All Posts (649)
Nos 161 to 170
2 two-part story
Orlando Gibbons
Stuart Era
Charles I and his Parliament
Charles took his rights and duties as a King with religious seriousness, but Parliament’s sense of both right and duty was just as strong.

IN 1625, Charles I inherited a kingdom torn apart by competing religious convictions and hatreds.

A century before, Henry VIII, chafing at political interference from Rome, had taken control of the English Church and blended its traditions with fashionably Protestant ideas from Switzerland.

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No. 161
2 two-part story
John Playford
Stuart Era
Interregnum
When Parliament overthrew the capricious tyranny of Charles I, it discovered an uncomfortable truth about power.

ON 1642, the English Parliament’s dispute with King Charles I over the extent of his powers came to civil war. Westminster’s army proved the better, and at last, seven years later, Colonel Thomas Pride led a coup, escorting the King’s supporters from the Commons so that the remainder – the ‘Rump’ Parliament — could more conveniently convict him of treason.

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No. 162
Nikolaos Mantzaros
Greek History
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.

AFTER the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople and much of Greece in 1453, the Ionian Islands were lucky. Most were under Venetian control, and flourished as part of a trading bloc which brought prosperity and respected local culture.

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No. 163
John Marsh
Liberty and Prosperity
A Pledge to the People
Edmund Burke pleaded with Parliament to emerge from behind closed doors and reconnect with the British public.
By Edmund Burke MP
(1729-1797)

LET the commons in parliament assembled, be one and the same thing with the commons at large. Let us identify, let us incorporate ourselves with the people. At present all is troubled and cloudy, and distracted, and full of anger and turbulence, both abroad and at home: but the air may be cleared by this storm, and light and fertility may follow it.

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No. 164
2 two-part story
Malcolm Arnold
Mediaeval History
The Battle of the Standard
Scottish King David I hoped to exploit the unpopularity of the Normans by trading on his own English heritage.

ON the death of Henry I in 1135, his daughter Matilda was pushed aside by her more popular cousin Stephen, Duke of Normandy. Matilda’s uncle, King David of Scotland, volunteered to support her.

Aware that Northumberland had suffered cruelly under William the Conqueror’s ‘Harrying of the North’, David spun his campaign as a long overdue revolt against the Normans, and marched under the ancient White Dragon of Wessex.

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No. 165
Sir John Blackwood McEwen
The Great War
Captain Charles Fryatt
A civilian ferry captain was court-martialled by the Germans for thumbing his nose at their U-Boats.

ON July 27th, 1916, Captain Charles Fryatt, a civilian, was brought before a German military court in Bruges.

Entered into evidence were two gold watches presented to the captain by his employers, the Great Central Railway and the Great Eastern. One commemorated the occasion on March 3rd, 1915, when under Fryatt’s command SS Wrexham escaped the clutches of a U-Boat in a breathless pursuit over forty nautical miles.

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No. 166
Cipriani Potter
Discovery and Invention
The Rainhill Trials
To prove that steam power was the future of railways, George Stephenson held a truly historic competition.

IN 1829 George Stephenson, appointed to build England’s first purpose-built passenger line, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, wanted to prove to doubters that steam locomotives could handle the traffic better than cable-hauled or horse-drawn carriages.

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No. 167
Gustav Holst
Extracts from Literature
Collateral Damage
Richard Hannay reflects on the innocent lives lost, when the lust for power or the desire for revenge makes us less than human.
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)

THAT night I realized the crazy folly of war. When I saw the splintered shell of Ypres and heard hideous tales of German doings, I used to want to see the whole land of the Boche given up to fire and sword. I thought we could never end the war properly without giving the Huns some of their own medicine.

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No. 168
Franz Joseph Haydn
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Birds of Lake Stymphalia
Our hero is sent to deal with some man-eating birds, but cannot reach their lakeside refuge.

A COLONY of birds had once sought refuge from wolves in marshy woods around Lake Stymphalia. Artemis took them for pets, and bred them to be ferocious, with bronze beaks and poisonous dung, and sharp quills they could shoot like darts. Now they ravaged crops, carried off beasts, and devoured townspeople.

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No. 169
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lives of the Saints
St Nicholas and the Empty Granary
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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No. 170
Polywords (182)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Path
Added on Monday December 11th, 2017
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Today in History
1878 The death of Alfred Bird, Birmingham pharmacist and confectioner
From our Archive
By Charlotte Brontë
(1816-1855)
Was it an over-excited imagination, or an answer to prayer?
Heracles seems to be the only one who can keep Poseidon’s rampaging white bull under control.
Nicodemus did not allow intellectual doubts to get in the way of what he knew in his heart.
Smarting for his outraged ‘rights’, Cain lost his reason — but not God’s pity and love.
Young William’s hat caught the eye of Matthew Boulton, and the world was never the same again.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Gem’
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.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘amusing play on words’ (3 letters), and ‘leaf of a pine tree’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with PIG and finish with STY.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.