This is another fascinating BBC2 series, illustrating English and British history through the evolution of our art. The eight one-hour episodes, narrated by David Threlfall (Men of the World), feature:The Roman and pre-Roman periods, Beowulf, the Norman conquest and the Bayeux Tapestry; The Black Death, Wilton Diptych, Piers Plowman, Chaucer, Julian of Norwich,… Continue reading The art that made us
This excellent Channel Four programme has returned for a third series soon after the second, perhaps because the pandemic interrupted some of the earlier filming. The first episode features Odiham Place in Hampshire, looking for the home of Sir Francis Walsingham, although it was actually built for Henry VIII and was smaller than a 1739… Continue reading The Great British Dig – History in Your Garden (3)
Here we have another album from the Legendary Ten Seconds, featuring songs about Richard III’s visit to Exeter and “Perkin“‘s attempt to enter the city, as well as several later events. Here are the words to King Richard’s Visit and At the Gates of Exeter, which can be played here and here.
It seems that in 1386 a second “Norman Invasion” was planned by the French. And a “stupendous” part of the preparations included a portable wooden town to house and protect the invaders when they landed. I found the following description in Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, page 426 of my copy:- “….A huge camp enclosing… Continue reading The floating town the French invented for invading England in 1385/6….
This series finally resumed on Channel Five at the beginning of October, to cover two of the newer structures over the Thames, neither of which are in the original form. As usual, Rob Bell’s enthusiasm is infectious and his programmes are highly informative. Episode Three covered Westminster Bridge. By 1700, the population of London was… Continue reading London’s Greatest Bridges (continued)
Once you have reached beyond the bizarre title, which sounds rather like a Dr. Who episode, this is actually a very good series. Rob Bell, the engineer who is becoming quite ubiquitous, demonstrates how the UK was ready to use ther natural and built environments, together with science, to repel and then restrict a German… Continue reading “The Buildings that fought Hitler” (Yesterday)
This excellent series began with a pilot last April, with Hugh Dennis and three archaeologists looking for a Roman settlement on the site of a former inn in Maidstone’s Florence Road. It resumed in February with the small team moving to Benwell, Newcastle, to locate a Hadrian’s Wall fort, followed by a Viking burial ground… Continue reading The Great British Dig – History in Your Garden
During the medieval period it was common for hollow beeswax votive offerings to be made in the hope of spiritual assistance in healing or at least minimizing an injury or ailment. In Exeter Cathedral, these were hung above the tomb of Bishop Edmund Lacy (c. 1370-1455), but there were other cathedrals and churches where… Continue reading The wax votive offerings found at Exeter Cathedral….
Most people are aware that James Blunt’s real surname is Blount. This is an influential name in late mediaeval, “Tudor” and Stuart times. Bessie Blount was another mistress of Henry VIII and bore him Henry Duke of Richmond, who married Lady Mary Howard but died without issue, to be buried at Framlingham. Walter Blount, who… Continue reading To be Bl(o)unt …
This excellent Channel Four programme, presented by Professor Alice Roberts, with Dr. Ben Robinson in the helicopter, has returned for a new series. The early venues were Dover (World War Two, visiting the underground base, concentrating on the retreat from Dunkirk and subsequent Channel defence, meeting some survivors, wearing ATS uniform and riding in a… Continue reading Britain’s Most Historic Towns (2)