Margaret of Wessex
The Legendary Women of World History Book 10
by Laurel A. Rockefeller
Genre: Historical Fiction
The 11th century was a dangerous time to be of the line unbroken of King Æthelred II Unread and his first queen, Æfgifu of York. Born in Hungary after King Canute III’s failed attempt to murder her father, Edward the Exile, Margaret found her life turned upside down by King Edward the Confessor’s discovery of her father’s survival — and the resulting recall of her family to England.
Now a political hostage only kept alive for as long as it served powerful men’s interests, Margaret and her family found King Máel Coluim mac Donnchadh Ceann Mhor (Malcolm III Canmore)’s invitation to his court in Dunfermline in Alba the long-awaited answer to her prayers.
Scotland would never be the same again.
Includes two family tree charts, an expansive timeline covering over three thousand years of Pictish and medieval history, plus Roman Catholic prayers, and a bibliography so you can keep learning.
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Medieval Time Explained: European Hours Before Mechanical Clocks

By Laurel A. Rockefeller

 

Time.  When I say “hours in the day” your first instinct is to divide the day into 24 equal hours consisting of 60 minutes consisting of 60 seconds each. It’s a way of measuring time we have taken for granted since the invention of the first pendulum clocks in the mid-17th century. Though there were mechanical clocks before the 17th century, they were few in numbers and barely if ever affected how people measured their days and lived their lives.

In the middle ages, the Church controlled Time, just as it tended to control most other areas of the typical European’s life. Though there were twenty four hours in a day, the hours recognized by the church were not even in amount and were largely based on the amount of daylight received.

Until the 12th century, there were six hours recognized in the day. Of these, three of them were hold overs from the Roman Empire. Originally “terce,” “sext,” and “none” were the designated times Romans used to change the guards at their posts. When the Roman Empire ceased to govern northern Europe, the Church decided that these watch-post change times were well suited for prayers and therefore made terce, sext, and none part of the liturgical day.

 

The Seven Canonical Hours were defined as:

Matins: first light, roughly an hour before sunrise.

Prime: not added until the 12th century, prime continued the daybreak prayers from matins following an hour to two hour break for personal hygiene and breakfast.

Terce: the third hour of the day, roughly 9 am.

Sext: the sixth hour of the day, roughly at noon.

None: the ninth hour from dawn.

Vespers: the sixth of the seven ecclesiastical hours, vespers prayers are offered in the mid to late afternoon and always before sunset. The name is derived from the planet Venus, the “evening star.”

Compline: the final ecclesiastical hour in a day. Compline prayers are prayed after sunset and the evening meal.

 

For example: on 22nd December 1065 in London, the canonical hours corresponded to:

Matins: 6:40 am

(sunrise: 8:07 am)

Terce: 9:40 am

Sext: 12:20 pm

None: 1:40 pm

Vespers: 3:00 pm

(sunset: 3:58 pm)

Compline: 5:00 – 6:00 pm

 

As you can see, prime was not part of the canonical hours when Westminster Abbey was dedicated (28th December, 1065).  By contrast, on Christmas 1125 (Empress Matilda’s first Christmas in London following the death of Kaiser Heinrich V in May) experienced prime as part of her day:

 

Matins: 6:40 am

Prime: 8:00 am

(sunrise): 8:07am

Terce: 9:40 am

Sext: 12:20 pm

None: 1:40 pm

Vespers: 3:00 pm

(sunset: 3:58 pm)

Compline: 5:00 – 6:00 pm

 

In the 13th century, the English moved None to midday, perhaps to facilitate an increasingly numerous merchant and artisan class.  This move did not spread to the continent until the 14th century.

 

The Hours in London on Christmas day during the reign of King Henry III Plantagenet (reigned 1216 – 1272):

Matins: 6:40 am

Prime: 8:00 am

Terce: 9:20 am

Sext: 11:00 am

None: 12:20 pm

Vespers: 3:00 pm

Compline: 5-6 pm

 

It is important to understand that the time of day for each of the canonical hours changed across the year.  In the most recent example from King Henry III Plantagenet’s reign, Matins was at 2:30 am on Midsummer’s Day. Terce was at 6:30 am. None stayed closer to its Christmas day time by being at 12:40pm on Midsummer’s Day. But Compline was at 9:20pm.

For more examples and details, see http://www.troynovant.com/Farrell-A/Essays/Medieval-Timekeeping.html and https://andreacefalo.com/2014/01/29/telling-time-in-the-middle-ages-5-things-you-didnt-know/.

 

Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty-five books published and self-published since August, 2012 with editions spanning across ten languages and counting. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide.
With her lyrical writing style, Laurel’s books are as beautiful to read as they are informative.
In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, travelling to historic places, and watching classic motion pictures and classic television series. Favorites: Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Babylon 5.
Laurel proudly supports Health in Harmony, The Arbor Day Foundation, and other charities working to protect and re-plant forests globally.
1 $15 Amazon Gift Card
1 signed paperback copy of Margaret of Wessex
1 audiobook: choice of Hypatia of Alexandria (English) or Catalina de Valois (Spanish)
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