A very merry Medieval Christmas from all of us at Voices of Law!

If you’re stuck for how to introduce your nearest and dearest to the joys of Medieval law (or just the Medieval period) this Christmas, we have a few ideas for you.

You might want to think about board games – always popular at Christmas. The Histocrats have an interesting post on Gaming in the Classroom, something a few people have tried/do with their Undergraduate classes, and at the bottom of the post you will find some suggestions which include Carcassonne and Pillars of the Earth.

Dr Thom Gobbitt, whose postdoctorate was on the Lombard Law Texts, came up with an idea for an RPG board game based on the Lombard laws, which involves narrative of a story and exploration of reactions and possible outcomes on the part of the players. The original post explores how this could also work in a classroom setting, but testing this on friends and family is also an option, and might be adapted to your own research…

If board games are not quite your style, you may decide to host a murder mystery evening over the holidays – if so, you could try basing your scenario on actual medieval murder trials where the outcome is well documented and details may have to be adapted for age groups/demographic of players, like the murder of William Cantilupe in 1375. For background information and the lurid details on the pre-existing relationship between the Cantilupes and Paynels, whose patriarch apparently aided and abetted the crime in some capacity,  Frederik Pedersen’s article on Academia.edu is available to download.

This approach can also be adapted for the classroom, and encourage exploration of the material in a problem-solving manner. Getting the class to turn such a trial and its outlying source material into a game themselves is another option in terms of classroom adaptation of the format.


Enjoy the holidays!


Featured Image: Marginalia image of the king (photoshopped by Ben Morris) from The Laws of Hywel Dda, Peniarth MS 28; f. 1 v., The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth


– Voices of Law









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