of typical buildings.
Though it pulls no punches — describing the English as acting like the Hun in 14th-century France — it’s a cosy oak-panelled read for fireside days while the rain batters at your window, but also a jumping off point for recreating medieval domesticity.