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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
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...
Published 6 months ago by Sarah

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book, but does not live up to the title
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...
Published 11 months ago by J O MAYNARD


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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!, 28 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Everyday Life in Medieval London: From the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors (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. Lundonberg became an important city on the border between the Anglo-Saxon land and that land belonging to the Vikings. Slowly this city was fortified and became a stronghold and when Athelstan became King of all of Briton London became a hugely important place for trade. Battle with the Vikings went on for many years until the Vikings won and Cnut became King of England.

In 1042 England returned to the Saxon rule under Kind Edmond and he centred much of his affairs in London. Soon London had eclipsed Winchester as the biggest and most productive city within England.

Wonderfully entwined with the history of London Mount also discusses the different rulers and Kings who claimed the English throne over the medieval period (far too many to discuss in this short review). She talks in detail about their lives and how their decisions and actions affected not only the city of London but the people living within this every growing city.

Mount provides wonderfully vivid descriptions of the ever changing life of the people who lived within London. She spends time talking about the different status of people, the type of housing they lived in, the layout of London and how this changed dramatically and expanded over time. Mount also gives accounts of the everyday life of people within London, how they would have purchased their food, cloth and anything else they needed for their day to day lives. She discusses the different type of Guilds within London, the different jobs that people had and the changing expenses that people would have faced due to inflation. She also takes the time to discuss men and women’s roles within the family and society, their different responsibilities, expectations and provides some fantastic examples of men and women’s day to day lives and various events that affected them.

In addition to this Mount gives details about the laws that were enforced (or sometimes not enforced) within London, the roles of various people expected to uphold and enforce the law and the role of the Catholic Church. Religion and the Catholic Faith were paramount to people in the medieval times and Mount gives many accounts of people’s religious faiths and how the Church determined what people could and could not do throughout their lives.

Mount’s book is littered with historical accounts of people that actually lived in the medieval ages. She tells the stories of real people who faced real trials and triumphs and she uses firsthand accounts, letters and other sources of information to retell these fascinating stories. Personally I loved these stories as I felt they gave a personal account of what life was like in medieval London.

For a book that spans from the time of the Anglo Saxons to the Tudors Mount is able to write in a style which provides wonderfully detailed images so that when reading it feels as though you are standing within medieval London, seeing, smelling, touching, hearing and tasting all the sights and wonders long lost to time. Toni Mount’s book on Medieval London is an absolutely fantastic read. I thoroughly enjoyed every chapter and personally learnt so much about the formation and growth of London during this period in history. Mount writes in a style which is both detailed and captivating and I would certainly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in medieval history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top work., 12 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Everyday Life in Medieval London: From the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors (Hardcover)
Really enjoyable. Plenty of eye-catching 'weren't they odd' snippets and 'how on earth did they ever come up with that' details to read aloud to others, but also a real engagement with the warp and weft of daily life that produces a powerful and plausible impression of the more ordinary people in their time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly great read!, 18 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Everyday Life in Medieval London: From the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book, but does not live up to the title, 13 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Everyday Life in Medieval London: From the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors (Hardcover)
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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