Book Review – ‘Roles of the Sea in Medieval England’ by Richard Gorski (ed.)
Most of the eight essays in this volume originated at a 2008 conference in Rye on ‘Medieval Seas.’ Four of the essays are on English naval history, which has also been the theme of three other recently published Boydell volumes. This feature indicates the quickening pace of work in the field. Gorski’s helpful introduction summarizes each essay and points to the different roles or uses of the sea by medieval English society, including trade, war, fishing and migration, although the latter two do not receive much attention in this collection. He also rightly stresses how the seas surrounding England have served more as a connecting force rather than a barrier. Ian Friel takes up some of these same themes in the final essay, where he reviews the various ways in which the sea ‘mattered’ in medieval England….