Christmas Traditions – The First Ever Nativity Play
Even in modern, secular Britain there is one tradition that still holds sway at Christmas – The Christmas Nativity Play. In this article we look at the 800 year old origin of this Christmas institution.
Christmas is Cancelled – The Puritan assault on Christmas during the 1640s and 1650s
As the year 1645 came to a close Englishmen had little cause for celebration. The country was 3 years into a vicious civil war and if that wasn’t bad enough any of the traditional festivities that they might have looked forward to had been abolished by order of the two Houses of Parliament sitting at Westminster – this was Puritan England’s assault on Christmas.
The Black Death in the Channel Islands
Not the most pleasant of subjects but when the ‘great mortality’ as it was called struck the Channel Islands it left in its’ wake a scarred population, decimated in numbers and traumatised in the minds and bodies of all islanders.
Celtic Guernsey and the King’s Road Settlement
The largest area of Celtic settlement we know of on Guernsey was to the east of King’s Road, on the outskirts of St Peter Port. But was life like for the celtic peoples of Guernsey and even who were the celts ?
Constantinople – Where (Middle) East Meets West
On the 28 March 1930 after 1,599 years, ten months and seventeen days the great city of Constantinople officially became Istanbul. It was on this day that the Turkish Post Office formally changed the name by which it had been informally identified since some time in the 13th century. A Long History A Greek City There has been a town on the site of modern Istanbul since at least the 7th century BC, when it was settled by Greeks. They...
Firsts of World War I – Gas
If we were to ask : Who used gas first in WWI and when? The chances are that most people wouls say ‘The Germans as 2nd Yrpres in April 2015’. The surprising fact is that it was not.
It was , in fact, the French, who first used gas as a weapon of war and they did it in the very first month of the war
Reading Ancient ‘Unreadable’ Texts Lost for Centuries
Any Bibliophile will appreciate, or at least empathise (if you’ve never had the opportunity), the exquisite pleasure of gazing upon an ancient book or scroll and reading the words engraved on its pages hundreds or thousands of years ago.
The Normans – A Timeline
Guernsey and the Channel Islands were very much at the heart of the old Duchy of Normandy and then in 1066 we were propelled into the wider world when our Duke, William the Bastard defeated the English King Harold at Hastings. In this artilcle we outline some of the defining moments in the history of the Norman dynasty.
Was King John really that bad?
If there’s one English Monarch who’s consistently had a ‘bad wrap’ it’s King John I. He’s the ultimate in abuse of absolute power, an archetypal villan – portrayed as the cruel King oppressing his people with taxes and arbitrary justice. But is this true ? Was his rule really as bad as folklore seems to say ?
The Warrior Monks Who Brought Banking to London
Today, London is the financial capital of the world and for good or ill the hub of global banking and finance. How banking started in the capital is every bit as intriguing and mysterious as the ways that modern international finance seems to work today. Basically we owe it all to a religious order of heavily armed warrior monks who set up London’s first bank some 900 years ago.
Asterix – Guernsey’s Own Roman Wreck
On Christmas Day 1982 local Diver Richard Keen spotted the remains of a large wreck sticking out from the mud directly between the pierheads of St Peter Port harbour. It turned out to be the largest, most complete, seagoing Roman ship surviving outside the Mediterranean.
The founding of the Eternal City – Rome – Fact & Fiction
On the 21st April 753 BC, according to Plutarch, the city of Rome was founded. In this article we look at the myths and legends surrounding the foundation of the ‘Eternal City’.
Secrets of The Bayeux Tapestry : Hidden Meanings & Gestures
The Bayeux Tapestry is an historical artifact that never fails to impress depicting as it does such a pivotal moment in British and Channel Island history, that of the invasion & conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. But look closely and you will come across oddities that are hard to explain, mysterious characters, some named, some not, appear in the main body and borders. Add to that some of the cuirious rather theatrical gestures they appear to be making and there emerges a sense of mystery.
Modern Compensation Culture and the Ancient Practice of Wergeld
If there is one thing that is a blight on modern life it is the rise of ‘compensation culture’. The idea that someone else is always to blame and you are entitled to some compensation no matter what. But the origins of this are far older than you might think.
How did WWI End ?
The First World War, which has become a byword for a static war of attrition, ended in 1918 just as it had begun in 1914, as a mobile war. But it was a final throw of the dice by the Germans in the Sping of 1918 that was to be a ‘catalyst of the end’.