I’ve just finished reading The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England and can unreservedly recommend it to my hordes of followers.
One of the things I learned was that the term spaniel dates from around this time, because it was a breed that was believed to come from Spain.
But don’t worry – there are lots more interesting things than that in the book!
It was interesting to note that we could easily all be speaking French today rather than English. After the Norman conquest the language of the upper echelons of society was, not unnaturally, French. It was seen as the fashionable, respectable language compared to uncouth English and was probably in danger of replacing the native language within a few generations. Or even worse, we might have ended up as a country that can’t make up its mind about which language it speaks, like Canada.
Luckily, enlightened Edward III preferred English, and his influence helped to make it acceptable and respectable among the ruling classes.