An Easy to Evil Medieval Quiz. No.2

This is my second easy to evil medieval quiz. To have a shot at the first click here.

The way this quiz works.

It’s pretty simple. You see the question with a photo underneath and underneath the photo, which might be some kind of clue, you’ll find the answer. There’s twenty five questions so keep track of how many you get right and how many you get wrong and see how you do at the end. There’s also a poll at the end so you can see how you compare to everyone else if you’re interested.

As the title suggests, it starts off easy and gets much more complicated. There are five sections: Easy, Medium, Hard, Difficult and Evil.


  1. What is name of the Duke who became King of England in 1066.IMG_7055

Answer: William I. Other acceptable answers include William the Conqueror and William the Bastard.

Photo: The Abbey of Sainte-Etienne in Caen where he is buried.

2. What is the name of King John’s Queen?



Answer: Isabelle of Angouleme. (any spelling of Isabelle is allowable, there’s lots of them)

Photo: Isabelle’s effigy (on the left) with  Richard I, Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine in Fontevraud.

3.  What is the name of the royal castle only an hour by train from London? The largest inhabited castle in the UK.


Answer: Windsor Castle.

Photo: Windsor Castle, obviously.

4. What is the name of the King who died at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485?


Answer: Richard III

Photo: Richard III’s tomb at Leicester Cathedral

5. What is the name of the abbey in London where a significant portion of the Kings and Queens of England are buried.


Answer: Westminster Abbey

Photo: Westminster Abbey.


6.  Which king was known as Rufus and probably died in the New Forest?


Answer: William II

Photo: the ossuaries in Winchester Cathedral where his bones are thought to reside.

7. What Crusade did Eleanor of Aquitaine go on? Bonus point for the start date and or the King she went with.


Answer: 2nd Crusade, 1147 and Louis VII of France (to whom she was married at the time)

You get one bonus point if you got the date or the king. If you got both, you’re very clever but still only one bonus point.

Photo: Eleanor of Aquitaine’s effigy at Fontevraud.

8. Who was William Marshal‘s oldest son?

IMG_5978Answer: William Marshal the Younger. You get the point if you just said William Marshal.

Photo: What is probably the younger Marshal’s effigy in the Temple Church in London.

9. What area of what is now London was known in the medieval period for its brothels, and was the site of the Bishop of Winchester’s London palace who also licensed the brothels. The prostitutes are said to have been called Winchester’s Geese.

IMG_6718Answer: Southwark

Photo: The remains of Winchester Palace.

10. Who wrote the History of the Kings of Britain in 1136?


Answer: Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Photo: Monmouth Castle.


11. Who purportedly said. (Bonus point for who they are speaking about.)

“My Lords, here you see the countess whom I have brought into your presence. She is your lady by birth, the daughter of the earl who graciously, in his generosity, enfieffed you all, once he had conquered the land. She stays behind here with you as a pregnant woman. Until such time as God brings me back here, I ask you all to give her unreservedly the protection she deserves by birthright, for she is your lady, as we all know; I have no claim to anything save through her”.


Answer: William Marshal, he was saying it about his wife Isabel de Clare.  Remember you get the bonus point if you got Isabel de Clare too.

I use “purportedly” in the question because although it is recorded in his relatively contemporary biography we have no proof he actually said it, for more about the complexities of the History of William Marshal click here

The quote is from History of William Marshal Volume II. pgs 177-179. ISBN: 0905474457

Photo: Kilkenny Castle in Ireland, where the statement was purportedly said.

12. What are the dates of the Period of Anarchy where the Anglo Saxon Chronicle said “that Christ slept, and his saints.”


Answer: 1136-1154.

Photo: the non contemporary tomb of Empress Matilda, one of the participants.

13. What is the name of the Earl of Leicester who married King Henry III’s sister?


Answer: Simon de Montford.

Photo: Statue of Simon de Montford, non contemporary, on the clock tower in Leicester.


14. What was the name of William the Conqueror’s brother who possibly commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry?

Bayeux Tapestry 23

Answer: Bishop Odo, you can have the point if you just said Odo.

Photo: Ships sailing to England in the Bayeux Tapestry.


15. What is the name of the mistress of John of Gaunt whom he later married?


Answer: Katherine Swynford.

Photo: Katherine Swynford’s tomb in Lincoln Cathedral


16. Winchester Cathedral was begun in which century?


Answer: 7th century, though there is nothing left of the original building.

Photo: Winchester Cathedral


Who built Castle Rising?


