Do you know your kirtle from your quintain?

Crests showing the Orders of James V:  The Garter, the Thistle, the Golden Fleece of Burgundy and the the Order of St Michael

Crests above the gateway to Linlithgow Palace

Are you fascinated by the medieval world?   Does the chink of chainmail have you reaching for your longbow?   I must admit I’m no specialist, but every now and then something crops up that re-ignites my interest, whether it’s a random place name, a contemporary account of a battle, or the gaunt ruins of a 500-year-old castle.

Some medieval words have fallen out of use, while others are still (relatively) current.  So, if a royal visitor was admiring your crenellations, would you accept their compliments with good grace?   Would you keep clear of a quintain, or take a postern with you on a hunting trip?  Would it bother you if your kirtle caught fire?  Let’s see if you know the meaning of these ancient terms…


  1. 70 percent…all my guesses were wrong.

  2. It seems I am cursed (or blessed?) with 40% when I do your quizzes! Mind you, I clicked the wrong answer in one of them so if I’d been more careful it would have been 50%, which must be my highest score yet. You’re very inventive with your answer options!

    • Oh dear, well at least you have broken the 40% barrier! I wouldn’t have known half of them either! I’m glad you liked the inventiveness of the answers – I’m trying to put people off but in many ways I end up convincing myself and then I have to go back and check! 😀 Thanks for taking part!

  3. Whoooo that was fun! I love some of the inventive alternatives.

  4. Ooh, I am feeling a mixture of disgusting smugness (I scored 100% !) and relief (I have a PhD in medieval history and thought I’d forgotten it all). Have to admit that the first 2 were guesses, based on vague memories dredged from long-unused corners of my mental library. I love your alternative suggestions though!

    • Wow! I am in deep and humble awe. Many congratulations to you! I must admit that I would love to have studied medieval history. My interest in history came later in life! Glad you liked my alternatives – I really enjoy dreaming them up! 🙂

      • I don’t deserve any awe, nor do I deserve to be smug. I was so lucky to be able to pursue a subject which I loved. I’m just relieved that I can remember some of it after over a decade’s absence! You write about such interesting and well-researched subjects, which I always enjoy reading.

      • Anyone who knows that much about medieval history has my awe and respect! 🙂 Thank you so much – that’s a lovely comment. It is followers and commenters like yourself that make me so glad I decided to set up The Hazel Tree!

  5. I got 60% and can only assume I’m a lucky guesser as I only knew one of the words.

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