Tag Archives: England

Reform in England, 1820-1850

Reform in England, 1820-1850


The years immediately following the peace settlement of 1815 are known as the restoration era. However, it was impossible to restore the old regime. The revolutionary dreams of individual liberty, rep­resentative government, and national fulfillment had been momen­tarily defeated but not destroyed. Technology had begun the slow but accelerating alteration of economic activity that would in turn trans­form the social and political structure of Europe.

London homes in Shakespeare’s time

London homes in Shakespeare’s time

Thanks to decades of peace, English houses are no longer made for defence but for comfort. The newly rich may still build turrets, battlements and gatehouses but these are only for show or to make a new place look venerable, implying an ancient lineage for themselves. Many a country house still has a moat, though the fact that it seldom runs right around it should tell you that it is not to keep attackers at bay – or for you to water your horse in – but to keep fish for the kitchen.

Turold the Dwarf

Turold the Dwarf

Turold the dwarf is perhaps the most captivating of all the figures depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry [scene 10; plate 1]. We see him in the county of Ponthieu, holding the two horses of Duke William’s emmisaries, who have just arrived at Count Guy’s residence on their mission to demand Harold’s handover to the Norman duke. There are only fifteen characters named in the whole work; all but four are easily identifiable, known from other sources for the part they played in the drama of 1066. Who is the dwarf engaged in such a menial task, and why has he been singled out so enigmatically by name?

Memorializing Edward the Confessor

Memorializing Edward the Confessor

An anonymous author in c. 1067 completed a Life of King Edward, commissioned by his widow Edith. The second part of that work describes events that demonstrate the king’s holiness and his miracle-inducing prowess. It was this section that was then worked up by Osbert de Clare, a Benedictine monk at Westminster Abbey, in his more explicitly hagiographical Life of Edward, which was finished by the late 1130s.

Bosworth Field: The battle of 1485

Bosworth Field: The battle of 1485

The battle began when Tudor’s vanguard advanced and engaged with Richard’s, at some point during the morning of 22nd August 1485. After that much is unclear. No one involved in the chaos of medieval battle could have any idea of what was happening beyond his own immediate surroundings. By piecing together a number of accounts, each from its own perspective, we can recapture some of the key moments and gather a sense of what took place. The order in which they took place, and the cause and the effect between them, is ultimately unknowable.