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Everyday Life in Medieval London: From the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors Hardcover – 6 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (6 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144561541X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445615417
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello! I'm Toni,

I'm an author, history teacher, speaker and historic interpreter, based in north Kent.

My new book Everyday Life in Medieval London is now out. www.facebook.com/everydaymedievallondon

Let me bring history alive for your class or group with lessons and talks from Roman Britain to the 1950s .... from Primary Schools to retirement groups, I can create a presentation just for you... in costume if you wish.

Please visit my website www.tonimount.co.uk

Product Description

About the Author

Toni Mount has been a history teacher for fifteen years. She has an MA by Research on medieval medical manuscripts from the University of Kent. Her previous books include Medieval Housewives & Women of the Middle Ages. Born in London, Toni now lives in Gravesend, Kent.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Sarah on 28 Nov 2014
Format: Hardcover
I was excited to read Toni Mount’s book on Medieval London as I have read a great deal about the Tudor period but little of the history of London before this period of time. I found that once I picked up Mount’s book I simply could not put it down. It was not only captivating but it was extremely informative and contained some wonderful personal stories of people that lived in London during the Medieval Period.

The first part of Mount’s book discusses the foundations of London and how the Roman’s referred to it as Londinium The position of London was quite strategic as it allowed Roman ships to travel up the Thames to trade and then to travel back down again back to European ports. The area around the banks of the Thames was also made of gravel, far easier for building than mud and sand. From this Londinium was built and became a major trading city with ships from all over coming to visit. In exchange goods and merchandise from Britain were traded throughout Europe. However when Roman’s left in around 410 AD London was beginning to slide into disrepair. With high taxes and not enough money coming in people could no longer afford lavish life styles and thus the general way of life was declining.

Without Roman protection the people of Britain sought help from Saxony, Angeln, Jutland and Frisia to fight off the Scottish and Irish and protect their land. These warriors brought their families over and soon began to settle in Britain, also marrying with the original people of the land.

Mount also discusses the relationship between London and Vikings, or Lundonwic/Lundonberg, and how the Vikings came over to England and in some cases raided and in other cases sought to trade.
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Format: Hardcover
I could not put the book down, i found it so fascinating. It seemed they had the same troubles as us but the Medieval Londoners lot was compounded by dirt, discomfort and disease. The book was so easy to read and I learnt so much that it has made me want to learn more about life in those times. I would recommend this to any Londoner, current or past or anyone who loves history and wants a glimpse into life during those times. Bravo Toni Mount!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J O MAYNARD on 13 Jun 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book from cover to cover and found it very interesting - learned all sorts of things I never knew before. The reason I'm being critical and only giving it three stars is that it really has very little to do with London. Much of the detail about aspects of daily life comes from elsewhere, and then it's not linked in with anything specific about London: you just get sweeping assertions that life in London would have been very similar , which is sometimes difficult to credit when the detailed description seems to be about a rural area. Conversely much of the detail about events in London is not about daily life but about national politics. Where you do get glimpses of the life of ordinary people in London, I have the impression that it's just pure luck that the author happened to have that material available: it doesn't seem to be fitted into any comprehensive coverage of specific topics. Apart from the little map at the beginning there's very little sense of place, and whole areas of daily life are not touched upon. I did also wonder a bit about accuracy: having noticed there was very little about everyday religion except under the "Preparing for Death" section, I reflected that this was perhaps just as well since in a few short pages there are two complete howlers about Catholic teaching which would not have been out of place in "1066 And All That". In conclusion, I'd see the book as being a bit of a ragbag of interesting snippets about England in the Middle Ages.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Compendium of medieval knowledge! 22 April 2014
By Sylwia S. Zupanec - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Toni Mount's "Everyday Life in Medieval London" is a masterpiece. Author leads you through the medieval streets of London and answers many interesting questions. What did the Londoners eat and drink? How did they deal with sanitation? What their houses looked like? What illnesses did they suffer from? How were they treated? Where did they go shopping? What clothes did they wear? This book has all the answers!

