So this is 2014

My oh my, January is slipping by at quite a rate. Most of my favourite bloggers, medieval or otherwise, have resurfaced from their festival revelries and recommenced their activities so, a month down the line from my last post, I thought it was high time I did the same. It’s not that I haven’t been writing – quite the opposite in fact. Over the Christmas period and the first couple of weeks of this year, I churned out three back-to-back assessed uni essays totalling around 10,000 words – and that’s without the technicolour appendices I put together in support of them – so I’ve been on recharge since.

Further to my defence, I’ve been far from idle on extra-curricular bits and pieces this past couple of weeks. In fact, I’ve been up to all sorts, from compiling lists of coins to throwing swords in the name of experimental archaeology. All of this will get an outing on the site, as will the pile of stuff I’ve done since last summer which warrants a post/page or two. Also, most of what I wrote for uni will find its way onto here in one form or another in due course. This includes something that is closely allied with the subject of my proposed PhD, and another which I’ve had in mind to write more or less since establishing this blog but which always slipped down my to-do list before the opportunity presented itself as part of my MA.

As a little taster, here’s a schedule of all the references to swords, spears, shields, byrnies and horses in Old English will and bequest texts. I compiled it in order to prove a fairly small point of vocabulary concerning the use of Old English sweord; I hope others may find it useful for their own research, or just an interesting illustration of the quantities and qualities of martial equipment in England from the ninth to eleventh centuries. The studies by Nicholas Brooks and Hilda Ellis Davidson listed below are strongly recommended to readers who wish to set this data in its wider social and material context (there are of course other works on the subject of Anglo-Saxon weapons etc., but both of these appraise the will/bequest evidence).

Selected types of weapon and armour in Old English wills and bequests January 2014

Last year was Surrey Medieval’s best year yet. It received over 5,000 page views – I don’t know if that is good or bad as medieval blogs go, I guess it’s somewhere in the middle, but certainly made me feel like I was doing something right and the figures have kept ticking over nicely since the turn of the year. It would be great to think I could double my money this calendar year – writing this seems like a small step in the right direction towards achieving that goal. I’m determined to really ramp things up over the next 12 11 months and, when it comes to things like articles, conferences and fieldwork, already have more irons in the fire than ever before. Heck, I’m even helping to organise a conference in the summer! Keep it tuned for news on all this and plenty more besides in what I hope will be some rather more frequent posts than I have been able to manage in recent times.

And, just before it becomes truly incongruous to write, happy new year to you!


Brooks, Nicholas, ‘Arms, Status and Warfare in Late-Saxon England’, in Communities and Warfare, 700-1400 (London: Hambledon, 2000), 138-61.

Davidson, Hilda Ellis, The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England: Its Archaeology and Literature, reprint (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1998).

About Robert J S Briggs

Back to being a part-time early medievalist; Surrey born, London based, been known to travel
This entry was posted in Anglo-Saxon, Being organised, Documents, History, News, Old English and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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