Sorry for the hiatus.
I am still researching castles and medieval bread.
Who would have thought that castles would be so controversial? The Battle of Bodiam Castle, it turns out, was not a medieval siege. It’s a contemporary academic quarrel that seems to crystallise the opposing camps’ points of view. Is Bodiam a military masterwork covering a strategic weakness in England’s defences or is it a symbolic architectural statement of status with little or no defensive worth? Discuss for 30 or more years.
It’s strange to be reading academic journal articles again. If you’re interested there’s an introductory guide to teaching medieval castles here (including a bit on the Bodiam battle) and there’s a Castle Studies Group.
On the whole bread seems a lot less contentious. Although I have found arguments over how effective medieval flour sieving was and there’s some argument over whether trenchers were square or round. Peter Brears’ Cooking and Dining in Medieval England has been a good and useful read. I’m currently reading Nicole Crossley-Holland’s Living and Dining in Medieval Paris which analyses the medieval text Le Ménagier de Paris.
I’m back in work on Thursday. Let’s see if those six years olds are ready to grapple with medieval architectural performance analysis.