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.

Abraham Darby I
Music: William Croft
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.

ABRAHAM Darby learnt his trade grinding malt in Birmingham, managing the brass mills and coke-fired malting ovens. In 1699, he founded a malt-mill of his own in Bristol, and branched out into brass cookware.

Together with his apprentice John Thomas, Darby developed a method for casting utensils in sand rather than clay, improving on techniques learnt during a visit to Holland in 1704.

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Six Posts
Charles I and his Parliament
two-part story
Music: Orlando Gibbons
Charles took his rights and duties as a King with religious seriousness, but Parliament’s sense of both right and duty was just as strong.

IN 1625, Charles I inherited a kingdom torn apart by competing religious convictions and hatreds.

A century before, Henry VIII, chafing at political interference from Rome, had taken control of the English Church and blended its traditions with fashionably Protestant ideas from Switzerland.

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The Last Days of Charles II
two-part story
Music: Henry Purcell
James calls Fr Huddleston to his brother’s deathbed, ready for a most delicate task.

IT was, they said, not unusual for Chiffinch, Charles’s confidential servant, to bring certain charming visitors up the back stairs to his master’s bedroom. Now the King lay upon his deathbed, however, the visitor was of another kind.

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Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
Music: George Frideric Handel
Only an anonymous tip-off prevented England losing her sovereignty as well as her King.

UNDER Elizabeth I and then James I, Roman Catholics in England were fined, imprisoned, or even executed for refusing to acknowledge the English monarch as Head of the Church.

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The ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688
Music: Henry Purcell
King James II was forced off the throne in favour of his daughter Mary, and a new English constitution was born.

LIKE his father Charles I, James II believed that as King he had a divine right to govern the country without Parliament’s blessing.

Sensationally, Charles was executed for that belief in 1649; and though England’s eleven years as a Republic had been a disaster, Parliament was unwilling to turn back the clock so far.

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The Tale of Beggar’s Bridge
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
The proof of Thomas Ferres’s rags-to-riches tale is quite literally written in stone, but popular lore adds some tantalising and romantic detail.

A GRACEFUL bridge over the Esk at Glaisdale bears the date 1619, and the initials T.F., for Thomas Ferres, Mayor of Hull. Thomas amassed a fortune plying the east coast as master of a trading-ship called the Francis, which he poured into housing, education and apprenticeships for the poor.

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The Love of the Lindseys
Young Montague Bertie, Lord Willougby, tended his dying father behind enemy lines.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

LORD Lindsey had once served alongside their opponent that day at Edgehill, the Earl of Essex, and recommended using the infantry against him.

But on the advice of his young nephew, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the King, who had never commanded an army before, ordered a spectacular cavalry dash to sweep the enemy from the field.

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All Posts
Tagged Stuart Era (13 posts)
page 1
1 Abraham Darby I
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
2 The War of the Spanish Succession
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
3 Why England’s ‘Revolution’ was Glorious
By Edmund Burke
(1729-1797)
Edmund Burke argues that England’s ‘revolution’ of 1688 worked because we changed the Government, not the Constitution.
4 Charles I and his Parliament
Charles took his rights and duties as a King with religious seriousness, but Parliament’s sense of both right and duty was just as strong.
5 Interregnum
When Parliament overthrew the capricious tyranny of Charles I, it discovered an uncomfortable truth about power.
6 The Last Days of Charles II
James calls Fr Huddleston to his brother’s deathbed, ready for a most delicate task.
page 2
7 The Great Fire of London
A four-day fire in September 1666 swept the capital, and King Charles II played a heroic part as a firefighter.
8 The Love of the Lindseys
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
Young Montague Bertie, Lord Willougby, tended his dying father behind enemy lines.
9 Dud Dudley: Iron Man
The 17th-century entrepreneur developed a way of smelting iron with coke rather than charcoal, but the Civil War frustrated his plans.
10 The ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688
King James II was forced off the throne in favour of his daughter Mary, and a new English constitution was born.
11 Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
Only an anonymous tip-off prevented England losing her sovereignty as well as her King.
12 An Agent of the Crown
Rascally republican Thomas Blood was usually to be found in any conspiracy against the King, but even when he stole the Crown Jewels the King never seemed to mind...
page 3
13 The Tale of Beggar’s Bridge
The proof of Thomas Ferres’s rags-to-riches tale is quite literally written in stone, but popular lore adds some tantalising and romantic detail.

Word Play: Verb or Noun?

Use each of the words below once as a noun and once as a verb:

Reach. Lay. See.

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 ‘Batter’
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 SWORD and finish with PEACE.
Change HIDE into AWAY, one letter at a time.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FELL and finish with PONY.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘wallow in resentment’ (4 letters), and ‘English composer’ (4 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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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.

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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