Michael Lewis
Amberley, £14.99
ISBN 978-1445672380
Review CH

The popular (and beautifully illustrated) series exploring Portable Antiquities Scheme finds in different areas continues with a slim volume focused not on a region, but on all of medieval England.

Here ‘medieval’ is defined as AD 1050-1550, a period of great cultural and political change framed roughly by Edward the Confessor’s reign and the Protestant Reformation (hopefully Anglo- Saxon and Viking finds will be showcased in their own book!). The featured objects were primarily chosen not for their historic importance nor their aesthetic qualities (although some are undeniably beautiful), author Michael Lewis, the head of the PAS, writes, but for the insights they grant into medieval life. The result is a wide-ranging and appealing series of snapshots.

Among the finds are high-status items including a hawking ring possibly linked to Prince Edward – the future Edward V and one of the Princes in the Tower – as well as weaponry, jewellery, and religious objects (including a tile depicting a hunched, hooded pilgrim). More worldly matters are represented by objects reflecting craft and industry, commerce, and literacy. A lovely little book

This review appeared in CA 342.

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