The Origins of England’s Three Lions
Jun07

The Origins of England’s Three Lions

“It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming, Football’s coming home ” – So goes the ever popular 1996 “Three Lions” song. So when did the three lions symbol come to be used as England’s royal arms and therefore on the England team shirts ? The answers is somewhat surprising and reveals why in the past we might’ve been singing “three leopards on a shirt”

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Guernsey and Her Island Fiefs
Apr26

Guernsey and Her Island Fiefs

One of the most enduring effects of Guernsey’s association with Normandy is the system of fiefs in the island. The island’s link with the Crown is feudal, as the Queen is still Duchess of Normandy. In this article we look at how Guernsey’s fiefs came about and how they worked.

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Who Made the Bayeux Tapestry ?
Feb01

Who Made the Bayeux Tapestry ?

The Bayeux Tapestry tells one of the most famous stories in British history – that of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, particularly the battle of Hastings, which took place on 14 October 1066. But who made the tapestry and how long did it take?

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How Far Back in Time Could an English Speaker Go and Still Understand the Language ?
Oct26

How Far Back in Time Could an English Speaker Go and Still Understand the Language ?

“How Far Back in Time Could an English Speaker Go and Still Understand the Language ?” In a Nutshell : it would be somewhere between 400 to 500 yrs ago. In order to justify this let’s compare how the speech of ‘English’ speakers sounded in Chaucer’s time, the late 14th Century, with that in the late 16th Century – at the time of Shakespeare.

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Are Old Windows Thicker at the Base Because Glass Flows Like Syrup ?
Sep18

Are Old Windows Thicker at the Base Because Glass Flows Like Syrup ?

This is one of those urban myths that refuses to die. The idea that glass is really a viscous liquid, so thick that it takes centuries for it to flow. But what is the truth ?

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Before Mechanised Transport How Far Could Someone Expect to Travel In a Single Day on Horseback or Stagecoach?
Jul20

Before Mechanised Transport How Far Could Someone Expect to Travel In a Single Day on Horseback or Stagecoach?

Before Mechanised Transport How Far Could Someone Expect to Travel In a Single Day on Horseback or Stagecoach?

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Why do we shake hands as a greeting?
Mar30

Why do we shake hands as a greeting?

The reason we shake hands has nothing to do with warmth or kindness and everything to do with mistrust. Just as we clink glasses so that if our companion has poisoned our drink he’ll get to drink some of his own poison (by virtue of contents slopping between glasses), we shake hands to check for concealed weapons.

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How Medieval People Used to Walk
Feb16

How Medieval People Used to Walk

I expect that you’ve heard of ‘Doing the Hussle’ or maybe even ‘Doing the funky Chicken’ (they’re dances by the way), but what about ‘Doing the Medieval Walk’? No ?
Well, it’s not a dance craze but a real historic thing.

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Christmas Traditions – The First Ever Nativity Play
Dec12

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.

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The Black Death in the Channel Islands
Oct06

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.

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Was King John really that bad?
Aug01

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 ?

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The Warrior Monks Who Brought Banking to London
Jul18

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.

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Modern Compensation Culture and the Ancient Practice of Wergeld
Apr07

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.

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Medieval Democracy – 8 things you (probably) didn’t know about medieval elections
Mar03

Medieval Democracy – 8 things you (probably) didn’t know about medieval elections

Democracy isn’t a word that you would ordinarily associate with the Middle Ages. The most common perception of this time is of Kings, Bishops, Feudal over lords and right at the bottom of the ‘social heap’, the peasant all of them with no say in government. In fact it turns out this is not overall an entirely true picture and that elections were a reasonably common occurrence

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How did people in the Middle Ages Celebrate Christmas?
Dec13

How did people in the Middle Ages Celebrate Christmas?

Today we celebrate Christmas with a spirit of merriment, gift giving and (over) indulgence. But that begs the question … How was Christmas celebrated in the past? Or more specifically for our aricle here – the Middle Ages?

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