The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England


The past is a foreign country. This is your guidebook. A time machine has just transported you back into the fourteenth century. What do you see? How do you dress? How do you earn a living and how much are you paid? What sort of food will you be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord? And more important, where will you stay?

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England is not your typical look at a historical period. This radical new approach shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived.

Through the use of daily chronicles, letters, household accounts, and poems of the day, Mortimer transports you back in time, providing answers to questions typically ignored by traditional historians. You will learn how to greet people on the street, what to use as toilet paper, why a physician might want to taste your blood, and how to know whether you are coming down with leprosy.

The result is the most astonishing social history book you’re ever likely to read: revolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail, and startling for its portrayal of humanity in an age of violence, exuberance, and fear.

Editorial Review

“The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England” by Ian Mortimer is a remarkable and engaging book that offers readers an immersive and detailed glimpse into the daily life of fourteenth-century England. Through Mortimer’s vivid and captivating prose, readers are transported back in time and given a firsthand account of everything from the sights and sounds of the bustling streets to the peculiarities of medieval hygiene practices.

One of the strengths of this book is Mortimer’s ability to bring history to life in an informative and entertaining way. Rather than simply presenting a dry recitation of historical facts, Mortimer uses his extensive knowledge of the period to paint a rich and textured portrait of life in medieval England. He provides readers with a sense of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the period, and does so with an eye for detail and a gift for storytelling.

Another strength of this book is its accessibility. While the subject matter may be daunting to some readers, Mortimer’s prose is clear and engaging, making even the most complex historical concepts easy to understand. Whether you are a history buff or simply interested in learning more about life in the past, “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England” is an excellent choice.

Overall, “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England” is a must-read for anyone interested in the period. Mortimer’s engaging prose, attention to detail, and ability to bring history to life make this book a true gem. Whether you are a seasoned history buff or simply looking for an entertaining and informative read, this book is sure to delight and enlighten you.

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
Genre: Non-fiction history
Age Range: Adult
Start Rating: 4.5 stars
Publication Date: 25th October 2011
ISBN13: 978-1439112908

Author: Ian Mortimer

Ian Mortimer

Ian Mortimer

Dr Ian Mortimer has been described by The Times newspaper as ‘the most remarkable medieval historian of our time’. He is best known as the author of The Time Traveller’s Guides: to Medieval England (2008); to Elizabethan England (2012); to Restoration Britain (2017); and to Regency Britain (2020). He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and has published research in academic journals touching on every century from the twelfth to the twentieth.

He also writes in other genres. His latest novel, ‘The Outcasts of Time’, which takes place across the years 1348-1942, won the 2019 Winston Graham Prize for historical fiction. His first three novels, the Clarenceux Trilogy, set in the 1560s, appeared under his middle names, ‘James Forrester’. In the year he turned fifty he wrote a memoir about the meaning of running, Why Running Matters (published in 2019).

He lives on the northeast of Dartmoor, in the southwest of England. For more information, see


  • Frankopan, P. (2022, January 9). The Bright Ages by Matthew Gabriele and David Perry review – the colourful side of the dark ages. The Guardian; The Guardian.

  • Gabriele, M., & Perry, D. M. (2021). The Bright Ages. HarperCollins.

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