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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 Langbaurgh Charter
Music: Sir Hubert Parry
Peter de Brus and his tenants agreed to work together after King John ordered a crackdown on unpaid rents.

THE wapentake of Langbaurgh, an area of modern-day Cleveland south of Middlesbrough, was granted by King John to Peter de Brus, Lord of Skelton, in 1207. Naturally, Peter was expected to pay rent to the Crown, a burden which was passed on to his tenants.

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The Signing of the Great Charter
two-part story
Music: Muzio Clementi; Sir Hubert Parry
King John promised his nobles respect, but he was not a man to regard his word as his bond.

AS the thirteenth century opened, King John of England was losing the support of his noblemen, the barons. High taxes, unsuccessful military campaigns in France, and persistent disagreements with the Pope became a source of anxiety and grievance.

So the Barons met the King at Runnymede in Surrey on June 15th, 1215, and handed him a document to sign.

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Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Greek History’ (24 posts)
page 1
1 Judicial Iniquity
By John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)
John Stuart Mill reminds us that governments and the courts must never be allowed to criminalise matters of belief or opinion.
2 The Voice of an Angel
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A tenth-century Greek monk is joined by a total stranger for Mattins.
3 The Lion of Piraeus
A marble statue in Venice bears witness to Europe’s long history of brave defeats and fruitless victories.
4 The United States of the Ionian Islands
The British liberated the Ionian islands from Napoleon, then gave them fifty happy years and the game of cricket.
5 St Ahmed
A Turkish official was itching to know the secret behind a Russian slave girl’s personal charm.
6 Demetrius the Diver
Based on an article by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
A survivor of the infamous massacre of Chios in 1821 goes to Marseilles, but discovers he has not entirely left the Turks behind.
page 2
7 A Pyrrhic Victory
By Plutarch
(AD 46-120)
The ancient Greek King knew victory had cost his army more than it could afford to lose.
8 The Spy
In 1910, Constantine Zervakos, a young monk from the Greek island of Paros, found himself charged with espionage.
9 The Greeks, the Governor and the Potatoes
John Kapodistrias had an instinct for how a long-oppressed people might think.
10 Richard Church
The headstrong Irish boy became part of the Greek resistance movement that won independence in 1832.
11 Xerxes Scourges the Hellespont
By Herodotus
(?484-?425 BC)
The Persian King felt that a lord of his majesty should not have to take any nonsense from an overgrown river.
12 The Fall of Constantinople
Hospitality and sympathy, but no help - the Byzantine Emperor learns a bitter lesson about western diplomacy.
page 3
13 The Bishop’s Gambit
The mayor and bishop of Zakynthos went to extraordinary lengths to protect the most vulnerable people of their island.
14 Kipling and ‘Agamemnon’
Both Rudyard Kipling and the Royal Navy saw Greek sovereignty as a universal symbol of freedom.
15 ‘Hail, Liberty!’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Kipling borrowed from the Greek Independence movement to give thanks for the end of the Great War.
16 Alcibiades
In the populist democracy of 5th-century BC Athens, heroes fell as quickly as they rose.
17 Pericles and the Fickle Public of Athens
The leader of 5th-century BC Athens lavished public money on the city and its adoring citizens.
18 The Last Days of Socrates
Socrates was placed on death row while Athens celebrated a religious festival.
page 4
19 The Battle of Marathon
Remembered as the inspiration of the famous Olympic road race, but much more important than that.
20 Byron and Hercules
Lord Byron could not have hoped for a better omen in his support for the oppressed people of Greece.
21 The Third Siege of Missolonghi
The cruelty of the Ottoman Turks so shocked Europe that the tide of opinion turned against them.
22 The Sacred Snakes of Kefalonia
Once a year, regular as clockwork, the little snakes slither into the convent for a Feast of the Virgin Mary.
23 The Battle of Salamis
Defeat for the Greeks would have changed the course of Western civilization.
24 A Man called ‘Beta’
For a perennial ‘runner-up’, Eratosthenes had a peculiar knack of being first.
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 ‘Clean’
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 FELL and finish with PONY.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘satisfied’ (7 letters), and ‘warm and cosy’ (4 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
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

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.

More like this: High Tiles (Letters Game) Games with Words

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