All Posts (649)
Nos 41 to 50
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 65
Francesco Geminiani
Extracts from Literature
The Language of Balnibarbi
Lemuel Gulliver finds that the people of Balnibarbi just don’t appreciate their hardworking academics.
By Jonathan Swift
(1667-1745)

THE other project was, a scheme for entirely abolishing all words whatsoever; and this was urged as a great advantage in point of health, as well as brevity. For it is plain, that every word we speak is, in some degree, a diminution of our lunge by corrosion, and, consequently, contributes to the shortening of our lives.

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No. 41
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lives of the Saints
The Restoration of the Icons
By the early eighth century, sacred art was thriving in newly-Christian England, but in the East seeds of doubt and confusion had been sown.

WHEN St Augustine preached Christianity to King Ethelbert of Kent in 597, he carried a silver cross and a painted icon of Christ. A century later, icons were putting a human face to the spoken word up in Bede’s Northumbria, from church walls to the pages of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

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No. 42
2 two-part story
Marie de France and Bernart de Ventadorn
Mediaeval History
Fair Rosamund
Charles Dickens tells the story of King Henry II and the enchantingly beautiful Rosamund Clifford.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

THERE is a pretty story told of this Reign, called the story of Fair Rosamond. It relates how the King doted on Fair Rosamond, who was the loveliest girl in all the world; and how he had a beautiful Bower built for her in a Park at Woodstock; and how it was erected in a labyrinth, and could only be found by a clue of silk.

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No. 43
2 two-part story
Anonymous and King Richard I, the Lionheart
Mediaeval History
The Lion and the Ant
Richard I thought a veteran Crusader and conqueror of Saladin could handle a few French peasants.

KING Richard I of England gained his nickname of ‘Lionheart’ in the Holy Land, fighting to liberate Jerusalem from the ruling Muslims. In this he narrowly failed, but returned to his estates in France (he rarely spent time in England) in 1194 a hero, having conquered Cyprus, defeated his arch-enemy Saladin in battle, and been expensively ransomed out of the hands of a disgruntled former ally, Leopold of Austria.

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No. 44
2 two-part story
Dmitry Bortniansky
Poets and Poetry
Eddi’s Service
Rudyard Kipling’s poem about St Wilfrid’s chaplain and an unusual Christmas congregation.
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

EDDI, priest of St Wilfrid
In his chapel at Manhood End,
Ordered a midnight service
For such as cared to attend.

But the Saxons were keeping Christmas,
And the night was stormy as well.
Nobody came to service,
Though Eddi rang the bell.

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No. 45
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
St Bede and the Singing Stones
The Northumbrian monk is duped into wasting one of his beautifully-crafted sermons on a row of dumb rocks.
Based on The Golden Legend
(1275)

AS BEDE came to the end of his life, his eyesight started to fail. He did not ease up in his duties, though, and with the help of a guide continued to make his rounds of the nearby villages, preaching in the open air to any who cared to attend.

One day, his guide led him to a place where there were many standing stones, but no people. Bede, peering owlishly, nonetheless embarked on a sermon.

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No. 46
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
St Wilfrid and the Fishers of Men
Driven out of Northumbria, Bishop Wilfrid goes to the south coast and saves a kingdom from starvation.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

WHEN Wilfrid came to Sussex in 681, he found that the region had been suffering three years of continuous drought. Though they lived by the coast, the locals could do no more that snare a few eels in the muddy rivers, and sometimes forty or fifty would link arms and leap from a cliff-top, preferring to drown in the sea rather than starve.

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No. 47
John Field
Cats, Dogs and Other Animals
A Tax on Companionship
William Windham MP was appalled at the idea of levying a tax on man’s best friend.
By William Windham MP
(1750-1810)

IT was unworthy [said Mr Windham]of this or any other country, to levy a rate on any animal, because that animal was not employed in tilling ground, or because the poor might feed on dogs’ provisions. It appeared as if there was not room enough on earth for men and dogs.

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No. 48
2 two-part story
Elias Parish Alvars
Discovery and Invention
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Businessmen in Liverpool engaged George Stephenson to build one of his new-fangled railways.

ON May 24th, 1823, Liverpool corn merchant Henry Booth founded the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company, to build nothing less than the world’s first intercity railway. The canals had created lucrative markets by linking the port at Liverpool to bustling manufacturing towns inland, but were overwhelmed by rising demand.

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No. 49
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Abolition of Slavery
An Incorrigible Fanatic
William Wilberforce told Parliament that the more his opponents slandered him, the more he was sure he was winning.
By William Wilberforce
(1759-1833)

THIS work of humanity [said Mr Wilberforce] would at last make its way into the heads and hearts, the understandings and the feelings, of the whole mass of the nation, and would triumph over all opposition. The opposition that had been already overcome afforded him a complete pledge of final success.

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No. 50
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
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Fate and a vicious professional thief named Fagin conspire to trap orphan Oliver Twist into a life of crime.
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A very unusual monastery with some very unusual protectors.
Sixteen-year-old John Wesley Hackworth brought a locomotive over to St Petersburg, and Russia’s railway revolution was ready for the off.
By Fulke Greville, Baron Brooke
(1554-1628)
Elizabethan courtier and soldier Sir Philip Sidney shows that a nobleman can also be a gentleman.
The murder of the ‘good king Wenceslas’ led to a flowering of Christian faith in Europe.

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 ‘Earl’
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 ‘conclusive evidence’ (5 letters), and ‘perceptive realisation’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.