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”

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.”

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:”

Good King Lucius & The Establishment of Christianity in Britain: War, Economy & Religion, c. AD 60 – c. AD 210

The Christian Faith, Native Religious Traditions & Society: In the first and second centuries AD, the Christian faith spread very widely among the the poor and the slaves, to whom Christ’s teaching offered new hope and comfort. Excellent new communications by land and sea, and the movement of Roman troops, assisted the spread of theContinue reading “Good King Lucius & The Establishment of Christianity in Britain: War, Economy & Religion, c. AD 60 – c. AD 210”

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.”

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.”