Mary Clive

Congenial Company

Medieval Travellers: The Rich and Restless


Hamish Hamilton 256pp £12.50 order from our bookshop

An unusual feature of this book is that the title and sub-title exactly explain what it is about. Quite simply, without any frills, Margaret Wade Labarge relates the stories of numerous intrepid individuals, mostly rich and important but sometimes merely intelligent and articulate, who braved the considerable dangers and discomforts of travel in the Middle Ages. Another agreeable surprise is that she finds her dramatis personae congenial company. Far too many historians sneer at our forbears; scolding them if they follow the customs of their own day, accusing them of avarice if they attempt to earn money or provide for their children, and tut-tutting if the poor things are detected having a little fun.

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