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 Coming of the Northmen: from Coastal Raids to Inland Battles in Britain & Ireland, 789-871.

Pirates or Merchant Adventurers? Out of the North, they came, more warriors from the fringes of the Baltic. Norsemen, Vikings, Danes, many names, but one overriding characteristic – they came first to raid and plunder in tall-prowed sailing ships that had carried these sea-rovers to the Mediterranean and the coasts of a new world acrossContinue reading “The Coming of the Northmen: from Coastal Raids to Inland Battles in Britain & Ireland, 789-871.”

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.”

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 Three Kingdoms & The Third Civil War: Campaigns in Ireland; Drogheda & Wexford to Tipperary, 1649-1652.

The Stuart Court at the Hague, 1649-51: The Trial and Execution of Charles I may have shocked the whole of Europe at first, but Edward Hyde, First Earl of Clarendon, wrote after the execution that… The kings and princes of Christendom had their eyes fixed upon this woeful bloody spectacle; how they looked upon thatContinue reading “The Three Kingdoms & The Third Civil War: Campaigns in Ireland; Drogheda & Wexford to Tipperary, 1649-1652.”

Four Hundred Years Ago: The Birth of a ‘New England’ – Trans-Atlantic Separatists & the Language of Dissent.

‘The Ship they called the Mayflower‘: The 16th September 2020 marks the four hundredth anniversary of the departure of the ship, Mayflower, from Plymouth Sound in Devon, England. The ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ were drawn from the Puritan separatists who had set up illegal churches in Lincolnshire and other parts of East Anglia. Threatened with fines and/orContinue reading “Four Hundred Years Ago: The Birth of a ‘New England’ – Trans-Atlantic Separatists & the Language of Dissent.”

Imperial Islands, Caribbean Englishes & Atlantic Economies, circa 1630-1980

‘Little England’ & ‘Pidgin’ English: Some interpretations of Britain’s imperial past have charged the ‘White British’ with using the Caribbean islands in general and Barbados in particular as a ‘dumping ground’ for Black slaves. In fact, the first settlers there were White Catholics, according to the Jesuit priest who met them in 1634, both IrishContinue reading “Imperial Islands, Caribbean Englishes & Atlantic Economies, circa 1630-1980”

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”

Off to Philadelphia and back again – The Transatlantic Economy & Patterns of Migration – Britain, Europe & North America, 1865-1940

Emigration & Internal Migration – Key Facts: In 1870, seventy-two per cent of all British and Irish emigrants continued to see the United States as their preferred destination. After the Civil War, the American railroad companies began their huge task of driving a steel highway to the west. Where this permanent way pointed, the settlersContinue reading “Off to Philadelphia and back again – The Transatlantic Economy & Patterns of Migration – Britain, Europe & North America, 1865-1940”