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Love in medieval times

At this time of year it’s all about love, with millions of people thinking about love, looking for love and possibly even finding their kindred spirit to eventually settle down with.

However, in the medieval ages love was rarely rose petals and champagne.

Rachel, our Learning & Interpretation Manager has been finding out what love was like in medieval times…

For the rich, marriage was a way of increasing personal wealth and social status, future wives may only have met their dearly beloved on their wedding day.

Despite this, love was in the air back in the 15th century, echoing similar themes seen today, for instance heart ache and the forbidden love between a knight and a married noble woman were much revered in all circles of society.

Many lyrics from medieval ballads would not sound out of place today with tragic lines like ‘I shall always be filled with sadness until the day you call me back and mean it’ and ‘your heart has found a new love’ seemingly pulled straight from an Adele or Sam Smith song.

The poor had far more freedom to find love and marry who they wanted. Nevertheless, it was expected at all levels of society to inform the family and the local lord before a marriage could take place, giving these prying eyes a level of influence on who you dated.

Luckily, the ability to marry wherever they wanted whether it be a barn, the local pub or just in the road without the consent of parents or a priest enabled love to bloom naturally and the young couple could run away together in a very traditional Romeo and Juliet fashion.

Altogether now… Ahhhhh!



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