Rachel Moss In May 1482, a harried Richard Cely wrote from London to his younger brother George, who was working in Calais. Three months earlier, in the midst of Shrovetide celebrations (a time of raucous good cheer before the privations of Lent), he had had a sexual encounter with their […]
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Katherine Harvey In November 1326, Hugh Despenser was condemned to death for treason. Drawn to the gallows on a hurdle, he was hanged from a height of 50 feet; then, before he was completely dead, he was cut down from the gallows, eviscerated, and beheaded. His head was displayed on […]
Katherine Harvey The idea that food and sex are somehow connected is deeply entrenched in contemporary western culture, and one of its most common manifestations is the idea that certain foods and drinks have aphrodisiac properties. Articles on food and drink with aphrodisiac properties are a common feature in newspapers […]
Katherine Harvey The first few weeks of 2014 have seen a flurry of media reports about the private lives of world leaders both past and present, from Bill Clinton and Tony Blair to François Hollande and Barack Obama. Such fascination with the alleged sexual exploits of political leaders is often […]
Katherine Harvey Although Notches is a blog about the history of sexuality, as a historian of the late medieval Church I spend most of my time thinking about a group of men who were not supposed to engage in any form of sexual activity: the medieval clergy. The ideal of […]
Katherine Harvey One of the biggest challenges facing medieval historians, and perhaps especially historians of medieval sexuality, is interpreting the actions of individuals at a remove of several centuries. Take, for example, the case of King Richard I of England, who has sometimes been considered something of a gay icon. […]
Sexual behaviour was strictly regulated in late medieval and Tudor England.