"Everyday Life in Medieval London" is of one of the best books I've recently read and definitely a keeper. It's highly informative, entertaining and written in an engaging style. I would recommend it to everyone interested in history of England. It's also a great read for anyone who lives in London!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This artfully written, extensively researched work is a boon ... 18 Aug 2014
By Addicted Bibliophile - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This artfully written, extensively researched work is a boon to both the serious student and more casual investigator of medieval life. No aspect of life in early London as it grew out of its Roman roots into the congested metropolis it became by the Middle Ages is ignored, but the emphasis is on the life of the ordinary citizens. You meet the artisans, craftsmen, merchants and so forth who populated the city. Nor are the women of the era ignored. Wives, daughters and femme soles, those ladies of the silkworkers guild and others who were independent business women, are all discussed. There are informative glimpses of lifestyles across the spectrum and how people dealt with day-to-day problems they faced. Nor is this done anonymously. The author has included a wealth of detail from wills, letters, charters, etc., to introduce the reader to very real people going about their daily lives. All in all, it is a delightful, very informative read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A truly amiable companion for this wonderful tour of medieval London 8 Sep 2014
By Beth E. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was pure joy and a complete surprise that it would in fact be not simply informative (one expects that from a nonfic specialization book) but a very lively and winsome read as well. Who would have thought? One of my areas is the Middle Ages, primarily events between 1300 and 1500, but this wonderful compilation of essays, which they are actually, by Toni Mount is not to be missed by anyone who would like a very detailed yet never suffocating overview of London, from its earliest history to 1500, which may be considered "Tudor" - but as the author notes - the transition from a Yorkist to a pseudo-Lancastrian court and king "... hardly made a ripple on the surface of the social pond for the common people of England. Daily life for them changed far more dramatically with the Reformation and Dissolution of the Monasteries around 1540, which forced them to change their faith, shattered their beliefs and removed both their spiritual and physical certainties..." (p.8).

Well, that is a gutsy author! One so rarely finds any historian, anywhere, who is willing to expose the many layered crisi wrought by the Tudor, Henry VIII, and his literally unrestrained conceit, duplicity, greed and lust. One expects to hear of the thousands that the Tudors murdered, tortured, executed, and betrayed - but those are among the aristocracy, rival claimants to the throne and anyone questioning Henry's ultimate authority, above that of God and State - what Mount does that is so unexpected is to recognize that the common man and woman also paid a striking and heartbreaking price for what the Tudors would do. And so she contains her history of "everyday life" during the Middle Ages in London as everything up to this point when their world was upended.

That was just the Introduction, once we enter London, around 500 AD, we tread a complex history of Celtic/Roman settlement leading to its place within the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Most importantly this chapter introduces us to her "voice," her temperament, her ability to weave massive detail with a really delightfully light hand, we simply absorb her knowledgeable expertise as easily as breathing. That is a major asset and achievement! She can take even long distant, shadowy stereotypes, like the Anglo-Saxon, and immediately connect us to them by simply mentioning that "the Anglo-Saxons were really just like us ... a shipbuilding people and masters of the art of carpentry (or "treewrights" as they called them..." (pps. 21-22).

This will gain her reader much confidence that the author is both a walking encyclopedia and a delightful conversationalist, one feels as if they were sitting at her side, in an equally comfy chair, and enjoying this or that topic: Mead-Halls, medical leeches, the likes of Swein Forkbeard and his ninety-four Viking ships merrily sailing up the Thames, Norman intimidation with three castles erected within the city walls, tax assessments for Jocelyn the Lorimer, the "dynasty begun by a fiery young Angevin," William Fitz-Stephen's complaints about Londoners as "idiots who drink to excess" and annoyed at the "frequency of fires" in the city, Thomas Becket (the "Londoner's own saint"), Crusades, Taxation (again, such things loom large in every generation), and the Magna Carta! And this only brings us to pg.79 !

Mount is a pleasure to read, there is never a boring moment, or filler, or awkward topic that makes one think she had grad students writing sections she didn't have time for. She covers LONDON, and only London, she is not rewriting the history of all England, or the entire Middle Ages, no, she has sensitively and sensibly restrained herself to London, as if an admiring lover who cannot get enough of her beloved's many quirks and nuances. She also is interested in the mostly ignored common man and woman of the city, their "holidays, feasts, festivals, football," shopping and their business matters, mayors, bridges, plagues, "revolting peasants," apothecaries and their many roles (grocer, spicer, pepperer, importers), clothing and manners, sumptuary laws, even the regulations as to what prostitutes were allowed to wear (p.171-2), writing one's will, printing and literacy. This last one, literacy and books, included a detail that was new to me (always a nice treat), in that the younger brother of King Edward IV, the first Yorkist king, Richard of Gloucester, "was a true bibliophile. We know this because, though his library was small, the books mostly quite plain, without lavish illumination, so he didn't buy them to impress others or just to look at the pictures. Also, he inscribed his name neatly in each one, perhaps to make sure he got them back .. we know he read them and none are pristine from lack of use..." (p.203). I mention this in length in order to make a point, I KNOW my Ricardian material, but few general history authors know more than what they get from secondary sources, for Mount to identify Richard as a "bibliophile" is quite accurate but also quite unusual in the stultifying, narrow, stereotype of any Yorkist; Mount has read all of her sources and research options with a commendable open-mind and effort at neutrality. She understands what is and isn't within her scope for this book.

