promote (vb)
The increase of riches and commerce in any one nation, instead of hurting, commonly promotes the riches and commerce of all its neighbours.
David Hume (1711-1776), ‘Of the Jealousy of Trade’
Beyer Peacock (Manchester) Z12 No. 1020 in Australia. © Arhsact, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0.
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a celebration in music, word games and two-minute tales
UK summer time

Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

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October 17, 1346
The Battle of Neville’s Cross
The Battle of Neville’s Cross
Music: Charles Avison
Ralph Neville spoiled David of Scotland’s alliance with France in the Hundred Years’ War

FOLLOWING a heavy defeat at the Battle of Crécy on the 26th of August, 1346, King Philip VI of France appealed to the Scottish King David II to honour the ‘Auld Alliance’, and help him by harassing England from the north.

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Glorious John
Music: Johann Baptist Cramer
JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.

BY 1784, thirteen-year-old Johann Baptist Cramer was such a naturally gifted pianist that Muzio Clementi, his distinguished teacher, performed a duet with him in public. Four years later, Johann toured Europe, and again in 1799, attracting the notice of both Haydn and Beethoven, who declared him the finest pianist of the day.

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Six Posts
King Solomon’s Mines
two-part story
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Allan Quartermain goes in search of a lost tourist and a legendary hoard of diamonds.
Based on the novel by Sir Henry Rider Haggard
(1865-1936)

AFTER George Curtis went missing in South Africa, his brother Sir Henry engaged grizzled hunter Allan Quartermain to find him. George was last seen heading for Solomon’s Mines, twin peaks forty leagues north of the Kafue River — supposedly the Biblical Ophir, source of the ancient King of Israel’s fabulous wealth.

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The Gift Thrice Given
A story about William the Conqueror’s father, Robert the Magnificent.
By Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

WHEN attending mass at the Abbey of Cerizy, his own foundation, Robert one day remarked a stranger knight, when asked for his alms at the offertory, reply sadly, that he had nothing to give.

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The Synod of Hatfield
Music: George Frideric Handel
Pope Agatho reached out to the English church to help him make his case at an important Council in the Imperial capital.

IN 680, Pope Agatho asked Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Rome, and declare that beside his divine will, Christ has a will like any other man’s. To heal a two-hundred-year-old breach with churches in Egypt and Syria, the Imperial authorities in Constantinople were teaching that he does not, and brooking no dissent.

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The Battle of Salamis
Music: Ignaz Moscheles
Defeat for the Greeks would have changed the course of Western civilization.

IN the late summer of 480 BC, an alliance of Greek states suffered a humiliating reverse at Thermopylae, emboldening the Persian Emperor Xerxes in his invasion of Greece.

But Themistocles refused to abandon hope.

With what remained of the Greek fleet, the sly general lured the Persians into the cramped confines of the Straits of Salamis.

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Damon and Pythias
Music: Antonin Dvořak
A tale of two friends with complete confidence in each other, and loyal to the death.

LIKE most tyrants, Dionysius of Sicily lived in constant fear of treachery. One day, Pythias fell under his suspicion, and Dionysius sentenced him to death.

Pythias requested permission to make his farewells to his family in Greece, promising to come back on the date appointed. Dionysius just laughed at him.

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Sweet and Sour
Music: William Boyce
The great Dr Johnson argues that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
By Samuel Johnson
(1709-1784)

THAT a precept of courtesy is by no means unworthy of the gravity and dignity of an apostolical mandate, may be gathered from the pernicious effects which all must have observed to have arisen from harsh strictness and sour virtue; such as refuses to mingle in harmless gaiety, or give countenance to innocent amusements, or which transacts the petty business of the day with a gloomy ferociousness that clouds existence.

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AZ Index

See a complete A-Z List of all the stories on this website.

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘History of British India’ (17 posts)
page 1
1 Mir Kasim
The East India Company installed Mir Kasim as Nawab of Bengal, only to find that he had a mind of his own.
2 ‘The Overland Mail’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A tribute to the postal workers of British India, and to the kind of empire they helped to build.
3 Hyder Ali and Tipu
The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.
4 Mysore’s Golden Age
The Princely State of Mysore (today in Karnataka) was hailed as an example of good governance to all the world.
5 India’s First Railway
The opening of the Bombay to Thane line was the real beginning of British India.
6 Britain’s Best Gift to India
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Samuel Smiles reminds us that until we brought the railways to India, we had little to boast about as an imperial power.
page 2
7 Ranji
A young Indian student from Cambridge was selected for England’s cricket team after public pressure.
8 Wellington’s Secret
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
The future hero of Waterloo dealt with political ambush as comfortably as he dealt with the military kind.
9 The Battle of Plassey
A year after the infamous ‘Black hole of Calcutta’, Robert Clive was sent to exact retribution.
10 Victoria and the Munshi
Abdul Karim’s rapid rise in Victoria’s household made him enemies.
11 The ‘Black Hole’ of Calcutta
The inhuman cruelty of the Nawab of Bengal’s men brought swift retribution on their master.
12 Courage Under Fire
Robert Clive turned seven hundred frightened recruits into crack troops by sheer force of personality.
page 3
13 The Massacre at Amritsar
After one of the worst outrages in modern British history, Winston Churchill made sure there was no cover-up.
14 The Indian Mutiny
Army unrest spread throughout northeast India, and brought direct rule from London.
15 Clive of India
Robert Clive helped to establish a lasting bond between India and Britain, laying the foundations of modern India.
16 The Siege of Arcot
By Thomas Babington Macaulay
(1800-1859)
A young Robert Clive’s extraordinary daring helped to prevent India falling into the hands of the French King.
17 The Man Who Would Be King
Based on the short story by Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Two rascally former British soldiers in India set off to become kings of Kafiristan.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Spinner

Use these words together in a single sentence:

Outside. Hours. Quickly.

JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Wide’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FREE and finish with KICK.
Do you know ‘complaint’ (4 letters), and ‘be the right size and shape for a space’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with LONG and finish with JUMP.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘meticulous’ (7 letters), and ‘father of Goneril, Regan and Cordelia’ (4 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: Longest Word (Letters Game) Games with Words

numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic