Who killed the innkeeper with a sword in 1315? | ET REALITY


A spice trader stabbed by a fruit seller over a long dispute. A street musician killed for playing music too loudly after dark. A deadly fight between the servants of the Queen of England. And who killed the innkeeper with a sword after a fight?

These homicide cases, discovered by historians in centuries-old records, may have been closed a long time ago. But fans of true crime and history can now peruse them in an interactive version. medieval murder map published in September by researchers at the University of Cambridge.

Users can click through the backstories of more than 300 murders in the English cities of London, York and Oxford. Entries can be searched by gender, day of the week, and even by weapon (axe or crossbow?).

“It allows people to engage with this medieval world, but it also allows them to see this medieval world almost as a mirror of our own world,” said Manuel Eisner, a professor of criminology at Cambridge who led the project, adding that the map was highlighting some of the overlaps between our eras. “People get angry over some trivial altercation.”

Educators and others in the field of history say such tools can help people learn about eras that may be difficult for a layman to research using laborious archives.

“This is something I would send to a really enthusiastic student and say, ‘Take a look at this,’” said York professor Anna Hughes, adding that these types of tools could help bring rigorous academic research into the classroom. “It’s a big part of local history and gives students a sense of time and place.”

Details of the cases come mainly from 14th-century inquest and forensic records of sudden and violent deaths.

“It was quite an emotional record,” said Professor Eisner, who added that when he first came across the records, which include detailed information about locations and perpetrators, he was amazed. “I thought it would be nice to have an electronic version of this.”

After creating an earlier version of the London map, the researchers expanded the scope to include York and Oxford. To think about how to present information visually, they hired Design Monkey, a web design and digital marketing agency.

By clicking on the London murder map, one might find themselves The unfortunate case of Roger Stywardwho dumped a bucket of eel skins near some tents in 1326. (Eels were used as currency. and to pay rent in medieval England.) Two enraged shop owners killed him before taking refuge in a nearby church.

That story is one of the favorites of Luisa Grainger, which offers official guided tours of London. When he takes visitors to the site where Styward died seven centuries ago, Grainger often tells the story of the eel. The murder map has also helped him add a story about a pub fight to his walking tour of one of the city’s oldest markets, Leadenhall Market.

“History, in general, is written by people who are in power,” Grainger said, adding that the map was helping to add “real-life color” to the understanding of the time period. “It’s pretty hard to get the voice of the person on the street.”

There are some people, for example, who died after falling into the River Thames while trying to bathe. “Far fewer people die from a bucket of eels, I’ll give you that,” he said.

Olivia Swarthout, 24 years old, whose account inthe platform formerly known as Twitter, documents medieval art, said that an earlier version of the map had helped him write a book, “weird medieval guys”, about life during that period.

“People think the medieval times were a pretty prudish, pretty strict time, but everyone was getting into trouble,” he said, pointing to the stories of lovers’ quarrels and corrupt clerics detailed on the map.

While historical records have become increasingly digitized, Ms Swarthout said online archives were not always easy to use. “There’s a missed opportunity to attract greater participation from the general public,” she said, adding that tools like the murder map are a new way to synthesize large amounts of old information. “It’s a lot of fun to go through.”

For the Cambridge team, there are still more murders to be tabulated and the map could be expanded even further. But with the information already at hand, Professor Eisner has started a podcast hoping to stimulate people’s interest in medieval crime.

“Crime sells, and for various reasons,” he said. “It’s something that scares us. We like to play detective. “We like the mystery behind it.”

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