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‘Take the Skull of a Hanged Man …’ – Karen Maitland

Posted on: 27/09/2017 with tags: karen maitland, Medieval, Skulls, the raven's head, Medieval, Middle Ages

The Medieval period was an age of contradictions and none more so than the curious attitude towards the skulls of the dead. Skulls were thought to be where the human soul or spirit resided in life, and after death the skull retained the consciousness of the deceased. This belief is so ingrained in our imagination that, even to this day, if ancient skulls are discovered in houses and removed, some people fear misfortune will follow. The skull of Theophilus Brome was reported to have screamed in f…

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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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