Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Climate change in the fourteenth century

The Internet algorithm brought a very thought provoking piece of research to my attention yesterday. It is a Leipzig based research project which seeks to reconstruct the climate of the early fourteenth century as a prelude to the severe 1315-21 famine. In particular it has looked at the period of stable weather in the period 1302-07, characterised by drought and the years after 1310 with wetter colder conditions leading to famine from 1315. 

Drawing upon evidence across wide areas of Europe and combining both documentary sources and physical evidence a detailed picture is being built up, with interesting similarities to the weather in recent years. For  all the differences between the later medieval world and our own industrialised and technological society there are significant parallels in the climatological patterns.

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