All Posts (679)
Nos 271 to 280
Charles Avison
Mediaeval History
Gregory and the Slave Children
How some English slave children sparked the conversion of Britain to Christianity.

GREGORY was a Roman aristocrat and politician, and from 579 to 585 a Papal ambassador to the court of the Roman Emperors in Constantinople. Following his father’s death, Gregory turned the family villa on the Caelian Hill into a monastery, dedicated to St Andrew, and settled down for the quiet life of a monk.

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No. 271
2 two-part story
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Modern History
King George III (1760-1820) to King William IV (1830-1837)
How Britain Abolished Slavery
The Church’s campaigns against slavery were boosted by competition for labour after the Black Death.

SLAVERY was part of everyday life in Britain both under the Romans and among the Celts, and following the Romans’ withdrawal in 410 the Anglo-Saxon newcomers continued to own and trade in slaves.

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No. 272
John Field
Modern History
The Obstinacy of Fowell Buxton
Fatherless teenage tearaway Fowell Buxton was not a promising boy, but the Gurney family changed all that.

AT fifteen, Fowell Buxton was illiterate, idle and self-willed. Yet his mother always insisted, ‘You will see it will turn out well in the end’, and after he was befriended by the family of banker John Gurney, Fowell justified her faith.

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No. 273
Sir Hubert Parry
The Great War
King George V (1910-1936)
The Battle of Jutland
Preventing the German fleet from breaking out into the Atlantic in 1916 should have felt like victory, but it felt like defeat.

ON 31st May, 1916, the German High Seas Fleet sortied from its North Sea base, hoping to lure the British into a submarine-infested trap, and clear a route to the Atlantic. British intelligence anticipated the ploy, and sent the Grand Fleet to catch the Germans off guard, but the Admiralty’s messages were misreported, and the British were as surprised as the Germans when they met in murky weather near Denmark’s Jutland peninsula.

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No. 274
2 two-part story
Edward Elgar
Lives of the Saints
Ottoman Empire (1453-1922)
The Spy
In 1910, Constantine Zervakos, a young monk from the Greek island of Paros, found himself charged with espionage.

ON his way home to Paros after a long-anticipated visit to Mount Athos, a young monk named Constantine Zervakos decided he had enough time before his ship left Thessalonica to nip into the Turkish-controlled city and visit the church of St Demetrius.

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No. 275
Sir Arthur Sullivan
Discovery and Invention
King George III (1760-1820) to Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
Heathcoat’s Bobbinet
John Heathcoat’s lace-making machine created thousands of jobs, and gave ordinary people clothes they could never have dreamt of.

IT was the dream of most framesmiths at the turn of the nineteenth century to make machines that could mimic hand-made lace, but it required a dextrous twisting of the threads that they could not reproduce.

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No. 276
Charles Villiers Stanford
Modern History
Queen Victoria (1837-1901) to King Edward VII (1901-1910)
The Boer Wars
South African settlers of Dutch descent could not escape the march of the British Empire.

IN 1836, disaffected colonists of Dutch descent from the British-run Cape Colony made their ‘Great Trek’ north, and founded Natal, Transvaal and Orange Free State. British governance followed close behind, however, occupying Natal in 1842, and invading Transvaal in 1877 after it fell into bankruptcy.

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No. 277
2 two-part story
Francesco Geminiani
Mediaeval History
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330-1453)
Our Lady’s Mantle
Shortly after Askold and Dir founded Kiev in 862, they launched a brazen but ill-fated assault on the capital of the Roman Empire.

IN 988, Vladimir the Great, Prince of Kiev, converted to Christianity after receiving exuberant reports of the beauty of worship in Constantinople. A century earlier, however, Kiev’s pagan founders, Askold and Dir, had thought quite differently, crossing the Black Sea to lay siege to the Imperial capital while its Emperor, Michael III, was away dealing with an Arab assault on the eastern border.

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No. 278
2 two-part story
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Extracts from Literature
The Duel
Sir Mulberry Hawk’s coarse conduct towards Kate Nickleby has awoken a spark of decency in Lord Frederick Verisopht.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

THEY turned to the right, and taking a track across a little meadow, passed Ham House and came into some fields beyond. In one of these, they stopped.

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No. 279
John Playford
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Augean Stables
Heracles shows his capacity for thinking outside the box, but spoils it by trying to be just a little bit too clever.

AUGEAS, King of Elis, had kept three thousand high-spirited cattle in an enclosure near his palace for thirty years without once mucking them out, even though they were of divine race and produced mountains of potent dung.

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No. 280
Polywords (185)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Grey
Added on Thursday February 15th, 2018
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Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
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A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
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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.

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Today in History
1804 A steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick makes the first return railway journey
From our Archive
Britain’s desperate defence against a much larger, better-prepared military machine was a costly victory.
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Henry VII’s great-granddaughter Mary never grasped that even royalty must win the people’s respect.
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Polyword ‘Cart’
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 ‘plaything’ (3 letters), and ‘a river in South Wales’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FULL and finish with STOP.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.