The Manor of Ware

The Manor of Ware in Hertfordshire during the Middle Ages

The town of Ware has a long history.  The oldest dateable artefacts found in the area go back to the late Paleolithic period (c.25,000 – 10,000BC).  There is evidence for a more permanent settlement in the Mesolithic period (8,000 – 5,000 BC).  The Romans were also there and so it goes on into the Middle Ages, which is the period this post will be dealing with.[i] Continue reading

William Bingham

William Bingham – the founder of Godshouse, “the first secondary school training college in England”

While researching something completely different, I made the acquaintance of William Bingham (as you do).

William Bingham was an important educational innovator.  His claim to fame is that he is the “man who founded the first secondary school training college in England. What is even more remarkable, his college still exists, although discharging other educational functions as well.”[i] So this post is especially for all school teachers among our readers. Continue reading

The Schoolmaster Printer

The Schoolmaster Printer –

the Medieval Printing Press in St Albans

Here endyth this present cronycle of Englonde wyth the frute of tymes, compiled in a booke and also empryted by one somtyme scole mayster of saynt Albons, on whoos soule God have mercy (Wynkin de Worde, 1497)

After the first book printed with movable type had had its debut at the Frankfurt Fair in 1454, Johannes Gutenberg’s invention quickly spread all over Europe.

William Caxton was the first to bring printing to England, when he set up his workshop in Westminster in the mid-1470s (either 1475 or – more probably – 1476).  Two years after Caxton opened his shop in Westminster, another printing press, in Oxford, published its first book (in 1478).  However, given my personal interest, I would like to find out more about the third English printing press – in St Albans. Continue reading

The Medieval Grammar School of St Albans

The Medieval Grammar School

of St Albans

St Albans School, which exists to this day, started life as a medieval grammar school. Even if the claim that it was founded in 948 is not supported by evidence, there is no doubt that the school has been in existence since the turn of the 11th to the 12th century. We know that the first Norman abbot, Paul de Caen (1077-1093) [1] wanted to establish St Albans as “a centre of learning” and among other buildings built the scriptorium.[2] Perhaps we can also thank him for the school. Continue reading

History Tuition

The following post I recently wrote for the website of my daughter’s new business, Star Tuition.  I feel passionately about history and hope that as many students as possible have the benefit of a teacher that opens the door to a world full of fascinating stories for them.

History Tuition –

where history comes to life

When it comes to history, most people fall into either of two categories: they either love history or they hate history. Those who love it usually do so because they had a teacher or another person in their life, who made the subject come alive. Unfortunately, those who hate it usually missed out on such an experience. This is where history tuition by Star Tutors will make a difference – they make history come to life.

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Gaudy Night

A Reunion with Old Friends – Gaudy Night

Book Review: Dorothy L Sayers, Gaudy Night (1935)

Note: Contains spoilers

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. For me this particular novel will always be connected with my memories of a holiday in Oxford, where most of the action of this novellater takes place. This holiday in the ‘city of dreaming spires’ was in 1973, and I bought the book a couple of years later. For years it remained one of my favourite books – amply documented by the by now rather tatty state of my copy – but as time went by it was pushed aside by new favourites. So I decided to have another look. And I read it and was hooked again. Since my first stay in Oxford in that magical summer of 1973 as a German school girl, I have been back a number of times. Whatever the circumstances, the novel still holds its old magic.

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