Active Learning on

15th Century Lives, 15th Century Families

This section of the website isn’t intended to provide resources for teachers and students. It’s simply an outlet for one of the things I’m enjoying in retirement, writing about a group of real 15th century families and how their lives developed across the century, whether influenced by wars and politics or by love, marriage, illness or … just about anything.

I’ve wanted to do something like this for years but only now have the time. I tried writing fiction but didn’t really enjoy it. Why write about made-up people when you can write about real people? One of the tricky things has been finding a style I enjoy writing in, not academic (that would be pretending to be something I’m not), not textbook-ish (as that rarely felt personal enough) but I have at last found a way of writing about these families that I enjoy – and that’s the clue to the audience for all this.

I don’t imagine readers of these pages to be academic historians gilded with research degrees! Readers might be teachers who’ve never had the chance to study much late medieval history, maybe A level students interested in finding about the people behind the politics in their textbooks but, quite simply, I’m writing for my own enjoyment and if someone else reads it that’s a bonus.


What better way to focus my reading and thinking and to follow my curiosity about this period of history than to write about what I’ve learned?

But if you do venture into these pages, I hope you enjoy meeting the Redmayns and the Gascoignes, the Devereux family, the Stonors and the Pastons as much as I am.




An Introduction in Two Parts

• Read 'Sitting on Cats' and 'An Unofficial History' HERE…

     Revised August 2020 and replacing the Preface; redesigned October 2020.


Section One: The 1390s and Earlier

• Read 'Going Back to Go Forward' and 'Chapter One: Marriage' HERE …

     Revised August 2020; redesigned October 2020.

• Read 'Chapter Two: Family Stories in the 1300s' HERE …

     Uploaded October 2020


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Medieval Families

You can see the effigies of two of the families in Harewood Church, Leeds