All Posts (679)
Nos 321 to 330
Charles Villiers Stanford
Mediaeval History
King Henry VIII (1509-1547)
Flodden Edge
The Scots paid a heavy price for honouring their ‘Auld Alliance’ with France.

EARLY in the 16th century, Pope Julius II of Rome and King Louis XII of France were at war, and King Henry VIII of England had sided with the Pope. So Louis begged the Scottish King James IV to invade England, reminding him of the ‘Auld Alliance’, the Scots’ long-standing friendship with France.

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No. 321
2 two-part story
John Garth
Kings and Queens
The Kings of Northumbria
Out of a restless alliance between two 6th century kingdoms came a civilisation that defined Englishness.

THE kingdoms of Bernicia to the north of the River Tees, with its capital at Bamburgh, and Deira to the south, seated in York, were first brought into an uneasy union by King Ethelfrith of Bernicia, son-in-law of Ella of Deira, in 604.

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No. 322
Franz Joseph Haydn
Napoleonic Wars
King George III (1760-1820)
‘Really, I do not see the signal!’
Sometimes it is right to ‘turn a blind eye’.

IN King George III’s day, Britain’s maritime trading Empire, stretching from North America to India, provoked envy across Europe.

Napoleon Bonaparte carefully fanned the flames of resentment until, on 2nd April 1801, a fleet of ships gathered at Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark-Norway, eager to force Britain to share her supposedly ill-gotten wealth.

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No. 323
Edvard Grieg
Scandinavian History
King Ethelred the Unready (978-1016)
Vinland
Scandinavian warrior Leif Ericson was sent to bring Christianity to Greenland, but accidentally discovered North America instead.
Based on
The Saga of Eric the Red

OLAF Tryggvason became a Christian while visiting the Scilly Isles and England in 994, and after he came to the throne of Norway in 997, he entrusted Leif Ericson, one of his royal bodyguards and a fellow-Christian, with the conversion of the Orkneys and of Greenland, Leif’s home.

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No. 324
Matthew Locke
Mediaeval History
King Henry VII (1485-1509)
The Re-rediscovery of America
John Day of Bristol did not want Christopher Columbus to labour under a misapprehension.

ON 24th June 1497, the Feast of St John the Baptist, Venetian captain John Cabot and his crew of Englishmen landed at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland, after leaving Bristol aboard the ‘Matthew’ towards the end of May. Cabot did not venture far inland or found any settlements, but took careful notes and charted the coastline.

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No. 325
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Modern History
King George II (1727-1760)
The Battle of Plassey
A year after the infamous ‘Black hole of Calcutta’, Robert Clive was sent to exact retribution.

WHEN George II came to the throne in 1727, Britain was not the only European power with commercial interests in India. The Dutch, the Portuguese and the French all had East India Companies, but defeat at the hands of the Kingdom of Travancore in 1741 was a body blow to the Dutch, and to the disappointment of the French, Robert Clive’s victory at Arcot in 1751 ensured that Britain’s friend, Mohammed Ali Khan Wallajah, became Nawab of the Carnatic in the south.

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No. 326
Henry Purcell
Poets and Poetry
King Arthur’s Last Request
The legendary British warrior makes ready for his final journey, leaving Sir Bedivere with one last duty to perform.
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)

“I HAVE liv’d my life, and that which I have done
May He within himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul.

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No. 327
2 two-part story
Henry Purcell
Stuart Era
King Charles II (1649-1685)
The Last Days of Charles II
James calls Fr Huddleston to his brother’s deathbed, ready for a most delicate task.

IT was, they said, not unusual for Chiffinch, Charles’s confidential servant, to bring certain charming visitors up the back stairs to his master’s bedroom. Now the King lay upon his deathbed, however, the visitor was of another kind.

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No. 328
John Hebden
Greek and Roman Myths
Bellerophon and the Chimera
The wronged hero vanquishes a dreadful monster with the help of a winged horse, but then it all goes to his head.

AFTER Bellerophon spurned the advances of Anteia, Queen of Tyrins, she had the handsome hero banished to Lycia.

With him went a coded letter to the King, Iobates, who just happened to be Anteia’s father, recommending that Bellerophon be put to death.

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No. 329
Charles Villiers Stanford
Extracts from Literature
‘God Tempers the Wind to the Shorn Lamb’
Mary Mason could not forgive herself for a past misdeed.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

I MAY, perhaps be thought to owe an apology to my readers in that I have asked their sympathy for a woman who had so sinned as to have placed her beyond the general sympathy of the world at large.

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No. 330
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
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.

About our calendars

Today in History
1804 A steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick makes the first return railway journey
From our Archive
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
Driven out of Northumbria, Bishop Wilfrid goes to the south coast and saves a kingdom from starvation.
Two frantic parents implore St Nicholas’s help in rescuing their baby boy.
Robert Clive helped to establish a lasting bond between India and Britain, laying the foundations of modern India.
A prince falls for a dazzling dance-partner who teasingly vanishes at midnight.
‘D-Day’ on 6th June, 1944, kicked off the Allied invasion of Europe and raised hopes of an end to the Second World War.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (416)
Polywords (185)
Georgian Era (113)
Fiction (85)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (24)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (18)
India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Lace’
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 ‘entertainer’ (7 letters), and ‘distant’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with CHIP and finish with PUTT.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.