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Nos 511 to 520
John Field
Lives of the Saints
The Age of Constantine (313-337)
St Nicholas and the Luckless Sailor
After surviving a terrible storm, a crew-member on St Nicholas’s ship met with a tragic accident.

INTENDING to visit the Holy Sepulchre, Nicholas boarded an Egyptian ship headed for Jerusalem. One night during his voyage, he dreamt that the ship was caught in a terrible storm, and that Satan had cut the rigging and broken the wheel.

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No. 511
John Playford
Christian Customs
King George I (1714-1727)
The Return of Plum Pudding
The Puritans said it was unfit for God-fearing men, but George I thought it fit for a King.

RICH and luxurious plum pudding was banned as “unfit for God-fearing people” by the republican Puritans in 1647, prompting riots in Kent.

Christmas celebrations returned with Charles II in 1660, and in 1714 King George I requested plum pudding for his first Christmas in England, making it fashionable once again.

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No. 512
John Playford
Music and Musicians
John Playford
In England’s brief but dismal experiment as a Republic, Playford saved traditional English dance music from destruction.
Music by John Playford
(1623-1686)

THE republican Commonwealth of England ruled by Oliver Cromwell from 1649 used government legislation to suppress theatre, dancing, church music, and festivals. John Playford (1623-1686), a music publisher in London, made sure to collect as much music as he could, before it was lost for ever.

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No. 513
Vassilis Tsabropoulos
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
The Miracle of St John of the Caves
The story of an unexpected escape through the heart of a hill.

BACK in the days of the Byzantine Empire, the people of Paros heard that pirates were yet again patrolling the coast of their island.

As it was the Feast of St John the Evangelist, they ran to a remote monastery dedicated to the saint, shut themselves in, and offered fervent prayers.

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No. 514
Byzantine Chant
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
St John of Damascus
John’s enduring influence is evident today in the rich sights and sounds of Christian liturgy.

MANSUR Bin Sargun was a Christian in the Syrian court of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius the Great. After the Muslims took Syria from the Byzantines, Mansur’s son Sarjun served the new Caliph in the same capacity.

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No. 515
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. 516
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. 517
York Bowen
Discovery and Invention
King Edward VII (1901-1910)
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. 518
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Discovery and Invention
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
Bird’s Custard
Alfred Bird’s wife could eat neither eggs nor yeast. So being a Victorian, Alfred put his thinking-cap on.

MRS Alfred Bird’s favourite dessert was baked custard, made by beating together sugar, milk, and eggs. Unfortunately, Mrs Bird could not tolerate eggs.

So in 1837, using cornflour, vanilla and natural colouring from his Chemist’s shop in Bull Street, Birmingham, Alfred concocted an egg-free custard for his wife.

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No. 519
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. 520
Polywords (183)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Weir
Added on Sunday January 14th, 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.
From our Archive
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Benjamin Disraeli did not make a promising start to his Parliamentary career - but he did start with a promise.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
An aristocratic statesman was choked with emotion as he reflected on Britain’s creative social mobility.
The most brilliant violinist of his generation, whose finely-crafted compositions showed off bravura and spoke tenderness.
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.
Music by Samuel Coleridge Taylor
(1875-1912)
A gifted composer of classical music in the romantic tradition, admired by Stanford, Elgar, and Sullivan.

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History (406)
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Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Mood’
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 ‘pull along behind one’ (3 letters), and ‘self-evident or accepted proposition’ (5 letters)?
Change ROCK into SALT, one letter at a time.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.