This year for our Christmas special, I thought I would give you an idea of what Christmas was like for some of the people in Middle Ages Britain. Now, Christmas in the middle ages was quite different from our modern experience in many ways. And like with everything else, it would have varied from location to location. However, in general the celebration would have been guided by a book called the Use of Sarum. The Use was compiled at Salisbury Cathedral, and it quickly became the predominant ceremonial book in England and Scotland and remained a bestseller until about the 16th century and the rise of protestantism in England. So, while there are always variations from town to town, and by now you probably instinctively know that there isn’t a monolithic English or Scottish culture, but rather just a patchwork of smaller cultures… the Use of Sarum does provide at least some degree of uniformity on how Christmas was celebrated during the Middle Ages in England and Scotland.
So here’s what some of them did.