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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.

St George, Patron Saint of England
Music: Edward Elgar
George was born in Israel and served in the Roman army, yet makes an ideal patron for England.

IN 1552, the English government forbade banners depicting Christian saints, considered idolatrous by the country’s newly Protestant churchmen. An exception was made, however, for banners of St George, popular in the army since Richard the Lionheart’s crusade to the Holy Land.

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St George the Triumphant Martyr
Music: George Frideric Handel
One of the Emperor Galerius’s most trusted generals openly defied him.

IT was on 24th February 303 that Galerius issued an edict that the Christians’ churches should be demolished and their Scriptures burned, and that they should sacrifice to the traditional gods of Rome or face execution.

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Character and Conduct’ (25 posts)
page 1
1 A World of Differences
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
Emma tries to reconcile her father to the unaccountable tastes of his nearest and dearest.
2 Wild Goose Chase
By Sir Walter Scott
(1771-1832)
Sir Walter Scott warned that schoolchildren must not expect to be entertained all the time.
3 A Very Special Correspondent
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Pauline de Meulan’s magazine Publiciste was close to going out of business when an anonymous contributor stepped in.
4 Dr Johnson and the Critic’s Ambush
By James Boswell
(1740-1795)
A literary man tries to trick Samuel Johnson into an honest opinion, which was neither necessary nor very rewarding.
5 Education of the Heart
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
For Jane Austen, the best education a father can give to his child is to befriend her.
6 The Blessing of Disguise
By Sir Walter Scott
(1771-1832)
A mysterious knight and an equally mysterious outlaw agree to preserve one another’s incognito.
page 2
7 Perilous Waters
King Saul’s jealousies drove those who loved him away, but David was a very different kind of leader.
8 The Price of Treachery
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
A Danish soldier in the seventeenth century imposes the severest sentence he can think of.
9 Sweet and Sour
By
Samuel Johnson
The great Dr Johnson argues that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
10 A Little Common Sense
By William Pitt the Elder
(1708-1778)
William Pitt the Elder doubts the wisdom of letting experts run the country.
11 A True Gentleman of Verona
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
A young man from the Italian city on the Adige River demonstrates that class has nothing to do with wealth.
12 Triumph in Adversity
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Two famous figures, one from the sciences and one from the arts, who turned suffering to advantage.
page 3
13 Bear and Forbear
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
A sympathetic understanding of the trials of other people is essential for getting along.
14 Music at Midnight
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
To do one’s duty is to peep into the mystery of life, and taste reward from another world.
15 A Proper Education
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
Harriet Smith’s school gave her a grounding in good sense that even Emma Woodhouse could not quite overthrow.
16 The Bully and the Brakesman
A young George Stephenson takes responsibility for the team spirit at Black Callerton mine.
17 A Tempting Offer
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
True moral integrity comes from within.
18 Practice Makes Perfect
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
Making friends is, like playing music, not just a matter of natural talent.
page 4
19 In Good Company
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
Anne Elliot resents being expected to court the society of anyone simply because of social status.
20 With the Compliments of Mr Collins
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
There is an art to making one’s compliments seem artless.
21 Character and Learning
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Intellectual learning is to be respected, but it should never be confused with good character.
22 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.
23 The Character of Horatio Lord Nelson
By The Revd Alexander Scott
(1768-1840)
High praise from someone who knew him better than most.
24 ‘Better Habits, Not Greater Rights’
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
The extraordinary productivity and social mobility of the Victorian era is to the credit not of the governing class, but of the working man.
page 5
25 The Character of George Stephenson
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
A self-made man who never forgot his humble beginnings.

Word Play: Verb or Noun?

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

Call. Line. 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 ‘Burn’
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
Make opposites from these words using prefixes, like lucky → unlucky.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with PIG and finish with STY.
Do you know ‘additional’ (5), and ‘reject contemptuously’ (5)?
Add one number to another number. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
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?

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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