The End of Saxon England? Revisiting the Norman Conquest, 1035-1135: Chapter II – Castles, Abbeys, Cathedrals & Churches.

Knights, Barons & Castles: The knights who served William ‘the Conqueror’ were armed in many respects as their English opponents, wearing mail hauberks and conical helmets, and carrying kite-shaped shields, lances, swords and maces. If battlefield tactics were dominated by the mounted knight, the strategies of war were increasingly subject to the powerful influence ofContinue reading “The End of Saxon England? Revisiting the Norman Conquest, 1035-1135: Chapter II – Castles, Abbeys, Cathedrals & Churches.”

Unifying the Kingdoms of Britain: The Kings of Wessex & The Birth of England, 871-1031.

Chaos in Christendom: From the late ninth century until the mid-eleventh century in Europe, internal and external problems steadily weakened western Christendom. The Carolingian Empire had fragmented; no major military power existed in the West. The continued attacks of Muslims from the south, a new wave of attackers from central Asia, the Magyars (Hungarians) andContinue reading “Unifying the Kingdoms of Britain: The Kings of Wessex & The Birth of England, 871-1031.”

The False Dawn: Saxons, Celts and Britons, 616-839 – From Edwin of Northumbria to Egbert of Wessex.

The (no-longer-so-dark) Dark Ages: Since the discovery of the Sutton Hoo burial in Suffolk in 1939, archaeology has continued to shed light on the ‘Dark Ages’, where documentary evidence is lacking. The distribution of pagan fifth-century Anglo-Saxon burials indicates the probable areas of earliest English settlement in Britain. The English ‘advance’ continued throughout the periodContinue reading “The False Dawn: Saxons, Celts and Britons, 616-839 – From Edwin of Northumbria to Egbert of Wessex.”

Battles of the Britons: Seawolves, Settlements & Saints, circa 415-615.

The Disintegration of Roman Britain: With the removal of Rome’s military support by around 411 the centralised adminisration of occupied Britain disintegrated, although the form and values of Roman life were not instantly overthrown. It was still hoped that Britain would become a Roman province again and an appeal for military aid was made toContinue reading “Battles of the Britons: Seawolves, Settlements & Saints, circa 415-615.”

C. S. Lewis’s Tales of Narnia, from Genesis to ‘Shadowlands’ – Stealing Past Dragons.

A Life Between Faith and Literature: Clive Staples Lewis became the most popular defender of orthodox Christianity in the English-speaking world in the mid-twentieth century. Born in Belfast in 1898, he was brought up an Anglican and educated at Malvern College. As a young man, C. S. Lewis had served in the trenches of WorldContinue reading “C. S. Lewis’s Tales of Narnia, from Genesis to ‘Shadowlands’ – Stealing Past Dragons.”

The Establishment of Constantinian ‘Christendom’ in Europe & Decline of the Roman Empire in Britain, c. AD 210-410:

The Growth of Christianity under Persecution, c. 180-260: The Roman Empire bequeathed by Marcus Aurelius in AD 180 was recognisably the same state as that created by Augustus in the previous century. After two more centuries, however, it had been transformed by the triumph of barbarism and Christianity. The key changes had been the extensionContinue reading “The Establishment of Constantinian ‘Christendom’ in Europe & Decline of the Roman Empire in Britain, c. AD 210-410:”

The Radical Messiah and The Politics of Love in the Bible: Part 2 – Christianity, Church and Society over two Millennia.

‘The Farthest Limits of the West’: I will always remember my first visit to Bangor, North Wales (originally the furthest western outpost of the Roman Empire), to attend an interview for a university place in Biblical Studies and History. It was a long journey by train from Birmingham, where I grew up as the sonContinue reading “The Radical Messiah and The Politics of Love in the Bible: Part 2 – Christianity, Church and Society over two Millennia.”

The Bible as Action Manual: Radical Reflections on Siding with the Poor.

Liberation Stories: The focus of The Radical Bible, published in 1972, was social justice and ‘The Third World’ as it was then known, meaning the poor and powerless peoples of the earth, most of whom live in Asia, Africa and Latin America. This is not to say that justice is all the Bible is concernedContinue reading “The Bible as Action Manual: Radical Reflections on Siding with the Poor.”

Fact & Film: ‘Silly Suffolk’ – The Dialect of ‘The Dig’ at Sutton Hoo.

Above: the Sutton Hoo helmet discovered by Brown’s excavations History lessons: Soon after my son moved to Framlingham in Suffolk to take up his first teaching post at the local Thomas Mills’ High School, in 2014, I fulfilled one of my ‘bucket list’ ambitions, which was to visit Sutton Hoo, the archaeological site nearby which had beenContinue reading “Fact & Film: ‘Silly Suffolk’ – The Dialect of ‘The Dig’ at Sutton Hoo.”

The Forging of a Trans-Atlantic Language: Cross-Cultural Currents, 1840-1940

A National Language – From Webster to Whitman: The English Language has always been the most significant battlegrounds of Anglo-American rivalry, a fascinating window on the tensions of the “special relationship”. Divided by a common language, each generation has made the enjoyable discovery that the ‘standard’ English of Britain is different from from the EnglishContinue reading “The Forging of a Trans-Atlantic Language: Cross-Cultural Currents, 1840-1940”