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

A to Z Index

Thomas Brassey
two-part story
Music: Cipriani Potter
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.

THOMAS Brassey, son of a prosperous Cheshire farmer, began his career in road-building as an apprentice to surveyor William Lawton, on Thomas Telford’s Shrewsbury to Holyhead road. Brassey rose from apprentice to partner, and Lawton and Brassey relocated to Birkenhead to make road-building materials.

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Six Posts
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 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 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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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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A Leader by Example
Music: Louise Farrenc
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

WHEN examining the works of the Orleans and Tours Railway, Mr Stephenson, seeing a large number of excavators filling and wheeling sand in a cutting, at a great waste of time and labour, went up to the men and said he would show them how to fill their barrows in half the time.

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All Posts
Tagged French History (9 posts)
page 1
1 Thomas Brassey
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
2 A Leader by Example
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
3 The Lion and the Ant
Richard I thought a veteran Crusader and conqueror of Saladin could handle a few French peasants.
4 Rugby League
The less glamorous code of Rugby football, but the best for sheer speed and strength.
5 Rebel Rugby
The Nazi-collaborating Vichy government in France paid Rugby League the supreme compliment: they banned it.
6 Mathieu Martinel and the Drowning Soldier
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
A young French cavalry soldier took a tremendous risk to rescue a drowning man.
page 2
7 The Gift Thrice Given
By Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
A story about William the Conqueror’s father, Robert the Magnificent.
8 The Daring Escape of Richard the Fearless
Based on a story by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
The ten-year-old got away from a royal castle disguised as a bundle of hay.
9 The Selfless Courage of Leo the Cook
In 6th century France, a faithful kitchen servant sold himself into slavery to rescue a kidnapped boy.
which is ‘English Style’ ?
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 ‘Gold’
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
Decide whether a word is a verb or a noun (or both), and compose example sentences.
Make words and get points for using unusual letters such as K, Q and Z.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FULL and finish with STOP.
Do you know which ‘Barry’ is the title-character of a novel by Thackeray (6 letters), and ‘thwart, perplex’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
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

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 Game) Mental Arithmetic