Answer: William d’Albini the Earl of Arundel you get the point if you just said William d’Albini.

Photo: Castle Rising.

18. Who wrote:

“I have your picture in my room; I never pass it without stopping to look at it; and yet when you are present with me I scarce ever cast my eyes on it. If a picture, which is but a mute representation of an object, can give such pleasure, what cannot letters inspire? They have souls; they can speak; they have in them all that force which expresses the transports of the heart; they have all the fire of our passions, they can raise them as much as if the persons themselves were present; they have all the tenderness and the delicacy of speech, and sometimes even a boldness of expression beyond it.”


Answer: Heloise. The quote comes from a letter from her to Abelard. It can be found at

Photo: The non contemporary tomb of Abelard and Heloise in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

19. Who took Lincoln Castle in 1144. There were two, but you can have the point if you get one of

Answer: Ranulf Earl of Chester and his brother William of Roumare. You get the point if you got at least one of them and some variation on the name is OK.

Photo: Lincoln Castle.

20. When was the Charter of the Forest first issued separately from the Magna Carta? bonus point for who issued it.

lincoln-3Answer: 1217, it was issued by Henry III under the seal of his regent William Marshal. If you got either Marshal or Henry III you get the bonus point. If you got both, well done you’re very smart, but no extra points.

Photo: Lincoln Castle from inside the walls which holds a copy of the 1217 Charter of the Forest.


21. What is the name of the cavern under Pembroke Castle and what stone is composed of?


Answer: Wogan’s Cavern and limestone. you need both to get the point.

Photo: The cavern.

22.  Where is this description from the Domesday Book describing?

“King Edward had 51 Burgesses paying rent and 212 others over whom he had sake and soke, and three mills rendering 40s. Now there are 19 Burgesses paying rent. Of [the houses of] the 32 others who were [there] 11 are waste in the city ditch and the archbishop has 7 of the them.”


Answer: Canterbury. The quote is from the page five of the Penguin Classics edition of the Domesday Book.

Photo: facsimile of the Domesday book from the National Archives.

23.  What is the name of the chapel in Richmond castle and what century does it date to and what type of vaulting is the roof?

st nic chap 2

Answer: St Nicholas’ chapel, 11th century and barrel vaulting. You need all three for the point.

Photo: The chapel.

24. What was the amount of money paid to Prince Louis of France to leave England in 1217?

IMG_3421Answer: 10 000 marks

Photo: The effigy of William Marshal in the Temple Church. He was regent at the time the money was paid.


Who created the Lindisfarne Gospels and when did they die?


Answer: Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne and 712.

Photo: Lindisfarne Abbey.


So that’s it. How did you do?

1-5: Well you’ve got some basics down pat. Good start.

6-10: You know more than basics, well on your way.

11-15: Good work, beginning to build a wealth of obscure facts.

16-20: Impressive. You know you stuff.

21-25: Incredible effort. You may know more about this period than is sensible 🙂

26-27  remember the three bonus points: Speechless. Incredible. You definitely know more than you need to about this specific period and area.

28: If you got them all… Sure you didn’t write the quiz?

Now if you feel like it put your results in the poll below.

Advent Calendar of Castles: December 9th: Lindisfarne Castle


This is the first and only in this series that is not strictly speaking a medieval castle, but it is such an interesting castle that I have decided to include it anyway. It stands on the tidal island of Lindisfarne close to the stunning Lindisfarne Priory, which I have included a photo of for anyone who is pining for a medieval site. I will write about that at a later date.

Lindisfarne Castle was an Elizabethan fort originally. It was built to protect the Lindisfarne Island harbour which at the time was the last deep water port before the Scottish border. Building began in c. 1570 and a significant quantity of the stone came from Lindisfarne Priory, so part of the castle is technically medieval. Prior to this under Henry VIII the rock on which the castle stands had been fortified to an extent, but it wasn’t a castle.

It didn’t really see any significant battle apart from briefly in the Jacobite wars, but it was consistently garrisoned for 300 years which shows just how important it was seen to be to national security.

The guns and soldiers were removed in 1893 and after it had been used for nothing in particular for a while it was bought by Edward Hudson, who was the founder of the Country Life Magazine. He commissioned his friend Edward Luytens to turn it into a comfortable holiday home, but to retain its character, and this is the building that remains today. The castle was sold a number of times and came into National Trust hands in 1970.



Site visit 2012

National trust brochures on the castle

The photos are all mine.

