“Your gateway to our medieval past...”  

Portcullis History  can be your gateway to our medieval past. Set up by Dr John Hunt and Mrs Karen Kemp, we offer a small but varied programme of short courses and day schools to our participants at selected centres around Warwickshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands.


Our programme is under continuous development in consultation with those who attend our courses and we are happy to respond to requests for particular courses or locations where possible. This website provides information on our past, current and future offer and tells you how you can sign up for a course, join or leave our mailing list, and make contact with us.


Most of our courses are offered as half-day or full-day sessions with lunch and refreshments.




17th APRIL 2021


Insights on daily life

Tutor:Dr John Hunt, BA, PhD, FSA, FRHistS, PGCE



Wills have long been recognised by historians as invaluable documents that can often bring the reader into closer empathy with the lives and mentalité of men and women of the past. They offer insights into religious belief and practice, the social and economic context of daily life, and the material culture of the day; as Professor Miri Rubin has observed, ‘Wills clearly reveal the life-worlds of their makers and illustrate efforts to knit together, at the end of a life, a web of associations and memories’.


In a series of three online sessions (the first of which will be free of charge) we will explore the character of medieval wills and their value as historical sources, as well as the process of will-making in medieval England. The first session will provide an overview of the development of will-making, including the evidence of Anglo-Saxon wills. Subsequent sessions will be focussed on case studies dealing with a rare example of a thirteenth century peasant’s will, and with various later medieval wills made by members of the aristocracy, gentry, churchmen and others.

Portcullis History
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