More from Alice Raw
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.
Agnes Wellis: When you kiss someone one time and they think you’re getting married.
If you were sure you had married someone but they didn’t agree, the London consistory court was the place to be. Here, ecclesiastical judges heard contested marriage cases. Disgruntled non-couple couples brought all kinds of evidence: gifts, exchanges of vows, sexual relationships. But for one woman, denying marriage was as simple as admitting that they had made out a couple of times but she had never intended to marry him.
Shannon McSheffrey, Marriage, Sex, and Civic Culture in Late Medieval London (Philadelphia, 2006)
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.