The New London Docks, 1800-1830

William Daniell’s prints of the new docks represented London’s modernization in particularly exultant terms. Introduction From 1800, London’s dock system was revolutionised, and many commemorative prints were published to celebrate the transformation. William Daniell’s prints of the new docks represented London’s modernisation in particularly exultant terms. Alice Rylance-Watson explores. In the 1790s a formidable and[…]

Consequences of Magna Carta

Considering the Civil War, the re-issue of the charter and the formation of early forms of parliament. Introduction The agreement at Runnymede in 1215 had broad consequences for medieval England. The charter agreed at Runnymede was intended merely as the beginning of a process of reform, not an end in itself. Magna Carta’s first purpose[…]

Why Magna Carta Still Matters Today

Exploring the evolution of our rights and freedoms and the relevance of the Great Charter today. Introduction Magna Carta is a cornerstone of the individual liberties that we enjoy, and it presents an ongoing challenge to arbitrary rule. But over time, while not envisaged at the time of its drafting, Magna Carta has for many[…]

Magna Carta and Jury Trial

The history of jury trials and their relationship to Magna Carta. Introduction From medieval justice to the trial of Charles I, and the trials of John Lilburne to the Human Rights Act, discover the evolution of one of the most venerated features of Anglo-American law. Trial by jury is the most venerated and venerable institution[…]

Magna Carta in Context

How Magna Carta was both influenced by, and impacted upon, the institutions and customs of its day. Introduction From the medieval Church to money-lending, feudal rights to the royal forest, discover how Magna Carta was both influenced by, and impacted upon, the institutions and customs of its day. Despite the enduring legacy of Magna Carta and[…]

Underground Comics and Britain’s Obscenity Trials in the 1970s

Like its American counterpart, the burgeoning British underground scene held comics in high esteem. By John Harris DunningComics Writer Oz was a seminal 1960s counterculture publication that originated in Sydney, Australia in 1963. It quickly raised a storm of controversy around its coverage of abortion and homosexuality, and its editorial team was promptly charged with[…]

Staging Kingship in Scotland and England, 1532-1560

In terms of its staging of sovereignty, passivity distinguished the Scottish king from the English tyrant. Introduction ‘Quhat is ane king?’ asks Divine Correctioun in David Lyndsay’s Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis before supplying the answer ‘Nocht bot ane officiar’ (1613),[1] thereby articulating a commonplace of medieval Scottish literature on kingship that the monarch’s[…]

Crime and Punishment in Elizabethan England

Looking at crime in Elizabethan England and the brutal punishments offenders received. Thieves and Pickpockets The crowded nave of St Paul’s Cathedral was a favourite with pickpockets and thieves, where innocent sightseers mixed with prostitutes, and servants looking for work rubbed shoulders with prosperous merchants. A visitor up from the country might be accosted by[…]

Magna Carta: Neutering a King at Runnymede in 1215

During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. “The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history . . . It was written in Magna Carta.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941 Inaugural address Introduction On June 15, 1215, in a field at Runnymede, King John affixed his[…]

Deadly Stink and Life-Saving Aromas in 17th-Century Plague-Stricken London

Looking at medical advice given to suffers during London’s ‘Great Plague’ c.1665-1666 How do you avoid catching the plague? Smoke constantly. Carry a sponge soaked in vinegar. Hang oranges studded with cloves around your house. This was the best medical advice available circa 1665, as the Great Plague ravaged London. The miasma theory of contagious[…]

Precedent and Motives for the Anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780

The Gordon Riots began when England was involved in the American Revolutionary War with England virtually isolated by France and Spain. By Patryk Zalewski Introduction The Gordon Riots were caused by anti-Catholic views and the resentment towards Catholics that was long held and never truly reversed. Led by Lord George Gordon, the rioters found reason[…]

London’s 17th-Century Restoration Indoor Theater

This kind of theater allowed for more lighting and special effects that could enhance the performances. By Paula E. Thomson Introduction The Restoration in England took place from 1660 to 1700 (Avery & Scouten ). This time was a 40 year gap where there was a huge cross between politics and what happened in the[…]

How England Tried to Mark the Regicide of King Charles I from 1649 to 1660

Exploring some of the struggles that occurred over commemorating that most difficult of anniversaries: the execution of a king. Introduction In January 1649 Charles I, King of England, was found guilty of treason against his own people, and, on the 30th day of the same month, he was executed at Whitehall. Upon the scaffold he[…]

Regicide or Tyrannicide? The ‘Assassination’ of Charles I

Examining the controversy between Milton and Salmasius, with a comparative analysis of the two trials (1649 and 1660). Abstract Milton’s defence of tyrannicide appeared in a complex political context, when several interpretations of the trial of King Charles I competed for preeminence. A comparative analysis of the two trials, that of the Tyrant (in 1649)[…]

