All Posts (649)
Nos 501 to 510
George Frideric Handel
Classical History
The Season of ‘Goodwill’
‘Goodwill’ was on everyone’s lips, but the Roman Emperor and the God of Israel had very different ideas about it.

SHORTLY before the death of Herod the Great, the Roman Emperor Augustus invited all the loyal inhabitants of the Empire to sign an ‘assurance of goodwill’ toward him and his government. This poll later inspired his fulsome Senate to declare him the ‘Father of Rome’.

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No. 501
Mediaeval History
The Disaster of the White Ship
The loss of the heir to the throne threw England into crisis.

IN 1120, when William Adelin was sixteen, his father King Henry I took him across the Channel to be married to Matilda of Anjou, daughter of a powerful rival in northern France.

After the wedding, Henry went on ahead, leaving his son to sail home in the White Ship, the newest and fastest vessel in the royal fleet.

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No. 502
York Bowen
Discovery and Invention
The Fleming Valve
A Victorian children’s book inspired the birth of modern electronics.

FANNY Umphelby’s ‘Child’s Guide To Knowledge’ can have had few readers more devoted, or more distinguished in later life, than Ambrose Fleming.

Her collection of scientific facts sparked his long career at University College, London, and at the Marconi Company, assisting in the first transatlantic radio transmissions.

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No. 503
2 two-part story
Sir Hubert Parry
Stories in Short
Treasure Island
An excited English gentleman hires a ship for a treasure-hunt, but doesn’t check his crew’s credentials.
Based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)

AFTER the landlord of the Admiral Benbow inn died, times were hard for his widow and his son Jim.

Otherwise, they would not have put up with their solitary resident, a rough, foul-mouthed seaman calling himself ‘Captain Billy Bones’.

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No. 504
George Frideric Handel
Anglo-Saxon History
The Alleluia Victory
How hard-pressed Christians on the Welsh border won a battle without bloodshed.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

EARLY in the 5th century, Christian villagers on the Welsh borders were being harried by pagan Picts and Saxons. And now, just after Easter in the year 429, the little community learnt that an army was on its way to murder them all.

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No. 505
Traditional Greek Song (arr. piano and voice)
Greek History
Byron and Hercules
Lord Byron could not have hoped for a better omen in his support for the oppressed people of Greece.

IN 1815, the poet Lord Byron married Annabella Milbanke in Seaham Hall, County Durham.

In that same year, and in that same town, a small trading ship was launched, named Hercules after the legendary Greek hero.

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No. 506
Johann Baptist Cramer
Anglo-Saxon History
The Hermit of Handbridge
King Harold died at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Or did he?
By Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

THERE was much talk of a hermit, who dwelt in a cell not far from the town.

He was seldom seen, his face was deeply scarred, and he had lost his left eye, and nothing was known of his name or history.

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No. 507
Anglo-Saxon History
The Battle of the Winwaed
In 655, the future of England as a Christian nation hung by the slenderest of threads.

KING Penda of Mercia defeated King Edwin of Northumbria at the battle of Hatfield Chase in 633, and then his successor King Oswald at the Battle of Maserfield in 642.

These were heavy blows to the spread of Christianity, which through St Aidan had taken firm root in Northumbria, for Penda was a pagan.

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No. 508
Mediaeval History
The Gift Thrice Given
A story about William the Conqueror’s father, Robert the Magnificent.
By Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

WHEN attending mass at the Abbey of Cerizy, his own foundation, Robert one day remarked a stranger knight, when asked for his alms at the offertory, reply sadly, that he had nothing to give.

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No. 509
Jean-Baptiste Krumpholz
Anglo-Saxon History
Edith and Edward
A King and Queen gentler than the times in which they lived.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

IT was said throughout England that ‘Even as the rose springs from the thorn, so springs Edith from Godwin.’

Ingulf, the Abbot of Croyland, later recalled that when he was a schoolboy, Edith would examine him on his studies, and then having pressed a few coins into his hand, send him to the larder for a treat.

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No. 510
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 an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
Young Montague Bertie, Lord Willougby, tended his dying father behind enemy lines.
Two frantic parents implore St Nicholas’s help in rescuing their baby boy.
Based on a fable by Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)
A little fable of encouragement for all the suffering.
Eurystheus pits his cousin against a son of Ares and some man-eating horses.
At Bamburgh, John Sharp organised free healthcare and education, bargain groceries, and the world’s first coastguard service.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Meow!’
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 ‘rim’ (4 letters), and ‘the Roman name for Chester’ (4 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with TOWN and finish with CITY.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.