A links list -- how retro, right? Well, we all know how much time it can take to filter through the oceans of information out there. This is a collection of links and things I have (re)discovered while revising my fantasy world. Maybe something here will give you that nudge you needed.
A university library is priceless. If you can get borrowing privileges, it's worth it. I did, however, buy some books too and these are some that are on my shelf:
Childhood in the Middle Ages by Shulamith Shahar. ISBN: 0-415-07329-4. This is a tricky subject to research, or at least it was several years ago. I remember this book being dense and dry but the best source I could find about childhood in medieval times.
Medieval Swordsmanship, by John Clements. ISBN: 1-58160-004-6. When I bought this years ago, it was hard to find but came so well recommended that I went to the trouble of ordering it from the publisher. I'm glad to see it's on Amazon now.
Not only does this describe weapons, shields and armor, it's got lots of diagrams of sword and shield use. He explains the major guard positions and the most common attacks made from them. For both one-handed with shield and two-handed without. There's a little about axes and maces and polearms in hand-to-hand.
Two big thumbs-up for this book.
Some useful links:
I remember that when I originally wrote this fantasy epic, I spent many happy years researching all things medieval. And one online place in particular was very helpful -- a group called "75years" for serious re-enactors of the 1250-1325 era. Lo and behold, it still exists! This makes me happy.
Are you putting plate armor on women? Read this.
Fordham University still has a wonderful collection of medieval links.
Horses. Holy crap, horses. Tons of information out there, and while some things haven't changed since medieval times (horse personalities, how to ride, basic dangers), many things have (breed definitions, medical care, equipment.) A good place to start is the Big Horse Link Thread on Absolute Write.
You've never heard of the Absolute Write Water Cooler? It's an excellent resource for writers. The Research forum is especially useful.