E-Mail 'Life in the 12th Century, by Edge' To A Friend

Email a copy of 'Life in the 12th Century, by Edge' to a friend

* Required Field

Separate multiple entries with a comma. Maximum 5 entries.

Separate multiple entries with a comma. Maximum 5 entries.

E-Mail Image Verification

Loading ... Loading ...


  1. I doubt many People in 12th century medieval europe ´d a Hunting dog.
    A Guard – Shepherd, work dog yes, Maybe used for Hunting but not a Special Hunting dog,

    BTW we europeans used lamps not candles in our homes OTOH Okay i get it the english were usually a bit behind in Technology, but that much behind.

    What the english practiced by law were bow and bill but not the sling, who´d vanished for at least centuries from Military use by then, they were not alone in that except e.g. the flamish preferred the godendag, the swiss pike and halberd and burghers usually replaced the bow with the crossbow(which you could use to defend your City against armoured enemies)

    1. Using the Medieval Period as an example of society after civilization breaks down is probably a useful exercise. First, Barbara Tuchman wrote a book on your subject: “A Distant Mirror,” using the Middle Ages as a possible reflection of our possible future. I read this before stumbling into Survival Blog many years ago.

      Second, several individuals mentioned Joseph and Frances Gies. A married couple, they wrote about the various roles people played in the Middle Ages, going into minute, well-researched, detail of their everyday lives.

      Last, Prager “University” has an outstanding 5-minute talk on “How Dark Were the Dark Ages?” A guest prof explains, and convinced me, that the period should have been called The Brilliant Ages!

  2. An excellent book is “The Year 1,000’ , a description of life and conditions in England in 1,000 AD. It was published just before Y2K. A fascinating read about society and technology at the time, told using the calendar as an outline of the cyclical nature of agrarian life.

  3. In many places throughout history, the water was contaminated and dangerous. Here’s an example from our own American history:

    “Due to the unsafe drinking water, passengers on the Mayflower drank beer as a main hydration source — each person was rationed a gallon per day. They started to run out as the ship approached Plymouth Rock.” From BusinessInsider May 21, 2018. [The teetotalers claim it’s a myth]

    Of course, anyone back then caught bathing in the hygienically safer Beer Supply might have been burned at the stake (or drawn and quartered). Even a sponge bath with beer would have been considered alcohol abuse.

    SurvivalBlog has articles about home Beer brewing and Wine-making. The new motto for many might be: Beans, Band-aids, Bullets, Winemaker and Beer-Brewer.

  4. As an avid reader of history and all things old, I enjoyed this article very much! I am not affiliated with Jas. Townsend & Co. at all, but I would like to mention that he has a wonderful channel on youtube with colonial methods and 18th century period cooking often reading journal excerpts for a reference point.

  5. Just think of all the Iowa corn fed beef, nothing but a memory! All the wonderful bacon, chops and pork loin, chicken now more valuable for eggs and manure. We are blessed in a town of 5,000 in having two well stocked grocery stores.

  6. Very funny, but on a serious note, having helped my husband raise pigeons, we wished they only bred twice a year. They will sit on 2 eggs for about 21 days, hatch them and feed them. About 6-8 week later they will shove those youngsters aside and sit on 2 more eggs. This is year round, my husband is forced to toss eggs away due to space limitations. I am sure that on a SHTF situation, we could keep on letting them breed to their hearts content and have some food for us and others, another way of saying squab. If you raise California Kings, (they are about twice the size of a standard pigeon) you will get more meat. My husband is raising racing homers at this time which could also have a good use. Maybe I should write about this another time.

  7. A good read of the 1850’s is “Life in a Medieval City” by Joseph and Frances Gies. It goes into detail of every aspect of city life of Troyes in the Middle Ages.

  8. If you want a look at some useful skills along these lines you need to read “Lost Country Life” by Dorothy Hartley (Pantheon, 1979.). It covers English life skills/culture/technology in the 1500’s. It’s good enough that I have two copies.

    1. OldLady, I just ordered the book you recommended. Then I’ll have half as many copies as you. I appreciate the recommendation.

      Carry on

  9. Yes, this is a very good article. Enjoyed it immensely. It makes me question my limited efforts at preparing for a breakdown. And it makes me look at how soft I really am. Thanks for the great web page and good writing.

  10. What a great article with information new to me. Would love to learn more. As to squabs, was once invited after ‘haying’ ion an Austrian village farm to dinner. The mom went into the attic and pulled some squabs for dinner. Quite the experience!

    1. Quarter staff, think Little John from Robyn Hood. They were usually a wood staff from 6 to 10 feet in length. Used as a weapon they were very formidable. Very easy to defeat swordsman with one if you had training and were competent. There are some great stories on line of English using Q Staffs in battle.
      Back-swording, I’m not as sure about. I know that in knife fighting we use a technique called back cutting. It’s a technique we’re you feignt a stab and the use the back tip of your blade with a flick of your wrist to inflick great damage with just the tip of you blade it’s very deceptive and deadly. I’m not sure if this is what he’s referring to. This technique takes a lot of practice and is very hard on forearms and ligaments. Hence the training needs to start slowly to develop without hurting yourself. Hope this helps.

    2. AFAIK The Backsword was a Sword used in Tudor Times in England, Basket Hilt and only one Edge, often used with a buckler – swashbuckling, IIRC

  11. I want to share the shock I had when our genealogy showed our original patriarch from Sussex, England, who arrived here in 1636. He died at age 95 in Virginia. His son lived a shorter life, dying at age 93. Yes the average lifespan was shorter, but subsequent males in our lineage have all died in their 70’s, except one who died of a heart attack at 40. So much for 20th century stuff!

    1. The word “average” is critical here. Average someone who died at age 80 years and someone who died at age 6 months and you get 40 years. The average was driven so low by high infant and childhood mortality, as well as women dying in childbirth. If you survived to adulthood, you had a good chance of living a long life.

      I find this a gross misuse of statistics, when people assume that because the average was low, no one lived to old age in the past.

      1. VoxLib, I so agree with you. Most folks, even those who are well-educated speak of the “average lifespan” of our ancestors being so short. It is an oft-repeated and seldom questioned trope.

        The historical record indicates that those who survived the childhood diseases and deadly risks of adolescence ofyen lived into their 60s and 70s.

        Carry on

      2. VoxLib, I so agree with you. Most folks, even those who are well-educated speak of the “average lifespan” of our ancestors being so short. It is an oft-repeated and seldom questioned trope.

        The historical record indicates that those who survived the childhood diseases and deadly risks of adolescence ofyen lived into their 60s and 70s.

        Carry on

  12. Entertaining article. Thank you.

    A couple of points:
    I’ve watched enough British shows to know that up until recently, the Brits were eating fresh water eels as a source of protein.

    And, I’ve often considered raising pigeons, but have concerns about our healthy hawk population as a threat. Can anyone weigh in on this?

  13. Good article. But one other difference would be that back in 1200 there was still plenty of game. After the event, most animals will be hunted to near or actual extinction

  14. Just by coincidence, a weekly newsletter I receive on http://www.Medievalists.net included an article titled, “What Did Medieval Peasants Eat?” It doesn’t go into much detail, but it does show some reenactors prepping a peasant’s meal. Someone might be interested in this. See what Edge started? Thanks, Edge.

Comments are closed.