As she comes to the 'Tudor period' this admirable neutrality (especially in the face of centuries old stereotypes) we can sum up her independence from the template with this one example: "under the Tudors, English women had fewer rights and less opportunity for independence than throughout the previous thousand years - since the Romans had left, in fact. It didnt happen suddenly, but there was a definite downward slide towards the sentiment that a 'wife's place is in the home and nowhere else .." (p.214).

Of the many, and they are now an overwhelming pile, of books and histories of London and England, treat yourself to Toni Mount, a truly amiable companion and witty fount of information for the journey.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating History of London 20 Jun 2014
By MissDaisyAnne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Source: Free copy from Amberley Books in exchange for a review.
Everyday Life in Medieval London, covers the time period, AD 500 through 1500. Londinium became the Roman name of London, but the name London, is "of Celtic origin." The Romans had a double purpose, to conquer and to establish trade in Britain. The easy access of the Thames River to the waters of the channel and the Atlantic Ocean, brought a lucrative trade route for the extensive Roman Empire. By the year AD 410, the bulk of the Romans had left. The Anglo-Saxons from the Germanic region had been placed in England by the Romans, their population and influence steadily grew and enveloped the population. The Vikings began raiding the coastal region of England in the 800s. William the Conqueror invaded in 1066, and the French Norman influence prevailed, as well as ruled England for centuries. The Tudor rule began in 1485, with Henry VII, his marriage to Elizabeth of York, united the dynasty lineages of Lancaster and York.
The book is organized into three parts:
"Part I: Anglo-Saxon and Norman London, AD 500-1154,"
"Part II: London under the Plantagenet Kings, AD 1154-1400,"
"Part III: The City under Lancastrian, Yorkist and Tudor Rule, AD 1400-1500."
Everyday Life in Medieval London, addresses the monarchy, royal court, wars, and other historical events; but it also examines the everyday people, the common people who lived in London during the medieval age. What kind of homes they lived in, what they ate and how they cooked their food, diseases and what natural remedies were used, the Christian and pagan religions, fires and other disasters, clothing, books and literacy, ending with the "social change" bought about by the English Reformation.

My Thoughts:
Over the past two weeks I read five books concurrently (including this book), all with similar topics. I loved it that Everyday Life in Medieval London, both complimented the other books, and gave additional information unsupplied by the others.
The books I'm referring to are: Edwin: High King of Britain by Edoardo Albert, Blood and Roses: One Family's Struggle and Triumph During the Tumultuous Wars of the Roses by Helen Castor, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor, The Annals of London: A Year-By-Year Record of a Thousand Years of History by John Richardson.
For example the Romans came to England for trade, but I did not know the land was rich in minerals: "gold, silver, copper, lead, tin, and iron." I'd known England had textiles, but did not know till reading Everyday Life in Medieval London, a "weatherproof" cape was a sought after apparel.
Tony Mount explains the city of London was desolate of people after the Romans left, it was a "relic" of what it had been.
The Anglo-Saxon people were "masters of the art of carpentry." They were known as "tree-wrights."
How law and order was decided in Anglo-Saxon England. The introduction of the "wergild", payment for a crime, specifically murder.
A pagan priest named Coifi, his king was Edwin. This story was a gem for me, as I was reading another book about the same people and events in Edwin: High King of Britain. I'd wondered how Christianity was accepted by the pagan people, how society changed, were there those who still hung on to the old ways and worshiped under both religions. Both of these books answered all my questions.
The pestilence from the sea, the Vikings. They came from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The English monks kept a record of the Viking's plunder and killings. The monks looked upon the Vikings as devils.
The story of Richard the Lionheart, and his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. The English queens Eleanor, Matilda, and Isabella, are mentioned in both She-Wolves and Everyday Life in Medieval London.
In one of the final chapters, books and literacy is examined. As an avid reader and lover of books, I'm always interested in understanding how people established learning and literacy, and how material to read became available.

Everyday Life in Medieval London, is a fascinating and extensive exploration of the history of the city of London.
Toni Mount, made the reading adventure pleasurable by her relaxed, yet matter of fact writing style. She is a born teacher, able to teach and relate material in a highly digestible format for the readers mind.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book 26 April 2014
By AvidReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is filled with fascinating tidbits of information. I thoroughly enjoyed the section on manners. This will be a wonderful reference guide in years to come.
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