Medieval & English Civil War Experience
Copyright © Des & Judith Thomas (Historical Services To Schools) 2016 All Rights Reserved
With Ned (Young Ned)  & Judith Carlewe
Colonell Granville Thomas with Mistress Judith Thomas
14th - 15th Century
Disaster
Back Into The Past
The Black Death:
This was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350.  It is widely thought to have been an outbreak of bubonic Plague.  Believed to have started in China, it travelled along the Silk Road and had reached the Crimea by 1346, from there, probably carried by Oriental rat fleas residing on the black rat that were regular passengers on merchant ships, it spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe.
 
Disasters
( The Black Death & The War in France )
The Black Death is estimated to have killed between 30% - 60% of Europe's population, reducing the world's population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400.  This has been seen as having created a series of religious, social and economic upheavals, which had profound effects on the course of European history.  It took 150 years for Europe's population to recover.  The plague returned at various times, killing more people, until it left Europe in the 19th Century
"The first signs of the plague were lumps in the groin or armpits.  After this, livid black spots appeared on the arms and thighs and other parts of the body.  Few recovered.  Almost all died within three days, usually without any fever."
The War in Fance
( The 100 Year War )
The 100-years war was, in reality, a series of conflicts which began in 1337 and came to an end in 1453.  Long periods of peace interspersed the fighting, and several times it seemed that the 100-year war had come to and end.  The main problems concern the last phase, started by King Henry V in 1415.  He was seeking to recover those territories which had formally belonged to the English Crown, he also laid claim to the Crown of France itself.  If God accepted the sanctity of his claims (on this Henry had no doubt whatever), then so must the French people.  The war lasted 116 years and saw the decline of the famous English Warbow and the use of more black powder guns, which outranged the English Bows.  Even though the Warbow (Longbow) continued to be used during the War of the Cousins (Roses) it finally ended in the 16th Century.
 
The disastrous ending of the War in France in 1453 was unquestionably one of the reasons for the Wars of the Roses.  The prestige of the King and the Crown he wore, the central points of the country's society and government, were made to look inept and weak in the eyes of all.  The damage to English society was immense.  Crowd's of displaced settlers, for whom no provision could be made in their native land, often joined the mass of beggars, already a considerable menace, on the roads.  Bands of discharged soldiers, their employment gone and unable or unwilling to abandon the habits they had learnt in France, supplemented the brigands who were already a serious nuisance.