April 2nd, 2013

Hot beverages in early 16th century England?

Setting: A prosperous household in England, early 1500s, spring. A character is sitting up late; another character notices he seems cold and offers him a hot drink of . . . what? It has to be something fast to prepare, that would already be sitting around the kitchen. Cider? Sack? Did anyone ever drink hot ale?

I've ruled out tea and cocoa, which didn't arrive in Britain until the 1600s. One reference mentioned that Elizabethan-era Christmas feasts included mulled wine, but I couldn't determine if that would be kept on hand year-round.

Thanks in advance!

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Middle Ages: Names and Locations

I'm writing an AU fanfiction and the original characters have the names: Sarah, Adam, Josiah, and Hannah. My suspicion is that these are probably names would be too Jewish for characters in Europe in the Middle Ages (c. 1200s). The less I change the names, the better, so if they aren't problematic, I'll just keep them.

Also, does anyone know of a site that would give the years that names first began being used or when they became more popular? Also a site that provides common names for the Middle Ages by location? I don't want to give a German name to someone in Spain, for example?

Also, I am trying to place the origins for these characters and Josiah and Hannah need to run afoul of the Inquisition. Preferably known vicious inquisitors like Robert le Bougre. Were there other people known to be particularly cruel? Where would work and what would be the proper names? How much travel would be reasonable if I don't have their origins at the same place that they run into the inquisition?

Also, where might I research standards for attractiveness in medieval countries? For example, I thought I remembered learning somewhere that great height in the Mediterranean countries was seen as evidence of heritage from more barbaric nations and therefore would not have been seen as attractive. One of my characters would have to be considered attractive, in his place of origin, at over 6', with dark hair and blue eyes. I was going to put him in Italy, and then, realized that might not work. He would be in the 1400s or 1500s.

The majority of the story doesn't actually take place in the middle ages. Just some origin stuff for a few characters, so I just need enough to establish decent origin stories.

Thanks :D
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