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

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The Winter Queen
two-part story
Music: William Byrd; John Playford
Conspiracies and dynastic expectations swirled around James I’s daughter from the age of nine.

IN 1605, Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators tried to assassinate King James I, and put his nine-year-old daughter Elizabeth Stuart on his throne as a puppet. As they were Roman Catholics hoping to rejoin Britain to Papal politics, marriage to one of the Catholic dynasties of Europe would surely have followed.

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Six Posts
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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An Agent of the Crown
Music: Sir William Walton
Why was rascally republican Thomas Blood never punished for his conspiracies against Charles II?

AFTER the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, one of Oliver Cromwell’s old lieutenants, Thomas Blood, was living in Dublin.

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Dud Dudley: Iron Man
two-part story
Music: William Corbett; William Williams
The 17th-century entrepreneur developed a way of smelting iron with coke rather than charcoal, but the Civil War frustrated his plans.

AS the 16th century opened, monks in England’s monasteries were developing industrial techniques for smelting iron with charcoal.

But the Dissolution of the Monasteries brought an abrupt end to that; and then fears for England’s vanishing forests led the government to favour foreign imports.

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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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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 ‘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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All Posts
Tagged Stuart Era (14 posts)
page 1
1 The Winter Queen
Conspiracies and dynastic expectations swirled around James I’s daughter from the age of nine.
2 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.
3 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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 Interregnum
When Parliament overthrew the capricious tyranny of Charles I, it discovered an uncomfortable truth about power.
page 2
7 The Last Days of Charles II
James calls Fr Huddleston to his brother’s deathbed, ready for a most delicate task.
8 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.
9 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.
10 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.
11 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.
12 Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
Only an anonymous tip-off prevented England losing her sovereignty as well as her King.
page 3
13 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...
14 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.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Confusables

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

Learn. Teach.

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 ‘Hut’
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 ‘warm covering’ (7 letters), and ‘2,240 lb’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FALL and finish with RISE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘princes and princesses, kings and queens’ (7 letters), and ‘jump up and down on one foot’ (3 letters)?
Change SNOW into DROP, one letter at a time.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
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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.

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numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic