Past and Present: The “Mark of the Beast” in Anti-Vaxxer Georgian Britain

Exploring the widespread worry in Georgian Britain that immunity came with beastly side effects. By Erica X. EisenEditorHypocrite Reader This article, “The Mark of the Beast”: Georgian Britain’s Anti-Vaxxer Movement, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ The ox-faced boy who[…]

The “Pitmen Painters” of England and Japan in the Early 20th Century

Throughout the centuries, a number of coal miners have documented their lives with paintings. Some of their works are now in museums and bring the stories of the “pitmen” back to life. By Dr. Diana Cooper-RichetChercheur au Centre d’histoire culturelle des sociétés contemporainesUniversité de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines – Université Paris-Saclay Introduction Curiously, despite its[…]

Past and Present: A History of London from 47 CE Rome to Today

Londinium was established as a civilian town by the Romans about four years after the invasion of 43 CE. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction The history of London, the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, extends over 2000 years. In that time, it has become one of the world’s most significant financial and cultural capital[…]

Mudlarking: Searching for Lost Treasure – and History – on the Banks of the Thames

Established by the Romans in the 1st century AD, the edge of the river has always been a hive of activity. By Jason Sandy and Nick Stevens Ever since man first quenched his thirst in its waters, he has left his mark on the riverbed. Ivor Noël Hume, Treasure in the Thames (1956) London would[…]

Guy Fawkes and the London Gunpowder Plot in 1605

Bonfires were lit on the night of November 5th to celebrate the failure of the plot, and this tradition continues today. Introduction The 1605 Gunpowder Plot was a failed attempt by pro-Catholic conspirators to blow up the English Parliament on 5 November while in full session and kill King James I of England (r. 1603-1625) and the entire nobility[…]

Briton: Indigenous Celtic Peoples of Ancient Great Britain

The earliest written evidence for the Britons is from Greco-Roman writers and dates to the Iron Age. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction The Britons, also known as Celtic Britons or Ancient Britons, were the indigenous Celtic people who inhabited Great Britain from at least the British Iron Age into the Middle Ages, at which point they diverged into the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons (among others). They spoke the Common Brittonic language, the[…]

Robert Owen: Fruitlands Agrarian Commune and Radical Equality in 1825

This wealthy textile manufacturer harbored ambitions that went far beyond the well-being of his own workforce and depleted his fortune. Introduction Do you have a work schedule that leaves you with enough time off the clock to rest up and handle your other responsibilities? If so, you might owe something to Robert Owen, a wealthy industrialist[…]

Medieval English Brews: Recipes for 13th and 14th Century Unhopped English Ales

Making ales using only medieval techniques and equipment. By Dr. Paul W. PlacewayAlumnus, Language Technologies InstituteCarnegie Mellon University Introduction In medieval England, ale was an alcoholic drink made from grain, water, and fermented with yeast. The difference between medieval ale and beer was that beer also used hops as an ingredient. Virtually everyone drank ale. It provided significant nutrition[…]

Being ‘Mad’: Mental Illness in Early Modern England

The treatment of mental disorders in England during the Elizabethan and Jacobian periods. By Dr. Aleksandar DimitrijevicProfessor of PsychologyUniversity of Belgrade It has become almost a rule that the birth of scientific psychiatry and what we today term clinical psychology took place in the short period between the last decade of the XVIII century and[…]

Political Accountability in the U.S. and Its Early Modern Roots in England

The British – who invented impeachment – decided it no longer served its purpose and found more effective methods to deal with bad leaders. Introduction Impeachment was developed in medieval England as a way to discipline the king’s ministers and other high officials. The framers of the U.S. Constitution took that idea and applied it[…]

Newspapers, Gossip, and Coffeehouse Culture in Early Modern England

How the coffeehouse came to occupy a central place in 17th and 18th-century English culture and commerce. The drinking of coffee is a familiar feature of modern life, little-remarked on as part of our busy morning routines. The coffee-house though, traces its history back over more than 300 years, and offers a fascinating insight into[…]

Warren Hastings: A British Model for Impeachment, 1787-1795

The house sat for 148 days over a period of seven years during the investigation after his ten years of service. Introduction Warren Hastings FRS (6 December 1732 – 22 August 1818), an English statesman, was the first Governor of the Presidency of Fort William (Bengal), the head of the Supreme Council of Bengal, and[…]

Reading Times for Newspapers and Periodicals in Victorian England

Time, like place, is socially constructed rather than ‘natural’, and so one might expect ideas of time to be influenced by cultural change. Introduction Time is part of the very name of ‘newspaper’, with its promise of something new, and of ‘periodical’, suggesting something published at regular intervals. Time is also part of their nature,[…]

Reading Places for Newspapers and Periodicals in Victorian England

These reading places confirmed the centrality of periodical print to Victorian culture. Introduction We need to know where the local newspaper was read to understand how it was read, because the same texts take on different meanings in different places.[1] The same report of a Preston football victory over Blackburn has opposite meanings, of success[…]