Advent Calendar of Castles: 7th of December: Helmsley Castle

helmsley3helmsley-2helmsley1The original castle at Helmsley was built in the early 12th century by Walter Espec who also founded the spectacular Rievaulx abbey which you can see nearby. The original castle would have most likely been a wooden and earth structure. It was built in stone later in the 12th century, and the de Roos family modernised it. The earth works you see today date largely from the original castle and are unusual in that they are surviving medieval ring works, as in they literally ring the castle and continue to do so today.

The exceptionally tall east tower was built by Robert de Roos at the end of the 12th century, although it was added to in the 14th century to make it taller and more of a status symbol. Also in the 14th century the rooms on the first floor were probably converted into a private chamber, possibly for the use of the visiting Edward III.  The castle passed briefly into the hands of Richard III, when he was Duke of Gloucester, when the de Roos family sold it to him in 1478. When he died at Bosworth in 1485 Henry VII gave it back to the de Roos.

Helmsley faced its greatest challenge during the civil war when it was held for King Charles and endured a three month siege. Ultimately Crowell’s men were victorious and they blew up the east tower, literately splitting it in half. This is the state it remains in today. The east tower is only part of the castle as more domestic buildings have been added as the years went past.

The castle came into the hands of the Duncombe family and they lived there until the 18th century when they abandoned it. During the 18th and 19th century they used the remaining buildings for a manor court and social functions, including renting part of it to the local lawn tennis club. The castle came into the hands of the State in 1915.



Site visit 2012

The photos are all mine


Advent Calendar of Castles: December 5th: Pickering Castle


Pickering Castle was established by William the Conqueror in c. 1070. It was built in response to the northern revolts against his rule. William’s stamping of authority on the north is known was the Harrying of the North. Such an innocuous name sounds like it was a minor irritation, however this couldn’t be further from the truth. William the Conqueror led a brutal pillaging of the north, killing people and destroying crops and food. Tens of thousands of people starved to death in the aftermath.

The original castle would have been earth and timber and the motte on which it was built still stands today. The rebuilding of the castle in stone began around 1180 and continued into the 13th century under successive kings. Within the walls there is also a chapel dedicated to St Nicholas which dates to roughly 1227. Until the mid 16th century the castle would have had a resident chaplain.

By the early 14th century the castle has passed into the hands of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, the grandson of Henry III. He married heiress Alice de Lacey and using her money introduced more stone buildings, including building a new hall for the family to live in, within the walls of the castle. In the mid 14th century Edward II ordered the outer walls to be built in stone, including stone towers as part of the walls. He used the castle for raising horses. He established a stud at the castle and often used it as a hunting lodge.

By the time of the civil war the castle had fallen too much into disrepair to be used for defence and in the 17th century parts of the castle were used as a court house. The castle came into the hands of English Heritage in 1926.


Site visit 2012.

The Harrying of the North:


The photos are all mine.






Advent Calendar of Castles: December 4th: York Castle



The castle you see in the photos is all that remains of York’s once much larger castle. The current structure, known as Clifford’s Tower, was built in the 13th century and served as the heart of government in York and was also used to house the royal treasury. That is not to say that there was not a castle on the site prior to the construction of Clifford’s Tower. A wood and earth Norman tower was built on this site in the 11th century and suffered much damage and rebuilding during these tumultuous times, but it probably survived largely intact until the 12th century. The castle was then the setting for one of the most infamous incidents in York’s history. In 1190 tensions between the York Jewish community and the largely Christian population came to a head and roughly 150 Jews were given protective custody in the wooden castle that stood on the current site of Clifford’s Tower. Something went terribly wrong though and the royal officials found themselves shut out of the castle. They summoned reinforcements to retake the castle and these reinforcements joined with a local mob. The mob and the reinforcements were soon out of control and the Jews in the castle were besieged. On the 16th of March the Jews inside realized there was no way out and they committed suicide and set the tower alight rather than face the wrath of the mob. According to some accounts some Jews did survive and came out under an amnesty to then be massacred by the mob.

The tower burnt down but it was rebuilt, in wood and stone, but it wasn’t until the mid 13th century that the tower you see today was constructed. Henry III ordered a new stone tower to be built in roughly 1245 to help deal with the threat of the Scots. The tower was finished by the end of the 13th century and would have likely stood surrounded by a moat of some description and an outer bailey and walls were added in the 14th century. Over the years the tower and castle acted largely as an administrative centre rather than a royal residence. The first recorded use of the name “Clifford’s Tower’ dates to the mid 16th century but it is possible that the name comes from the rebel Roger de Clifford who was executed in 1322 and whose body was displayed on a gibbet at the castle.



