English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Latest
‘My English Joy’
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
In 1837 William Sterndale Bennett, then regarded as England’s most exciting young composer, made history in quite another... field.
By Sir William Sterndale Bennett
(1816-1875)

WELL, I’m off on Monday. Beginning to pay my visits p.p.c.. Count Reuss is gone away to Kreutz. Called yesterday on Madame von Goethe, dined with Benecke, and played at Cricket with some Englishmen, which made the Germans stare very much, as they never saw the game before — we had English bats and balls.

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Four Posts
A Many-Chorded Lyre
Music: Jan Ladislav Dussek
Stylish batting in cricket is about variety, invention and frankly anything that works, and we have Dr W.G. Grace to thank for it.
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)

“BEFORE W. G. batsmen were of two kinds, — a batsman played a forward game or he played a back game. Each player, too, seems to have made a specialty of some particular stroke. The criterion of style was, as it were, a certain mixed method of play. It was bad cricket to hit a straight ball; as for pulling a slow long-hop, it was regarded as immoral.

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Hooked
Music: Malcolm Arnold
The great British public leaves a German tourist speechless during a county match at the Oval in London.
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)

“TO begin with, I was much astounded at the enormous seating area of the ground, and at the huge crowd that was assembled to watch eleven men from Nottingham play at bat and ball against eleven men of Surrey.”

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Ranji
two-part story
Music: Frank Bridge
A young Indian student from Cambridge was selected for England’s cricket team after public pressure.

IN June 1896, the British cricketing public were grumbling about the omission of a gifted Sussex batsmen from the first Test against Australia. The issue was eligibility, as he was an Indian national, K.S. Ranjitsinhji.

But George Trott, Australia’s big-hearted captain, rubber-stamped Ranjitsinhji’s appearance in the second Test, where ‘Ranji’ repaid him by battering his bowlers around Old Trafford.

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The Ashes of English Cricket
Music: Percy Grainger
How the cricketing rivalry between England and Australia got its name.

IN 1882, a cricket team representing Australia defeated England by just seven runs in a match at the Oval in London, the first time Australia had beaten England on home soil.

The Sporting Times mourned the death of English cricket in a tongue-in-cheek Obituary, which ran:

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
page 1
1 The Legend of Pollard’s Lands
An enterprising knight rids the Bishop of Durham of a troublesome boar, but the price comes as a shock to his lordship.
2 The Legend of King Leir
An early British king discovers what he is really worth to his daughters.
3 King Arthur’s Last Request
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
The legendary British warrior makes ready for his final journey, leaving Sir Bedivere with one last duty to perform.
4 Cap o’ Rushes
A girl’s choice of words sees her turned out of hearth and home.
5 Robin Hood and the Debt of Honour
The outlaw showed that strange as it may be, he did have a code of honour.
6 The Knight, the Lady, and the Forest of Sorrow
Based on a fable by Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)
A little fable of encouragement for all the suffering.
page 2
7 The Legend of Beowulf
The oldest surviving heroic legend in English begins with a wild creature of the fens that hunts men for prey.
8 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
A knight issues a bizarre challenge to King Arthur and his court.
9 How Brutus of Troy Became Britain’s First King
An early mediaeval myth linking British civilization to the Fall of Troy.
10 The Lambton Worm
Part One. John Lambton goes fishing on a Sunday, and lets loose all kinds of trouble.
11 William of Cloudsley
William is Cumbria’s very own blend of Robin Hood and William Tell - with a happy ending, too.

Word Play: Opposites

Suggest words or phrases that are opposite in meaning to the words below.

Delight. Bring. With.
New Stories
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
New Puzzles
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.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Perch’
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
Practise doing sums using multiples of 25, 50 and 75.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with TALL and finish with SHIP.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SPIT and finish with FIRE.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with PIG and finish with STY.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

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

More like this: ‘Scrabble’ letters game Games with Words

numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps Mental arithmetic