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 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.”

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.”

Poverty, Progress & the Nonconformist Conscience in Britain, 1844-1914: London, Manchester & Birmingham.

The ‘Manchester School’ and the Industrial City: By the 1840s, Manchester had become the symbol of a new form of social organisation, a ‘modern Athens’ to Benjamin Disraeli. But, in a sense, the City deserved the rough treatment it subsequently got from two notable foreign visitors, Alexis de Tocqueville and Friedrich Engels. In 1851, JohnContinue reading “Poverty, Progress & the Nonconformist Conscience in Britain, 1844-1914: London, Manchester & Birmingham.”

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”

Poverty, Emigration & Empire, 1821-71: Atlantic Crossings & North American Settlement.

The Pursuit of Poverty – Labouring Poor of the British Isles: In 1828, a man of Minster in Kent, told a House of Commons committee formed to investigate the continuing conditions of poverty and destitution that: The convicts on board the hulks are a great deal better off than our labouring poor, let the convictContinue reading “Poverty, Emigration & Empire, 1821-71: Atlantic Crossings & North American Settlement.”

Empire, Slavery & Reform; 1783-1858: Black Lives & ‘White’ Colonies.

Britain in the World of 1783 – The Economic Advantages of Empire: In the course of the eighteenth century, Britain became the most prosperous trading nation in the world. Her most serious commercial rival was France. At the beginning of the century both countries held possessions in North America, the West Indies and controlled tradingContinue reading “Empire, Slavery & Reform; 1783-1858: Black Lives & ‘White’ Colonies.”