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.

St Nicholas and the Empty Granary
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
The saintly Bishop helped the captain of a merchant ship to cut through the red tape, and save his town from starvation.

IN 333, Lycia suffered one of the worst famines anyone could remember. It was especially bad in Myra, where St Nicholas was bishop, and the granary at the port of Andriaca, built by the Emperor Hadrian, stood empty.

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Three Posts
Candlemas
Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff
A February celebration for which the faithful have brought candles to church since Anglo-Saxon times.

CANDLEMAS is the English name for the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, acknowledging the ancient custom of distributing lighted candles to churchgoers on that day.

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Redeemed for Five Shillings
Music: George Frideric Handel
Elfric, the tenth-century English abbot, suggests a practical way of thinking about the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

GOD, in the old law, commanded his people, that they should offer to him every firstborn male child, or redeem it with five shillings. Of their cattle also, to bring whatever was firstborn to God’s house, and there offer it to God. But if it were an unclean beast, then should the master slay it, or give to God another clean beast.

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St Nicholas and the Golden Dowry
Nicholas used his inheritance to help three vulnerable girls escape a life of exploitation.

IN Nicholas’s hometown of Patara there lived a man who had once been very wealthy, but had now fallen into desperate poverty.

He had three daughters, but they had already had to move away to find work, and as they were all remarkably beautiful he was increasingly anxious that a brothel was their most likely fate.

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Edwardian Era’ (12 posts)
page 1
1 Arthur MacPherson
MacPherson’s tireless afforts to promote Russian sport earned him a unique Imperial honour, and the enmity of the Communists.
2 The Aspden Cup
British factory workers started a historic three-cornered league in the Russian city of St Petersburg.
3 Hyder Ali and Tipu
The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.
4 Mysore’s Golden Age
The Princely State of Mysore (today in Karnataka) was hailed as an example of good governance to all the world.
5 Benno Moiseiwitsch
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.
6 The Boer Wars
South African settlers of Dutch descent could not escape the march of the British Empire.
page 2
7 ‘Risoluto’
Music by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
(1833-1897)
Despite setback after setback, Stanford was determined to hear his music played in public.
8 The Man who Made the Headlines
William Stead conceived modern print journalism in the belief that newspapers could change the world.
9 West Auckland, European Champions
A team of amateurs gave Europe’s finest a drubbing.
10 The Fleming Valve
A Victorian children’s book inspired the birth of modern electronics.
11 ‘Nimrod’
Music by Edward Elgar
(1857-1934)
Edward Elgar suffered from depression, and ‘Nimrod’ is his token of thanks to the true friend who supported him through it.
12 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Music by Samuel Coleridge Taylor
(1875-1912)
A gifted composer of classical music in the romantic tradition, admired by Stanford, Elgar, and Sullivan.

Word Play: Subject and Object

Use each of the words below as either the subject or the object of a verb.

Keep. Body. Heart.

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 ‘Nene Scene’
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 LONG and finish with JUMP.
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 ‘part of a fish’ (3 letters), and ‘heart of the matter’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NEAT and finish with TIDY.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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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.

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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