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.”

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.”

Christmas to Candlemas: The History of the Gospel Narratives of the Incarnation, Nativity and Epiphany.

Have you taken down your Christmas tree yet? For many people, the ‘Twelfth Night’ of Christmas, the Eve of Epiphany, is the time to remove the decorations, but this is perhaps more of a pagan custom, or superstition, than a tradition that has its origins in the Christian faith. The ‘Christmas Season’: Traditionally, the ‘ChristmasContinue reading “Christmas to Candlemas: The History of the Gospel Narratives of the Incarnation, Nativity and Epiphany.”

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.”

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”

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.”

375 Years Ago: Britain in Revolution – The Roads to & from Naseby, June 1645.

Decision Time! Royalist strategy in the Spring of 1645 had been to thrust north through Worcester to Chester and then pick up reinforcements in the north, where there would still be plenty of sympathisers despite the disaster of Marston Moor in the previous year. Rupert and Maurice, the King’s nephews, cleared the way by victoriesContinue reading “375 Years Ago: Britain in Revolution – The Roads to & from Naseby, June 1645.”