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.”

The End of Saxon England? Revisiting the Norman Conquest: Chapter I – The Confessor, the Conqueror & the House of Wessex, 1035-1135

The Tragedy of Harold Godwinson: The story of the Norman ‘takeover’ of England has been told very often, most vividly in one of the earliest accounts in the form of Queen Matilda’s tapestry, still kept in Bayeux, which gives it the name it is better known by. French legend maintained the tapestry was commissioned andContinue reading “The End of Saxon England? Revisiting the Norman Conquest: Chapter I – The Confessor, the Conqueror & the House of Wessex, 1035-1135”

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.”

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”

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.”

Bristol, Colston and Colonial Trade, 1580-1780

Foreground: The ‘Drowning’ of Edward Colston, 2020 The heart-breaking, public and blatant murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020 has fuelled a storm of protests across the world. ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests have broken out across Britain and other European countries, where the reckoning has re-opened questions about the legacies ofContinue reading “Bristol, Colston and Colonial Trade, 1580-1780”