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More from Alice Raw

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.

Before Cards of Humanity: Games for Medieval Women

It’s winter in Suffolk, and you and your friends are bored of sewing. What next? Why, a round of ‘Have Your Desire’, of course! In this quick fire dice game, you roll to reveal your fortune. Spoiler alert: you’re probably going to have sex.

Further Reading:
Nicola McDonald, ‘Fragments of Have Your Desire: Brome Women at Play’, Medieval Domesticity, ed. Kowaleski & Goldberg (Cambridge, 2008)

A medieval messy break-up song: On catching your man cheating, then going to the club.

In an obscure early printed song book that survives only by chance, a woman sings about seeing her lover out with a ‘mistress bastard’. Her reaction? She calls him a fuckboy and goes dancing.

More in United Kingdom

Historic Graffiti at Hampton Court Palace, London

A variety of graffiti marks can be found across Hampton Court Palace, the Grade I listed royal palace located in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames. Historical graffiti at the site includes marks left on the King’s Staircase including dates, names, initials and even an engraving of a shoe! Further graffiti marks can also be found in the Cumberland Suits (including marks from the 1730s, 1880s and 1980s), in the Tudor Kitchens and in the Processional Gallery (also known as the ‘Haunted Gallery). The marks left behind on the royal palace give a further glimpse into the lives of those that worked and lived in the palace across centuries of its history.