All Posts (676)
Nos 531 to 540
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. 531
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. 532
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. 533
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. 534
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. 535
Gioachino Rossini
Greek History
The Third Siege of Missolonghi
The cruelty of the Ottoman Turks so shocked Europe that the tide of opinion turned against them.

FROM 15th April, 1825, to 10th April the following year, the city of Missolonghi near Corinth in Greece was subjected to a pitiless siege by the ruling Ottoman Empire.

It was the third siege suffered by the town, and the most devastating.

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No. 536
Anglo-Saxon History
King Alfred the Great (871-899)
How Alfred Burnt the Cakes
A popular tale of scorched cakes and a scolded king.
By Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

ALFRED was only twenty-two years old when he came to the throne, and the kingdom was overrun everywhere with the Danes.

At last he had so very few faithful men left him, that he thought it wise to send them away, and take refuge in the Somersetshire marsh country.

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No. 537
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. 538
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. 539
2 two-part story
Sir William Sterndale Bennett and York Bowen
Stories in Short
The Hobbit
Tolkien’s tale of dragons, magic rings and enchanted gold is one of the masterpieces of English literature.
Based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
(1892-1973)

THORIN, a proud king among dwarves, was heir to a kingdom deep beneath the Lonely Mountain, and to the vast treasure within. However, the dragon Smaug was now lying on that treasure, and as warriors were rare, Thorin was looking for a burglar to help him steal it.

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No. 540
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
The loss of the heir to the throne threw England into crisis.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)
The eighth-century English bishop and poet Cynewulf takes us to the threshold of God’s holy city, and gives us a choice.
Eurystheus pits his cousin against a son of Ares and some man-eating horses.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
However obscure a man may apparently be, his example to others inevitably shapes the future of his country.
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)
God’s covenant of love is a fresh joy every time it appears.

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Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Grebe’
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 ‘brainy fellow’ (7 letters), and ‘drink’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FREE and finish with KICK.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.