All Posts (649)
Nos 561 to 570
Classical History
The Speech of King Caratacus
A proud British king, taken to Rome as a trophy of Empire, refused to plead for his life.
By Cornelius Tacitus
(AD 56-117)

“HAD my moderation in prosperity been equal to my noble birth and fortune, I should have entered this city as your friend rather than as your captive; and you would not have disdained to receive, under a treaty of peace, a king descended from illustrious ancestors and ruling many nations.

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No. 561
Frederic Hymen Cowen
Lives of the Saints
The Martyrdom of St James the Great
James, brother of John the Evangelist, was executed for his faith by a close friend of the Emperor Caligula.

HEROD Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great, was a powerful Jewish king in Judaea and Galilee. He had inherited his lands from his disgraced uncle, Herod Antipas, and enjoyed the favour of the Roman Emperor Caligula and - to a lesser extent - Caligula’s successor Claudius.

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No. 562
Lives of the Saints
St Hild and the Synod of Whitby
The respected Abbess oversaw the English Church’s historic commitment to adopt Byzantine traditions.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

HILD was the Abbess of a monastery for both men and women in Whitby, on the north east coast of England. “All who knew her”, says St Bede, “called her mother, because of her outstanding devotion and grace”.

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No. 563
Discovery and Invention
The First Train Journey by Steam
Richard Trevithick’s boss hailed the engineer as a genius. Today he’d have been fired. (Oh, and the train was delayed.)

IN 1803, the owner of the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil, Samuel Homfray, brought Richard Trevithick over to South Wales to build a steam-driven hammer for his factory.

Instead, Trevithick mounted his steam engine on wheels and set it running along the factory’s primitive railway.

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No. 564
Lives of the Saints
Cuthbert and the Miracle of the Wind
The young monk taught some hard-hearted pagans a lesson they’d never forget.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

THE monks of Tynemouth ventured out into the sea in five little boats, so they could pilot some ships, laden with building materials for the monastery, into the river.

At that moment, a sharp wind whipped up, and drove the helpless monks out into the North Sea, like so many seabirds bobbing up and down on the swell.

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No. 565
John Garth
Discovery and Invention
Mrs Clements
Mrs Clements of Durham is not a household name, but the product she invented is.

IN 1390, Richard II’s chef included a recipe for mustard in his book The Forme of Cury. Monks on Lindisfarne in Northumberland were grinding their own mustard a century later, and Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire was an early centre of the trade.

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No. 566
Discovery and Invention
Richard Arkwright
Arkwright invented the factory, without which modern life would be impossible.

SIR Richard Arkwright was a leading figure in the industrial revolution of the 18th century, whose textile machines and mills established the basis of the factory system.

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No. 567
2 two-part story
Richard Jones
Stories in Short
The Birds
Two men fed up with Athenian politics decide to build a city in the sky.
Based on the play by Aristophanes
(c. 445-386 BC)

TWO men from Athens, that cradle of democracy, were fed up with the childish politicking and squabbles about laws.

Imagine, said Pisthetaerus to his friend Euelpides, that we were birds! We could build ourselves a city in the sky, and get away from it all.

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No. 568
2 two-part story
Felix Mendelssohn and Sir George Macfarren
Discovery and Invention
Sir Titus Salt
His alpaca-wool mills near Bradford proved the social benefits of private enterprise in the right hands.

ON a trip to Liverpool, shortly after taking over his father’s wool business in 1833, Titus Salt stumbled across some bales of alpaca-wool, then little-known in England. His father forbade him to buy them, but he did, and by 1850 his business had outgrown its Bradford premises.

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No. 569
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Discovery and Invention
Fashionable Freedom
Josiah Wedgwood’s promotional gift made Abolitionism fashionable.
By Thomas Clarkson
(1760-1846)

NOR was the philanthropy of the late Mr. Wedgwood less instrumental in turning the popular feeling in our favour. He took the seal of the committee for his model, and produced a beautiful cameo.

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No. 570
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
Music by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
(1833-1897)
Despite setback after setback, Stanford was determined to hear his music played in public.
The long-lost monastery at Crayke in North Yorkshire was home to two saints with different but equally valuable gifts.
In 6th century France, a faithful kitchen servant sold himself into slavery to rescue a kidnapped boy.
By Edmund Burke MP
(1729-1797)
Britain’s ‘empire’ owed its existence not to her armies or politicians but to her merchants and her unique brand of liberty.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
No one is more dangerous than the man who thinks that it is his destiny to direct things for the common good.

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Fiction (84)
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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Gem’
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 ‘cowardly’ (6 letters), and ‘historic Greek victory in 479 BC’ (7 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FOAL and finish with MARE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.