All Posts (649)
Nos 411 to 420
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Anglo-Saxon History
King Edwin and the Hand of Destiny
Forced from his throne and threatened with murder, Edwin makes a curious bargain for his deliverance.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

EDWIN should have inherited the crown of Deira from his father Ælle. Instead, Edwin’s brother-in-law Æthelfrith, King of neighbouring Bernicia, emerged as King of a new and powerful joint kingdom called Northumbria, and Edwin was driven out.

Continue reading
No. 411
2 two-part story
Byzantine Chant
Lives of the Saints
Caedmon Learns to Sing
A shy and unmusical stable-hand suddenly began to sing wise and moving hymns.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

THE farmhands on the estates of the monastery at Whitby liked a song in the evening, but whenever the harp looked like coming his way, Caedmon would slip out and go to bed in the stables.

On one such occasion, a man appeared in his dreams and greeted him. ‘Caedmon’ he said, ‘sing to me’.

Continue reading
No. 412
John Playford
Norman Era
The Tichborne Dole
The strange-but-true story of a Lady Day tradition.

BACK in the twelfth century, as Lady Mabella Tichborne lay dying she asked her husband to give the peasants on his estates a free gift of flour every year on Lady Day.

Continue reading
No. 413
2 two-part story
Sir Hubert Parry
Tales from the Bible
Elisha and the Fiery Horsemen
The King of Syria goes on a mole-hunt, but Elisha does not seem to mind being his prime suspect.

NOT long after the affair with Naaman, Ben Hahad II, King of Syria, was at war with Israel.

To his annoyance, news of his troop movements kept getting back to Joram, the King of Israel. He suspected a mole among his generals, but they pointed the finger at Elisha, the Israelite prophet.

Continue reading
No. 414
Tales from the Bible
The Man Born Blind
A man born blind is healed by Jesus, but finds himself a social outcast as a result.

AS Jesus passed out of the Temple, his eyes fell on a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples assumed his misfortune was a punishment for sin, but Jesus told them that it was not a punishment. It was an opportunity to see God’s glory.

Continue reading
No. 415
Elias Parish Alvars
Roman Myths
Romulus and the Sabine Women
The legend of how Rome was settled gave rise to the March festival of Roman motherhood.

THE first inhabitants of Romulus’s city were mostly desperate outlaws from outlying states, and no father would give them his daughter in marriage.

So on the advice of his grandfather Numitor, Romulus held a great feast in honour of Neptune, with music and dancing.

Continue reading
No. 416
Edward Elgar
Modern History
The Man who Made the Headlines
William Stead conceived modern print journalism in the belief that newspapers could change the world.

WHEN William Stead became editor of ‘The Northern Echo’ in 1871, he was just 22 and the youngest newspaper-editor in the country.

He exploited Darlington’s railway connections to expand the newspaper’s circulation, helping William Gladstone’s Liberal Party to power in 1880.

Continue reading
No. 417
2 two-part story
Greek Traditional Dance and George Frideric Handel
Classical History
Alcibiades
In the populist democracy of 5th-century BC Athens, heroes fell as quickly as they rose.

WHILE Nicias was negotiating a delicate truce with Sparta, Alcibiades, a rival in the Athens Assembly, secretly met the Spartan envoys.

He urged them to temper their demands, promising to be their inside man. In the Assembly, however, he double-crossed them, mocking their modest terms, and casting himself as the strong leader Athens craved.

Continue reading
No. 418
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Lives of the Saints
St David of Wales
The popular monk was elected as bishop of Menevia in Wales in 550.

DEWI Sant, as the Welsh call him, was a Christian monk who founded twelve new monasteries in the largely pagan society of Brittany (in northern France), the West Country, and Wales.

David lived as his monks did, drinking only water, and eating only bread, herbs and vegetables.

Continue reading
No. 419
2 two-part story
Sir Hubert Parry
Classical History
Pericles and the Fickle Public of Athens
The leader of 5th-century BC Athens lavished public money on the city and its adoring citizens.

EVER since the reforms of Solon, Athenian politics had been moving towards greater participation for ordinary people.

Some such as Cimon, veteran of Salamis, thought this had gone far enough; but early in the 460s Ephialtes launched an audacious bid to cut Cimon and the Areopagus, the aristocratic council of Athens, down to size.

Continue reading
No. 420
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
A succession of religious leaders came to Kiev, hoping to win the wild barbarian Prince to their cause.
Preventing the German fleet from breaking out into the Atlantic in 1916 should have felt like victory, but it felt like defeat.
Scottish King David I hoped to exploit the unpopularity of the Normans by trading on his own English heritage.
A warning not to be forgetful of others, even in triumph.
Based on an account by Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
The engineer put his own life on the line for the safety of his fellow-workers in the coal industry.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (394)
Polywords (182)
Georgian Era (107)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
Stuart Era (16)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Cut’
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 ‘part of a fish’ (3 letters), and ‘heart of the matter’ (3 letters)?
Change HIDE into AWAY, one letter at a time.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.