Site visit 2012


The photos are all mine.


Advent Calendar of Castles: December 2nd Lincoln Castle.




Lincoln Castle was begun by William the Conqueror in c.1068 making it one of the first Norman castles built. It was part of the Conqueror’s plan of the domination of England through a network of castles. It was through castles like Lincoln that he administered and controlled his new territory. Lincoln Castle stands on the site of an old roman fort and when it was built 166 Saxon houses were demolished to make way for it.

In the early medieval period Lincoln castle was the site of two decisive battles. The first was in 1141 during the time period known as the Period of Anarchy (1136-1154). King Stephen and the Empress Matilda were fighting for control of the country. It was a time which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle described as “people openly said that Christ slept, and his saints.” In 1141 the Earl of Chester and his brother William of Roumare had rebelled against King Stephen and taken Lincoln Castle by deceit. Oderic Vitalis’ version says that they sent their wives in on the pretext of a friendly visit and the Earl arrived to collect the women with only three knights and then, “Once inside the castle they suddenly snatched crowbars and weapons which lay to hand and violently expelled the king’s guards. Then William burst in with a force of armed knights, according to a pre‑arranged plan, and in this way the two brothers took control of the castle and the whole city.”

Regardless of how they took the castle they held it and King Stephen arrived to besiege the castle. The Earl of Chester escaped and alerted Robert of Gloucester, Empress Matilda’s brother and the head of her campaign for the crown. Gloucester arrived in Lincoln with an army and there was a pitched and bloody battle, unusual in a war that was mainly looting and skirmishes, Gloucester’s forces were victorious and King Stephen was captured.

The other key battle at Lincoln was in 1217. It was so bloodless that it was soon known as the Fair of Lincoln. William Marshal headed forces fighting for the newly crowned Henry III. Marshal was the young Henry’s regent. They were fighting the remains of the barons who had forced King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215. The majority of barons had returned to the royal fold after King John’s death, but there were a few hold outs who were still supporting Prince Louis of France as their candidate for king. Prince Louis’ forces were besieging Lincoln which was held by the remarkable Nicola de la Haye (who I hope to write more about later), Marshal’s forces came to relieve the siege. They had help from the inside the castle and the battle was a route. Prince Louis’ forces were demolished and the battle was pretty much the end of the baronial revolt, though it was the Battle of Sandwich and paying off Louis that got rid of him completely.

Outside of these two key battles Lincoln continued to be both a prison and court for centuries to come. It is also the location of one of the only four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta as well as a copy of the 1217 Charter of the Forest.


Site visit 2012

Lincoln castle information leaflets.

Anglo Saxon Chronicle:

Battle of Lincoln 1141:

The Fair of Lincoln 1217: Tout, T.F, ‘The Fair of Lincoln in the ‘Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal’, The English Historical Review, 18, 1903, pp. 240-265.

The photos are all mine.


Advent Calendar of Castles December 1st: Castle Rising

This year for christmas I’m running an advent calendar of medieval castles. Each day I’ll post three photos of a castle and some information. Today I’m starting with Castle Rising in Norfolk just out of Kings Lynn.


William d’Albini the Earl of Arundel began having the castle built in c. 1138. It was most likely built for his new wife, who was the widow of Henry I, Adeliza of Louvain. The keep itself was probably envisioned as self-contained accommodation for the lord and his family.  It is curiously domestic in scale, but the massive earthworks make it clear that defence was at least considered. The uppermost levels of the keep were likely added at a later date and this included re-roofing and adding an extra room at the top of the keep. As well as the keep, in the grounds behind the earth works, there are the remains of a Norman church. It most likely predates the castle and would have been replaced by the current parish church in the town of Rising around the time the castle was built.

The d’ Albini family died out in the 13th century and Castle Rising passed into the Montalt family. The Montalt family died out in the 14th century and Castle Rising came into royal hands. It was after this that the castle entered what is probably its best known phase when it became the residence of Queen Isabella, known as the she wolf of England. She was the Queen of Edward II and many argue she had a role in his murder. It has been argued that Castle Rising was her prison, but it is also just as possible that it was the residence she chose in exile. There were certainly buildings erected for her in the grounds of the castle

Castle Rising ultimately came into the hands of the Howard family who still own and manage it today.



Site visit 2012

The photos are all mine