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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
Rugby League
Music: George Hespe
The less glamorous code of Rugby football, but the best for sheer speed and strength.

THE game of Rugby football developed at a Public school in the Warwickshire town of Rugby, early in the Victorian era. Soon it had spread across England, and competitions were organised by the Rugby Football Union, which insisted that players should be strictly amateur.

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Five Posts
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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Mathieu Martinel and the Drowning Soldier
two-part story
Music: Ignace Pleyel
A young French cavalry soldier took a tremendous risk to rescue a drowning man.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

IN 1820, Mathieu Martinel was in Strasbourg when he saw a fellow cavalryman had fallen into the river, right beside the weir of a churning mill-wheel. Martinel leapt straight into the turbid waters, and grabbed onto the drowning man.

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Rebel Rugby
Music: Eric Ball
The Nazi-collaborating Vichy government in France paid Rugby League the supreme compliment: they banned it.

IN 1940, Paris fell to the invading German army. Parts of France which were not actually occupied came under the authority of an extremely unpopular puppet government sympathetic to Nazi Germany, based in Vichy.

The influential men in Vichy were enthusiasts of the English sport of Rugby, because (they said) they admired its noble amateur code.

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The Selfless Courage of Leo the Cook
Music: Jean-Baptiste Lully
In 6th century France, a faithful kitchen servant sold himself into slavery to rescue a kidnapped boy.

GREGORY, Bishop of Langres, had a nephew named Attalus, who was kidnapped by a Frankish chieftain near Trier, and kept in slavery as a stable-boy.

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5
The Daring Escape of Richard the Fearless
Music: Louise Farrenc
The ten-year-old got away from a royal castle disguised as a bundle of hay.
Based on a story by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

AFTER the murder of William Longsword, the powerful Duke of Normandy, King Louis IV of France surprised everyone by turning up at the funeral, and taking the duke’s young son Richard, aged about ten, into his own care, which was little more than an imprisonment.

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Northumberland’ (26 posts)
page 1
1 Taste and See
Wonder spread through a Tyneside monastery after Bishop Cuthbert asked for a drink of water.
2 The Battle of Nechtansmere
King Ecgfrith of Northumbria dismissed repeated warnings about his imperial ambitions.
3 Crayke Abbey
The long-lost monastery at Crayke in North Yorkshire was home to two saints with different but equally valuable gifts.
4 St Cuthbert and the Phantom Fire
The Northumbrian saint warned of an enemy who would stop at nothing to silence the good news.
5 Cuthbert, the Bridle and the Book
One of England’s most precious artefacts, the Lindisfarne Gospels, was nearly lost at sea.
6 Cuthbert and the Mystery Guest
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
A young monk was rewarded for taking his duties as guest-master seriously.
page 2
7 Northumberland
By Wilfrid Wilson Gibson
(1878-1962)
A poem of nostalgia for the sea breezes and yellow gorse of Northumberland.
8 Cvthbertvs
Henry VIII’s experts declared that saints were nothing special, but St Cuthbert had a surprise for them.
9 Cuthbert and the Dun Cow
The magnificent cathedral at Durham owes its existence to a missing cow.
10 Burning Daylight
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson argued that his steam engines were solar-powered.
11 The Kings of Northumbria
Out of a restless alliance between two 6th century kingdoms came a civilisation that defined Englishness.
12 Bread from Heaven
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
Cuthbert trusted that keeping his promised fast would not do him any harm.
page 3
13 The Pitman Poet
Joseph Skipsey taught himself to read and write by candlelight, hundreds of feet below ground in a Northumberland pit.
14 The Gift of the Gab
There was one form of power that self-taught engineering genius George Stephenson never harnessed.
15 The Bully and the Brakesman
A young George Stephenson takes responsibility for the team spirit at Black Callerton mine.
16 St Bede of Wearmouth and Jarrow
The mild-mannered, artistic monk was nevertheless a founding father of the English nation.
17 Grace Darling
Mild-mannered Grace Darling persuaded her father to let her help him rescue the survivors of a shipwreck.
18 Sharp’s Castle
At Bamburgh, John Sharp organised free healthcare and education, bargain groceries, and the world’s first coastguard service.
page 4
19 St Aidan Returns King Penda’s Fire
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
When Penda tried to burn down Bamburgh Castle, St Aidan turned the pagan King’s own weapons against him.
20 Cragside: the Home of Modern Living
Lord Armstrong’s home was an Aladdin’s cave of Victorian technology.
21 The Man who Made the Headlines
William Stead conceived modern print journalism in the belief that newspapers could change the world.
22 Cuthbert and the Expert Witness
Based on the account by Reginald of Durham
(12th century)
A hungry monk thought he had got away with the tastiest of crimes, but St Cuthbert kept his promise to his beloved birds.
23 The Geordie Lamp
Based on an account by Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
The engineer put his own life on the line for the safety of his fellow-workers in the coal industry.
24 St Cuthbert and the Otters
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
An inquisitive monk spied on a guest’s night-time walks.
page 5
25 Cuthbert and the Miracle of the Wind
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
The young monk taught some hard-hearted pagans a lesson they’d never forget.
26 The Character of George Stephenson
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
A self-made man who never forgot his humble beginnings.

Word Play: Confusables

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

Shine. Polish. Glow.

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 ‘Hive’
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
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 MILE and finish with POST.
Do you know ‘cleansing bar’ (4 letters), and ‘Doncaster horse-race’ (2,5 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NAIL and finish with SHOE.
Work out these percentages in your head. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

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: ‘Countdown’ 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