All Posts (676)
Nos 361 to 370
2 two-part story
John Field
Lives of the Saints
Russian Empire (1721-1917) to Soviet Union (1917-1990)
St Elizabeth the New Martyr
The grand-daughter of Queen Victoria was as close to the poor of Moscow’s slums as she was to the Russian Tsar.

AFTER Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was assassinated by Marxist revolutionary Ivan Kalyayev on 18th February 1905, his widow Elizabeth, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria and the Tsar’s sister-in-law, went to see Kalyayev in jail.

Continue reading
No. 361
Richard Jones
Scottish History
King George II (1727-1760)
The Battle of Glen Shiel
King Philip V of Spain sent a second Spanish Armada against Britain, but it suffered much the same fate as the first.

WHEN Philip V of Spain, in preparation for his larger assault on France, annexed the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, a British fleet led by Sir George Byng upset his plans by defeating him at the Battle of Cape Passaro on 11th August, 1718.

Continue reading
No. 362
2 two-part story
Franz Joseph Haydn
Extracts from Literature
The Pimpernel Fails to Show
Lady Blakeney agrees to spy for the French Revolutionary government in return for her brother’s life.
By Baroness Orczy
(1865-1947)

“YOU have news for me?” he said.

“I contrived — no matter how — to detect Sir Andrew Ffoulkes in the very act of burning a paper at one of these candles. That paper I succeeded in holding between my fingers for the space of two minutes, and to cast my eyes on it for that of ten seconds.”

Continue reading
No. 363
2 two-part story
Malcolm Arnold
Modern History
David Livingstone
The Scottish missionary and medic believed that slavery could better be eradicated by trade than by force.

IT was at a public meeting, on 1st June, 1840, that with the words ‘Christianity, commerce, civilisation’ Sir Thomas Buxton, an anti-slavery campaigner, awoke medical student David Livingstone to his lifelong calling: to destroy the slave trade by persuading Africa to trade in farm and factory goods rather than people.

Continue reading
No. 364
Henry Purcell
Classical History
Boudica
British sympathy for Roman imperial progress evaporated when officials began asset-stripping the country.

WHEN Prasutagus, King of the Iceni and a good friend of Rome, died in AD 60, Catus Decianus, Procurator of Britain, confiscated his lands in lieu (he said) of debts, kicking off a fire sale that saw Roman army veterans from Camulodunum help themselves to the treasures of his palace, raping his daughters and flogging his widow, Queen Boudica.

Continue reading
No. 365
John Field
Discovery and Invention
King George III (1760-1820)
The Bully and the Brakesman
A young George Stephenson takes responsibility for the team spirit at Black Callerton mine.

ON one occasion, Stephenson’s handling of the winding mechanism displeased miner Ned Nelson, who on reaching the top berated him offensively.

This Nelson was a notorious bully, used to getting his own way, so he was taken aback when instead of cowering, Stephenson defended himself honestly.

Continue reading
No. 366
Ralph Vaughan Williams
The Second World War
King George VI (1936-1952)
Britain’s Destiny
In a Christmas broadcast in 1940, actor Leslie Howard explained why British sovereignty was worth fighting for.
By Leslie Howard
(1893-1943)

BRITAIN’S destiny has been to uphold tolerance in religion, thought, speech, and race – the mainspring of democracy. We have still far to travel on the road to true democracy, but only the Germans have made no progress in this direction.

Continue reading
No. 367
Sir William Walton
The Second World War
King George VI (1936-1952)
Leslie Howard
Howard gave his life to saving the ‘great gifts and strange inconsistencies’ of Britain’s unique democracy.

AFTER leaving his cavalry regiment in 1916 suffering from shell-shock, Leslie Howard turned to acting, starring as Percy Blakeney in ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ in 1934, and most famously as Ashley Wilkes in ‘Gone With The Wind’.

Continue reading
No. 368
Frank Bridge
Greek and Roman Myths
Apple of Discord
Thetis snubs Eris, goddess of Discord, and sets off a series of events leading to the Trojan War.

WHEN Peleus, prince of Aegina, married the sea-nymph Thetis, the wedding was attended by many gods and goddesses. Eris, goddess of Discord, was not invited; however she slipped in anyway, bringing a golden apple from the Garden of the Hesperides.

She wrote ‘For the fairest’ on it, and lobbed it into the wedding-party.

Continue reading
No. 369
John Marsh
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
Stick and Carrot
The Virgin Mary and her son team up to get the best out of some careless monks.
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition

THE Abbot of the Vatopedi monastery was in the chapel alone one morning, when suddenly he heard a voice.

After looking this way and that, he realised it had come from an icon of Mary, with her child Jesus on her lap.

Continue reading
No. 370
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

From our Archive
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Samuel Smiles explains how Tudor England was transformed from sleepy backwater to hive of industry.
Frederick Douglass, the American runaway slave turned Abolitionist, spent some of his happiest days in Britain.
By Mark Twain
(1835-1910)
As proof that ‘Providence protects children and idiots’, Mark Twain recalls his first taste of ten-pin bowling.
The simple melody of the United Kingdom’s national anthem has stirred the souls of some great composers.
By Henry of Huntingdon
(?1088-?1157)
King Canute enacted a memorable demonstration of the limits of government power.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (414)
Polywords (185)
Georgian Era (113)
Fiction (85)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (24)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (17)
India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Bay’
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 ‘raised stitching on a cricket ball’ (4 letters), and ‘a 1901 Kipling novel’ (3 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.