The Marriage of Mathilde and William the Conqueror

This kind of arrangement, know as a more danico union, a Danish-style union, was common among people of Norse descent. Caen, as I hardly need to remind you, was one of the capitals, with Rouen, and later London, of Guillaume, Duc de Normandie, remembered by posterity as William the Conqueror, King of England. You can[…]

A Brief Biography of William the Conqueror

His impacts included displacing much of the pre-Conquest Anglo-Saxon nobility to reshaping the English language. William’s Early Life William was the son of Robert I, duke of Normandy (reigned 1027–1035), and a woman of lower social status named Herleva. Through his mother, William had two half-brothers: Odo, the bishop who commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry; and[…]

England and France in Conflict: The Hundred Years’ War, 1337-1453

The war owes its historical significance to a number of factors. Introduction The Hundred Years’ War is the name modern historians have given to what was a series of related conflicts, fought over a 116-year period, between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France, and later Burgundy; beginning in 1337, and ending in[…]

The Impact of the Norman Conquest of England

The conquest saw the Norman elite replace that of the Anglo-Saxons. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Norman conquest of England, led by William the Conqueror (r. 1066-1087 CE) was achieved over a five-year period from 1066 CE to 1071 CE. Hard-fought battles, castle building, land redistribution, and scorched earth tactics ensured that the Normans were[…]

A Brief Biography of William the Conqueror

An accomplished diplomat, gifted military commander, and ruthless overlord. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction William the Conqueror (c. 1027-1087 CE), also known as William, Duke of Normandy and William the Bastard, led the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 CE when he defeated and killed his rival Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. Crowned King[…]

The Roman Baths in Bath: A Deep Dive into Britain’s Ancient History

There is little evidence remaining from the pre-Roman worship, as they left little footprints of their spiritual practice for us to study. By Wanda MarcussenHistorian Introduction Bath, the famous spa town in Somerset England, has attracted people from near and far for centuries to its healing springs and baths. Today the city is known for its beautiful Georgian architecture and[…]

Rights, Resistance, and Racism: The Story of the Mangrove Nine

Examining what prompted the backlash of black British people against the police. By Rowena Hillel and Vicky Iglikowski The trial of the nine arguably represents a high point of the Black Panther movement in the UK, showing the power of black activism and the institutionalised police prejudice. But what prompted the backlash of black British[…]

How a British Royal’s Monumental Errors Made India’s Partition More Painful

The partition of India led to more than a million deaths. A scholar argues how British royal, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who hurriedly drew the new borders in secret, was largely responsible. Introduction The midnight between August 14 and 15, 1947, was one of history’s truly momentous moments: It marked the birth of Pakistan, an independent India and[…]

Entertainment in Georgian Britain, from Pleasure Gardens to Blood Sports

During the Georgian period a host of entertainments were available to those seeking relief from their everyday routines. Theatre The 18th century was the great age of theatre. In London and the provinces, large purpose-built auditoriums were constructed to house the huge crowds that flocked nightly to see plays and musical performances. A variety of[…]

The English Reformation: Tradition and Change

Introduction The English Reformation was part of a European-wide phenomenon to reform the church which began in 1517 when legend has it that the German monk and theologian Martin Luther nailed 95 theses (propositions for discussion) to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg to be debated publicly. Chief among these was the church[…]

‘All Change!’: A History of Britain’s Railways

Exploring Britain’s railways from 1812 to 2007. 1812: The First Effective Locomotive-Powered Railway The coal-carrying Middleton Railway, near Leeds, introduced rack-and-pinion locomotives to haul its trains in 1812. Formerly, coal had been transported from the Middleton pits by wagon way, using horse-drawn wagons. The locomotive’s cylinders drove the pinions through right-angled cranks, so that the[…]

The Native Americans Who Drew the French and British into War

The Anishinaabeg played an outsized role in world affairs. When a young George Washington approached the forks of the Ohio River in the spring of 1754, he was nervous. The previous year, as he scouted the area that would become Pittsburgh to contest French claims to the region, he came across seven scalped settlers. His[…]

The Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Democratization of Magic in Post-Reformation England

How monks, friars and monastic sites became associated with magic in popular tradition, resulting in a lasting stereotype of medieval monks and friars as the masters of occult knowledge. Abstract The dissolution of the monasteries in England (1536–1540) forced hundreds of former inmates of religious houses to seek livelihoods outside the cloister to supplement meagre[…]

Does the British Empire Still Have a Grip on America?

From the coins we count to the democracy we practice, the mother country’s influence is holding strong in our demographic whirlpool. Introduction In 1776, on the brink of his first battle with British troops after America declared independence, George Washington gave a spirited defense of breaking from British rule. “The fate of unborn millions will[…]