I thought it was time to post about what I've recently been buying for my research shelves.
As usual, it's an eclectic mix of what has taken my fancy and what I need for my current novel where the credits are jointly shared by the Empress Matilda and Queen Adeliza of Louvain. Sorry about the space formatting as usual!
First up is Lisa Hilton's Queen's Consort: England's Medieval Queens. This is a useful book giving concise overviews starting with Matilda of Flanders and ending at Elizabeth of York. I bought it mainly for Adeliza and with the awareness that other sections will always come in useful as an off the shelf reference for work and leisure.
Next, an excellent biography of Henry I by Judith A. Green. I also have Hollister's huge work on my shelf, but if anything, the Green feels better in assessment to me. However, the more viewpoints the merrier and this one's a goodie.
Queen Adeliza and her predecessor were great
patrons of Medieval leper houses and hospitals.
Adeliza retired to the nunnery of Wilton after the
death of Henry I for a while at least, where she sponsored a leper hospital. I wanted
to know more about this disease and medieval
attitudes to the same. Carol Rawcliffe's book Leprosy
in Medieval England is an excellent addition to
Now for another Judith A. Green:
The Aristocracy of Norman England which does
more or less as it says on the tin. Takes you through
this troublesome ruling class and attempts to look at
what makes them tick. I haven't read it yet, but it's
waiting its moment
I picked up Medieval Dress & Fashion by
Margaret Scott from the British Library.
It's one of those sumptious coffee table
books that's good for bedtime browsing when
you've run out of an intellectual capacity for
words but still want to be educated.
The surprise find of late last year. A fine, fine biography
of King Stephen's brother, Henry of Blois, Bishop of
Winchester, wannabee but never was Archbishop of Canterbury, Papal Legate and collector of pagan Roman
statues. This is published by Publish America, not an
Academic Press. To be brutally honest, it could benefit
from an editor too - but only with a light touch. It's not
horrendous by any manner of means. As well as an
erudite assessment of the bishop, the author has provided
masses of chronicle and charter material, all translated
into English, and an extensive bibliography. From my
admittedly not academic viewpoint, this holds its own with any popular academic work and is a darned sight better than certain ones I'm not going to mention!
Then comes Kate Norgate's England Under the Angevin
Kings. Some of the research is a bit dated in this one now, but since it was published in 1887 that's not to be wondered at. However, it reads well and it's still a solid piece of study and a useful work to have on the shelf.
Lastly, but not leastly, and as a grand finale, I am the proud owner of this one because it's
a present from my lovely, generous author friend Sharon
Kay Penman. She's beein delving into this one while
researching her novel on Richard the Lionheart, and thought
I would like a copy too. She was certainly right - Thank you
Sharon! This one is next up on my reading pile once I'm
done with leprosy!