All Posts (676)
Nos 601 to 610
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. 601
Richard Jones
Cat Stories
The Tale of Dick Whittington
The 14th century Mayor of London owed his fortune (and his wife) to his cat.

WHEN Dick Whittington was a young boy, the merchant he worked for demanded that each of his employees invest something in his latest venture, a trade agreement with a wealthy African prince.

Dick had no money, so the merchant took Dick’s beloved cat and put it on board ship, bound for Africa.

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No. 602
George Frideric Handel
Classical History
Hannibal’s Passage of the Alps
Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps with nearly 50,000 men and 38 elephants is the stuff of legend.

WHEN Hannibal, aged twenty-six, inherited command of the Carthaginian army in Spain, he at once began harassing the town of Saguntum, which was friendly to Rome. Carthage ordered Hannibal to hold off, but his hatred of Rome burned so hot that he disobeyed the order.

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No. 603
Franz Joseph Haydn
Classical History
A Bird in the Hand is Worth...
The Roman Emperor Honorius, so the story goes, had more on his mind than the impending sack of one of Europe’s iconic cities.
From ‘History of the Wars’ by Procopius of Caesarea
(c.500—c.560)

THEY opened the gates, and let Alaric and his army come and go as they pleased; and after plundering the whole city and killing most of the people of Rome, the invaders moved on.

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No. 604
Muzio Clementi
Classical History
The Last Gladiator
The people of Rome suddenly turned their back on centuries of ‘sport’ - all because of one harmless old man.

THE Victory Games began harmlessly enough, but soon the gladiators leapt into the arena. Death was all around, while happy crowds punched the air and shouted themselves hoarse.

Suddenly, a frail old man in a tattered robe ran onto the sandy floor, pushing the giant gladiators apart, pleading with them to stop their madness.

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No. 605
Charles Avison
Plantagenet Era
King Edward III (1327-1377)
The Battle of Neville’s Cross
Ralph Neville spoiled David of Scotland’s alliance with France in the Hundred Years’ War

FOLLOWING a heavy defeat at the Battle of Crécy on the 26th of August, 1346, King Philip VI of France appealed to the Scottish King David II to honour the ‘Auld Alliance’, and help him by harassing England from the north.

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No. 606
York Bowen
Plantagenet Era
King Richard II (1377-1399)
The Peasants’ Revolt
In 1381, fourteen-year-old King Richard II was faced with a popular uprising against excessive taxation and government meddling in the labour market.

AFTER the Black Death wiped out nearly three-quarters of England’s population in the 1340s, fit working men were scarce. Much to their disgust, wealthy landowners actually found themselves bidding against each other for a labourer’s favour.

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No. 607
Louise Farrenc
Mediaeval History
The Daring Escape of Richard the Fearless
The ten-year-old got away from a royal castle disguised as a bundle of hay.
Based on a story by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

AFTER the murder of William Longsword, the powerful Duke of Normandy, King Louis IV of France surprised everyone by turning up at the funeral, and taking the duke’s young son Richard, aged about ten, into his own care, which was little more than an imprisonment.

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No. 608
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Mediaeval History
The Selfless Courage of Leo the Cook
In 6th century France, a faithful kitchen servant sold himself into slavery to rescue a kidnapped boy.

GREGORY, Bishop of Langres, had a nephew named Attalus, who was kidnapped by a Frankish chieftain near Trier, and kept in slavery as a stable-boy.

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No. 609
Charles Avison
Mediaeval History
The Assassination of Thomas Becket
Four knights thought they were helping their King, but they could not have made a greater mistake.

THOMAS Becket was in exile in France, at a monastery in Pontigny, when he remarked to the Abbot, “I dreamt, last night, that I was put to death.”

“Do you think you are going to be a martyr?” smiled the Abbot. “You eat and drink too much for that!”

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No. 610
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.

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From our Archive
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
Abbot Elfric praised St Thomas for demanding hard evidence for the resurrection.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos
Some people disparage what they can’t have.
The Normans conquered England in 1066, and the country would never be the same again.
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)
The great British public leaves a German tourist speechless during a county match at the Oval in London.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Adam Smith credited the British Empire’s success not to the policy of her Government, but to the character of her people.

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Quickwords (46)
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Triplets (23)
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India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Batter’
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 ‘additional’ (5), and ‘reject contemptuously’ (5)?
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.