• Audio contentA podcast about Catherine Howard's last letter to Thomas Culpeper

    A tormented Tudor queen’s treasonous ‘love letter’

    In this episode, Neil Johnston and Christopher Day discuss a letter written by Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, to Thomas Culpeper, a groom of the King’s Privy chamber. The document was part of a body of evidence collected against Catherine…

  • Audio contentA podcast about medieval treason and magic

    Medieval treason and magic

    In this podcast, two of our records specialists tell us about treason and necromancy in The National Archives’ medieval records. The first part, narrated by Paul Dryburgh, tells the story of a band of men from Coventry who planned to kill King Edward II…

  • Video contentWax seals at The National Archives

    Materiality matters: new approaches to medieval wax seal studies

    Wax seals have been widely studied in terms of how they look, what they depict and what they might mean. But their physical characteristics and their importance as a method of communication are still not fully understood. Our ‘Wax Seals…

  • Video contentDL 10/71

    Magna Carta – what’s so ‘great’ about the charter?

    We apologise for the variable sound quality of this podcast. 2015 is the 800th anniversary of the granting of Magna Carta – King John’s Great Charter. This charter guaranteed a number of vital rights and privileges and is still seen as…

  • Audio contentA pedigree sketched in a court case (catalogue reference KB 27/224)

    Webinar: An introduction to medieval and early modern sources for family historians

    Medieval and early modern records can be very informative, although they are often harder to locate than those for more recent periods. This webinar provides an overview of sources in The National Archives and elsewhere. Nick Barratt is head of…

  • Audio contentFirst Pipe Roll (catalogue reference: E 372/1 m6v)

    The Church and the propaganda of political reform in 13th century England

    In the 13th century, the English episcopate took a leading role in overseeing the government of the kingdom, enforcing Magna Carta by sentence of excommunication. Between 1258 and 1265, many churchmen went further by supporting the Montfortian revolution that seized…

  • Audio contentHUNTINGDONSHIRE: Feet of fines for 14-16 Hen III: 76-100,cat. ref. CP 25/1/92/6(93)

    ‘An impenetrable tangle or an under-used mine of information?’ The Court of Common Pleas and its records, c1200-1875

    The Court of Common Pleas was the busiest court in England for almost all of the medieval and early modern period, dealing with tens of thousands of cases a year at its height, and continued to be an important arena…

  • Audio contentcat. ref. E40/231

    Medieval queens in The National Archives

    Many medieval kings still loom large in popular culture but the queens who lived and worked alongside them are often less well known. This explores the role of the queen in medieval England focusing in particular on what we can…

  • Audio contentFirst Great Seal of Henry III obverse, cat. ref. E 42/315

    Henry III Fine Rolls

    The fine rolls record sums of money offered to the king in return for concessions and favours, providing a fascinating record of what people wanted from royal government, and what they were willing to give for it. In the past,…

  • Audio contentHenry VII Coat of Arms, cat. ref. E33/1

    The battle of Towton – a 550-year retrospective

    This talk introduces the biggest battle of the Wars of the Roses, described as ‘The largest, longest, bloodiest and most murderous battle ever fought in Britain’. It was the decisive clash in a snowstorm at Towton in Yorkshire on 29…

  • Audio contentsp9-1-10

    Heralds and heraldry at The National Archives

    The National Archives holds possibly the greatest collection of untapped source material for heralds and heraldry in this country. This lecture examines evidence stretching back over eight and a half centuries: seals, illuminated manuscripts, medieval rolls, treaties, grants of arms,…

  • Audio contentimg_0828

    Dependence, intolerance and expulsion: the story of the Jews in England, 1066-1290

    William the Conqueror invited Jews into England from Normandy around 1070, but the Jewish community of merchants and money lenders formed an uneasy relationship with the English crown and people. Medieval Jews were considered to be the king’s property, and…

  • Audio contentdl42-1-f51-initial-detail-of-henry-iv-portrait-from-great-cowcher-c1402

    Medieval warfare: sources and approaches

    An exploration of how records created by the crown before 1485 can be used to study medieval armies, campaigns and battles in Britain and France. Dr James Ross and Adrian Jobson focus on the records of key battles such as…

  • Audio contentcopy1-66-102-robin-hood-and-maid-marioncut-out-figures-1884

    Medieval criminals and the law

    An introduction to the formidable collection of documents that relate to the law and criminals during the medieval period using case studies.  James Ross provides practical tips on how to access the collections, as well as shedding some light on…

  • Audio contentDL10-71 Magna Carta, third issue 1225 (8MB)

    King John and Magna Carta

    History has portrayed King John as a tyrannical monarch whose arbitrary conduct forced his barons into rebellion and the eventual restriction of his powers in the iconic charter of liberties, Magna Carta. Using original sources held at The National Archives,…

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