All Posts (676)
Nos 611 to 620
Mediaeval History
King Edward III (1327-1377)
Black Agnes Dunbar
When Edward III sent the Earl of Salisbury to take her absent husband’s castle, Agnes brushed his attack aside - literally.

IN 1338, King Edward III of England saw a chance to put his own man, Edward Balliol, on the Scottish throne.

So he sent the Earl of Salisbury to lay siege to Dunbar Castle on the Scottish border, while the Earl of Dunbar, Patrick, was away in France.

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No. 611
Muzio Clementi
Classical History
Horatius at the Bridge
Horatius Cocles was the last man standing between Rome’s republic and the return of totalitarian government in 509 BC.
Based on a story by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

TARQUIN found a friend in the Etruscan king called Lars Porsena, who brought an army to besiege Rome and restore him to the throne. He advanced towards the gate called Janiculum upon the Tiber, and drove the Romans out of the fort on the other side the river.

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No. 612
Ignaz Moscheles
Classical History
The Battle of Salamis
Defeat for the Greeks would have changed the course of Western civilization.

IN the late summer of 480 BC, an alliance of Greek states suffered a humiliating reverse at Thermopylae, emboldening the Persian Emperor Xerxes in his invasion of Greece.

But Themistocles refused to abandon hope.

With what remained of the Greek fleet, the sly general lured the Persians into the cramped confines of the Straits of Salamis.

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No. 613
Charles H. Ross
King George III (1760-1820)
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose!
(That’s cat-tails, obviously.) And who ever said cats were unpredictable?
By Charles H. Ross
(1835-1897)

ONE broiling hot summer’s day Charles James Fox and the Prince of Wales were lounging up St. James’s street, and Fox laid the Prince a wager that he would see more Cats than his Royal Highness would during their promenade, although the Prince might choose which side of the street he thought fit.

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No. 614
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. 615
Francesco Geminiani
Thomas Babington Macaulay
King George II (1727-1760)
The Siege of Arcot
A young Robert Clive’s extraordinary daring helped to prevent India falling into the hands of the French King.
By Thomas Babington Macaulay
(1800-1859)

WHEN the alarm came, he was instantly at his post. From here, Clive could see the enemy’s advance, driving before them elephants armed with iron plates on their foreheads, to break down the gates of the fort.

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No. 616
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. 617
William Herschel
Modern History
Somersett’s Case
James Somersett’s new Christian family used every available means to keep him from slavery.

WHEN Charles Stewart, a customs officer, was in Boston (at that time a town in Massachusetts Bay, a British Crown Colony in America) he purchased an African slave named James Somersett, and brought him back to England. There the young man escaped.

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No. 618
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Modern History
In the Nick of Time
Thomas Lewis was rescued from slavery with only minutes to spare.

AN African boy named Thomas Lewis was snatched at night by two boatmen working for Robert Stapylton, a wealthy plantation-owner from Chelsea. Thomas was gagged with a stick, tied up, and put aboard a ship bound for Jamaica.

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No. 619
Cornelius Tacitus
The Battle of Ynys Mon
Suetonius Paulinus, Governor of Britain, hoped to enhance his reputation.
Based on an account by Cornelius Tacitus
(AD 56-117)

IN Suetonius’s opinion, the chief threat to Roman rule in Britain came from the Welsh tribes and the Druids. He would discover that this was a mistake, but in the meantime, he bent his attention on the Island of Mona, just off the Welsh coast, which had become their stronghold.

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No. 620
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
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Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
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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
An improbable chain of coincidences led to one of the great medical revolutions just when it was most needed.
Peter de Brus and his tenants agreed to work together after King John ordered a crackdown on unpaid rents.
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By Jonathan Swift
(1667-1745)
Lemuel Gulliver finds that the people of Balnibarbi just don’t appreciate their hardworking academics.
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.

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Polyword ‘Dew’
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 ‘knock over and scatter’ (7 letters), and ‘a measure of length equal to 45 inches’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FALL and finish with RISE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.