Readers of the Local Press in Victorian England

Starting from the reader rather than the text allows a new picture of nineteenth-century reading to emerge. Overview If we want to read periodicals because they were what the Victorians read, the work that must be done to bring them to life suggests they are not quite what they were.[1] James Mussell As Mussell’s epigram[…]

English Coffeehouses in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Topics discussed included politics and political scandals, daily gossip, fashion, current events, philosophy, science, and more. Introduction English coffeehouses in the 17th and 18th centuries were public social places where men would meet for conversation and commerce. For the price of a penny, customers purchased a cup of coffee and admission. Travellers introduced coffee as a beverage to England during[…]

England’s Glorious Revolution: Cavendish and the Dukes

Of interest was the war threatening between England (and its allies) and France, and the dynastic quarrels that were giving rise to it. By Dr. Christa JungnickelHistorian of Science By Dr. Russell McCormmachHistorian of Physics Introduction Repeated rejections by the aristocracy of attempts by the crown to increase its power culminated in the Revolution of[…]

Crime and Punishment in Medieval England

Surreal legal concepts ran amuck throughout the epoch. By Lloyd Duhaime, J.D.Duhaime Law The origins of English law, aka common law, are decidedly murky as they were based on unwritten customs, passed down from generation to generation. William the Conqueror (1028-87), Henry I, King Arthur and King Alfred, Canute (995-1035), Ethelbert and Edward the Confessor – all tried[…]

Dominating Castles in the Medieval English Landscape

Castles are best seen as an architectural expression of the social status of their owners. Introduction The traditional view of a medieval English castle is that it was designed for warfare, suggesting that medieval lords were perpetually either at war or preparing for it. Until recently castles were mostly studied by military men or at[…]

A History of Peerage in the United Kingdom

Certain personal privileges are afforded to all peers and peeresses, but the main distinction of a peerage is the title and style thereby accorded. Introduction The peerage in the United Kingdom is a legal system comprising both hereditary and lifetime titles, composed of various noble ranks, and forming a constituent part of the British honours system. The term peerage can be used both[…]

The Penal Treadmill in Victorian England

Penal treadmills were used in prisons in the early Victorian period in Britain as a method of exerting hard labor. A penal treadmill was a treadmill with interior steps set into two cast iron wheels. These drove a shaft that could be used to mill corn, pump water or connect to a large fan for resistance.[1] Penal[…]

Punishment Sentences at the Old Bailey from Early Modern to Victorian England

Types of punishments imposed on convicts at London’s central criminal court from the late 17th century to the early 20th century. Introduction Judges could choose from a wide range of punishment sentences in this period, though their options were often limited by choices made at an earlier stage in the judicial process. Felonies defined by[…]

The Life and Execution of King Charles I

Seven years of fighting between Charles and Cromwell claimed the lives of thousands, and ultimately, of the King himself. Introduction As a King, Charles I was disastrous; as a man, he faced his death with courage and dignity. His trial and execution were the first of their kind. Charles I only became heir when his brother Henry died[…]

A History of the Coronation Ceremony of the British Monarchy

The earliest English coronation that is recorded in detail was the crowning of the Anglo-Saxon King Edgar (ruled 959-975 CE) in 953 CE. Introduction The coronation ceremony of the British monarchy as we know it today involves many elements that have been a part of the pageantry ever since the 11th century CE. Such features[…]

England in Chaos during the Norman Invasion of 1066

The Normans originated as early settlers of northern France. The most valued skill was knowing one’s way around a blade. Introduction The fate of English literature was largely influenced by Frenchmen from the North, invading the rainy, wet piece of land that was England. Without this forced influence, English literature as it is known today[…]

Æthelstan: First Medieval Ruler of a United English Kingdom

Æthelstan was the first ruler of the whole kingdom of England. Æthelstan was the grandson of King Alfred of Wessex  (reigned 871–899) and the son of King Edward the Elder (reigned 899–924). Nothing is certain about his mother, but Continental and later writers suggest she was of lower social status. At some point, Æthelstan was[…]

Drawing a Blank: An Attempt to Save the Life of Charles I?

Was this an effort by Prince Charles (the future King Charles II) a last-ditch effort in exchange for his father’s life? Leafing through Harley MS 6988, it would be easy to flick past an unobtrusive empty page towards the end of the manuscript. Upon closer inspection, however, this ‘blank’ may be one of the central[…]

Pride’s Purge, 1648-1649: English History’s Only Coup d’état

The Purge cleared the way for the execution of Charles in January 1649 and the establishment of the Protectorate. Introduction Pride’s Purge is the name commonly used for an event that took place on 6 December 1648, when soldiers prevented MPs considered hostile to the New Model Army from entering the House of Commons. Despite[…]

Militia in Great Britain from the 17th to 19th Centuries

The Militia of Great Britain were the principal military reserve forces of the Kingdom of Great Britain. England Following the restoration of Charles II in 1660, parliament passed several acts empowering the Lord Lieutenant of each county to appoint officers and raise men for a militia force. Although the king commanded the forces, they were[…]