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Roast peacock for a medieval Christmas

Posted on: 07/12/2015 with tags: christmas, karen maitland, Medieval, richard II, the raven's head, wassial, Medieval

Karen Maitland, author of The Raven’s Head, writes about a typical medieval Christmas banquet… If you’re feverishly shopping for all those meals you’ll have to cook during the extra-long Christmas weekend this year, spare a thought for medieval cooks. In centuries past, Christmas lasted not just two or three days but twelve, from Christmas Day to Epiphany on 6th January. In 1398, after King Richard II remodelled Westminster Hall, originally built in 1097/8 by William the Conqueror’s son, Rufus,…

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Karen Maitland interviewed by SD Sykes

Posted on: 12/11/2015 with tags: company of liars, interview, karen maitland, plagueland, q & a, sd sykes, the butcher bird, the raven's head, the vanishing witch, Medieval

We asked H for History authors SD Sykes and Karen Maitland to interview each other – find out what drew them both to the medieval period, why it continues to fascinate and how it has inspired their writing… Here are Karen’s answers to SD’s questions…   SDS: You write with such energy, truth and feeling about the Middle Ages. What is it specifically that drew you to these times? Have you ever considered writing contemporary novels, or novels set in a different time period? KM: Thank you! Wha…

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Langley Abbey

Posted on: 18/08/2015 with tags: company of liars, dangerous art of alchemy, h for history, historical fiction, karen maitland, langley abbey, leiston abbey, Medieval, the raven's head

Karen Maitland talks about Langley Abbey, a key location in her latest book, THE RAVEN’S HEAD Cellarium, Langley Abbey. Photographer: Ashley Dace‘A tall, gaunt man steps from behind one of the pillars into the glow of the furnace.’There are some people who appear friendly, even charming, like the neighbour spraying his roses who cheerily calls ‘good morning’. But behind the chintz curtains he is adding that deadly pesticide to his wife’s tea, as he did for his three previous wives whose bones no…

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Karen Maitland reveals the medieval recipe for turning iron into silver…

Posted on: 11/08/2015 with tags: alchemy, company of liars, dangerous art of alchemy, eshort, hforhistory, iron to silver, karen maitland, the raven's head

A Recipe for Changing Iron into SilverTake as many fresh toads as you can find that are carrying poison. Gather white hellebore* and asphodels**. Pound the toads and herbs together and mix with vinegar and sublimated white sulphur. Drop iron into this mixture and you shall have silver.*White hellebore is a highly toxic herb that was used in the Middle Ages as rodent poison.**Asphodel is a Mediterranean plant known the Flower-of-the-Dead. It bears a candle-like spike of white flowers and was freq…

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