Most historians generally categorize the medieval years as stretching from 1042 (Edward the Confessor) through 1377 (Edward III). Others stretch it to a full thousand years which is far too long in my point of view. There are so many changes going on through that period! For example, my novels tend to all be set in 1200-1300. The 1200s were a time of plenty. In 1300 a "little ice age" began to hit, meaning there were crop failures, less healthy people, and shorter lives. As a result, in 1315-17 there was widespread famine, killing off 10% of Europe. Then the Black Plague came in 1347, and we know how bad that was. Some say this killed off a full HALF of the European population. So you can see the immense difference between life in the wonderful 1200s and the horrific 1300s.
Here is my research on medieval times. I have numerous books on medieval life - please let me know if you have any questions!
Lisa's Medieval Romances
Online Literary Magazines
Lisa Shea's Homepage