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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.

The Pimpernel Fails to Show
two-part story
Music: Franz Joseph Haydn
Lady Blakeney agrees to spy for the French Revolutionary government in return for her brother’s life.
By Baroness Orczy
(1865-1947)

“YOU have news for me?” he said.

“I contrived — no matter how — to detect Sir Andrew Ffoulkes in the very act of burning a paper at one of these candles. That paper I succeeded in holding between my fingers for the space of two minutes, and to cast my eyes on it for that of ten seconds.”

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘County Durham’ (12 posts)
page 1
1 The Legend of Pollard’s Lands
An enterprising knight rids the Bishop of Durham of a troublesome boar, but the price comes as a shock to his lordship.
2 The Stockton and Darlington Railway
George Stephenson and his son Robert created the world’s first passenger railway.
3 The Hetton Railway
The railway earned a special place in history as the first to be designed for steam locomotives only.
4 The Lessons of History
By Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
England’s first and greatest historian explains why history is so important.
5 The Man who Made the Headlines
William Stead conceived modern print journalism in the belief that newspapers could change the world.
6 Silver Swan
By Mark Twain
(1835-1910)
Mark Twain’s attention was drawn off people-watching for a moment by an extraordinarily lifelike machine.
page 2
7 Cuthbert and the Expert Witness
Based on the account by Reginald of Durham
(12th century)
A hungry monk thought he had got away with the tastiest of crimes, but St Cuthbert kept his promise to his beloved birds.
8 The Tanfield Railway
Opened in 1725, the Tanfield Railway is one of the oldest railways still operating anywhere in the world.
9 The Lambton Worm
Part One. John Lambton goes fishing on a Sunday, and lets loose all kinds of trouble.
10 Timothy Hackworth
Timothy Hackworth (1786-1850) turned steam locomotives into a reliable commercial success.
11 Mrs Clements
Mrs Clements of Durham is not a household name, but the product she invented is.
12 How St Benedict Biscop brought Byzantium to Britain
By Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
The chapel of Bede’s monastery in Sunderland was full of the colours and sounds of the far-off Mediterranean world.

Word Play: Active or Passive?

Use each of the verbs below in either the active or the passive form. Can you use both forms?

Lay. Arm. Deal.

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 ‘Hide’
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 ‘withdraw’ (7 letters), and ‘domesticated’ (4 letters)?
Practise your twelve times table against the clock.
Change HIDE into AWAY, one letter at a time.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with BEEF and finish with STEW.
Do you know ‘warm covering’ (7 letters), and ‘2,240 lb’ (3 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
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

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: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic