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English Language and History

The brief stories below are taken from history, myth or fiction. Each one is accompanied by games and exercises in essential grammar and free composition, based on old school textbooks.

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Lambert Simnel
Music: Sir Hamilton Harty
Henry VII must decide how to deal with a boy calling himself ‘King Edward VI’.

AFTER he plucked the English crown from that famous hawthorn at Bosworth in 1485, Henry VII could afford to feel secure. He was not particularly liked, but the country was weary of civil war, and his best-qualified rival, Richard III’s nephew Edward, Earl of Warwick, was a mere boy, locked up in the Tower.

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Two Posts
Richard of York: One Hand on the Throne
two-part story
Music: John Stanley
The Wars of the Roses pitted two royal houses against each other for the crown of England.
Based on an account by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

KING Henry VI suffered from periodic insanity, and his Queen, Margaret of Anjou, was the power behind his throne.

Neither was popular. Many people were glad that after capturing the King at St Albans on May 22nd, 1455, Richard, Duke of York, left Margaret no choice but to reinstate him as Lord Protector, governing in Henry’s stead.

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The Wars of the Roses
Music: Johann Baptist Cramer
A struggle between rival Royal Houses during the 15th century

KING Edward III had a son named Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, and another named John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.

Their descendants Richard, Duke of York, and King Henry VI, of the House of Lancaster, were rivals for the throne of England.

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘The Blessed Virgin Mary’ (12 posts)
page 1
1 The Voice of an Angel
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A tenth-century Greek monk is joined by a total stranger for Mattins.
2 The Six Leaps of Faith
By Cynewulf
(8th century)
The eighth-century English bishop and poet Cynewulf explores a prophecy from the Song of Solomon.
3 At Heaven’s Gate
By Cynewulf
(8th century)
The eighth-century English bishop and poet Cynewulf takes us to the threshold of God’s holy city, and gives us a choice.
4 Annunciation
By Cynewulf
(8th century)
Cynewulf reflects on the mystery of the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary.
5 Candlemas
A February celebration for which the faithful have brought candles to church since Anglo-Saxon times.
6 Redeemed for Five Shillings
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
Elfric, the tenth-century English abbot, suggests a practical way of thinking about the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
page 2
7 Aaron’s Rod
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
The Victorian practice of hanging sugared nuts on a Christmas tree was bursting with Biblical symbolism.
8 With Hymns and Sweet Perfumes
By
Elfric of Eynsham
Elfric imagines how the Virgin Mary went to her eternal home.
9 Stick and Carrot
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
The Virgin Mary and her son team up to get the best out of some careless monks.
10 The Miracle of Piso Livadi
Three fishermen let their tongues run away with them, and were left counting the cost.
11 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.
12 The Keeper of the Gate
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A widow cast her precious icon into the sea rather than see it dishonoured by government agents, but that wasn’t the end of the story.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Opposites

Suggest words or phrases that are opposite in meaning to the words below.

Believe. Keep. With.
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone explains that a truly ‘exceptional nation’ respects the equality and rights of all nations.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
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 ‘Rock’
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 ‘cleansing bar’ (4 letters), and ‘Doncaster horse-race’ (2,5 letters)?
Do you know ‘rim’ (4 letters), and ‘the Roman name for Chester’ (4 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘stout’ (6 letters), and ‘gloat’ (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.
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History (375)
Fiction (80)

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: ‘Scrabble’ 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: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic