A gallery of images to help fuel your imagination for what Alfred’s world was like

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What had Gwendolyn just revealed to Alfred when he cut the rose and tucked it into her hair?  (Hint:  The answer is in Second Son.)


In the 14th century, the poorest people often had no clothing other than what they were wearing. If one had enough means to own 2 or 3 garments, the ones not in use would be hung on pegs. Rich merchants and the nobility, however, had sumptuous wardrobes, but closets as we understand them today didn’t exist. Clothing was stored in chests, often elaborately carved like this example.

Although it’s possible for lambs to be born early in the year, they’re more frequently born in spring. Ewes with young lambs are a common sight in April and May. One year, though, Alfred was particularly happy to come across some early lambs. Find out why in Second Son. And enjoy the cuties below.

Tapestries on the walls were for decoration, certainly, but during the winter months, they also provided insulation from the cold stone walls.

By the 13th and 14th centuries, hammer beam ceilings were becoming more elaborate, some even with Gothic decoration.



If you’ve been following the Chronicles, then you know who sent the message. Hint: The answer is in My Father, My King.

Alfred was on a mission for the king when Lord Egon first admired Star Dancer. Which king? What was the mission? And what did Alfred suggest to Egon following this exchange? (Hint: The answers are in My Father, My King.) The private chapel in the castle figures prominently in My Father, My King. Who used it most frequently?

(Hint: The answer is in My Father, My King.)



When this castle kitchen hearth was in use in the 13th and 14th centuries, there would have been a fire going all day and iron spits for roasting meat, hooks and racks for kettles and for pots to cook vegetables and tasty potages. The bread ovens may also have been used for pies, cakes, and puddings. A bin full of chunks of wood would have been nearby to keep the fire going. And on one side of the hearth would have been a stool for the turnspit — the boy whose job it was to sit there turning the spits regularly so that the meat roasted evenly. What was the big kerfuffle over kitchens in Pestilence?



Spices were treasured in medieval and Renaissance times, especially those that had to be transported from the far east. If you look closely at the larger of these spice chests, you can make out the hasp for a small lock. Treasure, indeed!













Imagine being an archer sighting and loosing your arrows over and over again at the enemy below trying to breach the castle’s defenses.

Humans have been brewing beer and ale for millenia, often in small batches even in individual homes. By Alfred’s time, great castles, fortresses, or manor houses might very well have had a brew house on the premises to supply beer and ale for the residents.

Hot water would be added to crushed grain in the mash-tun and the mixture would be stirred with a paddle into a mash, converting the starch in the grain to sugar.  The sweet extract, called wort, was drained off the mash into the under-back, and the mash was then rinsed a second time to ensure all the wort was captured.  Next, hops were added to the wort and the mixture was boiled for a couple of hours, after which it was drained through the hop-back (a large sieve that captured the spent hops) into the cooler. Once the liquid was cooled to the proper temperature, it was drained into a fermenting tun, yeast was added, and it was left for a few days to ferment.  When fermentation was complete, the beer was drained into casks that were stored in cellars to mature.