Step back in time and experience the sights, sounds and tastes of late medieval London and join the acclaimed historian Dr Matthew Green on this immersive wine-tasting tour. The best actors and minstrels have joined in as well to add even more life and joy in form of anecdotes and revelations. The tour will inevitably and undoubtedly challenge your expectations of what life was like in the Middle Ages! Join in!
Glass in hand, let Dr Green guide you through this stark medieval world from the crumbling Roman walls to Cheapside and the Vintry, the wine-importing (and growing) district where Chaucer’s father lived and beyond to the ancient port at Queenhithe. Not that you will ever be wanting for the tour to finish, but who would mind some little cherry on top? The cherry in this case has been transformed into malmsey wine – overlooking the Thames, taking in the full panorama of medieval London. Intrigued? Read on!
Although middle ages London was a place where public shaming was dished out more often than decent drinking water, there was sweet succour to be found by those who could afford it — not foaming pots of ale, but gold-laced coconut shells brimming with wine. Medieval London, you see, was a city of oenophiles — and this is the refreshing angle our be-gobleted guide takes with his brand new walk.
As for quenching actual thirst; a pit-stop is taken in the depths of a City drinking den, where we learn that London didn’t just import wine from France, Italy and Spain — the city was patchworked with its own vineyards, and the weather was far milder, even than what we’ve been used to lately. We resume at the former vineyards of London, where we run into more characters from the past: the wife of a wine merchant killed by the Black Death and the fittingly splenetic patron saint of London, Erkenwald, who abused his position by ‘vinegaring’ down the vino and is now only remembered by a street name in East Acton.
There’s also an incident in which an anchorite, supposed to be confined to a small cell for the rest of his life, has been sent to the wrong church by Google Maps. Let’s be honest — with so much wine flowing, you have to expect the odd hiccup.