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More from Alice Raw

Sexperts of Medieval England

Impotence was sufficient grounds for annulment, but how to prove that a man experienced erectile disfunction? In 1433, one court asked ‘seven honest women’ to ascertain whether or not the defendant was capable of an erection with that timeless method, a lapdance.

Further Reading:
Bronach Kane, “Impotence and Virginity in the Late Medieval Ecclesiastical Court of York,” Borthwick Paper 114 (2008)

‘Then I chucked bread at her head’: Women slut-shaming women in medieval London

In 1497, Joan Rokker called Joan Sebar a whore on her front doorstep then threw bread at her. How, where, and why did medieval women publicly sexually defame other women?

Three dames and a dildo.

In c.1340, a professional scribe of Shropshire copied down a fun fireside tale. Three women are off on a pilgrimage. On the road, one of them finds ‘a great huge penis, draped about with just its muzzle peeking out’ from behind a hawthorn bush. This episode considers a variety of stories of wandering genitalia, and the problems with picking up a disembodied penis off the road.

More in United Kingdom

The Barbican and the Making of the Modern Office Building – Pt. 1

The Barbican Redevelopment Scheme, comprising the Barbican Estate, Barbican Arts Centre and the office buildings around London Wall and Moorgate, is well known to people with an affection for twentieth-century architecture, and has become major cultural centre in its own right. Nevertheless, very few people are aware of how a type of plastic manufactured in rural Kent quietly revolutionised the design and construction of modern office building, in particular the curtain-walling systems that enabled open-plan offices. In the first of two viewpoints on the New Barbican, Alexander Davidson tells a story encompassing two office buildings built as part of the Barbican Redevelopment Scheme – Lee House and St Alphage House – and how the plastic Holoplast was manufactured, used in construction, and eventually came to be demonised by the City of London Corporation.