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English Language and History

The brief stories below are taken from history, myth or fiction. Each one is accompanied by games and exercises in essential grammar and free composition, based on old school textbooks.

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The Voyage of ‘Golden Hinde’
two-part story
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Elizabethan adventurer Sir Francis Drake combined sailing round the world with really annoying the King of Spain.

IT was no secret in Elizabeth I’s reign that King Philip of Spain coveted her crown.

He had never understood why it passed from his late wife, Mary, to her half-sister Elizabeth and not to him, and he resented Elizabeth giving refuge to dissidents fleeing bloody persecution in the Spanish Netherlands.

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One Post
The Spanish Armada
Music: William Byrd
Philip of Spain’s attempt to teach Elizabeth I a lesson did not go as planned.

KING Philip II of Spain was a Catholic, and the husband of Queen Elizabeth I’s half-sister Queen Mary I.

He did not approve of Elizabeth’s Protestant beliefs, and thought she had no right to sit on his late wife’s throne.

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Russian History’ (16 posts)
page 1
1 Not the World’s Policeman
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
2 Germany’s Secret Weapon
By Sir Winston S. Churchill
(1874-1965)
As a last, desperate throw of the dice in the Great War, the Germans detonated an unusual kind of weapon in St Petersburg.
3 The Sneeze of History
By Leo Tolstoy
(1828-1910)
It was the opinion of Leo Tolstoy that even Napoleon was never master of his own destiny.
4 Arthur MacPherson
MacPherson’s tireless afforts to promote Russian sport earned him a unique Imperial honour, and the enmity of the Communists.
5 The Aspden Cup
British factory workers started a historic three-cornered league in the Russian city of St Petersburg.
6 Russia’s First Railway
Sixteen-year-old John Wesley Hackworth brought a locomotive over to St Petersburg, and Russia’s railway revolution was ready for the off.
page 2
7 The Blessings of Nicholas Mogilevsky
Passengers sharing Bishop Nicholas’s Moscow-bound flight found his blessings faintly silly, but that was when the engines were running.
8 The Bearded Foreigner
A Japanese swordsman confronts a Russian monk for... actually, he’s not really quite sure.
9 The Grand Embassy
A young Peter the Great of Russia toured Europe seeking help for his diplomatic, military and architectural plans.
10 St Nicholas the Wet
Two frantic parents implore St Nicholas’s help in rescuing their baby boy.
11 Gytha and Vladimir
Scandinavian tradition says that the daughter of King Harold was consort to one the great rulers of Kievan Rus’.
12 Our Lady’s Mantle
Shortly after Askold and Dir founded Kiev in 862, they launched a brazen but ill-fated assault on the capital of the Roman Empire.
page 3
13 Merchants of Muscovy
In 1553, Richard Chancellor set out on a perilous voyage to Russia in order to bypass the Hanseatic League’s single market.
14 Not a Scratch!
Hapless extremists try to wipe out a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.
15 Britain and the Tsars
Britain’s ties to the rulers of Russia go back to the time of the Norman Invasion.
16 St Elizabeth the New Martyr
The grand-daughter of Queen Victoria was as close to the poor of Moscow’s slums as she was to the Russian Tsar.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Confusables

Compose your own sentences to show the difference between these words:

Repent. Relent.

By Ethel Smyth
(1858-1944)
Composer Ethel Smyth buys a new-fangled ladies’ bicycle, and scandalises the neighbours.
By Lewis Carroll
(1832-1898)
Alice meets Humpty Dumpty, and it turns out that she has been using words wrong all her life.
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
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 ‘Dray’
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
Do you know ‘outrage, public disgrace’ (7 letters), and ‘King David of Israel’s third wife’ (7 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NOTE and finish with BOOK.
Practise doing sums using multiples of 25, 50 and 75.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘complaint’ (4 letters), and ‘be the right size and shape for a space’ (3 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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History (375)
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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.

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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